Date: March 25, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Corey Graves
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We're back home in Florida tonight with the main event being Kevin Owens defending the NXT Title against Finn Balor. This is the lower level main event that still has the potential to tear the house down if they're given enough time, which NXT is usually really good about doing. In addition to that, we have Sasha Banks defending the Women's Title against Alexa Bliss. Let's get to it.
We open with a recap of last week's road trip to Columbus for the first episode out of Florida.
Women's Title: Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss
Sasha is defending after losing a non-title match via countout last week. Bliss grabs a quick rollup for two and a crucifix gets the same. More rollups get more near falls and Sasha is having trouble keeping up with Sasha early on. Bliss tries to jump over her in the corner but gets kicked in the ribs to finally slow things down. A running slap to a seated Bliss gets two and the double knees to the ribs in the corner get the same. Sasha shouts that Bliss isn't in her league but Bliss escapes the straitjacket choke into a small package for two.
The champ gets thrown out to the floor for a big crash. Back in and Bliss lands a slap of her own followed by some forearms before the Glitz Flip (moonsault into two knees to the chest) gets two more. The fans are WAY behind Bliss now which really does show both how good she is as a plucky face and how awesome Sasha is as a heel. Bliss takes time going up and gets slammed down, setting up the Bank Statement for the submission at 5:38.
Rating: C+. I seem to be the last person to notice it, but Sasha has gotten AWESOME in the last few months and is looking like the next big star of the Women's Division. I believe Sara Del Ray is training the girls down there and it might be time to bring her up to train the Divas, because I don't remember the last time these girls had a bad match. That's unthinkable for the main roster Divas.
Kevin Owens says Finn Balor made his mark by dressing up like a demon. Owens made his mark by debuting and becoming NXT Champion in two months. Bring the demon tonight because it won't matter. No one is taking this title from him and his family.
Video on Owens' short time in NXT and his quick rise to the top.
Emma comes up to Bayley in the back and says she told Bayley so. Bayley has been being too nice with the hugs and then she went out and lost to Becky Lynch. She needs to find her inner aggression because the NXT Universe will lie to her. Bayley doesn't but it and stands up to Emma, so the Aussie slaps her HARD in the face. Emma as the disenchanted main roster failure is an interesting new character and a logical progression for her.
Tyler Breeze doesn't like being asked what his next move is because it's a stupid question. After beating “Hideous” Itami last week, he wants to get the NXT Title and make it gorgeous. Itami comes up and says he beat Breeze too, so he wants 2/3 falls next week.
Wrestlemania card rundown.
Finn Balor video, showing him taking NXT by storm.
We look at Alex Riley getting beaten up by Owens last week.
Enzo, Cass and Carmella are in the back when Murphy and Blake come up to apologize to her. They bring her jewelry but the guys aren't impressed. Carmella wants to know why they never get her jewelry.
NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens
Owens is defending and Balor isn't in the demon paint. We're ready to go after some Big Match Intros and they have well over twenty minutes for the match not counting commercials. Kevin bails to the floor to start before getting back into the corner. It's a trap though as Balor shoves him back but eats a hard shot to the face. A headlock slows Balor down a bit and Kevin wants to know where the demon is now. He's a Dale Torborg fan? Finn gets up and scores with a nice dropkick as we take a break.
Back with Balor holding an armbar before a basement dropkick gets two. Owens drives him into the corner but uses the weakened arm to drive a shoulder into the ribs, only to further damage it. A Stunner over the top rope puts Balor down and Owens puts his boot on Finn's jaw. We hit the chinlock as this is clearly going like a long match instead of just running through the motions. Back up and Owens levels him with an elbow to the face but is good enough to hold the arm after, making it easier for Balor to kick out. Off to another chinlock as we take a second break.
Back with Owens driving his boot into Balor's ribs before putting on another chinlock with his knee in the back. This one doesn't last as long as Owens throws him to the floor and has an evil look on his face. The powerbomb onto the apron is countered with a backdrop and they head back inside with Owens catching him in something resembling White Noise for two. The backsplash gets the same and we hit the chinlock again. That's getting a bit repetitive which isn't something you often see in NXT.
Owens asks if Balor wants to stand back up and whips him hard into the buckle. A nice overhead belly to belly (with an even better face from Balor) gets two and we're back to the chinlock, earning a big ovation from the crowd. They're nothing if not perceptive. Back from another break with Finn making his comeback with forearms and a backdrop to put the champ on the floor. He follows Kevin out with a big flip dive and the top rope double stomp to the back for two in the ring.
The Pele drops Kevin again but Finn can't follow up. The Sling Blade sets up the reverse Impaler for two more and Balor is STUNNED. Owens avoids the running corner dropkick and Finn comes up holding his knee. The champ goes right after the injury with kicks and chop blocks before ramming it into the apron. A backsplash on the knee sets up a half crab but Balor crawls over for the rope. Balor escapes a powerbomb attempt and hits the jumping double stomps to put both guys down.
Owens goes up but gets kicked in the head, only to counter Finn's superplex attempt into a spinning release fisherman's superplex (freaking SWEET) for two. Kevin can barely move so Finn kicks him in the head again, only to have the champ chop block him again. The Cannonball connects and Finn is almost out of it.
Owens wraps the bad leg around the ropes and hits a Cannonball onto the leg, but his third attempt only hits buckle. Finn hits a running dropkick (he really shouldn't be able to do that) and the Coup de Grace but his knee is too hurt to cover. That's more like it. Owens gets up and hits the pop up powerbomb to retain at 30:37.
Rating: B+. This took its time getting going and the first half had too much chinlockery, but once they got in a grove and had Balor messing up his leg, this was all gravy. Owens is ready for the main roster and Balor has been ready since before he set foot in NXT, but I'm very glad they're sticking around here and getting to put on awesome matches like this one. That arena is going to come unglued when Sami comes back to fight Owens again.
Overall Rating: B. Good episode this week as we wrap up the first half of this cycle and can move on to the next big batch of matches, perhaps with the next Takeover coming soon. This was a really fun night though and Balor showed how ready he is for the main roster. I wasn't completely thrilled with the main event at first but they made me care about it. That's one of the hardest things to do in wrestling and those two nailed it. Finally, I continue to love this crowd as they acknowledged the amount of chinlocks and applauded to let the guys know to mix it up a bit. How awesome is that?
Sasha Banks b. Alexa Bliss – Bank Statement
Kevin Owens b. Finn Balor – Pop up powerbomb
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