It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I admit that I miss doing them, but I’ve had to stop due to time constraints since my personal life is getting pretty busy. Hopefully, I’ll be back at some point. Today, however, I’ll be filling in for WE’s normal NXT correspondent, Eric Martinez.
Tony Luftman kicks off the show backstage, welcoming us to NXT. Alongside him is the number one contender for the NXT Championship Jinder Mahal. Jinder Mahal says that he is the next NXT Champion and that there has never been a superstar of his stature before. As for becoming the number one contender, that’s nothing that he would brag about since he embarrassed a “nobody.”
Upon hearing this, Bo Dallas walks up and rhetorically asks if he is hearing things. Bo says that he’s not whining about being defeated last week, but it seems like Mahal isn’t giving him any respect. The charismatic patriot then challenges Mahal to a rematch. Mahal accepts, but then Bo asks the number one contender to put his title shot versus Seth Rollins on the line.
Mahal says that he is almost locked in to become the second NXT Champion and asks why he would do something like that. “Why not?” replies Bo Dallas. Dallas goads Mahal in by calling him a coward and eventually gets Mahal to accept. Our main event for the night is now set.
Chandler’s $0.02: Although I still think that Mahal should drop the act of speaking Punjabi between his promos, he did well on the microphone. Bo Dallas sounded natural and did a good job of goading Mahal in. My only nitpick here is that Dallas convinced Mahal rather easily.
The Ascension vs. Yoshi Tatsu & “Showtime” Percy Watson
The Ascension are already in the ring to officially begin the show. Conor O’Brian is sporting a new haircut similar to Undertaker’s at WrestleMania XXVIII. The old one looked better.
Percy Watson and Kenneth Cameron will be kicking things off for their respective teams.
Cameron goes for an aggressive start, but Watson ducks and takes him down with a dropkick. Tight side headlock by Watson. Cameron brings Watson near the Ascension corner and breaks free by whipping Watson into the ropes. Blind tag by O’Brian. Drop toe hold by Cameron and a leg drop to the back of the head by O’Brian. Ascension begins tagging in and out and decimating Watson with alternating stomps.
Ultimately, O’Brian ends up as Ascension’s man in the ring. The formerly cadaverous brawler steps on Watson’s head, all the while wrenching his shoulder. Three floatover side headlock takeovers by O’Brian get him a two count. O’Brian keeps the side headlock on the former NFL star. Eventually, Watson makes it back up to a vertical base and breaks the hold with a back suplex. O’Brian charges at a weakened Watson in the corner, but “Showtime” moves out of the way.
Hot tag to Yoshi and tag to Kenneth Cameron. Dropkick by the sensation from the Far East and then a Japanese arm drag. Blind tag by O’Brian. Back body drop by Yoshi, who proceeds to work on Cameron with a couple of stiff kicks and chops before being swarmed from behind by O’Brian. Watson enters the ring in an attempt to help his partner, but is tossed over the top rope by O’Brian.
Tag to Cameron. O’Brian with a pancake slam and then Ascension hits the Fall of Man for the pinfall victory.
What I Liked: Ascension looked good here, brutally dissecting NXT mainstay Percy Watson. Yoshi has been tweeting lately that he formed a partnership with Watson, so I suppose this will not be the last time we see them together. I see good things coming out of this team as they could do a comedic/serious sort of thing.
What I Disliked: The action itself was somewhat boring, except for the finish. Ascension had a feud going on with International Airstrike, so hopefully that continues.
Tony Luftman will interview Big E. Langston later tonight.
We go backstage where Layla is doing her make up. Aksana walks up to the English muffin and compliments her hair, but only because it looks so bad that it makes hers look so good. Aksana mocks Layla’s old “real talk” catchphrase and says that a lot of the girls in the back don’t like what she’s done with her hair either. Layla says that, first of all, she doesn’t care what the girls think, calls Aksana “Euro-trash” and that everybody’s going to be really talking when she gives Aksana a makeover in the ring later on tonight.
Corey Graves vs. Oliver Gray
Corey Graves is making his NXT re-debut here after appearing in one of the first episodes of season six alongside his old partner, Jake Carter. Graves also has an awesome video wall, by the way.
