Sunday, August 31, 2014

NXT Palatka 8-30-14

Tonight the NXT superstars made another stop on the road to Takeover as they brought another night of hard hitting action to the National Guard Armory in Palatka, Fl. Many of the matches were repeats from the night before (see the Tampa 8-29-14 post) with some deviation. Here's a quick rundown of tonights matches.

The Vaudevillians once again defeated The Mechanics. The team of Gotch and English has gelled so well together and are so over with the crowd it is obvious to state that they will soon find themselves at the top of the tag team division. I only hope the rough and ready to fight team of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder don't get lost in the shuffle, they stand in contrast to some of the more over the top gimmicks we see in wrestling today. We need more no-nonsense wrestlers.

The upset of the night came when CJ Parker put a stop to Baron Corbins path of destruction. After trying to take the big man down with several sleeper holds he managed to snag the victory over Corbin with a palm strike to the face followed by a DDT. I understand that Parker is no jobber, but this victory really seemed to halt the momentum that they have been building with Baron Corbin.

In divas tag team action Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss took on Carmella and Kendall Skye in a very entertaining contest. The energetic Becky Lynch was impressive as always. Carmella has gotten really good in a short time, not just her ring skills either but working the crowd as well. The winners of the match, Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss.

Next, The Boss Sasha Banks made her way to the ring to give a promo regarding the upcoming NXT Takeover and the fact that she doesn't have a match. She put both Bayley and Charlotte on notice though saying she would be there to make an impact. I'd watch my back if I were the champ.

Enzo Amore took on Sylvester Lefort and found himself to be the recipient of a lot of punishment from the cunning Frenchman. Though in the end the underdog Amore got a surprise pin on the over confident Lefort much to the ire of Marcus Louis who ran out for a post match beatdown before Colin Cassady made the save. Enzo did a great job of selling the offense of Slyvester Lefort, a man who is quickly becoming a favorite heel.

Next, Kalisto teamed with Solomon Crowe to battle the absolutely destructive Ascension. Unfortunately a match that all the potential of being a show stealer was cut short due to injury. Following Solomon Crowe executing a flying head scissors to Viktor both men hit the mat but Crowe didn't make it back up. He seemed to be in a great deal of pain and clutching his leg. The referee called the match and it was awarded to The Ascension. Following the bell medics and staff made there way to the ring to help the immobilized Crowe to his feet and into the back. I do not yet know the extent of the injury, I simply know it came at a bad time, when it seems as if we are finally close to a Solomon Crowe debut.

NXT Womens champ Charlotte took on fan favorite Bayley in another solid bout from the two ladies. The genetically superior champ seemed to have the match won until Sasha Banks came out and caused a distraction that would allow Bayley to land her belly-to-Bayley suplex on Charlotte for the three count.

The last of a dying breed Bull Dempsey was out next to take on the hyped Mojo Rawley. Although a lot of crowds seem to be growing weary of the Rawley gimmick, Palatka was clearly a pro-Mojo crowd. The wrecking ball Dempsey found himself in control much of the match with an arsenal of smashmouth moves but he allowed Mojo an opening which ultimately cost him the match.

The main event of the evening was a fatal four way featuring Sami Zayn vs Tyler Breeze vs Justin Gabriel vs Adrian Neville in an absolutely awesome match that foreshadowed what we have to look forward to in less than two weeks at Takeover. The bodies were flying and the crazy spots were numerous. In the final moments Zayn landed a helluva kick to Neville in the corner and went for the pin only to have Tyler Breeze yank him out of the ring and steal the victory. Great wrestling, great selling, great crowd interaction, this match was all positives. Replace Gabriel with Tyson Kidd and there is your Takeover main event, easily the best main event of all the live specials is coming your way really soon.

In the last month or so I've seen several memorable main events featuring Neville, Zayn, Breeze, and Kidd in all permutations from one on one to fatal four way. At some point all four men have been victorious. Who will walk away winner and champion on September 11th at Takeover? I offer no predictions other that the fans will be walking away very, very happy.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NXT Tampa 8-29-14

Tonight the weather in Tampa Bay was wet and humid, but inside the UADC Gymnasium the action could not have been any hotter as the athletes of NXT brought the fight back to the city where it all started. Rivalries continued and perhaps the future was foreshadowed on the road to NXT Takeover.

