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NXT - February 25, 2015

Date: February 25, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Corey Graves, Alex Riley, Tom Phillips

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're still living in Kevin Owens' NXT as he shows no sign of letting up soon. Last week he ran through former NXT Champion Adrian Neville, clearing more of the path to get to his showdown with Finn Balor. Other than that, we have the potential split of Carmella from Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, which might be well received by the NXT fans. Let's get to it.

Opening sequence.

Hideo Itami vs. Bull Dempsey

Dempsey elbows him in the face to start and drives another into Hideo's chest. A chinlock doesn't last long as Itami fires off elbows of his own, followed by kicks to the leg. That's fine with Dempsey who hits a running Vader style splash for two to regain control. When all else fails, just have the big guy run someone over. Itami comes back with a quick series of strike and a running basement dropkick in the corner. A running kick to the face is enough to pin Dempsey at 2:50.

Tyler Breeze superkicks Itami as he leaves. He stops to take a picture though and Itami gets up to chase him away.

Video on The Brian Kendrick, who is making a return tonight like Rhyno did last week.

Lucha Dragons vs. Tye Dillinger/Jason Jordan

During Dillinger/Jordan's entrances, Solomon Crowe hacks the feed and says he'll be NXT Champion. Jordan drags Sin Cara into the corner but Kalisto is pulled in, only to get face planted for his efforts. Off to Dillinger for a mocking bow to Cara as the fans chant NO ME GUSTA (“I don't like it!”) and a slam to Kalisto.

It's quickly back to Cara who quickly takes Dillinger into the Dragons' corner for a tag back to Kalisto. That's quite the fast exchange. Dillinger and Jordan (thank goodness for those letters on the trunks. To be fair I couldn't tell the Hardy Boys apart for years either) don't seem to agree on a tag so Tye tells him to relax. Cara slips over for a tag to Kalisto as things speed way up. Jordan drops to the floor and walks out on the match, allowing the Salida Del Sol and Swanton Bomb to pin Dillinger at 3:31.

Rating: D+. This was angle advancement but I'm getting a little bored with the Dragons. We saw them win and lose the titles and they're still basically the same team. Those belts have always been defined by heel teams so the Dragons never did much for me with the titles. Nothing much to see here, especially considering Jordan and Dillinger haven't meant anything in months.

Finn Balor is ready for Kendrick tonight and isn't looking ahead to Owens.

After a break, Dillinger demands Jordan come out here. He doesn't care whose match is next because he can whip that man too.

Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger

End of Days, 17 seconds. Corbin needs to move up the ladder a bit now. Give him a feud against someone not named Dempsey.

Charlotte says the title is coming back where it belongs next week.

Breeze says Itami will soon be squashed in his trap.

Quick video on Sami Zayn in Abu Dhabi.

Bayley vs. Becky Lynch

The fans are split on who to cheer for but the Bayley fans boo at the Becky fans. Becky charges into an elbow in the corner but avoids a splash, setting up a pumphandle suplex for two on Bayley. A hair whip legdrop gets the same and we hit the chinlock. Bayley fights up and takes Becky outside for a baseball slide through the corner ala Sami's running DDT.

Back in and the aggression comes out of Bayley with some running corner elbows, complete with the tightening of the hair band (as usual, far more adorable than it should be). Bayley tweaks her arm but shoves Becky away and keeps going. A middle rope back elbow to the jaw gets two on Lynch. The Belly to Bayley is countered into a seated armbar out of nowhere and Bayley taps at 4:30.

Rating: C. As usual, this is miles ahead of the messes that the Divas usually put on. The Divas seem impressed when they manage a suplex. This was a four and a half minute match with different stages and even some psychology with the arm. It's so much better than listening to BRIE MODE or someone putting on lip gloss. You can still be a heel without makeup if that's believable.

Rhyno is back because he loves the intensity he sees here in NXT. It reminds him of the energy he has when he Gores people in half.

Jason Jordan did what he did and will give an explanation when he wants to.

Finn Balor vs. The Brian Kendrick

Owens is on commentary and says he'd love to face Balor anytime he'd like. Kendrick grabs a headlock to start but gets thrown off and dropkicked down. Brian claims an ankle injury but goldbricks to grab a small package for two. Back to the headlock on the mat but Balor kicks him off, sending Kendrick crawling away. It's even more goldbricking though as he grabs a hammerlock. Owens doesn't like something Riley says and leaves as Kendrick grabs another headlock.

Back from a break with Balor hitting a running forearm to the jaw to put Kendrick down. Finn charges into a boot to the jaw though and eats a tornado DDT for two. A kick to the chest drops Kendrick again though and the Sling Blade does the same. The top rope double stomp is good for the pin on Kendrick at 11:32.

