Location: Winter Park, FL
Date: January 21, 2015
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Renee Young, and Alex Riley
NXT opens this week with a video recap of Kevin Owens attacks on his former best friend, Sami Zayn and Zayn’s successful title defense last week against Adrian Neville.
We then cut to William Regal in his office informing us that the next NXT Special airs live, on February 11th. Also, tonight a Tournament begins to determine the new number one contender for the NXT Championship. We’re also getting another Charlotte/Sasha Banks match.
Scheduled is a non-title match between Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger, but Sami runs out and beats the crap out of Tye. He tosses him outside, grabs a microphone and demands Kevin Owens. William Regal appears, trying to calm him down but Sami says he will not wrestle another match until he gets Owens. Regal says that Owens hasn’t earned a title shot, so Zayn says to make it non-title. He just wants Owns. Regal grants his wish and we’re getting Zayn/Owens on 2/11 at Takeover! It’s a non-title grudge match.
#1 Contender’s Tournament: Curtis Axel vs. Finn Balor
“Finn is gonna kill you” chants are out before they even lock up. Both men do leap frogs before Finn Balor connects with a sweet dropkick. It takes Curtis Axel outside and Balor front flips out onto him. Commentary is doing a good job building up the mental edge that Balor’s entrance gives him, but the fact that Axel is a veteran. Balor hits a big kick, but Axel uses a big clothesline to the back of the head to turn the tide. Axel tries to one up Balor with a pretty dropkick of his own. After a headlock, Axel gets two with a big knee lift. He misses a second rope elbow, so Finn fires off some forearms and the Pele Kick. Balor follows with the Slingblade and a dropkick into the corner. He climbs up and finishes this off with the double foot stomp.
Winner: Finn Balor in 4:53
This was good for the time but I wish it lasted longer. Both guys can go and I think it would have been even better. **3/4
The brackets for the Tournament are shown. Hideo Itami meets Tyler Breeze, Baron Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey again and Tyson Kidd faces Adrian Neville. Next, a recap is shown of Sasha Banks pinning Charlotte last week, leading to their title match tonight. Devin Taylor is standing by with Sasha, who continues to completely deliver in her character. She says that Charlotte has nobody to help her, which makes me think Nattie will be at ringside for her.
After commercial, Bull Dempsey cuts a promo about how he will win the rematch against Baron Corbin next week in the Number One Contender’s Tournament.
NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks w/ Becky Lynch
I guess I was wrong about Natalya being at ringside. Trash talk at the bell before they lock up. Charlotte uses her strength advantage to gain the early upper hand. They lock up and go to the mat and then outside which was cool. Becky Lynch tries to intervene but eats a clothesline. In the ring, Charlotte nails a body slam and knee drop for two. Sasha comes back with the Lou Thesz Press. RIGHT HANDS! RIGHT HANDS! THE RATTLESNAKE STRIKES! Becky comes in and attacks Charlotte, leading to the disqualification.
Winner via disqualification: Charlotte in 2:21
Too short to be good.
Sasha Banks argues with Becky Lynch but they then beat down on Charlotte. This leads to Bayley running out to make the save. The referee brings in the Women’s Title, which Bayley takes and eyes like she wants it badly. Charlotte snatches it from her, so Bayley turns her around and hits her with the Belly to Baylay! Out comes William Regal, who books a Fatal Four Way Women’s Title match for TakeOver. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch.
Someone that I’ve never seen comes to interview Kevin Owens. Owens doesn’t recognize him either. They want his thoughts on facing Sami Zayn but he says he’ll discuss it at the Contract Signing next week.
Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake vs. The Vaudevillains
The Vaudevillains work over Buddy Murphy in their corner for a bit. Simon Gotch hits a nice suplex for two and the heels are making Murphy the face in peril. Continuous quick tags from the Vaudevillains and they look like a well-oiled machine. Wesley Blake gets the hot tag and takes out both of his opponents. He hits a sweet springboard forearm before a big powerslam gets him a near fall. A nice kick from Murphy connects, allowing Blake to roll up Aiden English and score the upset!
Winners: Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake in 3:56
Solid little tag team match. They worked a nice tag formula, and the Vaudevillains looked strong while Team Thick got a big win. **1/2
Tyler Breeze cuts a promo about separating the world into super good looking people and uggos. Back from commercial, Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy are interviewed and they say this wasn’t an upset.
#1 Contender’s Tournament: Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze
The winner of this faces Finn Balor in the Second Round. Their feeling out process leads to Tyler Breeze getting upset because Hideo Itami keeps trying to kick him in the face. He then gets in a cheap kick to the gut, but Itami fires back with a knee. He delivers a stiff kick to the chest for two. Breeze pulls Itami into the turnbuckle and then outside. He nails him outside and pulls out a dropkick once they’re inside. Tyler wears down Hideo for a bit and gets two with a nice neckbreaker. Commercial break time. Returning, Breeze is wearing down Itami more but he fights back with clotheslines. He goes all Karate Kid as he sweeps the leg before his tornado DDT on the ropes. Itami nails a flying clothesline for two. Breeze catches him with a kick to the face, but it doesn’t stop Itami from hitting a fisherman suplex for two. Breeze misses a shoulder thrust and eats a kick from Itami. He then tries a slam but Itami wriggles free only to run into a stiff super model kick. Breeze covers but only earns two. Breeze stomps on Itami in the corner because he’s frustrated. He sets Itami up on the top but he fights him off. Breeze connects with a crucifix pin slam for two and the crowd bought that one. Breeze shouts” YOU’RE NOT BETTER THAN ME” while he fires away but Itami fires up with a combination of his own. He just destroys Breeze with them, hits a dropkick in the corner and then a running kick ends this. The crowd was chanting “GTS!”
Winner: Hideo Itami in 10:54
Really good. Tyler Breeze might be getting lost in the shuffle with all of the new signings, but he showed tonight that he shouldn’t be forgotten. ***1/4
The 411: Not every match was must see, but this was still an enjoyable episode of NXT. The main event was damn good and we got a lot of storyline advancement towards TakeOver. While it would seem like the Women’s Four Way was thrown together, those girls have all been involved for weeks now. The Tournament creates excitement and Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens is the rare occasion where you can put your Champion in a non-title match on a big show and it still means a ton. That’s good booking.