My apologies for being late with this. It’s been a busy few days. Let’s get right to it.
A short opening video hyped up Samoa Joe’s first match in NXT.
Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley vs. Mike Rallis & Elias Sampson
Rawley hasn’t been in action for a while, but he’s hyper like usual. Slam by Rawley on Sampson, then some Hammer Time dancing before dropping a double axe smash. Ryder tagged in, hit double knees to the face and then a missile dropkick. Ryder hit a forearm smash in the corner followed by the Broski Boot. After a Sampson distraction, Rallis slammed Ryder face first into the turnbuckle as the announcers mentioned Ryder is an Internet Champion as if that’s real. Sampson with a suplex for a two count. Ryder slammed Sampson head first into the mat and Rawley tagged in with two corner splashes on Sampson. Running forearm smash by Rawley. Tag to Ryder, who went to the top rope as Rawley lifted up Sampson and Ryder hit a top rope Rough Ryder for the win after five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley
Post match, Rawley was really excited for the win and he celebrated with some guys in the crowd that included Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. Ryder celebrated with them too.
Analysis: *1/2 A good match for the time given just because it established Ryder and Rawley as a new team full of energy. They might have found something good by teaming them up because they are both pretty likable characters in an over the top way. Rawley’s a little annoying, but I’ve always liked Ryder so I hope this NXT run helps his career.
There was a really good promo for Finn Balor talking about how “Finn Balor arrives” with the demon showing up July 4 in Tokyo when he faces Owens for the NXT Title.
(Commercial for Daniel Bryan DVD.)
A video package aired about Dana Brooke. She bragged about trending on Twitter and then said that negativity of the fans is what she feeds off of. She kept saying “The Total Diva has arrived” so that’s the catchphrase she seems to be rolling with.
Emma vs. Blue Pants
The fans chanted “Happy Birthday” for Blue Pants because it was her birthday when this was taped. Emma attacked her from behind and nailed a dropkick for a two count. A hair whip by Emma earned another two count followed by a move where she stretched the arms of Blue Pants. Emma was aggressive in punching and ramming the head of Pants into the mat. Clothesline by Emma for two after Pants tried a comeback. After Emma missed an elbow drop, Pants hit three kicks to the head, then she yelled “Blue” and dropped Emma with a standing elbow drop. Emma came back with the Emma Lock for the submission win after about five minutes.
Winner by submission: Emma
Analysis: *1/4 It did its job in putting over Emma’s new persona as an aggressive heel. She seems comfortable in the role. I figured WWE would have signed Blue Pants (Leva Bates) by now, but it’s still just a per appearance deal because she still works indies.
The trio of Colin Cassady, Enzo Amore and Carmella were interviewed by Devin Taylor. She informed them that they will fake Blake, Murphy and Alexa in a six person tag next week. They all talked about their issues with them to set up the tag.
Analysis: Advertising matches a week in advance is smart. Wish Raw and/or Smackdown did that because it’s so rare for them. Then again, NXT tapes matches four weeks at a time, so it’s easier to advertise in advance.
(Commercial for Total Divas coming back on E Network July 7.)
Tyler Breeze vs. Bull Dempsey
Dempsey hasn’t been in a match for a long time. Long chinlock by Dempsey early on. He dominated early on with a body attack after Breeze ran the ropes. Breeze escaped to the floor and he ran outside the ring. After they ran around the ring a couple of times, Dempsey slowed down while grabbing his chance. Fans chanted “cardio” at him. They did some more running around the ring. Dempsey was out of breath again, so Breeze tossed him into the ring and hit the Beauty Shot kick for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tyler Breeze
Analysis: 1/2* It was a comedy match to get over the new gimmick of Dempsey. The face turn of Breeze continues since his last two matches were against heels like Rose and Dempsey. I’m not sure if it’s the best thing for him because he’s so good as a heel and the gimmick is very heelish. That gimmick for Dempsey isn’t a favorable one, but it was funny at least. I imagine it will lead to him finding somebody that helps him train to be in better shape and gives him a renewed push. If not then I have a hard time understanding the reason for doing this.
A video was shown of Becky Lynch receiving a standing ovation after the last Takeover special in May. It was definitely a breakout match because she came so close to winning the NXT Women’s Title from Sasha Banks.
(Commercial for the Tough Enough app.)
Becky Lynch vs. Jessie
I like the orange hair look that Becky has adopted as they try to put over her “Lass Kicker” name. Jessie (last name McKay) is a new diva from Australia with a lot of talent. Lynch hit some arm drags and then a dropkick. Jessie hit a kick to the face and then applied an armbar. Jessie got some heat by doing a taunt that Lynch does. After a rollup by Lynch, another armbar by Jessie. Lynch started her comeback with a clothesline, jumping side kick and then a suplex onto the arm. Lynch hit three running legdrops in a row for a two count. Lynch applied move where she put Jessie on her back, then slammed her down so that she landed right on her arm. Lynch applied the armbar for the win after four minutes.
Winner by submission: Becky Lynch
Analysis: *1/4 A clean win for Lynch, who is a top diva and gaining popularity every time she wrestles. She’s very skilled in the ring, so it’s nice to see her also getting more support from the crowd every time she’s out there. Jessie is new to WWE, but has been wrestling for about eight years and it was pretty clear she knows what she’s doing. Lynch had a lot of experience pre-WWE too. Good to see them bringing in experienced workers, not just models they hope will work out to be stars.
There was a backstage announcement by NXT GM William Regal mentioning Samoa Joe’s debut later in the show with Kevin Owens on commentary. It seemed like he was getting to something else, but Bull Dempsey showed up eating Doritos. Regal said he thinks Dempsey may have a problem. Dempsey said he was up all night training, so he didn’t sleep much and he promised it won’t happen again. Regal: “Listen flower, you need to get your act together.” Oh he busted out the “flower” name! Regal took the chips and left. Dempsey pulled out a chocolate bar from his trunks and started to eat that.
