Sunday, March 15, 2015

NXT Citrus Springs 3-14-15

NXT wrapped up its three day jaunt through central Florida with a final chaotic stop in Citrus Springs. Fans piled into the Citrus Springs Community Center to watch the men and women of NXT go to battle inside the squared circle.

Big Cass is out first accompanied to the ring by Enzo Amore, followed by his opponent Bull Dempsey. The two start off trash talking while Amore outside the ring is eating pizza from the concession stand. The crowd chants to “Eat it!” and Amore offers Bull a slice. Dempsey relents and tries to grab the slice but Amore recoils. Finally, the action begins and both Dempsey and Cass start off strong jockeying for the early advantage. Bull takes charge and does his best to wear down Cass who makes sporadic comebacks attempting a bodyslam to no avail. Eventually Cassidy mounts a last comeback and takes down Dempsey with a bodyslam following by a big elbow for the pin. Afterwards, a generous Amore leaves Dempsey his piece of pizza on his chest. It was a short but fun match to start the evening. Cass and Enzo never fail to fire up a crowd, while Dempsey continues to show glimmers of face potential.

The second match of the evening saw Steve Cutler take on Mike Rawlis. The two rookies are of similar size and seemingly evenly matched and it showed in the early goings. The action went back and forth until the favor began to shift in the favor of Rawlis who slowed Cutler with a series of rest moves such as chin locks and an abdominal stretch. Finally, Cutler fires back with a series of strikes followed by a flapjack. However, Rawlis turned things back around and planted Cutler with a Crucifix Powerbomb for the victory. It was an interesting change to get to see two lesser known talents show the crowd what they can do, rather than be fodder for more established guys. Ty Dillinger, who is doing a critic gimmick, wasn’t impressed. He came out and held up a scorecard giving the match a 4.

Heat magnet CJ Parker is out next and in a foul mood as always. He says tonight isn’t about signs or saving the planet. He says tonight is about him defeating Baron Corbin in the main event.

The evening continues with womens tag action as the team of Alexa Bliss and Devin Taylor takes on Becky Lynch and Dana Brooke. The good girl team of Bliss and Taylor started off strong with some great spots early on from Bliss who has made some great strides in the last year. It wasn’t long though before the power of Brooke and the prowess of Lynch came into play. The two ran roughshod while making frequent tags and looked to have the match won. In the final chaotic moments of the match Bliss landed a Sparkle Splash on Lynch for an upset victory. The experienced Lynch clearly held this match together but Dana Brooke is really starting to come into her own. The two actually make a pretty good team, or at least make more sense than the friendship of Lynch and Banks.

The match of the night was up next as Chad Gable took on Solomon Crowe. Gable plays the cocky heel well, even taking the time to correct ring announcer Dasha Kuret and have her announce that he is a 2012 Olympian. He can back it up with action as well, showing up Crowe in the early goings with his grappling. The explosive and unpredictable Crowe would not make it easy though, fighting back with a series of strikes and chops before the Olympian exploited and opening and zeroed in on the arm of Crowe. Eventually Crowe comes back with a series of strikes and a running knee in the corner followed by a single leg dropkick to the knee of Gable that sends him crashing down. Crowe contorts Gable into a Stretch Muffler for a tap-out victory. I thought they stole the show, but Ty Dillinger only gave them a 2.

Next up, Bayley takes on Carmella in a nice back and forth match. NXT fans are already aware of the talent that Bayley possesses, what is worth noting is how good Carmella has gotten. Not that she was ever bad, she was a natural from the start but now she is ready to show that she can share the stage with the top women of the division. She eventually took control of the match and took her time punishing the underdog Bayley who mounted an unstoppable comeback culminating with a Belly-To-Bayley for the pin. It was a fun match with a great showing from both ladies.

Next up Ty Dillinger takes on Hideo Itami. Dillinger starts strong, even managing to take time out to hold up his scorecard and give himself a 10. He manages to evade the fast feet of Itami and slow down the pace of the match. Hideo fires back and tries to perform a GTS but Dillinger escapes and continues the punishment. Eventually, a fired up Itami mounts a comeback and nails Ty with a flurry of signature strikes and several stiff kicks. He follows with a dropkick in the corner, followed by an Irish whip and a single leg dropkick for the win. Hideo Itami impresses as always, but it’s Dillinger who consistently proves he can put on a great match with anyone. Perhaps, they should let the man drop the gimmicks and just let Dillinger be Dillinger.

Announcer Greg Hamilton is in the ring next and introduces Hugo Knox. The pumping house music hits and Knox comes out dancing like the most enthusiastic Chippendale dancer ever. Knox, a man of few words says he is a future champ before bursting back into dance. Knox has been impressive in the ring thus far, moving with more agility than a man his size should. The gimmick? I’m not so sure, but the ladies seem to love it.

The night continues with tag team action as Sawyer Fulton and Tucker Knight take on the champs, Blake and Murphy. Knight and Fulton are two very big and strong guys who use their power to their advantage over the much speedier Blake and Murphy. The two take their time dismantling the champs methodically with Blake cut off from his partner. Eventually though Blake would make the hot tag to a fired up Murphy who came in clearing house like a man possessed. He knocks Knight off the apron and hoists up Fulton for a big suplex followed by a huge frogsplash from Blake for the pin. The champs work tremendously in tandem and work well as heels or faces. Fulton has gelled really well with fellow Shoot Nation member Angelo Dawkins in recent months, hopefully he can get that same synergy with Knight as well.

Baron Corbin is on the fast track finally competing in his second main event of the three day weekend. The same can be said for CJ Parker. Tonight the two met and while Corbin seems unstoppable, Parker was the one with so much to prove, which he did. Surviving the early onslaught of offense from Corbin he managed to take control attacking him relentlessly. All peace signs aside, Parker has a mean streak and he let it show. After sending Corbins shoulder into the ringpost Parker pounced and began to work the arm. Corbin comes back with a flurry of finishing moves and but Parker ducks a big boot and counters with a spinning heel kick. The two men make it to their feet and Parker follows with a palm strike and a faceplant DDT, followed by a ridiculously close 3 count. A frustrated Parker climbs the ropes and goes for a beautiful moonsault, but Corbin rolls out of danger. The two men make it up and Corbin throws Parker into a thunderous End Of Days for the victory. Parker is easily the most legitimate heel in NXT, but he is also underrated in the ring. Meanwhile, if Baron Corbin keeps putting on matches like this the naysayers will soon be silenced


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