Friday, November 21, 2014

NXT Tampa 11-20-14

The stars of NXT took the fight to the UADC Gymnasium in Tampa a mere three weeks away from Takeover: REvolution. The weather was cold but the action would be hotter as fans piled into the building to watch their favorite wrestlers do battle and gain valuable momentum headed into the next live special.

Our opening bout of the evening saw Elias Sampson take on the unpleasant task of trying to defeat Baron Corbin. The as of yet unstoppable Corbin comes out to much fanfare, it's obvious the crowd is behind him. Sampson would not go down without a fight though, hesitantly at first and quickly realizing locking up with the big guy was the wrong approach. Baron Corbin looked to make quick work of Sampson but an explosive knee to the face out of nowhere toppled the big guy and gave Elias a surprising advantage. Sampson began wearing down Corbin but to no avail as Corbin found an opening and gained instant and unstoppable momentum before laying out Sampson with an “End Of Days” for the pin. Brutal offense is Corbins calling card, but it's nice to see him wrestling longer matches and selling other peoples offense. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Elias Sampson who so far has done his best to maximize his limited ringtime.

Next up is CJ Parker vs Solomon Crowe in a very entertaining match. It was a back and forth nail biter of a match that saw both men garner a fair share of offense. However, when Crowe was in control, he was undeniably in total control with his erratic and explosive style with CJ selling like no other. A clothesline that nearly turned CJ inside out followed by an attempted Stretch Muffler seemed to spell the end for Parker, however if this hippie is anything he is crafty. Parker avoided disaster and turned things around planting Crowe with a facebuster for the win. Parker is doing something right because he probably gathers more heat than anyone in NXT. Crowe is looking great in the ring, hopefully he can rebound from his string of losses sooner than later.

Apparently, Shoot Nation has been recruiting because they made their way to the ring as a group of five to give a promo. The group now consists of Chad Gable, Sawyer Fulton, Angelo Dawkins and newest members Jason Jordan and Tucker Knight. The leader of Shoot Nation Chad Gable takes the mic to address the crowd informing us that they are real wrestlers of accomplishment and not just “guys with a dream” like those in the back. He continues that they are there to destroy their dreams and dominate the locker room. I've been sold on Gable since the first time I saw him perform earlier this year, but it's good to see he is also proficient on a microphone. While I admit this stable may not help with the Kurt Angle comparisons, I for one am personally very interested in Shoot Nation. It's a great way to showcase Gable, and also gives direction to the other talented members.

The evening continues with tag team action in a show stealing match as The Mechanics took on Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. The fan favorites Blake and Murphy take early control of the match with a fast pace and frequent tags. These guys are exciting to watch with their frenetic styles and synchronized tag team styling, but the team of Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson aren't slouches either. The Mechanics would soon take control with their smashmouth offense that may not be pretty but is surely effective, and fun to watch as well. The two roughnecks managed to cut off Blake from his partner wearing him down for a good while before he made his break and made the hot tag to a super fired up Buddy Murphy. Things looked to be turning around for their team but if The Mechanics are anything they are wily and managed to snag the victory. All I can say to people who lament the dire state of tag team wrestling is go check out an NXT house show. I'm very high on both teams and can't wait to see them battling for gold one day.

Next up is Tyler Breeze vs Hideo Itami which quickly ended in a DQ. The match began slowly with each man feeling each other out and Breeze looking to avoid the lethal kicks of Itami. Breeze took early control attempting to keep Hideo grounded. Not long after Hideo began to turn things around The Ascension ran in and began to beatdown the surprised Hideo. Breeze made his way to his feet and joined them, all three men now decimating Hideo. Then out next perhaps the most unlikely team to make the save, Big Cass and Enzo hit the ring to even the odds and rid the ring of The Ascension and Breeze. After a short intermission we are informed that there will indeed be a six man tag later in the evening.

