June 26, 2014
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Renee Young and Alex Riley
Cold opening this week as we begin with what’s quickly becoming my favorite entrance in wrestling, The Vaudevillains! Aiden does his own ring entrance and announces combined height as opposed to weight. The crowd claps along with the theme too which is a nice touch, again, no clue if it translates to main roster (doubt it does) but it’s fine, I’m entertained. They’ll be taking on These Guys who are you know, those guys: Tee Perkins and Matt Sugarman. I have absolutely nothing on these two guys, can’t find any data on them so sorry, if you know who they are, where they came from, previous names, please let us know in the comments.
The Vaudevillains vs. These Guys: We’re told that Tee Perkins is a cycling enthusiast. May want to wellness test him now. Sugarman and English start us off, tie-up, English gets him into the corner, sets up for a big punch but Sugarman gets out and runs to tag Perkins. Aiden and Perkins do a little back and forth as English gets him to his corner, Gotch and English start working some mat work offense including a solid looking leg scissors from Gotch. Renee Young instantly moves up a few spots on my list for her “CrossFit is for chumps!” comment. Oh whoops, top-rope senton aka That’s A Wrap from English and it’s over. That was quick. *1/2
Recap video of last week where we see Tyson Kidd abandoning his tag partner Sami Zayn. Solid promo from Zayn backstage where he says this isn’t the last we’ve heard of him and Kidd. I’m looking forward to this eventual match, perhaps at the next big NXT special? We can only hope.
Bull Dempsey vs. Xavier Woods: Dempsey is the former Smith James and a guy Joe and I talked about at length on the Voices of Wrestling podcast when he was signed many moons ago. This was at a time when they were turning away a lot of top independent talent, guys that were getting over all across the world in front of every audience they wrestled but instead WWE signed a flabby dude like Smith. They’ve since gotten a lot better about bringing in true talent so we’ll give them a break here but I’m interested to see if Dempsey has improved.
Joe tweeted about him on Thursday and Friday and either ironically or in the most galling example of vanity searching ever, Bull Dempsey favorited every tweet mentioning him:
CJ Parker is ringside, I usually don’t mention it, he’s ringside at every show holding up a sign and it’s utterly meaningless.
Bull’s music is interesting. It’s a song that just says BULL BULL BULL a bunch of times with some generic guitar riffs. Alex Riley says he’s never been so excited for an NXT debut, as Joe likes to say, let’s the pump the brakes a little here. Brennan says Dempsey saw Bruiser Brody on his TV when he was 7 years old and he knew he wanted to be a wrestler. Given his 1986 birthday, I’d like to challenge this. Maybe, he was him later in life on ESPN Classic but I can’t imagine a lot of 7 year olds, save for their father being a Puerto Rico tape trader, having access to Bruiser Brody matches in 1993 but that’s not why you called…
Xavier taunts Bull to start off, Bull throws him into the corner immediately showing his strength. Headlock to start, this kid’s gonna make it, you guys! Shot off the ropes by Woods, he goes for an arm drag and…oh yes, another headlock. Riley says he warms up by punching brick walls, this seems like a poor idea but whatever floats your boat. Woods breaks free with a few punches, Bull responds with a huge headbutt and a series of elbow drops. He follows with, you guessed it, a headlock. Woods with an Ace Crusher to get out of the headlock, he runs to the ropes, hits Bull with a huge kick and he launches off the top rope with a cross body. Bull just slaps Woods to the mat, splash in the corner and hits a sidewalk slam-esque move called the Bulldozer for the win. Hey, we got through a whole Woods match without mentioning he’s getting his Ph.D., that’s a good thing.
I have another quick gripe with the commentary, mainly Renee Young. Content-wise, she’s good, she has a lot of meaningful stuff to say but she doesn’t deliver it well in a commentary sense. One thing she, Riley and Brennan do, which I’m assuming they are being told to do is saying OOOOH! after every move. It’s worse yet when all three are falling over themselves to say it after every move. I’d almost pine for the “What a manuever!” days if this is the new evolution.
Anyway, this was fine. I assumed Dempsey’s offense would be more forceful and monster-like but instead it was mostly headlocks and a not-so impressive finisher. He was fine but I’m not sure his offense suits the character. *1/2
Bull grabs the mic post-match, he says NXT has let the children run the household for far too long. He says the industry use to be dominated by men and we are all witnessing the beginning of an era of a wrecking ball and a last of the dying breed.
