[TV Recap] ‘NXT’ 08.15.2012 – Gold Rush Semi-Finals, Heath Slater’s Challenge is Too Cool

COMMENTATORS: Byron Saxton & William Regal (& Jim Ross)

This week’s show features the semi-finals of the Gold Rush tournament as Richie Steamboat takes on Jinder Mahal and Seth Rollins goes one-on-one with Michael McGillicutty.

CHAMPIONS

  • NXT CHAMPION: Vacant

LINEUP

  • GOLD RUSH TOURNAMENT – SEMI-FINALS: Richie Steamboat vs. Jinder Mahal (**1/2)
  • ??? vs. Heath Slater (**)
  • The Usos vs. The Ascension (**)
  • GOLD RUSH TOURNAMENT – SEMI-FINALS: Seth Rollins vs. Michael McGillicutty (***1/4)

*****

-EARLIER TODAY: Briley Pierce sits down with Richie Steamboat to talk about tonight’s match. Steamboat says he’s been dreaming of being World Champion since he was a child; his opponent Jinder Mahal interrupts and says his dream will become a NIGHTMARE. Oh snap, GOT’EM.


GOLD RUSH TOURNAMENT – SEMI-FINALS
Richie Steamboat vs. Jinder Mahal

Mahal pummels Steamboat in the corner and connects with a back elbow off the Irish whip. Steamboat fights back with strikes of his own and connects with a dropkick, quickly covering for a one-count and slowing things in his favor with an armdrag into an armbar. Mahal backs Steamboat into the ropes to break the hold and hangs him out to dry across the top rope followed by a flying knee for the 1…2…too early. Steamboat escapes a chinlock and connects with a series of strikes and a pair of clotheslines. Steamboat counters a Camel Clutch attempt and almost catches Mahal off-guard with various pinfall attempts, but can’t put him away. Mahal counters a backslide with a neckbreaker and covers, Steamboat kicks out at two. Steamboat fights Mahal off the buckles but misses a missile dropkick and Mahal locks in the Camel Clutch for the submission.

Jinder Mahal defeated Richie Steamboat via submission (4:42)

  • Not enough time to get boring which I’m a fan of. Good fast-paced matchup here, Steamboat only losing because of a mistake at the end. Who will try to hinder Jinder in the finals? We’ll find out tonight! (**1/2)

-Briley Pierce catches up with Leo Kruger backstage to talk about his failure in the tournament. Kruger TAKES HIS FAKE TOOTH OUT and says something has been bothering and brewing inside him. Maniacal laughter ensues. KRAVEN TIME BABY.

Heath Slater makes his way out to the entrance stage, mic in hand, and tells the crowd to take one minute just to look at him. Slater calls himself the “One Man Band” and says that all his battling (and losing to) of “ancient dinosaurs” on RAW is in the past; he’s here to make an OPEN CHALLENGE to anyone in the back.

-Back from commercial and Slater is still waiting for someone to answer his Open Challenge. Slater is not surprised since no one wants to get embarrassed; he’ll still hang out and entertain the folks…which brings out Scotty 2 Hotty of all people.


Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Heath Slater

Slater with a wristlock to start, Hotty kips up and out to counter into a side headlock. Slater blocks a hip toss, Hotty flips up and out and connects with a hip toss. Slater catches Hotty with a boot followed by a running clothesline. Hotty breaks out of a chinlock, Slater ducks a clothesline and counters with a neckbreaker for the 1…2…kickout. Slater throws Hotty into the ropes, Hotty catches himself and connects with a bulldog and the W-O-R-M for the 1…2…3!

Scotty 2 Hotty defeated Heath Slater via pinfall (3:54)

  • Slater brings his legend losing streak to NXT, though as I much as I enjoy Scotty 2 Hotty I think “legend” is a bit loose here. Dude is still in GREAT shape though, maybe even better than when he was an active member of the roster. Did what it was supposed to, can’t hate. (**)

-LAST WEEK: Jinder Mahal defeats Bo Dallas to move on to the semi-finals of the Gold Rush tournament. Which he won earlier on the show so now he’s in the finals.

-LAST WEEK CONTINUED: Briley Pierce catches up with Bo Dallas following the loss and asks him what his plans are going forward. Dallas says he’s hungrier than he ever was and won’t miss the next shot he gets. Derrick Bateman interrupts and tells Dallas he has nothing to be ashamed of as he left it in the ring…unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. Bateman says when he gets his NXT Championship opportunity he will win and give the first shot to Dallas, Dallas says he’ll do the same. Bateman calls him a good friend and protégé.


