Thursday, October 23
Full Sail University
NXT is coming off a great show last week with a lot of top-tier matches as the slow influx of new talents starts to make their way onto the show. The women’s division in particular has risen to unbelievable heights and rivals pretty much any main roster women’s division ever. The contrast between the work of the ladies here and the current crop on the main roster is ridiculous. The issue with NXT these days is the stagnant tag team and main event divisions. More Hideo Itami, Finn Balor and less Ascension will be a welcome change in the coming weeks.
The Ascension vs. Tye Dillinger & Jason Jordan: Viktor begins the match by absolutely pounding away on Jordan, slaps in the corner, huge backdrop and a tag to Connor as they hit a double-team shoulder block. Connor with some kicks in the corner as he works methodically. Jordan gets the tag to Tye Dillinger who eats a flapjack for his troubles. Viktor back in, Fall of Man and it’s over! *1/2.
One of the better Ascension squash matches, which isn’t saying much, especially when this was about a minute but it was a focused squash. Post-match, Itami’s music hits and he is none pleased. He runs down to the ring to try and take them on. The two-on-one is too much as they start beating him down. Itami needs a friend here and of course, last week they destroyed Itami. The beat-down on Itami continues as he eats a Fall of Man. If I didn’t know what was going to happen next I would be more upset but these constant beat-downs but trust me, it will be worth it in the end. Oh it will.
CJ Parker vs. Tyler Breeze: A battle of the two best theme songs in NXT (yeah, I said it). Breeze has lost a lot of steam as of late, sure, he’s a new “focused” Breeze but his momentum definitely seems stalled. Quick back and forth to start us off, Breeze hits a nice looking springboard dropkick which sends Parker to the outside. Breeze argues with the ref for a moment which opens up Parker to take back the control. Fair amount of heat for Parker here while they seem to be behind Breeze. Mojo Rawley down to ringside holding his shoulder (Breeze beat him down a few weeks back). Huricanrana from Breeze who starts showing some nice aggression beating Parker in the corner. CJ hits a quick rollup but only gets two. Breeze with a Beauty Shot and it’s over. This was actually really good and may be the best I’ve seen from CJ Parker. **1/2
Mojo is still staring at Breeze, even as Tyler walks up the ramp. Jason Albert hit the nail on the head: “I’m not exactly sure what Mojo’s message was here.” The message was his agent said “Go out and look mad” and boy did Mojo drive that home.
The Vaudevillains vs. Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake: They continue to put over that these guys are focused on the championships and that they have a new look but they still do exactly the same things they did when they were the happy-go-lucky team. The announcers continue to drive home that the demeanor has changed so much but… it really hasn’t. Who knows. Hey, it’s Buddy Murphy, everyone!
Armbar by Murphy to start us off, Aiden English reversed it and tags in Simon Gotch. Murphy tags Wesley Blake in, double leapfrog and a back elbow. Much to my chagrin they didn’t do a double high-five or play to the crowd — worst 80s babyface tag team ever. Blake tags in Murphy who hits a beautiful senton. English tags in and starts working over Murphy arm. Armbar following by some stomps to the elbow. Gotch in and he hits a headbutt to the arm, nice teamwork here. Flying forearm from Murphy then a kip up, eat your heart out HBK. No, seriously, this looked great, like a legit 1996 classic HBK. Blind tag to Gotch who hits an uppercut, English into a swinging neckbreaker apparently it’s called the “The Gentlemen’s Congress”, it’s over! This was a lot of fun and a nice prolonged match for these two teams. **1/2
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: The battle of the wrestling nerds! You’d be hard pressed to find two women on the roster who consume more wrestling than these two, they love studying the art and there’s no way this match doesn’t rule. Fiery exchange to start us off as the two pound away at one another. Second-rope armdrag by Bayley but Sasha gets the momentum back and starts slamming Bayley’s face on the mat. This has been a passionate fight thus far. Sasha slaps Bayley and follows up with a surfboard. Bayley on the rebound, flying back elbow and a near fall but Sasha reverses it into The Bank Statement and Bayley is stuck in the middle of the ring. Sasha pulls it back and Bayley taps. Great match from these two, would’ve loved some more time for this one but great action from two studied workers. ***
Becky Lynch comes down to give Bayley a much needed hug. Bayley turns her back and SWERVE~! Becky clotheslines Bayley to a huge pop from the crowd. Becky embraces Sasha on the way back and we have a new dominant force in the NXT women’s division.
NXT Championships – Titus O’Neil vs. Adrian Neville (c): Titus had a horrible match with Sami Zayn a few weeks back. Okay, horrible may be a strong word but it wasn’t very good. Titus worked it like an 80s WWF house show which just sticks out like a sore thumb on NXT. It’s not necessarily the style that made it bad, but Zayn didn’t work well underneath it and Titus’ offense didn’t look very comfortable. Neville starts the match as only he can — side headlock! Solid offense from Neville to start off using his speed to work Titus. It was short-lived as Titus grabs Neville and splashes him in the corner. Neville works a front-face lock to try and get Titus to the ground but O’Neil lifts him Neville, places him on the top rope and shoves him to the floor. Ow, that didn’t sound good.
Back from commercial, Neville gets thrown into a bearhug. This isn’t a classic bearhug, it’s actually being done pretty well as Neville tries to slink out of it. Titus ragdolls Neville to the mat, finally Neville starts kicking away at Titus, springboard attempt but he eats a huge big boot from Titus. Clubs to the back of Neville’s neck but Neville hits him with a HUGE slap. Picture perfect Red Arrow from the top and Neville retains! Hmm… yeah, this wasn’t very good. Titus had 90% of the offense, Neville hit one move and won. If that’s the type of match you like, you’ll love this one. Me? I prefer more back and forth. I will give Titus this, I thought his offense was a lot better here than against Zayn and Neville looked better than Zayn but this was just there. **
Post-match, Sami Zayn makes his way down and tells Neville he’s on a mission and that his mission ends with the NXT championship. Neville accepts the challenge and says whenever, wherever. Zayn says Neville won’t have it for much longer but Neville is not worried because Sami can’t win the big one. Ouch.
This was an okay episode of NXT. The matches all got a bit more time and there were no backstage segments or prolonged promos but it still felt like a hollow show. Titus vs. Neville was just okay and Bayley vs. Sasha, while good, could’ve used some more time. It may come as a shock to you but Buddy Murphy was involved in the match of the night. That’s not a slight, Murphy & Wesley Blake vs. The Vaudevillains was a lot of fun. You had a Becky Lynch heel turn which was unexpected but done well, some basic storyline progression and not much else.