JT On NXT – February 5, 2015: Finn Balor, Adrian Neville, Hideo Itami

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It’s NXT time! We kick of with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy making their way to the ring accompanied by Carmella. Enzo’s schtick reminds me of Road Dogg, where he basically says the same thing every week but the crowd still pops all the same. Carmella has a message for her opponent Emma, promising to embarrass her in their match tonight.

Emma dances her way to the ring and the match is on.

Match 1: Carmella vs Emma

The crowd chants for Emma as Carmella misses a clothesline and Emma takes her down, slamming her head into the mat. Carmella responds by talking some smack and bouncing Emma’s head off the turnbuckle, then drapes her neck across the second rope and sits on her back.

As Carmella mocks Emma’s dancing the Australian takes over, slamming Carmella’s head into the turnbuckle multiple times, then hits a couple of clotheslines. Some sloppy transitions lead to a tree of woe for Emma, followed by a kick to the back.

Emma goes for a running kick but Carmella hits a drop toehold and locks in her submission finisher. Emma taps out. Not a terrible match but both divas need more time in the ring to hone their skills.

Hype for the #1 contenders tournament semi finals, with Finn Balor vs Hideo Itami and Adrian Neville vs Baron Corbin, which is up next!

Match 2: Adrian Neville vs Baron Corbin

Well this should be interesting. Neville hits the ring first to a good pop, followed by Corbin to a ‘meh’ reaction from the crowd. Lock up and Corbin pushed Neville back into the corner, backing off slowly as the ref separates them. Neville hits a series of kicks to the legs, but Corbin tosses him away and sets up a fallaway slam.

Neville slips out of the hold and hits a couple of spinning back kicks, flipping across the ring and using his speed to keep out of Corbin’s way. Big dropkick to the chest by Neville, but Corbin hits a big right hand and Neville rolls out of the ring, stunned. The announcers hype Corbin’s strength as Neville rolls back into the ring to some punches and kicks from Corbin, throwing the smaller man around the ring and demonstrating very little wrestling skill whatsoever.

Wait! We have an actual wrestling hold from Baron, as he locks in a sort of facelock, followed by an overhead slam, a move which the announcers have apparently never seen before. Neville fights back with forearm smashes and a dropkick to the knees, then a springboard dropkick off the ropes which sends Corbin to the outside.

Neville leaps over the ropes but Corbin catches him and drops him face first onto the guard rail, the rolls Neville back into the ring. As the ref checks on Neville Bull Dempsey hits Corbin with a cheap shot on the outside, which is almost completely missed by the camera crew. Low dropkick to the head by Neville, who then climbs the turnbuckle and hits the Red Arrow for the pin and one, two, three. Neville progresses to the final.

Best match I’ve seen from Corbin (which isn’t saying much), probably the worst I’ve seen from Neville trying to carry the big lump.

Promo from Sami Zayn talking about his upcoming match with Kevin Owens at NXT Takeover, followed by an announcement that Corbin vs Dempsey will be a no DQ match at the same event.

Match 3: Bayley vs Becky Lynch

Bayley makes her quirky way to the ring, followed by Becky rocking out. Crowd chant for Lynch as the divas lock up and Bayley takes her down with an armbar. Becky reverses and hits some kicks to the thigh, then works on Bayley’s injured knee. Snap suplex and a couple of running leg drops by Lynch, who has definitely got some skills in the ring. Hey, maybe she could teach Baron Corbin a thing or two!

Hair whip taunt and devil horns from Lynch, followed by a big jumping leg drop on Bayley, kick out at one. Lynch locks in a knee bar, but Bayley fights out and is rewarded with a European uppercut. Sasha Banks makes her way to ringside as Bayley mounts a comeback, but Becky reverses and continues to work on the knee.

Bayley rolls up Lynch for a long two count and takes over, working Becky’s knee as payback. Bayley locks in a half Boston crab as Becky makes her way to the ropes, but Bayley uses the five count to her advantage and holds onto the move for as long as possible.

On the outside Sasha Banks shouts some words of encouragement to Becky, then basically throws her back into the ring. Abusive relationship much? As Becky is distracted Bayley hits a belly to belly and gets the pin.

Bayley rolls out as Lynch and Banks go face to face in the ring, exchanging shoves which ends up badly for Sasha. NXT women’s champ Charlotte then appears at the top of the ramp as the announcers hype the fatal four way for the championship in a week.

Promo with Kevin Owens where he talks about how clever he is baiting Zayn into a title match at Takeover. He promises to win the title only two months after his debut.

Tyler Breeze interview which is pretty much like every other Tyler Breeze interview.

Match 4: Hideo Itami vs Finn Balor

Adrian Neville joins the commentary team for this match as Itami makes his way to the ring, followed by Finn Balor to a massive pop. They’ve given these guys a good amount of time to tell a story in this match, so expectations are high.

Slow start as the former tag partners feel each other out and Itami hits some kicks to Balor’s legs, followed by a lockup. Nice series of reversals as the indie veterans show how chain wrestling should be done. Crowd gives both men props for their skills as they circle each other, looking for an opening.

Another lockup and more reversals, Balor takes Itami down to the mat and locks in a headlock but Hideo reverses into a hammerlock. Leapfrog spot leads to a big dropkick from Balor, hitting Itami in the face as we go to break like two minutes into the match. Couldn’t we have done this during the Tyler Breeze interview?

Back from the break Itami is in control, hitting a running knee to a seated Balor for a two count. Itami picks up Balor and hits an elbow to the back of his head, then a spinning neckbreaker for a one count. Seated chinlock on Balor, who fights his way to his feet but gets taken down by a back elbow.

Another two count to Itami, followed by a snapmare and big kick to the back of Balor. The Irishman gets to his feet and the two men exchange forearms, followed by a sunset flip from Itami reversed into a big dropkick from Balor. Two count for Balor, who then locks in some kind of chinlock submission hold which the commentary team don’t bother to name. Really, is it that hard to call the moves with three former or active wresters on the commentary team?

Rollup from Balor for a two count, followed by an inside cradle. Itami kicks out, then is snapmared and kicked hard in the back. Balor locks in a chinlock and works it hard, but Itami fights his way back to his feet. Back elbow from Finn leads to another two count, then another submission.

Itami goes to the turnbuckle and Balor hits a jumping kick to the head, then another two count as we go to break. When we return Finn is in control, but Itami reverses with a jumping back kick, then a pair of clotheslines followed by a running dropkick in the corner. Itami hits his spinning DDT onto the top rope from the second turnbuckle, then goes up top for a big flying clothesline.

Long two count and kick out by Balor, as the crowd starts to get behind Hideo. Big pop as Itami lifts Balor up for the GTS, but Finn slips out and teases a reverse Bloody Sunday. Another reversal and a kick to the head by Itami, followed by a Pele kick from Finn. Both men are down as the crowd chants ‘this is awesome’, and I would have to agree.

Back on their feet the combatants exchange stiff forearm shots, then Itami takes over with a nice strike combination. Hesitation dropkick in the corner on Balor as Itami fires up, but Balor reverses and hits the Sling Blade. Massive dropkick from Balor bounces Hideo’s head off the turnbuckle, stunning him as Finn makes his way to the top rope.

Coup De Gras double foot stomp from the top by Balor, followed by a pin and the one, two, three. Excellent match from both competitors, with hard hits, solid chain wresting and believable storytelling.

All in all another great episode of NXT, setting up some interesting matches at NXT Takeover, particularly Finn Balor vs Adrian Neville for the number #1 contender for the NXT title.

 

 

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