NXT Review – Owens and Rhyno Align Against Finn and Friends

6/24/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Finn Balor def. Rhyno by pinfall

With Kevin Owens on commentary, Finn came out on fire, assaulting Rhyno with a lengthy series of stiff strikes. Finn dumped Rhyno from the ring and hit a plancha, as Owens congratulated Rich Brennan for “saying the guy’s name in an excited voice.” Back in the ring, Rhyno fought back with a big spinebuster for two.

On commentary, Owens went back and forth between cheerleading for Rhyno, and hilariously berating Byron Saxton and Brennan. Finn hit a missile dropkick, followed by a basement dropkick for a near-fall. Rhyno responded with an impressive release German suplex, earning a two-count.

Finn fought back with a Pele kick, but failed to even knock Rhyno down. Finn followed up with an enziguiri and climbed up top. Owens approached the ring, but Finn hit him with a dropkick to knock him from the apron. Rhyno took advantage of the distraction to hit a belly-to-belly suplex, but Finn countered a Gore into a Sling Blade.

Finn climbed back up top and hit Coup de Grace for the pinfall victory. Owens immediately jumped into the ring and started beating down on Finn, inviting Rhyno to join in. Samoa Joe entered to even the odds, chasing Owens and Rhyno from the ring.

Scott’s Thoughts: A very good main event match, made even better by Owens’ fantastic contributions on commentary. He buried Saxton so hard that Saxton seemed legitimately upset, which made it that much funnier. This was a nice way to cap off a very uneven episode.


Kevin Owens confronts Hideo Itami

In an interview with not-Jeremy-Borash, Hideo said that he can’t wait to be back, but that he’ll be out for 3-4 more months. Hideo said that he will be at the July 4th show in Tokyo to watch the NXT Championship match, and that he plans on challenging whoever wins. Owens interrupted, saying that the only reason Hideo would be travelling to Japan would be to see Owens end Finn Balor for good.

The crowd tried to chant for Finn, but Owens shut them down immediately by saying, “Oh yeah, like that’s going to change anything.” Owens said that Hideo is delusional if he thinks Finn has a chance, before saying that he’s been dealing with a lot of “delusionable” people lately. Owens immediately covered for his botched line with the greatest of ease, saying that “I stumbled so bad, I sound like Hideo trying to speak English.” That was incredible improvisation.

Owens said he was there for two reasons, one of which was to say that he had nothing to do with Hideo’s injury. The second reason was to get an apology from Hideo, because Hideo had called him a bad person a couple weeks prior. Hideo fumbled his way through lines about Owens being a great champion, but a terrible human being.

Owens responded by saying that if he’s going to be accused of injuring Hideo, he might as well earn it. Owens said that he would injure Hideo’s good arm, but Finn came to the rescue. As Finn was about to hit Coup de Grace on Owens off the entrance stage, Rhyno attacked Finn.

Scott’s Thoughts: This segment tied together the loose threads surrounding the NXT Championship picture nicely. Smart booking to keep Rhyno and Hideo in the title chase as legitimate threats, and Owens’ recovery from his botched promo was a thing of beauty.


Who Is Finn Balor? Part Two of Three

Finn talked about how he never grew out of playing with Legos, saying they help him unwind after a long day. Finn went on to talk about how he had struck up a friendship with Jason Albert immediately upon arriving, and several silly shots of Finn and Albert hanging out scrolled across the screen as a slideshow.

Finn held up a New Japan Pro Wrestling t-shirt, pointing out that it still had the tags on it. Finn and Albert talked about how tough Japanese training is for young wrestlers, and that Finn had done everything asked of him without question.

Finn said that he was originally only booked for a three-month run, but it kept getting extended until he eventually spent eight years in NJPW. Becky Lynch said that Finn had reached the top of the mountain in Japan, and that the only thing he had left to prove was that he could make it in WWE.

Scott’s Thoughts: The Lego segment had me cracking up after a while, simply because it was so goofy and surprisingly lengthy. I was surprised to see NJPW and Bullet Club logos in official WWE promo packages. I like this new development where WWE acknowledges the existence of other promotions. This was very cool.


Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady (w/ Carmella) def. Jason Jordan and Sylvester LeFort by pinfall

Big Cass tried to cut a promo comparing the two teams to recent movies, but botched it terribly while trying to make a “Ted 2” reference to LeFort and Jordan. Even the announce crew pointed out that it was nearly impossible to tell what Cass was trying to say. Once the match got underway, Enzo hit a running crossbody for two on LeFort, with Cass tagging in for a gorilla press slam.

Enzo tagged back in for an assisted senton, but Jordan tagged in blindly. Jordan tried for a spinebuster, but lost his grip, settling for some sort of facebuster once he regained control. Jordan followed up with a belly-to-back suplex, but Enzo rolled him up for the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: This entire segment was a reminder that NXT is still a developmental system. Big Cass dropped the ball badly on his pre-match promo, and Jordan was quite sloppy in the ring.


The Hype Bros def. Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins by pinfall

Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley entered with a new team name, Titantron and theme song. Oh god, this is actually a semi-permanent thing. Ryder hit a dropkick on Fulton, and Mojo added a clothesline for a near-fall.

Mojo hit a gorilla press slam, then said “It’s Hammer time,” before doing the Hammer dance. Mojo then did a move which can best be described as a sitout groin to the face, which somehow damaged Fulton instead of Mojo. Good to see Mojo expanding from his ass-based moveset to incorporate using his testicles as an offensive weapon.

Mojo hit a back bodydrop and tagged in Ryder, who hit a clothesline and a missile dropkick on Dawkins. Ryder hit the Broski Boot for a near-fall. Mojo tagged in and held up Dawkins, enabling Ryder to hit a Rough Ryder from the top rope, earning Mojo the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: Yeah. Yep. I just…holy hell this episode is some weird, weird stuff.


Dana Brooke (w/ Emma) def. KC Cassidy by pinfall

Cassidy hit a hurricanrana to gain the early advantage, but Dana hit a jawbreaker and a gorilla press slam for two. The crowd chanted “Dana sucks” to the beat of “New Day sucks” as Dana went through some rest holds. Cassidy hit a Thesz press and several clotheslines, followed by a spinning heel kick.

Cassidy went up top, but Dana caught her and hit a fireman’s carry sitout reverse powerbomb for the victory. After the match, Charlotte cut a brief backstage promo, saying that she would take Dana out soon.

Scott’s Thoughts: I understand WWE probably likes the cross-promotion of Dana’s fitness career, but she is an absolutely terrible excuse for a wrestler.


– Triple H started the show on the entrance stage, surrounded by the entire NXT locker room. He discussed how Dusty Rhodes had considered the NXT roster to be his own kids, and that by extension, the NXT fans were part of his family as well. It was yet another touching tribute to one of the all-time greats of the industry.

– Samoa Joe cut a very bizarre promo, repeatedly screaming that he did not get the match he wanted last week, and that we should let him fight. He seriously shouted “Let me fight!” at least ten times. That was awkward. What a weird episode this was at times.

– Eva Marie asked William Regal for a match, and he said that she would have to prove herself first. Powerful stuff, this.