In the opening bout of the evening The Mechanics took on fan favorites The Vaudevillians. The two teams fought hard in a match that was a highlight of the night. The antics and showboating of Gotch and English stand in sharp contrast to the tough no nonsense team of Dawson and Wilder. The Vaudevillians are looking better every match, between the unique gimmick of Gotch and the charisma of English it's no wonder they are so over with the fans right now. However, don't overlook The Mechanics who have all the tools to make it to the top of the division and are quickly becoming a favorite of this blogger. Tonight the Vaudevillians would find themselves victorious as English pinned Wilder following an impressive senton from the second turnbuckle.

Baron Corbin made his way to the ring with an eerie intensity to take on everyones favorite hippy CJ Parker. Surprisingly Parker got in quite a bit of offense and presented Corbin with his biggest challenge since he's taken this new direction. However, it wasn't enough to faze the 6' 8” beast who easily made quick work of CJ Parker. It was a short match that was still a step up from the last few squash matches, but still did a great job of making Corbin look like a very dangerous man and a future major player.

The action continued with divas tag team action as the team of Sasha Banks and Carmella faced the surprising pairing of Becky Lynch and Kendall Skye. I've went on record before stating that I expect great things from the natural heel Carmella and the highly athletic Skye, but tonight the stars of the match were most definitely Lynch and Banks. The two continue to prove that they are indeed the future of the divas division. Despite the fact that it was a very pro-Becky crowd, the bad girls managed to snag a victory when Kendall Skye tapped to Banks Boss Lock.

Next, Solomon Crowe made his way to the ring to deliver an excellent promo. He made sure to remind us that before he made his way to this company he was a big deal, but it doesn't matter now because he is in NXT which is the best thing going on in wrestling today. He tells us he is willing to start at the bottom but he will kick in opportunities door when the time is right. Crowe appeared very comfortable behind the microphone, and the promo was an improvement upon an already good promo. Hopefully a big Crowe push is not far away.

Sylvester Lefort accompanied to the ring by Marcus Louis took on the highly charismatic Enzo Amore accompanied by Big Cass. The match began with plenty of trash talking and hijinks before referee Drake Wuertz had enough and ejected both Louis and Cass from ringside. Lefort kept control most of the match while Amore mounted offense in small bursts. In the end, the perhaps over confident Frenchmen was duped by a surprise pin leaving Amore victorious. Louis ran to the ring to commence a post match beat down before Big Colin Cassady made the save, along with the trusty bucket of hair remover. If Amore can pull this off again a mere weeks away at Takeover Lefort will lose a lot more than a match, but his head full of locks as well in a hair vs hair match.

More tag team action followed as the two man juggernaut known as The Ascension took on the team of Kalisto and Justin Gabriel. NXT has done a great job of building up The Ascension, they seem so indestructible that you never believe anyone will beat them, even a team made up of frenetic Kalisto and former Nexus member Justin Gabriel. It was a surprisingly slower paced match that saw Konnor and Viktor in control much of the match keeping the two high-fliers grounded. At one point Gabriel gave Konnor a legit busted nose which seemed to slow the match a little bit. In the closing moments of the match Kalisto found himself victim to The Fall Of Man leaving NXT tag team champs The Ascension victorious yet again.

Underdog Bayley once again went to battle with NXT womens champion Charlotte. I've seen these two compete several times now and it has become apparent that fans will be in for a treat when these two wrestle with the title on the line at Takeover. Bayley brought the fight to Charlotte but came up short in the end. Will history repeat its self at Takeover? At this point I could see it going either way.

The always hyped Mojo Rawley attempted to gain a little retribution from NXTs resident wrecking ball Bull Dempsey. It was a short match that featured a lot of back and forth action from the two big guys. The highlight of the match came when Bull performed a surprising flying head butt from the top rope giving him the pinfall victory over Mojo. I enjoyed the new offense from Dempsey.

