August 7, 2014

Let me first apologize for the delay in this review. The G1 Climax has taken over this website and our lives as of late so there just wasn’t a good chance to review this show. So as long as you don’t mind, here’s your nearly week-old review of the August 7th episode of NXT!

Tye Dillinger/Jason Jordan vs. Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady: First off, Enzo and Big Cass are over like a million bucks in front of the Full Sail University crowd and unlike a number of NXT gimmicks, I think these two could be on Raw tonight. Their work may need some more refining but they are certainly not the “small room act” many NXTers are. I should mention as well, this is the first match in what should be an awesome NXT Tag Title Number One contenders tournament.

Anyway, some back and forth offense between Tye and Big Cass to start us off. Cass tosses Tye into the corner and he tags Jason Jordan in. If you haven’t seen Ty and Jason, they are just… there. Tye, the former Shawn Spears has potential and Jordan is a great athlete but they haven’t been given much of a story to run with. I think they COULD get over but as it stands now, they are two good looking dudes in good shape with matching tights.

Tye gets back in and starts controlling the match with some solid ground work as Jordan and him work a classic, cut off the ring tag match. Rich Brennan mentions that Jordan was an undefeated collegiate All-American. You know what that means: it’s time to fact-check everyone!

Actually, this isn’t too bad from WWE, pretty tame by their standards. From what I can see, he was 26-17 during his junior year at Indiana University and improved to 38-3 in his senior year. I can’t find any evidence he was an All-American but hey, this is better than touting Mojo Rawley as an NFL star without a single tackle to his name.

And we’re back — more ring-cutting from Tye and Jordan, Enzo is on the apron urging the fans to get hyped for the hot tag. Tye goes for a boot on the ground but Cass grabs his leg and tosses him to the mat. Hot tag to Enzo but he’s cut off by a beautiful superkick from Dillinger. With Enzo in the corner, Jordan goes for a running shoulder but Cassady sacrifices his own body and takes the punishment. Cassady rolls back out as Jordan/Tye argue with the ref, as the refs back is turned Cassady Cassady hits a big boot, Enzo rolls on top of Tye and it’s over! Flash win but it worked here as Big Cass still looks like a monster despite taking a lot of offense from the competitors. I liked this match a lot. Both teams looked solid and it was good tag action. **½

Sami Zayn backstage with Renee Young, Zayn mentions he’s been assigned a tag partner who hasn’t been medically cleared. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel into frame thanking Zayn for the first-round bye. Zayn verbally beats them down and says he’ll beat them on his own….OR WILL HE. Adam Rose is carried into the backstage area and Zayn apparently has a new tag partner. Then, in what is perhaps the best NXT moment ever, Zayn eats Rose’s lollipop.

CJ Parker vs. Xavier Woods: Parker cuts a pretty solid promo to kick us off and it’s Xavier Woods. Since WWE brand all apparently live on their own universe, Woods is supposed to be a babyface here. The crowd doesn’t really react to him much. These shows were taped BEFORE Woods rallied Kofi and Big E on WWE television. They’ve since dropped that angle completely and Big E is back to being a babyface. Woods is still by the time of this taping, a face on the main roster, he was a heel briefly on the main roster and by the time most people watched this but a face on NXT still. This isn’t confusing at all, is it?

Woods seem to be WORKING heel as well, even though he should be a face in this match? I’m guessing he, like us, is confused as to what the hell he should be doing. Anyway, Woods continues to play mega-heel and is beating Parker down. Parker gets pissed that Parker moved out of the way on the top rope. Babyface, through and through here. Back from commercial, Parker has Woods locked into a Million Dollar Dream-esque resthold.

Woods has a Ph.D. in case you didn’t know. I wish they’d let this fact be more known. In case you’re wondering, Parker is now playing heel with a big knee lift. Parker goes to the top and hits Woods with a big axe handle but only gets two. Woods grabs the momentum back with a nice fury of offense capped off by a nice looking dropkick and a flying cross body. Parker rolls through the cross body and gets the near fall, Woods quickly hits the Flatline but again only gets two. Woods is now playing to the crowd and appears to be back into babyface mode. Honor Roll but Parker somehow kicks out. Nice action here. Woods flies across half the ring and hits an impressive elbow but again only gets two. Parker gets Woods in a fireman’s carry position and drops him to the ground. Don’t think I’ve seen that move from him before, so sorry, I have no idea what he calls it but it’s all over. This was a weird match since nobody knew what role to play but they ended up getting it together at the end. Nice action, some good nearfalls. Entertaining stuff from both guys. **1/4

Bayley vs. Eva Marie: Eva is sitting on a box, no seriously, there’s a giant box on the top of the stage and she’s sitting on it. I don’t know. This could be a disaster, the NXT crowd is shitting on her already. Bayley takes a deep breath as in “shit I have my work cut out for me.” Early you can’t wrestle chant for Eva. “Bayley’s Gonna Hug You” chant, ****½ chant there. Eva is so awful, she’s not even getting mildly better. She’s still on Day 1 of wrestling shoot. Why do they insist on having her work? Belly-to-Belly suplex and thank god it’s over. This was horrendous. -*

Thank you Bayley chants afterwards, well deserved. There’s broomsticks, then there’s Eva Marie.

Adam Rose/Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd/Justin Gabriel: Early “Ole” chants but Kidd tries to break them early with some heel tactics playing to the crowd. This guy needs to stay in NXT forever. Zayn and Kidd with some nice back and forth, a series of arm drags by Zayn into an armbar. Sami is so good. Adam Rose time and the crowd starts singing his song which transitions into a Natty’s wife chant. Kidd rolls out of the ring as Gabriel tries to get him to refocus.

Gabriel gets in and starts working over Rose. Alex Riley is talking about Gabriel’s history in NXT and on the main roster, it’s almost surprising to hear actual history lessons and useful content from WWE commentators these days. Kidd and Gabriel are working some rest holds and cutting Rose off from Zayn. It’s fun to watch these high-fliers show off some solid ground offense. I love the rapid changes in their ring work since going to the heel side. Hot tag to Sami and he goes nuts, knocking both Kidd and Gabriel to the outside and hitting a picture perfect Topei to both on the outside. Dude is at another level, he’s so good. Shame on anyone for thinking this dude wouldn’t get over in front of any audience. Adam Rose to the top and he hits a HUGE Senton on Kidd/Gabriel. Woah. Sami with the Yakuza kick and it’s all over! This was really awesome. Zayn is the best, Rose looked great and Kidd/Gabriel are really great. ***½

Overall Thoughts:

The opening night of the NXT Tag Title Number One contenders tournament produced perhaps the best episode of NXT in quite some time. Save for the awful Bayley/Eva Marie match everything else was good with the main event bordering on great. Watch this episode if you haven’t already.