2/3 Zim's WWE NXT Live Coverage: Finn Bálor vs. Apollo Crews, The Vaudevillains vs. The Hype Bros, Asuka, Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, and Carmella in action
By Zack Zimmerman
WWE NXT on the WWE Network
Aired February 3, 2016
Taped January 7 at Full Sail University
A brief video hyped Apollo Crews challenging Finn Bálor in the main event... The opening music video played... Inside the arena, The Vaudevillains made their entrance. They were less jovial then usual and Graves noted that they're focusing exclusively on being manly now. The Hype Bros were out next.
1. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) vs. The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder). Mojo got the better of English before Ryder tagged in and hit a flipping neckbreaker. He followed up with a flapjack and dropkick, but a Gotch distraction allowed English to blindside Ryder and take control.
The Vaudes hit their "dukes up" spot and continued to isolate Ryder. Mojo took the luke warm tag at the three-minute mark and ran wild on Gotch with a Stinger Splash, but he was taken out to ringside before long. Ryder came in for a signature series of spots, but Gotch managed to avoid the Broski Boot. The Vaudes hit the Whirling Dervish and scored the pinfall...
The Vaudevillains beat The Hype Bros in about 4:15.
A replay package showed Carmella winning the No. 1 Contender's battle royal three weeks ago... Carmella did a sit-down style interview with Tom Phillips. She said winning was a feeling that she'll never forget. Carmella revealed that her father was a former WWF jobber so she has wrestling in her blood. Carmella said that Bayley was the first girlfriend she made in NXT and that will never change; they'll have to temporarily set that aside while they're wrestling, but Baymella lives. Carmella said that Emma is good, so beating her will go a long way towards legitimizing her as the next challenger... Apollo Crews vs. Finn Bálor was hyped... [C]
Zim Says: I'm all for a Vaudes heel turn to create some fresh matches and stories, but I want to see a definitive turn and not just a subtle flip of a switch. Give fans a reason to hate these guys who they're naturally inclined to cheer. Carmella was fine there. Honestly though, I think Phillips did a better job of getting her over with the prefaces to his questions than Carmella's actual answers.
Backstage, NXT Tag Team Champions Dash and Dawson were asked to respond to Enzo and Cass calling them out last week. Dash said that they got their chance at Takeover London and lost like always, while Dash and Dawson won like always. Dawson said that the tag team revival continues to roll and they're on their way to becoming the best champs ever. He said that they welcome another challenge from Enzo and Cass but the results will always be the same...
Back in the arena, Carmella made her entrance. She cut her usual promo on the way to the ring. Emma was out next with Dana Brooke by her side.
2. Carmella vs. Emma (w/ Dana Brooke). The two ladies traded headlocks and shoulder tackles in the opening minute before Carmella hit a running single-leg dropkick for an early pin attempt. Emma cut her off shortly thereafter and began to work the heat. Carmella made her comeback around the three-minute mark with a series of Thesz Presses. She hit a 'rana out of the corner and looked to follow up, but Emma cut her off yet again. Emma looked for a butterfly suplex, but Carmella slipped behind and scored the pin with a backslide...
Carmella defeated Emma in about 4:15.
A replay of last week's main event finish aired before they went to comments from both competitors... Sami Zayn said it's out of his hands but he hopes Regal made the right decision. He said in his opinion he had the Sharpshooter applied for a longer period of time so he thinks the decision should fall in his favor... When the roving reporter caught up with Samoa Joe, Joe just punked the guy out and walked away...
An American Alpha hype video aired...
Zim Says: This taping was full of relatively dreadful 3-5 minute glorified squashes, eh? Got bits on Zayn, Joe, and AA there.
Back in the arena, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady made their entrance, along with the intro promo schtick. Enzo was more no-nonsense in his delivery. The fans chanted "How you doin'?" In the ring, Enzo reiterated that if they had a dime for every time they got knocked down and didn't get back up, they'd have zero dimes. He said that's what G's do. Cassady said that there's only one word to describe anyone who tries to mess with them and delivered his SAWFT bit.
3. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. An enhancement team. Enzo got the better of his unnamed opponent and danced around while ducking and dodging shots. Enzo hit a great looking knee-lift before Cassady there Enzo into the poor guy in the corner. Cass hit a big boot and then drove the other jobber into the corner to put a beating on him. Cassady dumped one of the guys clean over the top rope and he took a sickening bump at ringside. Graves noted that he just got tossed to Universal Studios. Cass hit the big swinging slam and then they hit the Rocket Launcher for the win.
