NXT Review – Balor and Neville Collide, Major Superstar Debuts

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3/2/16 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Finn Balor def. Neville by pinfall

Neville followed up a hip toss with a basement dropkick, but Finn answered with a basement dropkick of his own. Neville hit a snap suplex and a short-arm clothesline, but Finn threw him over the top rope, hitting his head on the stairs on his way to the floor. Neville recovered and knocked down Finn with an apron moonsault.

Back in the ring, Finn nailed a Pele kick and a dropkick, but Neville reversed Bloody Sunday into a German suplex. Neville picked Finn up and hit a bridging deadlift suplex for a near-fall. Neville followed up with an enziguiri and climbed up top, where Finn caught him with a step-up enziguiri, knocking him from the ring.

Finn hit a plancha, tossing Neville back inside. Finn climbed the turnbuckle, but Neville climbed up with him and hit a hurricanrana from the top rope. Neville went back up top, but came up empty on a Red Arrow, running right into a Sling Blade once he got up off the mat.

Finn followed up with a dropkick, climbed the turnbuckle, and hit Coup de Grace. Instead of pinning Neville, Finn picked him up and hit Bloody Sunday to end the match.

Scott’s Thoughts: A fabulously paced match, as Finn and Neville escalated the intensity throughout, building to the fun “who can hit their top-rope move first?” finish. This match received about 20 minutes, and they made the most of it. Great stuff from both men.

Baron Corbin spoils Austin Aries’ debut

William Regal introduced Aries to NXT, but Corbin attacked Aries on his way to the ring. Corbin hit End of Days on the floor as Regal looked on from the ring. Corbin stared at Regal, screamed “An eye for an eye,” and threw Aries’ shirt in Regal’s face.

Scott’s Thoughts: Great way to get even more heel heat on Corbin. The crowd’s excitement to see Aries was short-lived, as he didn’t even get to the ring before Corbin took him out. A feud with Aries will do wonders for Corbin, and Regal’s involvement on the fringes of that rivalry can add countless possible wrinkles.

Emma (w/ Dana Brooke) def. Santana Garrett by submission

Emma hit a double-underhook suplex, followed by a running dropkick to the gut. Santana fought back with a side Russian legsweep and went up top, but Emma caught her and cinched in the Emma Lock, forcing Santana to tap.

Scott’s Thoughts: Not much more than a squash, but Emma looked good in the ring, as always.

The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) def. Hugo Knox and Tucker Knight by pinfall

Knox planted English with a dropkick, but The Vaudevillains turned the tables, isolating Knox in their corner. Knox finally reached Knight, but The Vaudevillains quickly finished him off with The Whirling Dervish.

Scott’s Thoughts: The Vaudevillains gimmick seems to have largely run its course. Knox looked good, but Knight needs some conditioning if he’s going to become a regular on NXT.

Elias Samson def. Steve Cutler by pinfall

Samson hit Cutler with an elbow that busted him open, then quickly ended the match with a spinning neckbreaker.

Scott’s Thoughts: Holy crap, this Drifter gimmick is awful.

Other Notes:

  • The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady for the NXT Tag Team Championships was announced for the WWE Roadblock live special. I like the trend of having an NXT match on these non-PPV Network specials.
  • Regal booked Eva Marie and Nia Jax in a tag match against Bayley and Asuka for next week.