NXT Recap 3/4/2015: Girl Power!
#Givedivasachance rolls full steam ahead as we take a stop at Full Sail for this weeks NXT, the main event of which sees newly crowned NXT Women's Champion, Sasha Banks take on challenger and former champion, Charlotte. The main event this week is no mistake. With WWE female performers airing their grievances on national news and social media, there is no more relevant time for Triple H to showcase the next generation of Divas than by having two of the most famous female faces anchor a show.
We open, however with a long promo showcasing relative newcomer and internet darling, Kevin Owens. Clips of Owens destroying Sami Zayn during the last PPV event roll, followed by clips of competing newcomer and internet darling, Finn Balor. Get used to these promos kids, we still have a few weeks till these two square off at the next event and this is probably the most ring work we are going to see of the two until then.
Before the opening credits roll we join Alex Riley, loudly demanding a match with Kevin Owens, payback no doubt after Owens tossed him over the announcer's desk weeks prior. Regal informs Alex that he can't be both a commentator and a performer. It makes little sense that Owens is picking a fight with a commentator given he is defending the title in less than a month.
Tyler Breeze Def. Adam Rose Via Beauty Shot
Not seen since the end of February after a loss to Goldust, Adam Rose finally returns home to NXT. He enters to one of the biggest pops he's gotten in a long time. The intimate setting of NXT has always suited him better than the grand stage of Raw/Smackdown, although, Vince McMahon and the Bunny could have something to do with that. Tyler Breeze would enter next, carrying to the ring with him a giant Swiffer duster that he somehow converted to a selfie stick. Sadly the fun would end there.
The match itself featured very little in the way of actual wrestling. Rose dug into his typical crowd pleasing maneuvers: A few mexican rolls, the fall away kick from the ropes and flying clothesline in the turnbuckle. Sadly, anybody who has watched any amount of wrestling prior to this broadcast knows that this is the trademark of a quick loss. Sure enough, Breeze would hit the Beauty Shot from nowhere and score the quick pin.
Adam Rose hadn't performed well on the main roster, going on a nearly three month losing streak, doing the job to people that didn't need or deserve it. Titus O'Neil, Goldust, hell, even R-Truth would score on Rose. In fact, his only win in that period of time came during a March 3rd Main Event taping, one that won't even be shown in the States.
Despite the perception that developed during his period on Raw and Smackdown, Adam Rose is a capable performer with a unique and entertaining gimmick, more than can be said about Tyler Breeze. Tyler Breeze joins a long list of pretty, arrogant white boys, with one big difference. Nearly everyone else is above him. Jericho, Miz, Michaels, Cody Rhodes, and even Scott Hall have all done this before and Breeze is light years behind any of them. His only defining characteristic? He has a cell phone.
Tyler Breeze has shown some great ring work in his career, however lately that performance has been sliding. His gimmick is getting stale and he hasn't had a good showing in some time. While Adam Rose is in a similar situation, his is much more dire. While Breeze can benefit from more time in NXT, Rose has visited Valhalla. His persona has been exposed to the masses... and WWE creative killed it. Having him job R-Truth and now to fading star, Tyler Breeze, does nothing to strengthen this diamond in the rough.
Tag Team Champions Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy Def. Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton via Frog Splash
After a painfully bad promo cut by the quartet of Big Cass, Carmella, Enzo Amore and his stupid beard, Current Tag Team Champions Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy take on the powerhouse team of Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton. The actual contest was pretty typical NXT fare, save for the ending. After a poor set up from Murphy following a standing suplex which would find Murphy planting Dawkins far from the center of the ring. Blake would end the match with an incredible Frog Splash, connecting with great precision and distance.
Although they scored a quick win over two members of the practice squad, the current tag team champions continue to show that they are worthy of holding the belts. Going forward though, one hopes that they are given more interesting feuds than what is currently being presented.
Emma Returns to NXT
After the match, we are treated to another promo staring Bayley, Charlotte and Emma. After Bayley trade pleasantries, Emma enters to criticize Bayley for being too nice, saying that she tried being the nice girl on Raw, and all it did was get her busted back down to NXT.
While this may have been a throwaway comment from Emma, its hard to imagine this being foreshadowing for a Bayley heel turn. The fan favorite is already over with the crowd and the character doesn't seem geared towards the dark side. Even more interesting is the way in which Emma delivered her comment about being bumped to the minors. She sounded dejected, even embarrassed. Given the current state of the main roster Divas division, it would seem like a dream come true to come home to NXT.
#Givedivasachance was born out of the kind of frustration that Emma left. While Emma couldn't have out right said, “Thank God I'm back in the minors!” it is rather interesting that the comment was made in the first place. When watching NXT, we are watching a weekly job interview. The work is so good because everyone there, save for a few of the commentators, have something to prove and are fighting for a very limited prize. Somehow, Emma's portrayal of a female version of Eugene earned her a golden ticket. Some would say though, her treatment and experience were far from ideal. She exists as another example of WWE's talent mismanagement and general shortsightedness when it comes to female talent.
