Welcome to the WWE NXT report. This week, amongst other things, we shall see the Ascension put their tag-team titles on the line against Hunico and Camacho.
Indeed, it is this match that opens the show.
The Ascension (c) vs. Hunico & Camacho
Camacho and Viktor get our title match underway. Camacho goes for an attack in the corner but is met by the boot of Viktor. Viktor rips off Camacho’s shirt, which shows his ‘intensity’ apparently. Scoop slam from Camacho; tags in Hunico.
We get a little fight from Viktor but Hunico is in control. Viktor does manage to hit an impressive high knee before the break.
When we come back, Conor O’Brian is in the ring and in control. Hunico gets stomped in the corner before Viktor is tagged in. A little offence before O’Brian becomes the legal man. The Ascension are keeping Hunico in their quarter of the ring. Viktor back in.
Viktor hits an impressive backbreaker. In the corner of The Ascension, Hunico hits a back elbow to O’Brian, who is on the apron. Viktor goes in after him but Hunico lifts a foot and meets Rick’s face. Viktor dashes back toward the Mexican but he dodges and rolls one half of the Champions up for a pin. From the pin position, Hunico lifts Viktor up, seemingly one handed, and drops Viktor to the mat in a powerbomb like manoeuvre. Impressive show of strength there.
Both teams make a tag. Camcho is hot and takes down O’Brian with a couple of clotheslines and a swinging neck breaker. He hits a back suplex before dropping one of this big leg drops on O’Brian. Goes for the pin but Viktor breaks it up, Hunico sends Viktor to the outside.
Camacho goes for an attack in the corner but O’Brian evades and connects with a full-nelson slam. Viktor pulls Hunico from the apron and the Mexican is on the outside holding his knee. Whilst Camcho is checking on him from inside the ring, O’Brian takes advantage with a flapjack.
O’Brian tags in Viktor. The Ascension hits the Fall of Man and get the win.
Winner: The Ascension
So The Ascension retain the tag-team titles in what was a solid display. It is nice that the Champs’ matches have evolved from simple squash matches but them keeping Hunico in their corner and tagging in and out, although exerting dominance, still felt a little formulaic.
We have never been given any reasons to like Hunico, so when he was being kept from making the tag, we had no reason to get behind him. This tactic works when the team involved are babyfaces and the audience is emotionally invested in them but I would suggest that that does not apply to Hunico and I feel the match suffered, somewhat, as a result. Who were we, as an audience, meant to be supporting?
That being said, neither team did anything wrong wrestling wise and it was an otherwise solid display from both.
After a break, Lana appears on stage and cuts one of her foreign promos. Alexander Rusev joins her. His opponent, Kassius Ohno. Ohno is wearing tape on his back after the attack on him by Rusev a couple weeks ago.
Alexander Rusev w/ Lana vs. Kassius Ohno
Rusev takes an early advantage, manhandling Ohno on the ropes and tossing Ohno up to position for a Samoan drop. He locks in a bear hug on the injured Ohno. All of Rusev’s attacks are aimed at Ohno’s injured back.
Ohno connects with an elbow that rocks Rusev and then tries to roll the big man up. Rusev manages to stay up though but Ohno comes back with a successful small package attempt. Rusev kicks out.
Ohno into the ropes but followed by Rusev. Rusev bulldozes Ohno to the mat. Rusev locks in The Accolade. Ohno taps.
Winner: Alexander Rusev
Rusev, despite the insistence of the referee, refuses to break the hold. Another ref joins but neither can stop him. Lana, on the apron, says something and Rusev lets go. The two celebrate in the ring.
Backstage, we see main-roster Diva, Natalya. She meets Bayley in a hallway, who says that she’s nervous for their match. Nattie tells Bayley she’s her friend, you can imagine how much she loves that.
When we come back from the break, we are with a very sombre announce team. We get a recap of Antonio Cesaro’s attack on Byron Saxton last week. Regal says that Cesaro has a problem with him and there is no need to take out on Saxton.
Enter Bayley and Natalya. Their opponents, Summer Rae and Sasha Banks.
Bayley v. Natalya vs. Summer Rae & Sasha Banks
Bayley and Sasha start. Sasha ignores Bayley and goes to talk trash with Nattie. Bayley jumps on Bank’s back and takes control. She gets Banks into a headlock and backs into her corner, where Nattie tags in.
