WWE Network
April 22, 2015
Full Sail University

This show featured all the top stars of NXT all in one episode: Kevin Owens, Alex Riley, Finn Bálor, Hideo Itami, Tyler Breeze, Sami Zayn and more!

Finn Bálor vs Tye Dillinger: Finn won with the Coup de Grace. Tonight’s episode of NXT was taped first on February 18, which made it more surprising how quiet the crowd was. I’m thinking the silence was more based on the fact that with Tye as Finn’s opponent, the result was never in question. Which was true, Finn gave up some offense, but won rather easily against the Man That Jordan Forgot. **

Backstage, Dana Brooke patted Devin on the head, while telling her that NXT is now Dana’s playground. She moved around a lot while speaking, but didn’t seem nervous at all. With Dana Brooke’s rise, Emma and Bayley’s differences, and the NXT Women’s Championship race, that makes three different women’s storylines going on at once on this one hour weekly show. It’s four, if you count the Carmella – Dubsteppers angle.

We’re not even ten minutes in, and we’ve already seen a Finn match, Dana promo, and now… Kevin Owens! Sharing Dana’s annoyance with Devin, Kevin spoke calmly about his return match with that loser, Alex Riley.

NXT Women’s Championship (#1 Contendership) – Bayley vs Becky Lynch vs Charlotte: The comparisons of Becky Lynch’s rise in the title picture to Naomi’s current rise are easy to see. Becky has been a sidekick for most of her run, as has Naomi (to the Usos). Now, finally, Becky feels she is done being overlooked for a title shot. Hello, Naomi. Within a month’s time, both Becky and Naomi will be getting women’s title shots now, as Becky wins this Triple Threat match to earn a shot at the May 20th Takeover against Sasha Banks. For the first few minutes, it was a true triple threat, with all three women in the ring wrestling each other. Then, like most WWE three ways, it turned into a 1 on 1 match with differing variations throughout. Late, with the crowd into it, each woman hit a series of finishers mostly for near falls. With Becky out, Charlotte locked in the Figure 8 on Bayley. With Bayley writhing in pain, Becky crawled over the Bayley, held her down, and got the pin while the unsuspecting Charlotte was bridging up in her submission hold and looking away. ***1/4

Add one more comparison between Becky and Naomi, except this one is more a real life vs on screen comparison. Becky Lynch quit wrestling a few years ago, after being very successful as a very young independent wrestler. Now, after returning and signing with WWE, she’s near the top of the NXT Women’s Division. She has quite the true story to tell, whereas Naomi, on screen, has quite the story as well. It’s just too bad Naomi’s will be ignored for this forced heel run, while hopefully Becky’s gets highlighted, turning her into a sympathetic figure down the line.

At the bottom of the screen, future NXT Live dates were promoted, featuring shows in Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Albany and more.

Hideo Itami vs CJ Parker: CJ Parker loses his final NXT televised match, as Hideo Itami gets back on the winning side against the former NXT enhancement talent. Hideo brutalized CJ with strikes, kicks, dropkicks and more before ending him with the Shotgun Kick for the easy victory. It was another match where the result was not in doubt, which lead to a less than lively crowd response throughout. **1/2

Backstage, Sasha Banks met up with Becky in the locker room. Sasha told Becky that she made her, with Becky responding that, “I made me, I’m kind of a big deal.” Awesome. The two exchanged the smack talk before Sasha walked out, with Becky happy with herself.

Squash matches continue on the April 22 NXT with…

RHYNO vs Jesus de Leon: Yep, Rhyno won easily. Gore. No doubter. So Rhyno had the tough loss to Sami last week, but with the continued push afterwards with this squash match, it appears we might be getting more Rhyno in the future! We should find out what he’ll be doing at Takeover soon on NXT TV. NR

Backstage, Blake & Murphy sang to Carmella… poorly. Carmella was wearing the gifts that the Dubstep Cowboys had given her in weeks prior, which drew the ire of Enzo & Cass. The teams are now fighting over the girl, basically, instead of the tag titles.

The top feud in WWE erupts!

Alex Riley vs Kevin Owens: Finally, this crowd came alive for the first time in earnest with the appearance of former WrestleMania main eventer (as a cornerman), Alex Riley. Let me ask you all to do this… open your minds, forget your previous conceptions of Alex Riley, and give him a new look. Seriously. This guy is huge, looks great, can talk, and has a presence about him. It’s a shame, really, that he never got a shot in WWE as anything more than a second to The Miz. It’s surprising, too, he never got that shot based on this look. Now, he’s in NXT trying to become a wrestler again to be taken seriously. He’s doing what Owens is doing. He’s doing what Zayn is doing. He’s on the small scale show just to earn a shot. What’s wrong with that!? Not to mention he’s having his second consecutive good match with Kevin Owens, one with a lot of passion and hard hitting offense.

Riley did put up a fight, but in this six minute match, it was mostly Kevin Owens’ for the taking. Owens won after the running cannonball and pop-up powerbomb combination. Riley goes down, but it should be all up hill from there. **3/4

After the match, the real top feud in NXT lit up further as Sami Zayn ran in and attacked Kevin Owens. It got a huge reaction, as this was Sami’s first presence back in Full Sail since his Takeover loss to Owens for the title. Again, the show was taped before Sami’s match with Rhyno last week on NXT TV. Sami and Owens brawled at ringside until referees broke them apart. The crowd was, obviously, right along with Sami the whole way. Owens retreated with his title, clutching it to show that he’s somewhat worried that Sami could take it. It’s Owens’ first real doubts about his title reign, and the Sami vs Owens rematch at Takeover seems to be on the horizon!