Thursday, November 19, 2015

NXT Report

Welcome to another NXT Report!

Carmella vs. Nia Jax

Nia Jax’s theme is so unfitting. Carmella charges but gets knocked back by Nia’s power. Nia traps Carmella in the corner, so she fires out with forearms but runs into a body block. Nia then hits a lame looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. She attacks with headbutts while talking smack. She locks Carmella in a bearhug but Carmella manages to counter into a submission of her own. Nia reaches the ropes and then catches Carmella. She looks for a Samoan drop but Carmella slips free and starts hitting some dropkicks. Nia shoves her away but runs into a kick. Carmella tries a head scissors but Nia counters into a spinebuster. A leg drop finishes things.

Winner: Nia Jax in 2:47
Even though Caremlla is an actual name and not a faceless jobber, this was still a relative squash.

Backstage, BAMF is standing by. Alexa says that her hand is fine after slapping Bayley but her ears hurt from hearing about the Ironman match. She claims that she’s “Blissed off”. She mentions that the other Horsewomen left Bayley behind and the Alexa era is going to begin. A referee shows up to inform her that Blake and Murphy are banned from ringside tonight as per William Regal.

The Ascension vs. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan

Chad Gable and Jason Jordan have some new attire. Gable starts with Viktor while Corey Graves plugs the big NXT taping in January in Orlando. Viktor has an advantage and tags Konnor. All four men come in and have a staredown but nothing comes of it. Gable is left with Konnor. Konnor tries to use his power but Gable slips free a few times. Jordan blind tags in as Gable leaves the ring and tries to slam Konnor but can’t. He gets Konnor in the corner and we see quick tags from Gable and Jordan. Gable ends up in trouble, taking stomps in the corner. The crowd is still into the Ascension. Viktor slingshots Konnor into a spinebuster from Konnor before following with a fist drop. The former NXT Tag Team Champions continue to double team Gable and use quick tags to cut him off. Gable finally gets his boot up to take down Konnor and backdrops Viktor outside. Viktor comes in to cut off the tag but Gable slams him over and tags Jordan. He comes in hot with dropkicks and a flapjack. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN! Jordan snaps off an overhead belly to belly suplex but Konnor breaks the pin. He sends Gable out and Jordan clotheslines him out. Jordan charges into a knee from Konnor, who then hits a knee from the second rope. Gable now breaks up the pin. Viktor sends Gable to the apron, but Gable somersaults onto Konnor. Viktor tries to suplex Jordan but he slips free and tags out. The assisted back suplex on Viktor gets the 1-2-3.

Winners: Chad Gable and Jason Jordan in 6:21
A solid little tag team match here. Nothing out of this world, but pretty fun. The chemistry of Gable and Jordan makes anything they do an absolute joy to watch though, adding to this. The Ascension also seemed to up their game, excited to be back in front of the NXT audience. **3/4

Now, we go back to seeing how the Bayley/Alexa Bliss program started. Bayley talked about the history that she and Sasha Banks made before Alexa Bliss interrupted. It does a good job showing how Bayley tries to be a role model and Alexa doesn’t care about things like that.

Tom Phillips is standing by with Bayley. Bayley says that being champion isn’t easy, but if Alexa thinks taking it from her will be easy, she’s got another thing coming. She says that respect is earned but that Alexa is out of her league.

Emma vs. Mary Kate

They lock up as commentary talks about hwo Emma has upped her aggressiveness with Asuka on her radar. Her opponent pulls her tights and right into a right hand. Emma is taken down but uses some kicks to turn it around. She then hits a vicious looking pair of dropkicks. Emma stands on the hair and pulls Mary up. Mary tries to fight back with right hands but Emma slams her face into the turnbuckle. She hits the Emmamite sandwich and then wins with the Emma lock, complete with a vicious stomp.

Winner: Emma in 3:08
Aggressive Emma continues to be a highlight of the show. Her showdown with Asuka should be excellent.

