NXT Recap 7/22/15: Another Contract Signing
Well, we've come to that point of the week once again, and I'm back with out latest NXT review. Over the past week it seems that we have begun to see more or an NXT presence on the main WWE roster. With Kevin Owens appearing in the past several pay-per-views, and now three of the NXT divas appearing last week on Raw, and two of them having a match at Battleground, NXT truly seems to be becoming more of a brand on its own merits. With all this momentum on their side, I look forward to seeing what WWE has planned for this latest batch of NXT tapings. This newest batch of episodes should lead us up to NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, which should be the biggest NXT event to date, especially with it being the night before Summer Slam.
Finn Balor Addresses the NXT Championship
It's been two weeks since we saw Finn Balor win the NXT championship, but at last we finally get to newly taped episodes that let us see Balor come into the arena with the title. Balor enters the arena holding the title in front of him, his entrance was very odd, with him in a full suit and holding the title out in front. To be completely honest, it really bothers me that Finn isn't wearing the belt, perhaps this is just me, but if Balor truly cared that much about the title he would have it around his waist, and wouldn't his be holding it folded up in one hand.
Back on topic, we learn that it was announced at Comic Con that we will be seeing a rematch between Balor and Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover, and that we'll be making it official later tonight with a contract signing. I enjoy both Balor and Owens, I really do, but I can't stand WWE contract signings. I'm watching the show as I type this, but I assume I can predict that this contract signing is going to end with Owens and Balor getting into an all out brawl, just like every other contract signing.
Eva Marie vs. Cassie
Here's a match I really couldn't care less about, though I will give Eva credit, she does have an awesome entrance robe. As a huge Ric Flair fan, I can appreciate a good entrance robe, but that doesn't mean that Eva has improved in any way. She could still be all flash and no substance. The match gets underway, and it is safe to say that Eva has certainly been doing some training.
Eva and Cassie actually put on a solid match for the opening bout of NXT. Eva has been long criticized for being more of a model than a wrestler, and it is safe to say she's improved since we last saw her in the ring. I wouldn't say she's anywhere near the level of the other women in NXT, with the possible exception of Dana Brooke, but this is a good start. Eva hits her new finisher, a Shiranui, and grabs the pinfall.
Winner: Eva Marie via pinfall (Shiranui)
Regal and Tyler Breeze backstage
This segment is short and sweet, as William Regal comes into his office while on the phone, and sees Tyler Breeze is already waiting for him. Breeze interrupts his phone call and questions what his role will be at Brooklyn. This makes a lot of sense for Breeze's character, but as I've mentioned in a previous article, his character has simply run its course and has grown stale. While I've heard what Breeze's role at TakeOver will be, I'll refrain from saying anything about it here until it is revealed on the show. As I said, this makes sense, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm really over Breeze at this point, and I just couldn't care about this segment at all.
Baron Corbin vs. Jesus De Leon
Every week it becomes harder and harder to write about these squash matches. What can I really say about a match that lasted less than ten seconds? I mean, the bell rang and Corbin immediately hit the End of Days and pinned De Leon. Sadly, he never even got his name mentioned on the show.
Corbin continues to lose his previous hold of the crowd as he is showered with boos during his entrance in to the arena. The only other thing of note in this match was De Leon's attire. His wrestling gear was made to look like the armor of a Saiyan from Dragon Ball Z, complete with King Vegeta's seal for you hardcore fans. Despite the interesting attire and Corbin being booed, this match was a complete waste of time. This is one of the few times I'll say this, but I'd really just like for Cobrin to go away. Considering that he now has his own apparel, it looks like he's going to be here for the long haul, despite my feelings for him or his throwaway matches.
Winner: Baron Corbin via pinfall (End of Days)
Samoa Joe vs. Mike Rallis
From one squash matche to another, we see Samoa Joe up next and he's even received his own updated music. He makes his way to the ring and prepares to destroy his next victim, Mike Rallis. Well, at least I can say that Rallis actually had his name mentioned, unlike Jesus De Leon, but as we've learned from watching NXT in the past, if you don't get an entrance you don't win.
Rallis explodes out of the gate, but despite a surprising amount of offense on his part, he ends up the victim of a Muscle Buster. The crowd's chants of “Joe is gonna kill you” seem almost foreboding after what happened to Tyson Kidd when he faced Joe in a dark match just a few weeks ago. Joe gets the pin and keeps up the recent trend of throwaway matches, but for what it's worth, we did learn that Joe will be facing Rhyno in a couple of weeks, so perhaps that will be the Samoa Joe match worth seeing.
Winner: Samoa Joe (Muscle Buster)
Emma with Dana Brooke vs. Bayley
Before our match can get underway, we have to sit through Dana Brooke and Emma running their mouths once again. It interesting to see that Brooke has been reduced to the role of a manager, likely due to her underwhelming in-ring debut following weeks of hype. The duo mock Bayley, before Brooke pats Devin on the head and the two head to the arena.
