Date: January 28, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Alex Riley, Jason Albert, Tom Phillips
This is another big show as we’re two weeks out from Takeover and the showdown between Owens and Zayn. The contract signing is tonight and Owens has promised to say what he has to say to Zayn to his face. Also tonight the tournament to crown a new #1 contender continues with more first round matches. Let’s get to it.
Tag Team Titles: Lucha Dragons vs. Buddy Murphy/Wesley Blake
Blake and Murphy are challenging and have some new, loud entrance music. We even get big match intros before we get going. Cara and Blake get things going with Wesley slamming him down in the corner, only to have Cara come back with a double springboard wristdrag.
Murphy dropkicks him out of the air for two though as the challengers are staying aggressive. Blake puts on a chinlock for a bit until Cara fights up and makes the tag to Kalisto. Everything speeds up and a sunset bomb gets two on Buddy as everything breaks down. Blake counters Cara’s springboard and makes a blind tag. Kalisto hits Salida Del Sol on Murphy but the legal Buddy rolls him up for the clean pin and the titles at 4:00.
Rating: C. This is where NXT’s booking pays off for them in the end. Murphy and Blake haven’t won a bunch of matches over the months, but they’ve hung in enough of them that this isn’t the most shocking win in the world. In WWE, a team like Slater Gator has been crushed almost every time they go out there and would have almost no chance in a title match. Even if they won, it wouldn’t be accepted. On the other hand, this was fine and made sense, as well as giving us a fresh set of matches for the division.
We recap Bayley suplexing Charlotte last week and Regal making the fourway title match.
Charlotte yells at Bayley but Bayley says maybe she’s been too nice. She saw what Sami Zayn did when he got more serious and now it’s time for her to do it. Charlotte says if Bayley tries that again, she won’t make it to Takeover.
Tyler Breeze is going to be watching the rest of the tournament very closely.
#1 Contenders Tournament First Round: Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd
The fans are split on who they like best. They hit the mat to start for a nice counter sequence leading to a standoff. Adrian starts cranking on the arm before he takes Tyson down with a hurricanrana, sending Kidd scrambling to the floor. Neville even teases him with a dive but pulls back with a Tajiri handspring flip. Kidd keeps sliding under the corner and out the other side of the ring to break the count, eventually drawing Adrian outside where he gets sent into the floor.
We take a break and come back with Kidd hitting a hard dropkick to the face and rubbing the same face into the mat. Neville sends him right back outside with a clothesline and hits a big old flip dive to take him down. A standing moonsault gets two for Neville as the referee is drenched in sweat.
The spinning fisherman’s neckbreaker snaps Adrian’s neck for two but he flips out of a release German suplex and grabs a Batista Bomb (crowd: “Better than Batista!”) for two. Neville heads outside but a hard dropkick sends him to the floor. Back in and Kidd can’t hook the Sharpshooter, allowing Neville to hit a running kick in the head (similar to the Helluva Kick), setting up the Red Arrow for the pin at 16:25.
Rating: B+. These guys beat the heck out of each other and it got better and better throughout the match. This is the basic idea of hitting each other really, really hard over and over again until one of them can’t get up and that’s a great way to enjoy a match. Really fun stuff here and worth checking out.
Neville says he’s ready to face either Corbin or Dempsey. The fans seem very interested in Neville vs. Corbin. I can’t say I disagree.
Becky Lynch implies she’d turn on Banks to win the title. Good, as I like her better than Sasha.
Murphy and Blake are thrilled to win the belts and would give the Lucha Dragons a rematch anytime anywhere. They’re still getting the hang of this talking thing.
Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks vs. Bayley/Charlotte
The fans aren’t as into Bayley as they used to be. Bayley and Banks get things going with Bayley hitting a springboard armdrag but botching a second attempt, allowing Banks to take over. Off to Lynch for a forearm to the back before it’s already back to Sasha. Charlotte comes in and snapmares Becky down before tagging Bayley right back in. In a smart move, Bayley thinks about going to the ropes but realizes Banks would nail her in the back and opts for a jumping clothesline to a seated Lynch instead.
The villains use some cheating to take over and Sasha gyrates a bit, drawing a Sasha’s ratchet/no she’s not dueling chant. Becky comes back in and goes for the knee, only to get suplexed down, allowing the hot tag to Charlotte. She quickly gets Banks in the bridging Figure Four but Becky breaks it up as everything breaks down. Sasha Bankrupts Charlotte and Bayley makes a save but hits her partner in the process. Charlotte and Bayley start fighting each other and the opponents come in, drawing a double DQ at 5:50.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t great but it was exactly the right booking. There was no need to have anyone get a pin here and it let Bayley show a lot more aggression. I’m still really high on Becky but she needs to show that she can do something in the ring as she’s barely had any ring time so far. The fourway could be awesome if they let these four go nuts.
Hideo Itami comes up to Finn Balor in the back and says he brought Finn into the company and will take him out if he has to in order to advance in the tournament.
The returning Emma says things haven’t gone as she planned since she left NXT so next week she’s coming back to face Carmella.
#1 Contenders Tournament First Round: Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin
Baron sends him into the corner to start and runs him over with a shoulder. Dempsey bails to the floor but Baron is right back on top of him to send him back inside. Back in and a corner splash has Bull in trouble and the End of Days is good for the pin at 1:31. Total squash here with Dempsey getting nothing. That almost has to end the feud.
Baron Corbin says he just took a step closer to becoming NXT Champion and next week Adrian Neville takes a step closer to being erased. Dempsey comes up and says he’ll knock Corbin’s teeth out. Baron just walks away. That would seem to be the way out of Baron losing clean next week.
It’s time for the contract signing. The champ comes out first but Regal is hesitant to bring out Owens. Kevin comes out and Sami looks sad as much as mad. Regal isn’t going to let this turn into every other contract signing in WWE because he’ll cancel the match if they make any contact. The fans chant OLE and Sami signs without saying anything. Owens looks at Sami instead of the contract. Sami asks if he’s just going to look at him or if Owens is going to explain why. Owens doesn’t move so Sami says he’ll talk about the last 12 years.
They fought with and against each other so maybe he should have seen this coming. The truth is he didn’t see it coming though and he never thought it would happen on a night like R-Evolution when both of them arrived. It doesn’t matter though because Sami is going to beat the heck out of him at Takeover. Owens still won’t sign because he doesn’t like it being a non-title match.
What Owens did at R-Evolution was business because he’ll fight anyone for the right prize. That title means more money and a better life for his family, so Owens isn’t doing this unless it’s a title match. Regal doesn’t like Owens’ last minute demands but Sami says wait a minute. Make it a title match because Owens really won’t do it if he doesn’t get what he wants. Regal writes something on the contract and Sami signs again. Owens eventually signs and throws the pen at Sami before leaving to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This show was about moving things forward for Takeover and they’ve done a great job. The title change was a nice surprise as it was something you almost never get on TV but it made sense. That’s the tagline I would use for almost everything on this show: it made sense. It’s clear that someone is paying really close attention to these stories and has planned them out step by step. That’s such an important thing to do and the matches are almost always worth the payoff. Good show here and they’re doing a very good job of a short build to the next Takeover.
Buddy Murphy/Wesley Blake b. Lucha Dragons – Rollup to Kalisto
Adrian Neville b. Tyson Kidd – Red Arrow
Bayley/Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch went to a double DQ
Baron Corbin b. Bull Dempsey – End of Days
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