NXT Recap: April 1st 2015

NXT heads off the heels of a wonderful WrestleMania weekend, where their roster played a huge part in making Axxess an excellent occasion. With the conclusion of this, NXT also has to contend with the departure of some of their biggest stars, as Adrian Neville and the Lucha Dragons made huge impacts on RAW the following night. The developmental territory continues to produce exciting action and popular stars for the future, and expect more to be heading to the main roster in coming months.

The main event on this week’s edition was a 2-out-of-3 falls match between Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze. The Japanese Sensation experienced a bigger WrestleMania than most on the NXT roster, as he made an appearance in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and got a huge pop from the crowd. But, after both trading victories over each other in the last few months, Itami and Breeze want to settle once and for all who is the better man. The one thing for certain is this would be an excellent wrestling exhibition.

The rest of the card is packed as well with some exciting new talent on show. NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy battle the Lucha Dragons, and Bayley faces Emma in a divas clash. Jason Jordan takes on former tag team partner Tye Dillinger, and Rhyno was tearing through anybody that stood in his path. Also, Sami Zayn made his highly awaited return to NXT in the opening segment.

Quick Results

  • Rhyno defeats Jobber
  • Bayley defeats Emma
  • Blake & Murphy defeat The Lucha Dragons
  • Jason Jordan defeats Tye Dillinger
  • Tyler Breeze defeats Hideo Itami

Sami Zayn Promo

Sami Zayn finally returns to his home of NXT after a lengthy absence in the wake of the beating he took at the hands of Kevin Owens at Takeover: Rival. Not only did he lose his coveted NXT Championship that night, but Owens’ relentless assault was lucky it did not cost him his career. Nevertheless, the extremely popular star was very excited to make his return to Full Sail University. Zayn talked about the opportunity he had to tour with WWE in Abu Dhabi in front of his people (being of Arabic descent), but could not fully enjoy the experience due to Kevin Owens.

Zayn noted that Owens’ attitude had changed in the time since they had last wrestled, and that they didn’t fight as respectful competitors anymore as a result. Thus, his plan of action upon his return to NXT was pretty straightforward – Zayn is looking to recapture the NXT Championship, and in the process beat Owens as badly and viciously as he can. A solid, simple promo from Zayn, and his intentions have been made entirely clear.

Rhyno vs Jobber

Rhyno made a shock return to NXT a few weeks back, destroying his opponent with his brand of suplexes and of course his crippling Gore. The Man-Beast might be a veteran star, but this re-emergence in NXT has breathed new life into the final original ECW Champion. So, all I can say for his opponent this week is he’d better be ready to dive out of the way.

Highlights

Rhyno throws his opponent halfway across the ring with ease via a suplex.

Crowd Reaction

Crowd completely behind Rhyno, screaming “Gore!” when the opportunity arises.

Low Points

Match was too short really for anything to go wrong.

Finish

Following a belly to back suplex, Rhyno splits his opponent in two with a Gore to win. Rhyno then proclaimed his intentions to capture the NXT Championship.

This was a squash match, again with the purpose of pushing Rhyno quickly into a title challenging position. The veteran star is a great athlete to have in NXT currently, as although the key is building for the future, a great way to accomplish that is victories over established stars. Rhyno thus should be pushed highly before some more competitive matches against the biggest stars on the roster, as his experience and power should produce some solid contests.

Rating: 2/5

Bayley vs Emma

This match is the result of a backstage incident last week, which indicated a definitive shift in Emma’s happy-go-lucky attitude. The Australian informed Bayley that being nice to the fans, funny and likable do not get you anywhere in WWE, judged by her own experiences since leaving NXT. Bayley refuted these points, saying the fans have helped her get to where she is today, and this resulted in a hard slap across the face from Emma in response. Now these two face each other in the ring, will Emma be pushed further down the dark side?

Highlights

Not many to speak of, but Emma’s performance was at the same time bizarre and captivating

Crowd Reaction

Very silent throughout the majority of this match, outside of some chants for Bayley on occasion

Low Points

Slow paced, and nothing particularly special about this encounter. Had good storytelling but lacking technical finesse.

Finish

Bayley countered Emma’s lackadaisical pin attempt into one of her own to earn the victory.

This was an odd match, but I couldn’t really help but be fascinated. Huge elements of it suggest I should have hated this match – it wasn’t very quick, not many spectacular moments if any, and the crowd was quiet. But, I really liked Emma’s performance from a storytelling perspective. She was mocking her own character and not taking Bayley seriously, constantly challenging her to show some fight. This situation is far from over in my view, and I’m eagerly anticipating the moment Emma snaps and turns completely.

