NXT Recap 5/27/2015: The Owens Show
With the last of our pay per view hat trick a couple of days away, and the fall out from NXT's rather humdrum outing, we find ourselves with what feels like a “go home” for the upcoming Elimination Chamber more than a fallout for Takeover: Unstoppable. Thankfully for us, this hour long commercial for the Elimination Chamber is full of Kevin Owens.
K.O takes center stage early on with a ten minute promo. Owens hits on several topics, after trolling us by entering to Sami Zayn's music. From claiming that he turned tail due to wanting the fans to enjoy seeing Samoa Joe, to continuing to taunt John Cena, Owens proved that his time in NXT is merely a formality as he waits to be rocketed to the main roster.
For a broadcast that lacked any sort of meaningful storyline progression, or much in the way of surprises, what went on to become the main event came as bit of a shock. As Owens continued his tirade, eventually joined by William Regal, Solomon Crowe would enter as the leader of the “Owens Sucks Squad” and eventually get challenged by Owens in a match.
Emma vs Bayley
It is my sad duty to report to you that an era has come to an end. While there are still shades of it present, Emma's cringe worthy, tortuous music has been changed. The new generic rock sound fits her new character: the generic, jealous bitch. While Emma has been given a new aggressive attitude as part of her repackaging, this does little to give us any reason to care about this main roster wash out.
A bright spot though, is Emma's agressiveness in the ring. Her punches and kicks land with real weight behind them, including a particularly hard kick that landed on Bayley's jaw. Speaking of Bayley, this is perhaps the first time I could say that she actually looked weak. Emma spent most of the match on offense, and eventually tapped out to the Emma Lock.
Post match, as we've seen for a couple of weeks now, Emma and Brooke would go on to attack Bayley after the match, only to be saved by Charlotte. Charlotte would fall victim though to the Michinoku Driver, a maneuver that Brooke seemed to execute with a bit of difficulty.
A decision I find rather odd is putting both Brooke and Emma over at the expense of Bayley. Rewatching the match, you can see Bayley entering to what amounts to a standing ovation. Prior to tonight, what has Bayley accomplished that is extraordinary? Aside from her amazing ring skill, amazing body and acting talents? Nothing. If that is the ovation given for another day at the office, I'm curious to see how Becky Lynch is greeted.
Blake and Murphy vs Samson and Rallis
With Blake and Murphy proving to be rather boring tag champions, they needed a shot in the arm for some time. With Alexa Bliss's fairy, sparkle loving gimmick going no where, in hindsight a heel turn that seemed to come out of no where suddenly seems a bit more obvious.
Since her return, Bliss has shown a high level of improvement. Her ring skills and presence have gone from annoying to captivating seemingly overnight. Now as a heel, Bliss has the opportunity to do the same for a character that was doomed to failure. Heel Bliss is exciting and fresh, mostly because it was so unexpected, a feat that is hard to accomplish in modern wrestling.
The actual match is pointless. Blake goes over Sampson via Frog Splash. That's all that is relevant in a contest that wasn't very exciting. The match wasn't even about the tag champs. This match was a vessel to deliver Alexa Bliss's new attitude to the masses. Post match, Bliss would hit the sparkle splash over an incapacitated Sampson.
Although she has a new attitude, does Bliss have the mic skills to back up this new aggressive behavior? Well, during a post match interview, Bliss would take the opportunity to call out new found rival, Carmella. After repeatedly referring to Long Island as a “dump,” she threatened to send Carmella back to the dump that she crawled out of. I think I'm going to like the new Alexa Bliss.
Tye Dillinger vs Finn Balor
A week removed from Unstoppable, Finn Balor returns to face his greatest mountain in the way of Tye Dillinger. All joking aside, the situation regarding Dillinger is somewhat interesting. Dillinger has been simmering in NXT for the better part of two years now, and still is barely seen on television. Post split from Jason Jordan, I don't expect him to gain more screen time.
More interesting, is that the work that Dillinger produces is of a decent quality. NXT hero, Kevin Owens, recently referred to Dillinger as the most underrated NXT talent during an interview. Perhaps that will translate to future success on television, but as of now he's still being fed to the likes of Finn Balor.
Much like the match before it, There was little here in the way of suspense, as Balor controlled most of the match. Of course, the match would end in typical Balor fashion: Slingblade, Corner Dropkick, Coup de Gras. A high point of the match is the particularly hard hitting Coup de Gras that Balor would hit, his legs connecting with what appeared to be a high level of impact. A higher point is that we would see our second reverse chin lock of the night.
Solomon Crowe vs Kevin Owens
Solomon Crowe's history in WWE is rather interesting and somewhat tragic. After tearing up the independent circuit for some time, he was signed to WWE with little fanfare. After being dealt the unworkable gimmick of a tech wizard, hes seemingly been repacked into a generic, Johnny Rotten style punk rocker who happens to wear the most hideous singlet in NXT. Thankfully, this new character includes amazingly badass hair.
Crowe enters what could have been his chance to prove he's worth the cheers and accolades. However, he is dealt what amounts to a glorified and extended squash match. Its very unfortunate that Crowe was given this spot in the first place, as Crowe has proved his worth in the ring and on the stick. Being fed to Owens only pushes him further into obscurity.
While on paper, a chance to fight the champ ala the United States Open Challenge seems like a surefire way to change the tide on a floundering character. However a key difference is that during the Open Challenge, the competitors are at least given a chance to appear somewhat proficient in the sport. Crowe spent most of the match on defense and on the mat, Owens taking his hard hitting offense to him from the onset. While Crowe was able to get in a few token shots, they were hardly what I would call any sort of a comeback. Meanwhile, Owens was given a chance to hit all of his signature moves, including NXT standby, the reverse chin lock. As an aside, props to the guy with the “Chin Lock City” sign proudly displayed once Owens locked in the hold.
I do wish that the match wasn't booked in such a lopsided fashion though. Not just as a fan of the new Solomon Crowe, but as a believer that every unstoppable monster needs to be pushed at such ad nauseum. Owens is already over. is the idea that there is someone else that is capable of mounting a reasonable threat that far out of line?
Wednesday's broadcast was a bit of a conundrum. While on one hand the ring work was a bit stale and tired. Storyline progression didn't seem to be a high priority, as much of the program felt as a commercial for Owens Vs Cena in the Chamber. However, as lackluster of a show we were given, I was still entertained.
Likely due to the overload of Owens on screen, Wednesday's NXT hopefully marks a break in the dull and drab programming that NXT has been feeding us for sometime. Post Chamber, I expect NXT to ratchet up the action and intensity as many eyes will be on the brand after witnessing an Owens loss at Elimination Chamber.