Becky Lynch vs. Summer Rae: Longtime friend of the show Rovert has been telling us about Becky Lynch for what seems like years now, so I’m quite excited to see what we have here in her debut. I’m not a huge women’s wrestling fan (no, I’m not against it, I just don’t find a ton of entertainment in it, it’s not my thing) but I’ve heard great things from all friends and colleagues who are big fans so yeah, I’m hoping she has a good run.
She has stereotypical Irish music and did a jig to kick off her entrance, oh boy. That didn’t take long. The dancing continues even through the match, jeez. Summer and Becky have a dance off but Summer ends that quickly with a huge clothesline. Nice arm drag by Lynch. A little back and forth, Summer is yelling to her BFF stable-mates on the outside as Lynch comes from behind with a roll-up and gets a near fall. A series of leg drops followed by a jig, nice quick offense from Becky. Exploder-style Suplex from Lynch and wow, she gets the quick three. She looked great here but the stereotypical dancing Irish jig thing is awful. It’s so type-cast, the crowd is into it though and chanting her name so what do I know. **
Colin Cassady vs. Sawyer Fulton: Sawyer Fulton is wearing perhaps the worst ring tights I’ve seen since the mid-90s. Just horrendous. It’s not going well for him by the way. He’s getting pummeled by Colin and after a jumping elbow drop and about 45 seconds, it’s all over. *
The Legionnaires come to the ring in the tightest shirts humanely possible. They start coming into the ring to team up on Cassady but Enzo Amore makes his return to save Big Cass. Enzo cuts a promo on The Legionnaires and we set up a match for the future.
Adrian Neville vs. Rob Van Dam: Mr. Thursday Night (again their words, not mine) Rob Van Dam challenges for the NXT Title. Alex Riley got kicked out of the commentary booth but for good reason, we have Tyler Breeze instead! RVD is over like a million bucks in front of this crowd. Renee asks Breeze about his music video and if he’ll win any awards: “What do I look like, a future teller?” I think I’m into him on commentary. RVD and Neville exchange some arm drags to start off, Neville with a clothesline to get RVD to the outside. Okay nevermind I’m done with Breeze on commentary mainly because her and Renee are bickering like two people that hate each other put together for a group project in school. It’s really taking away from the match which isn’t anything crazy now. Renee asks “Are… are you going to start going on tour?” Now it’s turning into a shitty Late Night Talk Show itnerview. Anyway, to the match, it’s every RVD match you’ve ever seen. Normal RVD spots, Neville hits a solid second-rope moonsault to the outside as we go to commercial.
Renee seems like a great person and I genuinely like her but she’s horrendous on commentary. Give her Josh Matthews’ job, have her do the pre and post game shows but no more commentary. She doesn’t have anything good to say, she doesn’t do a good job of talking about the match and instead relies on anecdotes and “OOH!” “WOAH!” “OWWW!” it’s Jerry Lawler bad.
Neville is straddled on the top and RVD comes off the top rope with a kick, that was really nice and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen RVD do that. I haven’t had a moment like that since 1999. Pretty typical to an Adrian Neville main event, a lot of stuff happens, some nice moves here and there but the crowd doesn’t care and nothing stands out. I’m not sure what it is about Neville these days, his offense is fine, he has good opponents something just doesn’t click anymore.
Renee asks what Instagram filter Breeze likes to us, gag. Tree of Woe from RVD, he hits a few shoulder blocks into his quads, it definitely looks weird, then a dropkick, roll-up by RVD and another near fall. Back and forth punches, RVD shoots Neville off the ropes flying cross-body and a flurry of offense from Adrian. To the second rope he goes, another nice missile dropkick but RVD kicks out at 2.
RVD launches Neville into the air and hits him with a huge spin kick, is that another new RVD move?! What’s going on here. RVD sets up for the Five-Star Frog Splash but Neville slides out of the way. “OOOOOOHHH!” thanks Renee, I had no idea that something happened. Neville with a DDT… “OOOOH!!!!” thanks again. Neville to the top, Red Arrow (oooooh!) and he gets the three. This was okay, not great but fine, without a doubt the best match on this episode. **3/4
Neville walks over to RVD post-match. RVD hints that he’s not going to shake his hand but gives him the endorsement and raises his hand with fist bumps on his way out. We cut back to Breeze who is standing on the commentary table as we go off the air.
This wasn’t a great episode of NXT if you’re looking for a lot of wrestling action. We had two matches that went any amount of length and nothing stood out even the main event disappointed. With that said, this is an important show for a number of debuts, new gimmicks, re-formed teams and the continuation of a few stories. It’s an easy watch this week, so I recommend giving it a shot.