Rating: C-. I like seeing Balor having a bit simpler match for a change but I've never been a fan of Kendrick. He's much more interesting on the mic than in the ring but it's continuing a cool idea of having people return to the show like this. Owens vs. Balor has real potential to tear the house down though and this was more build to that.

Post match Owens comes out and stares at Balor before throwing Riley over the announcers' desk. Balor stares him down from the ring and invites Owens to come fight him. The champ walks away to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. This really didn't do it for me and was one of the weaker shows they've had in a long time. They're in a holding pattern until we get to Balor vs. Owens and then the big rematch with Owens vs. Zayn. Tonight's show felt like a filler episode but next week there's going to be a title match which NXT almost always does well. Not a bad show this week, but not one of their better episodes.

Hideo Itami b. Bull Dempsey – Running boot to the face
Lucha Dragons b. Jason Jordan/Tye Dillinger – Swanton Bomb to Dillinger
Baron Corbin b. Tye Dillinger – End of Days
Becky Lynch b. Bayley – Seated armbar
Finn Balor b. The Brian Kendrick – Top rope double stomp

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  1. The hot streak kind of came to an end with this show but this is still miles ahead of whatever the hell the main shows are doing. Not every show is going to be blowaway but they always leave you excited to see what will happen next week.

  2. NXT's biggest problem is a total lack of roster depth beyond the main 5.

    Everyone outside of a few is no better than any other lower card dork on the indys.

    The great booking masks that but having to do weekly shows with this roster means they can't be PWG quality every show.

  3. I don't care for NXT turning into the Kevin Owens show. I just don't get it with him.

  4. Yeah, this week may have been a little dull, but at least it's not actively bad or insulting my intelligence. And it's under an hour, not 3 hours and 10 minutes.

  5. Did they still do Hardcore TV during ECW on TNN? That's the era I'm waiting for on WWE network. Give me more Tajiri/Super Crazy matches.

  6. Anyone think they'd ever see Brian Kendrick on WWE TV in any capacity in 2015? I actually like the idea of bringing him in as enhancement talent, because at least he can put on a good match.

  7. Also, I'm with the announce team. How has Breeze gone this long without using the selfie stick as a weapon? It's hardly the most absurd idea ever.

  8. Yessir, Hardcore TV even outlasted the TNN show, running right to the bitter end.

  9. I want a .gif of Riley getting tossed. His arse getting tossed was the highlight of the week!

    Another damn good progressive show... what a concept.

  10. Just curious - were you writing here a couple months ago when Scott fired a bunch of writers like Meekin and some other guys? If so, did he explain why he let them all go?

  11. I think he has pretty good psychology to his character and what he does and the promos he's cut. He's a solid wrestler too.

  12. I think he's trying out for a trainer position at Full Sail. Not sure how regular he's going to be. Rhyno on the other hand seems to be in it for a run at least, although I don't really get the point of that, if he can still work they could desperately use him on the main roster as depth.

  13. It could be why touring might be a terrible idea.

    Because the show is so amazing because of Zayn, Owens, Balor, Neville, Itami, but all five of them are main roster ready and should probably be up there. Really, none of them ever needed to be in developmental.

    And if WWE keeps them in NXT, they're not going to be happy because they want to be paid.

    And if WWE promotes them, then all of a sudden you're left with the Baron Corbins of the world and it's a really weak group that's still learning the business and probably not ready for the pressure of having to perform well enough to carry a brand.

  14. Aren't those things just hollow plastic? I know its wrestling and you can fake it but you'd have to be a gigantic vag to get hurt by one, especially if its covered in fur.

  15. Was Kendrick's pitch to get rehired just "Swagger didn't get fired!"

  16. I don't chat with Scott about site decisions and stuff it that's the question. If I decide to do anything different I usually just run it past him first since it's his site, but that's the extent of the blog talk we have. I don't even remember who used to post here, honestly, because the folks I read are all still here.

  17. Over-the-hill veterans are exactly the people they should bring in as enhancement talent. They have nothing to lose at this point in their careers, they know how to work, and their name value can give the rub to some new talent. Bring in guys like Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, Brian Kendrick, Paul London, X-Pac, Justin Credible, 2 Cold Scorpio, and any other 15+ year veteran who's still working the indy scene.

  18. I miss the interview style of old WCW Saturday Night. Have the guy come out to talk with the interviewer at the podium. Cut a promo and maybe call a guy out for a confrontation in street clothes.

  19. Remember how old school heels would use the DREADED LOADED (X)? Not crazy that Breeze could have a loaded selfie stick.

  20. Not great, though I did enjoy Owens throwing Riley over the announce table and using it as intimidation for Finn.

  21. I'm not very impressed with Finn Balor as a personality. Guy is pretty bad/bland in those backstage interviews. Beyond the entrance he does not have much of a character yet. I'm nitpicking though.

