by Shanna Harris (@AbsoluteSmark)
Wrestling friends! Welcome back. It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it? From the Royal Rumble, to Batista’s hard breathing and poor wardrobe choices, and CM Punk’s unexpected exit from WWE have dominated the wrestling landscape over the past week or so. But no amount of crazy news can distract me from recapping the show where the talent doesn’t walk away, NXT.
We’ve got lots of action to cover, including a Bo Dallas contract signing (Yay!) and Corey Graves wrestling. Not so yay.
Let’s get to breaking down this week’s episode.
Match 1: The Ascension vs Mike Culori and John Icorino
I was quite ready to trash this match, I really was. The Ascension haven’t performed so well in the past. But I have to say, The Ascension impressed me here. I can see improvement from the times they had bad matches with Corey Graves and Adrian Neville. Which is great for them, because I really want to get behind The Ascension. I dig the otherwordly entrance, Rick’s black eyes, and other things. I just needed Ascension to improve in the ring. I’m sad this was a squash, because I would’ve been happy watching them beat Mike and John for a little bit longer. By the way, how awful are Mike and John’s last names?
Anyway, a solid tag team effort by all parties with nothing that offended the senses.
Move of the match: The Fall of Man, one of the cooler finishers I’ve seen in quite awhile.
Winners: The Ascension
Meanwhile, backstage: We go backstage to Sylvester LeForte who is still recruiting new candidates for his Legionnaire after losing Scott Dawson. The perspective clients new name is Cal Richards, and he’s a two time all american SNORE JUST GET TO THE POINT.
Sylvester asks what’s wrong with Cal’s ears, and Cal says it’s califlower ears from all the years of wrestling. Sylvester, unpleased with his ears, dismisses Cal and crosses his name off the list. NEXT!
Shanna says: I like Sylvester, but I’m having trouble excusing these segments. If this is a way to keep him on NXT TV until Scott Dawson heals up, fine. But they can do a much better job of making these segments interesting instead of having Sylvester dispose of people week after week with no real payoff. Plus, since he’s such a…ahem….sparkly looking gent, you can look at these guys and immediately tell they won’t be good enough. That takes the fun out of the segment for me.
Please, NXT. Give me something to cheer!
Match 2: Corey Graves vs Camacho
Folks, if there’s one thing I try to be, it’s fair. I give the various wrestling personalities a chance to impress or show some kind of improvement before I rip them to shreds. Well, Corey Graves has had his chance and has done nothing with it. Let me school all of you about Corey Graves and all the different reasons I dislike him.
One is that his character is awful. He tries so hard to mug and act like a tough guy, but I don’t buy it at all. One because he wears those skinny jeans, and two, because you can tell it’s all a put on. He doesn’t melt into his character so much that he loses himself, and what he does as his character doesn’t seem like it’s an extension of him at all. And if that is truly him turned up 10,000 degrees, I have no desire to know anything more about him or watch him on TV. He is a mugging, tight jeaned wearing idiot and he enrages me like no other wrestler. And we’re not talking go away heat either. We’re talking literally go away from wrestling and don’t return.
And what genius told him the best thing to do to get his character over is to tattoo stay down on fucking knuckles, ball them into fists and HOLD THEM TOGETHER like a power ranger morphing up, then do that facing the camera?
You unoriginal idiot, when we the audience has to strain our eyes to read your faded knuckle tattoos, that takes away from the mystic of your character. That kind of crap works when you hang out at the mall and try to impress 16 year olds, not grown men and women.
THEN, once we get past the physical appearances, there’s the actual wrestler. Which isn’t impressive either. While Tyler Breeze looks natural in the ring in the very early stages of his career, Corey Graves seems like he struggles to hit basic of moves and not hurt himself. So, he spents all his time combing his hair and putting his belt on his skinny jeans, but doesn’t work to improve the wrestling. Great.
Stay corny, Graves. It’s what you do best.
Sadly, Graves will probably go far because he’s good looking and knows how to sneer and lean on ringposts. Ugh.
As for the match itself, Graves submitted Camacho. The end.
