“Face Off” night with burgeoning rivalries seeing action – Bo Dallas defends his NXT Championship against new rival Leo Kruger. Emma and Paige have a dance battle. Adrian Neville challenges Shield member Dean Ambrose for the WWE United States Championship. Very important stuff here.
Match 1: Adrian Neville vs Dean Ambrose (c), WWE United States Championship
Winner: Adrian Neville via disqualification
It would completely solidify NXT as a part of the WWE universe if a title change took place on one of their TV shows.
Ambrose powers Neville into the corner and gets piefaced for it. Neville rolls off the ropes and hits a calf kick early on. Neville follows with high kicks in the corners. Ambrose spins him around and pummels his midsection, then rakes his face. Neville ducks a knee and hits a headscissors that dizzies Ambrose, taking him head first into the turnbuckle. Neville counters Ambrose out of the corner with handsprings and a second rope cross body, then a hammerlock on the mat. Ambrose bridges up and hits a short arm clothesline to ground Neville. Ambrose drills him with a right hand, but gets tossed to the turnbuckle again, then eats a high kick to the neck. Neville heads to the top to finish, but Ambrose rolls to the floor. Neville slides out to meet him but gets leveled with another clothesline.
Back from a commercial, Ambrose is still in charge with an elbow drop to the chest for a two count. Neville ducks a clothesline and kicks at Ambrose’s legs, but he follows Neville to the ropes with a knee, then lights him up with punches and a front dropkick for another two. Ambrose wraps Neville up for a bow and arrow stretch, which Neville finds his way out of. Ambrose with more midsection strikes and a headbutt, followed by a chop in the corner. Neville is sent to the opposite corner back first and crumples. Follow up with a suplex from Ambrose for two and a seated chinlock. Neville fights up and flips out of a belly to back, delivering a huge forearm that rocks Ambrose. Neville dodges Ambrose as he rushes the corner, which puts his shoulder into the ringpost. Neville is on the apron and springboards in with a cross body for two on the US Champion. Neville with kicks and running forearms, then a running hurricanrana which sends Ambrose to the floor. Neville baseball slides him, then hits a tilting plancha. Ambrose is rolled back in and Neville heads to the top rope, nailing the Corkscrew Shooting Star and at two and a half, Shield hits the ring to break up the pin and the match itself.
Corey Graves and Xavier Woods hit the ring to make the save and The Shield high tails it, which is kind of funny when you think about it.
Dawson, LeFort, Cassidy and Amore are in the back interacting…this can only end well. Amore talks up what he and Cassidy did to Mason Ryan ahead of Dawson’s match with him. LeFort says “money” because that’s his character. CJ Parker is goofing around in the background again. This is a stellar way to introduce a professional wrestler.
Match 2: Emma vs Summer Rae, Dance Battle
Winner: Emma via popular vote
They’ve put enough focus on this that I’ll cover it as a “match”.
Emma busts out the Chicken Dance. She wins, I don’t care what the WWE Universe says (though they agree). “Advanced Shopping Trolley” sends Emma in circles around Summer. Summer grabs the mic before round 4 and demands her “real” music be played, to a chorus of “you got served”. Fandango’s music kicks in for the final round. The entire crowd Fandangos and sings along. Emma laughs at the display and has her music started up. Emma starts doing the Emma to the delight of the crowd. The crowd unanimously votes Emma the winner.
Summer, as entirely expected, attacks Emma after her victory and lands her rendition of Big Show’s legdrop bulldog before storming out.
A vignette of Leo Kruger plays, with a focus on children laughing at people. Shouldn’t we be focusing on the gimmick being that he’s a hunter?
Match 3: Danny Burch vs Tyler Breeze
Winner: Tyler Breeze via pinfall
Ok, Breeze has an iPhone case to match his gear every week. I’m sold on the gimmick.
Breeze with right hands out of the gate and a kick to the gut, then a couple extra selfies. Burch fights back and puts Breeze to the ropes, then he ducks a clothesline and hits an enzuigiri, followed by more selfies and his spinning heel kick to end it.
Apparently Breeze’s phone feed is put up on the NXT-Tron. Admittedly a cool “victory taunt”.
Renee Young welcomes NXT Champion Bo Dallas. Bo interrupts Renee and calls Antonio Cesaro “a good kid”. Bo admits that Cesaro pinned him, but blames it on “that kid” Sami Zayn. Bo references being a former Tag Champ and shrugs off being reminded that he was just a fill-in due to injury. Bo injects his name into some Journey. It’s happened…Bo Dallas has become self aware.
