Submitted by Wayne Mason
Friday night NXT brought another night of top notch wrestling action to Cocoa, Fl and a sold out crowd. It was an intense night of action that saw plenty of bumps, a few surprises, and a main event featuring the newly crowned NXT champion, Finn Balor.
There are not many hotter ways to start a show than with the always over Cass and Enzo. The two came out to a huge pop bringing the Cocoa crowd to their feet. Their opponents for the evening are the roughnecks Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. Enzo starts out strong for his team using his speed to his advantage staying one step ahead of his opponents. Zo hits a Dash with a nice crossbody and the action continues to the outside where Zo does a new swinging kick maneuver around the turnbuckle. Soon though Wilder gets the upper hand via a little distraction from Dawson. The two pick apart Enzo with the trademark combination of brawling and wrestling acumen that one expects from Dawson and Wilder. Enzo mounts a comeback and attempts to make the hot tag but Dash pulls Cass off of the ring apron. The two turn Enzo inside out with a guillotine, but regardless moments later Amore made the hot tag to Cass. The big guy comes in clearing house ejecting Dawson from the ring and laying out Wilder with a swinging side slam. He follows with “Air Zo”, launching Enzo off the turnbuckle onto Wilder for the pin. This was a fun match and a great way to start the night.
Next up is Angelo Dawkins taking on Uhaa Nation. The two start slowly feeling each other out until Uhaa mounts some momentum early on. As always Uhaa Nation did a great job of making it look too easy until Dawkins laid him out with a cheap shot. At this point Dawkins wisely did his best to keep Uhaa grounded in a front chancery. Inevitably Uhaa mounted a comeback with a crossbody, a clothesline, dropkick and a splash in the corner. With Dawkins rocked, Nation finished him off with a military press followed by an incredible standing moonsault. Afterwards Ty Dillinger comes out and gives the match a 0. Uhaa Nation looked incredible as always, while the Dawkins controlled parts of the match slowed the momentum quite a bit. Hopefully he will go back to teaming with Sawyer Fulton as the two had developed a tag team synergy together that will likely carry them much further than singles matches at this stage.
The Vaudevillians are out next to deliver a promo. They tell us that they have traveled all over the territory and have faced everyone. English continues by stating that they stand at the precipice of the tag team division as number one contenders, and that the will defeat Blake and Murphy. At this point the two are interrupted by the music of the champions Blake and Murphy who make their way to the ring. English asks Gotch what he thinks of dubstep and Gotch replies, “No Sir, I don’t care for it.” Unfazed Murphy tells us that it is great to be in Daytona before Blake corrects him. Blake tells The Vaudevillians they should bow out and give up their contender spot before they destroy them. Blake and Murphy take cheap shots but English and Gotch quickly turn it around chasing the champs off before a final pose in the ring. This was a good segment that showcased all four men in a good light and gave us the rare opportunity to see Blake and Murphy tested on the mic, which they did well.
Tag team action is next with “The Hype Bros” Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley taking on the newly formed team of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable. In the opening moments Jordan takes the distinct strength advantage tossing around Ryder with ease. Gable tags in and Ryder flapjacks him and makes a tag to the very animated Mojo Rawley who comes in with his usual banter letting us know that Gable “Ain’t hyped!” followed by dancing and “hammertime”. Later into the match Jordan and Gable manage to wrest control over Ryder focusing on attacking the leg. Ultimately Ryder would make a hot tag to Mojo who comes in and lays out Gable with a shoulder tackle and a big splash while Ryder nails Jordan with a Broski Boot. Rawley hoists up Gable and Ryder hits a Rough Ryder off the top rope for the win. This was actually a very entertaining match. Gable is quickly becoming one of my favorite athletes in all of NXT, while Jason Jordan is looking better than ever. I’ll also admit The Hype Bros seem to be gelling as a tag team as well, I still can’t stand the Rawley gimmick but he and Ryder work well together.