Our main event and Takeover preview was a non-title fatal four way featuring Tyson Kidd vs Tyler Breeze vs Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville. The match started building slowly until you couldn't blink for fear of missing the action. The crowd was on the edge of their seats, and many times standing to see the bodies flying in and outside the ring. I was never too big of a Kidd fan before tonight despite his obvious athleticism, but I find myself a fan now. Kidd trying to start his own "Tyson" chant was priceless. He seems to be finding his footing in the heel role while the other three men stole the show as always. The action was fast and the jaw dropping moments were numerous. In the final chaotic moments of the night Zayn hit a helluva kick to Neville in the corner and went for the pin. Kidd pulled Zayn out of the ring by the feet and stole the pinfall victory. His celebration would be short lived though when Zayn gave him a helluva kick and ejected him from the ring. I say with confidence if these men can repeat this performance at Takeover mere weeks away we will have a match of the year contender on our hands.

Friday, August 22, 2014

NXT Largo 8-21-14

Tonight the road to takeover made a stop in Largo as the stars of NXT brought hard hitting wrestling action as only they can to The Minnreg Hall. It was an evening of continued rivalries, some fresh starts, and returning faces.

The event got under way with tag team action as The Vaudevillians took on The Mechanics in what was a highlight match of the evening. It was a fun back and forth match that showcased well the abilities of all four men. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are fast becoming one of my favorites, but on this night they were no match for NXTs manliest of tag teams. Aiden English took the win for his team with a beautifully executed senton from the second rope.

Next up I was surprised to see Solomon Crowe make his way to the ring to give a promo putting the NXT universe on notice. He made it known that he is prepared to fight his way to the top of NXT and prove that he is the best wrestler on the planet. I know I'm not the only wrestling fan that has been impatiently waiting for a Crowe push and television debut. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

The action resumed with womens tag action as Carmella and the returning Kendall Skye took on the team of Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss. It was good to see the naturally athletic Skye back in an NXT ring. I have yet to see too much of her yet, but from what I have seen her ceiling seems very high. Going forward a feud between her and Becky Lynch could be intriguing. Lynch being an extremely gifted athlete who I'm hoping ends up in the title picture sooner than later. The match ended in DQ and was awarded to Lynch and Bliss, as a double teaming Carmella and Skye failed to meet the referees five count.

A very dominating Baron Corbin continued his path of destruction decimating Steve Cutler. Cutler actually managed to get a little offense in this time, not that it was enough to even faze the big man.
Unfortunately for Cutler, it just made NXTs resident lone wolf even angrier.

Next up the realest guys in the room Enzo and Cassady took on those The Legionnaires. Furthering the story of their hair vs hair match at Takeover, Enzo came to the ring with a bucket of hair remover, much to the chagrin of the Frenchman that quickly fled the ring. The match got under way in a nice back and forth match. Lefort and Louis are absolutely great heels to the uber charismatic Cass and Enzo. Like the previous tag match, it ended in a DQ and was awarded to Cass and Enzo. The cheating Frenchmen commenced a post match beatdown on Cass when Enzo made the save with his trusty bucket chasing The Legionnaires around the ring, through the crowd and through the building.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came when Kalisto teamed with Solomon Crowe, considering we've seen these two battle so many times in the past. They took on the team of Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake. Murphy and Blake are yet another in a long line of tag teams with strong potential but tonight the better team was the odd pairing of Crowe and Kalisto who were simply on fire. It's worth noting that Crowes ring gear has changed again and it seems as if they dropped the hacker gimmick altogether. I believe the gimmick had serious potential, but regardless of how they package the man I think he is has the wrestling ability and the natural charisma to be a major player in NXT.

Bayley took on womens champ Charlotte in a non-title match. These two ladies have gotten to know each other quite well and it shows. Will these two be able to produce an instant classic at Takeover? I think so. Sasha Banks made her way out causing enough of a distraction for Bayley to land a belly to Bayley suplex on Charlotte and gain a pinfall.

