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NXT - March 4, 2015

Date: March 4, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Jason Albert, Rich Brennan, Alex Riley

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Tonight it's time to get back to the serious business around NXT as Sami Zayn is making his first appearance after losing the NXT Title to Kevin Owens by referee's decision. Owens is currently gearing up to defend against #1 contender Finn Balor, but it's clear that another showdown with Sami is coming. Let's get to it.

We open with a recap of Owens saying he'll fight anyone anywhere, which leads to his feud with Balor. This includes Owens being insulted by Alex Riley on commentary and beating Riley up as a result.

Riley demanded that William Regal give him a match with Owens. However, Regal says no because of what happened to him when he tried to be a competitor and commentator at the same time. That's not good enough for Riley as he wants the match, but Regal says he has to pick. Riley seems to be thinking about it.

Opening sequence.

Adam Rose vs. Tyler Breeze

The Trust Fall works this time and Rose seems to be a good guy here. The fans chant for Rose's ninja turtle before he chases Breeze around the ring. An armdrag sends Rose down and Breeze lounges across the top rope. They pose at each other a bit more until Rose grabs an atomic drop, giving us the Honky Tonk Man sell job.

Rose dives into one from Breeze though and both guys are in pain. Breeze nails him in the face a few times but Adam leans back in the ropes and raises his feet to fend Tyler off. With a raise of the roof (as we flash back to 1998), Rose hits a running corner clothesline, only to walk into the Beauty Shot for the pin at 2:35. Again, who in the world thought making Rose a heel was a good idea? He's one of the easiest acts to cheer for in years so they turned him heel. Main roster brilliance personified.

Breeze fends off the Rosebuds with the selfie stick in a funny moment.

Enzo, Cass and Carmella don't like what Murphy and Blake have been saying. No one talks to Carmella like that and she thinks Cass and Amore need to take care of them. Enzo promises to beat the bacon off their backs and bring that bacon home. Do whatever you want with the bacon. Just drop Carmella already.

Alexa Bliss has been off recovering from an injury but she's back and better than ever. She's coming for Sasha, whether she keeps the title or not.

Buddy Murphy/Wesley Blake vs. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton

Non-title. I keep thinking the champs' record scratch music is Solomon Crowe hacking the feed. Dawkins and Fulton are part of a trio of amateur wrestlers with Fulton rocking the Rick Steiner head gear. He takes Murphy down to start and cranks on an armbar. Murphy makes a blind tag though and a double elbow gets two.

It's off to Blake for a chinlock but Fulton flips him over and nails a nice uppercut. Dawkins comes in to speed things up and hammers Murphy down, but makes the mistake of going after Blake. Murphy gets in a cheap shot and suplexes Dawkins down, setting up the frog splash from Blake for the pin at 2:27. That was one heck of a leap for the splash. The losers looked good while they were in there but they need more ring time to get the gimmick over.

Bayley offers Charlotte good luck on the title shot tonight but Charlotte says Banks needs the luck. Charlotte leaves and Emma comes in and brings up Bayley lost at Takeover. She tried being nice like Bayley and look where it got her on Raw: right back here to NXT. Just something to think about for Bayley.

Rhyno return video.

Baron Corbin vs. Tony Briggs

Briggs says bring it on so Baron hits him in the face and plants him with End of Days at 54 seconds. Kevin Owens was shown standing behind Alex Riley but didn't touch him.

Riley turns around to look at Owens but doesn't do anything. Owens pours water over him and Riley snaps. Albert holds him back and reminds Riley that he has a job. Kevin turns his back on him and leaves with no physicality. Owens is nailing this evil bully character to perfection.

Sami Zayn was in Montreal earlier this week but he can't help but feel that the NXT landscape is changing. You have guys like Rhyno and Kendrick back and new faces like Solomon Crowe with Kevin Owens on top. This is filmed on March 1, 2015, meaning he's been a wrestler for thirteen years to the day. For the first time though, Zayn doesn't feel like he's mentally ready to be in the ring. That's why he's here in Montreal, where it all started for both he and Owens. He still hasn't watched the Takeover match, but maybe that's what he needs to get his mind right.

