August 12, 2015
Full Sail University
NXT finally gained some momentum last week and could use another couple of weeks heading into a sold out Takeover in Brooklyn on August 22. There are going to be 13,000 (!) in the Barclays Center to watch WWE’s “developmental” territory. This is clearly shaping up to be the shining moment of Triple H’s pet project; they need the momentum and they need to deliver.
Thankfully, tonight’s program opens with a Regal monologue backstage and there’s almost no way for NXT to open any better. The Commish confirms that the NXT Championship match between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor at Takeover will be a ladder match. I seem to remember Owens being pretty OK in ladder matches.
“Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger vs. Solomon Crowe
The match may not have been a perfect 10, but Dillinger’s gimmick is, though the gimmick has a good chance to be another in the long line of NXT gimmicks to fall flat in front of a normal WWE crowd.
Crowe was actually the more entertaining of the two wrestlers, even in a losing effort. He executed a dropdown that actually tripped Dillinger and had a couple of clever move variations including a backwards roll into a head scissors. Dillinger, for all his fantastic “perfect 10-ing,” was actually pretty generic. Maybe that’s the point – and the way he can keep a fantastic gimmick working heel – but we’ve already seen him and know that he has the amateur background to make the gimmick work.
Baron Corbin vs. Axel Tischer
Congrats to Tischer for getting his name announced before Corbin trounced him. The crowed booed and chanted “boring” for the 15 seconds this took. I think we’re starting to get the picture after 6 months of Corbin’s reign of jobber terror.
In a shocking turn of events, however, Corbin took to the mic afterwards to proclaim anyone in the ring with him would tell the “same tired story.” Good on him for the self-awareness.
Steve Cutler came out to answer Corbin’s challenge, but was dispatched more quickly than Tischer was… but then… a hero in the night…
Corbin, saying that his 30 seconds of work tired him out and he couldn’t possibly fight him right now, went on to sucker punch Joe before going for the End of Days. Joe ducked and choked the big guy out. Joe finally looks like the bad man we know he is. It also seems we’ve got another Takeover match setup and suddenly Corbin is more interesting than he’s ever been, at least for the next 10 days.
Speaking of Corbin’s past (~Segue~), it’s time for another BULL-FIT promo! Well, hardly a promo. A 15 second montage of Bull Dempsey lifting weights ends with a clip art saying “Iron Sharpens Iron.” Clearly this is the motto of House Dempsey.
Finn Balor vs. Marcus Louis
Hey guys, Marcus Louis is still weird, like, weirder than Finn Balor. I mean, c’mon, I know we all love Balor, but the model-handsome guy with the dark side (ala American Psycho) is a weird gimmick that we just all agree to ignore the weirdness of.
Louis got a little offense in on the champ, but spent too much time mugging at Balor, at least kayfabe-wise. I think Balor hit four or five total moves before the Coup de Grace. Just a spot of character work for the champion, cementing his dominance. At least the jobber gets an entrance if he’s wrestling the champion.
Kevin Owens attacked Balor after the match and tried to hit the apron powerbomb. Balor escaped, but Owens completed his next powerbomb attempt in the ring, this time the pop-up variety. NXT cuts to a Vaudvillains promo after Owens mocking Balor’s pose with the title, tossing the belt on the champion and walking out of the ring nonchalantly.
The Vaudvillains say they have a plan to contain Alexa Bliss, but the pint-size prizefighter interrupts to slap both Aiden English and Simon Gotch.
Bayley vs. Becky Lynch
Sasha Banks comes down to join the commentary team which means we’re already at our main event with a full 20 minutes left in the show.
NXT cut to a commercial between Bayley and Becky Lynch’s entrances. There’s a clever workaround to the problem that cropped up twice last week when NXT cut to commercial twice during matches. Of course, WWE would ruin this great idea by cutting to a commercial halfway through the match, which, as I’ve previously described, there’s no reason to do when you own both the program and the network it’s airing on.
Lynch spent the early going starting to work on Bayley’s arm. Working the arm still has that novelty to it since there aren’t many finishers in the WWE that involve attacking the arm. Lynch’s work on the arm makes her a breath of fresh air.
Bayley spent about two-thirds of the match in peril before getting in any meaningful offense. Lynch put Bayley in the Disarmer to send the match into the final stretch. Bayley got to the rope and scored a roll-up when Lynch went for another armbar. As expected, Bayley will head to Takeover and take on Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship.
The narrative is crystal clear, but Bayley still feels like an underdog, and that’s a testament to her character and her consistency in that character as part of the women’s division explosion in NXT.
Final Thoughts: Takeover is finally taking shape and the card looks pretty good so far. This particular Takeover is beginning to feel like the end of an era in NXT with Owens, Lynch and Banks being mainstays on the main roster already. Eventually Sami Zayn will return, but who knows whether he’ll return to NXT or the main roster. This was a decent builder episode for Takeover, but there wasn’t much to see, even from the 20 minute main event.