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NXT – February 4, 2015

NXT
Date:
February 4, 2015
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
Rich Brennan, Corey Graves, Alex Riley
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the go home show for Takeover next week and the main stories are the
tournament to crown a new #1 contender and making Zayn vs. Owens a
title match at Owens’ demand. Tonight we have two semi-final matches
with Hideo Itami vs. Finn Balor and Adrian Neville vs. Baron Corbin
with the winners facing each other next week. Let’s get to it.

Opening
sequence.
Emma
vs. Carmella
The
fans want Blue Pants but Carmella says she’s back on the clearance
rack. Enzo and Cass dance in the background while Carmella talks to
a less than thrilled audience. Thankfully Cass does his spelling and
the fans are right back. Carmella shouts at the guys and gets kicked
down as we hit a brief catfight. Emma gets choked on the ropes and
Carmella mocks her dancing while checking the nails. They fight out
of the corner and the Dilemma has Carmella in even more trouble. Not
that it matters as she trips Emma down and puts on that leg lock
crossface for the submission at 1:52.
#1
Contenders Tournament Semi-Finals: Adrian Neville vs. Baron Corbin
Baron
easily takes him back into the corner to start and Adrian looks at
him with a realization that he might be in major trouble. A cross
body doesn’t work but some kicks to the ribs work a bit better.
Neville hits a running dropkick but gets his head taken off by a
right hand. Adrian rolls outside with his bell rung but Baron throws
him right back inside to stomp away in the corner.
A
big slam gets two on Neville but he dropkicks the knee out to send
Baron into the buckle. Neville scores with a springboard dropkick to
knock Baron outside but the springboard plancha is caught with ease
and Baron drops him on the barricade. With Neville going back
inside, Bull Dempsey comes out and posts Baron, setting up the Red
Arrow for the pin at 5:27.
Rating:
C. For once, I really don’t
like the booking here. They easily could have had the posting lead
to a countout (Corbin barely beat the count back in) instead of a
pin, but at least it wasn’t clean. That
being said, does ANYONE want to see Corbin vs. Dempsey again? As
Riley said, what does Corbin have left to prove against him? The
match was a decent power display from Corbin but I didn’t like the
ending and it hurt things a good bit.
Sami
Zayn says Kevin Owens played this perfectly to get what he wants.
Even Regal didn’t see this coming and Regal has seen it all. All
that matters now is Takeover next week and Sami is bringing
everything he has. Of note here: Sami said the date of the show.
That’s such a lost little thing in WWE today. They always say “in
X amount of weeks” or something other than just the date. Say the
date of the show and get it in the fans’ heads instead of just the
name of the show so they’ll know when it’s there.
Corbin
vs. Dempsey next week in a No DQ match.
Bayley
vs. Becky Lynch
Bayley’s
music is very, very catchy. The
fans aren’t sure who they like better here but it seems to be Bayley
with more support as she grabs an armbar. Becky goes after Bayley’s
bad knee to take over and hits a nice snap suplex. Three
straight legdrops get two but Bayley sends her outside.
Cue
Sasha Banks as Bayley misses a charge into the post, allowing Lynch
to kick at the knee again. A dragon screw leg whip looks to set up a
leg lock but Bayley counters into a small package for two. I
actually bought that as the pin. Bayley SNAPS and goes after Becky’s
leg before throwing her into a half crab, sending Lynch into the
ropes. Sasha throws Becky
back inside and the Belly to Bayley is good for the pin at 4:18.
Rating:
C-. Neither girl is all that
great in the ring but they’re both capable of doing something
passable enough to get through a ring. Lynch
is far more attitude than in ring ability and there’s nothing wrong
with that. The four way
next week has a lot of potential and while Banks winning probably
makes the most sense, all four are options and that’s one of the
great things about NXT: it can be hard to predict sometimes, which is
a very rare case in WWE.
Becky
shoves Banks down as Charlotte comes out to watch.
Owens
says of course it was a plan and Sami knew that’s what was happening.
Now he’s going to take the NXT Title two months to the day of his
debut.
