NXT Recap: April 23rd 2015

NXT hosts a main event that has grown extremely personal in the last few months, as the rage that has built up within Alex Riley is set to explode in the direction of Kevin Owens. The former commentator has been pushed to lace up his boots again due to the attitude of the NXT Champion, but if their last meeting is anything to go by, this might be career suicide. Riley will need to bring all of his skill and anger to even survive, but would that cloud his judgement when he steps back into the fray with the best in NXT?

In the night’s other big match, a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship is on the line in a triple threat match. With Sasha Banks bossing over a roster of excellent talent, the best three potential challengers have been thrown together to find out the true number one contender. Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch are three of the best wrestlers in WWE in general, and whoever earns this important victory will be sure to give Banks a huge fight for the belt.

Also on the card, Hideo Itami faces CJ Parker in the eco warrior’s final match in NXT, Finn Balor has a match with Tye Dillinger, and Rhyno Gores his way through another helpless jobber.

Quick Results

  • Finn Balor defeats Tye Dillinger
  • Becky Lynch defeats Charlotte and Bayley (Triple Threat)
  • Hideo Itami defeats CJ Parker
  • Rhyno defeats Local Jobber
  • Kevin Owens defeats Alex Riley

Finn Balor vs Tye Dillinger

The first match of the night sees Finn Balor take on Tye Dillinger. Balor recently fell short in his chance at the NXT Championship, and now has a no real direction currently on the card. This will hopefully be remedied soon, as Dillinger will simply be a filler for this week. Expect a decent match based on the talent of both guys, but it won’t take too long for the Irishman to earn a victory.

Highlights

Balor’s chops to the chest make such a perfect connection

Crowd Reaction

Majority of the fans firmly behind Balor, but their appeared to be a vocal section of the audience not so appreciative of the Irishman

Low Points

Dillinger’s offense was just non-existent, little more than what a jobber would provide

Finish

Balor dropkicks Dillinger against the turnbuckle, and then hits the Coup de Grace stomp from the top for the win. After the match, Tyler Breeze appeared backstage saying it was time Balor fought a big name in NXT, that being Prince Pretty.

It was not exactly a match, more a showcase of Finn Balor’s ability. Tye Dillinger got at most five moves in on his opponent, showing that he is currently not valued highly as part of the NXT roster. Balor dominated and displayed all his big maneuvers, but I’m more pleased with the post-match activities that will see him feud with Tyler Breeze. They are both big assets on the brand, and their wrestling ability should be sure to provide some compelling bouts.

Rating – 2/5

Becky Lynch vs Charlotte vs Bayley

Sasha Banks will be watching this match with great interest, as the winner earns a shot at her coveted NXT Women’s Championship. The Boss has been stood atop the extremely talented women’s division since the last Takeover event, but will have her hands full with whichever challenger emerges from this triple threat match. So will it be the former champion Charlotte, the plucky Bayley, or the unstable Becky Lynch that comes away victorious?

Highlights

Brilliant locking of a figure-four headlock by Charlotte, using her core strength to flip Bayley around in that position

I like the taunting and confidence displayed by Lynch when on offense

Consistent selling of Bayley’s leg injury that was targeted by Lynch and then Charlotte

Amazing transition from a roll-up by Lynch into her Four-Leg Clover on Bayley, which Charlotte breaks up with Natural Selection

Some teamwork from Charlotte and Bayley, as the latter dives with a reverse elbow connecting with Lynch whilst Charlotte drops her with a powerbomb

Crowd Reaction

The audience behind the popular Bayley as she bids to become number one contender

“This is wrestling” – a chant that has become synonymous with the NXT women’s division

“Better than Divas”

Low Points

Nothing much to state here, a really excellent contest

Finish

Charlotte locks Bayley in the Figure-Eight, but Lynch takes advantage of the situation to pin Bayley whilst she’s trapped in the move

An excellent match between these three women, not too dissimilar to the excellent Fatal Four-Way they participated in a few months ago. The modified Doomsday Device got a huge pop, and all three ladies did great work that really puts the actual Divas division to shame quite frankly. Becky Lynch is an interesting choice to become number one contender, but has proved an excellent wrestler and should put on an excellent match with Sasha Banks for her championship.

Rating – 4/5

Hideo Itami vs CJ Parker

Hideo Itami has had an excellent last month in NXT, winning a place in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania Axxess. His popularity has grown a great deal, and is looking more and more comfortable in the WWE style of competing. This match with CJ Parker will be a bittersweet one, as it will be the Eco Warrior’s last in NXT. His gimmick was not able to connect, and he’s taken the decision to leave WWE to build up his name on the independent scene.

Highlights

Enjoyed the moment where Parker attempted a low kick and Itami just stood unimpressed

Parker doing a very good job of getting the crowd firmly behind Itami with his heel antics

Crowd Reaction

“Kick his head off” – both have decent high kicks, so it was hard to discern who this was aimed at

Low Points

Itami slightly misplacing a heel kick to the face, but that was only a minor foible

Finish

Itami wins following a Shotgun Kick to the face of Parker

An okay match, again nothing special, but a lot more solid than the first match of the night in terms of competitiveness. It just didn’t have much spark though, as both seemed to be going through the motions rather than stretching themselves to their limits, but that happens. Hideo Itami continues to secure victories, but I’m not sure where his next feud is coming from. As for CJ Parker, it’s been a difficult ride, but I’d be happy to see him return later on due to his work rate and talent.

Rating – 2.5/5

Rhyno vs Local Jobber

There is not much point in going through the motions with this match, as it doesn’t really need a great deal of coverage. Rhyno gets a huge pop from the fans chanting “Gore” and “ECW”. The Man Beast throws his victim around the ring for a minute, before finishing him off with a Gore.

Kevin Owens vs Alex Riley

In the main event, Alex Riley will be looking to unleash his rage on the NXT Champion that has been building for months. The former commentator was pushed too far by the attitude and arrogance of Kevin Owens during his feud with Sami Zayn, and took matters into his own hands by lacing his boots and stepping in the ring with him. But, their first encounter a month ago only resulted in Owens squashing the rusty Riley. Yet, that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing another opportunity to shut the champ up tonight.

Highlights

Perfectly placed dropkick by Riley sending Owens to the outside

The dominance and callous nonchalance by Owens is really a sight to behold

Crowd Reaction

The crowd split between the pair, an improvement of the partisan Owens crowd in their last match

Low Points

Usually I’d be hard on such a one-sided match, but in this instance it made sense

Finish

Owens scored a simple victory with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. He looks to add to the damage of Riley with a powerbomb against the apron, but he is interrupted by Sami Zayn. The pair brawl around ringside, and Zayn did a senton from the top rope onto Owens and officials attempting to break them up.

This was a very good match, despite any major highlights to speak of. It was simply well orchestrated, with Kevin Owens dominating the contest with confident strikes and power. Alex Riley did a great job of making his opponent look powerful, and the champion had a swagger about his offense that demonstrates why he was pushed to the summit as quickly as he was. The return of Sami Zayn will be the angle that likely carries NXT throughout 2015, and I’m personally so excited for it.

Rating – 3.5/5

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