Rating – 2.5/5

Blake & Murphy vs The Lucha Dragons

NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy have had their hands full with Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady in recent weeks in their bid to be taken seriously as the top team on the roster. Whilst they would be happy to be away from them from a week, matches don’t come much more challenging than the Lucha Dragons, the previous champions. Sin Cara and Kalisto as a tandem have been making waves on the main roster that suggest their remaining time in NXT is dwindling. Even so, they would not pass up an opportunity to wear the titles once again.

Highlights

Kalisto holding open the middle rope for Sin Cara to dive onto Blake & Murphy, followed by a moonsault off the top rope by Kalisto

Brilliant transition by Kalisto from a wheelbarrow into a sunset flip pin attempt

Very good momentum off the hot tag by Sin Cara

Crowd Reaction

NXT crowd firmly behind Blake & Murphy, which would likely confuse the WWE fans that watched RAW

Low Points

Offense by Blake & Murphy a little bland and unappealing until the end

Finish

A cheap shot by Murphy on the outside unseen by the referee led to Sin Cara being hit by a running suplex and frog splash combination for the champions to win.

An okay match between these two teams, but certainly not one of their better efforts. The NXT crowd seemingly has grown tired of the Lucha Dragons, and that is somewhat unfair of them, especially considering they produced the best moments of this match. Blake & Murphy were more subdued but they are still learning. However, they need to develop some more personality and character that they can survive without the gold adorning their waists.

Rating – 2/5

Jason Jordan vs Tye Dillinger

A few weeks ago, this former partnership imploded at the seams against the Lucha Dragons, as Jason Jordan grew tired of Tye Dillinger’s refusal to tag him in for an extended period. This frustration is likely underlined by both of these athletes’ inability to get over or an extended run in NXT, and Jordan clearly saw this as his moment to strike out on his own. Will this prove the correct decision? Time will tell, and their first test is against one another to settle their disagreements in the ring.

Highlights

I liked the commentary team drawing on both superstars having different perspectives leading to their break-up – helps build the character of Jordan and Dillinger

The blend of aggression, amateur wrestling and trash-talking of Jordan all came across well

Crowd Reaction

Crowd once again very quiet, didn’t seem to take to either of these guys initially

Low Points

Although this is perhaps a little harsh, I really didn’t see anything compelling out of Dillinger’s performance

Finish

After dropping Dillinger on the top turnbuckle, Jordan connected with an underhook suplex for the victory

I think it is quite obvious on the strength of this match which of these two men was the Shawn Michaels of their partnership. Dillinger was decent in the ring, is an okay talker, and has a standard character – a dime a dozen grappler. Jordan however has presence, an excellent look, and could really be pushed on the strength of his amateur ability. Jordan can make a real splash if handled correctly in the title picture, and now needs some attention afforded to him as a solo star.

Rating – 2.5/5

Tyler Breeze vs Hideo Itami

The main event should hopefully provide a big lift to this distinctly average show, due to the entertaining nature of this feud. Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze have had a simple, no-nonsense rivalry brewing – each superstar has a victory or two over the other, and they wish to show who the better man is in a two-out-of-three falls match. Seems like the ideal solution, and considering the quality of these two in the ring, could make an excellent ending for the night and signal big things for the victor.

Highlights

Breeze getting in Itami’s face after every clothesline in the corner, only for the International Sensation to respond with one of his own

Does not take Itami long to earn the first fall after a Shotgun Kick

Breeze responds immediately after feigning injury following the Shotgun Kick, connecting with the Beauty Shot as Itami was talking to the referee

Picture perfect dropkick by Breeze when in control

Huge selling job by Breeze when being hit by a hefty clothesline by Itami

Action picking up towards the end with a flurry of pin attempts by both competitors

Love it when Itami gets fired up by taking punishment from his opponent – works well in Japan and in America

Crowd Reaction

“Selfie Stick” – a pop for Tyler Breeze’s new prop that has been really well placed for his character

“Breeze is gorgeous” “No he’s not” – leave your point of view in the comments below

Both superstars attracting the appraisal of sections of the audience

Low Points

Slightly botched inside cradle attempt by Breeze, but that is just nitpicking on this very good outing by both

Finish

Breeze connects with a Beauty Shot after being set up by Itami to suffer another Shotgun Kick, giving Prince Pretty the victory

This was a very good match between both superstars, and an important win for Tyler Breeze. Although he has great ability and charisma, I was worried that after falling away from the championship picture in recent months he would be lost in the shuffle. But, a great victory over Hideo Itami, who himself gave another excellent performance that makes me question why people still think he isn’t adjusting quickly to the American style, really cements him among the elite. Hopefully both these athletes will be pushing for championship gold soon.

Rating – 3.5/5

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