Mojo Rawley made fairly quick work of Sawyer Fulton. I'm just not sold on Rawley, a man that has all the athleticism to make it, but a very limited move-set. Fulton is a man in need of a gimmick who has apparently grown a mustache and raided David Lee Roths closet. I like Fulton and I'm hoping he finds a way to get over, but this isn't it.

The main event of the evening was a fatal four way featuring CJ Parker vs Tyler Breeze vs Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville. As expected the action was fast paced with great spots from all the competitors. Parker was a nice addition to the match and added an unexpected element forming an all but temporary alliance with Prince Pretty. The match reached a dizzying crescendo of action with all four men in the ring laying each other out. It was Zayn who was the last man standing hitting a helluva kick on Adrian Neville and getting the pin. Could this be a foreshadowing of things to come in just mere weeks at Takeover?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

NXT Cocoa 8-9-14

NXT fans fought nasty weather and soaring temperatures converging on the National Guard Armory in Cocoa Fl for even hotter matches. As per usual the crowd would not be disappointed, filled with matches so good they were worth doing twice. For those who haven't read my previous post (Orlando 8-7-14) here is a quick run down of tonights matches.

Angelo Dawkins gained an upset victory over Bull Dempsey, only to suffer a post match beat down.
Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore defeated The Mechanics
Sasha Banks gave a promo concerning NXT Takeover
The Legionnaires gained another questionable win over Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake.
Tyler Breeze defeated CJ Parker
Charlotte defeated Bayley
Baron Corbin squashed Steve Cutler

The Vaudevillians defeated The Ascension. In the final moments of the night Konnor took a nasty spill out of the ring busting his head open.

In our main event NXT champ Adrian Neville pinned Sami Zayn via a 450 splash

It was a great card that did not disappoint. Here are a few thoughts at the end of a long night.

NXT faithfuls will tell you that NXT surpassed the main roster on a lot of different levels, for instance the quality of womens matches. Guaranteed you will soon hear just as many touting the quality of the tag team division as well. The division which seemed to suffer for so long is now hotter than ever, as you can tell by the number of tag matches and the quality of all the teams.

I'm enjoying the new attitude and intensity from Baron Corbin, a man who clearly has the talent and the look may have found the gimmick. Hopefully, the powers that be pull the trigger and give him a serious push soon.

All roads are leading to the next live NXT special on the WWE Network (for only 9.99) and it may have the best card yet of all the specials. The guys and girls seem to be working hard to ensure that it will be a success. Charlotte and Bayley have been putting on great matches and seem to have really developed an excellent chemistry with each other. Before it's all said and done they may just steal the show. Of course the main event of NXT Takeover is enough to sell the entire special, and anyone who has been seeing the recent house show performances by Neville, Zayn, and Breeze should be very excited.

Friday, August 8, 2014

NXT Orlando 8-7-14

The Orlando Armory was standing room only as fans anxiously anticipated another night of hard hitting wrestling action and the athletes of NXT did not fail to deliver.

The night began with Bull Dempsey taking on Angelo Dawkins. This being another in a series of matches between the two men it is apparent they are getting quite familiar with each others ring work.
Bull seems to be getting rougher and I enjoyed seeing some old fashioned heel moves like raking the face against the boot laces. The more I see Dawkins perform the more obvious his athleticism becomes, a gimmick change could really do him wonders. The winner was Dempsey via pinfall.

Next up, Big Cass and Enzo Amore competed against “The Mechanics” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. The match started off with some nice trash talking between Dawson and Amore before the action began. Amore and Cassady exude charisma and take control of a room as soon as they step through the curtains and continues into the ring. Dawson and Wilder have gelled well in a short time, they're not the flashiest team around but guaranteed they are going to be major players in the tag team division before it is all said and done. Referee Drake Wuertz awarded the match to Cass and Enzo via DQ when Wilder failed to get out of the ring. Just a little too short, but it was a fun match nonetheless.

Sasha Banks made her way to the ring for brief promo. She mentioned the upcoming NXT Takeover and voiced her unhappiness that she wasn't booked, but vowed she would make an impact. I hope so, you can't have another special event without the boss of NXT.

