Sunday, February 22, 2015

NXT Cocoa, 2-21-15

Saturday night it was standing room only at the National Guard Armory in Cocoa, Fl. The raucous crowd filled the room with a vibrant energy as they waited to see their favorite NXT stars do battle in the squared circle.

In the opening match Chad Gable takes on newcomer Michael Carter (formerly Mike Rawlis). The Olympian Gable starts things off with some excellent grappling and takedowns. Gable controlled the early goings and did it with ease, despite the size difference between the two. However, a fist is a good equalizer and Carter put an end to the grappling with a punch and took control of the match. Carter relied mostly on strikes and power moves, employing his strength advantage. His offense would come to an abrupt halt though due to a surprise roll-up giving Gable the pinfall victory. I’ve only seen Carter wrestle a handful of times now but he seems more confident with each outing. Chad Gable is a lot of fun to watch and I have no doubt with proper booking he can go very far.

Next up, The Mechanics take on Big Cass and Enzo Amore. The match starts off with plenty of trash talking and shenanigans, at the end of which Amore and Dawson start boxing it out. With that Amore gets the advantage as he and Cass work over Dawson. Eventually, thanks to a distraction from Wilder, The Mechanics managed to take control and work over Amore. When Dawson and Wilder are in control is when they are the most fun to watch, they’re not the flashiest tag team but they are as fluid as any other, working perfectly in tandem. Conversely, Enzo Amore is at his best when playing the underdog which he did until he created the opening to tag in his partner. Big Cass burst into the ring and cleared house, ejecting Dawson and dropping Wilder with a swinging side slam. He followed tossing Amore off the top turnbuckle for a splash onto Wilder for the pin.

The Vaudevillians are out next, seemingly rejuvenated with their old music and playing up to the crowd. They insist the Blake and Murphy are not gentleman, but rather thieves and philanderers. Firstly, for trying to steal Carmella from Cass and Enzo. Secondly, for stealing the tag team title opportunity from them. They promised to rectify that later in the evening. It’s great to see The Vaudevillians in a face role again.

Next is Jason Jordan takes on Solomon Crowe. Jordan takes the immediate power advantage over Crowe, who comes back with a quick flurry before Jordan shuts him down again. Wisely Jordan attempts to slow down the pace of the match with a series of rest holds followed by tossing Crowe around in a series of slams. Later, Crowe found an opening and fought back with a series of stiff punches and kicks. He then topped it off with a stretch muffler to which Jordan tapped out almost immediately. Crowe is explosive and exciting to watch, now that they have finally unleashed him it is only a matter of time before he becomes a part of an increasingly crowded main event scene.

Our next match is Tyler Breeze taking on Baron Corbin. Prince Pretty cautiously approaches Corbin and the two lock up for a moment and break cleanly. Breeze then rolls out of the ring starting his own “I’m the best!” chants while taking a victory lap around the ring. The referee gets Breeze back in and they lock up yet again for another clean break, at which point Breeze repeats his hijinks outside of the ring. Upon a third time, Corbin chased him back into the ring and the fight was on. Corbin nailed Breeze with a quick succession of moves that sent Breeze flying to the edge of the ring. Corbin baseball slides out of the ring, but rather than punch his opponent (like he normally would right then), he took the time to take a selfie with Tylers phone before slugging him. The two ended up brawling outside and Breeze ended up launching Corbin into the ringpost, seemingly turning things around for Breeze. Despite a brief bit of offense, the gorgeous one couldn’t seem to garner any real offense against Corbin. Baron made a comeback and looked to be finishing it with an End Of Days, but Breeze again rolled out of the ring and opted to be counted out giving Corbin the victory.

We follow with womens wrestling action as Bayley takes on Becky Lynch in another excellent contest between the two. These two have developed quite a chemistry and it shows by the amount of back and forth action when these two wrestle. The early advantage went to Bayley, but Becky quickly turned things around. First with a Bexplex and then a trifecta of leg drops, after which she began working the arm of her nemesis. Bayley makes a spirited comeback hitting a lot of her signature offense. Becky fights back but is caught by a Belly-to-Bayley from out of nowhere giving her one more victory over Lynch.

