Date: April 15, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Corey Graves
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
NXT is back home tonight after last week's show took us to Axxess weekend. Things are starting to get back to normal around here and there are some interesting stories at the moment. Kevin Owens needs a new opponent for the NXT Title, Blake and Murphy are on a collision course with Enzo and Cass, Dana Brooke debuts tonight and we have Sami Zayn vs. Rhyno. Let's get to it.
CJ Parker vs. Solomon Crowe
I'm pretty sure this is Parker's last appearance. The fans are behind Crowe as Parker hammers on him in the corner. I love that Crowe has said he wants to be NXT Champion. Even if that's not a realistic option (at least not yet), it's what a wrestler in NXT should want to be. Crowe takes Parker down in the corner and threatens a charge, sending Parker out to the floor. He settles for a suicide dive and Parker is in pain on the ramp.
Back in and Crowe charges into a pair of boots in the corner to put him down for the first time. A backsplash gets two for CJ and we hit the chinlock, completely with a few LET'S GO CJ chants. Crowe fights up with some right hands but gets turned inside out by a clothesline. A side kick gets a near fall on Solomon but another backsplash hits feet. Crowe goes up for a splash onto the leg, setting up an old Brock Lock (bending Parker's knee around his neck) for the submission at 5:09.
Rating: C-. I'm not sold on Crowe yet but I like the idea of him using a submission instead of a pin. He's built a bit like Taz and it's kind of hard to buy him throwing punches and coming off the top as a result. This worked well enough though as he wrestled a scrappy style and found an opening to win. I'd like to see more development from him though as there's something in that hacker character. If this is Parker's last appearance, I'm going to miss him. You need jobbers like him who are over with the fans no matter how many times he loses.
Post match, Crowe says the show is just beginning.
Baron Corbin vs. Steve Cutler
I had been wondering what happened to Corbin. He was one of the hottest things on the show and then he was jobbing in a highlight package. Cutler eats an early clothesline but gets his days ended at 25 seconds.
Sami Zayn isn't surprised that he still has a target on his back. Kevin Owens used him to get to the top but Rhyno isn't going to do the same.
Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady vs. Sawyer Fulton/Angelo Dawkins
Carmella is back and still loathed by the fans. Enzo says he has a spectacular vernacular and the Michael Jordan of Jargon. Cass says they are who they say they are and they aren't gonna fake it. Blake and Murphy have something they want so they're just gonna take it. Enzo grabs a headlock on Fulton to start and takes him down for a walk over his back. Fulton gets hold of Enzo's wrist though and hooks a fireman's carry takeover. That's fine with Enzo who brings in Big Cass for a beating.
It's quickly back to Enzo but Fulton crotches him on top. Cue Blake and Murphy with flowers for Carmella, who seems impressed despite the NO chants from the fans. Back inside, Fulton goes old school with an abdominal stretch to Enzo. He's too close to the ropes though and Amore escapes, followed by a Downward Spiral Stunner to get a breather. The hot tag brings in Cass to clean house with the East River Crossing, setting up a Rocket Launcher to pin Dawkins at 3:48.
Rating: C. This is one of the things that I love about NXT: they take a really basic idea for a feud like this one but execute it well enough with characters that the crowd cares about that it's easy to get into. There's nothing revolutionary here but the fans love Cass and Enzo so they're easy underdog challengers. Carmella turning heel seems to be the next step, but maybe the champs are just using her and both teams dump her?
Cass and Enzo aren't happy with Carmella taking the flowers.
Alex Riley says he isn't going away that easily. Not after all those years of fighting for every inch, because Owens has painted a bullseye on his back for the rest of his career. He has nowhere else to go, so he'll be waiting for Owens in the ring next week.
Blue Pants vs. Dana Brooke
Blue Pants has a recorded version of Cass' da-da-duh da-da entrance and is introduced from the clearance aisle. The fans still love her too and it's one of those things that can only work here in NXT. Brooke is a former bodybuilder with a decent rock song for her entrance. She shoves Blue Pants down and hammers in some slow right hands.
The fans don't seem to like Dana, but it might have something to do with her being billed as the Total Diva. Graves sounds like he has a big crush on her for a bit of flavor. Brooke sends Blue Pants into the corner and stands on her head to choke Pants with her boot. Blue Pants comes back with some jobber offense but walks into a forearm, setting up a Whiplash for the pin at 2:04. Total squash.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley in a #1 contenders match next week.
Sami Zayn vs. Rhyno
Sami dodges a bit to start but gets caught with a right hand to the face. A headlock works a bit better for Zayn until Rhyno shoves him away and shoulders him out to the floor. The fans are split about 60/40 in Sami's favor but the Rhyno cheers are certainly there. Back in and Sami grabs a headscissors to send Rhyno outside for a second. It just seems to make Rhyno angrier though so he pounds Sami into the corner and chokes with the boot.
A stiff SHUT UP to the fans get the cheers more in Sami's favor (at least they're obedient) and Rhyno chokes on the ropes. Sami comes back with forearms and a dropkick but Rhyno takes his head off with a clothesline. Back from a break with Sami fighting out of a chinlock and bobbing and weaving to stay in a slugout. That's fine until Rhyno plants him with a spinebuster for two.
Sami can barely get to his feet as Rhyno hits him with a running shoulder in the corner. Fans: “BETTER THAN ROMAN!/NO IT'S NOT!” With the wrestling not working, Sami gets up and starts firing off right hands before the Blue Thunder Bomb gets a close two. Rhyno catches the high cross body and muscles Sami up into a TKO for a near fall of his own.
Barely on his feet, Sami slaps Rhyno in the face, earning him a bunch of right hands to the head. Rhyno goes up for some reason and gets punched in the jaw, knocking him down to the floor. There's the big flip dive from Sami but Rhyno throws him down with a belly to belly inside. The Gore misses though and the Helluva Kick gives Sami the come from behind win at 15:16.
Rating: B. They had the right idea here by having Sami get a warmup for Owens by facing someone who wrestles a very similar style and with a similar body type. Sami is back to form here and the fans are going to be ready for his rematch. That being said, hats off to Rhyno here, who hasn't been around the big leagues in a while but he put on a solid performance here. Getting veterans here who can put over people like Zayn while still looking good in the ring is invaluable for a place like NXT, or any wrestling organization actually.
Overall Rating: C+. This was back to form for NXT as they have a solid show with a good main event and story advancement coupled with some quick matches to help fill things out. The key to this show is that it doesn't do a lot of stupid things that drag the product down. They let the wrestling do the talking and the stories tell themselves naturally. In other words, they don't shove things down your throat and beat you over the head with them. Those key differences are why NXT work so well and I hope they don't change anytime soon.
Solomon Crowe b. CJ Parker – Brock Lock
Baron Corbin b. Steve Cutler – End of Days
Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady b. Sawyer Fulton/Angelo Dawkins – Rocket Launcher to Dawkins
Dana Brooke b. Blue Pants – Whiplash
Sami Zayn b. Rhyno – Helluva Kick
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