Before I get started with the new NXT recaps here on DWN, I have a confession to make. I’ve only watched SOME episodes of NXT. I haven’t been glued to it as though it’s on par with Game of Thrones (which I stopped watching after season 2). I more or less know who everyone is, but the truth is I just think it’s a serviceable starter fed for the REAL company. I’m just not as sold on how great and groundbreaking and revolutionary it’s all supposed to be. I’m pretty much the worst possible choice the recap NXT because I don’t actually fit the smark community very well. In addition to only thinking NXT is good (ass opposed to a 55 minute orgasm in tights that some people think it is), I have the audacity to have openly cheered when a group I work with was called “what’s wrong with the internet” by CM Punk. I think Cena is actually pretty great. I wrote in a column not long ago that you all owe Michael Cole an apology. I liked Jerry Lynn more than RVD back in the ECW days that most of you only ever heard about 2nd hand.
I understand that upon reading this, some of you are promptly getting your flaming pitchforks ready to come rampage my village. That’s okay. You have your view, and I have mine. We CAN exist together. I will exist in a world of logic, and you can exist in a world where you say things like “keep that guy in developmental because being on a bigger stage and making more money is going to ruin his career”. You know who you are. So that said, now everyone who froths at the mouth whenever a developmental fed is remotely questioned, now you have your excuses to dismiss what I say. See? I am totally helpful. For everyone else, let’s see if we can’t enjoy it, even for all its REAL and EXISTING warts. K? All right. Also, you with the really big flaming pitchfork, if you could light the lamps in the village before burning my hut down, that’d be great. In the meantime, how about we get to the recap part?
The show opens with generic interviewer recapping that Kevin Owens doesn’t trust William Regal and demands a ladder match against Finn Balor for the NXT Title. Regal says he is not going to give Owens what he wants but that Balor was up for it so ladder match it is. He wishes both competitors luck.
Regal strikes me as a pretty benevolent boss here. It’s almost hilarious how good he is as a face authority figure, given his long and illustrious heel career. I enjoy that there is logic to his actions, which is often missing form authority figure characters everywhere since pretty much time immemorial. Also, Kevin Owens would have AMPLE easy explanation as to why he didn’t trust Regal to use if he wanted, which is good. It’s an excellent way to start the show.
TYE DILLINGER VS SOLOMON CROWE
Just so you know, I will NOT be giving you each nuance of each move of a match. Mostly just a recap and my opinion. If you want stars and ratings, I’m not your guy. Sorry. Unless the boss makes me, in which case I will be using a nonlinear system that makes no sense to anyone. For example, I might rate this match 11 mangoes. I might say that they could’ve gotten to the coveted 14 mangoes if they’d been a little less sloppy. Regardless….here’s your match. Solomon Crowe and Tye Dillinger go back and forth before Dillinger finishes with a knee to the face, similar to the Code Breaker, but not 100% the same. Throughout the match the announcers, the crowd, and Dillinger himself focused on the “perfect 10 gimmick”. Solomon Crowe could’ve been anybody here. I did enjoy the announce team of Byron Saxton and Corey Graves. They have an old school bickering buddies feel to them which is good.
Couple of things right away. This is my first time seeing Crowe’s new gimmick. It’s better than the hacker thing. Then again, so would him throwing feces at the audience during each entrance. Consequently, it’s also my first time seeing the new Tye Dillinger gimmick. I like it. I like the sparkly number 10 on his ass because that is funny. It’s almost a wrestling law that if a guy has some sort of arrogance based gimmick, he has to have something sparkly on his gear and it has to be located on his butt. I think they call it the Patterson Rule. I enjoyed the many touches to the gimmick. The scorecard in the middle of the ring that said 10. The fact that Dillinger looked straight into the camera during a chokehold and smiled to the TV audience. Getting the crowd to chant “10” over and over during pauses in the match. All good things that made me laugh which was clearly the entire point. They treated it as a debut or near debut, and I think they have to be happy with how it went over.
We get a quick update that Finn Balor will be in action tonight, and also that Becky Lynch and Bayley are going to wrestle tonight to see who fights Sasha Banks at NXT Takeover next weekend. Then we get an Undertaker commercial for Summerslam. Did you know it’s going to be 4 hours long? Don’t say they didn’t warn you.
