Sunday, June 4, 2017

NXT Venice 6-3-17

Written by Wayne Mason
Photos by Gravenbabies

Saturday night NXT finished it's wet and rainy Florida weekend in Venice, Fl. With most of the television roster preparing for the UK tour, it was all hands on deck for the remaining crew. The wrestlers put on a solid show, despite the constraints, bad weather, and the drunken Venice crowd. Venice is easily the worst stop on the Florida loop. Even the people online who compain about the Full Sail crowd, would beg for Full Sail after  night in Venice. 

Nick Miller (w/ Shane Thorne) vs Wesley Blake (w/Steve Cutler)
It was a nice surpise to see one half of TM61 back in action after a long absense. He looked good, showing no ring rust as he took the fight to Blake with a series of deep headlocks and long arm drags. A frustrated Blake took advantage after dumping Miller into the turnbuckle and controlled the remainder of the match. Miller made a comeback and sealed the win with a spinning sitout slam. This was a solid opener. Wesley Blake seems rejuvenated, and I'm hoping his team with Steve Cutler makes tv, because they work very well together.

Cezar Bononi vs Adrian Jaoude 
The two Brazilian up and comers went head to head in a match that began with a lot of limb work and impressive grappling. Jaoude stayed one step ahead, until a frustrated Bononi took a cheap shot and beat down Jaoude with a series of strikes. Bononi grounded Jaoude and worked the arm until Jaoude mounted a comeback culminating into a suplex slam for the win. TV viewers will probably know Bononi as the competitor who recently gained an upset victory over Andrade Cien Almas. Hopefully this leads to bigger things for the big man, who clearly has the look and potential to go far. Adrian Jaoude looks like a legitimate badass, and with a background as an amatuer wrestler and martial artist, he is. Jaoude clearly has the tools, once he finds that connection with the audiences, he'll be over in no time.

Liv Morgan, Kimberly Frankele, and Sarah Logan vs Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, and Mary Kate
The match starts with plenty of bantering, much of it from Mandy Rose playing off the fact that she is gorgeous and has no problem letting the crowd and her opponents know it. This was a back and forth match where all six women looked great in their respective parts, until the bad girls isolated Kimberly for much of the latter half. Eventually, Frankele makes the hot tag to Liv who comes in clearing house. All the girls end up in the ring and in the chaos Mary Kate plants Liv into the mat with a black hole slam. While the women's television roster seems centered around a few women, matches like this seem to indicate the division is in good hands. Liv Morgan reminds me of a 2014 Alexa Bliss, more than capable, sometimes overambitious in the ring. but watch out when she hits her stride and flips the switch. Sarah Logan seems to have acclimated to the WWE atmosphere and is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Next out is Lars Sullivan for an interview. He's asked about taking out his frustrations on his tag partners. He admits to being frustrated because he's not a loser like everyone else in the locker room. He continues that everyone in the back, everyone in the crowd are a bunch of conformists. He says he follows no one and that he is the future of the WWE. He will retire John Cena and headline Wrestlemania. The promo sort of meandered all over the place, and left some people scratching their heads. However, Sullivan is solid on the mic, confident, well spoken, and unfazed by the crowd.

Sawyer Fulton vs Babatunde Aiyegbusi
Much like their Friday night match in Ocala, big guy Sawyer Fulton struggled to gain traction against an even bigger 6'9" Babs. No technical match and was a hoss fight from beginning to end. This time it would be Babs picking up the victory after a thunderous backbreaker. Babs is an impressive sight to behold and is sure to go places on sheer look alone. I'm curious to see where Fulton ends up, I'd actually like to see him back in Sanity.

Tino Sabbatelli vs Oney Lorcan
As Lorcan matches often go, this one was very hard hitting. It was a hard fought, back and forth match, but Lorcan eventually got the win with his somersault neckbreaker. Oney Lorcan is a workhorse that can put on a great match with just about anyone. Tino is very over where ever they go on the Florida loop. The crowd was split on this one.

Street Prophets (Dawkins and Ford) vs The Ealy Brothers
This match mirrored the Friday night encounter, with the athletic and charismatic Prophets strong in the early goings until the Ealy Brothers slowed the pace and worked over Ford for most the match. Eventually, Ford makes the hot tag and Angelo cleans house. He tags Ford back in for a frog splash and a pin. The Ealy Brothers are getting better at aworking the crowd.

Binky Blair vs Lacey Evans
This match featured two women who have picked things up really fast. Lacey worked most of this match as underdog against Binky, who had no problem using her long braid as a weapon… first as a whip and later as a restraint. Ultimately though, Lacey would tap out Binky with an armbar. I expect these women to do well down the road. Binky (who had a great match with Asuka a few weeks back in Dade City) especially shined tonight.

The Velveteen Dream vs Roderick Strong
This was actually a strong main event (no pun intended) with a great showing from both guys. Strong obviously has an impressive resume, and could easily be “Mr. NXT” if given the opportunity. Clark is better than most people care to admit, his selling is on point, and he is so easy to dislike. The two worked a solid main event. In the final moments, the Velveteen Dream hit his elbow from the top rope, busting open Roddy in the process. However, a bloodied Strong kicked out and a few moments later finished off Clark with his finisher. He stood tall, victorious and bloody to send the crowd home happy.


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