Next, Hideo Itami takes on Finn Balor. Like their match the previous night, this was a back and forth contest that had the entire crowd on the edge of their seat. Both men are similar in a lot of ways but it was Balor who looked to be trying to ground Hideo. Fired up, Itami keeps coming back though eventually landing a number of strikes and stiff kicks to Balor. They run the ropes and Balor counters Itami with a slingblade, followed by a running front dropkick. He then finished off with the Coup De Grace, his double foot stomp off the top rope giving him the pinfall victory. Afterwards, the match ended like it began; with a handshake. Hideo is over with the crowd, but Finn Balor is on fire.

The tag team titles are defended next as Blake and Murphy take on The Vaudevillains. This match was much like their previous encounter the night before with Gotch and English taking early advantage with a lot of their signature spots. They dominated the champs in the early goings until a blind tag gave the champs the advantage. At that point they targeted the leg of English and worked him over well before he managed to make the hot tag to Gotch who attempted to clear the ring, but Blake and Murphy managed to thwart his onslaught, landing a brainbuster followed by a frogsplash from Blake for the win.

Our main event was Kevin Owens vs Adrian Neville. I’ve seen these two wrestle several times now and could watch it several more. With the speed advantage Neville took control early on with a flurry of moves before Owens caught him and slowed down the pace. He punished Neville and seemed to relish it, gloating and mocking the crowd. Neville fights back, Owens catches his kick but Neville counters with an enziguri followed by a standing moonsault. After a pin attempt the two make it to their feet and Neville hits Owens with a superkick right on the button, followed by another kick out. Again on their feet Owens nails Neville with a pumphandle neckbreaker then ascends the ropes for a senton, but Neville counters with his knees. Soon after Neville goes up top for a 450 but Owens dodges. Both men are on their feet and Neville runs right into a pop-up powerbomb giving Owens the pin and one more victory.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NXT Starke 2-20-15

Still reeling from the last Takeover event just over a week earlier, the stars of NXT made their way to the National Guard Armory in Starke, Fl for another night of exciting wrestling action. It was a packed house and the elite athletes of NXT would make sure no one went home disappointed.

The night starts off with tag team action as “Shoot Nation” Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins take on Big Cass and Enzo accompanied to the ring by Carmella. Enzo starts things for his team and is easily out-grappled by Angelo. Cass comes in to even the odds for his team, but it wouldn’t be long before Shoot Nation takes things over spending much time punishing Amore, with Dawkins at one point delivering a hellacious spear to Amore that nearly broke him in half. Still yet, the ultimate underdog managed to eventually make the hot tag to Cass who quickly shifted the momentum delivering a ring shaking swinging side slam to Angelo and assisting Amore with a splash off the top rope for the pin. Dawkins and Fulton have become a really good team and work well in tandem, but obviously Cass and Enzo are extremely over and it’s that wave of crowd adulation that will carry them further for now.

Next up, Jason Jordan challenges the lone wolf of NXT Baron Corbin. Early on Baron starts especially strong and fired up but Jordan is determined not to be a statistic in another squash match. He manages to turn the tide. Jordan is perhaps deceptively strong and easily matches strength with Corbin, even throwing him around at times. Corbin begins to get fired up and mount a comeback and at that point it is only a matter of a few moves before he lays out Jordan with the End Of Days. Baron Corbin is much more fun to watch outside of tv tapings, while creative seems to endlessly change the direction of Jason Jordan.

The Vaudevillians make their way to the ring next with their old happy “good guys” theme, while obviously playing to the crowd. The two cut a promo on Blake and Murphy and declared that they would win the tag team titles later tonight. Whether good guys or bad guys, it seems the majority of the NXT universe cheered for Gotch and English regardless, still yet they seemed to be losing a lot of momentum as heels. They seem rejuvenated now, as does the interest from the crowd.

Next up was a highlight match of the night as two wrestlers I have high hopes for in 2015 faced off. Solomon Crowe took on Chad Gable. Early on the Olympian Chad Gable attempted to take the advantage with some nice take downs but Crowe wouldn’t make it easy and brought the fight right back to him with smashmouth offense. Crowe attempted to end it early with a Boing Splash (a rope assisted “snapback” splash), but Gable kicked out and eventually took the advantage working over the arm of Crowe. It wouldn’t be enough to keep Crowe down as he fought back with a series of strikes and kicks, ultimately contorting Gable into a stretch muffler for a submission victory. Both these guys are so much fun to watch for totally different reasons, Crowe for his stiff, explosive style, and Gable for his exceptional grappling skills. I still expect big things from these two. 

