Episode 232
July 24, 2014

We’re back with the final of a four-taping series from Full Sail. The past few NXT episodes haven’t exactly blown our socks off despite some solid storyline progression and the introduction of a number of new feuds.

Regardless, NXT is in desperate need of a jolt. Be it from some more important stories, more integration with the main roster or perhaps a jolt of talent in the form of new signees like Fergal Devitt, Kevin Steen, KENTA or even new Diva signee Becky Lynch. It remains to be seen how long it will take those talents to make NXT TV, we’ve seen a match already from Lynch but that was after quite some time in developmental. It’s obvious that Devitt, Steen and KENTA don’t require the same amount of seasoning as a Lynch or most other talents but they still need to learn how to work the “WWE style” before they become solid roster pieces.

My personal opinion is to allow them to do that at NXT. That works two-fold, these guys can slowly learn the nuances of working in the company while at the same time giving current or even hopeful WWE subscribers something to sink their teeth into. It’s well known that the key demo for the Network is the hardcore fanbase and what better way to drive them to subscription than those three?

Look, there’s not a lot of hooks to subscribing to the Network these days. The hardcores are mostly done perusing through WCCW and 1995 ECW. Some of us are still dabbling in 1994 Monday Night Raws or live-tweeting WCW Sin but for most, the appeal is wearing off. It’s high time WWE gives a jolt to one of the more successful pieces of original content, time will tell.

Anyway, let’s get to this week. NXT starts off with a promo video highlighting the Charlotte/Summer Rae feud which has had a tremendous build in my mind. Summer Rae is returning to NXT after being featured on WWE television, in movies, on Total Divas and such. She’s put the BFF on the map in her mind but Charlotte doesn’t seem to agree. This is helped by Charlotte being awesome, and though she’s not in the same universe as her dad promo-wise, her in-ring has been quite impressive.

The Ascension vs. “Two Local Competitors”: Oh no, Renee Young on commentary. If you’ve read my past reviews, you know what I think of her on the sticks. Love her in a backstage role, love her for WWE.com exclusives, love her in the pre/post shows but on commentary she’s nails on a chalkboard. From her “OOOOH!”s after literally every impactful move to her delivery, she just doesn’t do it for me.

This match was nothing but a prolonged squash. “Two Local Competitors” were actually Jonny Vandal & Aaron Solow. Both have worked for FIP and a few other Florida indies in the past, so they are literally “two local competitors.” I’m somewhat shocked these guys would make tape with such a huge roster of NXTers, seems like you wouldn’t have to use local jobbers but I have no problem with it. It didn’t matter who they were, The Ascension essentially played with toys here doing anything they wanted. Fall of Man and it was over in about two minutes. This was a good squash and about the only type of match The Ascension should be in. NR

Tyler Breeze vs. Mojo Rawley: Tyler has his hand completely taped up as a result of a finger injury. Renee claimed it was from doing hand modeling, then a few minutes later says it’s a hangnail.

Commentators mention that Breeze seems to only have one look adding more credence to Joe Lanza’s theory that someone in creative watched Zoolander on AMC for the first time.

Match starts and Breeze hits a Beauty Shot on Mojo almost immediately and gets the three. This was the best Mojo Rawley match ever and a MOTYC. NR

On the way to commercial Renee says that Breeze’s song is the best music from an athlete since Ron Artest released his “My World” album. I may be critical of Young but she moved up about 1,000 points (not sure the scale yet) in my book with that sidebar. I now lover her as much as most of you.

If you’re counting, we’ve had exactly 3 minutes of wrestling so far but I won’t complain, I think squash matches and jobber beatdowns should happen far more on Raw and Smackdown.

Charlotte vs. Summer Rae: Alex Riley mentions that Charlotte has good “mic skills”, kayfabe be damned. The crowd for this show is really awful, they announce both competitors before the match and it’s crickets. That’s not the women’s fault, this has been a great feud and it was hot in previous weeks. The problem is this it the fourth of four tapings this crowd has been through. As someone who sat through the initial 5-6 hour Ring of Honor Sinclair TV taping, I know what it’s like being in one of these crowds — you’re toast.

