Is Cory Graves going to get a fair match with Seth Rollins? The Shield acts as a pack at all times – Can they make Corey Graves believe in The Shield? A Lumberjack Match will be the deciding factor!
Match 1: Justin Gabriel vs Leo Kruger
Winner: Leo Kruger via submission
The rivalry must continue. Kruger overpowers Gabriel into the corner and gives him a chop, which Gabriel answers in turn. The exchange continues back and forth until Kruger delivers a kick to the gut. Off the ropes, Kruger shoulders Gabriel to the mat twice, then runs into an arm drag. On the commentary side of things, they make deliberate mention of Gabriel training in submission moves; curious to see if we see this fully play out. Gabriel focuses on the arm with a top wrist lock and armbars. Kruger backs him into the corner and knees his way loose, just to run into a boot. Gabriel leaps over him and runs right into a spinebuster for two. Kruger’s turn to show submission prowess, stretching Gabriel and delivering elbows to the sternum, then blatantly grabbing him by the ear. Gabriel stands up and delivers a monkey flip out of nowhere. Gabriel strikes away at Kruger with a long combination then splashes him in the corner. Gabriel attempts a springboard and Kruger shoves him down, bouncing him off the ropes. Kruger with a running lariat that flips Gabriel, but he eeks out at two. Gabriel locks in a fujiwara armbar after getting to his feet but Kruger gets the ropes. Kruger answers with a roll up for two. Gabriel lands a kick to the chin off the middle rope and heads to the top for a 450, but Kruger cuts him off. Gabriel knocks him off the ropes and Kruger delivers a headbutt to the stomach. Kruger wants a superplex but Gabriel tries a sunset flip powerbomb. Kruger holds on and delivers a double stomp, then locks in the GC3 key lock submission for the win.
Paige is in the back for a chat and seems to be simmering. She’s tired of Summer Rae running her mouth and running away. Paige wants Summer one on one and as she talks about Summer not being tough, she attacks from behind and accepts the challenge.
Match 2: Bailey vs Emma
Winner: Emma via submission
The crowd absolutely loves Emma’s bit. She makes it into the ring on the first attempt and is absolutely thrilled with herself. Bailey goes behind and bounces Emma off the ropes, then delivers a dropkick. Emma tries to run away but Bailey grabs her. Emma kicks her away then counters a sunset flip while she dances. Bailey follows her through for a two count then lands a facebuster. Bailey keeps control with a neck wrench as Emma begins to fight to her feet. Emma is shut down by her opponent who keeps the neck wrench applied. Emma fights to her feet and gets tossed to the mat by her hair then ends up back in the neck wrench. Emma fights up again and gets thrown to the corner, but counters Bailey on her way in and locks in a Tarantula. Emma rolls away, dances in the corner and hits a low cross body in the corner. Emma with a roll through transition into a Muta Lock and she gets the win.
Match 3: Yoshi Tatsu vs Bray Wyatt
Winner: Bray Wyatt via pinfall
Wyatt hangs himself upside down and stares at Tatsu then they lock up. Headlock out of Tatsu and he gets thrown to the corner. Tatsu kicks out of it then Wyatt follows with a big cross body and doesn’t attempt a pin. Wyatt unloads on Tatsu in the corner then delivers a big clothesline. He dances Tatsu out to the middle of the ring and delivers his Sister Abigail reverse STO for the win.
Wyatt re-declares himself the eater of worlds and says he will open the eyes of the WWE Universe.
Match 4: Seth Rollins vs Cory Graves
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall
Back from a commercial, Graves is already in the ring surrounded by lumberjacks. That doesn’t usually bode well for someone. True to his word, Seth Rollins enters through the crowd alone.
Graves runs into a boot and tries to fight from the mat, but Rollins throws him to the corner. Graves turns it around and hits a handful of strikes, so Rollins bails to the apron, wary of the lumberjacks. Graves drags Rollins back in and delivers a scoop slam and a fist drop. Rollins almost rolls to the floor but thinks better of it. Graves drapes Rollins’ leg on the ropes and kicks it, then delivers a shin breaker. Rollins counters another shin breaker attempt into a sunset flip for two. Rollins adjusts his leg and hits a forearm in the corner. Rollins tries again but Graves counters, then hops to the second rope. Rollins hits an enzuigiri sending Graves to the floor and the lumberjacks gingerly roll him back in. Rollins covers for two.
Back from a commercial, Rollins is stretching Graves and delivers knees to the midsection. Graves sends Rollins to the ropes, but he comes back with a single leg dropkick for two. Now a bodyscissors from Rollins to wear down Graves. Graves fights out just to get kicked away and take a forearm to the head. Stomps to the body from Rollins and one to the head for good measure. Rollins settles into a chinlock and Graves fights up. Rollins once again delivers a knee but runs into a boot on the ropes. Rollins borrows a page from new ROH World Champ Jay Briscoe and hits a reverse STO into the turnbuckle as Graves rushes him. Rollins heads to the top rope and Graves avoids him, delivering a jumping knee, a back elbow and countering a sunset flip to attack the leg. Rollins rolls to the floor and immediately gets rolled back in and whipped to the corner. Back elbow from Rollins and up to the top rope, but Graves hits a dragon screw from the top. Rollins rolls to the outside again and gets rolled right back in. Graves hits a gourdbuster and the lumberjacks start flying as Ambrose and Reigns make their appearance. Ambrose hits a clothesline from the apron on Graves as the ref checks on the war on the floor. Rollins picks Graves up and hits Skywalker for the win.
Leo Kruger’s music, Titantron and attention to detail of his character and mannerisms just screams “star”. He gets it. Pretty quick match between the two that will likely keep the rivalry alive a bit longer, and that’s not a bad thing. Curious to see if Gabriel continues with the use of the fujiwara armbar and any other submission holds. Kruger continues to be shown as a top tier NXT personality, who wouldn’t be out of place on the full WWE roster. When he moves up, it would behoove WWE to not mess with his character much – The entrance and mannerisms are there already.
The more Emma gets used to her character, the better she’s getting at it and the more the crowd is eating it up. Bailey is solid in her wrestling and Emma is solid in her character; it makes for a good match up. I like seeing the Divas actually wrestle and actually apply holds. I like seeing them use submissions as finishers. A goofy character is fine as long as they get to actually go in the ring. If they get to do that when they move up to WWE’s sparse Diva’s division? We can only wait and see.
Just a quick exchange to keep Wyatt’s character established and fresh in the mind of the fans. He’s likely one of the next NXT guys to head to the main roster, so it’s unfortunate that Fandango is doing the same finisher right now. Wyatt, like Kruger, will really benefit from WWE not following their habit of changing characters as they move up. He’s been working this character for so long and it would be a shame to not see it at the next level.
Great action back and forth. Shame that they couldn’t allow Rollins to get a win on his own, but such is the modern booking of a “group” heel. Having Reigns and Ambrose take out a dozen NXT wrestlers kind of makes them all look terrible, but it’s way more important that The Shield look strong, especially right now. Graves worked toward his leg submission even though it wasn’t going to happen which is a good, believable build in a match. I still don’t really buy him as a tough guy, but that’s more personal preference.
Four titles will be defended on NXT with current and alumni NXT superstars getting huge opportunities. The NXT Clash of Champions is one week away.
As always, if you like what you read here, let me know in the comments or on twitter @sbfantom. I sincerely would like to hear what people think and strike up some conversation!
Tags: Bray Wyatt, emma, Justin Gabriel, Leo Kruger, NXT, seth rollins, The Shield, William Regal, WWE