The night continues with Tyler Breeze taking on Sami Zayn. Prince Pretty was in no hurry to get this match started and kept rolling out of the ring to escape Zayn. Eventually, when Breeze rolled out one side, Zayn exited the other and hopped the barricade to hide from Breeze behind a fan. As Tyler made his way around the ring looking for his opponent Zayn struck and the fight was on. What transpired was a nicely paced back and forth contest as these two have developed a good chemistry together over the last year. Things went south for Breeze when he exposed a turnbuckle but referee Drake Wuertz busted him. Breeze evaded the ref and ran up to sneak attack Zayn only to run right into an exploder suplex. With Breeze staggered in the corner, Zayn followed with his Helluva kick for the pin.

Speaking of opponents who know each other well, Bayley took on Becky Lynch in another nicely paced back and forth match. Eventually Lynch took the lead landing a Bexplex and some signature leg drops. She focused her attack on the arm of Bayley, working in some nice armlocks. The more Lynch is allowed to shine in NXT the more impressive her offense gets, as evidenced by some of the impressive submissions she has been utilizing lately. However with the crowd in her corner, the underdog Bayley managed to mount a comeback and landing a Belly-To-Bayley from out of nowhere for the pin.

Finn Balor and Hideo Itami respectfully started off their match with a handshake, but after that it was all business. Both these men are not only exceptional, but are so evenly matched and proved so with each man looking strong and each man getting in signature offense. Early advantage went to Hideo, and surprisingly it was Balor looking to slow the pace and ground the fired up Itami. After several kicks, strikes, and reversals it was Balor who dropkicked Itami into the corner and then followed with his double stomp from the top turnbuckle for the pin. Both men are impressive, but Balor is clearly connecting with fans in a big way both at Full Sail and at house shows.

Next, the tag titles are on the line as The Vaudevillians challenge Blake and Murphy. Back to their good guy personas The Vaudevillians dominated the early goings while engaging the crowd with some of their popular antics, such as the leg squat or push up spots. With the crowd behind them the two made frequent tags and kept the champs struggling to keep up. Finally, Murphy makes a blind tag to Blake giving them a big enough opening to swing the momentum back in their favor. The two keep English isolated, punishing him and working the leg. Eventually, English makes the hot tag to Gotch and things begin to look up for the gentleman grapplers. Gotch enters the ring like a man possessed knocking down anyone in his path and hoists Murphy onto his shoulders for a rolling senton. English looks to follow with a senton bomb off the top turnbuckle but Murphy rolls out of the way. Murphy counters with a running brainbuster and Blake seals the deal with a frogsplash for the pin.

Our main event of the evening was a match that could easily headline about anywhere in the world as Adrian Neville took on NXT champ Kevin Owens. In the early goings Owens attempted to dictate the pace of the match by frequent ring exits, but when Neville finally gained control it was a flurry of kicks like only Neville could deliver. Owens countered slowing the pace and seemingly relishing in punishing Neville. The two battled on with victory seemingly in hand for both men on several occasions. In the final moments Owens landed a senton bomb off the top turnbuckle yet Neville fought on. Moments later Neville fended off a superplex attempt and looked to follow with a 450 splash to a grounded Owens who rolled out of the way. The two make it to their feet and Neville lands a beautiful superkick which fails to drop the big man. Neville springs off the ropes and right into Owens pop-up powerbomb for the pin. It was a great match from two great athletes. Neville consistently proves why he has been the man in NXT for so long and is going to be sorely missed when he heads up to the main roster. Kevin Owens is possibly the best heel in the business right now, and is will likely prove the naysayers wrong by becoming the man not just in NXT, but on the main roster one day as well.

Friday, February 20, 2015

NXT Full Sail TV Taping 2-18-15

Wrestling junkies piled into the Full Sail University arena to see yet another round of tv tapings that would take NXT well into April. The following article contains spoilers for February 18th tapings.