  22. NXT is a development territory and if not for the fact 5 of their like, 10 best workers were down there it would be horribly exposed. They could go out and sign ACH, Styles, O'Reilly. Fish and Cole tommorow and boom. Now you have depth--but why the fuck would you be paying that whole crop of guys to be in developmental. They are better then 90% of your main roster.

    The success of NXT makes for a weird situation, because you have to sabotage it as a promotion to actually reap the intended rewards (main roster call ups)

  23. I dug this week's show. That Tiger Suplex Kendrick hit was SICK. Love the angle at the end of the show. Owens came across as a legit psycho.

  24. Really? I quite liked this episode. Kevin Owens as the asshole bully was pretty great, and I was amused by the Megapowers breakup ("RELAX, dude!") and Dillinger's subsequent destruction by Corbin. Jason Jordan as a brooding heel, whatevs, and the main event was good but meandering, but it held my attention for 45 minutes and that's not bad.

  25. You can create a pretty decent heel stable with ex WWE guys pissed off at NXT. Rhyno, Kendrick and one or two other guys. Maybe Carlito and Masters?

  26. "I dunno, I think the New Age Outlaws have more value winning the WWE tag titles and getting PPV slots." --- HHH

  27. Jordan and Dillinger. Have any male wrestlers ever had smaller trunks?

  28. He's a heel in the truest sense of the word: He BELIEVES the stance that his family trumps everything else. I had to nearly cripple my good friend to move up and better provide for my family? Ok, no problem. Anyone with kids would be able to somewhat agree with said stance, although struggle with how extreme Owens is in executing his "family first" quest. As a father of 2, I think he's a FASCINATING character.

  29. Kendrick was in the era of WWE that I missed almost entirely, as I
    didn't have any way to watch it back then. Was he any good? I've heard
    the name before, but this week was the first time I've seen him.

    He also looks *scarily* like Jas Man from Babylon Zoo (an old one-hit-wonder band from the 90s):

    (Who looks like this:)

  30. Big E Langston's *felt* smaller at times.


  31. I loved the way Owens and Riley wasn't totally shoved in our faces within seconds. Just the subtle things, like the way Owens just kept silently staring at Riley, who angled his chair away from him so he wouldn't have to look at him, etc.

    Can you imagine how Raw would have done the same angle?

  32. Watching that back, I still can't decide if it was sick, or a botch, or a bit of both!

  33. He's just a total dick. That's pretty much it - but in a good way.

    A self-serving dick, but who can back it up and then look at you with an innocent "what did I do wrong?" expression and pin his actions on a thin justification like "it's better for my family if I half-kill my friend for money."

    He's actually a total breath of fresh air in WWE Heel terms at the moment.

  34. The thing is that the great booking disguises a lot of in-ring rawness from guys who aren't the "NXT 5"

    Play to their strengths, protect their weaknesses, let them learn and hone their craft. Job done. :)

  35. Definitely both. Kinda felt bad for Kendrick. Dude is trying to get re-hired and he almost breaks the neck of a HHH guy.

  36. Do you think they made Kendrick piss in a cup for old times sake?

  37. He'll get better on the mic with time and practice. He looks like a star and is fantastic in the ring and that's enough to give him a chance.

    I do want him to get a new finisher. I hate the double stomp with a passion and it looks like a broken leg waiting to happen.

  38. MaffewOfBotchamaniaFebruary 26, 2015 at 7:35 AM


    Great song, shite band. Jas Man was good on Brass Eye though.

  39. I actually quite liked The Boy With the X-Ray Eyes - was a decent enough wee tune.

    Fully agree re: Brass Eye, though. Hilarious stuff - "Do you think you'll ever sing an H?" :D

  40. I certainly didn't hate it but it's just not up to NXT's usual standards. That's a problem that comes with having such great shows week in and week out.

  41. I loved Owens "leaving before he does something he'd regret", then he comes back and punks out Riley anyway. Good for him.

  42. Oh absolutely, there's just an inherent ceiling to NXT when you're ultimately booking around rookies. Unless the plan is to always have a half dozen indy vets in their thirties on hand and at the top of the card NXT can't maintain its current run of quality. And really it's a wasted investment putting those guys in NXT at all. Kevin Owens doesn't need any "development". Kevin Steen has been the best brawler in pro wrestling since at least 2010.

  43. "Why'd you say that, Maggle? Now Owens is staring at you! Maggle! Hey Maggle! Maggle, look over here, he's staring at you!"

  44. Question:

    When did you start your ecw reviews?

  45. "Mean" Dean AndrewsFebruary 27, 2015 at 3:02 AM

    Shelton Benjamin!

  46. "Mean" Dean AndrewsFebruary 27, 2015 at 3:03 AM

    It was definitely one of the less interesting episodes of the past several weeks. All filler, no killer.

  47. I couldn't tell who was suppose to be the heel there.


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