NXT – July 22, 2015

Date: July 22, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Corey Graves, Rich Brennan, Byron Saxton

We’re officially on the way to the next Takeover in Brooklyn with an announced main event of new NXT Champion Finn Balor defending against former champion Kevin Owens. This makes for an interesting match as Owens has kind of outgrown NXT despite only being there about seven months so far. It should be interesting how they get to the show so let’s get to it.

A quick opening video shows us Balor returning to Japan to win the title.

We open with the champ, holding the title in his hand instead of around his waist, which is something I’ve always been a fan of. After a quick YOU DESERVE IT chant, Balor talks about all the places he’s wrestled and how hard of a decision it really was to come to NXT. However, the moment he was handed the NXT Title, he knew it was all worth it so he could hold this title up. As for Owens, yeah he’s done a lot, but there’s one thing he couldn’t do: pin Finn Balor. He couldn’t do it in Tokyo and he won’t do it again in Brooklyn. This was a nice, to the point debut promo for the title reign and Balor looks like a star.

Eva Marie is very thankful for an opportunity tonight and is taking it so seriously. There’s a misconception about her but she’s ready to show what she has so open your eyes.

Eva Marie vs. Cassie

First sign of trouble: Graves tells the other commentators to pick their jaws up off the floor during Eva’s entrance. The NXT girls’ looks are almost never mentioned and it sets them apart from the Divas and it’s the first thing mentioned about Eva. The LET’S GO EVA/EVA SUCKS chants start up almost immediately as Eva cranks on a wristlock followed by a decent suplex for two. We hit the armbar on the mat for a good while before Cassie kicks her in the face for two of her own. Eva grabs a quick Sliced Bread #2 for the pin at 3:52.

Rating: D+. Well, she didn’t bomb. The problem though is that’s the only standard Eva had to reach here. She didn’t have to be anything great and while she could be good in the ring one day, there’s always going to be a mark on her due to how she got into WWE. This could have been far worse, but it’s like watching a Tough Enough rookie having their debut: after all this time, she’s only up to average. It’s a step up, but she had nowhere to go but up.

Tyler Breeze is in Regal’s office and wants something good for Takeover.

Baron Corbin vs. ???

I don’t even have time to look up the jobber’s name before End of Days wraps this up in 12 seconds. I believe it was Jesus de Leon, who has appeared on a TNA One Night Only show and some indy shows.

Samoa Joe vs. Mike Rallis

Joe has new, far more sinister music which takes out the stupid upbeat sound of his original. That’s one of my favorite things in NXT: they actually fix big problems like that instead of just waiting for fans to go numb to them. Mike goes right at Joe to start and pounds away with some forearms, only to have Joe stomp him into the corner. The Rock Bottom out of the corner sets up the Muscle Buster to end Rallis at 2:05.

Emma and Dana Brooke aren’t worried about Bayley.

Bayley vs. Emma

This is about revenge after Emma broke Bayley’s hand about two months ago. I know it’s goofy and aimed at kids, but there is something so goofily innocent about Bayley that I can’t help but smile every time she does anything. I’ve said she’s the purest face in wrestling right now and the more I see her the more right I think I am. Emma slaps her in the bad hand (still in a brace) to start and takes over for a few moments, only to have Bayley send Emma face first into the buckle a few times.

A bulldog gets two but Dana offers a distraction so Emma can post the bad hand. Emma pulls on the fingers so hard you would think she was trying to steal them (but I’m sure she meant to pay for them). She cranks on both arms for a choke but Bayley comes back with ax handles to the chest. A pull of the hair tie sets up a middle rope elbow to the jaw for two and the fans are right back with the BAYLEY chants. Dana tries to interfere again but gets ejected, setting up the Bayley to Belly (didn’t it used to be the other way around?) for the pin at 5:37.

Rating: C-. This was about revenge and Bayley did exactly what she should have done here. Now, assuming this ends Bayley vs. Emma, there’s almost no reason not to send Bayley after the Women’s Title. It’s been a very long time coming and the fans would erupt when she finally wins it. Bayley is as close to a female Sami Zayn as you can get and the win would be a great main event for a Takeover if they want to roll the dice.

Post match Bayley says she wants the title and wants to beat the best to get there. Therefore, she wants a match with Charlotte.

We get a clip of the NXT girls making their in ring debut at Battleground.

Charlotte is thankful for the opportunity when Dana Brooke comes in. Dana is tired of everyone getting a chance because of their last name when she has never gotten a single shot. Charlotte likes the sound of that and says Bayley can wait a week.

Vaudevillains vs. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton

Gotch and Dawkins get things going but it’s quickly off to Fulton to lay a beating down on Simon. Something like a Hart Attack with a dropkick instead of a running clothesline gets two on Gotch and it’s off to an abdominal stretch. Gotch picks up his own boot and kicks Angelo in the face to escape (that’s just cool) and makes the tag off to English. The Whirling Dervish puts Dawkins away at 2:47.

Blake/Murphy/Alexa aren’t impressed by the Vaudevillains and think Gotch and English are from the old days of 1999. The title match is next week and Bliss guarantees they retain the belts. That could open some doors for a new team at Takeover, such as some hometown boys.

It’s time for Balor and Owens to sign the contract for Takeover with Regal moderating. He talks about the largest audience in NXT history but Owens comes out to cut him off. Before he can say or do anything though, here’s Finn Balor to look like a star again, offering a very nice visual compared to Owens’ brawler look. Balor goes to sign but Owens asks him how it feels to be champion. How does it feel to defend the title in the biggest main event in NXT history (“which takes place in BROOKLYN!”)? And how does it feel to go in as the underdog.

Balor was exactly right earlier in the night when he talked about all the things Owens did, such as beating up Rusev, sending Neville out of NXT, crippling Sami Zayn twice and beating John Cena. All that was in his first six months, so now he gets to show the fans that Japan was just a fluke. Balor can’t wait to make Owens eat those words and both guys sign. There goes the table and Regal gets punched in the face. Balor forearms Owens to the floor and dropkicks him for good measure to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. I had a good time with this show and I was amazed by how fast it went by. This was about setting up Takeover as they have five weeks and most of the card isn’t set already. The wrestling wasn’t the point here and it covered a lot of the stuff it needed to get to. They’ll be fine going forward and the Brooklyn crowd is going to help the show a lot. Fun, well done show this week.


Eva Marie b. Cassie – Sliced Bread #2

Baron Corbin b. Jesus de Leon – End of Days

Samoa Joe b. Mike Rallis – Muscle Buster

Bayley b. Emma – Bayley to Belly

Vaudevillains b. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton – Whirling Dervish to Dawkins

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