NXT Recap: Episode 288

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July 24, 2015 by gorillapressonline

NXTThis week’s NXT opens with a cool little VT about the brand-new champ Finn Balor returning home to Japan and stealing the title from Kevin Owens, thereby kicking off the so-called Reign Of The Demon.

As per usual, Balor is totally over with the Full Sail crowd and, as he gets a hero’s welcome from the arena adorned with the NXT title, it’s hard not to feel immensely proud of one of the hardest working wrestlers on the current roster, and of how much he has achieved.

Balor once again comes across completely natural in his interview, as he covers his career thus far and the choices he has made to get where he is. This, however, soon devolves into the standard rematch promo set-up, with the contract signing for the next Takeover event – which is taking place in Brooklyn and features the NJPW legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger – scheduled for tonight’s Main Event.

Balor does well to put Kevin Owens over, while still keeping the focus on himself, in a short but effective little opener.

Eva Marie Vs Cassiecassie eva marie
The anticipated return of Eva Marie was heavily critcised online, following the NXT crowd allegedly reducing her to tears last time she dared to show her face, and once again she enters the crowd to boos and looks visibly nervous walking to the ring.

While this is by no means a good match, it is at least promising to see that Eva Marie is improving with her in-ring work. Sadly, though, these two just don’t gel.

Cassie has an innovative offence with some sweeping kicks and a good use of the ropes but the pace is sluggish and contrived at the start of the match.

Once she settles down, Eva Marie gets into a flow. Give her a more experienced opponent and then a fair judgement could be made.

This is not to detract from Cassie at all, as she just needs someone to control the pacing of a match and give her room to show off what she can do, too.

The new finisher Eva Marie is utilising is impressive and she easily gets a victory at Full Sail in her very first match

NXT GM William Regal is backstage on the phone, talking a bit more convincingly than Trips was on RAW this week, when he is interrupted by Tyler Breeze.

Breeze wants to know who he will be facing at Takeover and he warns that it better be someone good or else.

For argument’s sake, it’s rumoured that Breeze will be facing Liger at the Special Event – an enticing prospect if it comes to fruition.

Baron Corbin Vs Jesus DeLeon
Baron Corbin Jesus DeLeonYet another squash match for Corbin as the End of Days is delivered in mere seconds.

NXT are using far too many of these with Corbin, and it is proving hard for him to get over with the crowd as they aren’t seeing enough of his ability.

Corbin wins. Again. Obviously

Samoa Joe Vs Mike Rallis
samoa joe mike ralliTwo consecutive squash matches but both completely different – for the record, this second bout is how a squash victory should be portrayed.

Rallis comes out furious at the start of the match but Samoa Joe quickly shifts momentum with strikes and punches.

Mike Rallis rallies, making the win seem more important, and it is these little nuances that allow a story to develop.

Samoa Joe wraps things up with the Musclebuster in a quick but decent bout

Bayley Vs Emma
Bayley EmmaThe returning Bayley is once again set to get some revenge on Emma, who broke her hand several weeks ago. Before the match starts Devin Taylor is talking to Emma, allowing her and Dana Brooke to establish some cheap heat going into it.

Bayley deserves an NXT title shot and the crowd are firmly behind her as she comes to the ring. Although her hand is still in a brace, this doesn’t hinder her energy or her performance.

This is one of the better matches these two women have had; Emma taunts Bayley at first, slapping her injured hand and attacking her face when her back was turned.

Emma focuses on the injured hand throughout the match, in an effective use of her heel persona that harks back to old school wrestling. For her part, Bayley sells the injury well and this makes the valiant, yet inevitable comeback hit even harder with the crowd.

Bayley delivers a wonderful twisting elbow from the ropes, which is a beautifully fluid and well timed spot – Bayley is one of the best women on this roster and is surpassing a lot of her rivals in a relatively short space of time.

Bayley subsequently gets the win with a Bayley-To-Belly Suplex, then wastes no time challenging Charlotte Flair, which is interesting as Flair isn’t the champion. Yes, the two have a storied history but surely Bayley should be carving a path for the title?

Bayley solidifies her position upon her return with a glorious victory

Charlotte Flair is backstage, talking about the revolution on RAW, and you can hear the emotion in her voice as she speaks.

Dana Brooke interrupts with her god-awful, grating voice, as she interjects herself into the scene, wanting to making a statement by beating Flair.

The Vaudevillains Vs Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton
The Vaudevillains Sawyer FultonSimon Gotch and Aiden English are gold, their strongman schtick is great fun and coupled with their excellent in-ring ability they make for a seriously entertaining duo.

Fulton looks great in the early stages as the aggressor; he has a great presence in the ring, but could use some shaping to get his full potential.

The amateur wrestling background of Fulton and Dawkins is impressive, with them using a traditional but effective offence that plays well against The Vaudevillains.

Aiden English shifts momentum with the Whirling Dervish and an uppercut, getting his team another win in a swift match which showcases a more focused and aggressive side to the #1 contenders.

The Vaudevillains emerge victorious in a fun and hard-fought tag bout

Main Event: Contract Signing with Kevin Owens and Finn Balor
Kevin Owens William Regal Finn Balor

A contract signing never goes smoothly in WWE, so surely Superstars must have have learned to be on their guard by now?

Kevin Owens is first out, walking to the ring nonchalantly as is his wont. The way he carries himself to the ring is remarkable – this guy thinks of every minute detail in everything he does, he is a man dedicated to his craft through and through.

As is standard by now, Owens does most of the talking, breaking down the fabric of his opponent, dissecting Balor like a frog in a biology class.

Finn Balor is all smiles as he says that it feels good being the champion but Owens says that, although he is champ, he is still the underdog in this match.

Owens compares his journey to that of Balor, racking up a huge list of fallen challengers as he gets to the champion himself, proclaiming that Japan was a fluke and he will become the first ever wrestler to become two-time NXT champion.

As soon as Balor signs the contract Owens methodically leans over the table, signing his name and confirming the match.

Regal then makes the match official as Owens throws, not the pen this time like he did with Sami Zayn, but the whole table at Balor before smashing Regal to the ground with a vicious punch. Owens then dives at Balor, attacking the champion who rebukes him and protects the NXT GM.

Owens vs Balor at Takeover: Brooklyn could easily surpass the match from Japan, with Kevin Owens wanting to retrieve his lost title, giving him that extra edge of unpredictability as he is the one challenging, coupled with his past record of unashamed violence and ruthlessness.

All eyes will be on the Main Event to see what the demon has to overcome, and whether or not he can overcome it.

Catch NXT every Wednesday on the WWE Network

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