MOJO NEEDS MATH
Mojo Rawley comes across Zack Ryder in front of a garage of some kind. Mojo wonders why Ryder isn’t answering his calls. Ryder seems nonplussed. Mojo brags about 10 and later 12 chicks on him at the club. Ryder isn’t buying it.
Short, but funny. Also, how hilarious is it that someone is annoying Zack freakin’ Ryder with their over the top energy and antics? That’s just beautiful right there. I wish to see more of this duo, which is all you can hope for in a segment like that one.
BARON CORBIN VS JOBBER VS JOBBER VS JOE
I think she said his name was Astro Disher? Either way it’s not like it matters. Corbin destroys the guy in 30 seconds flat. And then cuts a promo about how all of his matches are dominant and calls these squash matches tired. Another jobber runs out and gets squashed flat as well. Corbin complains some more and says no one gets up, which is ominous. Samoa Joe arrives.
Joe challenges Corbin to try that domination on him. Corbin notes that he just fought two guys before suckerpunching Joe. They fight, Joe gets the upper hand and chokes Corbin out. Obvious setup for Takeover is obvious.
I thoroughly enjoyed Corbin’s excuse about just fighting two guys, especially just a moment after complaining about how easy it was. Joe seemed more natural than I remember on the mic. He also sold too much I thought but maybe there’s a plan there. All in all a decent setup, and hopefully an end to what has clearly been a recurring segment with Corbin destroying people quickly. I always hate those. They do nothing for anybody and are totally lazy booking. Corbin gets no opportunities to work on his arsenal, tune up his ring work, or put on any kind of quality match. I also just realized there might be a third announcer I was unaware of? That’s weird. I don’t like him, whoever he is.
Finn Balor is in action next so don’t go away. Even though you’re watching this on the Network. We get a teaser commercial for Stone Cold in WWE 2K16 and then a workout video with the words “IRON SHARPENS IRON”. Iron Mike Sharpe would be pleased I guess. The guy in question looked like Bray Wyatt had sex with Rusev, and I am sorry for this sentence.
IT’S GONNA BE A BREEZE
Tyler Breeze cuts a quick promo about his NXT Takeover match with Jushin Thunder Liger, and no I will not be putting the parenthesis around his nickname because we’ve been calling him that for like twenty years now and Jushin Liger is probably not even his real name anyway. Breeze is in full Zoolander mode here, which is a good thing.
Loved the callback to Regal bringing in Hideo Itami and how Breeze beat him. Very nicely done. Also loved him saying he was going to become the face of the Rising Sun. The guy is IN this character. Which is especially rewarding if you saw that ESPN special and understand that this is not how the real dude playing Breeze talks. Well done.
FINN BALOR VS MARCUS LOUIS AND UNINVITED GUEST THAT YOU’LL NEVER SEE COM- YEAH IT’S KEVIN OWENS
Louis is pronounced like the French kings. Just so you know. We get a lot of talk about Balor vs Owens at Takeover. Louis tries hard not to look like Kane and largely fails. Louis also gets a little offense in before the NXT Champion finishes him off in quick style. Balor celebrates and walks backwards up the ramp, which is pretty much on par with saying “no one can stop me”. Kevin Owens attacks him from behind as soon as the camera zooms in on Balor and the two scrap for a bit. Owens hits the Popup Powerbomb after they nearly miss the connection and then gloats with the NXT Title while remaining slightly creepy and dickish, as the gods of wrestling intended.
Louis managed to get his character across in the 30 seconds that he was actually relevant to all of this, so kudos to him. Also, here’s my question. How is the Coup de Grace okay but the Curb Stomp isn’t? Either you fear lawsuits or you don’t WWE. Make up your mind. Second question. Which one is the better fat-thlete, Kevin Owens or Samoa Joe? Maybe we could get them to do a program and inspire thousands of WWE fans that they can still be in great shape AND enjoy Cheetos. That’s a win-win, people. Let’s make that happen somehow. Also, a final question. When Balor clearly beats Owens for the second time in a row and Owens didn’t get a win to begin with that I know of, will people complain about it the way they did when Cena beat him?
