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.

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