NXT – January 8, 2015

NXT
Date:
January 8, 2015
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
Rich Brennan, Corey Graves, Alex Riley
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
One
of the many things I like about this show is they set up something
for next week almost every time. In this case, we have three things,
ranging from Itami vs. Curtis Axel to the Vaudevillains getting their
rematch from R-Evolution to the return of Sami Zayn for the first
time since he was laid out by Owens. That sounds like a stacked show
so let’s get to it.

Opening
sequence.
Here’s
the champ to get things going. Sami gets ready to talk but leaves
the ring to go be with the crowd and hold up the title. A YOU
DESERVE IT chant stops him again before he gets to talk about what
this title means. In anyone else’s hands, it means you’re the best.
In his hands though, it means you can do it your way and keep doing
it how you want because the proof is right here.
He’s
going to hate himself for saying this, but this title isn’t his. It
belongs to both him and the fans. Everyone here is part of a band
called Sami Zayn and the Zaniacs. The fans start the OLE chant and
Sami loves that song. Takeover was the best night of his life, but
it didn’t end like he wanted it to. Owens cried on his shirt that
night and then hurt Sami really bad. He may have hurt Sami, but the
champ is right back here, ready to defend the title.
This
brings out Adrian Neville who says they tore each other to pieces
last time and Zayn was the better man. Neville saw a new Sami and
he’s now the champion so congratulations. Sami appreciates it and is
pretty sure Neville is entitled to a rematch. This brings out
William Regal to congratulate them on having such a great match at
R-Evolution. There will indeed be a rematch and it takes place next
week on the first Wednesday show.
The
Vaudevillains can’t wait to right the wrong from Takeover and prove
their manliness.
Hideo
Itami vs. Curtis Axel
Axel
is trying to be the last real man in wrestling. At this point point
there are almost enough of those to make a stable. Itami scores with
the early kicks but Axel takes him into the corner and hits a series
of clotheslines to the back of the head. A chinlock doesn’t get
Curtis anywhere but a knee to the jaw gets two. Axel throws Hideo
down and asks who cares about Itami.
Curtis
slaps on an armbar out of nowhere (no arm work so far into the match
so let’s ignore the neck work and go after the arm) but Hideo fights
out and nails a clothesline of his own. Itami loads up a tornado DDT
but instead jumps to the apron to snap Axel’s throat across the top
rope. The top rope clothesline is good for two but Axel tries the
PerfectPlex. That goes nowhere so Itami snapmares him down and hits
something like Trouble in Paradise to a kneeling Axel for the pin at
5:45.
Rating:
C-. Not bad here and Hideo is
starting to round into form as a singles guy. The clotheslines are a
nice alternative to the kicks and it really opens up his offense
quite a bit. It’s also nice to see him finally have a finisher, even
if it’s the same move he does more often than any other. Axel as the
new version of Tyson Kidd would be a fine role for him as he’s
talented in the ring but needs to reestablish himself after the last
few years.
Tyson
Kidd is getting ready in the back so Natalya tries to intercept Byron
Saxton. A Total Divas interview is cut off by Kidd asking if she’s
taken care of the cats. Natalya goes off to feed them so Kidd can
talk about how important it is to become NXT Champion. That means he
can be the new face of NXT, right before he replaces Sarah McLachlan
as the face of the ASPCA. Kidd loves all cats, except Grumpy Cat.
Fact.
Video
on Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin, based on who can squash jobbers
faster. They face off for the first time next week.
Sasha
Banks vs. Alexa Bliss
This
is due to Banks breaking Bliss’ nose a few weeks back. Alexa grabs a
quick sunset flip for two but has her headscissors countered into a
faceplant. Banks takes her time trash talking but stops to blast
Alexa with right hands to the face. She lays Bliss across the middle
rope for a double knee to the ribs, setting up the Bank Statement for
the submission at 2:06.
Quick
package on Neville vs. Zayn from R-Evolution.
Tyler
Breeze vs. Chad Gable
Gable
is an Olympic wrestler who has gotten rave reviews so far. Gable
easily takes Breeze down to start and rides him with a front
facelock. The fans are WAY into Chad to start as Graves won’t
confirm or deny that he runs Breeze’s fan club. Breeze fights up and
takes him down for a chinlock while throwing in some trash talk to
the Uggo. Gable gets to his feet and throws on an armbar over the
top rope ala Alberto Del Rio. He breaks at four and Breeze is
TICKED, setting up the Beauty Shot for the pin at 2:37. Gable looked
good out there in the limited time he had.
Finn
Balor is looking forward to facing Tyson Kidd next week, but Kidd is
going to need more than nine lives to survive. Fact. Simple, yet
effective. Why is that so lost on the main show writers?
We
see a still from Breeze’s post match celebration, showing an ominous
face peeking out from the curtain to look at him. It’s not clear
whose face it is.
Tag
Team Titles: Lucha Dragons vs. Vaudevillains
Vaudevillains
are challenging again after the Dragons pinned the illegal man at
R-Evolution. Kalisto quickly springboards onto Gotch and pounds away
with right hands before it’s already off to Cara. Some kind of
modified Gory Stretch has Gotch in trouble as Graves says these two
might be equally strong. English comes in and says the titles are
coming home with them tonight. He school boys Cara through the ropes
and out to the floor for a nice move, but Kalisto sends both
Vaudevillains to the floor for a big double dive.
We
take a break and come back (after an announcement that Daniel Bryan
will be in action on the first Thursday Smackdown) with Kalisto
trying the big spinning wristlock, only to have English hold the
ropes to send the masked man crashing down. Gotch gets two off a big
belly to back before a double chop puts Kalisto down again.
English
comes back in but gets rolled up for two, only to slap on a chinlock.
Back up and Kalisto finally rolls over for the hot tag to Cara.
Everything breaks down and Gotch kicks Cara in the head, only to be
low bridged out to the floor. In what looked to be a botched finish,
Cara lifts English up for a powerbomb and Kalisto adds a spinning
clothesline to the back of the head to retain at 11:45.
Rating:
C+. The match was fine but the
ending really didn’t look good. In theory it was supposed to be a
clothesline to the front but it looked awkward instead of
devastating. The Dragons need new opponents now, and thankfully NXT
actually has some teams they could quickly build up into contenders.
I’m not sure where the Vaudevillains go, but a refocus on the comedic
stuff could be in order.
Overall
Rating:
­C+. Not one of
their stronger episodes here but they did a great job of setting up
next week to look like something special. Sami’s opening promo was
excellent with a ton of emotion and it set up the rematch next week.
I really like how NXT is able to wait things out and tease the big
stuff, such as Owens showdown with Zayn. Not the match mind you but
just those two in the same place at the same time. Instead
of hot shotting to that, we’re getting what should be a great match
out of the way, instead of just jumping straight to it. WWE could
learn from that, but the circumstances are a bit different up top.
Results
Hideo
Itami b. Curtis Axel – Spinning kick to the head
Sasha
Banks b. Alexa Bliss – Bank Statement
Tyler
Breeze b. Chad Gable – Beauty Shot
Lucha
Dragons b. Vaudevillains – Powerbomb/top rope clothesline
combination to English
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