Move of the match: The bell ringing
Winner: Corey Graves
Meanwhile, backstage: Devin Taylor is holding a microphone, and into the picture comes Antonio Cesaro. Devin asks Antonio why he denied Sami Zayn a rematch of their 2 out of 3 falls match from late last year. Antonio wonders aloud why nobody can take no for an answer. Antonio also says that he doesn’t have to justify himself, and that he already beat Sami Zayn. Antonio goes on to call Zayn “delusional” for thinking that he can beat him. Antonio reminds us that Sami couldn’t beat him with two good appendages, so how does he expect to beat him when he’s all banged up? Antonio then asks aloud why he’s explaining things to Devin, because he has better things to do. END of interview.
Shanna says: This is all leading up to a rematch of Sami vs Antonio 2 out of 3 falls on the NXT special. I NEED this match. Keep building to this until I can’t take it, then have Antonio uppercut Sami to Mars. Please.
Meanwhile, backstage: Right about here is where there was another Sylvester LeForte backstage segment. It was more awkward than words can describe, so I’ll just skip to the next good thing on the show. Ladies action!
Match 3: Sasha Banks w/Summer Rae and Charlotte vs Bailey w/Natalya
I like the new attitude of Sasha Banks. Her new outfits, not so much. That being said, Sasha Banks has improved tremendously since she’s gone bad. I like that corner stomp she did on Bailey’s back during this match.
Also, isn’t 3 BFF’s pushing it a bit?
I could understand the pairing of Sasha and Summer because there was some build to why Sasha and Summer teamed up, but Charlotte being tossed in there with no reasoning behind it is distracting. Plus, Charlotte is not a BFF. They should’ve kept her as a lady who knows how to move around the ring.
Bottom line is, this match isn’t another Trish vs Lita. But there was thought behind the wrestling and some pretty cool manuevering going on.
In the end, Charlotte climbed up on the ring apron while Bailey was heading to the top, causing CHAOS when Natalya pulled down Char and Summer Rae leapt on Natalya’s back. Following all this chaos at ringside, Bailey hits the Belly to Bailey (a finishing name I absolutely love), and 1-2-3!
Bailey is your winner in some better than average diva action.
Move of the match: Sasha Banks climbing on a bent over Bailey’s back, then stomping it like a kid splashing for puddles.
Match 4: Tyler Breeze vs Colin Cassady
First of all, I’m completely overwhelmed with joy seeing my two favorite NXT talents wrestling each other. They’ve both come a long way. I was iffy on Colin when I first saw him because he was unproven talent. Since I first saw him on NXT, he’s completely won me/ First he killed with his performance in that sing-off a few weeks ago, and his various backstage segments and matches since the sing-off have been highly entertaining. He’s had to carry the ball since Enzo’s been injured, and I think he’s doing a great job.
And then there’s Tyler. If you’ve been reading my reports long enough, you’ll know that I am a huge Tyler Breeze fan. One of the very first NXT episodes I saw was Tyler’s debut, and he’s one of the main reasons I continue to watch this show. I may sound biased as a fan of his, but I’ve never gotten bored watching him. He’s funny, good looking, and very entertaining. Luckily for him, he’s found a character that he’s making work for him instead of against him. I had serious doubts about the longevity of a guy who dares to wear fur and be gorgeous, but now I believe that he CAN make the big time.
I don’t know of any other wrestlers who could make this character work in their favor like Breeze has. It’s astonishing to me that he’s as good as he is characterwise AND he can bring the wrestling too. See, Corey Graves? This is how it’s done. Naturally and organically. Not douchbaggy and idiotic.
In any event, Colin was giving Tyler the beating of his life in this match until Aiden English interrupted the match backstage. He actually had the audacity to corner an injured Enzo Amore backstage! The sight of Colin’s friend in peril caused him to be distracted and BOOM goes the beauty shot. Match over.
Had the match not been interrupted, I would’ve been happy with the proceedings. Good performances from both men.
Move of the match: Not a wrestling move, but Colin mocking Tyler by grabbing a fans phone and taking selfies was nice.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
Meanwhile, backstage: Colin rushes around the backstage area looking for Enzo and Aiden. The proceeding backstage segment was so great that I refuse to recap it. Honestly, you need to be watching this show if you haven’t already. How do you expect me to explain the greatness of the babbling Enzo Amore? HOW?