After Emma makes her way to the ring, accompanied by Dana Brook of course, we get the in ring return of Bayley. She comes out to a huge pop, and I have to say that it's great to finally see her back in the ring. After a solid back and forth match, Bayley is able to get the upper hand after Dana Brooke is ejected from ringside by the referee. Bayley comes out with a win, and then challenges Charlotte after saying that if she wants to become the women's champion she needs to beat the best.
I feel that another round of Bayley vs. Charlotte is really just what Bayley needs to put herself back at the top of the women's division in NXT. While we've seen this match before, it's sure to be a great encounter, and will help Bayley reach that level she needs to be at before she inevitably faces Sasha Banks at TakeOver: Brookyln. With three of the top women in NXT making their transition to the main roster, it seems like Bayley's time at the top of the mountain may have finally come, and she is more than worthy of carrying that title.
Winner: Bayley via pinfall (Hugplex)
Battleground Triple Threat and Charlotte's Raw win
We return from a commercial break to see some stills from the women's triple threat match at Battleground. I won't bother to discuss the match here, but if you are interested in my thoughts on the match, then check out the Running the Ropes podcast for Battleground, but I digress. We continue on with footage from Charlotte's match against Brie Bella on Raw before returning to Charlotte speaking with Devin Taylor. An emotional Charlotte talks about how much it means to her to be apart of a revolution in women's wrestling before being interrupted by Dana Brook.
Brook and Charlotte have had a small feud going over the past few weeks, so I can see her reason for interrupting. I'd like to say that this makes sense for Brook's character, but I'm not really sure she has much of a character, except that of a bland and bitchy woman, though that is par for the course for heel women in WWE. After accusing Charlotte of only getting all of these chances because of having a famous last name, Charlotte states that Bayley will have to wait a week while she takes care of Brook.
This match will undoubtedly be carried by Charlotte, but it's always possible that Brook could have improved over the past few weeks, similar to Eva Marie. Honestly, I am just hoping this is Brook's burial. I'm really not a fan of her. She's boring to watch and she's bad on the mic. She is exactly what the women's division doesn't need right now, and she is better suited to be a valet than having anything to do with in ring work.
The Vaudevillains vs. Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton
The first thing that really popped into my mind when I saw the participants of this match was how sorry I felt for Dawkins and Fulton. I had mentioned last week that these two guys have been around for awhile prior to them being destroyed by Blake and Murphy, and now it looks like it's The Vaudevillains turn to have their way with them.
I really don't have any complaints about the match itself. It was a solid effort, both teams looked great, and it was far more entertaining than any of the other squash matches that we have seen tonight. However, it was still a squash match. The Vaudevillains manage to pull off their double team finisher, which allows them to come away with the pinfall victory.
Winner: The Vaudevillains via pinfall (Whirling Dervish)
The revelation that our main event match this week was that tag match we just watched is something that really bothers me, but we don't need to linger on that point. Our participants make their way to the ring to join Regal to sign their match contract. Balor once again comes out not wearing the belt, which is something that will really wear on me if it continues. Once Balor gets into the ring, Owens asks him how it feels and tells him that what happened in Japan was a fluke. Owens proceeds to mock the crowd by reminding them that their rematch won't take place in the NXT arena, before signing the paper. Balor then signs the paper and makes the match official. Of course, this wouldn't be a WWE contract signing without an altercation. Owens flips the table up at Balor before attacking him. Regal approaches to pull Owens off of Balor, before Owens punches Regal in the face.
Ultimately, Balor gets the upper hand and sends Owens into retreat before checking on Regal. Now, there are aspects of this exchange that I really like, like Owens hitting Regal. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out, and Owens striking Regal could end up being used to finally write Owens off of NXT following this upcoming title match. On the flip side of that, why is it that suddenly they're booking Owens as some kind of coward? I understand they're trying to justify it by saying that Owens needs to provide for his family, but it bothers me that he went from a monster heel to a guy that runs away from half of his matches. Well, at least they got part of this segment right and it wasn't a complete throw away, like most contract signings.
NXT seems to have recently been plagued by a large influx of squash matches and filler matches. I understand that NXT is still intended to be a developmental territory first and foremost, but WWE needs to realize that if they're going to put on a televised show, they need to do a better job of keeping its content entertaining. This week is a perfect example of this issue, since much of the show's content felt like it could have been thrown away entirely and nothing of value would have been lost. This is really unfortunate, because there are real glimmers of greatness in this show, and if the writers would better utilize their time than NXT could easily surpass both Raw and SmackDown as the premiere brand for WWE and really showcase what these younger wrestlers are truly capable of.
Final Score: 2 Hugplexes out of 5