I found a bunch of older wrestling reviews I had done on a Tumblr account I forgot I’d owned. I’ve decided to repost them here, fixing up the formatting and any janky grammar and/or spelling. Here’s a random NXT show from 2015.
Before the opening credits roll, we’re get an “In memory of ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper,” graphic. I’m still bummed out by this since Piper was a pretty huge part of my wrestling fandom not to mention being in two of my favorite bad movies of all times.
We get the opening credits and then head to Full Sail University for action. Our hosts for today are Byron Saxton, Corey Graves and Rich Brennan.
Match 1: Charlotte vs. Bayley
Bayley is looking to prove that she’s among the best even if she got left out of the Women’s Revolution on Raw. She and Charlotte do an indie respect handshake to start things off and then trade holds back and forth. The crowd is equally back and forth with chants of “Let’s go Charlotte! Let’s go Bayley!”
Charlotte gets a quick roll up but Bayley kicks out. Charlotte follows with a series of headscissors and then charges at Bayley. Bayley manages to use Charlotte’s own momentum to toss her out to the floor.
Bayley then barely delivers a dropkick under the turnbuckles but the camera angle makes it look okay. Bayley stays on offense, hitting a series of running double axe handles and a shoulder thrust in the corner before Charlotte nails her with a big boot for a near fall. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We’re back from break and the crowd is chanting again. Bayley hits a sunset flip which Charlotte attempts to counter into a Figure Four only for Bayley to counter that into a small package. Bayley follows up with an offensive flurry consisting of a diving European uppercut and a series of running corner strikes. Bayley then tightens her ponytail and nails an exploder suplex. She follows with a diving Frankensteiner for a near fall.
The two women trade strikes for a bit before Charlotte comes back with a hangman’s neckbreaker into a spear for a two count. Charlotte then applies the Figure Eight. Bayley has nowhere to go but manages to reverse the hold. Charlotte grabs the ropes for a rope break.
Bayley eats some chops but then backslides Charlotte for a two count. She then uses the corner to flip over and hit the Belly to Bayley suplex but Charlotte kicks out at two. Bayley hits a release German suplex that sends Charlotte into the turnbuckles and charges but Charlotte manages to roll Bayley up into the turnbuckles.
Charlotte goes for Natural Selection, but Bayley counters and hits a top rope Belly to Bayley Suplex to pick up the win.
After the match Bayley gives her headband to that Bayley superfan that’s always in the front row and the girl wipes the tears from her eyes.
What a world we live in when a match that would have easily been the best women’s match of the year just a couple years back is now just “the women’s match that was on TV this week.” Really good back and forth between the two even if the ending was kind of predictable.
Bayley continues to be the best white meat babyface in the WWE today and I hope they don’t fuck her character up when they bring her up to the main roster. [***½]
Meanwhile in an Empty Arena…
Michael Cole has a sit-down interview with Kevin Owens. Owens takes umbrage with the insinuation that his apology last week wasn’t sincere. He’s worried that Regal is going to try to orchestrate a “Montreal Screwjob” in Brooklyn (Owens is from Montreal so I guess a Montreal Screwjob can happen to him wherever he is) to get back at Owens for punching him in the face and claims that he heard Regal tell Balor that he hopes Balor kicks Owens’ ass in Brooklyn. Owens then says that in Brooklyn he wants a ladder match so he has a fair shake and can’t get screwed over by Regal.
Cole then asks Owens if he thinks he can beat the Demon which causes Kevin Owens to storm off in a huff.
This was great. Owens is such a good heel and the set up for the match gimmick actually made sense instead of just being, “Big Show hit this guy with steel stairs so I guess a Stairs Match is now a thing that exists.” Owens had a legitimate (in his mind) gripe and the match stipulation existed due to that gripe. NXT continues to book feuds so perfectly simply.
Meanwhile in the Gym…
Bull Dempsey watches is “workout” montage on his phone and is disgusted with himself. He decides to get in shape for real and we get another training montage with things going much better until he drops some weights on his chest and needs help.
Match 2: Baron Corbin vs. Steve Cutler
Baron kills Cutler with the End of Days in 22 seconds. The crowd doesn’t bother to count along this week.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Short and pointless. I guess Baron Corbin is still an unstoppable monster, but I wonder if the novelty of him wrecking dudes in record time has run its course already. [NR]
Meanwhile In William Regal’s Office…
Bayley visits Regal and humbly asks if she can give her another shot at the NXT Women’s Championship. Regal acknowledges her hard work and determination and tells her that he will put her in a match with Becky Lynch to determine the #1 contender. Bayley thanks him and goes to hug him but stops herself and shakes his hand instead.
Match 3: Tyler Breeze vs. Aaron Solow
Breeze still wants a match at TakeOver: Brooklyn. The match gets underway with Breeze putting the boots to Solo. Solo comes back with a flurry of offense that Breeze weathers before hitting the Beauty Shot to pick up the win at 0:55.
After the match Breeze poses with his selfie stick for a bit before William Regal comes out onto the stage. Regal tells Breeze that he’s scoured the globe for an opponent to face Breeze at TakeOver and finally found one: Jushin Thunder Liger!
We then get a brief video highlighting how awesome Jushin Thunder Liger is for those of us who may not have watched WCW in the 90s or follow New Japan Pro Wrestling in the present day.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
The actual match was a by the numbers squash match but it served its purpose and got Breeze in the arena so they could reveal Liger as his opponent at TakeOver to the live crowd. That should be a goodass wrestling match. [NR]
We get footage of the man known as Uhaa Nation training and talking about how he wants to be the best. He reveals that he is now known as Apollo Crews and will be making his NXT debut at TakeOver: Brooklyn.
