8/2 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Start of the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the new NXT Champion, Richie Steamboat vs. Leo Kruger and Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre in first two tournament matches, Big E Langston debuts
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped on 7/12 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After the WWE stinger, and before titles, Byron Saxton welcomed us and said there would be lots of announcements tonight, and then threw it over to Dusty Rhodes. Dusty was sat backstage, and talked about how important it was to be a champion, regardless of what level you compete at. He said NXT needs a guy that will go on to become a future WWE, or World champion.
Dusty announced the creation of the NXT Championship, and that after weeks of tournaments, they are down to 8 competitors. He dubbed it the 'Gold Rush tournament'. The eight men are Richie Steamboat, Bo Dallas, Leo Kruger, Seth Rollins, Michael McGillicutty, Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal and Justin Gabriel. Dusty said the tournament will start right now. This lead into the titles. . .
Gutt Check: Good to see that they remembered Dusty was in charge of this show. He sat out quite a lot of weeks while matches seem to book themselves. But it's at least nice to see a GM character that isn't corrupt, overbearing or evil.
After titles, a close up of the belt, sat at the top of the ramp, was shown, which features a large X as the centrepiece, with a little N and T on either side. The WWE logo is present on the side plates. Richie Steamboat came out first, while Byron introduced William Regal and JR on commentary. While Leo Kruger came out, they replayed their match from a few weeks ago. . .
1. Richie Steamboat vs. Leo Kruger in a Gold Rush Tournament match. Lots of stalling early on from Kruger, as he kept ducking out of the ring after Steamboat hit him. He also feigned a knee injury. This suckered Steamboat in and allowed Kruger to level him with a clothesline. Kruger worked Steamboat over with stomps and punches on the floor.
Kruger locked on a series of headlocks, before landing a spinebuster for a two count. Kruger motioned for his sleeper hold finisher, but Steamboat managed to avoid it. Kruger stayed on offense until Steamboat hit a high kick and a series of chops. Steamboat picked the pace up, landing a back body drop and a running elbow to a cornered Kruger. A flying dropkick brought another two count.
Steamboat tried to hit and run again, but Kruger caught him in the sleeper hold. Steamboat grabbed the ropes, and Kruger released and dropped knees on to him. He picked Steamboat up and whipped him into the ropes, but Steamboat managed to duck a clothesline and hit his Sling Blade finisher for the 1-2-3. . .
Richie Steamboat defeated Leo Kruger in 7.55 to advance to the semi finals of the Gold Rush Tournament
As Steamboat celebrated, they showed a graphic of the tournament brackets. The other three matches were shown as Rollins vs. McIntyre, Gabriel vs. McGillicutty and Dallas vs. Mahal. Byron said Rollins vs. McIntyre will take place later on the show. . . [C]
Gutt Check: Kruger controlled that match from start to finish, so the finish was a little odd considering how uneven the match was. Kruger was potential as a heel, as he did a good job with the stalling early on, before channeling all his offense in to wearing down the neck of Steamboat for his sleeper finisher. Sound ring psychology, but not an overly exciting match.
[Q2] Big E Langston made his entrance, rubbing chalk on his hands. Byron said he can bench 600 lbs. Adam Mercer was already in the ring. . .
2. Big E Langston vs. Adam Mercer. Langston immediately started with knees to the mid section. He followed it up with several rib breakers, and a series of shoulder blocks in the corner. Langston started shouting at Mercer, allowing Mercer to hit two jawbreakers. He tried to hit Langston on the run, but Langston put a stop to that with a punch and then a chest bump. This set up Langston up for his finisher, wherein he put Mercer in a powerslam position over his shoulder, and essentially delivers an RKO to the stomach. Trust me, that’s what it looks like. . .
Big E Langston defeated Adam Mercer in 1.59
Regal said the sky is the limit for Langston as Byron teased Rollins vs. McIntyre for later on, and Raquel Diaz vs. Audrey Marie next. Marie came out first, before Diaz came out with a headset on, saying Marie doesn't know how to work a ramp. She got in the ring and said the 'Exfoliating Ugliness tour' starts now. . .
