5/30 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Battle Royal to determine the No.1 Contender for the NXT Title, Big E Langston vs. Derrick Bateman, Stephanie McMahon's big announcement, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in action
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped May 2 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Immediately after titles, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan came out without Bray Wyatt. Their opponents, NXT debutants Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler, were already in the ring,,,
1. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler. Tom Phillips and Brad Maddox are the commentary team tonight. I think the Wyatt family work well together as Rowan has a long beard, yet Harper has an inexplicably wide beard. The Family dominated Tyler, before allowing him to tag Fulton. Harper hit him with a big boot almost straight away, and following a body splash in the corner, put Fulton away with the discus clothesline,,,
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan defeated Sawyer Fulton and Travis Tyler in 2:27.
Phillips teased that Stephanie McMahon’s big announcement is up next,,,
Gutt Reaction: A more dominant squash match you will not see. I’m struggling to think of any team that can be lined up to challenge the Family for the belts (outside of the thrown together team of Kassius Ohno and Corey Graves), and they may be dropping them sooner rather than later with their imminent main roster debut, so a face team needs to be assembled quickly.
Stephanie McMahon appeared in the WWE’s TV studio set-up, and said she was honoured to be on NXT. She said the foundation of the companies continued success lies in NXT, and she is here to shine a spotlight on an integral division of the company – the Divas. She announced the creation of the NXT Divas title, and said the tournament will start next week, featuring Divas from Raw, Smackdown and NXT,,,
Emma made her entrance, followed by recently released Diva Audrey Marie,,,
2. Emma vs. Audrey Marie. Emma asked for her music, and she started dancing in the ring. Marie pushed her over, and threw Emma to the corner. Emma avoided the splash, and countered with a pin attempt. Marie kicked out of several pins, and eventually put Emma down with a sloppy looking gutwrench. Marie forced Emma to the ropes, but Emma managed to apply a Tarantula, which Phillips dubbed the Dil-Emma. Following a crossbody to a seated Marie in the corner, Emma threw Marie to the middle of the ring and applied a bridging STF, called the Emma Lock. Marie tapped,,,
Emma defeated Audrey Marie in 2:44.
Backstage, Renee Young introduced Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan, but before she could interview them, a greasy looking guy with a French accent said he was the team’s manager, and he deals with communications. He told them to leave, as they had a match, and needed to ‘make some money’,,, [C]
Gutt Reaction: I was about to write a detailed argument why an NXT Divas title is pointless, but they did that for me with that match. Sloppy, awkward and boring, it doesn’t exactly make me hopeful that this title will be of benefit to anyone. I would say they can’t base a title division off of Paige and a flavour of the month challenger, but that’s essentially the story for the main roster Divas title too, so I’ll give them points for consistency.
[Q2] Jake Carter, who I just realised looks like a more in-shape Miz, and recently released Brandon Travern, stood in the ring. They are facing Dawson and Dylan tonight, who look like red neck truckers. Dylan was even drinking BBQ sauce. Their manager is Sylvester Lefort, who couldn’t look further from a trucker if he tried. The commentators questioned the association as well, and Maddox said Lefort is an entrepreneur from Nice, France who invests in strange and unusual opportunities. What ever floats your boat I guess,,,
3. Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan vs. Jake Carter and Brandon Travern. Dawson and Dylan call themselves “D Squared”. They isolated Carter from the get go, until Carter caught a break with a jawbreaker. Travern got in a dropkick before getting clotheslined by Dawson. This set up the double team finish, where Dawson put Travern on the mat with a double A spinebuster, before Dylan hit a double axe handle to Travern’s face from the top rope and got the pin,,,
Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan defeated Jake Carter and Brandon Travern in 3:44.
Dylan let out a weird howl and threw up the bullhorns as he, Dawson and Lefort celebrated in the ring. Phillips teased Big E Langston vs. Derrick Bateman up next. Is the theme for tonight “kick them hard as they go through the exit door”? . . [C]
Gutt Reaction: As much as the commentators tried to explain, the pairing of a French guy, dressed like a sleaze-ball and claiming to be a rich investor, with two good old boys is ridiculously jarring. Lefort slightly reminds me of Armando Estrada, in that he seems more caricature than a real attempt at a character. Meh, it’s night one, maybe the act will grow on me.
