Bo Dallas and Derrick Bateman vs Johnny Curtis and Michael McGillicutty:
Opening tonight’s show is a match I kind of expected more out of. McGillicutty (who the announcers are openly saying is Mr. Perfect’s son) and Johnny Curtis could be an amazing tag team but whatever uber technical promise they showed on previous episodes just wasn’t there tonight. Maybe they didn’t have enough time in the match? I dunno. Speaking of disappointing, Bo Dallas hasn’t show much of anything special or unique since I’ve started reviewing this show. At this point I’m more impressed with his hair than his ring work or character. That ain’t a compliment.
So Dallas starts the match off on the right foot but makes the mistake of taking his eye off his opponent in order to punch Johnny Curtis’s weird face. Bo eats a baseball slide dropkick from McGillicutty and gets non-descriptively owned for the next few minutes. After a lame looking back elbow in the corner, Dallas tags in Bateman, who cleans house. After a flipping neckbreaker to Curtis, shenanigans ensue and while the referee is busy dealing with Bo, Bateman gets tripped up by McGillicutty on the outside and walks right into Johnny’s falcon arrow finisher. That’s it. Johnny Curtis and Michael McGillicutty win. After the match Bateman and Dallas discuss what went wrong.
Antonio Cesaro and Alex Riley:
First off, does the sight of Antonio Cesaro and Aksana in their outfits make anyone else think of the White Stripes? No? Fine. As much as I kind of hate Alex Riley’s guts, he does carry himself well as a good guy. His interactions with the audience during his entrance might seem like “Sports Entertainment Pandering 101” but nothing he does seems forced, which is good. I believe that he’s enjoying himself and believability is like 73# percent of wrestling.
Cesaro, for his part, looks pretty believable as a man who’s gonna destroy Riley just because he doesn’t have anything else written down on his European calendar. Surprisingly the match is a little more back and forth than you’d expect and Riley does get some offense in. Eventually Cesaro grows tired of Riley’s silly little comebacks and flattens him with a spinebuster and Gotch-style Neutralizer while Riley is distracted by Aksana and her bangs of doom. Antonio Cesaro wins.
Briley Pierce Interviews Kassius Ohno:
I’d like to organize this segment of tonight’s NXT review into a compliment sandwich for Mr. Ohno. Here goes.
Dear Mr. Ohno,
I think you cut a pretty good promo. The odd mix of intensity and aloofness was interesting, the boast about being the most dangerous man in the WWE was appropriate, and overall it was done in a unique way.
Looking at some spot way to the right of the camera but not at the interviewer for nearly the entirety of the promo makes you look like a schmuck. Stop it.
Matt Striker Interviews Drew McInytre:
Striker asks Drew a question in the form of a paragraph, pointing out that at one point in time he was the “Chosen One” and now he’s a jobber watching this new group of young talent, including Seth Rollins (his opponent for tonight) pass him by. Drew says “the time for talkin’ is over.”
Natalya vs Sofia Cortez:
I think Natalya is a great wrestler…..I just wish the WWE didn’t force her to censor herself. This censorship sometimes leads to little moments that bug me in Natalya matches. Take this match for example, which for the record is Sofia’s second match on NXT. After kicking little Cortez’s ass for the most part with impressive offense like a discus clothesline and a nasty submission, Natalya got hit with a move and just decided to intentionally get counted out because…..? Sofia wins. Then Natalya crawled back in, bopped Cortez and slapped on the sharpshooter. Why she didn’t just do that in the first place is beyond me. It’s like they have to dumb down Natalya’s abilities so that the Kelly Kellys of the world can beat her, even when Nattie could counter a rollup 12 different ways.
Ascension (Conor O’ Brian and Kenneth Cameron) vs Dante Dash and Garret Dylan:
One criticism I had of Ascension’s appearances on earlier episodes this season was that for all the scary music and lighting they weren’t all that scary or violent in the ring. Yeah they beat their opponents pretty handily but aside from some rapid fire elbow drops and an awkward tag team finisher there wasn’t much to them. This week Conor O’ Brian addressed that criticism by simply blocking every strike Dante Dash attempted, yanking him into the corner and beating him senseless. Dylan never really got a chance to enter, though he was knocked off the apron twice. Ascension hit an improved finisher this week, a violent leg sweep/spinning heel kick combination, for the three-count. Ascension wins.
Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntrye:
Week after week Seth Rollins impresses more and more and moves farther and farther past his fellow Season 6 good guys Bo Dallas and Richie Steamboat. This week he’s in the main event and delivers a main event worthy performance with Drew McIntrye of all people. Not that Drew’s a bad wrestler by any means, we just haven’t seen much out of him for….well years now. Can they forgive Drew McIntrye for whatever he or his ex-wife did already? Between his look, his talent, and his sucking it up for the past however long it’s been the WWE should throw him a bone.
What makes this match good is that it contains classic wrestling psychology while featuring some fresh and exciting moves, which also makes Seth and Drew good wrestlers for understanding that. Rollins might hit a reverse STO into the turnbuckle because it’s cool but he also spends the match avoiding Drew’s DDT because it makes him look smart and Drew’s finisher seem deadly. The finishing sequence was also suitably crazy. Seth hit his grounded superkick finisher from FCW, which got a long two count. Since that didn’t work Rollins went up top and launched into a Phoenix Splash……that he somehow landed on his feet from when Drew moved out of the way! Rollins rolled to get up and was turned inside out again by Drew’s big boot. One nasty Future Shock DDT later and Drew wins the match. I daresay that Rollins got over as well.
I don’t know why but tonight’s episode seemed pretty light on content. Maybe it was the long Raw Recap or the fact that there were 5 matches but it didn’t seem like anything substantial occurred. Having said that, I recommend checking out the women’s match, Cesaro vs Riley and Rollins vs McIntrye because all three featured some nice wrestling action. Despite the low energy of the show at points I’d give tonight’s episode of 5/10. Next week’s show features the wrestling debut of Big E Langston (whose vignette I totally forgot to write about but it was pretty boring so meh), and a big announcement from NXT general manager Dusty Rhodes. Having read the spoilers I’m aware of what the announcement is; let me just say that NXT is gonna get some forward direction very soon!