10/11 Gutteridge's NXT Review: CM Punk appears, Seth Rollins vs. Michael McGillicutty for the NXT Title, Bo Dallas vs Johnny Curtis, Divas Tag Match, Leo Kruger
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped on 8/23 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before the titles, we were shown CM Punk backstage talking to camera. He started talking about respect, and said he was there to see Seth Rollins compete in his first main event, which is where the champion should be. He said he hopes everyone on NXT, including Rollins, appreciates that the WWE champion is here, and tonight, he will teach everyone a lesson in respect...
After titles, Byron Saxton welcomed us and said there was a 'big fight feel' in the arena tonight as Seth Rollins will make his first title defence against Michael McGillicutty, and CM Punk will also be appearing on the show. Bo Dallas made his entrance, and Regal once again pointed out that Bo Dallas split his kidney in half 6 months ago. Johnny Curtis came out to start the first match...
1. Bo Dallas vs. Johnny Curtis. Curtis landed two big forearms to kill off Dallas's early momentum. Curtis took it to the mat and wore Dallas down with a headlock. After a backdrop stopped another Dallas comeback, Curtis went top rope, only to miss a knee drop.
Dallas picked the pace up with running clotheslines and elbows, before taking Curtis down with a belly to belly throw to set up a weak looking spear for the pinfall...
Bo Dallas defeated Johnny Curtis in 4:01
Dallas celebrated as Saxton plugged the main event, and said that Punk will join JR on commentary for the match. Up next however is a Divas tag match featuring Paige and Audrey Marie vs. Kaitlyn and Alicia Fox... [C]
Gutt Check: A so-so match to start us off. They worked an OK pace for a short match, but nothing remarkable happened. Dallas has such a weird look. He has a really wide smile and beady eyes. He looks like the Cheshire Cat. I have also only just figured out he is Bray Wyatt's (A.K.A. Husky Harris) brother, which should of made for one weird looking tag team. Punk and JR teaming on commentary should be great if they call it straight, but it will be strange because of the events of Raw two weeks ago. This was taped in August, so maybe WWE didn't know at the time they would be booking the angle on JR Appreciation Night.
[Q2] Paige and Audrey Marie vs. Kaitlyn and Alicia Fox. The Divas were already in the ring when we returned from break. Saxton said Paige will have to try and catch out the 'more experienced' Kaitlyn. Did you ever think someone would call Kaitlyn the experienced one? Regal countered by saying Paige has been wrestling since she was 15.
As Kaitlyn and Alicia isolated Marie, the crowd chanted 'We want Paige'. Kaitlyn took Marie to the mat and used her legs to apply a full nelson. Marie escaped and landed a jawbreaker to allow her to get the hot tag to Paige.
Paige took Alicia down quickly with a clothesline and a Lou Thesz press. She tried for her Cradle DDT, but Alicia turned it into a roll up for a 2. Paige got out and landed a dropkick, only to have her pin broke up by Kaitlyn. Marie came in to fight her off, and ended up being thrown to the outside. Kaitlyn climbed to the apron, but Paige threw Alicia into her to knock her down. Paige rolled up Alicia on the rebound for the 1-2-3...
Paige and Audrey Marie defeated Kaitlyn and Alicia Fox in 6:12
Gutt Check: Well it was better paced than most Divas tag matches, but sloppy spots still cropped up. But again, the real highlight is seeing how over Paige is. My worry now is, with Raquel Diaz (Shaul Guerrero) leaving the company, there is no established heel Divas on the NXT roster for her to work with.
Backstage, Jake Carter was shown talking to a woman. The woman stormed off as Trent Barretta walked into the scene. Trent asked if Carter struck out, and Carter said he never strikes out, the woman just wasn't good enough to join his 'team of ladies'. They bickered and ended up booking a match for next week...
Briley Pierce was also backstage, and introduced his guest Seth Rollins. Briley asked how he felt. Rollins said he has been thinking about his first title defence since winning the belt, and said he wasn't nervous, but psyched. He said McGillicutty should be nervous. As he started talking about McGillicutty 'disrespecting' him, Punk walked in.
Punk said having the NXT Title won't get Rollins what he wants. He said he has been WWE Champion for almost a year, and has beaten everyone there is to beat, yet he still has no respect. He said Rollins has to earn it, and he has in part by winning the title. He told Rollins not to earn McGillicutty's respect, but to beat it out of him...
Gutt Check: It was a very cool visual seeing the two champions talking to each other. Punk played it down the middle, and seemed to be offering genuine advice while staying in line with his character. Punk has no reason to be mad at Rollins at this point, so he didn't act like he was, and Rollins will get a lot more traction out of getting a pat on the back from Punk rather than a slap round the face.
