Jinder Mahal vs Richie Steamboat:
Richie Steamboat is very similar to Bo Dallas in terms of his character and ability in the ring but since Dallas had a much better match with Mahal last week thanks to his hustle and athleticism it doesn’t really speak very well of Steamboat’s ranking in the hierarchy of this show. There were some small mistakes made here, things like not landing on your feet out of a backflip suplex escape or tripping while hitting a running knee; little things that didn’t ruin the match but that were noticeable. Near the end Steamboat and Mahal put together a nice pinning sequence but it didn’t turn the match into something other than an average opener. For the finish Steamboat missed a missile dropkick and Mahal took advantage by slapping on his admittedly nice looking camel clutch. Somebody go tell Graham Galloway, I just complemented Jinder Mahal. Mahal wins via submission, which moves him onto the NXT championship match.
Briley interviews Leo Kruger:
Briley finds Leo backstage sitting in the corner and asks him “What’s next?” after losing in the first round of the gold rush tournament. Kruger stands up and says something in another language and then calmly removes his god damn tooth. “Something has been bothering me.” Kruger says, in a voice that doesn’t sound like his own and whilst smiling like a crazy person. “Something has been brewing inside of me. I come for you Punta. I come for you ta-ta.” Then he walks away.
Um…….I think Leo Kruger has officially lost it. I don’t know if he now has a split personality or what but this is by far the most interesting development in Kruger’s character since he showed up on NXT.
Heath Slater asks for trouble:
Slater comes out and says that what happened between him and all those dinosaurs on Raw is a thing of the past. I assume because he figures no legends would be at NXT, he makes an open challenge for anyone in the back to come face him. Who takes him up on it?
Scottie 2 Hottie of course! Scottie, who was a member of a fun tag team from the attitude era if you’re too young to know, has a bit of trouble putting away Heath Slater, but does eventually hit the Worm for the victory. What’s the Worm you ask?
Isn’t that the most ridiculous finisher you’ve ever seen? Scottie 2 Hottie wins. I can’t believe I just wrote that about NXT.
Usos vs Ascension:
Samoans vs Vampires! The Battle of the Entrances! Ready? Fight!
Kenneth Cameron and Uso A fly into each other to start the match, making it immediately feel like a fight. In fact, once the Ascension gain control that’s exactly what it turns into, a one sided brawl in which O’ Brien and Cameron stomp the ever-loving crap out of the Uso brother in the corner. The Ascension end up going for their jawbreaker/flapjack tag team finisher but the Uso kicks out! Conor O’ Brian is shocked! The Usos get the hot tag and start taking care of business but as Jimmy heads up top for a Superfly Splash Conor O’ Brian shoves him off down onto the floor, incapacitating the Uso brother and earning a disqualification. The Usos win by DQ.
Of course, the Ascension care more about violence than about winning, so they decide that Jey Uso doesn’t have bruises on his body and beat the crap out him, putting an exclamation point on the assault with their legsweep/spinning heel kick combination.
Bam! There’s your feud. Great segment!
Briley Pierce tries to get a word from Richie Steamboat but Richie doesn’t want to talk.
In another part of the studio Matt Striker asks Hunico and Camacho about their recent loss to Mike Dalton and Jason Jordan. Hunico comes up with some chuckle worthy excuses. “I had a stomach virus and a 107 degree temperature.” Striker: “Most people would be in the hospital.” Lonestar: “Most people would be dead!” Hunico also claims that somebody stole Camacho’s burro. He adds that they’ll catch Dalton and Jordan on the rebound and Camacho scares Striker away.
In yet another part of the studio Raquel Diaz talks to herself in the mirror and continues to work on her Beautiful People impression talks about how all the other divas suck and are ugly.
Seth Rollins vs Michael McGillicutty:
Honestly, I thought this match would get a little more time but in the minutes they had Rollins and McGillicutty crammed in enough cool moves and nice moments to make a proper main event. There was definitely a feeling out process in the beginning, expertly sold by Jim Ross as the two wrestlers not wanting to make a mistake like Richie Steamboat did earlier in the evening. That feeling out process got heated quickly, especially after McGillicutty slapped Rollins in the face. McGillicutty ended up getting clotheslined over the tope rope and to the floor, only to be hit again by a swift missile named Seth Rollins.
Seth didn’t maintain control for long, running right into a nasty forearm from McGillicutty. Rollins sold the blow like a boss, instantly perking up the voices of the commentators. After getting rocked with two wicked suplexes by McGillicutty, Rollins came back during the commercial break and the two wrestlers started to exchange some bombs. Rollins fought out of a superplex and ended up snatching McGillicutty up for a corner powerbomb, followed by Rollins’s Curbstomp for the win. Seth Rollins wins.
After the match Jinder Mahal came out to make angry faces. GM Dusty Rhodes announced the official NXT title match of Rollins vs Mahal for next week! Jinder decided to get the jump on Rollins but was quickly overpowered and clotheslined out of the ring.
Next week the first ever NXT champion is crowned! I want my NXT!
Tonight’s episode was excellent, combining good wrestling with character development and furthering feuds all at the same time. Rollins continues to shine in the ring but the entire Gold Rush tournament concept has really brought out the best in almost all of its participants. The Ascension had their best showing yet as well, really wrestling like the wrathful psychos they’re portrayed as and sparking a feud with the Usos that I hope to see more from soon. Kudos to the booking/writing team as well for finally figuring out what to do with the Ascension.
Also deserving of praise for his performance tonight is Leo Kruger, who completely out of left field delivered character development way more interesting than anything he’s shown so far in NXT. I in no way saw that coming and, just like with the Ascension, I want to see more. Overall it was a great episode that deserves to be viewed in its entirety. Feel free to watch the show via the link below, assuming the Big E hasn’t cut it off yet. NXT gets a 7/10 this week. Come back next week for a new NXT Champion!