The dark match saw The Vaudevillians face off against The Mechanics in a short but entertaining tag team match. After a strong opening, the match saw Dawson and Wilder dominating Aiden English for much of the match until he managed to make the hot tag to Simon Gotch who came in and cleaned house. With Dash Wilder isolated, Gotch hit an uppercut to the back of the head followed by a running spinning neckbreaker by English for the pin. The Vaudevillians, who have been losing a lot of momentum as heels, seem to be playing to the crowd again. Meanwhile, Dawson and Wilder are so underutilized in NXT that is becoming increasingly frustrating. Hopefully though, wrestling dark matches is an indication that they are at least finally headed in the right direction.

Episode 1

We open with Finn Balor making short work of Ty Dillinger, who offered little offense. In a match that was not very far off from a squash, Balor finished off Dillinger with his trademark double stomp off of the turnbuckle. After the match, Tyler Breeze addressed Balor via video referring to him as a flavor of the month and assuring him he would meet his match in Prince Pretty.

Next up is Charlotte vs Bayley vs Becky Lynch to determine the number one contender for the womens title. The match starts off fast paced as Bayley and Charlotte immediately pounce on Lynch, only to toss her from the ring and turn on each other. Becky makes her way back into the ring and ejects Charlotte and focusing on the knee of Bayley, eventually locking Bayley into a leg lock submission before Charlotte makes the save. Incredible back and forth action continues until Charlotte takes charge. With Lynch laid out Charlotte locks Bayley into a Figure Four Leg Lock. Before Bayley can tap out, Becky crawls over and drapes herself across Bayley for the pin.

We continue with another short match as CJ Parker takes on Hideo Itami. Through the match Parker managed to mount bursts of offense only to be thwarted by Itami at every turn and eventually dropped by a running single leg drop kick.

Up next is a squash match in the purest sense as Rhyno makes his way to the ring with a huge pop. The ECW legend ran through an unnamed wrestler in less than a minute, finishing him off with a brutal gore.

 In the episodes final match, Alex Riley takes on the man that goaded him back into the ring, Kevin Owens. With strong support from the crowd Riley starts out strong bringing the fight right to the champ. The champ fires back and controls the pace of the match for much of the duration. Riley doesn’t give up and mounts a comeback that sends the champ reeling. Riley ascends the rope for a high risk maneuver but Owens knocks him off. Owens follows with a cannonball senton and then a pop-up powerbomb for the victory. After, Owens cuts his celebration short to continue beating down Riley. Outside the ring Owens prepares to execute a powerbomb into the ring apron, the same maneuver that put out Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville. Before he can take Riley out Sami Zayn runs down to make the save and the melee begins. Owens and Zayn brawl outside the ring until referees and then other wrestlers come out to separate the two. A fired up Zayn hits the ring and then leaps off the turnbuckle with a huge swanton dive taking out Owens and everyone else in his way. Sami Zayn is back and the crowd can’t wait for this feud to continue.

Episode 2
Ty Dillinger starts off another episode this time taking on former partner Jason Jordan. Dillinger starts off hot but Jordan cools him down as the two are actually pretty evenly matched. Eventually the strength advantage and he finished off Dillinger with an emphatic Olympic slam. The losing streak continues for Ty Dillinger, but at this point I am just happy that he is getting tv time. The direction of Jason Jordan seems to change quite frequently these days, I’m assuming he’s done with Shoot Nation as he hasn’t been involved with them at house shows in quite some time either.

Next up Emma takes on Bayley in an evenly matched contest. Emma didn’t seem to be her usual bubbly self, at times coming off down right unenthused and at other times slightly aggressive hinting at a possible heel turn. The diva from down under had the match swinging in her favor when Bayley reversed a pin from out of nowhere for the victory.

Tag team action is up next as Blake and Murphy take on The Lucha Dragons that featured some impressive high spots you would expect from Kalisto and Sin Cara. However Blake and Murphy who were already explosive and exciting to watch in their own right, are starting to exude a confidence as champs and it showed here. The two took control and finished off an isolated Sin Cara with a brainbuster from Murphy followed by a beautiful frog splash from Blake for the pin.

Sami Zayn is out next to much fanfare to let us know in no uncertain terms that he is going to invoke his rematch clause. However simply though, at the top of his priority list is to “kick Kevin Owens ass!”