[Q3] Derrick Bateman, also released last week, came out with new, short hair, making him look even more like the main guy from the Rock of Ages movie. Big E Langston came out to the first real crowd reaction of the night. I wonder how this match will go,,,
4. Big E Langston vs. Derrick Bateman. Bateman hit Big E straight away with punches and a dropkick in the corner. He started a ten punch, but Big E picked him up and flapjacked him. One body check and Big Ending later, Big E got the 1-2-3,,,
Big E Langston defeated Derrick Bateman in 0:55.
Big E got the “five” chant going, and he hit another Big Ending before counting a five count. He went ringside to chant “five” some more before we went to the Raw Rebound, focusing on John Cena and Ryback’s shenanigans from Monday, plus a good chunk of the Cena vs. Curtis Axel match,,,[C]
Gutt Reaction: This has been a very drab night so far with all the quick matches. We’ve had four matches, and in total they come in at under 10 minutes. In fact, the longest match so far tonight was the replay of Cena vs. Axel. The only people who would be interested in a replay of that match are those who didn’t watch Raw, and who is watching NXT and not Raw?
[Q4] Kassius Ohno and Corey Graves vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan was advertised for next week. Big E joined commentary as Graves, Ohno, Adrian Neville, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt and Mason Ryan walked to the ring for the No. 1 Contender Battle Royal. Curt Hawkins and Sami Zayn were notable names already in the ring,,,
5. A 19 man Battle Royal for the No.1 Contendership for the NXT Title. Ryan emerged as the early match MVP, eliminating 10 people in quick succession. Sami Zayn became victim No. 11 when Ryan threw him onto the other 10 men. Adrian Neville eliminated Ryan by turning a powerbomb into a head scissors at the 3 minute mark as we went to a tour promo,,,
Wyatt and Conor O’Brian were in the middle of a stare-down when we returned, and O’Brian booted Wyatt out through the ropes. The commentators pointed out that Wyatt wasn’t eliminated. Ohno and Graves double teamed O’Brian to eliminate him, before Wyatt snuck up behind the two and threw them both out. We came down to Neville, Dallas and Wyatt. Wyatt took out Dallas with the Sister Abigail, only to be caught by an enziguri from Neville. Neville took advantage and threw Wyatt out at the 6 minute mark.
Neville went after Dallas, but Dallas managed to avoid touching the floor when he was thrown over. Dallas dragged Neville to the apron for a close call of his own. Both men got back in the ring, and started trading punches. Neville picked up the pace, and hit a roundhouse kick from the apron. He went top rope for the corkscrew Shooting Star Press, which Phillips dubbed the Red Arrow (named after the Royal Air Force’s display team the Red Arrows), but Dallas got his knees up when Neville hit it. Dallas took advantage and threw Neville out to win,,,
Bo Dallas eliminated Adrian Neville last to win the No. 1 Contender Battle Royal in 8:33.
As Dallas celebrated, Big E promised to dominate him as he has dominated everybody else who has challenged him. This brought NXT to an end,,,
Gutt Reaction: Well I bet the fans in Full Sail are happy with the winner. There were ‘No More Bo’ chants when Dallas came out, and there were mixed cheers and boos at the conclusion. The Dallas heel turn now seems nailed on, as there will be legs to a title feud, presuming Dallas wins to allow Big E to “leave” NXT, between him and Neville. The fans will want to see Dallas lose, and they really like Neville, so this is the smartest way to utilize Dallas’s “X-Pac heat”.
NXT seemed to have been replaced by an old Sunday Night Heat show tonight. Squash matches a plenty, and even the Battle Royal didn’t go 10+ minutes. Tonight seemed to be geared towards giving released talent a bit of TV time to help them back on the independent scene, which is a nice move from WWE, but none of them looked good in their burials to the guys who are staying. The start of the Divas tournament and a Dallas title feud aren’t exactly getting me excited for the coming weeks.
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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