Sunday, May 10, 2015

NXT Orlando 5-9-15

The athletes of NXT made their final Florida stop before NXT Takeover: Unstoppable in front of a hometown crowd in Orlando, Fl. Feuds were furthered, momentum was gained, and the crowd of faithful fans jammed into the National Guard Armory were wowed.

The night starts off with a six woman tag match as the team of Bayley, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella take on Dana Brooke, Devin Taylor, and Lina. The good girls start strong against their opponents and seemed to be controlling them with ease, with Bayley hitting a flurry of her signature spots. Brooke tags in the debuting Lina and things quickly turn around. Lina is a strong and imposing woman who could quite easily be made into a monster heel of the division. She slams a helpless Bayley to the mat with ease, and follows by squeezing the life of the self-proclaimed hugger with a bearhug. Eventually though, Bayley manages to escape their corner and make a hot tag to Carmella. Moments later, all the girls are involved in a melee as Carmella gives an STO to Lina and Bliss follows with a Sparkle Splash. Moments later, Carmella traps Brooke in her headscissor submission for a tap out. This was a fun match and a great way to start the evening. Carmella is quickly becoming a standout of the division, while Dana is making great strides of her own in the ring. However it may have been Lina that made the greatest impression tonight as the most intimidating addition to the women’s division. Ty Dillinger was not quite as impressed though, he gave the match a 2.

Next Steve Cutler takes on the drifter Elias Sampson. The two men shake hands and the action begins as they lock up. Grappling follows with the more powerful Cutler taking over. The two men go back and forth with headlocks and armlocks before the pace quickens. The agile Sampson counters a monkey flip by landing on his feet and taking Cutler off his feet with a series of strikes and kicks. It becomes a slugfest before both men run the ropes and take out each other out as they both go for a crossbody. At this point Kevin Owens storms the ring, tosses out Sampson and follows by powerbombing Cutler practically through the mat. The crowd chants “Thank you Owens”, but the champ is not impressed. He takes the mic and points out that he doesn’t need any of the idiots and hypocrites in the crowd. He also assures us he is not done tonight. Solomon Crowe emerges from the back challenging the champion to a match. Owens accepts and tells him he is in for a long night. Crowe replies by letting Owens know that he is in for the fight of his life. It seems we now have a hell of a main event ahead.

Next up, Mike Rawlis takes on the Olympian Chad Gable. In the opening moments Gable easily out-grapples Rawlis, like he does with just about anyone he steps in the ring with. Eventually though, the size and strength advantage of Rawlis comes into play as he overpowers his opponent. Gable attempts to come back with a crossbody but Rawlis catches him and tosses him overhead with a fallaway slam. Gable mounts a comeback and throws on an armbar over the ropes and begins working the arm afterward. Rawlis eventually mounts a comeback of his own and finishes Gable off with a crucifix powerbomb. Gable has been on a bit of a losing streak lately, which is a shame because the guy is an amazing athlete and becoming quite good at playing the arrogant heel. Ty Dillinger gives this match a 4.

Next is a Takeover preview as Cass and Enzo take on the tag champs Blake and Murphy in a non-title match. Cass and Enzo start off strong against the champs with the crowd squarely behind them. However a distraction allows Blake and Murphy to take over and begin taking apart Enzo Amore. After much punishment Amore makes the hot tag to Cass who comes in takes charge against the champs with several splashes followed by a big boot and swinging side slam to Blake. He follows by tossing Amore onto him with a splash for the pin. Cass and Enzo are probably the most over tag team in NXT, no one can deny they are full of charisma and awesome to their fans. However heir tag matches very formulaic to me, I’d like to see more offense from Amore and hopefully we will, as they are a very likeable team.

Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks clash one more time before there big title match at Takeover. Becky starts off strong sending the champ reeling with a series of beautiful arm drags. Banks regroups and comes back targeting the arm of Lynch. The two brawl outside the ring before making their way back in, and Banks sends Lynch to the mat with a double knee smash in the turnbuckles. Becky fires back tossing Banks over head with a pumphandle suplex. Later Becky throws on an armbar but Banks grabs the ropes. Sasha pulls Becky into the corner and smashing into the turnbuckle. Banks rolls up Lynch but she kicks out. Lynch traps Banks with an armar giving her no choice but to tap. This was another excellent encounter between these two ladies who are sure to steal the show at Takeover.

Next Finn Balor collides with the lone wolf Baron Corbin. Undeterred Finn takes the fight right to the big man first targeting the legs and then clotheslining Corbin out of the ring. He dives over the top rope on Corbin to the excitement of the crowd. The two make it back in and equalizes things with a massive punch that squashes Balors momentum. Corbin begins taking apart Balor with a controlled brutality. He then slows the pace with a shoulder claw before Balor starts firing back. On their feet again Balor hits Corbin with a slingblade. He charges Corbin for a dropkick but Corbin answers with a big boot. Later Balor thwarts an attempt at End Of Days and dropkicks Corbin into the corner, laying him out and finishing with the Coup De Grace for the win. This was an exciting match with Balor looking as great as always. Baron Corbin has always had the strength and presence, but lately he just looks so much more brutal and mean which is exactly the element he needed. Once he gets a few performances on television like I have seen the last few days he will quiet many naysayers.

Tag action continues as Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder take on The Vaudevillians. In the opening moments Wilder taunts Gotch by performing some manly squats of his own. Gotch responds by stretching his leg to his head. Wilder tries to do the same and hilariously fails, even with Dawson trying to help him. Soon after the wrestling begins and The Vaudevillians are on fire keeping one step ahead of their opponents. Gotch and English go on to perform a lot of their signature antics much to the delight of the crowd, including the addition of an old school Airplane spin from English. Eventually the crafty team of Dawson and Wilder take charge and begin to dismantle English and this is where they are so dangerous and so fun to watch. The two are proclaimed roughnecks but are just as comfortable grappling as they are brawling. However, English eventually makes the hot tag to Gotch who comes in and begins to clear the ring. With Wilder on his back he performs a rolling senton onto a prone Dawson. Aiden English follows with a senton bomb onto both men and picking up the pin. This was a great tag match from two excellent teams. Unfortunately, Ty only gave it a 4.

Our main event is next as Kevin Owens answers the challenge of Solomon Crowe. The two immediately stare each other down and Owens throws a cheap punch knocking Crowe to the mat. Crowe answers the referees count and gets back to his feet before the champ knocks him down again. Crowe once again makes it to his feet this time fighting back and sending the champ reeling to the outside. He flies through the ropes like a bullet into the champ on the outside. They make it to their feet and Crowe continues with multiple chops before the champ fires back and sends him into the ring steps. Owens fires back with chops of his own and the two make it back to the ring. Owens begins a methodical beat-down of his opponent. Crowe jumps onto Owens throwing on a sleeper but the champ falls back flattening Crowe. He follows with a signature senton before continuing the beatdown. Crowe fires back with strikes and then a high knee followed by a tornado DDT. Owens catches Crowe in a crossbody attempt and slams Crowe to the mat. He attempts to follow with a senton but Crowe puts up his knees. With Owens grounded Crowe attempts a boing splash but this time Owens throws up his knees. He picks up Crowe and follow with a pumphandle kneckbreaker. He then finishes off Crowe with a pop-up powerbomb. Once again the champ is victorious, but not without enduring a strong effort from his challenger. Crowe proved one thing I’ve known for a long time, he belongs in the main event picture.


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