Next up, Rhyno destroys another jobber in practically less time than it took him to get to the ring. After the match he grabs a mic and lets the crowd know that he is here to make a statement. He also says it doesn’t matter who the champ is that the results will be the same, they will be ripped in half with a gore.

The main event of this episode is Tyler Breeze taking on Hideo Itami in a two out of three falls match. These two have spent much time in the ring together and their chemistry shows. Not far into the match a fired up Hideo laid out Breeze with a single leg kick for the first fall. Afterwards as the ref tended to Breeze to start the second fall, he suckered Itami with a Beauty Shot for an immediate second fall. Wasting no momentum Breeze continued his onslaught against a dazed Hideo and attempted to finish it quickly however Itami would not make it easy as the two contested an excellent third fall of the match. Itami began to mount an impressive offense and looked to finish with another single leg kick which Breeze ducked and countered with a Beauty Shot for the win.

Episode 3

This episode starts off with a smashmouth match as Solomon Crowe makes his most impressive television outing yet against the loudmouth CJ Parker. This was a very physical match with a lot of great offense from both men. However with the crowd on his side and an unstoppable momentum Crowe was on fire, as evidenced by a suicide dive delivered with a vengeance. Parker slowed him down but Crowe fired back eventually contorting his opponent into a Stretch Muffler for the submission victory. An impressive match for both men, but that much more for the winner, Solomon Crowe.

Next, Baron Corbin makes short work of Steve Cutler in another squash match. NXT is not doing Corbin any favors by putting him back into squash matches, and it’s certainly giving naysayers more ammunition. That’s a shame, considering people who have seen him at house shows know he is capable of doing more. Hopefully, a meaningful feud is right around the corner.

We continue with tag team action as Cass and Enzo take on Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton of Shoot Nation. It’s worth noting that the latter are still not introduced on tv as Shoot Nation and even their theme is an instrumental version. Dawkins and Fulton have gelled really well at house shows and become a good team but tonight would not be their night. After punishing the much smaller Amore for much of the match he finally made the hot tag to Cass who cleared the ring and took out Dawkins with a swinging side slam, followed by an assisted splash from Enzo for the win. Perhaps the most fun part of the match was amid the action when a sheepish looking Blake and Murphy came out to give Carmella flowers. Honestly, she didn’t seem to mind.

Next, Ol’ Bluepants took on the debuting Dana Brooke. The experience factor came into play and Bluepants carried the majority of the offense, but the strength of Brooke became her advantage as she simply overpowered Bluepants and finished her with a front sitout slam.

Sami Zayn returned to action in an excellent nail-biter of a contest with Rhyno. It was speed vs power in this back and forth contest that had the very vocal crowd on the edge of their seat. Eventually Rhyno began taking Zayn apart, but a fired up Zayn mounted a comeback eventually even hoisting up the big guy for a Blue Thunder Powerbomb. The momentum swayed back and forth through many near falls. Finally Zayn narrowly avoided a Gore that sent Rhyno tumbling into the corner setting him up perfectly for a Helluva Kick from Zayn for the victory.

Episode 4
We start with a match for the womens title as Alexa Bliss challenges the champion Sasha Banks. Much of the crowd was confused as to why Bliss was challenging for the title as opposed to new number one contender Becky Lynch, and it was never explained live. A good match transpired nonetheless as Bliss took the fight to the champ in a nice back and forth match. At one point Bliss took to the top turnbuckle for her Sparkle Splash when Banks knocked her off and immediately pounced with a crossface giving Bliss no choice but to tap.

