Sunday, December 7, 2014

NXT Citrus Springs 12-6-14

The stars of NXT made a last stop in Citrus Springs on their wild and painful road to NXT Takeover: REvolution. Competitors looked to establish their dominance over their enemies, while others looked to gain valuable momentum heading into the next live special looming less than a week away.

If one wants to start a night off with a bang it doesn’t get much more high energy than the team of Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. The two made their way to the ring to take on Chad Gable and Jason Jordan of Shoot Nation. Gable and Jordan took the early advantage with a few takedowns and frequent tags wisely isolating the usually explosive Murphy. Gable and Jordan worked well together punishing the Aussie until he found the only opening he needed to make the hot tag to Blake, who entered the ring on fire taking out anyone in his path. Tagging Murphy back in they finished off Gable with a suplex/neckbreaker combo allowing Murphy to take the pin. Blake and Murphy are exciting to watch and much like their adversaries The Mechanics, a throwback to great tag teams of the past. I am also excited to see how Shoot Nation develops over the coming months; Gable is a very talented prospect while the entire stable gives direction to several talented guys.

It was a largely pro-Bull Dempsey crowd in Citrus Springs as he and Solomon Crowe went head to head again in another good showing. Unfortunately for Crowe the outcome would not be much different as we witnessed another fairly one-sided bout. Crowe looked impressive with his short offensive bursts and an even more impressive bodyslam, but in the end Crowe would meet the fate so many others have. When it looked like he was finally going to turn the match around he was steamrolled by an agitated Bull Dempsey and finished off with a flying headbutt.

Mojo Rawley is out next to deliver a much hyped promo. He reveals that in two to three months he will be back in action and more hyped than ever. He’s clearly improved on the mic, but is clearly the same Mojo Rawley.

Next up Big Cass and Marcus Louis went to battle one more time. Rather than slowly agonize over removing the towel off of his bald head, a very aggressive Marcus Louis charged Cass from the opening bell and took absolute control. Cass managed short bursts of offense to no avail in this very one sided match. Even Enzo Amore would be no help as Louis laid him out too, returning to the ring to make Cass tap out once again to a necklock. It was a short but entertaining match up that furthered the tortured story of Marcus Louis. It’s interesting that just months ago both men almost seemed to be the sidekicks in their respective teams, now they are really stepping out of their partners shadows in a big way, especially Marcus Louis, whose path I never would have predicted.

Next up is another show stealing match from the ladies as Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks took on the team of Bayley and Carmella. This was a classic back and forth match that saw all four ladies shine at one point or another. The match could have went either way but tonight would belong to the good girls as Carmella made Lynch tap out to her finisher, a modified head scissors. Lynch, Bayley and Carmella all impress but at this point in time it is probably Sasha Banks who is the most well rounded women on the roster. She looks poised to become the next champion, or at the very least finally grab well deserved spotlight at Takeover.

Next up, the alpha of NXT Baron Corbin looked move up the food chain and take out prince pretty himself, Tyler Breeze. There would not be much room for showboating for Breeze who was all business, except for admonishing the referee for touching him. With no interest in being another victim of a squash, he did a good job of keeping Corbin on the defense, but not long enough. Corbin would catch Breeze on his attempt at a second superkick and snatch Breeze up for an End Of Days. It was a short but entertaining match, Breeze is a great showman all around in the ring, and Corbin continues to prove that he is capable of more than squash matches.

Old school tag team throwbacks The Mechanics took on the oldest of old school Vaudevillains in yet another great tag match. Early control of the match went to Gotch and English who clearly had the crowd behind them, but the wily Mechanics proved that they too are serious contenders for the tag team title scene by taking control. Dawson and Wilder made frequent tags and kept English isolated from a frantic and fired up Gotch on the ring apron. However when the hot tag was made the Vaudevillians quickly cleaned house, allowing English to land a running spinning neckbreaker on Dawson for the win. The Mechanics get better every week. While they are two tough guys ready to fight, they’re not afraid to be silly either, whether with their brotherly squabbling or being the butt of the joke. Meanwhile, fans love The Vaudevillians no matter how they are booked.

CJ Parker faced off against Ty Dillinger one more time. Luckily we were spared any dance-off (seriously, leave that stuff on Monday Night Raw) and were treated to a very good back and forth match that showcased both underrated wrestlers very well. After a hard fought match Dillinger looked to finish it with a frogsplash only to have Parker put up his knees, allowing him to plant Ty with a facebuster. It was a great effort by both men. As silly as it is, the talented Ty Dillinger is owning his gimmick, and that makes a big difference.

Our main event was a non-title fatal four way match featuring Sami Zayn vs Finn Balor vs Viktor vs Adrian Neville. From the start Viktor and Finn quickly jumped into battle while Zayn and Neville zeroed in on each other. But as it goes in four ways, it would quickly evolve into chaos with every one striking anything that moves. There were too many sick spots and too many close calls to count. In the closing moments Zayn caught Neville for an Exploder Suplex, but a moment a hesitation cost him as Neville was able to roll him up for a quick pin. I had the pleasure of catching these four men square off a few days prior in Orlando, but I would gladly sit through this one several more times. It’s worth noting that although Neville is champ, Zayn is much beloved, and Balor comes with much deserved hype, that Viktor refused to be outshined here and proved he is just as comfortable and capable in a singles main event as he is a tag team match. However this night was about Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn, as the champ stood over a defeated Zayn and scoffed at his “road to redemption”. The only thing is for sure is that NXT Takeover: REvolution is only days away and his road is indeed coming to an end. The only question is will there be gold at the end of his journey?


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