It’s NXT time and we kick off with a tribute to Dusty Rhodes with the entire NXT roster standing on stage in respect. Triple H gives a moving speech about Dusty and his ‘NXT kids’.
After the graphics we have an in-ring interview with Hideo Itami. He can’t wait to get back in this ring, but he’s really here to plug the upcoming event in Japan. Kevin Owens interrupts, talks some trash and makes his way to the ring. Finn Balor jumps him from behind, but is in turn jumped by Rhyno, and I’m pretty sure this booking must be a tribute to Dusty Rhodes.
Match 1: Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy vs Jason Jordan & Sylvester Lefort
Enzo and Cass start out with their usual schtick, throwing in a Terminator reference for good measure. The match kicks off with Lefort facing Amore, and Enzo takes the Frenchman down with a running crossbody for a one count. Whip into the corner and tag to Cass, who holds Lefort in the corner allowing Enzo to hit an assisted splash and flip to the outside.
Powerslam from Big Cass and a tag back to Enzo, who then gets slammed on top of Lafort by Cassidy before he leaves the ring. Cover gets one, and Jordan gets the blind tag and attacks Enzo from behind. He picks him up and hits him with a clumsy front slam, which Enzo takes hard. As the ref checks on him Jordan picks Amore up again and hits another front slam, which looked a little better.
Clubbing offence from Jordan and a tag to Lefort, who grabs in a neck lock submission for about five seconds and tags Jordan back in. Enzo tosses Lafort to the outside and rolls up Jordan for the pin and the three count.
Standard match from Enzo and Cass as Jordan continues to flounder with his ‘search for a partner’ gimmick. He’s just not that interesting, either on the mic or in the ring.
Post match interview with Samoa Joe from last week. He did not get the fight that he wanted.
Match 2: Dana Brooke vs Cassie
Dana has Emma on the outside, which tips the odds in her favour, and Cassie is wearing a 60’s inspired mini-skirt thingy tonight, which is nice. Armbar from Dana to start, with a condescending pat on the head for Cassie.
Cassie rolls out and takes down Dana with an armdrag, patting her on the head in return. Dana gets to her feet and complains to the ref for some reason, then runs in for an attack but gets rolled up for a two count. Kick to the gut from Dana followed by a really obvious audible into a headscissors reversal from Cassie, sending Dana to the ring apron.
Cassie tries to pull Dana back in but gets neck snapped over the second rope, giving Brooke the opportunity to roll back in and get on the offensive. Clubbing offence and posing from Dana, into a modified bow and arrow submission. Cassie kicks her way out and hits a Thetz press followed by a pair of clotheslines, then a running back kick in the corner.
Cassie goes up to the second rope but Dana cuts her off with a forearm to the face and hits her sitdown slam for the pin and the three count.
Good match from Brooke and Cassie continues to improve, although she needs a new outfit IMHO.
Interview with Charlotte. She almost says ‘ass’, but stops herself, which feels like message to the contestants on Tough Enough. Swearing isn’t big or clever, kids.
Part 2 of Finn Balor’s story, which is just as well done as the first. He likes building Lego. Awesome.
Match 3: Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley vs Sawyer Fulton & Angelo Dawkins
Ryder and Rawley are now know as the Hype Bros, which seems like as good a name as any. Fulton and Dawkins seem to be going out of their way to make themselves look like jobbers, which is probably not a good sign.
Mojo starts out against Dawkins, jumping around like an idiot and mugging for the 8-10 year olds in the crowd. Headlock from Dawkins but Rawley reverses and hits a trio of shoulderblocks, then a tag to Ryder.
Headbutts to Dawkins but he manages to make a tag to Fulton, who walks into a big dropkick from Ryder followed by a tag back to Rawley. Some fairly unimaginative tag team work from the Hype Bros gets a two count on Fulton, then it’s a scoop slam and hammer time from Rawley, and I really don’t need to see his junk dance like that. Get a cup, dude. In fact, get two.
Slowest ever mounted punches from Rawley, who seems to be waiting for something, when out of nowhere Dawkins interferes with a cheap shot allowing Fulton to take control. Punch from Fulton and a tag to Dawkins, and they hit a nice wheelbarrow tag combination on Mojo which gets a two count.