Our second match of the episode and our main event was a match that could have easily headlined any NXT live special, Finn Balor vs Kevin Owens for the NXT title. The two took the fight right to each other and Owens got the early advantage wearing Balor down. Early on he attempted a powerbomb on the outside but luckily Balor countered and quickly claimed the advantage. It would be fleeting though as the much larger and stronger champ fired back. The two traded offense for over thirty minutes in a match that often brought the crowd to their feet. The match would hit a turning point when Balor would attempt a corner drop kick that Owens narrowly avoided, which left Balor crashing into the corner hurting his leg. Owens quickly focused his attack on the leg with a running senton directly on the limb followed by a half crab. The two fought on and Balor mounted more offense, eventually avoiding another cannonball from Owens and sending him into the corner with a dropkick. Balor climbed the ropes and landed his double leg double stomp, but with his already injured limb it did considerable damage to him as well. Eventually the two men stumbled to their feet and Balor walked right into a pop-up powerbomb from Owens for the win. Another MOTY contender for Owens, a first loss for Balor, and a total win-win for the crowd who witnessed it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Believe In Wrestling, Orlando 2-14-15

Saturday night fans crammed into the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando Florida to see the hungry athletes of I Believe In Wrestling give their all and settle some scores, while starting some new feuds along the way.

Our opening contest saw Chasyn Rance take on Jason Cade accompanied to the ring by Lince Dorado. In the early goings the two seemingly evenly matched competitors put on a clinic with enough grappling and reversals to satisfy wrestling purists and to make it one of the highlights of the evening. Eventually the more experienced and perhaps more aggressive Rance began to take control, but Cade kept coming eventually knocking Cades head off with an enziguri and brutal double foot stomp to the gut. Rance came back with some impressive offense of his own including a superplex and a jaw shattering superkick but yet he couldn’t pin Cade. With the referees back turned a frustrated Rance attempted to expose the turnbuckle but Dorado stopped him, thus allowing enough of a distraction for Cade to roll up Rance for a surprise pin. Afterwards Cade laid out Rance allowing Dorado to perform a perfect shooting star press to add insult to injury.

Next up, Mike Reed took on Tyranus. Reed gave up a lot of size to the mountainous Tyranus but that didn’t stop him from bringing the fight right to his opponent. Clearly there is bad blood between these two as the match that transpired was a largely a smashmouth brawl. Slams and strikes between these two were a plenty before Reed began to take the advantage over his larger adversary. Tyranus attempted a comeback, but the cunning and perhaps experience of Reed paid off and he managed to finish his off Tyranus with a spinning side slam for the victory.

Ring announcer Trevin Adams introduces Santana Garrett (formerly Brittany in TNA). First he congratulates her on her recent victory to become the new NWA World Womens Champion. He then asks her about tonights main event, an inter-gender hair vs hair match against Josh Hess. She ends the interview by stating that Hess should get a hat.

The evening continues with triple threat action the very cocky and confident Chico Adams takes on Team Dojos resident redneck Joey Mayberry and The Lounge Lizard Maxwell Chicago. You couldn’t find more diverse personalities here if you tried, but regardless Mayberry and Adams managed to form an alliance against Maxell Chicago (hilariously sporting “tuxedo” style full body tights). Chicago valiantly battle back against the numbers game to little avail. However as it almost always goes in triple threat matches the alliance is short lived and it wasn’t long before Mayberry and Adams turned on each other. Some great spots in this match including a great looking Rock Bottom from the odds on favorite in the match Chico Adams, along with Joey Mayberry making a fiery comeback after guzzling his bottle of Mountain Dew. In the end it was an unexpected distraction from Mayberrys sister that allowed Maxwell Chicago to roll up Adams for the pin.

Next up Josh Parker took on Brandon Scherer in a very surprisingly one-sided match. Scherer gave up a big weight advantage to Parker, but managed to stay one step ahead in this match with speed and just plain more aggression. With the crowd in his corner Parker played the underdog well and mounted a comeback with a huge splash in the corner that nearly flattened Scherer. Again, Brandon Scherer gained control, first with a jaw shattering superkick followed by a violent looking corkscrew moonsault for the victory. Afterwards he took the mic and says the match everyone wants to see is him vs Rhett Giddins, but Rhett is ducking him and is nowhere to be found. Ring announcer Trevin Adams lets us know that in two weeks Rhett Giddens will return.

Next up, Adams brings out Josh Hess to ask about the main event. Hess, who is confident on the microphone, tells us that this is the match that no one wanted to happen, not I Believe, and not the board of the NWA, but assures us that in the end Santana Garrett will be bald.