We
see a graphic for the next tournament match and the Solomon hacker
screen comes up.
Blake
and Murphy vs. Lucha Dragons for the Tag Team Titles next week.
Tyler
Breeze is asked what his plans are now that he’s out of the
tournament. After calling that a stupid question, he says he’s going
to watch the rest of the tournament closely.
#1
Contenders Tournament Semi-Finals: Finn Balor vs. Hideo Itami
Neville
is on commentary, which isn’t something you see that often in NXT.
The bell rings and the fans
debut a new chant: “WE’RE NOT WORTHY!” They
hit the mat to start for a nice wrestling sequence and the fans give
the stalemate a big ovation. Fans:
“BETTER THAN RAW!” Balor’s
chinlock attempt is countered into an armbar as Graves brings up
being Tag Team Champions with Neville for a nice bit of continuity.
Finn scores with a dropkick
and we take a break.
Back
with Itami getting two and putting on a quickly broken chinlock.
Balor rolls through into a hard basement dropkick for two before
putting on an arm trap chinlock of his own. A
pair of rollups get a pair of near falls on Itami before it’s off to
a chinlock. The announcers are basically interviewing Neville about
what it means to be champion again and getting inside his head
instead of just asking him generic questions and
plugging Twitter. Hideo
fights up and goes up top, only to get kicked in the head for two as
we take another break.
Back
again with Balor taking the skin off Hideo’s chest with chops. A
running knee in the corner has Balor in some quick trouble, followed
by a top rope clothesline for two. The GTS is teased again but Balor
escapes and they trade kicks to the head. They slug it out with
Itami getting the better of it and hitting a running basement
dropkick in the corner. Back up and Balor scores with a Sling Blade
but he tweaked his knee on some of those kicks. It’s good enough to
dropkick Itami hard into the corner and the top rope double stomp is
good enough to send Balor to Takeover at 17:58.
Rating:
B. The ending was a bit abrupt
but this was the kind of match both guys needed. They both held
their own for a long match and it never got boring. Balor still
looks better but the second that GTS finally hits, it’s going to blow
the roof off the place. The best part is you can’t even say it’s
stealing anything because Punk took it from Itami in the first place.
Really solid match here and
Neville vs. Balor is going to rock.
Balor
and Itami shake hands and
Neville stares Finn down.
One
last Owens vs. Zayn promo ends the show. Zayn should have seen this
coming but Owens surprised him. They
were the best of friends but then Owens got married and had a kid and
things changed. Next week, Zayn is going to see what Owens is made
of.
Overall
Rating:
B-. The earlier stuff
hurt it a bit but the main event brought the show up a good deal.
More than anything else though, I want to see Takeover next week.
The card is stacked and they’ve done a great job of building up the
show in just a few weeks as opposed to the multiple months they
usually have. Next week feels
like new stuff crossed with an R-Evolution sequel, which is actually
a cool feeling.
There
are two things I want to bring up here here that continue to make NXT
feel special. First of all is of course the crowd. That BETTER THAN
RAW chant they started tonight kept up the feeling that the fans are
having a great time every week at this show. How many times do you
feel that fans coming to Raw are naturally excited to be there? It’s
like they show up and hope for a good show but don’t expect much.
When the NXT fans show up, it’s time for a great show and they know
it because NXT has earned that respect.
The
other thing that stood out to me tonight is the commentary. Every
week I have to spend the first half hour of the show figuring out who
the commentary team is this week because they always rotate and it’s
hard to pin them down given how similar their voices are (save for
Albert and Renee of course). For a long time that got on my nerves
because I had to listen for them to say their first names, but the
more I think about it, the more that’s a good thing. The announcers
are just faceless entities most of the time and that means the focus
stays on the action and not on them. That’s the polar opposite of
WWE and it’s so nice.
Results
Carmella
b. Emma – Leg lock crossface
Adrian
Neville b. Baron Corbin – Red Arrow
Bayley
b. Becky Lynch – Belly to Bayley
Finn
Balor b. Hideo Itami – Top rope double stomp
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