Leo Kruger was shown already in the ring, hanging through the ropes, as Dante Dash wait for his beating...
3. Leo Kruger vs Dante Dash. Kruger sat in the corner stroking his hair. Dante told him to get up, and Kruger launched at him with a forearm. He wrenched Dash's head back on the mat, and as Dash looked to be about to tap, slammed his head into the mat. After a snap suplex, Kruger started ragging on his hair and slamming his own head into the mat. He then grabbed Dash and hit his finisher, a neckbreaker turned into faceplant, for the squash win...
Leo Kruger defeated Dante Dash in 2:22
Leo grabbed a mic, and they switched to mood lighting, with a spotlight on him. Kruger spoke in his native tongue before saying his opponents won't suffer for long, as he will finish them quickly. He said 'ta-ta' before giggling and leaving...
Gutt Check: It's different, but I preferred the toned down version we saw in previous weeks than the 'turned up to 11' version we saw here. The giggling, strange style of promo worked better in pre-taped stuff than in-ring. I'd be a hypocrite if I praised this and shunned the Ascension due to their similarities (mood lighting, odd characters etc.), but here it comes off as disconcerting (if a little over the top), as opposed to the Ascension who come off as stupid and well over the top.
Briley Pierce was shown interviewing Michael McGillicutty in what looked like an apartment complex. He asked if this was about respect or the title. McGillicutty said it wasn't about respect, and he was sick of everyone talking about it. He said after he wins the title, Rollins can have all the respect he wants, but he'll be going after Punk, and he'll teach him a little lesson in respect... [C]
[Q3] Michael McGillicutty made his way out as JR checked in on commentary, with Regal still there. Rollins came out, and as he got in the ring and awaited the in-ring introductions, Punk made his entrance with a microphone. He said he has been looking forward to this, and wanted to get a closer look. He wished both of them and joined Regal and JR on commentary. He shook both of their hands as the ring announcer introduced both men and we got underway...
4. Seth Rollins vs Michael McGillicutty for the NXT Championship. Regal stayed neutral in his pick for the match when Punk asked him, and JR backed Rollins, citing his momentum. Rollins went for the Blackout early on, but McGillicutty rolled to the outside. This led us into a long plug for the upcoming European Tour from Scott Stanford before commercials...[C]
[Q4] Punk addressed the comparisons between him and Rollins, saying he hopes it gives Rollins a chip on his shoulder and makes him work harder to be his own man. Rollins built momentum with some nice dropkicks and some kick combos, but McGillicutty threw him to the outside. McGillicutty slammed Rollins into the apron and covered him for a 2. McGillicutty put Rollins in the Tree of Woe, and stomped him for a while, gaining another 2 count. They cut to another tour plug...
Rollins attempted a springboard move, but McGillicutty dropkicked him in mid air. As McGillicutty went to pick him, Rollins flipped up and landed a flying roundhouse to McGillicutty. It counted for little as McGillicutty quickly hit a back suplex to regain control. Rollins reversed a Perfect-Plex into a roll up, but McGillicutty again got the upper hand with a vicious clothesline. He went for Turning Heads, but Rollins ducked it, and countered with a Sliced Bread #2 out of the corner for the win...
Seth Rollins defeated Michael McGillicutty in 13:11
Rollins grabbed the title and swung it around his head. Punk was shown clapping Rollins from the commentary table, as Rollins celebrated in the corner. JR thanked us for watching and brought the show to a close...
Gutt Check: I skipped through a few commercials, so the timing may be a little off, but two commercials did damage to what was otherwise a solid match. Again, Rollins was on the back foot for most of it, but McGillicutty kept the action moving well, and Rollins was exciting whenever he was on offence. It might do Rollins well to comprehensively beat someone one week in a non-title match. Not a squash, but a match where he dominates, so his title wins appear less 'fluky'. Again, Rollins gains so much from Punk showing him respect, as now Punk's left, Rollins can continue to be the star, with the spotlight squarely on him. If they had gone the way of having Punk do an angle, everyone would be waiting for Punk to return to NXT for the next step, which would stunt Rollins progress.
While I don't think it reached the lofty expectations I set last week, this was a solid episode of NXT. Punk was treated as a big deal, and he helped a lot with Rollins development. The main event was fine, and they continued to develop a different sort of character with Leo Kruger. The hook for next week isn't as strong, with only Carter vs. Barretta advertised, but I suppose you can't top the WWE champion appearing.
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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