Meanwhile in the Locker Room…
Byron Saxton interviews Finn Balor in a super boring, super awkward segment. Balor whisper-talks a bunch of cliche sports slogans (“if he can talk the talk, he can walk the walk,” and things of that ilk) about Kevin Owens. He doesn’t commit to a ladder match but promises that at TakeOver he’ll prove his victory at Beast in the East wasn’t a fluke.
Match 4: Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder vs. The Hype Bros.
Rawley and Dawson start with Rawley quickly outgrappling Dawson and getting the upper hand. He makes the tag to Ryder and sends Dawson off the ropes into Ryder’s knees for an early pin attempt. Ryder keeps the momentum going by hitting Dawson with a flapjack.
Dawson stumbles into the corner where he eats a clothesline and a series of mounted punches. Wilder though distracts Ryder long enough for Dawson to pull on the ropes and drop his opponent. Dawson makes the tag to Wilder and the nail Ryder in the back with stereo headbutts. A backbreaker follows leading to a pin attempt but Ryder manages to kick out.
Dawson comes back in and he and Wilder hit an assisted leg drop on Ryder for another nearfall. The crowd is behind Ryder as the heels get the heat on him. Ryder gets wedged between the ropes by Dawson giving Wilder another opportunity to cheapshot him. Dawson hits a slingshot suplex into another pin attempt but Ryder again kicks out.
Wilder comes back in. Ryder manages to reverse a double Irish whip and take out Dawson with a kick before making a diving HOT TAG to Rawley. Mojo runs wild on Wilder with Stinger Splashes and then follows that with a military press slam. Ryder tags back in and Mojo hurks Wilder up and Ryder comes off the top rope with a flying Rough Ryder for the win.
After the match Dawson and Wilder prove themselves to be sore losers and beat down the Hype Bros. and then ruin Zack Ryder’s shit with a 3D into a Codebreaker that they call the Shatter Machine.
Winners: The Hype Bros.
This was a like tag team wrestling 101. The faces started hot, then the heels got the heat on one of the babyfaces. There was a hot tag and then the babyfaces won. It was a real meat and potatoes match, but that’s totally fine for TV.
I like the Hype Bros. as a team. I think it’s a smart way to cover Mojo’s limitations and use a main roster guy that they don’t really have anything for. I don’t know about having them beat Dawson & Wilder here even if the Brainbusters 2000 got their heat back in the post-match beatdown. [**]
Meanwhile in William Regal’s Office…
The Vaudevillains talk to Regal about what happened in their match against Blake & Murphy. He gives them a rematch at TakeOver as a reward for staying PG and not doing violence against women on Alexa Bliss and then tells them that they might want to find a way to deal with her so the same thing doesn’t happen in Brooklyn.
Tale of the Tape!
We get a tale of the tape onscreen graphic compare the accomplishments of Joe and Rhyno. I think this is pretty good since it makes tonight’s main event seem like a bigger deal.
Meanwhile in the Gym…
Bull Dempsey is in the gym attempting to flip over a huge tire. A bunch of other people are gathered around cheering him on. Bull struggles for a bit but ultimately flips the tire over in the feel good moment of the episode. Seriously this was a surprising turn for this storyline to take since the first part was basically, “What a fat slob! LOL!” but this week we got Bull working hard to better himself, making friends, and ultimately accomplishing his goals.
Match 5: Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno
Byron (I think) says that the rivalry between Joe and Rhyno goes back several weeks showing that in the WWE Universe TNA still doesn’t exist since I’m pretty sure these dudes have been fighting each other off and on since 2006 or 2007.
The match begins with a lock up before they exchange hard shoulder blocks. Joe manages to knock Rhyno down and then works him over with jabs in the corner. Rhyno comes back with a knife edge chop. Rhyno ends up getting sent out to the floor where Joe nails him with a suicide dive.
Rhyno fights it out and tosses Joe back into the ring where he nails him with a knife edge chop. Rhyno and Joe exchange strikes for a bit before Rhyno nails Joe with a spinebuster for a near fall. Joe kicks out and we go to commercial. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!
We come back from break to find these two fuckers wailing on one another. Joe sends Rhyno off the ropes but Rhyno blasts him with a kick. Joe takes Rhyno down to the mat with an STO to stay in the match.
Both men get back to their feet and Joe starts building steam with an INVERTED ATOMIC DROP. He follows up with a big boot and a running senton for two. Rhyno comes back with a Samoan Drop for a near fall of his own.
Joe gets back to his feet and nails Rhyno with a leaping thrust kick. Joe goes for the Rear Naked Choke but Rhyno counters into a belly to belly suplex. He then goes for the Gore but blasted with Joe’s knee. A clothesline follows and Rhyno heads up top for some reason only to get cut off by Joe. Joe connects with an enzuigiri and follows with the Muscle Buster follows to pick up the win.
Winner: Samoa Joe
This was two big boys who love to roughhouse wailing on each other which I’m always about, but as far as Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno matches go this one was not as good as some of the matches they’d had in TNA. It was a perfectly fine match for free TV or whatever a show on the WWE Network counts as though. [**½]
This was a decent show that helped build toward TakeOver. We got a couple of matches for that show announced outright as well as a possible stipulation for the match between Owens and Balor teased as well as Bayley and Samoa Joe getting big wins.
There were a couple of squashes, both of which served their purpose and were short enough that they didn’t really detract from the show at all. Overall NXT continues to be a fantastic tight hour of wrestling action.