Saturday, August 1, 2015

NXT Lakeland 7-31-15

Written by Wayne Mason
Photos by Maryann Mason

Friday night wrestling returned to Lakeland for another unparalleled night of action as only NXT can dish out. A standing room only crowd piled into the National Guard Armory to see their favorite wrestlers battle it out for supremacy in the squared circle, and they would not leave disappointed.

The night kicks off with women’s tag action as the team of Bayley and Gionna Daddio take on Emma and Dana Brooke. Emma starts off aggressively for her team but Bayley stays one step ahead thwarting all of her offense. Bayley tags in the rookie Gionna who continues the momentum with much athleticism and some nice grappling and pin attempts. Eventually Dana and Emma turn things around and isolate Gionna in the ring. Later she makes the hot tag to Bayley who comes in with a vengeance hitting a flurry of signature moves on Brooke. She tosses Emma out of the ring and nails Dana Brooke with a Belly-To-Bayley for the victory. This was a fun match that newcomer Gionna Daddio came out of looking impressive. Meanwhile Dana Brooke’s hard work is noticeable in her rapidly improving ring work.

Next up Mojo Rawley takes on the German Axel Tischer. The much hyped Rawley starts off strong and follows with his usual banter of letting us know that Tischer “ain’t hyped and can’t get chicks”. He accentuates that with Hammertime onto a prone Tischer. Later Tischer finds an opening and begins a vicious beatdown before grounding the usually animated Mojo. Eventually Rawley fights back and takes down Axel with a shoulder tackle, following with a big splash in the corner. Mojo finishes off Tischer with a fireman’s carry drop for the win. I’m glad to see Mojo Rawley using a new finisher, much improved over the last few he’s had.

Sawyer Fulton is out next for a promo. He says that he has been in NXT for three years now and has seen too many real talents get pushed aside for indie darlings. He tells us he is a two time all American and he is going to make some changes around here. He is interrupted by Sylvester Lefort who agrees with him, and offers Fulton his services as manager. An angry Fulton asks “You think I need your help? You’re right” before shaking the Frenchman’s hand. Sawyer Fulton is a sizable guy with a lot of skill who has had a tough time finding the right gimmick. Hopefully this new direction will be successful for Fulton. It certainly can’t hurt being paired with Lefort, who is a heat magnet.

The action continues with Mike Rawlis taking on Bull Dempsey. The cocky Rawlis mocks the fitness of Bull before dropping for a few push-ups. He challenges Dempsey to do the same. Bull drops and with much effort manages to give us three push-ups. Moments later the action begins and an agitated Dempsey chases Rawlis around the ring until he gets winded. Back in the ring they run the ropes an absurd number of times until Bull gets winded again. Eventually an angry Rawlis gets the upper hand and attacks Bull with a series of kicks and strikes. He accentuates that with an impressive fallaway slam before grounding the big guy. Bull gets fired up and fights back with a series of jabs. He runs Rawlis down like a truck and climbs the ropes, jumping off with a Whoopie Cushion for the pin. This was a silly, but fun match. Safe to say by the crowd chants this Bull-Fit angle is getting over already.

Next, Steve Cutler takes on Uhaa Nation. The two lock up for much back and forth effort in the early goings. It becomes a total mat game with each man vying for control. The two make it up and the speed of Uhaa quickly comes into play until Cutler takes a cheap shot, following with a series of kicks in the corner. Cutler follows with  a series of suplexes before settling into a front chancery. Uhaa makes it to his feet and mounts a comeback but Cutler shuts him down with a hellacious clothesline. Uhaa quickly rebounds with a heel kick, several clubbing blows and a big splash. Finally Uhaa drops Cutler with a huge military press and follows by his amazing standing moonsault.

Next up is four way tag action featuring Dawson & Wilder vs Jordan & Gable vs The Vaudevillians vs Blake and Murphy. A contest with this many personalities and combustible elements make for match of the night, but is nearly impossible to call. As it goes in these types of matches there were lots of momentum shifts and many blind tags. In the final moments as the ref lost control the bodies were flying with wrestler after wrestler taking out each other with signatures and finishers. Finally it came down to a fired up Gotch and English who finished off Buddy Murphy with the uppercut/neckbreaker combo. All four teams looked great in this match, but Dawson and Gable would be definitely be the stars of this one, I’d love to see those two compete one on one in the future.

The action continues with “Perfect 10” Ty Dillinger taking on Tyler Breeze. With the crowd clearly behind him Dillinger takes control early on until Breeze takes advantage of a distracted referee and gouges the eye of Dillinger. Breeze follows with an ensiguri and pummels Dillinger in the corner. He drops Dillinger with a backstabber and grounds him with a front chancery. Dillinger mounts a comeback but is shut down when he runs into a jaw breaking superkick. Still, Dillinger comes back again laying out Breeze with an impressive fireman’s carry powerbomb. The two exchange several pin attempts before Breeze takes out Dillinger with a Beauty Shot for the win. This was a great match with easily two of the best in NXT.

Next up is more women’s tag action as the formidable team of Lina and Jessie take on Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Riding a wave of much recent momentum Lynch and Charlotte start off strong against Jessie who wisely tags Lina. Despite that, Charlotte fails to take down the immovable Lina. Charlotte tags in Lynch and the two take down Lina with a double dropkick. Becky follows with a trifecta of her trademark leg drops. Later in the match Lina would shift the momentum after dropping Charlotte with a thunderous slam. The bad girls take over with frequent tags wearing down Charlotte. Jessie wears down Charlotte in an octopus hold. Moments later Lina locks in a bearhug thrashing Charlotte around like a rag doll. Finally Charlotte makes a hot tag to Lynch who comes in with a vengeance clearing the ring with her intense ring work. She throws her armbar onto Jessie, while Charlotte locks on the Figure-8 onto Lina giving them a tap out victory. I’m thankful I got to see Charlotte and Becky Lynch one more time, these two haven’t redefined women’s wrestling; they have knocked down the walls. Becky Lynch isn’t my favorite female wrestler, she is one of my favorite wrestlers, period.

Our main event is next with Solomon Crowe taking on NXT champion Finn Balor. The two begin trading armlocks until Crowe gets the upper hand. Crowe pummels Balor before the two fight to the outside and back into the ring. Crowe quickly finds his target, working the leg before settling into a half crab. Later Balor comes back rolling through a sunset flip and nailing Crowe with a dropkick. Not to be outdone, a fired up Balor targets the leg of Crowe. The two trade offense until Finn drops Crowe with a pele kick. Balor goes for a dropkick to the corner, but Crowe swats him off and locks on another crab. Balor fights back and levels Crowe with a slingblade. He follows with a dropkick to the corner. Balor climbs the turnbuckles and finishes Crowe with the Coup De Grace for the victory. This was a great match, and one I have been wanting to see for a long time. Balor looked as impressive as always, but Solomon Crowe proved he is more than capable of being a main event player in NXT.


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