NXT Recap 5/13/2015: What Is "Staying Healthy"
Due to the prerecorded nature of NXT, heading into this week's show there was an aura of uncertainty. Hideo Itami is injured and has been pulled from WWE's Japan tour. Sami Zayn is also injured, although his status is much less clear. NXT has also fallen quite short of our lofty expectations as of late. Broadcasts have been promo heavy and have contained two or fewer matches. Commentary has also taken a hit, Byron Saxton and company finding little ways to break from calling the match and turn the commentary to more of a talk show feel, main roster style.
NXT is in a state of flux and must change for the better. The main roster is a currently a mess. The Golden Goose has just vacated a title for a second time this year and is likely gone forever. We long time fans and internet blowhards piss and moan every week about how bad things have gotten and for the most part our complaints are valid. NXT has been the one exception. NXT has been untouchable in critique due to it's high level of talent in both wrestling prowess and production.
While the problems with NXT are short term, there are certainly long term consequences. If all three brands suffer, the house of cards risks collapse. The fans gained from Wrestlemania Play Button and through the multiple months of free WWE network may flee, bored and embarrassed by the current product. NXT must improve.
Welcome back friends to Full Sail for the go-home edition of NXT!
Baron Corbin vs Solomon Crowe
Solomon Crowe enters sporting a new haircut and what looks like a bigger physique. While not a fan of the character, his "in your face hard hitting" style is quite unique and fun to watch. There's a brief pause before his opponent's music hits. When it finally does, the crowd pops in a big way. This could get interesting...
Crowe comes out of the gate fast and strong, landing a flurry of strikes on the king of the squash match. Corbin would eventually retaliate with a hard clothesline, Bradshaw style. Corbin would hold momentum for much of the match after this point, taking the opportunity to display his dominance over Crowe. It should be noted that as of this point in the match, this stands as Corbin's record for longest in ring performance.
Crowe would eventually fight back a couple minutes in, landing a hard, echoing slap across Corbin's face. After fighting out of the End of Days, Crowe nails a hard dropkick to the near turnbuckle. Crowe would eventually find himself on the apron near that same turnbuckle, hitting a hard Enziguri. Crowe stalls for time but attempts to spring back into the ring through the second rope a few moments later, only to be caught by Corbin who hits End of Days for the pin.
Post mach, Rhyno appears to much fanfare. He would stand off with Corbin, demanding a match for the other unstoppable force in NXT. After confirming the match, the two begin to brawl in the ring. After being pulled apart by two dozen or so NXT staff, Rhyno lands a gore on two of the random personnel in the ring. Lucky for Rhyno, Stephanie McMahon was not in attendance, lest he find himself in the same posistion as Brock Lesnar.
It was impressive to actually see Corbin wrestle for a change rather than just hit his finisher and leave without breaking a sweat. He seemed to be able to hold his own in the ring and didn't appear winded or out of step at any point. Corbin definitely caught my attention tonight, despite multiple weeks of squash victories in back to back fashion.
Sasha Banks vs KC Cassidy
After a cringe worth promo courtesy of Charlotte and Bayley, we move on to the first of two women's matches. Sasha Banks enters to much fanfare, taking an opportunity pre-match to send some trash talk in Becky Lynch's direction. The match starts in front of a loud and rowdy crowd, conflicting “Lets go Sasha,” and “Lets go Black Shorts,” chants filling the arena.
Banks begins with an early and aggressive lead. However, Cassidy would counter Banks, hitting a small package roll up for a one count and a backslide pin for two. Banks would seek refuge outside via a hard Irish whip. Banks would quickly reenter the ring, finding herself on the receiving end of a cross body pin for a two count.
Banks would eventually take momentum back and hold it for the rest of the match. Banks fights back, hitting a flurry of punches and her trademark double knee in the corner. Banks takes plenty of time to play to the crowd, burning time off the clock. After nailing a backstabber, Banks seals in the bank statement for the submission victory in impressive fashion.
While unfortunate to see a jobber fed to the current Women's Champion, I can understand why it was booked in this manor. The womens division is very strong right now, almost every woman there is at the top of their game, save for Carmella and Psycho Sid, Dana Brooke. With Brooke involved in a separate feud and the rest of the roster far too strong to lose to the champ, producing an unnamed character not ready for her debut is the easy, albeit boring route to take.
Alexa Bliss vs Carmella
Carmella enters with a bit more fanfare than normal, her presence along side Enzo and Cass normally garnering loud boos. The far more talented Alexa Bliss enters to a tad more fanfare. Our match begins with a standard collar and elbow tie, ending in a rough break. Bliss blocks an arm drag takedown, reversing into a backslide pin for a two count.
