COMMENTATORS: Byron Saxton & William Regal (& sometimes Jim Ross)
The Gold Rush Quarterfinals continue this week on NXT as Justin Gabriel takes on Michael McGillicutty and Bo Dallas meets Jinder Mahal.
- NXT CHAMPION: Vacant
- GOLD RUSH QUARTERFINALS: Justin Gabriel vs. Michael McGillicutty (***)
- CJ Parker vs. Kassius Ohno (**1/2)
- Paige & Tamina Snuka vs. Kaitlyn & Caylee Turner (*3/4)
- GOLD RUSH QUARTERFINALS: Bo Dallas vs. Jinder Mahal (**)
-VIDEO: Dusty Rhodes announces an 8-man Gold Rush tournament to crown the first NXT Champion. Comments from all 8 participants. Everyone brings home how important becoming the first champion would be. Good video, despite Drew McIntyre’s comments of winning being his only option feeling real dated a week after he was beaten by Seth Rollins and eliminated.
GOLD RUSH TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
Justin Gabriel vs. Michael McGillicutty
Gabriel controls things at the start with a wristlock, McGillicutty counters but Gabriel cartwheels out and brings him to the mat into a lateral press for a one-count. Jim Ross talks about Gabriel being single, just in case the female fans of WWE are interested. GROSS. Gabriel brings McGillicutty to the mat with a hammerlock, McGillicutty returns to a vertical base and counters out with a side headlock. Gabriel counters out and drops him with a shoulderblock. Another cartwheel from Gabriel into an armbar. Gabriel turns into a roll-up, McGillicutty kicks out and attacks him with a couple of strikes. Gabriel whips McGillicutty off and gets dropped with a shoulderblock, Gabriel escapes out of a suplex and hits one of his own, floating over into a double armbar as we go to commercial.
Back live and McGillicutty is now on the offensive, stomping a fallen Gabriel. Gabriel catches McGillicutty with a kick but misses a crossbody and goes right into the ropes. Gabriel whips McGillicutty off to escape a chinlock and takes flight but gets countered in mid-air with a dropkick, McGillicutty covering for the 1…2…not yet. McGillicutty gets a one-count from a knee strike and settles into a rear chinlock, throwing Gabriel to the mat when he tries to escape with elbows. Back to the chinlock. Gabriel escapes, both men collide with crossbody attempts. Gabriel mounts a comeback with a trifecta of kicks. McGillicutty charges into the corner and eats a boot, Gabriel follows up with a top rope crossbody for the 1…2…kickout. Gabriel heads back up, McGillicutty bails to the opposite side of the ring so Gabriel instead connects with a sit-out powerbomb for the 1…2…McGillicutty kicks out. McGillicutty counters a suplex and rolls through into a Perfect Plex for the 1…2…Gabriel kicks out. Gabriel drives McGillicutty to the mat but misses a springboard moonsault and McGillicutty follows up with a running neckbreaker for the 1…2…3.
Michael McGillicutty defeated Justin Gabriel via pinfall (10:14 shown)
- The best of the quarterfinal matches thus far. It’s a joy watching Gabriel work, he mixes in high-flying and mat wrestling very well and McGillicutty is no slouch either. Hennig genes are powerful. After both babyfaces won last week it’s pretty obvious what’s happening this week so I’m not surprised by the outcome but I’m glad we got a good match out of it. (***)
CJ Parker vs. Kassius Ohno
Parker brings Ohno the mat with a fireman’s carry, Ohno scrambles away to stall his momentum. Ohno with a wristlock, Parker counters and sweeps the legs and gets a few near-falls before Ohno bails from the ring to break momentum once again. Ohno trips Parker up and ties him into the ring skirt to tie him up and leave him open to a slingshot stomp. Ohno with a senton for the 1…2…Parker kicks out. Ohno breaks a sunset flip attempt, grabbing a wrist for a short-arm kick to the mush. Parker catches a kick and drops Ohno with a lariat and a scissor kick but can’t get the pin. Parker pulls the kneepads down and charges, Ohno drops him with a big boot that almost takes his head off. Ohno rams Parker’s head into the canvas and hits a rolling elbow to the back of the head for the 1…2…3.
Kassius Ohno defeated CJ Parker via pinfall (4:34)
- Well Parker tried at least. Ohno needed a little more to win than he did in his debut match but he still came off like a killer, his strikes looking heavy and painful. A rolling elbow to the back of the head is a straight up bully move and I respect it. (**1/2)
-LAST WEEK: Mike Dalton & Jason Jordan get the surprise win over Hunico & Camacho. Cut to post-match comments backstage from the victors with Briley Pierce. They are psyched to beat SmackDown superstars, saying no one thought they could do it. Pierce asks if they’re a team, Jordan says absolutely and they’re going to prove themselves. Pierce emphasizes they are now a team. Team team team team.
-NEXT WEEK: The Ascension will RISE. Hokey ass nu-metal nonsense, it’s the best.