We get recaps of the stuff between Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews. Corbin speaks backstage saying that he doesn’t like Apollo and challenges him to a match at TakeOver: London.

Non-Title Match: NXT Tag Team Champions Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson vs. Corey Hollis and John Skyler

Commentary tries to make this seem like a threat, saying that Skyler and Hollis have faced the champions before. We are told that the Vaudevillains get their rematch next week. Scott Dawson picks apart Corey Hollis in the corner. Dawson hits a sick looking dragon screw and applies a single crab variation before tagging Dash. He doesn’t do much but tags quickly, showcasing their teamwork. Dawson hits a shinbreaker and tags back out. Dash stomps on Hollis and continues to work the leg. Dawson comes in and hits a clothesline. Another tag leads to an assisted leg drop for two. They pull Hollis to the corner, so his leg is on the steel steps and Dawson stomps on it. They take too long and allow Hollis to kick away and make a mild tag. Skyler walks right into the Shatter Machine for the win.

Winners: Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson in 5:02
This went on a bit too long, but got the point across that the champions are vicious. The finish coming right after the tag was funny.

Tom Phillips interviews Asuka about her mask. She’s wearing it and doesn’t respond. Dana Brooke interrupts and says that Asuka earned her respect. She doesn’t like Asuka patting her on the head though and wants to prove the naysayers wrong, challenging Asuka to a rematch. Asuka says yes and walks away. Dana pats Tom and shoos him away. Emma shows up to say bye to Tom. She asks Dana if Asuka bough it and Dana says that she bough it hook, line and sinker.

We get told that Finn Balor will offiicially defend the NXT Title against Samoa Joe in London. Next week they sign the contract. Earlier today, Samoa Joe says he isn’t there because William Regal has a fear that Finn would retaliate. Joe finds that funny.

NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

We get the dim lighting like Finn Balor and Apollo Crews got two weeks ago. The women lock up and Bayley backs Alexa into the corner but surprisingly doesn’t give a clean break and stomps a mudhole in two corners. Alexa turns it around and just stands on the back of Bayley. Bayley turns it around this time and fires away before slamming Alexa’s face into the top buckle multiple times. Bayley leaps over Alexa and goes for a slam but Alexa slips free. She tries a backslide but Bayley blocks and hits a running clothesline. Bayley avoids a shot in the corner and hits a shoulder thrust before a dropkick. She hits a running bulldog for two. Alexa rolls outside so Bayley looks for her baseball slide spot but Alexa avoids it before sending her into the apron. Back inside, Alexa hits an arm wringer onto the bottom rope. She grinds her foot on Bayley’s head heading into commercial. Returning, Alexa is working an arm submission. The fans chant “hey we want some Bayley” to rally her but Alexa goes with another arm wringer. “Alexa’s ratchet” chants. Alexa gets a near fall and goes back to the arm submission. Bayley finally breaks free and takes Alexa over but sells the arm. She starts to go after the arm, firing up. Bayley hits some double axe handles but Alexa ducks one and slaps Bayley to the mat. She hits the Bliss flip for two. Alexa climbs up but Bayley stops her. Alexa kicks her away but Bayley comes back with a right hand. She powerslams her down for two. Bayley hits a suplex and then some shots in the corner. Alexa dodges one and uses a sunset flip for two. Alexa shouts for Bayley to stay down. She picks Bayley up but gets slapped before the Bayley to Belly puts her down.

Winner and Still NXT Women’s Champion: Bayley in 9:29

Probably the best match of Alexa Bliss’ career. A solid match with some well done arm work and an aggressive Bayley. Fun stuff and helped show that there is certainly potential in Alexa Bliss. **3/4

Bayley’s celebration is cut short by the worst possible thing. Eva Marie. She gets in the ring and has a microphone. “No” chants from the fans. Eva blows the fans a kiss but the fans won’t stop booing. Bayley has to get real close to hear Eva. Eva keeps telling the fans to be quiet but they won’t. Eva says that the inevitable is happening because Bayley will be defending the title against Eva next week. The promo is very awkward even though she only says a few words.