Riley storms into Regal's office and quits being a commentator so he can get his hands on Owens. Regal says he'll get Owens when he (Regal) thinks he's ready. CJ Parker is in the office too and laughs at the idea of Riley fighting Owens, so Riley wants Parker next week.

Bull Dempsey vs. Solomon Crowe

Crowe comes into the ring with a bunch of energy and nearly slides under the ropes upon entry. He goes right after Dempsey and gets stomped down, setting up a stiff headbutt. All Dempsey so far and he mounts Crowe for some right hands. Solomon fights back but can't slam the big man. Instead Dempsey just pounds him in the chest with forearms for one. Solomon fights up and now the slam works. Dempsey runs him over again but misses the top rope headbutt. A running knee and running elbow drop Bull and a slingshot headbutt to the rips is enough to give Solomon the pin at 3:01.

Rating: D+. Solomon comes off as a guy where the character is going to drive the development instead of the in ring action. I was getting something like a Kevin Sullivan vibe off his in ring style, as he's much more of a scrappy brawler than a polished wrestler. He basically just stuck around and waited for an opening to take Bull down, but it worked well enough. I need to see more of him though.

Women's Title: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

Banks is defending in a one on one rematch from Takeover: Rival's fourway where Charlotte lost the title. This gets big match intros, which is actually deserves over Nikki vs. Paige on Monday. The fans are split, as you would expect. Banks hides in the corner to start so Charlotte asks if she's here to fight or not. Some chops have the champ in early trouble but she bails to the floor for another breather.

Sasha grabs her title and says count her out but that doesn't work for Charlotte, who chases her down and rams the champ's back into the apron. Now the fans are almost all behind Charlotte as she slaps on an early figure four. Banks is way too close to the ropes though and bails to the floor one more time as we take a break. Back with Banks hitting a running slap to a seated Charlotte before busting out La Mistica into the crossface.

Charlotte powers up and hits a running backpack Stunner. The moonsault misses but Charlotte lands on her feet, only to have her front flip hit Sasha's knees. That's a nice bit of psychology there as they learn each other's spots and build on the sequences. Sasha chokes and WOOs in the corner as the fans argue (YES SHE IS/NO SHE'S NOT) over Sasha's level of ratchetness.

Double knees to the back have Charlotte in trouble and Sasha bends her ribs around the post to stay on the injury. The Backstabber into the double arm choke has Charlotte in even more trouble but she refuses to give up. That's fine with Sasha who rolls into the Bank Statement, only to have Charlotte right next to the ropes for the escape. A big spear gets two for Charlotte and she puts on a Hartbreaker (figure four around the post). Back in and Natural Selection off the top is countered and Sasha puts her feet on the ropes (ala Ric Flair) for a rollup pin at 15:00.

Rating: B-. Not quite a classic but still a very good TV main event. The girls are so far ahead of Nikki and Brie that it's unreal, but they can't afford the same plastic surgery or whatever. This was a solid match in the same vein of Orton vs. Christian from 2011 as they built on previously established sequences and made logical progressions. Well done indeed.

Overall Rating: C+. Much better than last week which seems to have been an aberration. It's amazing what happens when you do stuff that matters instead of just filler for an hour. Sami holding off on his return is an interesting idea as it allows them to go through Riley and Balor before we get back to the big time feud that a lot of people really want to see. This is the fallout period from Rival before we start building to the next Takeover, which means we should be coming up on some big shows soon.

Tyler Breeze b. Adam Rose – Beauty Shot
Buddy Murphy/Wesley Blake b. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton – Frog splash to Dawkins
Baron Corbin b. Tony Briggs – End of Days
Solomon Crowe b. Bull Dempsey – Slingshot headbutt
Sasha Banks b. Charlotte – Rollup with feet on the ropes

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  1. You know what I wish? I wish that when the WWE comes up with a "hacker" character...that his "hacking" is actually part of what he does. How hard could it be for Solomon to have some sort of remote control to turn off the lights or make something scary appear on the tron or maybe make the sound of the bell being rung.

