COMMENTATORS: Byron Saxton & William Regal (& Jim Ross)
One week before they make history Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal have a face-to-face/heart-to-heart/other such things. On the wrestling side of things Kassius Ohno runs afoul of a Steamboat, Raquel Diaz tries to exfoliate some ugliness, and Tyson Kidd teams with Justin Gabriel to take on Johnny Curtis and Michael McGillicutty.
- NXT CHAMPION: Vacant
- Derrick Bateman vs. Antonio Cesaro (**1/4)
- Tamina Snuka vs. Sofia Cortez (**)
- Kassius Ohno vs. Jake Carter (**1/4)
- Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Johnny Curtis & Michael McGillicutty (**3/4)
-Camera pans the Full Sail crowd as Saxton welcomes the home audience. Hype for the Rollins/Mahal face-to-face.
Derrick Bateman vs. Antonio Cesaro [w/ Aksana]
Cesaro tosses Bateman to the mat and connects with a headbutt right to the chin. Bateman fights back with a series of forearms followed by a dropkick but only gets a one-count. Bateman with a snap suplex, another near fall. Cesaro counters an Irish whip attempt with a stun gun and he’s back in control. Headbutts to the sternum followed by an overhead butterfly suplex, this time it’s Bateman who kicks out at one. Things slow with a chinlock, Bateman gets to his feet but Cesaro trips him up and brings him back to the mat. Bateman creates separation and mounts a comeback, ducking a clothesline and knocking his opponent down with a pair of his own. Cesaro bails to the corner, Bateman connects with a leaping clothesline, Cesaro rolls under the bottom rope to prevent getting pinned. Bateman hip tosses him back in but misses corner double knees and Cesaro connects with a side salto followed by a Neutralizer for the 1…2…3.
Antonio Cesaro defeated Derrick Bateman via pinfall (4:01)
- Short but a good, competitive bout. Cesaro being lauded for his former life as a rugby hooligan is hilarious to me all these years later. I wonder if Bo Dallas is going to condescend back to his friend after the past few weeks of Bateman being a dick to him. (**1/4)
Cesaro celebrates with Aksana and again I’m reminded how much I miss her. I hope she’s doing well in her post-WWE life.
-VIDEO: Main roster talking heads put over the importance of becoming the first NXT Champion, including former NXT contestant Daniel Bryan. Clips of Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal’s paths to the finals.
Tamina Snuka vs. Sofia Cortez
Cortez mocks Snuka, Snuka takes to the mat with a Japanese armdrag. Cortez uses her “MMA skillset” to quickly gain control, dazing her opponent with a series of kicks. Snuka chops Cortez, Cortez brings her to the mat with a bodyscissors. Snuka gets to her feet and escapes by squashing Cortez in the corner. Cortez charges and eats an open-hand slap followed by a series of double chops into a superkick for the 1…2…Cortez bridges out. Snuka slams Cortez and heads to the top for a Superfly Splash and the 1…2…3.
Tamina Snuka defeated Sofia Cortez via pinfall (2:54)
- Not a lot of time given to these two but they had themselves a decent match with what they had to work with. I thought Sofia Cortez was supposed to be a face but she went full heel for this one which was odd. I see a lot of hate for Tamina’s Superfly Splash but it looked great here. (**)
Raquel Diaz attacks Snuka after a replay of the finish and paints an L on her forehead with lipstick. UGLINESS HAS BEEN EXFOLIATED. Regal takes this super seriously by commenting on her looks. It makes sense given Diaz’s gimmick I guess but still gross.
-DID YOU KNOW?: WWE Home Video has 75 out of the 100 top selling sports DVDs in America. Weird flex but okay.
Kassius Ohno vs. Jake Carter
Carter’s weird junkie buddy Corey Graves is nowhere to be found for this one. Way to be an unsupportive friend, nerd. Ohno with a side headlock to start, Carter rolls him off and connects with a shoulderblock into a lateral press for a one-count. Carter with corner strikes followed by a hip toss and scoop slam. Ohno rolls to the apron, ref breaks it up and Ohno takes an advantage with a knee strike. Ohno makes with the strikes as he’s wont to do, including a running boot to the temple, and brings Carter to the mat with a cravat. Carter tries to break out, Ohno connects with a knee followed by a stomp to the back of the head. Carter dodges a kick and hits a vertical suplex followed by a sidewalk slam for the 1…2…Ohno kicks out. Carter with a kick, Ohno sends him into the ropes and delivers a big ol’ rolling forearm KO blow for the 1…2…3.
