NXT Recap: June 24th 2015

NXT finally got the opportunity to fully pay homage to the legendary Dusty Rhodes at the beginning of this week’s episode. The American Dream was a huge asset and contributor to the developmental territory from a creative and training perspective, with his passion for the continued prosperity of professional wrestling helping make NXT the awesome spectacle it is today. So prior to the show, Triple H gathered the young roster of talented individuals to observe the ten bells in memory of Rhodes, which was a fitting tribute to his incredible legacy.

The main event this week pitted Finn Balor against Rhyno. The number one contender for the NXT Championship had gotten on the wrong side of the Man Beast after they contested a match a few weeks ago, leading to a Gore on the stage. Rhyno remains fixated on reaching the pinnacle of NXT, and saw Balor as a blockade he had to smash his way past to get to that point. But Balor is the next challenger to Kevin Owens for a reason, and was looking to get through his powerful opponent in a bid to build momentum before their Tokyo clash on July 4th.

Two tag team matches also filled the card for this edition of NXT, as Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady looked to maintain their chase of the tag team titles when they clash against James Jordan and his partner this week, Sylvester Lefort. The other tandem battle saw the latest combination to bolster the roster in action, as Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley united to face Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton. Additionally, Dana Brooke went up against newcomer Cassie, and Hideo Itami gave an update about his injury status.

Quick Results

  • Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady defeat James Jordan & Sylvester Lefort
  • Dana Brooke defeats Cassie
  • The Hype Bros defeat Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton
  • Finn Balor defeats Rhyno

Hideo Itami Promo

It was great to see Hideo Itami in an NXT ring once again following his devastating injury, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. With the NXT Championship set to be defended in Tokyo between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, it seemed tailor-made for Itami to have been the challenger had he remained healthy. Itami though did not seem deterred by his injury, as the Japanese star firmly stated his intention to be at the match, and would immediately challenge the winner for a shot at the gold. His English might still be developing, but Itami says the right things in the right way.

This brought out the NXT Champion Kevin Owens to the stage. Owens feigned sympathy for Itami being unable to compete in his home country, and was fully confident he would eliminate Balor in their championship encounter. Owens stumbles over the word delusional, but emphatically turns that around by using that to mock Itami’s English, which is just a taste of what makes the champ so strong on the microphone. He reaffirms the point that he had nothing to do with Itami’s injury, and demanded an apology for the Japanese wrestler calling him a bad person, to which Itami responded by saying Owens was a terrible human being.

Owens wasn’t in the mood to humor this insult, and instead marched towards the ring with the intent of crippling Itami further. Instead he was cut off by Balor, who fought his rival up the ramp before flooring Owens with a flying forearm. However, just as he looked set to stomp on Owens from the stage, Balor was ambushed by Rhyno, who knocked him down hand then punted him in the ribs off the stage. Would this cheap shot cost Balor in the main event later in the evening?

Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs. James Jordan & Sylvester Lefort

Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady have been riding a high in the NXT tag team division, and have been racking up the wins as a tandem in pursuit of another shot at the titles currently held by Blake & Murphy. They are certainly two of the most popular athletes in NXT at the moment, able to ride the crowd’s support into many of their victories. This week saw their path intersect with James Jordan’s search for the ideal tag team partner of his own. With Chad Gable’s offer for the meantime unanswered, Jordan turned to an experienced hand in Sylvester Lefort.

Highlights

Hearing Enzo and Cass ruffle their opponents with the microphone is always a pleasure to view

I like how the Jersey duo’s teamwork is essentially Cass throwing Amore at the opponents

Jordan is a very impressive athlete and specimen, and could easily go far in NXT

Crowd Reaction

Firmly in the corner of Enzo & Cass, but rather subdued on the whole

Low Points

Didn’t get to see a lot of Cass, which is a shame because I enjoy his explosive hot tags

Finish

After Lefort is thrown to the outside, this minor distraction allows Jordan to be rolled up by Enzo for a loss

It was the correct decision for Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady to keep up their winning run, but this wasn’t their greatest contest due to a lack of time and impact by the seven footer. However, I personally am enjoying this side story of Jason Jordan’s failure to find a successful tag team partner, and feel that this will eventually be of great benefit to the inevitable combination of him and Chad Gable. Even on his own, Jordan still impresses me as a future asset for WWE.

