We open with the NXT’s own 10-bell salute for Dusty Rhodes. He was a big part of the developmental program since the inception of NXT so this must have hit this roster a lot harder.
From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Hideo Itami (his arm in a sling) joins us to give an update on his recovery. He still has 3 or 4 months to go before he can return, but in the meantime he’s been doing promotional tours in Japan. He will be in Tokyo on July 4th and will challenge the winner of the NXT title match. This brings out the champ, Kevin Owens. He’s happy that Hideo will be able to go to Japan and see his family, but it’s too bad he can’t compete. He can’t believe Hideo doesn’t think Owens is going to roll in Tokyo and it flusters him SO MUCH that he stumbles over his words. He turns it into a burn on Itami’s English skills and assures Hideo he is not leaving Tokyo without the title. He also takes umbrage at the accusation that he injured Itami; if Owens did it, Hideo wouldn’t be standing right now. He also wants an apology from Itami for calling him a “bad person”, so Itami changes his tune to a “terrible human being.” Owens decides that Itami having one good arm is something that needs to change and walks towards the ring, but Finn Balor cuts him off. Finn goes for a double stomp off the stage, but Rhyno plows into him and boots him off the stage and to the floor. This sets up a main event of Finn vs. Rhyno tonight. It was good to see Itami again but his halting English promos aren’t the greatest. They did do a good job combining a bunch of angles into a good opening segment.
Enzo and BIG CASS (w/Carmella) vs. Jason Jordan and Sylvester LaFort
It’s an off night for Enzo and Cass on the insults as Cass tries to make a Ted 2 joke and it falls flat. Jordan picking the guy that ran away from his old tag partner when he lost his hair and went insane doesn’t seem very smart. I do love how about 90% of Enzo and Cass’ offense is Cass throwing Enzo at people. The Super Mario 2 strategy, if you will. This is the same basic formula of Enzo getting beat but this time he tosses LaFort and rolls up Jordan for the pin. So that’s 0-3 for Jason; just pay attention to the dish towels in your locker and make it Gable Time already.
Samoa Joe cuts a promo saying he didn’t get nearly as much of Owens as he wanted last week and wants more.
Dana Brooke (w/EVIL Emma) vs. Cassie
Dana has become one of the more divisive people on the NXT roster, but something tells me the cheers she gets are less than genuine. She’s still pretty basic in the ring, but I think her character is getting there and the ringwork should follow. Cassie also gets some time to shine as she is actually quite impressive out there and once they figure out a character for her she should do well. Cassie goes up but Dana cuts her off and hits her slam for the pin.
Charlotte is in the back and doesn’t really know what problem Dana has with her, but if she wants to start something Charlotte will be happy to shut her up.
We get part two of Who Is Finn Balor. We are at his apartment where Sami Zayn joins him for dinner and LEGOs. He’s a pretty introverted person so things like jigsaws and LEGOs are something he likes to do in his free time. If this doesn’t end up in a Demon Balor LEGO Mini-figure I riot. He watches old PPVs while doing LEGOs. We’d get along REAL well.
He met Matt Bloom (NXT head trainer and the former Albert) in the New Japan dojo and became fast friends with him. We see Albert on his motorcycle while Devitt rides his bike which is the most adorable thing ever. Albert talks about the tough lifestyle in Japan as a “young boy” but Fergal thrived and turned a three month invitation into an 8 year career. We do get New Japan footage (wow) and stills of Prince Devitt and BULLET CLUB MERCH!! Albert knew that WWE had interest in him and the move was made to America. He puts over the Japanese fans but he knew it was time to take the next big step. Next week is the beginning of his NXT career. This man will be SO OVER in that July 4th match.
Next we see Bull Dempsey pictures of him being fat all around the country. Oh boy.
THE HYPE BROS (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley) vs. Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins
I like something that involves Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder in 2015. What wormhole did I fall into? Fulton and Dawkins deserve more love too. Mojo hypes all over the place but gets cut off and worked over until he makes the hot tag to Ryder. Futon breaks up the pin after a Broski Boot but Mojo runs him over and the Hype Ryder (top rope Rough Ryder from a spinebuster position) gets the pin.
Eva Marie enters GM Regal’s office and asks for a match, but Regal shuts her down and wants proof that she can actually work. Eva’s spray tan is out of control. Eva wrestling in front of the NXT Full Sail crowd went over SO well last time let’s try it again! At least Dana Brooke can act….kinda.
Rhyno vs. Finn Balor
Kevin Owens: Master Guest Commentator decides to join us and Byron is too slow in giving the champ room so he helps Byron out and pushes him aside. “I love rhinos!” He absolutely buries poor Byron and it is so awesome. He also gives Brennan crap while Graves is reveling in his life right now. Finn lays Rhyno out with a dive on the outside as Owens promises to win on July 4th and celebrate whatever that day means in the US “Independence Day? Will Smith. Great movie.” He’s sick of Byron asking him questions and tells them to talk about Rhyno dominating on Balor while busting on Rich actually thinking the Divas would talk to him. Owens puts his arm on Byron’s shoulder and Saxton is mentally making sure his health insurance is paid up as we take a break.
Balor makes the comeback as we return as Owens says he hated his time in Japan and begrudgingly will go back to beat Balor. Rhyno cuts Balor off with a suplex for 2 and rams him into the corner repeatedly but Finn ducks a clothesline and hits the Pele kick, building momentum which Owens decides to leave commentary to stop. Finn dropkicks him through the ropes which allows Rhyno to come back with a suplex, but Finn boots Rhyno on a Gore attempt and the Slingblade and Coup de Grace gets the pin. Owens immediately hits the ring and the heels commence the beatdown before Samoa Joe chases them off.
OVERALL: They continue to build to what should be a great match in Tokyo while giving the other major feud Owens has in NXT some attention. Another fun, easy to watch episode this week.
That’s it for me. Go to @PKIsTwitting on Twitter to say hi and I’ll see you next week.
http://www.piledriverwrestling.net/index.php/nxt-reviews for my Piledriver Wrestling NXT archive
Search NXT at http://culturecrossfire.com/ for some of my past work, including recaps of the live specials and more.