NXT Recap: July 8th 2015

Following the monumental events of the successful Beast in the East special from Tokyo, there is a new force atop the NXT roster. The Demon Finn Balor, returning to his second home in the Far East following his success with NJPW, toppled Kevin Owens to become NXT Champion for the first time. The Irishman is certainly deserving of the accolade due to the impact he has had on NXT since his debut, and will hopefully lead by example as the new standard bearer for the locker room.

However, neither Balor nor Owens would be around for this edition of NXT, and therefore focus shifted to the other two championships available. The main event of the evening pitted the Vaudevillains against Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady, with the winning tandem becoming number one contenders for the NXT Tag Team titles, currently worn by Blake & Murphy. The East Coast natives of Enzo & Cass believe they are entitled to a rematch as a result of the controversy of their last title shot at Takeover: Unstoppable. But that would not derail the intentions of the Vaudevillains, who were desperate for another opportunity to earn their first reign with the belts.

The NXT Women’s Champion would also be in action following an extended absence, with Sasha Banks crossing paths with Dana Brooke and Emma last week. With the blonde pairing claiming to be the new force in NXT and with eyes fixed on Banks’ gold, they challenged the champ to a tag team match for this episode. The only question was would Banks be able to find a partner within a hostile locker room? The card also included a bout between the kooky Solomon Crowe and the deranged Marcus Louis.

Quick Results

  • Sasha Banks & Charlotte defeat Dana Brooke & Emma
  • Solomon Crowe defeats Marcus Louis
  • The Vaudevillains defeat Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady

Sasha Banks & Charlotte vs Dana Brooke & Emma

Last week, Dana Brooke and Emma were caught loitering in Sasha Banks’ locker room, claiming that they were just getting used to the place before they take over NXT. Naturally, the brash Women’s Champion did not take too kindly to these remarks, and accepted a challenge to battle the blonde duo in a tag team match on this edition. However, up until the last minute, Banks was alone, without a partner. Just when it seemed as though Brooke and Emma would have a walkover, Charlotte arrived on the scene, agreeing to be Banks’ partner on the condition that she owed her one.

Highlights

Banks and Charlotte combine with hard kicks to the front and back of Brooke, before their classic BFF clicks

I love the Charlotte’s Web cover, really inventive

Hard running knees into Brooke in the corner by Banks

Crowd Reaction

Wooing along with every move and strut of Charlotte

The crowd start getting on the back of Dana – impressive heel heat

“Like a Boss” – supporting the NXT Women’s Champion

Low Points

The hot tag was quite abrupt, and appeared to lessen the significance of the climax

Very short, and once again Brooke’s range of offense remains limited

Finish

Both Banks and Charlotte lock in their signature submission maneuvers, forcing Brooke and Emma to submit. Following the match, Charlotte challenges Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship next week, and it is accepted.

This was an okay match, certainly nothing of note taking place in from the moment the bell rang to the finish. It was short, and didn’t give much chance for any of the ladies to shine from a wrestling standpoint. That is most damaging for Dana Brooke, who needs more time to develop as a wrestler, and her limited offense won’t help her appeal to anyone going forward. But, this was simply a tool to set up the NXT Women’s title match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte, which should be a classic.

Rating – 2/5

Replay of Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor from Beast in the East

The next segment was filled with a recap of the NXT Championship match between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, hosted in Tokyo, Japan. As this NXT show was taped in advance of that event, neither competitor appeared this week to spoil the result of their encounter. I won’t cover this in great detail, as it took place at the weekend and most people are well aware of the result, as Balor rose to the occasion in his adopted country to dethrone Owens. The Demonic Irishman now stands atop the NXT roster, as Owens likely heads for pastures new on the main WWE shows.

However, it is worth pointing out the extraordinary match the pair produced for Beast in the East, which was back and forth. It demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that Balor is ready to lead from the front with the NXT Championship. He has the in-ring talent, the charisma, the look, and the spectacle surrounding him to be an excellent champion. I look forward to him squaring up with the likes of Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami over the belt. As for Owens, he’s simply grown so big even NXT can’t contain his momentum anymore.

Solomon Crowe vs Marcus Louis

Solomon Crowe has had a very subdued impact in NXT since his debut, in spite of his off the wall character and style. After months of being employed on house shows and being injured, Crowe looked set to play a big role in NXT’s future. However, this has not proven the case, as he has been scarcely used, and already suffered squash defeats to Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin. Could a clash with the unstable Marcus Louis provide the momentum boost he desperately requires?

Highlights

Louis’ current character is terrifying, and he could be a good psychotic henchman in future

Louis pulling down the top rope when Crowe tried to leap in looked painful

Running low dropkick to the knee of Louis by Crowe was at great velocity

Crowd Reaction

The audience behind Crowe, but tepid for the most part in this match

Low Points

This match was lacking a spark or urgency – both these characters have lost a lot of steam so the crowd found it difficult to become invested in the action

Finish

Crowe locks in his Crowbar submission, forcing Louis to tap out

A solid match between the pair, and presented them both with a degree of promise. I’m still not entirely sold on Solomon Crowe – his gimmick doesn’t seem to play a big role in his matches and he is yet to really wow in the ring. He has time to develop, so he certainly isn’t worth giving up on yet. As for Marcus Louis, on his own his current madman character doesn’t do a lot. But, pairing him up with a more established heel to harness his strength and take advantage of his anger could be a masterstroke. Louis could make an impact given this creative direction.

Rating – 2.5/5

The Vaudevillains vs Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady

The main event of the evening placed the NXT Tag Team Championships in the spotlight, as two of the roster’s most established teams contested over the right to be named number one contenders. Blake & Murphy have been champs since January, and become very comfortable in their slot. Both the Vaudevillains and Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady have earned the right to compete for the gold, and the tandems have strong crowd support at this point in time. It would prove to be a closely fought contest.

Highlights

I enjoyed Enzo and Cass’ stern challenging of the Vaudevillains early on, makes this match feel important

Solid chain wrestling to begin the bout, demonstrating Enzo’s improvement between the ropes

Very good teamwork by Enzo and Cass, who have established themselves as a very capable unit

More combination work this time from the Vaudevillains – both teams impressing

Cassady does extremely well with the hot tags, but he has had a lot of experience

Crowd Reaction

“How You Doin’?” “Put your Dukes Up” – a very split and hot crowd for this clash

Crowd firmly supportive of Enzo, and chanting along with the SAWFT

Low Points

Whilst this wasn’t a classic, it was solid and did it’s job effectively, so no low points to speak of

Finish

When Simon Gotch interrupts the attempted supporting splash by pulling Cass out of the ring, English rolls through Enzo’s crossbody to score the victory for the Vaudevillains

This was a nice way to cap off this episode of NXT, and certainly with the best match of the night. These teams have great chemistry, both within their units and against one another, so it was a winning combination. Enzo & Cass definitely have the charisma and a growing confidence in the ring which means they could revive WWE’s flailing tag team scene. But with the unique gimmick of the Vaudevillains and their offense, they are more than deserving of a title opportunity.

Rating – 3/5

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