Rating – 2/5

Dana Brooke vs. Cassie

Dana Brooke was back in action on NXT after a brief absence, and with her nefarious friend Emma by her side, took on some new blood in the form of Cassie. The young Australian has shown some potential in her clashes with Sasha Banks and Charlotte, so would be looking to continue her learning process with another solid performance in this match. As for Brooke, she is also still developing from a wrestling standpoint, but has her eyes set on proving herself as the top woman in NXT.

Highlights

Brooke locking Cassie by the arm, and condescendingly tapping her on the head, before Cassie breaks out and returns the favor

Nice headscissors by Cassie sending Brooke to the apron

Impressive stretch hold by Brooke pressing her knee on the back of Cassie

Crowd Reaction

Brooke getting most of the heat onto her quickly, and her bad-mouthing the crowd was a nice touch

Low Points

Brooke still is developing, but she needs to show some more progress soon before the crowd get on her back too hard

Finish

Brooke connects with her Samoa Driver to defeat Cassie

Dana Brooke at this point is still a contentious issue. She needs to brush up on her ring work and expand her moveset beyond hair pulls and scoop slams, but she is a charismatic heel who certainly looks the part. But without steady improvement she’ll be found out soon. Cassie already looks a better overall wrestler than her, and with her athleticism and range she could in time make a name for herself in NXT. She just has to pay her dues for now.

Rating – 2/5

The Hype Bros vs. Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton

The return of Mojo Rawley to NXT was met strongly by the audience, as his hyperactive attitude has been channeled well into a tandem with Zack Ryder. The Long Island Iced Z immediately took a shine to his new partner’s enthusiasm, and is hoping for a similar revival as other veteran WWE superstars have previously. Their blend of humor and drive has initially been popular, and will be tested on this edition, as the newly christened Hype Bros took on Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton.

Highlights

Excellent dropkick by Ryder onto Fulton

Dawkins and Fulton paying homage to the World’s Greatest Tag Team leapfrog

Crowd Reaction

“Mojo Suck” – oh dear, it is already beginning to turn on Rawley

Ryder definitely the most popular participant in this match for the fans

Low Points

Rawley’s additions of goofy offense did not go down as well this week as his return did

Finish

Rawley hoists Dawkins by the waist and Ryder crashes down with the Rough Ryder for the victory

Oh dear, oh dear. It seemed so promising just a few weeks ago, but it appears as though fans have already fallen foul of Mojo Rawley’s antics. He’s not the best wrestler, and needs a gimmick to get over, and if fans fell for the goofiness like they’ve done with Zack Ryder or Santino Marella before him, it would be fine. But, the NXT fans haven’t responded to him, and frankly if it follows along this path he will be out the door in a hurry.

Rating – 2/5

Finn Balor vs. Rhyno

The final match of the night built upon the events not only of earlier in the show, but a few weeks prior. Finn Balor, after becoming the number one contender for the NXT Championship at Takeover: Unstoppable, drew the ire of the veteran Rhyno. The Man Beast has been determined to make his way to the summit of the roster despite his advanced age, and Goring his way through Balor appears to be the course to make it there. But the Irishman will not bow to his assaults without response, and will want to make this a solid stepping stone heading into his title match with Kevin Owens.

Highlights

Kevin Owens on commentary; it might slightly deter from the match taking place, but it’s getting him over big

Huge dive over the top rope by Balor onto Rhyno

Excellent, hard spinebuster on Balor by Rhyno

Rhyno’s shoulder thrusts in the corner always hit deep, focused assault on the ribs

Pele kick connects perfectly by Balor

Crowd Reaction

Crowd firmly in the corner of Balor, and chanting his name at every opportunity

Low Points

These two meshed really well in the ring, and there was nothing majorly wrong with any element

Finish

Owens came down to ringside in an attempt to distract Balor and got kicked off, allowing Rhyno to throw him across the ring. The Gore was attempted, but Balor knocked Rhyno down with the Slingblade and then the Coup de Grace to win the bout. After the match Owens and Rhyno administer a beating to Balor, until being chased away by Samoa Joe.

This was a very good match, as Finn Balor and Rhyno’s respective movesets and styles blend effectively together to produce a physical contest. Balor winning is certainly the correct move as Rhyno is effectively enhancement talent at this stage in his career, and did very well in presenting the Irishman in the best light possible. The post-match tensions with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe set in motion some tag team warfare before the NXT Championship match in Tokyo, which will hopefully be just as enjoyable as this match.

Rating – 3.5/5

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