Date: December 25, 2014
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Jason Albert, Rich Brennan, Alex Riley
Hosts: Renee Young, Corey Graves
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Back in the 1980s, Fritz Von Erich had a great insight about Christmas: Once you open the presents, what else is there to do? Well apparently we can watch NXT, which is on a roll as of late. The main story coming out of last week was Kevin Owens destroying Adrian Neville just like he did to Sami Zayn the week before. Let's get to it.
And we have an empty arena with only Renee Young and Corey Graves in the ring, meaning we have a Best Of show. There will however be a new match with Charlotte defending the Women's Title against Sasha Banks in an R-Evolution rematch.
We start by looking at some of the stars who came from NXT up to the main roster, including Paige, Bo Dallas, Lana and Rusev. There's nothing to say here as they're just saying the names and showing maybe a ten second clip.
Video on NXT: Arrival. That feels so long ago even though it was only February.
This leads to a package of Adrian Neville going home to Newcastle, England. Wearing glasses, which is an odd look on a wrestler for some reason, he goes to see his mom and talks about soccer for awhile. His original plans were to play soccer for Newcastle United but then he saw something called WWF and things changed. We get some clips of his training and developing the high spots, which we then see in NXT. He even got to wear a Newcastle jersey to his match in the Newcastle arena for a very cool moment.
Tyler Breeze is still off modeling but wants to tell all the Wannabreeze that he'll be adding gold to his ensemble in 2015.
We see the last six or so minutes of Zayn vs. Neville, plus the entire post match celebration and Owens' heel turn to end the show.
Curtis Axel comes in to see Regal and thinks he needs to recharge his career. He wants in on this NXT thing but Regal tells him to make an appointment.
Lucha Dragons video. Sin Cara still hates to do the pre-match pose.
Vaudevillains video, of course in black and white.
We get about four minutes of the Lucha Dragons vs. Vaudevillians match from R-Evolution. There will be a rematch due to Kalisto pinning the wrong man.
Next week we'll have Finn Balor/Hideo Itami vs. Ascension II.
Itami and Balor promise to destroy the Ascension. Itami's English is improving by leaps and bounds.
We look at some NXT debuts this year, including Baron Corbin, Bull Dempsey, Hideo Itami, Finn Balor and of course Kevin Owens.
Owens says he's sent the former champion and the new champion to the hospital in the span of seven days. If he's done that to people he considers friends, what is he going to do to people he doesn't care about? He'll fight anyone and everyone until he's the only one standing. “Why don't you put that on a t-shirt?”
Time to look at NXT people making splashes on the main roster: Paige, Bo Dallas, Emma, Summer Rae, Adam Rose, Rusev and Lana.
Earlier this week, Bayley was watching the HHH DVD to see how he came back from his knee injury. It motivates her to come back bigger, better and stronger, just like HHH. So she's gaining 40lbs of unnecessary muscle, slowing down and stopping everything that made her awesome in the first place?
Women's Title: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte
Sasha is challenging and this is a rematch from R-Evolution. She has Becky Lynch with her, so Charlotte comes out with her dad, Ric Flair. Ric looks sober tonight so this should be good. He says that he has two Hall of Fame rings (only wearing one here) but his daughter took the torch from him. Two weeks ago Sasha and Charlotte had one of the best matches ever (to Sasha: “Yeah I'm talking about you. You were great.”) and tonight they're going to do it again.
They slug it out to start with Sasha diving at the champ, only to get caught in something like a spinebuster. Charlotte goes after the knee by wrapping it around the post, only to get pulled face first into the steel. We take a break and come back with Sasha in control and slapping Charlotte on the back. That's not exactly the best offense. The announcers actually mention the “internet wrestling community” sending HHH a fruit basket as a thank you for R-Evolution. That's such a cool story.
Banks drives two knees into Charlotte's ribs and puts on Bankrupt, only to have Charlotte fight to her feet and escape with something like a jawbreaker. She's really good at using her athleticism to get out of things like that, which really isn't something most of the other women can do. Charlotte fires off some chops and a neckbreaker but gets caught in a double arm neckbreaker (Regal Cutter) for two more.
The Banks Statement goes on but it's right next to the ropes. Another thing I like about NXT: heels feel like they could win a big match by submission. That's what always annoyed me about heel Del Rio: he wasn't going to make anyone big tap and the armbreaker felt like a waste of time. They fight up top with Banks nailing a nice superplex (Riley: “She's straight gangsta!”), only to get caught in the Figure Four with the bridge to retain Charlotte's title at 10:45.
Rating: C+. While it was nowhere near as good as the R-Evolution match, it was still another solid effort from the NXT girls. Banks is impressing me in the ring for the first time as she's very feisty in there. She has the attitude down and the matches are getting better every week. I still think Lynch is the star of the team, but Banks is nailing it in NXT.
Overall Rating: C+. These are always hard to grade so I'll just go with the same rating I gave the match. I really liked the Neville video as it's the kind of personalized profile that you just do not get in WWE anymore. I would have liked to see more Sami here as he only won the title at the end of the year but he was still a huge part of NXT all year. The attention to detail in this promotion blows away everything else and it's my favorite wrestling show to watch every week. If next year is as good as this one was, everything will be fine.
Charlotte b. Sasha Banks – Figure Four
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