Paige & Tamina Snuka vs. Kaitlyn & Caylee Turner
I thought I was being an idiot and confusing Turner with Alicia Fox but it turns out she’s her younger sister so I’m only like 30% an idiot. Strange to see Tamina Snuka with so much energy after spending the past few years on the main roster being stoic and superkick-y.
Turner slaps Snuka, Snuka throws her across the ring for being a jerk. Kaitlyn is tagged in and grabs a top wristlock on Snuka. Snuka quickly counters with a hammerlock. Regal says Kaitlyn has “walnut-crushing thighs”, the perv. Kaitlyn goes back to the wristlock, bringing Snuka to one knee and throwing her to the mat. Snuka responds with a dropkick that almost connects, Turner bails from the corner so she doesn’t get tagged in. Paige tags in and a chant immediately breaks out for her, an early Full Sail favorite. Paige brings Kaitlyn to the mat with a side headlock. Kaitlyn tries to suplex out but gets brought back to the mat. Kaitlyn counters a whip and drops Paige with a clothesline for a two-count. Turner finally tags in and gets some licks in but Paige regains control and Snuka tags in for a double clothesline. Turner rolls Snuka for the 1…2…Snuka kicks out. Kaitlyn tags in and dropkicks Snuka in the knee followed by another dropkick to the face for the 1…2…not yet. Turner tags in and applies a chinlock. Snuka escapes, Paige gets the hot tag and connects with a fallaway slam on Turner for the 1…Kaitlyn breaks it up. Snuka chases her to the floor, Kaitlyn pulls Snuka out and she lands face-first on the floor but it doesn’t matter because Paige rolls Turner up with an inside cradle for the 1…2…3.
Paige & Tamina Snuka defeated Kaitlyn & Caylee Turner via pinfall (6:22)
- I’m not going to bs you this was a rough one as everyone except Paige is relatively green at this point. Some odd stalls and starts and a couple of missed spots with an out of nowhere ending. Not terrible by any means though. Paige has star written all over her, and seeing Snuka be a bubbly babyface playing the Ricky Morton for her team was entertaining when compared to how she’s presented now. (*3/4)
–Bo Dallas is backstage getting ready for the main event. Derrick Bateman interrupts, passive aggressively chiding Dallas for costing them their tag team match against McGillicutty & Curtis, but saying he’s supporting his friend tonight anyway. Hmmmmmm.
GOLD RUSH TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
Bo Dallas vs. Jinder Mahal
Dallas and Mahal jockey for position around the ring until the latter backs the former in the corner and breaks clean. Dallas controls the wrist, bringing Mahal to the mat and almost getting a surprise pinfall. Back to a vertical base Mahal creates separation with a forearm to the jaw and works Dallas over in the corner. Dallas catches Mahal off-guard with a series of roll-ups, Mahal bails to the floor to put a stop to it and let out some frustration as we go to commercial.
Back live and Mahal has Dallas in a chinlock, having taken over on offense with a kneelift during commercials. Dallas escapes, Mahal uses his knees once again to bring him back to the mat for a two-count. Mahal sweeps the legs to bring Dallas to the mat and launches off the rope for a series of knees to the sternum for the 1…2…Dallas kicks out. Mahal slows things down with a cravat, Dallas escapes via jawbreaker and counters a belly-to-back suplex into a lateral press for the 1…2…Mahal kicks out. Dallas connects with a string of offense as the crowd goes…mild, really. Mahal charges, Dallas hits a belly-to-belly suplex for the 1…2…Mahal barely kicks out. Mahal stuns Dallas with a back elbow and connects with a tilt-a-whirl slam for the 1…2…Dallas gets his shoulder up. Mahal tries another cover, Dallas once again gets his shoulder up. Dallas dodges Mahal in the corner and hits a bulldog off the buckles for the 1…2…not yet. Mahal kicks Dallas in the head, Dallas dodges a kneelift. Mahal backs him into the ropes and hangs him to dry on the ropes followed by a flatliner into the Camel Clutch and Dallas taps. Mahal will meet Richie Steamboat in the semi-finals.
Jinder Mahal defeated Bo Dallas via submission (8:57 shown)
- Wholly uninteresting match that did next to nothing for me. Also didn’t help that Full Sail apparently fell asleep for the whole thing. Everybody trying to hinder Jinder. Hopefully his match against Steamboat is better than this. (**)
Mahal celebrates his win on the apron as the show concludes.
FINAL THOUGHTS: With babyfaces winning last week it was a foregone conclusion that the heels in the Gold Rush tournament were going to win this week, leading to a very telegraphed couple of matches. Gabriel/McGillicutty was fun at least though, wish I could say the same about Dallas/Mahal which the folks in charge thought was worthy of the main event slot. Meh. Tournaments are cool but outside of the opening match and maybe Parker/Ohno I was not engaged with this episode as much as I would’ve liked.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Justin Gabriel vs. Michael McGillicutty
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Mike Dalton, Jason Jordan, and Briley Pierce go overboard on the whole “team” thing.