There was an “In Memory of Dusty Rhodes 1945-2015” graphic on the screen. He was loved by so many in WWE, especially the talents in NXT that he coached and mentored for several years. A lot of people said he referred to them as his “NXT kids.” The video package that aired on Sunday and Monday also aired. People have asked what the song is in the video; it’s “Raging Fire” by Phillip Phillips. The NXT intro video followed the Dusty tribute.
This week’s show begins with Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady and Carmella doing their always entertaining entrance that is arguably the best in all of WWE. And you can’t teach that. The blinding Blake/Murphy intro started before Cassady could finish the “SAWFT” speech.
Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady & Carmella vs. Wesley Blake, Buddy Murphy & Alexa Bliss
I’m not sure why Blake is going with the pigtail hairstyle look. Not a good look, which the crowd agreed with because they chanted “you look stupid” at him. Slow start with Amore having a tough time getting going against Blake. Enzo tripped him up and then stepped on his back followed by a cross body block for two. Cass went after Murphy while Carmella took down Bliss. Double clotheslines by Enzo and Cass sent the tag champs B&M out of the ring.
(Commercial for Tough Enough app.)
The heels isolated Enzo in their corner, which is what always happens in Enzo/Cass matches. Elbow by Murphy in the corner and then Blake applied a headlock. After a few minutes of working on Enzo, he was able to break free and brought in Carmella. Carmella kicked Bliss a few times to knock her down. Carmella got a rollup on Bliss, then Bliss tagged in Blake and Cass went after him. Big boots by Cass and then the sidewalk slam on Blake. Amore tagged in, so Cass launched him off the top rope with Enzo hitting a splash for the win after 8 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady & Carmella
Post match, Blake and Murphy held onto their tag titles while the winners celebrated in the ring.
Analysis: *1/2 It was a very basic tag match that was dull at times, but they had a good finish with the girls going at it and then Big Cass cleaning house. The story is that with the girls in the match instead of at ringside, the champs weren’t able to cheat to win. I’m not sure if they are going to build to another match for these teams at the next NXT special in August, but if they do then they would likely do a title change. The crowd loves Enzo & Cass, so it makes sense to see them win tag team gold. If they hold it off until August that would be about six months of this feud, which is about as long as it gets in WWE.
There were images of John Cena beating Kevin Owens at Money in the Bank and then Owens attacking him after the match.
Samoa Joe was interviewed backstage by Devin Taylor. He said that he always prided himself on competing in places that were on fire and on top of the world, which is why he’s in NXT. He spoke about how he doesn’t like Kevin Owens because Owens tries to put fear into his opponents, but intimidation is a tactic of the weak according to Joe. He said he’ll walk into that ring and beat down Kevin Owens unmercifully later tonight.
Analysis: Well said by Joe. He’s always been a good promo when he’s able to focus on talking about beating a guy in a match. That’s because he’s got a lot of credibility and is also very confident as a performer.
A video aired promoting Joe vs. Owens coming up later.
There was a video package about Finn Balor, who is the #1 contender to the NXT Title. This was incredible. It showed clips of him in NXT and of course featured his awesome entrance that is unlike anything else in wrestling today. They asked him who Fergal Devitt was and showed clips of him when he started in NXT. He spoke about how he has three brothers and one sister with parents that are happily married. Becky Lynch spoke about how he got his work ethic from his parents. He mentioned watching WWE Superstars when he was a boy (so did I) and telling people in school that he’d be a pro wrestler. There were clips of him working matches over a decade ago. Some clips from Insane Championship Wrestling and Revolution Pro Wrestling UK were also shown. Lynch said that without Fergal there’d be no Becky Lynch and she said he was the one that changed everything in her life. She cried about how if he never opened a wrestling school in Ireland she wouldn’t be living her dream. She said he changed his life and saved her life. They laughed about how she said she was 17 even though she was only 15. Devitt was only about 20 at the time and he still opened a school. He spoke about how Becky earned it herself – he didn’t want to take credit for it. She called him down to Earth and humble. She spoke about how he had the passion and talent to be a star. He mentioned it was time to expand his horizons, which led to him being invited to go train at the New Japan Dojo. There’s a part two that will air next week.
Analysis: That was amazing because it provided the audience with a great perspective on his journey getting to WWE. Since he’s getting the NXT Title match against Kevin Owens on July 4 in Japan that will air on WWE Network it’s a good way of getting fans ready for that match by hearing from him in a way we’ve never seen before. It was also pretty cool to see Lynch talk about him in that way and mention how he basically saved her life by helping her live her dream. That kind of in-depth profile is so rare to see by WWE, so it was great to see that much attention put on him.
(Commercial for the Swerved show on WWE Network.)
Charlotte vs. Cassie
There was some athleticism shown by both women early and then Charlotte did a Flair strut to please the crowd. Cassie took her down with a hurricanrana followed by a spinning back kick and Charlotte came back with a boot to the face to take control. Charlotte applied a headlock, Cassie got out of it with a leg trip and hit a cross body block for two. Charlotte did a bridging pin for two, then a neckbreaker variation and a huge Spear by Charlotte. That led to Charlotte hitting the Figure Four Leg Lock with a bridge, which she calls the Figure Eight. That led to Cassie tapping out after four minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte
Analysis: It was just an easy win for Charlotte, who is a former NXT Women’s Champion that is in a feud with Dana Brooke. She’s in the face role although I feel like she could play to the crowd even more than she does. Dong the “woo” like her dad is cool, but it should be more than that too.
