10/3 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: The Bo Dallas Invitational, Corey Graves and Adrian Neville vs. The Ascension for the NXT Tag Team Titles, Santino and Emma vs. Fandango and Summer Rae, and Kassius Ohno returns
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped September 12 in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] Before titles, a video aired that announced Fandango will be on the show tonight. . . After titles, Fandango made his entrance, accompanied by Summer Rae. Tony Dawson and Alex Riley checked in on commentary, and Tony said they would be joined by Renee Young after she interviewed Emma, who was one half of the opposing team for the mixed tag match. Young asked who Emma’s partner would be, and Emma described him as her perfect partner.
This brought out Santino Marella, who awkwardly hugged Emma before walking to the ring. After Santino tried to do the Emma dance, and Emma tried to do the power walk, they returned to the top of the stage and both did the Emma dance to the ring. Santino then mimicked Emma’s flip into the ring, having to be helped over the top by Emma. . .
1. Santino Marella and Emma vs. Fandango and Summer Rae. A “This is awesome” chant started before the bell. Freaking Full Sail. The first two minutes were devoted to stalling, with Santino initially climbing the turnbuckle to raise his arm for the crowd, followed by a bit of a dance off. The in ring work didn’t step up going into the first break, as Santino scared Fandango to the outside with the Cobra, before Emma climbed in to set up Santino’s left arm in the Cobra position too. . . [C]
[Q2] Fandango was in control when we returned. He built to a suplex and got a two count, before putting Santino in the corner and allowing Rae to slap him. Emma ran around the ring to confront Rae, only for the ref to cut her off. This lead to the first genuinely funny part of the match as Santino leapt for the hot tag, only for Emma to still be at ringside. Fandango continued to ground Santino, and looked to be setting up the top rope legdrop, only to be thwarted as Santino rolled to the other side of the ring. Fandango switched corners, only for Santino to roll away again. Eventually, Santino kip-flipped up, and tagged Emma.
Emma hit Summer Rae with a few clotheslines before locking in the Dil-Emma. After a running low cross body to a seated Rae, Emma got a two count, and then received the Cobra sock from Santino. Rae managed to jump her before she could set it up, and the Divas rolled around a little before Rae tagged Fandango. Everyone stayed in the ring as Santino and Emma hit Santino’s signature moves in tandem, concluding when Santino hit the Cobra on Fandango and got the 1-2-3. . .
Santino Marella and Emma defeated Fandango and Summer Rae in 8:01
Santino once again did the Emma dance as Emma did the Santino trumpet. The commentary team praised the pairing, with Riley saying he liked how they rubbed off a little on each other. “I hope you two don’t rub off on me” concluded Young. So many dirty jokes, so little time. . .
Gutt Reaction: I think I’m just far more into delusional, over the top characters with a slapstick leaning than I am awkward characters with weird dances. Far be it from me to question the comedic taste of Emma’s fan base, but I just don’t get it, and that’s OK since comedy is extremely subjective. The match wasn’t much more than a Santino showcase for the most part, and he made me chuckle a few times, so I can’t complain on that front. I think we’re in for an in-ring heavy show, so a little comedy to start us off is fine.
The Ascension were stood in blue mood lighting backstage, with Conor O’Brian saying that what they did to Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore last week was a mirror image of what they will do to Adrian Neville and Corey Graves. He promised to take the NXT Tag Titles where they belonged – “Our home”. Rick Victor said the heroes would fall, and they would rise. . .
Gutt Reaction: “Our home”? Do the Ascension live together? Screw “Legends House”, the WWE Network should run “At Home with The Ascension”. “Keeping up with The Ascension” works too.
Kassius Ohno made his long awaited return to NXT when The Ascension had finished, walking out in a hooded tracksuit. He looked to be in good shape. They replayed the Wyatt Family’s attack on Ohno from 4 months ago before Luke Harper made his entrance alone. The Cult of Full Sail swayed as he walked to the ring. . .
2. Kassius Ohno vs. Luke Harper. Harper shot Ohno to the ropes, but Ohno impressively flipped over them before getting back in the ring and hitting a one legged dropkick. Harper quickly regained control with a boot and a forearm smash, before grounding and pounding Ohno. My train of thought was broken when Riley called himself a journalist. I feel like setting my journalism degree on fire, as they are apparently handing them out to anyone now.
I snapped back when Ohno mounted a comeback by fighting out of a headlock, before forcing Harper to the outside after a barrage of punches and kicks. Ohno followed up with a dropkick through the ropes, and then chopped Harper before they both rolled back inside the ring. Ohno went to run the ropes, only to get caught by a huge big boot from Harper. After a corner splash, Harper leveled Ohno with the discus clothesline to get the pinfall. . .
