Thanks to WrestlingINC.com reader Wayne Mason of Masons Ringside View for sending us this detailed report for last night's NXT live event in Bartow, FL:
NXTs weekend triple shot continued tonight as its athletes converged on Bartow, Fl. It was a small but very lively crowd, one that included the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley who enjoyed the show from the back.
The evening starts off with Bayley taking on Dana Brooke. Bayley takes charge early on riding on the energy of the crowd thoroughly behind her. Bayley kept a step ahead in the fast paced opening moments of the match landing several of her signature spots. Eventually the power of Brooke comes into play and Dana takes charge of the match and wears down her opponent with a series of punishing holds accentuated by a fierce Firemans Carry Slam. But in the midst of her offense all it took was one tiny moment for Bayley to steal the victory with a Belly-To-Bayley from out of nowhere. Fan favorite Bayley never fails to fire up a crowd, while Dana Brooke is quickly improving with each outing. After, Bayleys music is cut abruptly and CJ Parker comes out saying that nobody cares about divas and nobody cares about her. Tonight, he continues, is about him and tonight in the main event he will defeat Hideo Itami.
Next up is Chad Gable vs Solomon Crowe. It seems you never know whether you are going to get heel or face Gable, tonight he played up the heel role and he played it well. He's good at playing the cocky Olympian and equally showed off his Olympic skills out-grappling Crowe in the early moments of the match. Eventually the explosive Crowe comes back with his smashmouth offense that sends Gable reeling. Gable takes advantage of an opening and begins working on the arm of Solomon Crowe with a series of arm bars, taking time in-between to towel himself off. Eventually Crowe comes back with a series of strikes and a running knee in the corner followed by a single leg dropkick to the knee of Gable that sends him crashing down. Crowe contorts Gable into a Stretch Muffler for a tap-out victory. Ty Dillinger comes out, apparently Testing out the critic gimmick again and holds up a scorecard giving the match a 4. I'd give it a much higher, both Gable and Crowe are exciting to watch and they are two of my top picks for 2015. This was definitely one of the highlights of the night.
Steve Cutler is out next and drawing off of his military background, saluting and then standing at attention waiting for his opponent, the lone wolf of NXT Baron Corbin. Starting strong Cutler took the fight right to Corbin to little avail. Unfazed, Corbin fought right back sending Cutler reeling and re-evaluating his game plan. Cutler finds an opening and takes control of the match. Thus far Cutler seems to be a brawler relying on a lot on his power, hitting Corbin with a thunderous suplex. None of it would be enough to take down Corbin who mounted an unstoppable comeback with a series of his signature moves and an emphatic End Of Days for the pin.
The night continues with mixed tag action in what has to be one of the weirder matches in recent memory. Carmella and Big Cass took on the team of Devin Taylor and the tortured Marcus Louis. Mixed tag matches by nature are often sort of a mess still yet this was a match made fun by the interesting mix of personalities in the ring. This match featured frequent tags, a lot of forced tags, and much shenanigans. In the chaotic final moments Devin attempts a roll up pin but Carmella turns it into her headscissors submission for a tap-out win. All in all it was a fun match. Big Cass has really come into his own in the last year, while Carmella gets better every outing and it won't be long until she is competing with the top ladies of the division. Marcus Louis is absolutely great as the tortured monster and demands attention whether he is in the ring or simply on the ring apron. Taylor has improved since the last time I saw her perform and I look forward to seeing her in a more traditional match. Ty Dillinger didn't think as highly as I did, he only gave it a 2.
Next, Hugo Knox comes out next to high energy dance music moving as if he is a Chippendale dancer. The enthusiasm of Knox is about enough to blow the roof off the place, love or hate the gimmick but he absolutely owns it. His opponent Ty Dillinger comes out to new music claiming that he is going to give us a match that is a 10. The action begins fast paced as each man looks to gain advantage. Eventually Dillinger takes control after a clothesline from hell, and then slows down the pace with a series of headlocks and rest holds. Knox mounts a comeback with a series of shoulder tackles followed by a spinning heel kick and a kick to the head. With Dillinger finally laid out Knox finishes him with a split legged corkscrew moonsault off the turnbuckle. I don't know about a 10, but it was an entertaining match featuring one of the most underrated guys around versus a potential rookie of the year.
The action continues with Bull Dempsey taking on newcomer Mike Rawlis. Dempsey, who continues to show glimmers of a potential face run, takes early control of the match. After a series of arm drags and headlocks the match turns into a brawl with Rawlis surprisingly playing the aggressor and gaining control. Bull plays the underdog well making sporadic comeback attempts with a growing repertoire including a sunset flip and a cross-body. In the end the wrecking ball Dempsey ran down Rawlis and followed with a flying headbutt for the win. Even in light of recent booking Dempsey is looking better and better. Still early on for the rookie Mike Rawlis, he has all the tools and the rest will come with time.
Next up, Becky Lynch takes on Alexa Bliss. The match begins fast paced with Bliss almost a step ahead in the early goings. Bliss attempted to thwart the Delty Diva with her largely aerial offensive including a beautiful head scissors. Lynch came back with a style that throttles the line between technical wrestler and brawler nailing Bliss with a series of strikes and a trifecta of her trademark leg drops. Bliss regains control nailing a standing moonsault double leg drop, Lynch comes back with a Bexplex followed by a pin attempt, but Bliss kicks out. A few more moments of back and forth grappling and then Lynch traps Bliss in an armbar submission for the tap-out victory. Becky Lynch is probably the best pure female wrestler on the roster, but Bliss has improved so much and tonight these two put on the best match of the evening.
Our main event of the evening is up next as CJ Parker takes on Hideo Itami. The two men start cautiously, as Parker tells him there is to be no kicking and this is a wrestling match… right before taking a cheap shot and taking control. Itami swiftly turns things around though and Parker evades the ring. Itami mounts offense before Parker makes a vicious comeback beating down Itami. He grounds Itami with a series of rest holds. He knocks the wind out of Itami with a senton, but unwisely goes for another which Itami counters. Hideo throttles him with a series of strikes and two different teases at a GTS, which Parker escaped from. Parker lands a palm strike out of nowhere that has Hideo seeing stars. Eventually though Hideo fires back with a series of kicks followed by an astounding dropkick in the corner, and then a single leg dropkick to Parker for the victory. Hideo looks as great as always, while Parker proves he is ready to move up the ranks in NXT.
Afterwards as the show ended the crowd erupted into a massive "We want Foley" chant. Mick Foley obliged telling us that it was his sons birthday and all he wanted was to see NXT….. "right here in Bartow Florida.". He then puts over the NXT roster and tells us to "Have a nice day."
It was sort of an unusual NXT show, but sometimes those end up being the most memorable ones.