Moore’s WWE NXT review: The Ascension vs. Finn Balor and Hideo Itami, Kevin Owens talks, Sami Zayn return update, Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker, NXT Tag Champions in action
Special thanks to John Moore, who is filling in this week while Zack Zimmerman is in Japan.
By John Moore
Aired January 1, 2015 on WWE Network
Taped December 12, 2014 at Full Sail University
NXT Tag Team Champions, The Lucha Dragons, started off the show as they would be in action. According to the commentators, their feud with the Vaudevillans is still ongoing. Out next are Jason Jordan and Tye Dillenger coming out to music that sounds like a mix between strip club and American Psycho.
1. The Lucha Dragons vs. Tye Dillenger and Jason Jordan in a non-title bout. Tye Dillinger and Kalisto start things off. Kalisto started off with his high flying moves which included his innovative armdrag. Jason Jordan came in to stop his momentum. Tye and Jason worked over Kalisto in tandum while Kalisto takes the offense from both of them trading tags.
With a flip over Dillinger, Sin Cara gets tagged in leading with a shoulder block. Sin Cara comes with an impressive looking crossbody only to botch what was likely supposed to be a leg scissors. Hunico was showing shades of the old Mistico. Sin Cara came back with a better looking springboard moonsault on Dillinger while Kalisto executed a corkscrew plancha to take out Jordan. Sin Cara executes a Sunset Flip bomb for the win.
Sin Cara and Kallisto beat Tye Dillenger and Jason Jordan via Pinfall in 3:08.
Post-match, The Vaudevillans come out and put the boots on the Lucha Dragons. Gotch and English lay Kalisto out with a tandem uppercut neckbreaker combination.
Backstage, we saw a nervous CJ Parker being coached by Bull Dempsey. Parker was apprehensive to Bull's advice though because Bull wants Parker to "maim" Baron Corbin while CJ wants to win. Then Bull said this is not about Bull and Corbin, it is about "The Greater Good" as we head to break... [C]
Johnny's Reaction: Your standard tag team opener. The Lucha Dragons still have a few kinks to their act. Their entrance is ok, but Kalisto and Cara look like goofs when they do the lucha arm pump thingy. Hunico was much smoother with his moves when he was Sin Cara Negro, now he's adopting some of the botch spots that the old Sin Cara did and he looks a bit awkward out there while Kalisto outshines him in every way. At least we are getting some semblance of competitive tag team action and feuds, an improvement over the year of Ascension squashes.
Back from the break, we have Enzo and Big Cass introduce Carmella to the ring for her match. The Full Sail crowd has Enzo's entire speech down to a T (and I can't help but recite the speech too). As Carmella was strutting to the ring the crowd overwhelmed her with "Blue Pants" chants. "Inspired by Sami Zayn, on the road to redemption" according to Enzo, he introduced their other wrestling discovery, Leva "Blue Pants" Bates running out in her X-Men cosplay to Big Cass's Price is Right rendition. Then Enzo made some kind of Blues clues joke that I didn't get...
2. Carmella vs. Blue Pants (w/ Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy). The crowd was really behind Blue Pants. The match started off with Carmella dominating with a headlock leading to shoulder block sequence.Carmella continued to mock Blue Pants in the ring. Enzo did some hilarious running in place on the ring apron for some reason and that managed to distract Carmella enough for Blue Pants to land the small package for the victory. Blue Pants's entrance theme (with Cass's voice) played as she was shocked by her upset victory. Back in the ring, Carmella blew up on Enzo for costing her the match...
Blue Pants beat Carmella via pinfall in 1:00.
We cut to a recap of R-Evolution highlighting Finn Balor's dark transformation and victory over the Ascention with Hideo Itami at his side... [C]
Johnny's Reaction: Enzo and Cass are extremely entertaining when not in an actual match. Enzo especially has a good future if WWE ever decides to bring back managers. Carmella hasn't shown me much as far as depth is concerned, she just seems like a Jersey Shore knockoff. I really cracked up though with Enzo doing whatever he was doing on the ring apron though. I hope WWE signs Leva Bates to a deal though to build up the womens division just in case Charlotte and Sasha get called up.