Tag team action continued as the team of Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake took on “The Legionnaires” Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis. I think Murphy and Blake have tons of potential (and the coolest entrance music, since the powers that be couldn't leave Crowes music alone). The Legionnaires are just great heels. In the age of “cool heels” they are classic heels who couldn't win a match without cheating if their careers depended on it. Alright, they're still pretty cool though, and they walked away with another questionable victory.

Next up, our ring announcer Jojo made her way back into the ring and took a moment to wish a happy birthday to me, your humble blogger. It was a special moment made more surreal by the select members of the crowd chanting my name. While I'm sure I was red as a beet, the wrestling nerd in me marked out quite a bit.

The action continued with CJ Parker taking on Prince Pretty himself, Tyler Breeze in an exciting match. Parker is underrated and a great antagonist, he gave a pretty good pre-match promo putting hecklers in their place with ease. Breeze of course continued to prove that he is main event caliber, winning the match via pinfall following a devastating superkick.

After a short intermission we resume the show with Divas action as everyones favorite Bayley takes on the Womens Champion Charlotte. These two who were already so good seem to be getting better at every event. They're getting their chops down for sure and I can't wait for the world to see what we are privy to see come September 11th at Takeover. The winner via pinfall was Charlotte.

Next up Baron Corbin completely squashed Steve Cutler. Corbin is completely no nonsense making his way to the ring with no entrance music. Totally focused, totally intense like an animal stalking his prey.
I've always thought Corbin had it, but this new direction is even better (and more intimidating).

We follow with more tag team action as the two most over tag teams in NXT lock up again, The Ascension and The Vaudevillians. I am a big fan of both teams, but for me, as with most people it is a foregone conclusion that The Ascension is always going to decimate their opposition. That is why I, and most fans in attendance were in absolute shock to see The Vaudevillians victorious. A great job from all four men, an epic contest with an unimaginable ending.

Our main event of the evening featured Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville. I could watch these two battle at every event and never tire of their superb ring work and excellent chemistry. In NXT these guys are main eventers, but put them on the main roster and you'll call them show stealers, guaranteed. The action was high impact and the high spots were numerous, but in the end after much back and forth action Adrian Neville won via a perfect 450 splash. Adrian Neville walks out with his head held high and the NXT strap over his shoulder, but will he be so fortunate in just three weeks?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

NXT Starke 8-2-14

NXT fans braved the weather and made their way to the National Guard Armory in Starke, Fl to see their favorite wrestlers battle in another night of hot NXT action. The matches were a repeat of the night before with little variance, but for those who have not read my previous post (Largo 8-1-14) here is a quick run down of the action.

Bull Dempsey defeated Angel Dawkins
Enzo Amore and Big Cass defeated Jason Jordan and Ty Dillinger
Mojo Rawley came out and cut a promo
The Legionnaires defeated The Mechanics
Kalisto defeated Solomon Crowe
Charlotte defeated Bayley
The Ascension defeated The Vaudevillians
Adrian Neville defeated Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze in a triple threat match

That's an impressive card by just about anyones standards. If you'd like a more detailed breakdown check out the previous post. However, upon being lucky enough to see this card again I'd like to offer a few thoughts and reflections.

First off, Solomon Crowe is money. The man formerly known as Sami Callihan may of showed up at NXT with an existing fan base, but he has also made a lot of new ones in his time here. Fans are clamoring for the NXT tv debut of Crowe. Hopefully the powers that be are paying attention.

Secondly, the tag team division has not looked this great in a long time and tonights card is evidence of that. In a short time The Mechanics have proven to have a ton of potential, meanwhile Enzo and Cass have the whole crowd in their hands the minute they step through the curtain. The Vaudevillians, who were over from day one seems to be gelling even more while The Ascension continue their reign of destruction. Throw The Legionnaires, Jordan and Dillinger, Murphy and Blake into the mix and it really starts to take shape. People who lament the state of the tag team division need not look further than NXT to see the future of the division looks very bright.