The action continues with CJ O’Doyle taking on Gabriel Black. The bell rings and the two start brawling and then it is Black who takes early control of the match. O’Doyle quickly turns thing around and punishes Black for much of the match. Black mounts a comeback with a swinging neck breaker and a running knee strike that would seemingly bring him a win. However after an impressive enziguri and ddt, followed by a series of forearms and an exclamatory European uppercut would put O’Doyle at a decisive advantage as he locked Gabriel Black into a Half Crab submission for the tap-out victory.

Next, the night is interrupted by Justin Michaels, manager of The Dirty Damn Outlaws. He says that in two weeks they will defeat Lince Dorado and Jason Cade in the finals of the tournament to become the new Florida Tag Team Champions. Like Hess, Michaels is confident on the mic and not afraid to berate the crowd when need be.

Next, The WWC Puerto Rican Champion Jesus Rodriguez (formerly Ricardo Rodriguez) defends his title against Aaron Epic in an entertaining semi-main event. The two opponents approached each other cautiously at first with a series of grapples before the pace began to build. Epic being the smaller of the two, it was interesting to see Rodriguez fly about while Epic attempted to slow the pace. There were a lot of great spots in this match including some great fast paced strikes and lucha offense from Rodriguez, but Epic would not be outdone countering with some serious power moves and a superkick that made the audience collectively cringe. In the end Rodriguez would get a roll-up pin from out of nowhere for the pin to retain his title. Afterwards both men would shake hands.

Our main event of the evening is up next, an inter-gender hair vs hair match featuring NWA World Womens Champion Santana Garrett vs Josh Hess. In the early goings Santana uses her speed and agility to her advantage while engaging in some impressive grappling with Hess. The action was back and forth until Hess took advantage of a distracted referee and faked being kicked in the groin, before using the advantage to sneak attack Garrett and take control. This is where the power advantage of Hess comes into play and he takes control, while trying to thwart the occasional comebacks by Garrett. Eventually she mounts a comeback and sends Hess tumbling outside of the ring, where she performs a baseball slide into Hess sending him barreling into the barricade and the two began to brawl outside of the ring, at one point Garrett sending Hess into the crowd and practically into the lap of your humble blogger. The two made it back into the ring and Hess regains control. He attempts a kick to the face of Santana but she ducks and he nails the referee instead. With the referee knocked out a frustrated Hess grabs the hair clippers, when the gigantic Mister Saint Laurent hits the ring and delivers an earth shattering Michinoku Driver to Hess, allowing Santana a handspring moonsault for the pin.

Afterwards, an exuberant roster came out and held down Hess for his new haircut sending the crowd home happy and marking an unforgettable night at the Team Vision Dojo.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

NXT Ft Pierce 2-13-15

Mere days removed from NXT Takeover: Rival fans packed into the Havert L Fenn Center in Ft Pierce, Fl to see what exactly was next for the stars of NXT. It was a night of new chapters and new rivalries and fans would not leave disappointed.

Our opening contest saw the Olympian Chad Gable taking on newcomer Mike Rawlis. Gable made his way to the ring with his old music as opposed to the Shoot Nation theme, and also appeared to be face to a heel Rawlis. The smaller Gable took the fight right to his opponent out-grappling him and eventually wrenching the arm with a series of armbars. The size and strength advantage of Rawlis eventually came into play with a series of strikes and power moves. However Chad Gable found victory out of nowhere with a sunset flip off the top turnbuckle for the pin. Gable exudes so much potential, while the rookie Mike Rawlis came out looking strong even in defeat.

Next up was tag team action as The Mechanics took on The Vaudevillians in one of the better matches of the evening. The match went back and forth in the early goings before Dawson and Wilder took control over The Vaudevillians with frequent tags and great tandem moves. Eventually a beaten down Aiden English would make the hot tag to Gotch who came in and began to clean house. The Vaudevillians looked to have victory in hand but the wily Mechanics narrowly avoided some signature moves and managed to eject Gotch from the ring. A few moments later Dawson flapjacked English onto Wilders knees allowing a pin and an impressive victory for NXTs resident roughnecks. Both teams looked great in this match and apparently have a good chemistry between each other. The Vaudevillians impressed, but at this point it is The Mechanics who are so underrated that it is practically criminal. I really have to question why Dawson and Wilder are not on TV yet.