Generic interviewer is back and talking to the Vaudevillians, who are claiming they have something to handle Alexa Bliss and then defeat the Dubstep Cowboys. Well, technically they said Blake and Murphy but we ALL know the first one is the better name. Bliss herself arrives and plays coy before slapping one and then the other Vaudevillian in the face.
Wait…these guys are faces now? When and more importantly how did that happen? I did LOVE that when the one got slapped the other stood up for him and was promptly slapped too. The timing on that was wonderful and Stooge-esque. The Vaudevillians selling the slaps like sad puppies was also pretty great. All in all a good setup to the NXT Takeover showdown.
BUSINESS PART 3
Bayley vs Lynch is coming up. Tough Enough has an app. We get a little video for Apollo Crews, whose debut is at NXT Takeover. He looks like a Bobby Lashley that can actually move. No, not because he’s a big muscular black dude. Because he’s a big muscular black dude and they gave him damn near the exact same tights and boots setup Lashley has. We get a rundown of the NXT Takeover card and a picture combo of the Vaudevillians and the Dubstep Cowboys in which all five people (Alexa included) have expressions that suggest they are in mid poop.
LYNCH VS BAYLEY
Sasha Banks is out for commentary and I discover that there IS a third guy, who is apparently named Rich. He kinda looks like a chunky Hispanic Michael Cole impersonator. Owens and Joe could totally inspire him. After Bayley’s acid trip entrance we get a commercial for the NXT section of WWEShop.com, followed by one for Summerslam. Becky Lynch comes in with the Edge 2.0 entrance while wearing Dr. Robotnik’s gear. I’m a fan.
The two battle back and forth and we are treated to a midmatch commercial, because fans love those. Another 2K16 spot, this one featuring AHNOLD. Don’t pretend you didn’t just say it in his voice. We all know you did. We come back to find more of the same match while Sasha Banks does a solid job putting over both women on commentary.
Bayley eventually gets the win and the right to face Banks at some show that’s happening next week or something. I can’t remember if they mentioned the name. Bayley stands in the corner while Sasha stands on the announce desk and they jaw at one another over the heads of several dozen fans in that section while the show goes off the air and Byron Saxton tries in vain not to stare at Banks’ behind and largely fails.
Okay, I have to wonder where this revolutionary women’s wrestling is. I keep hearing how it’s so much better than what’s on Raw and I’m just not seeing the supposedly huge difference. Bayley is actually kind of sloppy in my opinion. They went for some ECW style back and forth in the beginning and it was mostly just a pale imitation. Granted, it would’ve been the best women’s match in a year if this was like 2010, but it’s not. People are a little bit blind to what’s happening on Raw methinks. A lot of the women have really stepped up.
Banks needs to work on her delivery. It’s just a few shades too lackadaisical for the dynamic personality she’s portraying. I enjoy Byron a lot more on NXT than I do on Raw. I also enjoyed that when they cut to the announce table during Bayley’s entrance, you could clearing see him dancing in his chair while Banks sat next to him and looked mildly annoyed. That’s solid face announcing right there, without even saying a word. The match end was a tad easy to see coming, too. The announcers have a tendency to focus in too much on the eventual winner, and we already know Becky Lynch is up on Raw, so it seems sort of clear that Bayley would win and then take the title from Banks, while both other women focused on Raw.
I’m not saying they have a lot of choice there, just that it was pretty clear cut that it was going to happen for booking reasons. Just as with Balor and Owens. None of this is bad. It’s just not the ZOMG best thing on TV that some seem to think it is. It was a solid build to next week’s go-home show.
As a final note, I spent the entire show trying to figure out a mystery that had been bugging me. Corey Graves’ voice sounds like someone else. Through each match I tried to place it until the main event when it hit me. He totally sounds like Weird Al. What an odd person to sound like while pursuing a professional speaking career. I mean, it clearly works, and I doubt anyone would dispute that. Just…..odd. Anyway, that’s it for the first edition of my NXT recap. I’ll be back next week for the go-home show and then Takeover itself. Did you know it was in Brooklyn? You’d think they would’ve mentioned that at some point.
Editors Note: We apologize for the delay on Adam’s first NXT recap. The article will appear late Wednesday or early Thursday from here on out. We hope you enjoy!