Match 4: Leo Kruger vs Bo Dallas (c), NXT Championship
Winner: Bo Dallas via submission
Aside from the simple but effective entrance, Kruger has the eager NXT crowd barking his name at him. Stellar.
Kruger bails to the floor to throw off Bo. Kruger uses the ref as spacing and boots Bo into the corner. Bo reverses a whip and dropkicks the challengers twice, then hits an inverted atomic drop and a dropkick for two, then a northern lights suplex for another two. Bo grabs an armbar to ground the larger Kruger. Kruger fights up to his feet, but Dallas beats him back down. Dallas runs into a back elbow, then both men go over the top rope to the floor thanks to a Kruger clothesline. Kruger follows up with a baseball slide to the chest, standing strong into a commercial.
Back into action, Kruger has a headlock, but Bo is fighting out. Kruger reverses a whip and grounds Dallas off the turnbuckle. Kruger covers for two, then hits a snap suplex for another two. Kruger drops elbows on Dallas’ head and ref makes some space between them. Bo tries to fight back but gets dropped again. Kruger takes Bo into the corner, then elevates him to the top rope. Kruger wants a superplex, but Dallas resists. Kruger delivers a headbutt, but Bo still won’t go for the ride. Dallas throws right hands to drop Kruger to the mat, then hits a diving clothesline, leaving both men on the mat. Kruger runs into a back elbow as they reach their feet, then Bo hits forearms after a whip. Dallas continues with the gut punch and a clothesline off the ropes. Bo grabs Kruger for the corner bulldog and a two count. Kruger goes after Dallas’ throat as he gets to his feet and wants a slam, but Dallas lands on his feet for a reverse DDT and another near fall. Bo hits some clotheslines in the corner, then punches to the grounded challenger. Kruger finds that fighting spirit and makes a sort of babyface comeback with a big spinebuster. Kruger nails the Slice, but Dallas is out at two. Kruger locks in the GC3 mid ring and the crowd is begging for a tap out. Dallas teases it then tries for the ropes, but Kruger sits down on it. Dallas finally gets to the ropes, to the dismay of Kruger and the crowd. Kruger mounts and rains rights down on the Champion, then drops him mid ring. Kruger heads to the top rope for a splash, but eats knees from Dallas. Dallas immediately goes into an armbar of his own and taps the challenger out.
Great match, not by NXT standards, but by pro wrestling standards. When you put combinations of guys like Ambrose, Rollins or Neville in matches, you get better action than 90% of what you see on Raw and Smackdown. Problem is (with the exception of Ambrose), none of them can quite meet the WWE’s promo standards, so it’s an odd place to be. As far as action, Neville would be a breath of fresh air on the continually stagnant Raw, but cutting the expected cookie-cutter promos wouldn’t really serve him too well. Shame that it ended in the expected fashion, but you got the visual of an NXT guy beating a WWE Title holder – It’s time WWE does the smart thing and makes mention of these things on the main shows. Especially if their plan holds true beyond the Wyatts and guys will be continuing their gimmicks up on Raw and Smackdown beyond NXT.
I mean…how do you react? That was cookie cutter pro wrestling right there. Nice to see a new move out of Summer Rae, but that didn’t do a whole hell of a lot for anybody ultimately.
Yeah, the gimmick is cute. He gets it, he can do it. But his finish is a damn joke, and that ought to be the first thing the guy decides on. He’s just not going anywhere with a spinning heel kick as his crescendo. At the very least, start with a top rope one ala Yoshi Tatsu.
“Boring” chants the moment Dallas locks in an armbar. Now now, NXT crowd…don’t be a-holes. Good match, regardless of my distaste for Dallas. Interesting to see Bo go for (if i recall correctly) his old submission hold from the FCW days. If there had been a sell of Kruger’s arm at some point, that would have made a bit more sense, but I always enjoy unexpected finishes. More strange was Kruger playing the babyface with that comeback. In terms of the match, it worked fine, but they cannot for a moment think that Kruger can be a babyface beyond the “smart” fans of NXT. In terms of match content and quality, that was a fine job from both men – Good back and forth, believable near falls and a shift for Dallas to higher aggression. That build to the eventual heel turn is well on its way.
Mason Ryan takes on Scott Dawson, plus Graves, Woods and Neville take on The Shield. Lot of belts in that one. Paige will defend her new NXT Women’s Championship against Summer Rae, now that Emma is “not cleared” to wrestle.
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: adrian neville, Bo Dallas, dean ambrose, emma, Lance Storm, Leo Kruger, NXT, PAC, Summer Rae, Tyler Breeze, WWE