1/31 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: NXT Tag Title Tournament, Epico and Primo vs. Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty, Alex Riley and Derrick Bateman vs. Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger, Mason Ryan vs. Sakamoto, Paige vs. Aksana
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped on 1/10 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before titles, there was a video package chronicling the first week of the NXT Tag Team Tournament...
After titles, Tony Dawson and William Regal checked in as Alex Riley and Derrick Bateman made their entrance to Riley’s music. Kassius Ohno’s music hit, and he and Leo Kruger came out. They showed a replay of Kruger’s match a few weeks ago with Trent Barreta. Odd choice...
1. Alex Riley and Derrick Bateman vs. Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger in a NXT Tag Team Tournament Match. Riley gained the upper hand for his team with a dropkick on Ohno. Bateman tagged in and sent both Ohno and Kruger over the top rope to the floor. This led into a commercial... [C]
[Q2] Bateman had Kruger in an arm bar when we returned. After breaking the hold, Bateman tried for a running knee, but Kruger ducked and Bateman knee’d the turnbuckle. Regal pointed out that Bateman had just recovered from knee surgery. Ohno tagged in and started working on Bateman’s other knee, which Regal pointed out would make Bateman useless.
The heels targeted the knee with stomps and leg locks. Bateman sustained the attacks for a good few minutes until he stretched to tag Riley. Riley came in hot and hit Ohno quickly. He hit a facebuster from the top rope, forcing Kruger to get in the ring and break up the subsequent pin. Bateman and Kruger both ended up on the outside, distracting Riley while he tried for the You’re Dismissed. The distraction allowed Ohno to land a big boot to Riley, and then apply a cravat, to which Riley quickly tapped...
Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger defeated Alex Riley and Derrick Bateman in 12:23 to advance in the NXT Tag Team Tournament.
Once Ohno and Kruger left, Graves ran down and locked Riley in the 13th step. It took two referees to prise Graves off...
Gutt Check: A sound display of heel tactics from Ohno and Kruger. They managed to work over Bateman’s knee without it becoming dull. I certainly like Ohno more in this team than as a singles guy. I certainly wish, should Ohno persist with the ‘I hurt people’ gimmick, he would be booked more like Graves – vicious and remorseless, without the need for light hearted speeches about how he likes pain.
Sakamoto came out to some strange drum music. The commentators talked about some comments from Big E Langston that were not shown or elaborated on. This may be this weeks ‘Lets cut this from the UK edition’ part. His opponent is Mason Ryan. He still works here?!? He did a Chris Masters-esque pose at the top of the ramp before coming down...
2. Mason Ryan vs. Sakamoto. Ryan looks jacked, more so than when he last appeared on TV. Sakamoto tried to hit Ryan with strikes, but Ryan shrugged it all off. Ryan caught Sakamoto out of a crossbody, and began to throw him around the ring, building up to a beautiful fall away slam. After a big boot, Ryan landed a Jackhammer to put Sakamoto away...
Mason Ryan defeated Sakamoto in 2:17.
Ryan flexed after the match...
Backstage, Dawson was trying to interview Xavier Woods, who was rocking out to a CD Walkman. Woods took his headphones off and started to show off his beeper, which he uses instead of a cell phone. He said next week, he’ll beat El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez in a mask), before asking Dawson for a quarter so he could use a payphone to call his parents... [C]
Gutt Check: While there wasn’t much to analyse there, you can only hope Ryan has used his extended time away from TV to get better in the ring. He certainly hit the gym while he was away, but it will be for nothing if he still looks below-par between the ropes. And taking Woods ‘90s Nostalgia’ gimmick this far seems a mistake. The appeal was simple enough without taking it to this extreme, were the character comes off as a clumsy attempt to connect to kids of the 90s, as opposed to a kid from the 90s simply having fun with everyones memories of the decade.
[Q3] Aksana made her entrance, and Dawson said she calls herself ‘Smart, sexy and powerful’. Every commentator calls every Diva that. Paige’s music was met with a very enthusiastic pop by the Full Sail crowd. Maybe I underestimate how over she is...
3. Paige vs. Aksana. Aksana put Paige on top of the ropes and then pushed her off to the outside. Aksana utilised the ropes again back in the ring with a slingshot, followed by a rope choke. Aksana started to crawl around the ring, before locking Paige in a modified bow and arrow hold. Paige eventually battled out, and pulled Aksana off the top turnbuckle. Paige applied a hold similar to Edge’s Edgucator, and Aksana eventually tapped out...
Paige defeated Aksana in 3.01
After the match, Paige stumbled backwards into female ring announcer Summer Rae. She apologised, and both women smiled at each other, but as Paige went to celebrated, Rae hit her from behind with a clothesline before leaving...
Gutt Check: Essentially, Aksana bossed the whole match except for the last two moves. Weak.
Backstage, Renee Young was shown with Sasha. She asked how Sasha’s first win last week made her feel. Sasha put over how it was the greatest victory of her life. Someone then handed Sasha a love note, that read ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, I can’t sleep at night, thinking about you’, and was signed from a secret admirer. Sasha seemed pleased as she left...
Gutt Check: I was secretly hoping for ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, f--- you, whore!’ from (500) Days of Summer. Does that make me a bad person?
Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty made their way out for the main event, followed by Primo and Epico, accompanied by Rosa Mendes. Epico had his hair out long, not in cornrows like usual...
4. Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty vs. Epico and Primo in an NXT Tag Team Title Match. McGillicutty and Dallas used double team moves to build momentum, and McGillicutty ended up throwing Epico to the outside to take us into the final commercial... [C]
[Q4] Epico got his own back shortly after we returned by sending McGillicutty to the outside with a dropkick. The heels isolated McGillicutty, wearing him down with holds. He escaped a chinlock by Epico, and the two men took each other out with a double clothesline. Dallas got the hot tag, and hit Primo with a flurry of hit and run strikes. He looked to put Primo down with a bulldog off of the ropes, only for Epico to break up the pin.
McGillicutty and Epico both ended up on the outside, and Primo hit a cool looking DDT for a close two count. When both men got up, Primo charged at Dallas, only to get caught with a belly to belly suplex. Dallas got the surprise 1-2-3. Just when you thought his spear was a weak finisher...
Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty defeated Primo and Epico in 10:48 to advance in the NXT Tag Title Tournament.
McGillicutty and Dallas celebrated, and Dawson said the semi finals, which will take place next week, will be The Wyatt Family vs. Dallas and McGillicutty, and Ohno and Kruger vs. Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey...
Gutt Check: Another solid match, although this didn’t grab my attention like the opening match did. Dallas and McGillicutty are at the least on the same page, as they both used quick, hard hitting moves to counteract the heels slow, methodical pace. I just couldn’t help thinking however that the match may have been better had the styles switched, as Epico and Primo could really excite when given free reign to fly, instead of remaining grounded because they are ‘the bad guys’.
The good news from the episode is that the tag matches in the Tag Title Tournament were both fine. It’s maybe for the best that all first round matches were serviceable as opposed to great, as now the semi finals can look to kick it up a notch in terms of excitement and tension. The middle of the show felt like a ‘B’ show, with an underwhelming Divas match and return for Mason Ryan, or the second coming of the Masterpiece as I am inclined to call him now.
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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