Baron Corbin Defeats Tony Briggs via End of Days
Baron Corbin has great presence, something you can't teach in professional wrestling. Aside from his matches with Bull Dempsey, Baron Corbin performs in the same way. He takes on a member of the practice team, in this case a fat Spirit Squad reject by the name of Tony Briggs. The crowd counts to twenty while they wait for his finisher. Thats it. Corbin has proven he's not great on the stick, nor is he that good in the ring. However, like Goldberg long before him, he's constantly fed enhancement talent the he himself was among the ranks of not that long ago.
The most interesting part of the contest actually featured the commentary team. Kevin Owens returned to torment Alex Riley, eventually commenting the ultimate of insults by drinking Riley's bottled water and pouring the rest on his head. Riley would attempt to confront Owens, however he was held back by Albert, earning him a “Lets go Albert.” chant.
The mask will fall from Corbin and when it does it will most certainly land with a thud. The crowd is still behind him after all this time, and his push with wins over Dempsey seemed to help keep his leaky ship afloat . This cannot last forever. Corbin must make some strides in quality during the next NXT event. If not, the crowd will move on from the one note wonder and NXT will find itself with a another missed opportunity.
Solomon Crowe Defeats Bull Dempsey via Boing Splash
A pair of promos follow in this already promo heavy episode. Our first features Sami Zayn recording himself with his cell phone in a dark, snowy alleyway at two in the morning, no doubt either coming from or going to buy marijuana. The second sees Alex Riley return to the ring, ultimately to challenge Kevin Owens no doubt, but for now he has to settle for CJ parker next week.
Our return to action sees newcomer Solomon Crowe take on Bull Dempsey. I had missed Solomon's debut so this was entirely new for me. Dressed like Andore from Final Fight, Solomon put on one of the sloppiest and most erratic performances I've seen on NXT in some time. While the erratic motions may be part of his “Escaped convict/meth addict” persona he's been assigned, it doesn't make for particularly good wrestling. It makes for particularly bad wrestling when paired with someone with as much presence and size as Bull Dempsey. Dempsey's booking has not been very strong lately and this certainly didn't help the issue. Hopefully this doesn't continue as Dempsey has proven himself to be a capable performer.
Sasha Banks defeats Charlotte via leverage pin roll up
It was worth the wait. Charlotte and Sasha Banks put on a match that, aside from the triple threat WWE title match at this years Royal Rumble, put to shame every match seen on the main roster so far this year. Their performance in the ring would earn many rounds of applause, along with the coveted “this is wrestling,” chant from the audience rarely heard during a diva's bout.
It was obvious that the intimate setting of NXT benefited the two women as both have become quite comfortable in the ring with each other. Banks and Charlotte put on a very aggressive and intense match. Sasha would try to leave early in typical heel fashion, however Charlotte gave chase and tossed her back in, eventually locking in a figure four early on. Sasha would break the hold with the ropes, and after a commercial break would take control of the match. After a beautiful standing moonsault from charlotte, which Banks would counter by tossing her into the ropes, Banks would continue her dominance.
Banks showed great presence and talent during this match. She proved, yet again that she is one of the best heels in the company, not just NXT. Banks would work the crowd, taunting Charlotte with a loud and off-key “Woooo,” Two two would trade very hard right hands and even harder knife edge chops as Banks continued her assault, twice locking in a crossface, working Charlotte's injured back. Banks would hit Charlotte with the briliantly named, Bank Statement and roll her up into a crossface. Selling like a true champion, Charlotte began to fade, finally summoning the strength to break the hold.
During a period of trading momentum, Charlotte seemed to break out, hitting Banks with a great looking spear. Charlotte would even shout after the fact, a'la Roman Reigns. The crowd went nuts, rewarding Charlotte with a “Better than Reigns,” chant. In what seemed like a sure title change, Charlotte began to set up Natural Selection, but was countered. Banks would capitalize, using the ropes for leverage she would score the victory.
The performance the two women put on should be applauded and required watching for any wrestling fan. Both are sure bets to be called up to the main roster by the end of the year. This may be both a blessing and a curse. If the Divas division doesn't improve, both will see their talents wasted in the current state of the WWE and those not familiar with their work in NXT will be left wondering what the fuss was about.
While the bulk of the show left much to be desired, the main event more than made up for the prior short comings. The story lines that were advanced gave us reason to stay turned into the NXT event at the end of the month. I'm interested to see what comes of Sasha and Charlotte, although, it would be nice to see another Diva give chase eventually. It will be nice to see Alex Riley in the ring again. One can only hope that he hasn't missed a step. While there wasn't much in the way of substance in the first forty minutes, the main event is something that shouldn't be missed. If you haven't already, give it a watch, and see for yourself the night and day difference between main roster and what NXT has to offer.
NXT Rating: 3 out of 5 Ratchet Chants