    Is that too 80's?

    "I'm a hacker! But I wrestle just like every other WWE wrestler in developmental."

    Haven't watched tonight show yet but I'm all ready to be disinterested in Solomon Crowe.

    (Now, if the guy turns out to be good in the ring...I guess it doesn't matter that he's a hacker guy. Go NXT!)

  2. They really need to do something with Alexa Bliss. Honestly the Big 3 Divas have been such focus that it is time to freshen things up. Sasha, Bailey, and Charlotte need to be on the main roster, while NXT should start focusing on Alexa, Becky, Carmella, and a few others. Alexa been around for awhile but she hasn't been involved in any real angles. It is time to freshen things up.

  3. Why waste three great wrestlers on the main roster? NXT has all the major league talent behind the scenes. The main roster has a bunch of soap writers and yes men.

  4. So they could make the money they deserve for their hard work.

  5. True, but all their hard work would get them are spots on Total Divas and a bunch of two minute matches that fail to showcase their talent, in front of fans who have been conditioned to treat them as a joke.

  6. How is Adam Rose one of the easiest acts to cheer for in years?

  7. I'm glad that the cameraman agreed with me that the blonde Rosebud deserved a second look.

  8. It's a job. They don't want to make next to nothing just for the glory of the Full Sail crowd

  9. But you don't want to enter at the wrong time and ruin your long-term prospects either. Yeah, you make good short-term money, but if creative blows it with you, your long-term potential goes down.

    Saying they definitely should want to get called up now is like saying you should drop out of college to take that bitchin' $15/hour job.

  10. Oprah NoodlemantraMarch 4, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Damn did that show just breeze by this week. Awesome pacing.

    The women main evented the show too...

    And has Riley improved at all, or is he still milquetoast?

  11. Not wrestling heavy this week but this is how you do "telling stories". And man is it refreshing not seeing Kevin Dunn's stupid habits like leaving the camera on the people talking too long. I'm infinitely more hyped for Balor/Owens and whatever else will be on the March 25th show than anything at Wrestlemania.

  12. I'm not saying they don't deserve to earn. I am saying the creative climate is substandard and the money may not be worth it. Now, if Vince is actually serious about revamping the diva's division, moving to the main roster would be a no brainer.

    As it is, the Divas get maybe 10 minutes on a three hour Raw. Give them 30, even 45 minutes a week to put together some NXT caliber matches that are independent of Total Divas and cut down on all the other crappy filler and celebrity appearances, and maybe the product gets a huge shot in the arm.

  13. That analogy would make sense if "long term prospects" weren't a few years for the vast majority of performers.

  14. Not worth it how? Of course it is. Wrestlers have short careers, even moreso on the women's side, you have to make what you can, while you can.

  15. I don't know about his in-ring ability, but I actually look forward to his match next week.

    "Next week, I'm starting with you."

    How hard is that?!

  16. It still works when your career can be ruined in a matter of weeks through misuse.

  17. Solomon Crowe thinks he knows our business, but the truth is, he doesn't know a damn thing.

  18. kbwrestlingreviewsMarch 4, 2015 at 8:39 PM

    House show opens, heel comes out and says this is a serious show, Rose comes out and says this is a party, beats said heel in two minutes, dancing ensues. He's meant to be fun and not out there long. A lot of fans find that easy to cheer.

  19. That's the kind of stuff he was doing at house shows before HHH supposedly said he didn't like the gimmick.

  20. In theory I agree, but Rose was not over at all.

  21. How could he ever get over? First he acts and looks like a douchy club guy. Second is michael cole says he is a fun and great guy.

  22. Well to me that means he isn't easy to cheer for.

  23. kbwrestlingreviewsMarch 4, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    He could have been if his push hadn't been mangled so badly.

  24. That's disappointing to read, RC.

    (Part of my issue with Bray Wyatt is that he never gets to do any cool cult leader stuff--like lead a cult, for example. I mean, we all joke about the creepy kid and the Princess Leia hologram...but at least that was something. It's a shame they didn't pay off EITHER of those efforts. The only person that Wyatt ever "turned" was Daniel Bryan and that was just to bury DBry...and it lasted three weeks before it was rightly jettisoned. The idea wasn't wrong...just the target.)