The next bout consisted of Kalisto taking on Simon Gotch accompanied to the ring by Aiden English.
Very early into the match up English was ejected from ringside by the referee but not before causing a distraction and giving his teammate the advantage. Gotch controlled the pace of the match keeping his smaller opponent grounded. The very resilient Kalisto proved he is a very difficult man to keep down and mounted his usual dazzling offense. Aiden English ran back and leaped to the ring apron to distract Kalisto who in turn launched Gotch into him instead. A dazed and confused Simon Gotch turned to find Kalisto launching into him with a corkscrew body press for the win. This was a short match that did it's job of advancing the feud between the two teams, of course it would help if Sin Cara was actually here to be a part of a supposed tag team feud. After the match an irate Vaudevillians beat down the luchadore before English grabs a mic and declares that the titles will be theirs on December 11th.

The evening continued with womens wrestling action as the champ Charlotte took on Sasha Banks in an excellent non-title match. Once again the women tore down the house in a match that could have went either way on several occasions. First friends and now opponents these women know each other well, and they proved it as they traded offense and counter after counter. Charlotte looked to have the match won until the savvy Banks seized an opening and issued a “Bank Statement”, a backstabber rolled over into a crossface, and a truly awesome move to see. The champ had no choice but to tap giving the victory to Sasha Banks. Charlotte herself to be a worthy champion and has gotten so far in such short time, but one has to wonder if Banks simply has her number. We'll see in three weeks when the championship is on the line.

Next out to the ring is the truly odd pairing of Big Cass, Enzo, and Hideo. As usual, no one can fire up a crowd like Enzo Amore who runs through his usual monologue, except after Hideo helps them “spell it out for us”. Out next is the even more odd pairing, first out of the curtain are The Ascension followed by Tyler Breeze who is actually doing his best Ascension impression all the way to the ring (stopping to do a selfie along the way, of course) scowling and walking tough to the heavy metal riff of the Ascensions theme music. Konnor and Viktor slide in the ring to strike their signature pose with Tyler sliding in to strike a pose with them. In this wacky sport of professional wrestling we are used to seeing ultra violence peppered with the absurd or silly, but I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed till I cried at a wrestling show, if ever. The reluctant Ascension didn't look as pleased, I'll never know how they kept straight faces. Tyler and Enzo start the match and the shenanigans continue, at one point Cass, Enzo, and Hideo all struck the typical Breeze pose on the turnbuckles. Tired of being bested by Amore, Tyler made the tag to Konnor and that is when things got serious. The three made frequent tags punishing the isolated Amore from his partners allowing him to do what he does best which is play the underdog. Eventually Amore made the hot tag to Hideo and as these matches do it evolved into chaos in the climactic closing moments. Itami found himself alone in the ring with The Ascension but would quickly prove that sometimes he doesn't even need a partner as the lightening fast Hideo laid waste to both men before laying Viktor out with a superkick for the win.

Our main event of the evening is a non-title match with Sami Zayn taking on NXT champion Adrian Neville. I've said it before, I could watch these guys wrestle every night of the week and they would not disappoint. Tonight was no exception as the two so perfectly matched wrestlers looked to outdo each other. The slow heel turn of Adrian Neville seems to be picking up speed for sure and that dynamic is just proving to make things more interesting between the two. Neville seemed more arrogant, and more phased by the crowds Sami chants. When in the ring though all notions of good guy and bad guy go out the window and it's pure back and forth poetry in motion between the two competitors. After a grueling match that seemed to be swinging in the favor of Neville he found himself the victim of an exploder suplex followed by a helluva kick allowing Sami Zayn the victory.

Three weeks from now these two will meet with the title on the line once again. If tonight is any indication time is running out for Neville, and the road to redemption for Sami Zayn is finally reaching its climactic end.

1 comment:

  1. Good write up! EXCELLENT show last night. I was especially impressed with Sasha Banks--she worked us up into a frenzy!