Back to NXT from break, CJ Parker was about to head to the ring with one of his customized hippie signs. He was followed by Baron Corbin, who made his way to the ring to a big pop from the Full Sail crowd...
3. Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker. Bull Dempsey was shown in the audience. Corbin hit Snake Eyes, to the big boot, to the End of Days for the win...
Baron Corbin beats CJ Parker via pinfall in 0:28.
Post match, Baron Corbin grabbed a mic. "You're gonna stand there looking scared, or are we gonna do this?" Corgin said to Dempsey. Bull stood there while Corbin dragged him over the guardrail and the two brawled. The refs came out and tried to break them up...
Backstage Devin Taylor interviewed NXT General Manager William Regal, who announced that Sami Zayn will return to NXT next week. He was interrupted by Curtis Axel, who said he deserves to recharge his career, He said he beat Triple H and John Cena before. Regal announced that Axel would Hideo Itami next week as a response....
Johnny's Reaction: Standard Corbin squash with the focus being the build to a collision with Bull Dempsey. I'm not sure what Bull Dempsey's character is now. Is he a jealous coward? He looked somewhat impressive beating Mojo Rawley that one time but now he's just a guy that doesn't like Baron Corbin because of the length of his squash matches. Baron Corbin's mic work was okay but nothing to write home about, but there's just something about the guys that screams superstar and he seems like he can be a big man main eventer in the future. Hopefully WWE doesn't pull a Roman Reigns and prematurely push him before he has time to develop.
After the break, Devin Taylor introduces the Women's champion Charlotte to the ring. Charlotte starts off her interview with her dad's signature woo. Then she tells the crowd that no one chants when the most genetically superior diva is talking when the crowd chants "Blue Pants" again when Flair was asked what was next for her. Funny. The Crowd was back on her side when she put over the NXT women's division as revolutionizing women's wrestling. She said that Sasha Banks was the toughest woman she's ever faced. She was interrupted by Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. As they headed to the ring to double-team Charlotte, Natalya's music interrupted them and they retreated. Charlotte and Natalya stood tall in the ring as Becky and Sasha head to the back... [C]
During the break, Prince Pretty Tyler Breeze tells us that NXT will be gorgeous when it moves to Wednesday in a few weeks...
Johnny's Reaction: It looks like we're going to get a series of tag team matches with Charlotte and Natalya vs. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, which leads me to wonder where Bayley will be going as she was a central part of this feud and Nattie is all of a sudden in her spot. At least she is selling her beatdowns I suppose. Nothing too special but WWE seems to do a much better job booking the Woman's Division in NXT than the Diva's Division on the main roster.
In the bumper cards after the break we were told that the Vaudevillians would receive an NXT Tag Title Rematch since the illegal man was pinned at Takeover. We were also told that Hideo Itami vs. Curtis Axel is confirmed for next week on NXT...
Sami Zayn was shown seemingly from his home on a home video updating viewers on his status following the brutal attack on him by his best friend Kevin Owens. Zayn said we would get this update from him personally when he returns next week...
Back at Full Sail, we got Renee Young interviewing Kevin Owens. Renee told us that Sami Zayn tried to have his moment winning the title, while Owens told us Zayn DID have his moment, he won the NXT Championship. Renee retorted by saying that Kevin Owens stole the moment from his lifelong friend. Owens responded by saying, "Lifelong?" He's known Zayn for 12 years of Owens' 30 year life, so Renee's math was wrong. Owens then says that if Renee thinks he stole something then he doesn't have to be here. Then he ducked out of the question. Classic...
Johnny's Reaction: Interesting setup for Zayn's return next week. Owens didn't say much but what he did say was good heel work and is sure to generate heat for Zayn fans.