Charlotte and Bayley, who are set to clash at the NXT live special no doubt have a lot of expectations imposed upon them. The previous womens matches at Arrival and Takeover definitely raised the bar.
However, after the last couple events I have no doubt that these two ladies will produce another classic.
These two have developed a chemistry together than is resulting in a lot of great wrestling and superb spots, the previous matches are evidence. Not to mention the story of the lovable underdog taking on wrestling royalty is a story that writes its self.

Finally, the Neville/Zayn/Breeze triple threat was a pay-per-view quality match. I can only imagine what these three along with Tyson Kidd have in mind for NXT Takeover 2. I am imagining a very divided NXT arena and a match of the year contender.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

NXT Largo 8-1-14

Fans packed The Minnreg Hall in Largo, Fl for a night of NXT wrestling. There was an awesome energy in the building as the crowd anxiously anticipated the opening bell. In a rare treat Jojo beautifully performed the national anthem, and with that the action began.

Bull Dempsey continued his path of destruction making fairly short work of Angelo Dawkins in the opening contest. Bull was on his game tonight and to me seemed to be a bit more aggressive like the dying breed they compare him to. I want to like Dawkins, he has all the potential but is saddled with a gimmick that couldn't have a lower ceiling.

Next up the team of Jason Jordan and Ty Dillinger took on Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. This was a fun match with plenty of great spots and some trash talking too. The charismatic Enzo and Big Cass are simply on fire these days. Meanwhile, Dillinger and Jordan who failed really stand out as a face duo seem to be finding their footing in an antagonistic role. In the end Enzo and Big Cass were victorious.

Next up was more tag team action as The Legionnaires competed against the team of Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson, now known as The Mechanics. Some formulas will always work, and in professional wrestling one such formula is the nationalism card. Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis play the part of the cocky foreign heel perfectly and I believe they are definitely underrated. The more I see of The Mechanics the more I like them. Their offense isn't pretty but it's effective, and sometimes you just want to see a fight. Ultimately though Lefort got the win for his team, albeit with a handful of trunks.

Solomon Crowe took on Kalisto in an excellent match. Crowe controlled much of the match with a relentless and sometimes punishing style but in the end the high flying luchador got the win. These men know each other well and it shows. I'd love for this feud to make its way to NXT TV at some point hopefully sooner than later, as there are a lot of people including myself clamoring for a Crowe television debut.

Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy made their way to the ring and cut a short promo leading into the free t-shirt giveaway. It's worth noting that they are pushing them as a tag team now. They have already been tagging together but now they have matching ring gear. The NXT tag team division is looking very bright these days.

After a short intermission Devin Taylor conducted an interview with Bayley who noted that she recently pinned Charlotte and hoped to find herself with a title shot one day and maybe even the champ. Charlotte interrupted to give Bayley a reality check by mocking her and her ambitions before their non-title match began.

Charlotte continues to prove she is a total package, not only proving she is technically proficient in the ring but also great at working the crowd too. Indeed, charisma runs in the family. The always over crowd favorite Bayley was already good, but is getting better each week. I'm looking forward to a long feud with these two. A very exciting match that ended with Charlotte winning via pinfall.

Tag team champs The Ascension took on The Vaudevillians in the next match up. The team of Simon Gotch and Aiden English who have quickly become crowd favorites found themselves playing more of a heelish role against the juggernaut of Konnor and Viktor. The best part of watching The Ascension at house shows rather than tv tapings is real competition. The Vaudevillians gave them their all but in the end they fell just like all before them.

Jojo announces our triple threat main event of the evening. Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze competed in a match that would be considered a show stealer on any show or any roster, NXT or WWE. The match started a slow build with Breeze the odd man out until the momentum built into a climax of flying bodies and insane three man maneuvers off the turnbuckles. After much back and forth action with impressive wrestling from all three men Neville pinned Breeze for the win following a 450 off the top rope.

Afterwards, a disappointed Zayn picks up the NXT belt staring at it and selling a growing frustration before handing over to Neville and leaving the ring. The crowd went home happy after an excellent night of matches in Largo.