Front facelock from Dawkins, but Mojo eventually fights his way out, hits a back body drop and gets the tag to Ryder. Flying elbow, back elbow, second rope dropkick and Zack Ryder is a broski on fire! Leaping elbow in the corner sets up the broski boot, but Fulton breaks up the pin before the three count.
Mojo takes out Fulton with a tackle and Ryder hits a double knee on Dawkins, tagging in Rawley to hit the lifting rough Ryder for the pin and the three count.
Of all the tag teams in NXT, I care about these two the least. Taking that into account, this wasn’t a terrible match, and I can see the Hype Bros applealing to a certain class of WWE fan.
Cut to Regal in his office, and Eva Marie want him to make something happen for her. He tells her to start from the bottom, which suggests he’s been watching a lot of online videos recently.
Match 4: Finn Balor vs Rhyno
Balor makes his entrance first, and I wonder how long it will be before someone uses one of his bandanna masks in an armed robbery. Before Rhyno comes out, Kevin Owens joins the commentary team, which is always a good thing. He’s excited to be next to Byron, and he loves rhinos. I know the latter to be true, as Owens is a self-confessed ‘zoo enthusiast’.
The bell rings and Balor attacks immediately, forcing Rhyno into the corner with forearms. Kicks and strikes in the corner from Finn but Rhyno starts to fight back, using his superior strength counter Balor’s speed and aggression. The battle goes back and forth with strikes, chops and kicks, with neither competitor able to gain the upper hand until Balor slams Rhyno’s head into the turnbuckle repeatedly. The ref pushes Balor away and checks on the man-beast, who seems to be stunned.
Naturally, Rhyno was playing possum, and hits Balor with some stiff punches before going for a running clothesline. Fortunately, Balor dodges out of the way, sending Rhyno flying over the top rope to the outside! Balor hits the tope con hilo over the top rope and the crowd goes wild, but back in the ring the pin only gets a one count.
Balor returns to the attack with chops, but Rhyno takes him down with a short arm clothesline as Owens talks about having faced Finn in the ring before. Strikes from Balor but Rhyno hits a big spinebuster for a pin and a two count, then lays in some stiff strikes.
Shouldercharge in the corner from Rhyno, followed by a standing bearhug submission. Balor elbows his way out but Rhyno takes him down and pins him for a two count. I would be describing more moves but they keep cutting to Kevin Owens at the announce table. Back to the bearhug from Rhyno, and we’re off to an ad break. Hooray for commercialism!
Back from the break Balor finally elbows his way out of the bearhug, then hits a series of running elbows on Rhyno but is unable to take him down. Kick to the gut from Rhyno, and it’s back to the announce table view as he does something or other to Finn Balor in the ring.
Irish whip reversal gets a pair of boots to the face for Rhyno, setting up the top rope shotgun dropkick from Balor. Pin gets two, and Balor goes back on the assault with strikes and a running dropkick to the back of Rhyno’s head. Pin gets another two count, and Balor goes for the reverse Bloody Sunday but Rhyno powers out with a suplex.
Pin from Rhyno gets two, followed by a whip into the corner and a shoulder charge, followed another two more. Pin gets two for Rhyno, so he goes for a short arm clothesline but Balor dodges and hits the Pele kick! Rhyno reverses a charge in the corner but gets hit with the jumping enziguiri as he climbs the turnbuckle.
Finn Balor climbs to the top rope but Kevin Owens walks down to ringside and Balor climbs down warily. Owens tries to enter the ring but Balor takes him down with a dropkick, allowing Rhyno to pop up and hit the belly to belly suplex. The man beast goes for the gore but Balor interrupts it with a kick to the face, then hits the sling blade.
Owens is still down on the outside as Balor goes to the top rope, hitting the coup de grace for the pin and the three count. Before he has a chance to celebrate, Owens hits the ring and starts beating the crap out of him, teaming up with Rhyno to wear down his opponent before the title match on July 4th. Finally, Samoa Joe hits the ring to break up the beatdown, and that’s a wrap for another episode of NXT!
Tags: Finn Balor, JT on NXT, Kevin Owens, Rhyno