Collar-and-elbow lock up. Arm wrench by Graves. Gray breaks it with some mat wrestling and locks on a wristlock, but Graves counters out of it and locks on his own wristlock. Gray flips out Graves’ grasp and locks on yet another wristlock. Gray, a former lumberjack and Judo champion, transitions the hold into a hammerlock.
Graves forces Gray into the corner and elbows him in the side of the head. Big punch by Corey Graves, who goes on to work on Gray’s right leg. After a failed leglock submission attempt, Graves positions Gray’s leg on the bottom rope and comes down on it. Graves goes for the same maneuver again, but Gray moves out of the way and sneaks in a roll-up for a one count. The tattooed technician quickly regains control with a couple of clubs to the back and a knee lift.
Graves chokes Gray on the second rope and then goes for a knee slam. Oliver resists at first, but is ultimately hit with it. Graves drops an elbow onto the back of Gray’s head and then attempts to choke him out using the second rope. Indian Deathlock by Graves, but Gray refuses to tap out. Graves goes for another submission attempt, but is kicked away by the Englishman.
The soft-spoken UK star goes for a suplex, but his wounded leg gives out on him. Graves gets a hold of the injured limb and locks in the Fuller Leglock for the submission victory.
What I Liked: I really like Graves’ look and potential, although he might want to put on a little bit more muscle. He’s unorthodox and his in-ring style is different, although I wish he would stop being so over the place and slow down a little bit since he’s not working a cruiserweight style. The Fuller Leglock looks good and I think that he could be big money for WWE in the future.
What I Disliked: As I said for the previous match, the action itself was a tad lackluster, especially for a debut. It wasn’t a typical squash match as it lasted longer than the usual NXT debut squash, but it was still all Graves from the beginning.
Tony Luftman will interview Big E. Langston up next. [C]
Tony Luftman is on the stage and introduces the NXT Universe to “our favorite” Big E. Langston. Luftman asks Big E. about the bounty put on him by Vickie Guerrero. Langston says that he’s worried – he’s worried for anyone who is dumb enough to try and claim that bounty. He says that the “E” in Big E. stands for “end,” the end for anyone who stands across that ring from him, and if wedon’t believe him, he’ll give us five reasons.
Big E begins chanting “FIVE!” again, but is suddenly attacked from behind by Camacho. The Mexican thug quickly leaves, leaving Florida’s strongest man fuming. It seems as if this is the start of a Camacho/Big E feud, which I would not mind.
Chandler’s $0.02: Decent segment, albeit short. I enjoyed Big E. more when he was a straight-forward demolition machine heel, but this works too since the NXT crowd was cheering him so much. Camacho vs. Big E Langston should be a decent feud that could produce some good matches. I believe that the right thing to do here would be Bronson going after Big E Langston in a battle of the yellow roped behemoths.
Layla vs. Aksana
Aksana has some new, more revealing ring gear. As you can remember, the Lithuanian beauty participated in the trainwreck that was NXT 3, being embroiled in a storyline with the now released Goldust.
Collar-and-elbow tie-up starts things off. Quick roll-up by Layla for a nearfall. Another lock-up, but this time it’s Aksana who gains the upper hand. Back side slam by Aksana, who then messes up Layla’s hair. Aksana does some non-PG posing and then immediately goes to the ropes when Layla charges at her.
Cheap shot by Aksana and then a mat slam. Kick to the ribs by Aksana, who then steps out to the apron and does some seductive crawling. Layla capitalizes on Aksana being distracted, knocking her off the apron with a baseball slide dropkick. Aksana hops right back into the ring and goes for a big slap, but Layla ducks it. Layla with some forearm shots and then the leg-hook roll-up after she is whipped into the ropes for a nearfall.
Layla with a jacknife cover for a one count. Forearm by Layla , who goes for a whip into the corner, but Aksana counters into her own whip. Layla goes for her double jump crossbody, but Aksana pulls her off the second rope to get the advantage. Cover by Aksana for a one count. Mounted punches by the leather-clad Lithuanian. Two elbow drops by Aksana for a one count. Aksana positions Layla’s head on the second rope and chokes her using her knee. Aksana locks in a head triangle afterwards, looking to “suck the life out of Layla.”
