by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
(photos below: credit wwe.com)
“Look everyone, it’s TYLER!”
Tyler Breeze is out to kick off this week’s NXT. His opponent this week is the man that “stays hype”, Mojo Rawley. They show the attack on Mojo by Breeze from 2 weeks back. Breeze toys with Mojo until Rawley gets a double leg into the corner. A charge misses and Tyler Stomps away on the shoulder before clamping on a Fujiwara armbar. The ref calls it (!) and finishes off Mojo in around a minute. Yikes.
Rating: all the stars
This might be a way of getting Mojo off tv for a repackaging. He just doesn’t connect right now and the way he’s been booked over the last month or so shows that we’re not the only ones paying attention to that fact. Plus, Breeze gets a strong, decisive win to keep his name amongst the top contenders for the NXT strap.
Big Cass, Enzo Amorè & William Regal check out Carmella training at the Performance Center. How you doin’?
Recap of Hideo Itami & his war with the Ascension, which leads into…
Viktor vs Hideo Itami
Viktor takes control with a huge back elbow. Snap suplex on Hideo gets 2. Viktor keeps control until Itami starts firing back with kicks. It is his style, after all. Springboard dropkick by Hideo looks like he got shaken up a bit. Corner dropkick but not much behind it. He goes up top but the camera pans to the top of the ramp where Connor is tossing around Sho Funaki. Itami spots this but is still able to finish Viktor off with a dropkick. Connor is in now and The Ascension tie Itami up in the ropes. Funaki makes his way in to try and help but gets hit with the Fall of Man while Itami pleads for them to stop.
The injury (or whatever happened to Itami) definitely hurt this down the stretch. We all know by now what this is all leading to in a few weeks, so this served its purpose.
Stretcher job by Funaki and the announcers do the ‘solemn voices’.
The Vaudevillains are here! A change in the music, a little more ominous and…well, villainous. They’re taking on Enzo Amorè & Big Cass! 2 of my favorite acts in one match. Big Cass wins the night with his ‘Hey Arnold’ bit. Gotch & Enzo start off and Amorè eats a bodyslam. Tag to English, who hits a leg drop for 2. English works over Enzo and hits a back suplex for 2. He tries for a second one but Enzo counters. Tag to Cass, who hits a trifecta of clotheslines on Aiden. Big running knee on Aiden, big boot for Simon after the tag for 2. Amorè back in and Cass suplexes him on top of Gotch. English in and knocks Cass off the apron. The distraction leads to Enzo getting caught with That’s A Wrap and that secures the win for the Vaudevillains!
Rating: * * 1/2
Sami Zayn backstage talking about tonight’s main event against Titus O’Neil.
Becky Lynch is out for the next match against ‘The Boss’, Sasha Banks. Some trash talking to start but Lynch gets an armdrag. La Magistral gets 2. Sasha reverse an armbar and gets a pin but Lynch bridges out and hits a dropkick to the ribs. Sasha into the corner, Lynch misses the charge and Sasha takes over. Irish whip to the opposite corners, hanging knees to the gut of Becky by the Boss. Sasha pulls Becky’s arms behind her back but Becky fights through and gets a rollup for 2. Back slide attempt blocked but Lynch hits an uppercut followed by 3 clotheslines. Leg drop gets a 2 count. Springboard sidekick to Sasha in the corner, but Banks is able to get a clothesline off an Irish whip. Lungblower/crossface combo (apparently called the ‘Bank Statement’) and Sasha picks up the win!
Rating: * * 1/2
Fun little match as NXT continues to prove that there is still some good female action under the WWE umbrella. That Bank Statement is a nifty little finish too.
Main event time on NXT and here comes *URAHURAHURAH* Titus O’Neil. Sami Zayn is out next and this could be an interesting mesh of styles. Sami using his speed to get the early advantage but gets caught with a big slam. Titus looks monstrous next to Zayn. Sami tries to fight back but Titus just beats him down. Sami fires off a HUGE chop which just pisses off O’Neil even more. Titus continues the assault before tossing Sami outside to send us to break…
Back to the show and Titus has a bear hug locked on in the center of the ring. Zayn sold the hell out of it too before getting tossed with yet another scoop slam. Titus just mugging Sami now in the corner. Another bearhug which gets turned into a reverse bearhug, but Sami fights out with some headbutts. Titus with a charge towards Zayn but Sami pulls the top rope down to send him outaide. Plancha over the top! Sami up top and gets a crossbody for 2! Looking for the Helluva Kick but Titus counters with a big boot for 2. Sami escapes a slam attempt and locks in a sleeper. O’Neil flings him off though but eats a nasty boot charging in. Titus fires back with a big clothesline for 2! Powerbomb attempt thwarted, Sami grabs the hand and looks for the walk up tornado DDT but Titus takes out Sami’s leg and crotches him on the top rope. CLASH OF THE TITUS OFF THE ROPES and Titus O’Neil gets the win!
Big win for Titus in a match that thankfully got better as it went along. Kind of slow at first, but definitely some contrasting styles that had to find a way to work with each other. Maybe a run in NXT is just what the doctor ordered for Titus, as he can get away from makeshift tags, wrestling bulls & feuding with bunnies to get back on track.
Post match, Titus looks to continue the assault on Sami until Adrian Neville makes the save. Titus stands on the top rope looking down, as we fade to black on this week’s episode.
Solid hour of wrestling, as we’re presumably starting to build various title contenders for the next live special in December. The countdown is on to the arrival of Finn Bálor, Sasha looks like the next contender to Charlotte’s crown, The Vaudevillains may be next for the Lucha Dragons & the Sami/Neville story continues. Good stuff overall this week.