Finn Balor takes on Rhyno once again, Hideo Itami returns to the NXT Arena, Kevin Owens steals the show and we get another great hype video for Balor. It’s this week’s NXT report…
Show opens with an amazing tribute to Dusty Rhodes. This felt different to all the other tributes as Triple H is on the ramp with the whole locker room talking about how Dusty saw them as family. Triple H is clearly emotional and even Kevin Owens is seen crying. They do the ten bell salute.
Hideo Itami returns to the NXT Arena to a huge pop and we get a video reminder of how he was injured. Hideo cuts a promo about how he will challenge the winner of Balor and Kevin Owens at the Tokyo show for the NXT Championship. Owens comes out to a monster pop, this man is a star. I love how he never wears his ‘main roster merch’ while on NXT. Owens cuts a promo on Itami and says he will beat Balor, causing the crowd to chant for Finn. Owens shuts them down by saying, ‘like that will change anything’. He then stumbles over the word “disillusion” and the crowd let him know it. But quick as a flash, Owens comes back with, “I fluffed that so bad I sound like Hideo trying to speak English”. Crowd was STUNNED. Owens is the best. He quickly gets the promo back on track and promises he’ll win in Tokyo. He also notes that he didn’t injure Itami – so who ran over Austin? Hideo tries to make a joke that fell spectacularly flat. He said, “Kevin Owen, or should I say Kevin Owen?”. They cut to Owens who mouthed “what?” with the most puzzled look on his face. Poor Hideo. He then calls Owens a terrible human being, which causes Owens to the ring to start a fight with Hideo. But Balor comes down to stop it and they have a short, but wild brawl. Balor goes to jump off the stage but Rhyno comes out to attack him from nowhere. A pretty awesome opening segment. They announce Finn Balor against Rhyno for tonight.
1. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy vs. Jason Jordan and Sylvester Lafort
Crowd are huge into Enzo and Cass. Carmella has a Bye Felicia t-shirt, so I guess that’s her new catchphrase. I’ll bet any money she doesn’t know that catchphrase is from Friday. Enzo cuts a promo on Lafort and Jordan and calls them busters, but not blockbusters. Cute. Cass then says Lafort looks like he’s from Magic Mike and Jordan is from Entourage, but he can’t see Marky Mark anywhere. He then says they’re “2 Ted”, as in two teddy bears. That line died of death. A bad night so far for insults. Corey Graves BURIES Cass on commentary. Enzo and Cass take the match early, but a blind tag from Jordan means they can get the heat on – you guessed it – Enzo Amore. Another blind tag from Lafort and they someone how manage to botch a double Irish Whip. But then out of nowhere Lafort gets bumped out of the ring and Enzo rolls up Jordan for the pin. Cass didn’t even get into the match. Jordan’s search for a tag partner continues. It does seem weird though how the commentary team blamed Lafort for the loss when Jordan was the one who got pinned.
We get a Samoa Joe promo from last week following the Double DQ finish in his match with Kevin Owens. Joe is very intense and says he didn’t get the fight he wanted. He’s so great at not sounding scripted.
2. Dana Brook (w/ Emma) vs. Cassie
Dana Brooke is NXT’s John Cena as she gets ‘let’s go Dana/Dana sucks’ chants. Pretty sloppy action to begin with, but Cassie hits a nice hurricanrana out of nowhere. Dana takes control and hits some mediocre offense. Lots of different ‘Dana sucks’ chants throughout the match, including a variation on the ‘New Day sucks’ chant. At least they’re responding. There’s a long rest hold where Dana has Cassie in a leg lock. Cassie fights back with some pretty good looking offense including a beautiful spinning kick into the corner, but Brooke hits her big move and gets the win. Dana still needs a lot of work, but this why NXT is developmental.
Backstage, Charlotte is interviewed and Dana. Nothing really to report.
We get the second part of Finn Balor’s video history. And it begins with him and Sami Zayn building LEGO. Awesome. We hear from Prince Albert, who goes by his real name Matt Bloom, and they talk about meeting in Japan and becoming great friends. They talk about how difficult the New Japan dojo is and how he had to clean toilets and cook meals for the veterans on top of his daily training. Becky Lynch says the Fergal was always going to be a star and Bloom talks about how much the Japanese audience loved him. Loads of great photos of his 8 years in NJPW. Talked about him being Prince Devitt with photos and references to Bullet Club. They talked about going to WWE and they make it seem like they needed him more than he needed them, which puts Balor over huge. These videos were so, so great – but there’s another video to go next week!
We get some Instagram photos of Bull Dempsey looking fat. They need Scott Steiner to come in and cut a promo on him.
3. Hype Bros. vs Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins
Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley are now my least favourite tag team in the world. Urgh. Basic tag match with the Hype Bros taking control. They do work pretty well together. Rawley hits his Hammer Time double fist to a chorus of ‘Mojo sucks’ chants. Fulton gets control and the duo take over the match for a brief moment. Ryder gets the hot tag and runs wild on Dawkins. They hit the top rope Ruff Ryder and get the win. I hate this tag team.
Backstage, William Regal is with a red headed robot named Eva Marie. The robot talks robotically and asks for a chance in the women’s division in NXT. Regal asks the robot to prove itself.
4. Finn Balor vs. Rhyno
Kevin Owens comes out for commentary and he bullies Saxton. Owen is so good. He says he’s excited to see Ryhno because he likes rhinos. Stiff and aggressive opening to the match and there’s some great action early on. But the problem with this match is that it’s less about the match and more about Owens on commentary. It’s not a bad match, but Owens was far more entertaining. He buries Rich Brennan’s lacklustre commentary, says he’ll beat Balor on July 4th and celebrate Independence Day because it’s a great movie. Owens goes down to distract Balor and does so, allowing Rhyno to set up for the Gore. But Balor reverses and hits to Coup de Grace for the win. Owens runs in immediately after the match and he and Rhyno work over him until Joe runs into the ring for the save. Crowd pop huge for Joe. Thankfully Joe’s music doesn’t play as the show comes to a close.
A really good edition of NXT. Great to see Hideo back and they’re setting him up for a big return with the ‘who attached Hideo’ stoyline for the next few months. Owens was the star of the show, but you should go out of your way to watch the Balor hype video. Tremendous stuff.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.