J.R. puts over Aksana’s strength as turns Layla over and slams Layla’s head into the mat repeatedly in a somewhat unorthodox move. Cover by Aksana for a two count. Aksana stomps on Layla’s gut twice and then hits a double leg drop to the beautiful Brit’s midesction.
Seductive cover by Aksana for a two count. Two more tries and a one count on both of them. Layla rolls over and begins fighting back with fury. Layla makes it to a vertical base, but gets taken down immediately by a devastating clothesline from the sultry competitor. Cover and a one count.
Aksana with a hard whip to the corner. Aksana seductively crawls towards Layla and begins talking smack. Layla slaps Aksana, ducks an attack and connects with a clothesline. Facebuster and then a spinning back kick. Layla with the double jump crossbody for a two count. Layla whips Aksana into the ropes, but Aksana telegraphs a back body drop.
Layla goes for a kick, but the 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic Contest winner ducks it. Layla connects with the Bombshell and that’s all she wrote.
What I Liked: Aksana is pretty good at evoking a reaction out of fans, and this isn’t just in the NXT Arena apparently. It’s been reported at house shows that she does a good job at getting heat, whether she’s with Antonio Cesaro or a solo act. The crowd was alive for this match, unlike the diva matches on Raw/SmackDown, which was also good. If WWE uses them correctly, Aksana and Layla could both be centerpieces for a rejuvenated divas division.
What I Disliked: Not much, really. It wasn’t a five star classic, but it was enjoyable action that passed by quickly (in a good way).
Earlier today, Bray Wyatt had a message for the NXT Universe.
We go to a pre-taped promo from Wyatt. He says that ever since the beginning of time there have been people denouncing his time, saying that he’s a liar and that his words mean nothing.
Wyatt invites us to play a game of pretend. Let’s pretend that everything he says it’s true, that he’s told us no lie and that he’s every bit of a monster “they” think he is.
How do you stop something like this? How do you stop something that wins wars without lifting a finger? How do you stop something that has been worshiped by cultures since the beginning of ages? How do you stop something that cannot be destroyed?
And if you’re looking for it, come find him. He’s out in the jungle with all his friends and if you’re looking for his whereabouts, look in the skies and follow the buzzards.
Chandler’s $0.02: Wyatt completely owns his gimmick like no other person in NXT does. Completely awesome stuff. By the way, Luke Harper was with Wyatt but wasn’t mentioned during the promo.
We are reminded that tonight’s main event will be Bo Dallas vs. Jinder Mahal for Mahal’s future shot at the NXT Championship.
Roman Reigns vs. Chase Donovan
Roman Reigns is the former Leakee from FCW. He was pushed heavily there and was one of the breakout stars before being sidelined with an injury.
Roman Reigns has been dubbed a “can’t-miss prospect” by many in WWE, apparently. Collar-and-elbow tie up and Reigns immediately throws Donovan into the corner.
Cravate by Reigns, who then proceeds to smash Donovan’s head into the top turnbuckle. Two big body slams by Reigns. Reigns, the “bluest of the blue chips,” locks in a nerve hold on Donovan’s shoulder. J.R. says that Roman Reigns has “it” according to many, which is something you can’t teach. I disagree, but I’ll leave that for later.
Donovan eventually makes it to a vertical base and begins hammering away at Reigns with a couple of shots to the gut. Reigns regains control with an elbow to the back of the head and then throws Donovan into the corner. The intelligent grappler goes for a running attack, but Donovan moves out of the way.
Donovan with some shots to the head, but Reigns blocks the last one. Headbutt by Reigns and a huge slap to the chest. Reigns with a diving clothesline and then he calls for the end. Reigns has Donovan lined up and he hits the belly-to-back uranage to get the pinfall victory.
Post-match, Reigns makes ring announcer Byron Saxton announce him as “The Thoroughbred” Roman Reigns twice.
What I Liked: Reigns seems to be evolving quite nicely as an arrogant heel. He was better as a face in FCW, but he’s okay in this role, too. As for J.R. saying he has the “it factor,” I really don’t find him that interesting. He gets by nicely, but I don’t see anything special about him. He’s okay, though. I can see why some people like him.
