August is upon us, and as the temperature heats up so does the action at Full Sail University. This week, and for the foreseeable future, the focus of NXT programming will be on tag team competition, as a tournament to name the next contenders for The Ascension’s Tag Team Championships. The tandem of Konnor and Viktor are approaching a full year as champions, and their domination of the division has shown no signs of being derailed. In order to find them some meaningful competition, some of NXT’s most potent teams will battle for the right to challenge them. Tonight, there will be two first round matches, as Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan take on Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, and in the main event Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel battle Sami Zayn and Adam Rose.
In other action, CJ Parker continues his budding feud against both planetary destruction and Xavier Woods, as he persists in condemning his stint on the main roster. Additionally, the bubbly and adorable Bayley takes on a Total Diva in the form of Eva Marie. Only four matches may disappoint some, but hopefully after a few weeks of unwavering squash matches there will finally be some time afforded to storytelling.
- Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady defeat Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan
- CJ Parker defeats Xavier Woods
- Bayley defeats Eva Marie
- Sami Zayn and Adam Rose defeat Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan
The opening contest of the night coincides with the beginning of the tournament to determine the next challengers for The Ascension, who have been all-conquering in their run with the tag team titles. The first team out is Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan, who have recently petitioned the WWE Universe to find them a suitable team name. Unsurprisingly, they are yet to find something that fits. Opposite them is the recently reunited pairing of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, the little and large pairing hoping their years of friendship will serve them well in this upcoming contest. Their opening promo demonstrates their confidence and comfort on the microphone, and belittles the rest of their “SAWFT” competition.
Dillinger starts off with Big Cass, the power of the Queens native forcing his opponent back to his own corner. Jordan tags in, and wraps his arms around Cassady, but is unable to lift the near seven-footer for a slam, so instead applies a headlock. A shoulder block and elbow asserts Cassady’s control, and this is continued with some well-placed knees to the gut. Cass gets the crowd chanting S-A-W-F-T, but a brief distraction by Dillinger on the apron allows Jordan to capitalise with a back suplex. Tags between Jordan and Dillinger look to keep the big man on the canvas, the latter dropping his pad to connect with bare knees to the head. The pair place Cassady in a number of submission holds, as the he tries to get back to his feet. When Dillinger tries to stomp on his chest, Cassady catches the foot, and pulls it away, causing his opponent to slam face first on the canvas.
This is the opening Big Cass needs to make the tag to Amore, who bounces off the ropes to confuse Dillinger before connecting with a right hand. However, this flurry is short-lived, as he runs into a wicked superkick to the face. Instead of covering a near unconscious Amore, Dillinger brings in Jordan, who hoists his fallen adversary and barges him into a turnbuckle. Jordan continues to taunt Cassady on the apron, and as he charges Amore with a shoulder, Cass dives through the ropes to protect his partner. Dillinger complains about this to the referee, and whilst he’s distracted Jordan, who has lifted Amore again, runs into huge boot by Cassady. Amore falls on top for the three-count, even though he seems unaware of anything that happened after that kick previously. A short but good match, demonstrating the close bond between Amore and Cassady that they will look to in order to propel them towards a title shot. Amore and Cassady move onto the semi-finals where they will face either the unorthodox pairing of Bull Dempsey and Mojo Rawley, or the fiendishly entertaining Vaudevillains.
Rating – 2/5
CJ Parker vs. Xavier Woods
NXT’s resident environmentalist makes his way back to in-ring action this week. The bitter eco-warrior carries another one of his cardboard messages this week, telling people to stop fracking. He bemoans it as another action that is causing the planet to fall asunder, and states that people boo him because they can’t handle somebody telling them the truth. This promo is interrupted by his opponent Xavier Woods, who is looking to avenge the loss the last time these two squared up. Parker stole the victory by grabbing the ropes during a roll-up, which will light even more of a fire under Woods following his rival’s lambasting of the minimal impact he has had on the main roster.
The bell rings and Woods wastes little time with a double-legged takedown followed up by punches to his downed opponent. He follows up with more blows and chops, and as Parker looks to escape to ringside, Woods decides to give him a hand and clotheslines him over the top rope. Woods offers no respite with more punches on the floor, and with Parker thrown back into the ring he ascends to turnbuckle, only to have Parker roll out of reach. Whipping Parker into the corner, Woods charges towards him, only to hit the ringpost shoulder first as his opponent moves out of the way.
Following the break Parker has asserted control with a chin lock, and as Woods attempts to escape his hit by a clothesline followed by a standing senton. Parker keeps Woods backed into a corner with shoulder charges before running in with both knees to the chest of his adversary, followed by a double axehandle from the top rope. A near fall follows, and Parker reapplies a hold, choking Woods with his own arm. Attempting another senton, Woods is able to get the knees up in time, offering him some respite from Parker’s offence. Woods responds with solid right and left hooks, before bouncing off the ropes with flying forearms. A spinning kick to the ribs is followed by a running dropkick, and Woods nips-up. Sprinting towards Parker in the corner see him backdropped over the top rope, but landing on the apron he climbs to the top, connecting with a flying crossbody, but it is rolled through by Parker for another two-count. Woods quickly responds with a low flatline, but this also is only a near-fall. Woods connects then with his Honour Roll clothesline which again is only two. This frustration leads Woods again to the top rope, but when Parker again tries to roll to safety, Woods walks along the rope to hit a splash from across the ring, which Parker kicks out of again. Going for all his tricks, Woods sits on the middle rope, looking for the tornado DDT, but Parker counters by flinging him face first into the middle rope. This is followed up by a spinning Samoan drop by Parker for the victory, and Woods’ poor form continues. Very good match between the pair, much improved from their last outing. Woods in particular was in great form, and hopefully this feud has at least one more match left in it.
