Hey guys! Here's my report from night.
Before the doors opened, the Usos held a meet and greet session for the crowd. They were both really pleasant guys and seemed genuinely happy to sign and take pictures. The staff was also very lax and allowed each fan adequate time with the new Tag Champs. Norman Smiley, Steve Keirn, and Pat Patterson also mingled and interacted with a few fans.
1.Calisto beat El Local.
Calisto's fist pump motion and "Lucha!" chants were very over with the crowd. Fast action with some fun sequences and counters to kick off the show.
The new arena set-up since the network launch is super snazzy. Along with the LED marquee that wraps around the bleachers, the overhead light rig actually moves and rotates on a track, providing a cool effect.
Episode 1 Results
(1) Emma beat Sasha Banks (w/Charlotte) via submission.
Charlotte brought her Summer cut-out on a stick to ringside. The fans were more preoccupied with Charlotte at ringside than what was happening in the ring. A charming group of gents picked up a "nature whore" chant that somehow caught on. Keep it classy, Full Sail. The finish came when Charlotte got up on the apron to distract Emma, but inadvertently got hit by Sasha, allowing Emma to score the pin.
(2) NXT tag champs The Ascension squashed unnamed enhancement talent.
Ascension won with their high-low finisher. Really quick match. The "yah!" chants were over again. Reminds me of the "shaw!" chants that Curtis Axel used to get on NXT.
(3) Brodus Clay beat Xavier Woods.
Woods came out to "Somebody Call My Momma" sans Funkadactyls. Brodus stomped out in a mood with new theme music. Clay hit a big powerbomb, followed by a top-rope splash for the pin. Fans chanted about Clay missing leg day, and various other offensive things about his figure. The finishing sequence drew "Better-than-Batista!" chants.
Post match: Brodus took a mic and complained that WWE has taken everything from him; his music, his partner, his girls, and his dignity. But now he's the "Main Event Playa" and it's his turn to do the taking. He said he's going to start by taking The NXT Championship. He continued that if Adrian Neville is the man who gravity forgot, he's about to be plucked from the sky by the gravitational pull of Brodus Clay.
(4) Tyler Breeze beat Yoshi Tatsu.
Breeze hit a nice spinning heel kick for the win. Blink and you missed it.
(5) Corey Graves beat Sami Zayn.
The opening minutes were rather fast paced, but it quickly slowed down once Graves took control. Between rest holds, the story of the match became Zayn's head trauma, after sustaining repeated blows to the head by Graves. The ref was about to stop the match, when Graves landed another blow to the back of the head and locked Sami in the Lucky 13. The bell sounded as Zayn became unresponsive. Fine match, but I wasn't fond of the ending. Zayn could do with a win.
Episode 2 Results
(1) Adam Rose beat Danny Burch with a flying elbow.
Roses' theme music is about as over as the post-WM29 Fandango trend. The whole arena was dancing and humming along. They added a group of people in inflatable balloon suits to the Rose Party.
(2) Bayley beat Sasha Banks.
Call it a surprise, but Bayley might have gotten the pop of the night. She pinned Sasha cleanly.
(3) Mojo Rawley beat Sylvester Lefort in a squash match.
Rawley hit his signature body blocks and landed his sit-down drop on Lefort's chest for the win in about a minute.
Post-match: Brodus Clay hit the ring and started beating on Lefort. Where's Rawley?! Clay hit his new signature powerbomb and top-rop splash sequence and left Lefort laying. He grabbed a mic and called Adrian Neville out to the ring. Neville obliged, and came out looking sharp, in a dress shirt and slacks. Brodus booted Lefort's body under the bottom rope as Neville entered the ring. Unintentionally hilarious. Neville got in Clay's face and commented that for all the destruction he's caused over the last few weeks, he expected him to be taller. At that, stormed angrily from the ring.
Neville stayed and talked of-camera about Bo Dallas. He said there were rumors circulating that Bo was planning to stage an Occupy-NXT movement tonight. Neville urged the crowd to turn their backs to Bo as soon as they heard the word "occupy"
Sure enough, out came Bo Dallas for the next segment (playing oblivious to the fact that Neville just totally spoiled his plans. Whatever, I'll bite). Dallas said that he saw Daniel Bryan come out on Raw, hold the show hostage, and earn a championship match. So, he said he'd like to stage his very own Occupy-NXT movement, and urged all of the Bo-lievers to join him. At that, the whole crowd, save for two lone men in "Bo-liever" shirts, stood and turned away from the ring. Bo had a breakdown. JBL emerged on stage laughing. He informed Bo that he didn't have enough fans to occupy a see-saw, let alone NXT. So, rather than a championship rematch against Adrian Neville, he would be facing Justin Gabriel.