What I Disliked: The announcers need to do a better job at establishing Reigns’ finisher since it feels unimpactful. Naming it would be a nice start.
Jinder Mahal vs. Bo Dallas – NXT Title Shot On the Line
Collar-and-elbow lock-up. None of the men are able to gain the upper hand, however. Another lock-up and Mahal forces Bo Dallas into the corner. The official forces Mahal to break the hold, but he sneaks in a provocative shove before breaking it. Bo shoves Mahal back and a “USA!” chant commences.
Another lock-up. Mahal with an arm wrench and an overhead wristlock. Mahal forces Bo down to one knee, but he eventually makes it back up and counters into a side headlock. Side headlock takeover by Bo Dallas. Mahal rolls Dallas over for a one count. Dallas maintains the side headlock, but it is eventually broken by Mahal.
Drop toe hold by Dallas and a grounded side headlock. Mahal gets to the ropes and Dallas breaks the hold at three. Mahal charges at the developmental standout and is met with a stiff elbow to the mouth.
Mahal immediately retreats to the apron, forcing Dallas to stay back. Kick to the gut by Mahal and then a club to the back. Elbow to the back of the head and a kick by the Prince of Punjab. Mahal goes for some sort of maneuver, but Dallas shrugs him off. Atomic drop by Bo and then a running forearm smash.
Back body drop by Dallas. Bo goes for a running dropkick, but the Mahārāja of the Ring blocks it and Dallas crashes and burns to the canvas. Mahal looks for the camel clutch, but Dallas slips out and attacks with some right hands. Bo whips Mahal into the ropes, but Mahal hangs on and then slides out of the ring. [C]
When we come back, Dallas takes Maha ldown with a back elbow. Short arm clothesline by the American patriot for a two count. Dallas with a couple of back elbows in the corner. The referee eventually pulls Dallas back, allowing Mahal to get in a big kick to the arm. Kick to the chest by Mahal and then a big high knee a la Harley Race for a two count.
Two elbow drops by Mahal and then a knee drop. Cover by Mahal for another nearfall. Mahal locks in a double underhook, but eventually transitions into a sitting abdominal stretch.
Dallas makes it back up eventually, breaks the hold and flips Mahal over his head. Dallas blocks a big kick to the face into a roll-up for a two count. Backslide for a count of two. Mahal with a kick to the knee and then a stiff one to the head.
Mahal taunts Dallas with a couple of slaps to the head. Dallas fires back with some body shots, but runs into a knee from Mahal. Cover for a two count. Mahal chokes Dallas on the middle rope and then lays Dallas out with a big blow to the head when he’s on the apron.
Mahal goes for another punch, but Dallas blocks it. Dallas with a shoulder thrust and a kick to the head. Clothesline by Dallas, elbow to the head, shot to the gut and a running elbow to the back of the head. Dallas with a scoop powerslam, but Mahal kicks out at two!
Dallas gains a head of steam, but Mahal tosses him head first into the second turnbuckle. That looked nasty. Mahal then locks in the Camel Clutch for the submission victory.
Post-match, Mahal goes to inflict more punishment on Bo Dallas, but is ran off by NXT Champion Seth Rollins.
What I Liked: A serviceable match between Mahal and Dallas. This is the first time in a while that I’ve completely enjoyed Dallas. He did well on the microphone earlier and did a good job in this match. I don’t think Dallas is good enough to have a good match with Rollins yet, so keeping Mahal as the #1 contender is a good move.
What I Disliked: Nothing, this was a good main event which continued the Mahal vs. Rollins feud with the post-match attack by Mahal. I am looking forward to their rematch since their first match on the tenth episode of this NXT season was one of my favorite TV matches of the year.
Overall Thoughts: Overall, this was a good edition of NXT after some recent dull editions. Paige and Bray Wyatt are scheduled to appear on next week’s edition. Hopefully, Paige gets a storyline and Wyatt continues his Wyatt Family angle. If you have some free time, I’d check out Layla vs. Aksana, Bray Wyatt’s promo and Bo Dallas vs. Jinder Mahal.