The two hit a double suplex on Sasha. Banks rolls into the corner and tags in Summer. Nattie hits a nice drop toe hold on an incoming Rae. Bayley is back in and they hit another double suplex on Summer.
Summer rolls back to her corner and tags in Sasha. Banks charges toward Bayley but she also connects with a drop toe hold. Banks manages to get the BFFs back in the match and tags in ‘Mrs Fandango’. She gets in a choke in the corner before Banks comes back in.
Bayley counters and it allows her to bring Natalya back in. The Canadian comes in hot and dominates Sasha, culminating in a discus clothesline. She almost locks in the Sharpshooter but Summer Rae comes in and stops it. Bayley tags in.
Bayley knocks Summer Rae off the apron but Banks takes advantage of the distraction. She hits Bankrupt on Bayley and gets the win for the BFFs.
Winner: Sasha Banks & Summer Rae
A generally enjoyable match with the right team winning. I would have liked Charlotte involved somehow though. As things stand, we’ve seen no progression with her joining of the BFFs since she betrayed Bayley. Off the top of my head, that was 4 weeks ago.
We are backstage with Leo Kruger, who says that he is on a task to become a Real American and he is going to hurt Sami Zayn.
Back in the arena, Sylvester LeFort is entering, mic in hand. He introduces Scott Dawson. Mojo Rawley makes his entrance and he is certainly ‘hyped’.
Scott Dawson w/ Sylvester LeFort vs. Mojo Rawley
The two lock up at the bell. Dawson, who is compared to the legendary Arn Anderson by the announce team, takes an early advantage. Nice suplex-clothesline combo from Dawson. Dawson goes for a running attack in the corner but there’s nobody home.
Rawley hits a big splash on Dawson in the corner before connecting with that ass to face move that Naomi uses. I think they call it the rear view. Mojo hits a rather weird looking splash on Dawson and gets the win.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
A match that Rawley didn’t do very much in until his finishing sequence. I don’t like that finishing move much at all. If they’re going to get behind this guy then I’d like to see that changed. That kind of thing may be more suited to a Yokozuna-type but not to an athletic guy like Rawley. The crowd were clearly behind them.
After the match, LeFort distracts Rawley and Dawson attacks him. It seems we haven’t seen the last of the feud between these two.
We get hype for The Ascensions open challenge to ‘any tag team in the world’ on NXT’s 200th episode next week. I know who it is and have to say that I am looking forward to seeing them. We’re also getting a rematch between Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville in a Lumberjack match. Triple H is also appearing.
Leo Kruger makes his way to the ring. He is followed by Sami Zayn.
Leo Kruger vs. Sami Zayn
Both men begin intensely and share turns of offence. Kruger connects with one of his impressive spinebusters before kicking Zayn to the outside. The South African follows him and drives the Candian’s back into the ring apron.
They’re back in the ring briefly but Kruger tosses Zayn out once again. When Kruger catches up with him, Zayn hits a chop across the chest of the South African. Kruger is quickly back in control and body slams Zayn to the floor outside.
Back in the ring, Kruger remains in control but Zayn gets back in it with a dropkick. Kruger escapes to the outside but Zayn follows him. He eventually tosses Kruger back in and goes to the top rope. Cross body by Zayn.
Zayn attempts the DDT but ends up getting crotched on the rope. Kruger takes advantage with The Slice. Kruger picks up the win.
Winner: Leo Kruger
After the match, Kruger looks to be leaving but stops himself. He looks to be going for another Slice but Zayn evades and dispatches Kruger to the outside. Zayn, not content with this, flies outside and connects with Kruger. He stays on top of Kruger but they are separated by officials. With that, NXT is complete for another week.
Overall, a strong episode. I’ve already given my thoughts on the tag-team match at the start. Rusev looked dominant once again. The Divas, I thought, had the best match of the show. There could have been a little more development with Charlotte though, with such a long time passed since her turn.
I’m not really behind Rawley yet, although a lot of people at Full-sail seemed to be. I’m prepared to give him some time though and see how things developed, after all that is the very purpose of NXT.
The main event was solid and Kruger showed purpose. Zayn didn’t get much offence in but looked strong in the action after the match. An enjoyable conclusion with a match that was always going to be limited by time restrictions.
Thanks for checking in once again for the WWE NXT report at The Wrestling Mania. We’ll be her again next week for NXT’s 200th episode. I know what you’re thinking, 200 episodes already, surely that can’t be right? Well it is right and don’t call me Shirley! Until then, my friends!
– By Richard Thompson