(4) Bo Dallas beat Justin Gabriel.
Terrible, sloppy, botch-filled main event that the crowd dumped on. Rowdy chanting and unrest throughout. Some of the highlights included "worse than Batista!", "Bo-tista!", "Bo-ring!"
Episode 3 Results
(1) Aiden English beat Big Cass
English scored with a roll-up and a handful of tights.
(2) Camacho beat Oliver Grey
Camacho hit a Samoan Drop for the pin. Fans chanted "Mexican drop!"
(3) NXT tag champs The Ascension squashed another unnamed team.
How about some competition, please? The Ascension squash match routine is getting tired quickly. This was almost a carbon copy of their match from the first episode. Why have an NXT tag title if the only recent contenders have either been from the main roster, jobber teams, and returning legends. I'd love to see the resurgence of a tag division in NXT.
(4) Great Khali squashed C.J. Parker.
Parker's pre-match promo got crapped on by the crowd. Khali's entrance interrupted Parker mid-sentence, and actually got a nice reaction. Khali got the pin after a double-arm chokeslam. A "match of the year" chant broke out, which Khali laughed at.
(5) Jason Jordan & Ty Dillinger beat Sawyer Fulton & Baron Corbin.
JJ and TD have a cool double team flapjack/DDT finisher. Fulton and Corbin were presented as mismatched enhancement talent, so I doubt there are any legs to that team, but Jordan and Dillinger's matching gear and tandem offense give me hope that we might finally have another contender for The Ascension. Dillinger responded "Not yet!" to "You're not over!" chants.
(6) Non Title Match: NXT champion Adrian Neville beat Brodus Clay via count-out
I was looking forward to the David vs Goliath psychology in this match, but I guess I got unlucky. Neville outmaneuvered Clay for much of the match. Clay hit some power moves and suplexed Neville onto the floor before missing a splash from the apron. Neville made it into the ring just before the count of 10.
Episode 4 Results
(1) Sasha Banks & Charlotte beat Women's champion Paige & Emma.
Charlotte pinned Paige. Looks like they're setting Charlotte up for a title match down the line. More "Nature whore" chants. Yikes.
(2) Alexander Rusev squashed Travis Tyler.
Yawn. I like Rusev, but after three hours of squash matches, this wasn't interesting. The restless crowd would agree with me.
(3) Tyson Kidd beat Mason Ryan
Not even Kidd could get much love from the crowd at this point. More random/hostile chants and restlessness throughout. Kidd won with a top-rop overcastle neckbreaker
Post match: Kidd managed to get the crowd pumped up with a promo about the importance of NXT. Over loud "NXT!" chants, he said that with a bigger spotlight than ever, and the success of WWE Network, there is nowhere else he would rather be.
(4) Tyler Breeze beat Angelo Dawkins with his heel kick finisher.
Another squash for Breeze. The crowd disapproved of Breeze's boots.
(5) WWE tag champions The Usos & Sami Zayn beat NXT tag champions The Ascension & Corey Graves in a six-man tag match.
Awesome main event to end the taping. Exactly what everybody needed to go home happy.
All in all, there sort of became less to talk about as the show went on. I'm not too sure what to think about this set of tapings. While the wrestling in of itself wasn't bad, there was just very little substance, psychology, or urgency tonight. The only wrestlers with any story right now are Bo, Neville, and Clay. Aside from them, nearly everybody else tonight was given a squash, or just thrown in a match with little back story or purpose.
What probably didn't help matters was the disinterested, and oftentimes disrespectful crowd. The hijacking and rowdiness is usually fine when warranted and in small doses, but the crowd tonight was largely out to take the show into their own hands and get a laugh out of it.
That said, the Neville/Clay program was developed very well, and I'd say it's worth keeping an eye on. Both men were good in the ring tonight, and Clay especially shone with is heel promo work.
Hopefully tonight's show just comes down the burnout factor of having taped 9 weeks of television since February 24th. I'm hopeful NXT will be back in top form for the next tapings, which will take place on April 24th, with an appearance by Big E.
Thanks for reading, guys