Charlotte mocks Summer’s dance with infuriates Summer who jumps onto Charlotte and starts pounding away. Renee mentions that these women are always “cat”-ty, she said it, not us. Charlotte grounds Summer and locks on the Figure Four Headlock. Back from commercial and Charlotte still has the headlock locked in, Summer breaks through and tosses Charlotte to the outside. Summer then goes outside and tosses Charlotte back in, always an effective strategy. Summer throws Charlotte in the corner and starts screaming “I made you Charlotte!” again crickets from the crowd. You can hear them calling spots which again, is nobody’s fault but it is telling that are only recording three shows per taping going forward.

“Boring” chant from the crowd, maybe it is their fault. This match isn’t great but it’s certainly not “boring.” Summer locks in a nice looking Half Crab and goes to wrench Charlotte’s face but gets bitten. Charlotte breaks out of the crab but Summer tries for a quick rollout. Crowds now doing a wave, the ultimate sign for “we’re tired and want to go home.” Poor girls. Double clothesline and both ladies are down, this won’t help the wave one bit. Summer hits a huge spin kick but Charlotte once again kicks out. Bow Down to the Queen out of nowhere and Charlotte wins. Hmm. The crowd really took any and all steam out of this one. I thought it was a solid match but with the crowd literally reacting to nothing, it’s hard to say I was super excited while watching it. Either way, this deserves a good rating because it was a decent in-ring match and the feud was built up well. **

Kalisto & Sin Cara vs. The Vaudevillains: Again this crowd man. I can hear individual people clapping. People aren’t even doing the Kalisto “LUCHA-LUCHA” chant, that’s when you know it’s bad. Quick action to start off, as Kalisto and Sin Cara have some nice chemistry. I could get into this team. Nice back and forth, English starts taking control and grounds Sin Cara. They are working to a hot tag to Kalisto but the crowd either doesn’t care or can’t be bothered to make any noise today. English with a leg kick but he still only gets a 1. Sin Cara finally breaks free using a underhook powerbomb as Kalisto starts playing for the hot tag. Kalisto finally in and he rolls up the newly-tagged Gotch, Sin Cara with a dive to the outside to take out English. Kalisto with a Asai DDT and it’s over! This was a lot of fun and the exact interplay you need from a high-flying team and a “classic” wrestling style team. Would’ve been better with a hotter crowd for Kalisto’s hot tag, but this was still a lot of fun, good work by both teams. **1/2

WWE NXT Champion Adrian Neville vs. Rusev (Non-title): Neville tries a cross-body to start off and it, uh, doesn’t go well. Rusev grabs him, starts kneeing his ribs and tosses him with a sidewalk slam. Neville is getting decimated here, Neville eventually gets a boot up and starts hitting big kicks to the chest. Rusev is on his knees and Neville with a series of kicks to the chest. Rusev grabs Neville by the throat and drops him to the mat. Lana is up on the apron distracting the ref, Tyler Breeze runs down and gets Neville’s attention. Rusev hits Neville from behind but Neville regains control. The Breeze thing meant nothing, that was weird. Neville to the top and nevermind because Breeze yanks him off the top. The bell rings and we have  DQ. Crecent kick from Ruesv which Renee so eliquently calls “OOOOH!!” This didn’t last very long and wasn’t much even when it was going on. *

Final Thoughts:

Okay then, that was NXT Episode 232. People have gotten mad at me in the past for saying you should skip NXT shows but I’m 100% confident in saying if you skip this show you will have missed absolutely nothing. The only storyline progression was the blow-off of Summer/Charlotte in a good match that the crowd shit on. Breeze interfered to cost Neville his match but the focus of that entire main event was on Rusev. Otherwise, you had two squashes that lasted a combined 2 minutes. Skip this one.

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  • The Ascension defeats These Guys via pinfall following Fall of Man when Viktor pinned That Guy
  • Tyler Breeze defeats Mojo Rawley via pinfall following a Beauty Shot
  • Charlotte defeats Summer Rae via pinfall following Bow Down to the Queen to retain her NXT Women’s championship
  • Kalitso & Sin Cara defeat The Vaudevillains via pinfall by Kalisto on Simon Gotch following an Asai DDT
  • Adrian Neville vs. Rusev