What you do need to know is the Colin will not stand by and let Aiden English bully his friend. Colin wants revenge.
Oh, how I love cliffhangers!
Match 5: The Miz vs CJ Parker
Allow me to explain in a few words why I hated this match so much. Miz was put through his paces here. Took some pretty decent hits and CJ took some too. After Miz locks in his terrible Figure 4, instead of even partially selling the match and the impact of it, Miz immediately jumps up to hop on the turnbuckle and pose. Oy.
This match can be described as a vacuum of mediocrity. From the opening to the close, nothing of note happened that I need to make an effort to remember or describe. Miz is dreadful, CJ even moreso, and these two in a wrestling match against each other is not a good thing. At all.
Move of the match: The bell ringing
Winner: Nobody. Actually, it’s the Miz, but really. Nobody wins when watching this.
Meanwhile, backstage: Sami Zayn is backstage with an answer for Antonio Cesaro’s rejection. He wonders why Antonio is so reluctant to reject his offer of a rematch to his face. That’s all Sami wants! So on next week’s show, Sami will be standing in the middle of the ring, and he wants Antonio to come out and tell him no to his face.
More cliffhangers! YAY!
Meanwhile, backstage: In ANOTHER backstage segment, Sylvester LaForte is still backstage waiting for a new recruit, when Mason Ryan comes in the office. Sylvester is immediately impressed and extends his hand for Mason to shake it so they can form a new team. Mason accepts the handshake, but there’s a price!
If Sylvester can beat Mason in a match next week, he will officially join Team LaForte. Quite the development, and another cliffhanger!
NXT is really stepping up the stories! As we get closer to the WWE Network launch, I expect for these stories to only get better. YES!
NXT Championship contract signing
The always delightful Renee Young is in the ring, and she first invites out Adrian Neville, who graced us wearing his finest polo shirt and dress pants. (If you’re gonna be a champ, step up the dress up, Neville)
Renee introduces Bo Dallas, his music hits, and he isn’t there. Neville does his standard promo about how Bo is scared and hiding from him. But since Neville wants the match, he will gladly sign the contract. Renee uncaps the pen, hands it over to Neville, and Neville signs. He dismisses Renee (HOW DARE HE!?), and the segement ends. Or so we think.
Bo Dallas, our champion who doesn’t walk away from a challenge, comes out to ringside and is disgusted by the notion that HE is scared of Neville. Bo, getting right into Neville’s face, says that he isn’t scared. He’s just getting tired of Neville. But, our champion WILL sign the contract. On his own terms. What Bo wants Neville to do is grab his girl, grab a chair, and take a seat. Bo promises to show Neville why he’s the NXT champion.
Bo demands his opponent come out, and we have ourselves a match
Match 6: Bo Dallas vs Danny Burch
Not much to see here other than NXT attempting to advance the story of Bo being a dangerous, deranged champion determined to keep the belt. I must say, however, that I haven’t seen this side of Bo before. He’s controlled, unsmiling, and crazed with controlled rage. I could feel the anger from my seat!
All in all, this accomplishes what it’s supposed to. Bo ends the match with a DDT, and 1-2-3.
Good night, Danny Burch
Move of the match: N/A
Winner: Bo Dallas
Post match shenannigan’s saw Bo demand the Neville bring him the contract to sign. Neville charges the ring, hands Bo the contract and Bo signs, as promised. But there’s tension in the air and Bo cannot stop looking angry at Neville.
Sadly, Neville let his guard down for a few seconds, and Bo take the opportunity to cheap shot him from behind.
Bo exits the ring holding the title high, when Neville does a flying leap out of the ring, landing on Bo!
The episode ends with Bo and Neville fighting up the ramp.
And with that, NXT ends for this week. With 51 minutes of wrestling and backstage action, this was a great alternative to the lackluster Raw from Monday. Want to check out the show for yourself? Click here to watch the show on Hulu.
Until next week, wrestling friends…