Luke Harper defeated Kassius Ohno in 2:57
Harper stared down the camera with a crazy look in his eye before we cut backstage to Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Amore was lamenting their loss to The Ascension last week, but said they would bounce back. Cassady ran down Scott Dawson for dressing like a mechanic, and said Alexander Rusev was upsetting his mom by not wearing shoes. Enzo said the two of them should stop eating “Sawft” tacos. . . [C]
Gutt Reaction: Guess Ohno has a few more months of eating crap ahead of him to atone for “getting out of shape”. On the positive side, Harper may not be the second coming of Mr Perfect in the ring, but he’s astoundingly good at getting his character over. It’s great to watch him work just for all the nuances he puts into his matches. Erick Rowan is lagging far behind his Wyatt Family partners at the moment, and it’s not even like he’s doing badly – they are just that good.
[Q3] The Ascension came out to no response. Neville and Graves entered separately. . .
3. Corey Graves and Adrian Neville vs. The Ascension for the NXT Tag Team Tiles. Both teams traded momentum in rapid succession early on, until O’Brian took control with a big flapjack on Victor. Following a few power moves, Victor locked Graves in a chin lock for a long time. When Graves got up, he was forced into the corner and got hit by a few shoulder blocks. Victor went for a big running shoulder block, but Graves dived out of the way and tagged Neville.
Neville hit the ring hot with kicks and axe handles to Victor, followed by a dropkick to O’Brian on the apron. After sending Victor to the outside, Neville dived over the ropes onto both members of the Ascension, before throwing Victor back inside. Neville hit a springboard dropkick for a two count, and kept up his momentum to build to a roundhouse kick from the apron to set up the Red Arrow. As Neville was coming down, O’Brian pulled Victor out of the way. Neville hit the mat, and only kicked out of the follow up pin after Graves made the save. Graves got back on the apron so he could tag in, but as he charged at Victor following the tag, he got nailed by a flying knee. Victor tagged in O’Brian, and they hit their running high/low combo. This gave them the win and the gold. . .
The Ascension defeated Corey Graves and Adrian Neville in 7:54 to win the NXT Tag Team Titles
Victor hugged O’Brian before they both posed with the belts and roared. . . [C]
Gutt Reaction: Credit to the Ascension for upping their game for this title match, which was fairly entertaining thanks to a quick pace throughout. Whether that continues now they are champions remains to be seen. I’m happy the tag division now has some new life in it, and Graves and Neville can now end their rather bland on-screen relationship and go back to being singles guys. However, the match felt a little short considering the length of the reign Neville and Graves had, and should have main evented a less loaded episode.
[Q4] Bo Dallas was on the stage as the ring announcer explained that this was the start of the Bo Dallas Invitational. Dallas grabbed a mic in the ring, and said he wanted to give a young up-and-comer a chance of a lifetime. He said if anyone could pin him, they would earn a title shot in two weeks time. “Enough with the talking, it’s Bo time!”. A jobber came out first, and the crowd chanted “Let's go, this guy." That’s more like it Full Sail!...
4. The Bo Dallas Invitational – Round 1: Bo Dallas vs. a Jobber. The jobber went for a quick pin, and Dallas looked scared. The crowd started a big “This guy!” chant. Dallas started to beat up the jobber, quickly hitting a weak looking spear to win the first round…
Bo Dallas defeated a jobber in 1:13
Dallas patted the jobber on the back as he rolled out of the ring, and grabbed the mic again. He said he felt great, and asked for the next participant. Leo Kruger’s music played, and a “Kru!” chanted started. As he approached the ring, The Real American’s music played, and Antonio Cesaro also made his way down to the ring. Kruger and Cesaro bickered over who should start the match, but Cesaro eventually seemed to back off so Kruger could start. Cesaro then blindsided Kruger with a right hand, and the two brawled. Cesaro threw Kruger out, only to be caught by a knee from Dallas that sent him to the outside too. Dallas was cheering his accomplishments when El Local ran onto the stage. Both Tony Dawson and Alex Riley had no clue who he was. . .
Round 2: Bo Dallas vs. El Local. Dallas charged, but Local dived over him. As Dallas pulled himself up in the corner, he got hit by a running big boot. Local covered him to get the quick win. . .
El Local defeated Bo Dallas in 0.16 to win the Bo Dallas Invitational and become the No. 1 Contender for the NXT Title
The commentators suddenly remembered who Local was. After some celebrating while the crowd chanted “Ole!” and “Si”, Local took his mask off to reveal he was Sami Zayn. Dallas looked shocked, and was shown clutching his title as Zayn played to the crowd and NXT went off the air. . .
Gutt Reaction: A fun end to the show. I thought Dallas would just bring out a parade of jobbers, but instead the premise was used to seemingly spark a feud between Kruger and Cesaro, before Zayn pulled the old Lucha Libre deception card. Kruger/Cesaro could be all sorts of good in the ring, and will be interesting to see play out if Kruger makes a babyface turn. I still think this could have gone on before the tag match though, given that it didn’t exactly set pulses racing with its in-ring content.
The show did end up being in-ring heavy, but the three matches not involving titles did feel slightly gimmicky. That’s not to say they were bad though. If you’re a variety fan, this week was for you – there was comedy, a dominating squash match, good character work done in the main event, and a solid title match thrown in to boot. The hour flew by, so if you’re looking for a little bit more wrestling programming in your week, give this show a shot.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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