Carmella executes a slow, but clean snap suplex, herself also getting a two count. With Bliss on the mat, Carmella locks in a submission hold, as the current tag team champs make their way to ring side. Bliss eventually breaks free and regains some momentum as the pace of the match quickens. After a trio of takedowns and some flashy gymnastics, Bliss hits the Bliss Flip. Bliss rebounds off the ropes, however finds herself on the receiving end of a sloppy drop toe hold. Carmella would then find herself distracted by Blake and Murphy on the outside. This distraction allows Bliss to recover and score a takedown. The match would go in Bliss's favor courtesy of the Sparkle Splash.
Post match, Blake and Murphy saunter into the ring, causing a resounding “No means No,” chant to erupt from the crowd. Kudos to all involved for not laughing at the creativity of the NXT in house crowd. The promo goes as expected, Carmella calling out the current tag champs on behalf of Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
Bliss carries the entire match here, proving herself to be the superior performer. What is interesting here, is that despite losing, Carmella is given the post match promo, something not seen very often. This match served as a low point for the show performance wise, although it is nice is see Bliss in action again.
Hideo Itami & Finn Balor vs Tyler Breeze & Adam Rose
Emma and Dana Brooke are given a chance to respond to an earlier interview by Charlotte and Bayley. Previously, the pair took their time to respond to their respective feuds, Bayley for her stupid headband thing, and Charlotte for being called fat and being chosen for the Tapout commercial. Charlotte and Bayley's time on screen were not great... at all. Emma and Brooke now get their turn. Emma delivers a decent, but ultimately forgettable promo. The mic is then shoved in Brooke's direction... All you need to know dear reader is that Dana Brooke uses the word jelly in place of the word of jealous.
Returning to more relevant portion of the program, Itami and Rose start the match. The pair lock in a collar and elbow tie, ending in a clean break in the corner. Itami nails three hard chops and quickly tags in Balor to much fanfare. Balor slingshots himself in the ring, hitting a leg drop for a two count. Rose would find himself on the receiving end of a hard drop kick. Balor would then toss rose to the outside as we go into a break.
We return to Rose still on defense, Balor holding momentum while keeping a relatively slow pace. Rose eventually fights his way back to the lead and finds a tag to Breeze. Breeze gets little time in the ring, hitting a quick tag back to Rose. Rose would keep the lead with his signature snap suplex, easily the best on the roster.
Rose tags Breeze back in to the match, slowing the pace down by taking the fight to the mat. Breeze quickly tags Rose in, beginning his latest assault with an Irish whip to the near corner. Rose hits his signature spinebuster, also one of the best on the roster. However, Rose doesn't release the legs, instead turning the maneuver into a boston crab submission hold. Unfortunately for Rose, Balor would quickly find his way to the bottom rope.
Balor would then find himself on the receiving end of a sleeper hold. Balor counters out with a jawbreaker and takes the opportunity to set up a hot tag with a Pele Kick. With both Itami and Breeze tagged in Itami quickly hits his running high knee in the near corner. He finishes with his signature DDT over the top rope, both individuals' choreography out of sync in both spots.
Itami rushes towards the end of the match by hitting a hesitation knee in the corner. As Itami sets up for his finisher, Balor tags himself in to end the match. Itami would return the favor as Balor sets up for the Coup de Gras on Breeze. An argument would ensue between Itami and Balor, allowing Breeze a chance to get the pin via small package.
Adam Rose has never looked stronger. The beating he delivered to Finn Balor served him far better than it did in making Balor appear vulnerable. Breeze and Itami on the other hand fared far worse in this match. Both individuals appeared rushed and out of step as their time came in the ring. Breeze has been on a bit of a tear lately, and his misstep here came as a bit of a shock.
The broadcast would end with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn face to face in the ring. The promo is pretty short for main event standards and doesn't have that “Holy shit!” moment that most promos do that close the show. However, the eagle eared among us will notice that there was an obvious dubbing of Sami Zayn's voice early on in the promo, a moment worthy of an eye roll.
Last night's show serves as a bit of a counter point to the NXT formula as of late. Most recent episodes have been promo heavy with little wrestling. Furthermore what wrestling was there was subpar at best. Tonight though, we were treated to decent, classing grappling by way of some unexpected heroes.
Adam Rose certainly stole the show, with Baron Corbin and Solomon Crowe coming in at a close second and third respectively. Our go home show didn't end with the bang that we've been hoping for, however I stand far more interested and excited for Takeover:Unstoppable than I was this time last week. Given NXT's track record as of late, I'd say that's quite an achievement.
NXT Rating : 3 out of 5 Rosebuds