3. Raquel Diaz vs. Audrey Marie. After a long headlock from Marie, Diaz dropped her onto the ropes and locked on her own headlock. Every time Diaz got an attack in, she would rag Marie around by her hair and scream. She attempted a backslide pin, but Marie used the ropes to flip out of it in a sloppy spot. It prompted a 'you can't wrestle' chant from the crowd as Diaz set up and delivered a Gory Bomb for the win.
Raquel Diaz defeated Audrey Marie in 2.33
After the match, Diaz drew an L on Marie's head with lipstick. Backstage, Briley Pierce (Dolph Ziggler's younger brother) was stood with Paige, who had just watched the match. He asked her what her thoughts were on what she had just seen. She said 'Exfoliating Ugliness tour? We'll see'. . . [C]
Gutt Check: Big E impressed in the small time he was given. JR always says it's about maximizing your minutes, and Big E looked like a beast. I can also see where the people chanting 'you can't wrestle' at Raquel are coming from. She did one or two nice moves, like her finisher and a bridge out of a pin, but apart from that, she rubbed Marie's face in the mat and screamed. Hopefully, her in-ring skills are a lot better than what she has shown so far.
[Q3] Hunico and Camacho came out for tag team competition. Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton were their opponents, already in the ring. . .
4. Hunico and Camacho vs. Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton. Regal once again told his story of how Hunico and Camacho became friends. Hunico took control with a dropkick after Camacho distracted Dalton. The heels used quick tags to isolate Dalton in the corner. Dalton showed flashes of a comeback with quick counter pin attempts, but Hunico would quickly put an end to them.
Hunico and Camacho started double teaming Dalton when the ref was distracted. Hunico went to powerbomb him off the Irish whip, but Dalton leapfrogged him and delivered a head scissors to the legal man Camacho. Jordan grabbed Hunico's legs to prevent breaking up the surprise pin. . .
Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton defeated Hunico and Camacho in 3.44
Jordan and Dalton immediately started backing up the ramp, as Regal called it the biggest upset on NXT so far. Byron said the main event is up next. . .
Gutt Check: That was a surprise, as Hunico and Camacho looked set for a squash win. The finish was an impressive spot, and if this kicks off a feud as Paige's promo also looked like doing, we are finally making progress on NXT.
Drew McIntyre came out to his full, long entrance, followed by Rollins mosh pit antics. . .
5. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre in a Gold Rush Tournament match. They traded control quickly over the first few minutes, until a dropkick from Rollins forced McIntyre to roll out of the ring and hide under the apron. He slammed Rollins into the apron when he followed, and then slammed his arm into the ring steps. Back in the ring, McIntyre worked the arm over as we went to commercial. . . [C]
[Q4] Rollins was favouring the left arm as Drew beat him down in the corner. Drew dictated the pace, slowly but surely wearing down Rollins. Rollins finally got a foothold after a big DDT. Rollins used kicks instead of punches as he still favoured the arm, building up to a dive through the ropes onto McIntyre after Drew had gone to the outside.
Back inside, Rollins hit a corner forearm, but McIntyre shut the follow up down with a stiff clothesline. A backbreaker brought McIntyre a two count. Drew set up the Future Shock DDT, but Rollins escaped twice. Drew then tried for a back suplex from the top rope, but Rollins fought out, and went for a corkscrew moonsault. Drew moved, and tried for a big boot in a similar spot from last weeks match, but this time Rollins dodged it and hit the Blackout for the victory. . .
Seth Rollins defeated Drew McIntyre in 13.11 to advance to the semi finals of the Gold Rush Tournament
Rollins went and celebrated next to the belt as Saxton said the Gold Rush tournament will continue next week. . .
Gutt Check: Another good match from the two. They really seem to be setting Rollins up as something of an underdog, as in all the matches I have seen him compete in, he has been taking a beating for 80% of them. There’s no problem with that, but he is exciting when on the front foot, so maybe a little more balance in his match would work in his favour.
A good, constructive episode of NXT. Match quality was up and down, but finally we have some direction in the show, with a few buds of feuds starting, and a tournament to separate the top dogs from the rest of the crowd. I think the only major part missing this week was any type of character advancement. There were no vignettes, and we have not yet heard any in ring promos, which is a major step I hope they take soon.
Thanks for reading. If you had any comments or thoughts on the show or this review, add me on Twitter via @Dazatheg
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