  25. He was over in NXT for a hot minute.

  26. It's amazing how they second and third guess themselves into oblivion when given simple things that should work.

    Adam Rose: There to annoy super serious heels.
    Bad News Barrett: There to point out whenever a face faces struggles.
    Bray Wyatt: There to tempt boring faces into being crazy heels.
    Roman Reigns: There to be the silent bad-ass squash machine.
    Daniel Bryan: The actual underdog the crowd wants to get to cheer for.
    Paige: The anti-diva.
    The Ascension: The creepy tag team death machine.
    Bo Dallas: The condescending heel who thinks he's a face.
    Harper & Rowan: Members of the Wyatt Family
    Dean Ambrose: Legitimately unpredictable element.
    Dolph Ziggler & Kofi Kingston: Show stealing faces who win more than they lose.
    Big E: Far less annoying Ryback.
    Cesaro: Battle Royale winner, crazy strong, don't mess with him, bad-ass.
    Nattie: The diva who can actually wrestle, mad about all the other bullshit.

    Couldn't ANY OF US have built a compelling-on-a-regular-basis sports entertainment content provider out of these and the other elements that the WWE has to work with?


  27. although I disagree on Ryback being "annoying".

  28. This is how I know I've totally bought into a character: I'm yelling "No, Bayley, don't turn to the dark side! The easy way isn't worth it!" when she was talking with Emma.

  29. Actions have fucking consequences, will wonders never cease. Riley has to choose between commentary and wrestling--no "LOL tonight in this very ring" bullshit.

  30. Good job NXT. I never thought I'd be interested in Alex Riley. But I'm rooting for him now.

  31. I'm not trying to be an ass, but what does NXT have to do to get a good grade? This week they did a great job of getting Riley back into the mix; continued to solidify Owens as a dick; put sympathy on the babyface (Zayn) in a unique way; gave Bayley more character arc in 60 seconds than the writers on Raw have given Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns combined in one year; presented a solid main event with a screwy finish that didn't involve a distraction; and let the other establish themselves without an angle.

    I mean, in the last two weeks, Alex Riley has gone from forgotten man/talking head to sympathetic babyface who actually has REAL motivation for wanting to fight Owens. And that sort of development gets D's and C's? Oookay.

  32. I tell ya I cared more about Alex Riley here than I ever did on the main roster.

  33. Ryback and Big E should team up as the New Power & Glory!

  34. kbwrestlingreviewsMarch 4, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    The show got a C+ with the two rated matches receiving a B- and a D+. That's pretty close to the middle no?

    Overall I rate NXT on a different scale than Raw or Smackdown because it's set itself at a higher standard. The big shows for NXT blow the roof off the place and just a few weeks ago I called a regular episode of the show the best hour of wrestling television I've seen in almost thirty years of watching wrestling. When the show gets as good as it does, it makes it harder to give out high grades every week because the good episodes are just so good.

  35. I used towonder about that, but then I realized he has a more accurate scale than others out there: a D is a passing grade, if just barely. A C is average, so anything above that is a pretty high compliment.

  36. I felt really strongly that if they wanted to do cult leader Wyatt, have him kidnap smiling, dancing Brodus Clay and then bring BC back the next week as a deranged, yelling psycho character. That to me would have been light years more effective than whatever weird Kane stuff they did.

  37. I guess. It seems like a pretty shitty gimmick to me with a really short shelf life, I don't see it as easy to cheer because it seems so dumb. Maybe I'm biased because I can't stand Russell Brand and Rose is an obvious ripoff, I don't know. It's kind of how I see the Vaudevillians, it's kind of a disservice to the wrestlers because the gimmick is so silly that it's doomed to not get over anywhere but NXT. Obviously, some wrestlers can make chicken salad out of chicken shit with terrible gimmicks, evil Doink springs to mind off the top of my head, but it seems like they are handicapping them right out of the gate.


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