Dana Brooke was interviewed by Devin Taylor. Dana complained about how she’s not a former fitness competitor because she was competing in a competition in Brazil. She mentioned how the last time she was in there she left Charlotte laying in the ring. She kept on talking trash about Charlotte and said she missed doing this, which led to her tapping Devin on the head.
Analysis: That was pretty bad. Brooke was looking ahead as if she was reading this off cue cards, which is entirely possible. She’s so green that that they may not trust her to get through a promo. Why else would she be looking off in the distance instead of at Taylor? It was bizarre.
Owens vs. Joe up next.
A short video showing Finn Balor turning into his Demon character aired to hype up his match against Owens on July 4 in Japan.
The NXT Champion Kevin Owens walked out holding up the NXT Title even though the title is not on the line in this match. Samoa Joe’s music starts out okay, but it turns into this really generic song that is pretty quiet. I don’t really like it.
Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe
When Owens tried to get out of the ring, Joe got right in his face. Fans chanted “this is awesome” when they were locking up. After Owens told him he’s the champ, Joe hit a barrage of punches and a big chop to win that battle. When Owens ran the ropes, Joe dropped him with a back elbow. Owens did a jawbreaker followed by a clothesline, but Joe came back with an enziguiri kick to the head. Saxton on commentary said that is “disturbing agility” for Joe. Good way of describing it. Joe hit a running boot to the face while Owens was against the turnbuckle. Owens escaped to the floor, so they aired a brief commercial.
(Commercial – It was an ad for WWEShop with that new “Let’s Get Busy” song that WWE is promoting.)
Back from break, Owens had control with a cannonball attack in the corner. Owens had him in a chinlock as a fan held up a “chinlock city” sign in the crowd. Joe got free with a stiff punch, but Owens came back with an elbow attack. Another chinlock by Owens. That led to Owens yelling out “Chinlock City” and then the fans chanted it. The two chinlocks by Owens probably combined for three or four minutes. When Joe broke free, Owens nailed him with a knee to the gut. Owens yelled “this is my house” as Joe did a comeback with an atomic drop, boot to the face and back senton splash. The crowd was chanting for Joe again. Running kick to the head by Joe for a two count. Owens went for a corner charge, but Joe gave him a one armed slam, which led to Owens retreating to the floor. When Joe went after him, Owens sent him into the ring post. Owens wanted to give him a Powerbomb into the ring post, but he was unable to lift him. They started brawling with the ref stopping his count and then trying to physically break it up, so Owens knocked down the ref when he was going after Joe. The match went 11 minutes when the ref called for the bell.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: **1/2 It felt like the beginning of a longer match, but instead of having a finish they chose to just end with a brawl as a way to keep fans wanting more. I’m a huge fan of both guys and I think if they have a 15-20 minute match it’s going to be amazing. This wasn’t that. This was a way to keep building their story, which continued after the match. I loved the atmosphere surrounding this match and the crowd treating Joe like a big deal because if a fan is watching this that doesn’t know Joe at least they can hear the crowd reactions he gets while realizing he’s a talented guy.
Post match, they kept on fighting up the ramp with the crowd chanting “let them fight” and then some other refs came out to break things up. The guys kept on throwing punches until Owens went back into the ring and Joe went into the ring after him. They had a brawl in the ring. Some security guys came out to break things up. They’re likely guys training at WWE that haven’t been on TV yet. It was one of those classic brawls where each guy was in a corner, then they break free and keep going at it. There are about 15 guys in the ring trying to keep them apart. Owens rolled to the floor while Joe was in the ring. Owens nailed some of the guys in the black shirts with punches as he walked up the ramp with his title. Owens yelled: “The champ is here!” Joe was angry in the ring and the show ended with Owens posing with his title.
Analysis: This was the classic pull apart brawl that we’ve seen so many times in wrestling. It was done perfectly by two experienced vets who know how to keep fans invested in everything they do. The crowd was really into the brawl too. It leaves us wanting more, that’s for sure. I liked it a lot as a show ending angle because it really makes me want to see what happens next.
Owens remains the man of many feuds because he’s feuding with John Cena on the main roster, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor in NXT (Finn will probably win the NXT Title from him July 4 in Japan) and then Sami Zayn when he comes back later this year.
Three Stars of the Night
- Kevin Owens
- Samoa Joe
- Finn Balor video package – I know it’s weird to give it to a video package, but that was great.
It was a show that just flew by. Some weeks you might get six matches getting five minutes or less that can make it feel uneventful. Not this week. There were only three matches and the main event was a big deal.
That Owens/Joe match was built up very well and while it didn’t produce a winner, it left us wanting more, which is perfectly fine considering it was their first time having a match in NXT.
Charlotte looked impressive in her win. I would have liked to see a bit more storyline advancement between her and Dana Brooke because Dana’s promo in the back where she looked like she was reading cue cards was pretty bad.
A great moment in the show was that video package about Finn Balor. It’s so cool to see something like that because it makes you want to root for a guy who has busted his ass to get WWE. There are likely dozens of others in WWE with those same kind of stories too, so hopefully we get more of those stories in the future.
The next taping is going on tonight (Thursday) so if you want to see what’s coming up you can check out those spoilers.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org