Next, Mike Rawlis attempts to take down the lone wolf Baron Corbin in a match that wasn’t quite a squash but was pretty one sided. Baron Corbin seemed to be toying with Rawlis as he took his time picking him apart. Rawlis made a few short lived comebacks that Corbin quickly shut down. In a final rally Rawlis caught Corbin with a powerslam. He followed with a flurry of punches accentuated by an impressive fallaway slam. Unfortunately for Mike Rawlis this seemed to anger Corbin more than anything. Corbin nailed him with a big boot and planted him to the mat with an End Of Days for the win.
Women’s action follows with fan favorite Bayley taking on Eva Marie, who came out to major heat. The match starts off with much grappling and several pin attempts. Eva gains momentum culminating in a nice headscissors but Bayley battles back with a one handed bulldog and her patented slip and slide on top of Eva. Later the tide turns and Eva Marie slows the pace contorting Bayley into a grounded abdominal stretch followed by a suplex and a running senton. The momentum swings back to Bayley who ultimately finishes Eva with her splash and elbow in the corner followed by a Hugplex for the win. Of course, what everyone is dying to know is how Eva Marie did. This is not the same Eva Marie you last saw in a WWE ring, while she may still be rough around the edges, her hard work and training is shining through. She shows much potential and with Bayley as ring general the two put on one of the more fun matches of the night.
Next up the perfect ten Ty Dillinger goes up against Bull Dempsey. In the opening moments Dillinger has fun easily evading Dempsey, following by flexing his glutes at the big guy. Dempsey answers with a cartwheel of his own followed by gyrating his hips at Dillinger. The two eventually get down to business and Ty takes over laying out Dempsey with a DDT and follows with a series of strikes and kicks, the often playful Dillinger is relentless when on the attack. Dempsey begins to mount a comeback but Dillinger shuts him down with a superkick. Moments later Dempsey runs over Dillinger and follows with a series of punches and a bionic elbow. With Dillinger down Dempsey climbs the turnbuckles and comes down with a seated senton for the pin. This was a good lighthearted match that could have went either way. The momentum of Dillinger increases with every show while Dempsey to gain more traction as a face than he ever did as the wrecking ball.
Solomon Crowe comes out for a short interview with Greg Hamilton. Hamilton ask what to expect from Crowe in the coming year. A fan chants “Crowe for champ”. Crowe echoes his sentiment.
I’m a big fan of Crowe but this segment sort of meandered without saying too much.
We continue with women’s tag action as Carmella and Lina take on Dana Brooke and Cassie. Lina quite easily takes over against Cassie and dominates the early goings with Carmella. Eventually Dana causes a distraction shifting the complexion of the match. Dana and Cassie employ frequent tags until Dana eventually grounds Carmella with a body scissors. Ultimately, Carmella makes the hot tag to Lina who runs over Dana. Moments later Dana jumps onto Linas back and locks on a short lived sleeper hold. Brooke tags in Cassie but Lina puts her through the mat with a side slam and follows with an elbow for the pin. This was an entertaining match with all four women doing a great job. Dana Brooke gets better with every outing, while out of the recent class Cassie (KC Cassidy) is the standout.
Our main event of the evening is Tyler Breeze taking on NXT champion Finn Balor. The match begins with some nice back and forth grappling until Breeze take a cheap shot. It didn’t help, as Finn easily regained the upper hand. A frustrated Breeze decides to quit and head to the back but Finn gives chase and brings him back. Breeze pokes Finn in the eye and goes on the attack, targeting the leg that Balor was favoring. Breeze locks on an agonizing Figure-4 but Balor eventually reverses it. Moments later Breeze goes for a second Figure-4 but Balor kicks Breeze out of the ring. The action continues as Finn rolls through Breeze’s sunset flip and answers with a dropkick. Now in control Finn locks on a short lived Figure-4 of his own. The two battle back to their feet and Balor hits a slingblade. Balor attempts to follow with a dropkick but runs into a superkick from Breeze instead. Breeze continues with an aggressive attack on the leg of Balor. The action continues and Balor once again hits a slingblade and follows with a dropkick into the corner. Finn Balor climbs the turnbuckles and hits the Coup De Grace for a hard fought victory. This was an exciting main event, as one would expect from the NXT champion and the underrated Tyler Breeze.