Rating – 4/5
Bayley vs. Eva Marie
The effervescent Bayley is next in action, and following her backstage confrontation with the NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte last week, maintaining victories would be key to her getting a shot at the belt. Her opponent tonight is the sinful Eva Marie, who has a new entrance, where she sits upon a plinth flaunting the body that got her onto the Maxim Top 100. Pity her wrestling career thus far would not find her in the top 100, even if there were only 99 female wrestlers in the world. However, NXT is the training ground, and hopefully she demonstrates some improvement has been made in the upcoming contest against Bayley.
Marie begins by shoving the face of Bayley before clasping the ropes to avoid further conflict. Chants of “You Can’t Wrestle” fill the arena, all directed towards the redhead. Marie continues to focus on her appearance, at least illustrating an ability to stay in character, as she applies a headlock which is followed by a shoulder tackle. Bayley responds with a reverse elbow, and then the alley-oop from the corner. Bayley then entertains with her spinning body surf on the back of her opponent, and the following roll-up attempt is countered by Marie into some kind of slam. She then places Bayley into an arm wrench submission with her knee placed into her opponent’s spine.
Bayley is able to get back to her feet, but her only reward is a knee to the gut and a suplex from Marie. She returns to the same submission hold, but Bayley again gets up, forcing Marie back into the turnbuckle. Marie ducks a clothesline, kicking Bayley in the ribs before attempting another suplex, which is reversed into a small package. Bayley then gets a double-leg takedown, beating down on Marie, and though the Total Diva powers out, she is hit with a splash into the corner. Then, Bayley tightens her hair-band, signalling the end as she connects with the Hugplex for the victory. Another good victory for Bayley as she pursues the championship of Charlotte, and whilst Marie is far from the finished article, a decent showing and a sign that she could pull-off this vanity gimmick reasonably well.
Rating – 2/5
Sami Zayn and Adam Rose vs. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
The main event of the evening is the second first round match of the tag team tournament. Earlier in the night, a backstage segment revealed Sami Zayn’s original partner was unavailable to compete, and he was mocked by Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel for having no allies in NXT. Zayn says he will beat both of them if he has to tonight, but Adam Rose rocks up with his party posse, and offers to be Zayn’s partner against the pair of lemons in front of them. After the recent performances of these four against one another in main event matches, this should be quite the spectacle.
Zayn and Kidd start out, the sound of “Ole” echoing around Full Sail University. Kidd quickly connects with a shoulder tackle and takes time to gloat about it. He connects with it a second time, and bouncing off the ropes he is caught by a trifecta of arm-drags. Zayn maintains control of the arm as he tags in Adam Rose as Kidd backs away from the Party Animal. The crowd chant Rose’s theme music, followed by “Nattie’s Wife” directed at Kidd. The pair lock up, Rose forcing Kidd back into a corner before slapping his opponent’s derriere, causing a frustrated Kidd to take a breather outside and discuss strategy with Gabriel. Rose rolls to the outside and does the same to Gabriel, who chases him around ringside before Rose is stopped by a hard kick to the ribs by Kidd. Gabriel tags into the match, and puts his educated feet to work with stomps on the chest and roundhouse kicks to the back of Rose.
Gabriel continues to attack, but is pushed back into a corner by Rose. He gets his feet up to block an onrushing Rose, but is then caught by a huge spinebuster for a two-count. Kidd got a shot in illegally, and Gabriel drags Rose back to their corner to tag his partner in. He unleashes his aggression into Rose in the turnbuckle, hammering him with right hands. Kidd then distracts the referee, allowing Gabriel to choke Rose in the corner. This process is repeated, this time with Rose hung in a tree of woe, as he is left at the mercy of the tandem of Kidd and Gabriel. A neckbreaker brings a two-count as the show heads for its final break.
Kidd is still in control of Rose when NXT returns, and holds his adversary in place for Gabriel to hit a basement dropkick. Gabriel toys with Rose, allowing him to get somewhat close to Zayn before unleashing punches. Rose is able to get a few in himself, and attempts to lock in a sleeper-hold only to have it immediately countered into a back suplex. Kidd connects with a roundhouse kick when Rose is held by Gabriel for another two-count. A scoop slam leaves Rose prone for Kidd’s springboard elbow drop, but counters with knees to finally create some separation. Zayn comes in with a flurry on Gabriel, a dropkick sending the South African to the outside. Zayn sets up to fly, but Kidd tries to hit him from behind, but Zayn counters sending him also to the outside, and he hits a diving plancha on both his opponents. Rose hits his own somersault dive on Kidd and Gabriel from the top rope, and tosses Gabriel back into the ring where he is met with the Helluva Kick. One pinfall later and Zayn and Rose progress to the next round of the tournament. This was a good match, somewhat hampered by its short length, and its a shame to see Kidd and Gabriel go out as they have such good chemistry as a team. Still, Zayn and Rose looked good together, and my only reservation is I hope Zayn doesn’t debut as one of his Rosebuds, and is allowed to stand on his own.
Rating – 3/5