Enzo and Cass won in about 2:30.
The main event was hyped... Backstage Apollo Crews said that a few months ago he was robbed of his chance at the NXT Championship opportunity by Baron Corbin and he was left with doubt after that night, but tonight he proves to everyone including himself that he's worth of being called a champion... William Regal's resolution to last week's main event finish was hyped up next... [C]
Zim Says: I like mean-streak Enzo and Cass. They're the way the goofy act from the past few years modernizes and finds their roles in the revamped tag division. Enzo is a hell of a stick man.
In his office, NXT GM William Regal said that he reviewed the tape from last week, but before he could continue he was interrupted by Baron Corbin. Corbin said he better make it a straight-up rematch. Regal said the one certain thing from last week's result was that Corbin Lost. Corbin said "This is a joke" and stormed off. Regal said that the answer is a rematch between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe with the winner getting the next shot at Finn Bálor and the NXT Championship...
Back in the arena, Asuka made her entrance. Her opponent was already in the ring. She got a respectable reaction from the familiar local crowd when she was announced.
4. Asuka vs. Santana Garrett. Asuka no-sold repeated shots and then hit a flying hip attack. Asuka wore her opponent out with kicks but missed the big spinning KO kick. Asuka hit a big overhand strike before Garret came back with a Russian leg sweep for a near-fall. Garret avoided a German suplex but couldn't avoid the flying armbar. Asuka worked her way into the Asuka Lock and forced the submission.
Asuka forced Santana Garrett to tap in about 2:25.
Backstage, Finn Bálor was asked to address the controversy around the No. 1 contendership. He said that he thinks made the right call by making the match between Zayn and Joe. Bálor turned to Apollo Crews and said that he won't have to wait longer to se if he can beat the champion. Bálor said that Crews is good, but he declared himself the best... Bayley vs. Carmella for the NXT Women's Championship was hyped for next week's show...
Back in the arena, Apollo Crews made his entrance. NXT Champion Finn Bálor was out next.
5. NXT Champion Finn Bálor vs. Apollo Crews in a non-title match. The two shook hands at the bell and then quickly went in for some chain wrestling. They took things slowly early on with Finn working a headlock for a solid minute or more. Crews came back with a headlock of his own before Bálor took it right back. Crews created separation however, and hit a dropdown and leapfrog into a high dropkick that sent Bálor to ringside for a powder. [C]
Back in the ring, Crews had Bálor grounded in a chin lock and they worked back to their feet. Bálor reversed a sunset roll into a low dropkick, and then transitioned right into a low-angle Fujiwara armbar mid-ring. Bálor took advantage of a referee's request for a quick break with a back spin kick and then went to work on Crews with a series of shots and running chops from corner to corner.
Crews mounted a comeback and hit a jumping clothesline to knock Finn off the ring apron. Crews looked for a moonsault off the apron, but landed on his feet when his opponent was not there. He turned right into Finn flying over the top with his big flip dive, and Crews was wiped out at ringside. Finn followed up back in the ring with a diving stomp to the back of the head for a near-fall.
Crews halted Bálor's momentum with a pop-up Samoan drop for a near-fall of his own. Bálor ducked a kick and hit the Slingblade, but he ran right into a boot from Crews. Crews hit the press slam into the standing moonsault for another near-fall. Finn managed to slip out of Crews's attempt at his new power bomb and hit the slingblade. Bálor hit the shotgun dropkick and the Coup de Grace. Rather than going for the pin however, he lifted Crews to his feet and hit the Bloody Sunday for the win.
Finn Bálor over Apollo Crews in about 11:00.
Replays aired and the commentators put the match and both competitors over big. Afterwards, the and applauded and Bálor helped Crews to his feet. They looked each other in the eye, shook hands, exchanged a brief hug, and Crews left the ring to the champion to close the show.
Zim Says: Good match. Not great, but good. This show really suffered from being the same formula as last week, with decent matches to open and close the show, and forgettable squashes throughout the whole middle of the show. Granted, the featured talent this week are far superior to the talent who were showcased last week, so for that reason I can say that this show was marginally better. In general though, these shows are in desperate need of the motivation that comes with Takeover builds. Luckily we should be getting that within the coming weeks, and I believe next week's shows will bring a refreshing temporary change of venue as the show emanates from UCF in Orlando, so we can all look forward to that,
Be sure to check back for the DotNet NXT Audio Recap and Hitlist.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.
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