Remember last week's overload of quick squash matches, boring wrestling and jarring commentary changes? Well, NXT addressed all those issues (probably accidentally because of the taping schedule) resulting in a better show. Jim Ross and Byron Saxton handled most of the commentary, with Regal and Chris Russo replacing Saxton for the main event.
One random note here: Bray Wyatt sustained an injury to his shoulder recently at a live event, but it probably won't greatly affect his participation in the show. He has said as much on twitter and seeing as how there are still about 5 more weeks in the can before his injury I think it'll work out just fine.
Sofia Cortez vs Paige:
Starting off this week’s NXT is our first women’s match of the season, featuring two divas that I believe team up a bit in FCW as the Anti-Diva Army. Paige, who’s English, would be the pasty one with the raven-colored hair and Sofia you might remember from the recent season of Tough Enough. Don’t let the goofy picture fool you, these two ladies started off the show with a fight! In one of NXT’s more competitive short matches so far, Cortez and Paige chopped, slapped and brawled all over the ring until Cortez hit a nasty looking wheelbarrow DDT for the win. Sofia Cortez wins, though I’d say both women came away looking pretty good. I’d like to see more from both.
Seth Rollins vs Camacho:
Tonight was a much better night for Seth Rollins than last week’s show. Camacho wouldn’t seem like an opponent that would bring the best out of anyone, but the fact that he’s at least on Smackdown meant that Rollins got to have a decent amount of time to wrestle, which is all he really needed. Also, his pre-match moshing seemed more focused this time. Hopefully that’s my only petty comment this week.
Anyway, Camacho gave Rollins some trouble thanks to his strength and toughness, forcing Rollins to scrap and claw his way back a bit and use his agility where he could. In one of the cooler spots of the match Rollins actually flipped back up to his feet when Camacho tried to yank him up off the ropes, quickly landing an enzu giri on the bigger wrestler. Hunico unsuccessfully tried to distract Rollins near the end and got knocked off the ropes, allowing Rollins to hit his modified (and improved looking) curb-stomp on Camacho for the win. Seth Rollins wins.
After the match Hunico and Camacho ganged up on Rollins, which brought out Bo Rollins for the save.
Corey Graves and Jake Carter vs CJ Parker and Nick Rogers:
Graves is the tattooed dude on the left and has been around the independent scene a bit. The fact that I didn’t know that before doing some research probably isn’t a good sign. Jake Carter, on the right, is Big Van Vader’s son. Yes, the 450 pound monster’s son looks like that. Probably not what you were expecting. They’re currently the FCW tag champs and their opponents are jobbers. You do the math.
Obviously Graves and Carter win, but their in ring style is less about domination and more about sneakiness. Graves especially seems like the type of wrestler that survives just by the skin of his teeth. Nothing much to go over here, though Graves and Carter do use a double team powerslam/sliding clothesline combo (ala the Motor City Machine Guns) to pick up their victory.
Kassius Ohno vs Mike Dalton:
Kassius Ohno might be better known as independent standout Chris Hero and I have no idea why it took so long for both him and Antonio Cesaro to get picked up by the WWE. Yes Hero used to be a bit hefty but for the past couple years he seemed to have everything the big E would want in a wrestler. Now he’s on NXT, playing the character of a “Knockout Artist” though as a wrestler he’s shown himself to be very adaptable.
Mike Dalton might have been trained by Lance Storm and might have shown flashes of spunk tonight but he didn’t really stand a chance. Once Kassius got the opportunity he sent Dalton into the ropes and nailed a big roaring elbow. That’s it, KO. Kassius Ohno wins.
After the match Kassius grabs a mic and informs us that “Kassius Ohno knocks people out! And when they hear Kassius comin’ they yell “Oh No!””. Yeah, its sounds cheesy in print but he makes it work.
Derrick Bateman vs Jinder Mahal:
Ugh. I hate it when Bateman has to lose to Jinder Mahal just because Jinder used to be on Smackdown. To be fair, Bateman kept the match interesting with some exciting offense and for the most part did pretty well. A suicide dive to the floor tweaked Bateman knee but he kept fighting through. Mahal kicked out of Bateman’s flipping neckbreaker and avoided the DBD by clutching onto the bottom ring rope. Bateman then got sent into the ropes and back into a knee to the head, setting up Mahal’s Camel Clutch and the tapout. Jinder Mahal wins. After the match Jinder beats up Bateman some more because he’s a dick.
Bray Wyatt Vignette:
Bray Wyatt’s introductory vignettes have been my favorite WWE introductory vignettes in years. I don’t need to explain to you why they’re awesome. Tonight’s video ends with a little bit of a change: Bray Wyatt arrives next week!
Tyson Kidd, Seth Rollins and Bo Dallas vs Michael McGillicutty, Hunico and Camacho:
First of all, this main event has a healthy pedigree: the sons of Haku, Mr. Perfect, and IRS as well as an adaptable Mexican star, a former ROH Champion and an incredibly talented adopted Hart, all in the same match. Guess what? It’s a pretty good match! Everybody meshes well with everyone, though Tyson Kidd and Huncio impressed the most in the early going, pulling off a Guerrero Special to pinfall to sunsetflip counter pinfall combination. Yeah, that happened. Both Seth Rollins and Bo Dallas took turns as face-in-peril, eventually tagging Tyson Kidd in to clean house. With two heels on the outside Seth Rollins decided to climb the turnbuckle and jump onto everybody with a crossbody! Tyson Kidd tried to follow that up with a suicide plancha but McGillicutty jumped in with a surprise cutter for the unexpected victory. The heels win, and this feud between Tyson and McGillicutty still isn’t over!
Tonight’s episode was a definite improvement over last week’s show because it dialed down on the number of squash matches as well as the squashiness of said matches. Seth Rollins, who’s already getting comparisons with C M Punk on commentary, had a pretty big night, wrestling two good matches and generally coming off like the hot prospect he is. Hunico, Tyson Kidd, Sofia Cortez, Paige, and Kassius Ohno also impressed and the main event ended things on a high note, so overall it was a good show. I’m thinking 6/10. Next week’s show will feature the NXT in-ring debut of Bray Wyatt, which I’m definitely looking forward to.