|Tonight’s show begins with a montage outlining Jinder Mahal’s quest for the NXT gold (watching this video made me realize that I may have underestimated the in-ring abilities of one Seth Rollins – this guy is a scary talent!). Cue the Coheed and Cambria song.
PAIGE VS. SASHA BANKS
Paige has a great ‘cool heel’ thing going on that I don’t see in a lot of lady wrestlers. I’ve said time and time again in this weekly recap that I’m a huge fan of chain wrestling and these girls did a whole lot of that in the early going. Rather than going ‘move for move’ I’d rather just say that this was one hell of a match (I’d love to know who the agents are behind this show as – from a purely wrestling perspective – this is the best hour of WWE programming week in and week out). Paige picks up the win with the Paige Turner (love that move).
Winner – Paige
After the match Roman Reigns is interviewed in the back. Turns out to be a very short interview as the dapper Reigns gets a call on his cell and walks away. We cut to a video outlining the finish of last week’s match between Tyson Kidd and Leo Kruger (Kidd picked up the win but was attacked after the match by Kruger and Kassius Ohno before William Regal made the save). I – for one – am very much looking forward to a Kidd/Ohno feud (those guys could really have a series of spectacular matches!).
OLIVER GRAY VS. UNNAMED BEARDED FREAK
Bray Wyatt cuts a short promo and brings out his newest disciple. This was a short and brutal match. After the match we still don’t get the guy’s name (I really like where they’re going with this – Wyatt’s an amazing presence – so glad they made him over into the swamp preacher persona).
Winner – Unnamed Bearded Freak
Back from the break and it’s the Commissioner Dusty Rhodes addressing the NXT Universe (yay!). Dusty plays up the Main Event and then addresses the Vicky Guerrero situation (remember that a few weeks ago she placed a $5000 bounty on the head of Big E. Langston). Comacho interrupts the proceedings. Comacho makes his intentions known – he wants that bounty $. This brings out the master of the 5-count himself. Dusty’s got an idea – handicap match with Comacho and anyone else he chooses against Big E. Langston next week. Langston engages the audience to chant “5” along with him (I think it’s awesome how the fans just took to this guy – ‘facing him almost overnight and totally buying into the character).
NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
JINDER MAHAL VS. SETH ROLLINS
Seth Rollins is super-over as the ‘face champion (and rightfully so – he has charisma to spare). This is another brilliant example of how NXT has been using former ROH stars to make new stars out of WWE talents (we saw the same thing last month with Kassius Ohno and young Richie Steamboat). Mahal does some oldschool heel stalling. Long headlock spot by Rollins. Mahal retreats to the floor for more stallin’ and gets caught this time. Rollins works him over outside the ring and then hits a series of kicks inside the ring (shades of Daniel Bryan). Rolllins is backdropped to the apron but sticks the landing. He’s about to hit a springboard move but Mahal pushes him to the floor (he actually falls all the way back to the entrance ramp – crazy bump). Mahal rolls the champ back in the ring for a cover. Cut to commercial. Back from the break and Mahal’s owning the champ. Mahal sends Rollins to the floor and hits a suplex outside the ring (damn!). Submission hold applied inside the ring by the heel challenger. Backbreaker and another cover by Mahal. Mahal chokes out Rollins using the 2nd rope. Another cover by the challenger. Kneedrop and another cover. Mahal transitions into a rest hold. Rollins fights out and hits a great looking headscissors (Mahal bumps like a champ – good man!). Rollins ends up crotched on the top rope. Chinlock applied by the challenger as we cut to the 2nd commercial break. Back from the break and Mahal’s got a brutal surfboard variation applied. Mahal shoulderblocks Rollins multiple times in the corner. Mahal transitions back into another rest hold (reverse chinlock?). Rollins hits an enziguri outta nowhere and it’s a double down. Rollins connects with that excellent one-leg backflip dropkick of his (I’ll never get sick of seeing that move). Both men trade rights. Rollins clotheslines Mahal to the floor and follows with a tope. Rollins throws Mahal back into the ring and hits a springboard flying knee. Cover by the champ. Rollins sets up Mahal for a Superplex but goes for a huracanrana instead. Mahal holds on and and gets a nearfall. Mahal tries for a top rope attack but Rollins counters with a dropkick. We’re in over-run territory here as both men are down in opposite corners. Mahal mounts Rollins in one corner. Rollins counters with a powerbomb in the opposite corner. Finish comes after a really cool sequence involving a Superkick and a move Rollins calls the Skywalker. After the match a sarcastic Corey Graves salutes the efforts of Rollins from the ringside seats. Great match. Great show.
Winner – Seth Rollins