The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. The Ascension (Kenneth Cameron & Conor O’Brian)

This is a rematch from the 6.27 episode where The Ascension picked up the win. Jey and Cameron immediately lock horns at the bell and jockey for position. Cameron connects with a series of headbutts, Jey feels nothing because he’s Samoan (sigh) and tags in Jimmy for a double back elbow and elbowdrop. Jimmy corner mounts, Cameron slides out and drops him jewels-first on the middle buckle. Cameron buries forearms to the back of the head followed by a hanging neckbreaker. Ascension with quick tags as they stomp the ever living hell out of Jey in their corner. Cameron slows things down with a chinlock. Jimmy escapes, Cameron connects with a jawbreaker and O’Brian tags in to follow up with a flapjack for the 1…2…Jimmy kicks out! Their finishing move no longer! Jimmy counters with a Samoan Drop FROM OUTTA NOWHERE, Jey gets the hot tag and takes it to Cameron with a series of strikes and spinning headbutt. Jey with a hip attack in the corner for the 1…2…O’Brian breaks it up. Jimmy superkicks O’Brian out to the floor. Jey with a kick to Cameron and heads to the top, O’Brian shoves him off and…the ref calls for the bell?

The Usos defeated The Ascension via DQ (4:36)

  • I was initially mad that the ref called for a DQ for something that tame, but then I remembered that’s normally done when the ref is distracted so it actually makes sense. Still a cheap finish though to give The Usos a win while keeping Ascension’s pinfall streak alive. Series is now 1-1. (**)

The Ascension overwhelm Jimmy with a series of forearms and hit Total Elimination to stand tall.


-Briley Pierce tries to get some words from Richie Steamboat backstage but he’s in no mood after that loss.

Matt Striker is standing by with Hunico & Camacho. Hunico says he was wrestling with a stomach virus while Camacho was dealing with the loss of his buro, which is why they lost to Dalton & Jordan. Next time they won’t be so lucky.

Raquel Diaz is doing her makeup in a VERY BRIGHT mirror. Diaz says she can’t have the Divas in NXT running around making the place look like a zoo, and whether they like or not the Exfoliating Ugliness tour is coming their way.


GOLD RUSH TOURNAMENT – SEMI-FINALS
Seth Rollins vs. Michael McGillicutty

Rollins with a waistlock, McGillicutty counters into a hammerlock. Rollins escapes and grabs a front chancery, McGillicutty backs him into the ropes and arrogantly kicks at him as they separate. McGillicutty slaps Rollins, Rollins chases him into the ring and brings him back out with a clothesline followed by a tope suicida. Rollins rolls him in and eats a right hand that damn-near knocks him out, but he kicks out of McGillicutty’s cover. McGillicutty hammer throws Rollins into the corner and trash talks as we go to commercial.

Back live Rollins escapes a chinlock but gets dropped with a clothesline, McGillicutty covering for the 1…2…kickout. McGillicutty clubs Rollins down with a series of forearms and applies a reverse side headlock. Rollins escapes and they come to blows, Rollins splashes McGillicutty in the corner and faceplants him into the middle buckle followed by a dropkick for the 1…2…not yet. McGillicutty dodges a corner splash and hits the Perfect-like neck snap followed by a back suplex for the 1…2…Rollins kicks out in the nick of time. Rollins goes for a kick, McGillicutty ducks and hits a snap Saito suplex for the 1…2…another kickout. McGillicutty escapes a backslide attempt and straight clubs him in the face with his bicep. Rollins blocks a superplex attempt and tries a sunset bomb but McGillicutty hangs onto the top rope and drops him with another clubbing blow. Rollins gets a second wind and sends McGillicutty into the corner with a buckle bomb followed by the Blackout for the 1…2…3.

Seth Rollins defeated Michael McGillicutty via pinfall (9:54 shown)

  • I have the benefit of hindsight while watching these older shows but even I almost bought McGillicutty pulling out the win here and there in this one. Great physical match here, probably the best match in the whole tournament if we’re being honest, not that there were a lot of standouts to begin with. Rollins picks up and impressive victory and will meet Mahal in the finals coming up. (***1/4)

Jinder Mahal interrupts Rollins’ celebration but before they come to blows out pops Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes announces Rollins/Mahal as the finals of the tournament. May the best man win. Mahal attacks Rollins but Rollins fights back and clotheslines him out to the floor to stand tall.

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS: Good show overall. I dug the main event a lot and I’m excited to see the first NXT Champion get crowned, plus Leo Kruger losing his mind (AND TOOTH) gets me giddy for what’s to come.

  • MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Seth Rollins vs. Michael McGillicutty
  • MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Leo Kruger is driven so insane he PULLS HIS OWN TOOTH OUT

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