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.
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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