6/29 Zim’s NXT TV Live Review: Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder, Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss, tag title match set for next week


Logo_NXT_dn_crop600By Zack Zimmerman

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NXT on WWE Network
Taped June 9 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

The opening video played… Inside the arena, the fans chanted “NXT” before the commentaries hyped that we would hear comments from both Finn Bálor and Shinsuke Nakamura going into their match next week. American Alpha’s return to action was also hyped for later in the show.

Alexa Bliss’s music hit and she made her way to the ring. Carmella was out next without cutting her usual promo on the way to the ring.

1. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella. The two traded headlocks and armlocks before Bliss got the better of Carmella and stomped her face into the mat. The two traded a series of rollups and squared off. Carmella took control with a headscissors and moonwalked while Bliss took a powder.  The two exchanged rest holds with Carmella spending a decent amount of time sitting with a side headlock applied. Things went to the apron where Bliss cut her off and tool control. [C]

Back from break, Bliss was working over Carmella’s left shoulder which she first used to take control on the apron. Bliss hit a jumping knee drop and then floated into her back-handspring knee drop for a two-count. Bliss bickered with the ref, allowing Carmella to fire up. She made her comeback before catching Bliss with a superkick. Carmella looked for a Bronco Buster, but Bliss fought out of the corner with a sunset roll for another two-count. Bliss looked to go up top, but Carmella cut her off and used a Trish Stratus-style handstand headscissors off the top for a near-fall of her own.

Carmella looked to follow up, but Bliss goozled her and hit an STO. Bliss went back up top and hit her finisher, renamed Twisted Bliss, for the win…

Alexa Bliss over Carmella in about 8:30.

Zim Says: The ladies worked hard and both have made marked improvements in terms of presence and confidence, but they’re not at the point yet where they’re having stand-out or memorable matches. This was alright but it should start getting better soon, particularly for these two.

The commentators hyped Andrade “Cien” Almas in action later in the show. They transitioned to a replay of the first confrontation between Finn Bálor and Shinsuke Nakamura from two weeks ago… “Earlier today,” Shinsuke Nakamura said that he’s known Finn Bálor for 10 years. He said they hung out a lot in Japan, they know each other’s family, and they’re friends. Nakamura said he supported Bálor coming to NXT and watched from Japan as Bálor became the icon.

Nakamura said that he’s there now, and he wants the title. He said that he wants to face the best before becoming champion, and that means facing icons. He said he has to face Finn Bálor, which will be huge for him because they’re like best friends. He said he know’s Balor’s abilities and potential, and he’s excited at the idea of facing him. He said he’s going to give fans something sensational… The Hype Bros vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa was hyped for later in the show…

Backstage, Bayley was asked how it felt to be back with a win last week. Bayley said that she hated being out and it was humbling to miss ring time, but she’s feeling 100 percent and she’s ready for her rematch against Asuka and she’s ready to regain the Women’s Championship. Alexa Bliss interrupted and said that she just beat Bayley’s best friend, and if Bayley wants her shot at Asuka, she has to go through Bliss first…

Back in the arena, Noah Potjes made his entrance. Andrade “Cien” Almas was out next to a tepid response.

2. Andrade Almas vs. Noah Potjes. Almas used some tips to counter Potjes’s offense and caught him with a low dropkick on a drop-down attempt. Almas did the “tranquillo” fake dive, but Potjes took control of the match when he re-entered the ring. He sat in a chin lock and talked some trash before Almas began his comeback. He hit a springboard dropkick and a wheelbarrow bulldog. Alma lined Potjes up and caught him with the running knees in the corner for the win.

Andrade Almas won in about 2:55.

The commentators talked about Almas like he is taking NXT by storm and the crowd applauded mildly… Finn Bálor’s comments were hyped up next…

Before that however, we went backstage with Austin Aries, who was asked why he attacked No Way Jose last week. Aries said that “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” wasn’t treated with the reverence he deserved by the fans. He said that he watched No Way Jose go out and dance and the crowd goes wild, yet they tell him “Aries sucks.” Aries said that he’s doing things his way and everyone is going to have to deal with it…

“Earlier today,” Finn Bálor spoke about Nakamura. He said that he went to Japan and began training at 24 years old, and Nakamura was one of the first guys he met. He said they became friends and trained together, but outside of wrestling they know each other’s families and they hang out, so it’s a real friendship. Bálor said that when he left Japan, he wasn’t sure he’d cross paths again, but he still gets goosebumps thinking about the fact that Nakamura is there now. Bálor got a big smile on his face at the idea of wrestling Nakamura. He said they’ve faced each other before but a lot had changed since then and this time really feels special. Bálor said that he’s excited, and smiled big…

American Alpha were shown arriving earlier in the day… Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano vs. The Hype Bros was hyped up next… [C]

Zim Says: They really damaged Almas in front of the Full Sail crowd and it’s showing. Theres a chance they come around and his momentum picks up, but he’s off to a slower start than I think anyone had hoped for Nobody’s told the commentators though, for what that’s worth. I like the story they’re putting behind Bálor and Nakamura. It’s nothing we haven’t seen from NXT, but it’s one of the simple things that they do well.

Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss was made official for next week… Back in the arena, The Hype Bros made their entrance, followed by Gargano and Ciampa.

3. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder). Gargano caught Mojo in a headlock, but Mojo sent him flying with little effort. Mojo did his three-point stance spot and the Bros began to isolate Gargano. Ryder looked for a stalling suplex, but Gargano fought out and made the tag. Ryder held his own against both indie guys before Gargano caught him with a rolling kick and Ciampa drove him into the mat with a jumping neckbreaker.

Ryder took control of Ciampa and after a tag and some distractions. Things went outside of the ring where Ciampa got wiped out with a dropkick through the ropes from Ryder. Gargano took him out with a dive, but he turned right into a clothesline from Mojo who was the last man left standing at ringside. [C]

Back from break, Ciampa took a hot tag and began to run wild before running into Ryder’s knees and eating a missile dropkick. Mojo tagged in and began to roll, but after a pounce the ref wouldn’t count the fame because Mojo was under the ropes. The Bros looked for the Hype Ryder, but Gargano broke it up and took out Mojo with a superkick at ringside. Ciampa hit a hard lariat on Ryder, but he kicked out at two.

The indie guys looked for s double superplex, but Mojo intervened and powerbombed both to the mat. Ryder came off the top with a diving elbow for a good near-fall. Ryder continued to roll until there was a blind tag. Ciampa cut Ryder off mid-Broski Boot and within seconds, he and Gargano crunched Ryder between the running knee and superkick for the win.

Gargano and Ciampa beat The Hype Bros in about 7:30.

Replays aired of the closing moments. In the ring, Gargano took a mic and said that the week before The Revival regained the NXT Tag Team Championships, he and Ciampa beat them. He said as far as he can figure, that puts them in line for a title shot. American Alpha’s theme hit and they made their way down to the ring.

Gable said that without intending offense, Gargano and Ciampa aren’t next in lien for anything. He said that Gable and Jordan have their rematch and when Gargano and Ciampa get their shot, it’s going to be against Alpha. Jordan said that they’re going to deal with the Authors of Pain and prove that they’re still the alphas of NXT. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival interrupted and came out onto the stage.

Dawson asked them to stop bickering, though admitted it was flattering. He said that a little “top guy” secret is that because The Revival are running the tag division, they’re calling the shots as far as challengers. Dash said that Gargano and Ciampa have done nothing to deserve a shot and Alpha are more like the betas at this point. NXT GM William Regal came out and stood between The Revival.

He warned that they’re getting ahead of themselves and reminded everyone that he calls the shots. Regal acknowledged that Gargano and Ciampa are in line for a title shot, but before that we need a clear answer on who the best team in NXT is, so next week, American Alpha will face The Revival 2/3 falls for the NXT Tag Team Championships. The Revival left as Alpha faced off with Gargano and Ciampa. They left the ring to Alpha, but seconds later Alpha were ambushed from behind by the Authors of Pain.

Gargano and Ciampa hit the ring to try and help but were quickly disposed of. However, the distraction allowed Gable and Jordan to bring the fight to the Authors. Jordan tossed one overhead with a giant suplex, but he was leveled by the other. They laid Jordan out with the clothesline/Russian leg sweep, and then did the same to Gable. They stood over the fallen American Alpha in the ring as Paul Ellering slowly and calmly walked out onto the stage. The Authors left the ring and joined him at the top of the ramp to close the show.

Zim Says: Fun little tag match there, and about as good as things are going to get with a match involving the Hype Bros. I like the post-match segment between the contenders and the champions as it keeps a compelling mix of talent and stories in the tag division where wins and losses matter. I’m not sold on the Authors of Pain yet, and while I like the idea of using an established team on their way out to get over a new act, it remains to be seen how over the Authors will be able to get until they’re fleshed out a bit better and establish a reputation for quality work. This was an easy-to-watch show, which was also very effective at building up the next few weeks of TV with the tag title match and Bayley vs. Bliss next week, and of course Bálor vs. Nakamura in two weeks. These shows should be enjoyable, so be sure to tune in with me again next week. Thanks for reading!

Check back tomorrow for an All-Access edition of the DotNet NXT Audio Recap, as well as Darren Gutteridge’s NXT Hitlist.

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.


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