Top Ten Thursday: Survivor Series World Title Matches

We're back with another "Top Ten Thursday". In keeping with the Survivor Series theme for one final week, we'll be looking at World Titles matches in the history of the Pay-Per-View. It could be matches for the WWF/WWE Title or World Heavyweight Championship and had to be contested at a Survivor Series event.

10. WWE Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Edge vs. Vladimir Kozlov - 2008

To get this out of the way, I don't consider this to be a great match. There aren't that many World Title matches in Survivor Series history for each to be a standout. This just makes the list over matches like Cena/ADR, Angle/Taker, Cena/Jericho and a short list of others. Now, this match was originally scheduled to be Triple H defending against Jeff Hardy and Vladimir Kozlov, but early in the show, it was announced that Jeff was found unconscious in his hotel. This led to HHH and Kozlov having a match that was kind of just there. Then, Vickie Guerrero showed up and announced that "he" was here. The crowd popped for Jeff, but got a returning Edge instead. Jeff still showed up and got involved, but it all ended with Edge capturing the WWE Title. So yea, this wasn't a great match and it had a seriously convoluted ending, but as a huge Edge fan, this is one of my favorite Survivor Series moments.

9. WWF Championship: Mankind vs. The Rock - 1998

A decade before our previous entry, Survivor Series featured a giant one night tournament to crown a new WWF Champion. After some controversial finishes at Breakdown and Judgment Day the past two months, a fourteen man tournament was put together at Survivor Series: Deadly Game. A lot of people expected Steve Austin to end up as champion again, but when he went out (through more controversial terms), it opened the door. The finals came down to Mankind, a sympathetic character despite being aligned with Vince McMahon, and the Rock, fresh off of a babyface turn. On a show filled with quick matches, Rock and Mankind got the most time and managed to have a good match. Granted, their future matches were more memorable but this was a solid start. It ended with a repeat of the infamous Montreal Screwjob as Rock turned heel to become the "Corporate Champion" and plant the seeds for the first Rock/Austin WrestleMania bout.

8. WWF Championship: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Sycho Sid - 1996

The 1996 edition of Survivor Series is my second favorite in the history of the show. The Madison Square Garden crowd was molten hot and that was possibly never clearer than in the main event. Shawn Michaels reigned as the WWF Champion, which he won back in March of 1996, and faced his former bodyguard, Sid. This is one of the earliest times I can recall the crowd being very positive in the direction of the heel. The New York crowd wanted almost nothing to do with Michaels and were firmly behind Sid, giving this a unique feel. There are certainly some missteps in the match, but it is the best one I've ever seen SId have. He would take out Jose Lothario and then Michaels to win the belt and earn a massive pop from the crowd.

7. WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. CM Punk - 2011

Oh look, another Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden. In 2011, CM Punk was the hottest thing in all of pro wrestling following his infamous promo in Las Vegas. He would defeat John Cena in one of my all-time favorite matches at Money in the Bank to become WWE Champion. Then SummerSlam came, Kevin Nash appeared and Alberto Del Rio cashed in to take the belt. Del Rio feuded with John Cena while Punk was relegated to afterthought status, taking a loss as the next two Pay-Per-Views. Finally, the WWE righted the ship and Punk faced Del Rio for the title at Survivor Series. These two almost always had good matches and this was no different. Punk won the title for a second time with the Anaconda Vise, kickstarting a 434 day reign that is my favorite in company history.

6. WWE Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs. Shawn Michaels - 2007

The first of two matches from this edition of the Survivor Series again sees the WWE Championship on the line. After being handed the title, losing it minutes later and winning it back the same night, Randy Orton could finally start the "Age of Orton". At his first Pay-Per-View with the belt, Cyber Sunday, Shawn Michaels was chosen by the fans as his opponent. Orton retained via disqualification, setting the stage for this rematch. If Orton got DQed, he would lose the belt and Michaels was banned from using Sweet Chin Music. They worked around that very well and produced their best match together that I can recall. Orton was able to retain the title, which he would for another five or so months. It was another instance of Michaels doing hsi best to help get someone over rather than win the title for himself.

5. WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H - 2009

Three of the greatest of all time competed in this WWE Championship match. Coming off of a lengthy feud with Randy Orton where they traded the belt, John Cena needed a new opponent. What he got was the tandem of D-Generation X in a Triple Threat match. I feel like this is a pretty overlooked match despite having some of the strongest name power in history. I loved the start of this as Shawn MIchaels just laid out Triple H with Sweet Chin Music, showing that the WWE Title meant more than their team and friendship. It was something that just showed how important the belt was. The rest of the match gave us cool moments and false finishes while being excited until the very end, which saw Cena retain.

4. World Heavyweight Championship Hell in a Cell: Batista (c) vs. The Undertaker - 2007

In 2007, Batista and Undertaker waged war during a rivalry that was miles better than I ever thought it would be. I remember not being excited at the prospect of this feud but they had a great match at WrestleMania and continued to deliver throughout the year in various match types. Their final fight would be inside the Hell in a Cell at Survivor Series. It wasn't their best match, but damn it was great. These two just had a chemistry that not a lot of people have with each other. Edge would end up getting involved in this match before Batista retained his title. Despite his involvement, this was a great capper to an even better rivalry.

3. WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels - 1992

People love to talk about the rivalry between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and some call it the greatest ever. I strongly disagree with that notion. Yea, they had some legit personal heat but I didn't love most of their matches. I thought the WrestleMania 12 and Survivor Series 1997 matches were okay but this one is the best by a fair amount. Growing up, the 1992 Survivor Series was an event that I rented very often from my local video store, so I've seen this match tons of times. Michaels came in as the Intercontinental Champion but only Bret's recently won WWF Title was on the line. This was a great match that helped to show that Bret Hart was going to be a great champion and that Shawn Michaels was going to be a major player.

2. WWF Championship: Diesel (c) vs. Bret Hart - 1995

Maybe I like this match more than some but dammit, I love this. Actually, almost every match between Bret Hart and Diesel was great but this was my favorite. For one thing, it was the first one of their Pay-Per-View encounters to have an actual finish. For another, Diesel was coming up on a year as champion and looking pretty dominant. Enter Bret Hart, who unjustly spent most of the year in the midcard. He came into the match as a desperate challenger and it showed as he busted out heel tactics. From tying Diesel up in the corner, to bringing a steel chair into play, Bret was fantastic. Diesel more than held his own as always and put Bret through the announce table, which was the earliest announce table bump I can recall. Bret played possum to pull Diesel into an inside cradle and win the belt. Despite all of the heel tactics from Bret, it was a frustrated Diesel that turned heel coming out of this.

1. World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber: Triple H (c) vs. Booker T vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Shawn Michaels - 2002

We've seen a ton of Elimination Chamber matches in the past thirteen years but none have topped the original for me. Eric Bischoff came up with the concept of the Elimination Chamber, which is honestly one of my favorite gimmick matches in the WWE. The original headlined Survivor Series 2002 in Madison Square Garden and featured six future Hall of Famers. These guys went out and put on a tremendous match for nearly forty minutes featuring almost everything you would want. Kane had an MVP level performance, doing it all. Booker T and Chris Jericho more than held their own throughout this match. Rob Van Dam nearly killed Triple H at one point, and Triple H still made it to the end of the match, culminating in an epic showdown. A few months earlier, Shawn Michaels made his return and beat Triple H in a classic Street Fight at SummerSlam, only for Triple H to attack him with a sledgehammer and take him back out. Shawn returned and it came down to them two, with Shawn winning the World Title for the final time in his career to end a phenomenal match.