Next up NXTs newest announcer Greg Hamilton introduces the new womens champion Sasha Banks who makes her way the ring to much fanfare. He asks her what it means to her that she is the champ. She replies that she has been chasing this dream since she was ten, and dreams really do come true. But it more fitting Boss fashion she continued by saying it was no thanks to any of us and that the title proves she is indeed the best and the baddest diva in all of NXT.

Next, everyones favorite hippy makes his way to the ring with a live mic and he is not in a pleasant mood. Parker was unhappy that he was once again left off another live special and proceeded to tell everyone all about it. Fortunately for us flickering lights and a glitchy mic was followed by the entrance music of Solomon Crowe. The two wasted no time and jumped right into the action, locking up and jockeying for control. Crowe took control of the match and looked to end it very quickly with a Boing splash which Parker kicked out of. A very physical match followed with plenty of smashmouth offense from both men. Parker controlled the pace for a while but a high risk moonsault found no one home and that was enough for Crowe to mount a comeback, eventually tying Parker up with a Stretch Muffler for a tap out victory. After a long year that involved an injury setback and a sketchy win-loss record, it’s nice to see the explosive Solomon Crowe stringing together victories of late.

Next up Elias Sampson had the unfortunate task of taking on Baron Corbin. Early on Sampson managed to stay alive simply by trying to avoid the big man and even managed to topple him at one point with a knee strike to the face. It wouldn’t be enough though, and Corbin made a quick comeback culminating in an End Of Days. Baron Corbin adds a little more variation to his move-set with every match and has proved at house shows in the past that he is more than capable of wrestling longer matches. I’m hoping he can find himself in a meaningful feud soon before the powers that be fall back on squash match after squash match.

We follow that with womens action as Becky Lynch takes on Bayley in another highlight match of the evening. Much of the match was a back and forth contest that saw good offense from both ladies. Lynch took control and hit a beautiful Bex-plex followed by a few of the best leg drops in NXT. In the end Bayley mounted a comeback and hit a Belly-to Bayley from out of nowhere for the win. This was a great match that left both ladies looking strong. I could realistically see either one of these women challenging for the title next, and even walking out with the title.

The resident wrecking ball of NXT Bull Dempsey hits the ring next to take on Prince Pretty himself, Tyler Breeze. In the early goings Breeze makes it a point to evade his larger opponent. After much avoidance both men ended up back in the ring and Bull easily won their first lock up and actually mocked Breeze, laying himself across the top turnbuckle in signature Breeze pose. Dempsey then controlled much of the match up with occasional offense from Breeze. Finally Dempsey ran down Tyler and climbed the rope to execute his flying headbutt. Breeze rolled out of the way and then hit a stumbling Bull Dempsey with Beauty Shot for the win. A fun match that at first seemed random, but hints at a feud that could really make sense… with even glimmers of potential for a Dempsey face run.

Next up, Big Cass and Enzo Amore take on the tag champions Blake and Murphy. Amore is at his best when playing the underdog, and that is where he quickly found himself for most of the match. Eventually he made the hot tag to Big Cass who entered the ring on fire taking out anyone in his path. Cass looked poised for victory, but Enzo who could barely even stand tagged himself in (presumably to impress Carmella at ringside), but this proved fatal as Blake and Murphy easily took out the already exhausted Amore, with a brainbuster from Murphy followed by a frogsplash from Blake for the win. Afterwards Cass, Enzo, and Carmella all argued in the ring before hugging it out. It was a good match, but seemed more about setting up a possible dissension between Cass and Enzo.

Our main event of the evening was a match that could easily headline many cards all over the world as Adrian Neville took on NXT Champion Kevin Owens. The champ tried to dictate the pace of the match early on, but Neville challenged him his trademark quick flurries of offense. What followed was a pay per view quality match with both men trading offense left and right. However whenever Neville would mount decent offense Owens would shut him down and hit him with a lot of his trademark moves including a cannonball senton. Neville managed a last gasp of offense with a beautiful enziguri followed by a standing moonsault. It wouldn’t be enough to keep the big man down as Owens rolled out of the way of a final attempted 450 splash off the top rope. Neville stumbled to his feet and walked into a pop-up powerbomb from Owens for the win.

It was a great night of matches that answered some questions and proposed many new one. One thing is for sure, the aftermath of NXT Takeover: Rival is not to be missed.