Back to the Arena, the Ascension's music plays. They didn't have their bad face paint on. Hideo Itami headed to the ring followed by Finn Balor, who wasn't in his awesome face paint this time...
Johnny's Reaction: I like that Balor saves the bodypaint for special occasions and can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the future. The Venom one was good, so I'll be interesting to see if he has other characters for us in the future.
4. Hideo Itami and Finn Balor vs. The Ascension. Similar to their Takeover encounter, the match started with Itami and Balor getting the upper hand with the Ascension avoiding the corner dropkicks this time. After everything settled, we started off with Finn Balor and Rick Viktor. Balor got the early advantage with chops and kicks corner to corner. Viktor kicks out of a pinfall. Itami was tagged in and hit rapid kicks on Viktor. He tagged Balor back in the ring. Balor continued to dominate and tagged Itami back in.
Itami went for the pin for the two count. Itami slowed down the match with a headlock while the crowd chants Hi-de-o. Finn tagged back in. With a little distraction from Konnor, Viktor managed to turn the tide by hitting Balor with an uppercut as Balor attempts a plancha in the ring. [C]
Back from break, we were told that the Ascension have been dominating and were shown Konnor bodyslamming Finn Balor on the outside. Back in the ring, Viktor dominated Finn Balor as he went for the pin. Finn kicked out. Konnor was tagged and he started doing his signature "Yaw!" kicks. Balor kicked out of another pin followed by a headlock from Konnor slowing down the action. Konnor went for another pin and Finn kicked out quickly.
Later, after a bunch of Ascension offense, Balor got his hope spot when he knocked out Konnor with the Pele kick. Konnor and Balor made their tags while Hideo Itami came in fired up with rapid offense. Hideo landed a DDT against the top rope, which led to a top rope clotheline. Viktor then hits a STO out of nowhere after the slight distraction from Konnor. Hideo kicks out after the nearfall. Viktor showed frustration as the match went on. Viktor grabbed Hideo in the fireman's carry where Hideo reversed him to set up the Go To Sleep as the Full Sail Crowd went nuts. The crowd was then cockblocked as Konnor interrupted. Balor took Konnor with a sling blade while they had Viktor alone in the ring.
The crowd chanted "GTS." For security, Finn Balor landed the double foot stomp on Konnor on the outside while Hideo Itami landed the Trouble In Paradise (?) for the win.
Hideo Itami and Finn Balor beat the Ascension via pinfall in about 13:01.
Johnny's Reaction: Hopefully, this is the end of the Ascension vs. Itami and Balor feud and the Ascension can move on to do their Road Warrior thing on the Main Roster.
Takeover was clearly a showcase for Finn Balor while tonight was more of a showcase for Hideo Itami, and Hideo had probably his best showing since his debut at the other Takeover show. Itami still isn't quite there yet but it looks like he definitely has the potential. Maybe it involved a little help from the crowd's familiarity with CM Punk performing the move in WWE, but the crowd goes nuts every time Itami teases that he's going to take the GTS back. I would like to see him continue to not hit it until he makes it to the main roster so and that they build up to the moment where he finally hits the GTS on someone important for an important title.
NXT seemed to try to highlight tag teams differently tonight with Sin Cara and Hideo Itami being highlighted when their partners usually are the focus. Hideo Itami did well in the spot while Sin Cara needs to add something to his act to make him less awkward.
Overall, this was a standard show, not great, not terrible. There seems to be a lot of set up for next week and weeks to come forwarding feuds. It would be interesting to see Hideo Itami vs. Curtis Axel because Axel is a good worker and Itami needs a good singles showing. The women's division continues to spin its wheels in a positive way and it would be intriguing to see where the division goes with Natalya thrown in the mix. The most anticipated followup will be the possible confrontation between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn with Zayn returning next week.
Thank you for watching with me this week and Happy New Year from Prowrestling.net
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