Kassius Ohno defeated Jake Carter via pinfall (3:56)
- Ohno picks up the victory, proving that all he needs to win is just one knockout blow. A bit more competitive than I thought it was going to be but that’s not a bad thing, Ohno needs to be tested. Still shocked that Jake Carter is the son of Big Van Vader, I don’t see the resemblance at all. (**1/4)
Ohno continues attacking Carter until Richie Steamboat runs out to make the save.
-VIDEO: WWE takes over Los Angeles for the 25th anniversary of SummerSlam. Also the one year anniversary of Be A Star, leading to a party DJed by Pauly from Jersey Shore. Coooool.
-VIDEO: More main roster talking heads hype the NXT Championship.
Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Johnny Curtis & Michael McGillicutty
Jim Ross joins Saxton & Regal to call the main event. Kidd and Gabriel have had their own problems with McGillicutty, and I guess Curtis as well by association. Curtis has “#LetsGetWeird” on his tights. Don’t ask me to do something you’ll regret, dude.
McGillicutty with a hammerlock to start, Kidd uses the ropes to escape and tie him up to force a break. McGillicutty charges, Kidd with an armdrag into an armbar. Gabriel tags in and hops over Kidd to hit a pair of armdrags himself. Gabriel sweeps the legs and slingshots McGillicutty into Kidd, Kidd tags in and rolls him up for a near fall, then goes back to the armbar. Kidd and Gabriel connect with a double snapmare into a double kick, Gabriel grabs a front chancery. McGillicutty counters, Gabriel whips him off and knocks Curtis off the apron but this distraction causes him to get turned inside out by a clothesline. Crowd chants “SHAH!” with every strike McGillicutty hits, McGillicutty settles into an inverted side headlock as we go to commercial.
Back live Curtis and McGillicutty work Gabriel over, Curtis hitting a beautiful vertical suplex for a two-count before settling into a chinlock. Gabriel escapes, Curtis tosses him to the mat with a fireman’s carry and holds the wrist so McGillicutty can tag in and continue the attack. Gabriel escapes Curtis’ grasp and runs right into a knee to the midsection, slowing him back down. Curtis heads to the top but MISSES a sort-of Phoenix splash (more of a senton). Kidd gets the hot tag and it’s kick city to McGillicutty, a dropkick to the temple getting him a two-count. McGillicutty sends Kidd into the middle buckle with a drop toehold and tags in Curtis for a sidewalk slam/slingshot legdrop combo for the 1…2…Gabriel makes the save. Kidd blocks a superplex attempt and headbutts Curtis to the mat, he tries a springboard but slips and he crashes down to the mat. Oops. McGillicutty runs in, Gabriel clears him out then gets the tag, hitting a top rope blockbuster as Kidd holds him for the 1…2…3.
Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel defeated Johnny Curtis & Michael McGillicutty via pinfall (7:39 shown)
- Superstars-level main event for the final match on this week’s show but that’s not a bad thing. Both teams were fun to watch and showed off some great tag skills/double team offense. Johnny Curtis is WAY better than I remember him being in his pre-Fandango days, I feel like a dummy for not noticing before. (**3/4)
–Briley Pierce catches up with Kassius Ohno backstage. Ohno accepts Richie Steamboat’s challenge for next week with a sense of glee.
-PSA: Don’t Try This at Home. But…but I wanna.
-VIDEO: Talking heads hype Rollins vs. Mahal to crown the first NXT Champion. John Cena joins in as well, what a guy.
IN-RING SEGMENT: FACE TO FACE
Byron Saxton hypes next week’s big NXT Championship match and welcomes first Seth Rollins then his opponent Jinder Mahal. Saxton asks Rollins what it means to him to have the opportunity to become champion; Rollins says holding a championship in WWE has been a dream of his since he was a kid so it means everything to him. Rollins continues on, saying wrestling and WWE gave him purpose and a dream, and there is no way he’s leaving Full Sail without becoming the first NXT Champion.
Saxton poses the same question to Mahal. He first speaks in Hindi for that HEEL HEAT, then tells Rollins he sounds like a bored loser while he was born into greatness. Mahal calls becoming NXT Champion his birthright and tells Rollins his dream will remain just that. Rollins tries to clap back, Mahal attacks him instead. Much better option. Rollins fights back and sends Mahal to the floor with a clothesline, immediately following up with a tope suicida before getting all HYPED UP in the ring. Officials get between the two and force Mahal to the back as the show ends.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Serviceable night of wrestling this week, culminating in a hype segment for next week’s big main event/crowning of the first NXT Champion. No real criticisms but also nothing I would consider memorable. Once the NXT Champion is crowned though I’m hoping for more storylines to get going.