Analysis: At one point Dempsey was unstoppable. Now he’s the guy who likes food so much that it will cause him to lose matches. Better than nothing, I guess.
(Commercial for Tapout clothing. WWE signed a deal with them, so there will be all kinds of promos for that in 2016.)
Jason Jordan was interviewed in the locker room by Greg Hamilton. He mentioned how his last partner (Marcus Louis) didn’t work out, but he had a new partner. Chad Gable walked up to him with Jordan frustrated about him interrupting him again. Gable said when Jordan realizes that he’s the best partner for him he’ll be “ready, willing and Gable” and then handed him a towel with “Gable” on it. After Jordan left, Gable went to a locker with Jordan’s name on it, then wrote “Gable” beside it.
Analysis: I guess the story here is that Jordan will keep losing with bad partners until he finally agrees to team with Gable and then they end up being a successful team.
Baron Corbin vs. Angelo Dawkins
The crowd was counting for Corbin’s match time and then chanted “Cor-bin sucks” to the tune of “New Day sucks.” Now that was pretty clever. Corbin nailed Dawkins with clotheslines and punches as well as a head slam into the mat. Punch to the face by Corbin while Dawkins was against the ropes. Dawkins tried for a running bulldog, but Corbin slipped out of it and crushed him with a clothesline. Corbin hit the End of Days for the win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin
Analysis: 1/2* The only surprise about this match was that it went two minutes. I thought it would be over faster than that. Corbin did a bit of a heel turn recently, but it’s not like he’s working much different than he used to as a face. The announcers pushed that his feud with Rhyno isn’t over, so we’ll probably see that again.
Samoa Joe’s in-ring debut in NXT is next.
(Commercial for Money in the Bank on Sunday. Hey that’s today!)
The announce team of Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were joined by NXT Champion Kevin Owens. It was pretty funny because Owens had his arm around Saxton . He thanked them for calling him a special guest because his mom said he was special.
Samoa Joe made his entrance. I’m not sure if I love the theme music because it’s a bit too generic, but I’ll get used to it. Joe looks to be in pretty good shape. He’s never going to look like a bodybuilder, but he looks better than he did during some of his TNA days.
Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson
The crowd was hot for Joe chanting “Joe” repeatedly. There was a quick mention at the start of the match of what Owens did to Cena at Elimination Chamber. That was probably edited in because this was taped before EC and they also talked about Money in the Bank. They have a studio at the Performance Center, so they likely edited in the commentary. There was a shoulderblock by Joe as Owens told them to stop asking him about Cena. Dawson got in some offense with punches and then he bit him in the face. Joe nailed Dawson with a back elbow as well a series of punches and chops in the corner. Joe hit a corner splash using his back and then a kick to the head. Joe caught Dawson in the corner and then gave him a one armed slam. Joe nailed Dawson with a Muscle Buster for the win after four minutes. Owens said it was not as good as his first match, but not bad.
Winner by pinfall: Samoa Joe
Analysis: *1/2 It was an impressive debut for Joe, who hit a lot of his signature spots and the crowd was familiar with all of it. Funny how the announcers don’t mention TNA at all when talking about Joe, but that’s where people know him from the most. His ROH days were good too, but that was before TNA. Anyway, I’m just glad Joe is in WWE now. It was a long time coming.
Post match, Owens said he had seen enough and walked away. Joe yelled “Kevin Owens” on the microphone. He reminded Owens that the last time he saw him, Owens said he would drop him. Instead, Owens ran away just like he’s doing now. Joe told Owens to be a good man that should get in the ring to give the world the fight they want to see.
Owens said he really doesn’t run anywhere – that was pretty clever. He was standing on the ramp for this promo. Owens told Joe that he feels like dropping Joe after his first NXT match would be unpleasant to him. He told Joe that you can’t just get a NXT Title match after one match and said that you had to earn those things. If you know your history then you know Owens got a title match in his second televised match and beat Sami Zayn for the NXT Title in February. Heels lie!
NXT GM William Regal showed up on the entrance to say that Joe hasn’t earned the right to a title match. Regal said Joe has earned the right to fight, so next week it’s Owens vs. Joe in a non-title match. Fans chanted “thank you Regal” for that.
The show ended with Joe looking happy with the announcement while Owens was a bit upset about it.
Analysis: That’s a strong way of ending it because they really haven’t done anything physical yet, so for people anticipating that we’re going to see it next week. I like that idea a lot. If this was Raw they would have spent ten minutes to get to the point. Instead, it’s NXT and they make points much quicker because it’s a shorter show, so it is more enjoyable in that respect because what they said actually meant something without the unnecessary rambling.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Samoa Joe – His first match, so it has to be him.
2. Becky Lynch
I’m really looking forward to Owens vs. Joe next week. I know it was taped and results are out there. I’m still excited to see it because they have both been long time favorites of mine.
The team of Ryder and Rawley have potential although I don’t blame anybody if they are annoyed by Mojo because it’s a bit too over the top. I just think he’s better off teaming up with a veteran like Ryder instead of being a solo act.
I’m not sure if Bull Dempsey’s new fat guy gimmick is going to work. It’s still early.
Good showing by the ladies with Emma and Becky Lynch picking up wins. Heel Emma is pretty good. As I mentioned earlier, Lynch keeps gaining in terms of popularity.
Six matches in one hour means that the matches weren’t given a lot of time. Light on wresting, but it did a good job of featuring different people while trying to push some new storylines too.
I’ll try to get back to posting these reviews on Wednesday night or Thursday next week. Thanks for reading.
John Canton –email@example.com