The Good, the Great and the Awesome from NXT 7/3/14
Tag teams were the theme of the July 3 episode of NXT, as every match but one put emphasis on the duos. Some continued to gain momentum, some reunited for the first time in two years, and others split despite a victory.
Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore continued to thrill the NXT Universe with popular catchphrases and a high energy approach to their performances. The BFFs, Charlotte and Sasha Banks, broke up despite the fact that they defeated Becky Lynch and Bayley in a very good Divas bout.
Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel united to assault Sami Zayn and serve notice to the rest of the NXT locker room that the former main roster team is not to be messed with. Speaking of Zayn, he and NXT champion Adrian Neville appear poised to form a partnership and take a run at ending Gabriel and Kidd for good.
Like most episodes, the July 3 edition of NXT furthered storylines, featured some exceptional wrestling and put the spotlight on the future of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Take a look back at this week's show by reliving the good, the great and the awesome of WWE Network's presentation of NXT.
Certified Gs and Bona Fide Studs
The energetic pairing of Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore kicked off the week's show and had the NXT Universe on its feet from the moment they took to the stage. Amore has such a presence on the microphone that it makes it's easy to become captivated by him, regardless of whether he's saying something new or simply spouting off his familiar catchphrases.
Big Cass' dominant win over Sylvester Lefort confirms that the Legionnaires should provide little-to-no competition to the Jersey tandem.
Considering how over Cassady and Amore are, management should focus on presenting them as legitimate competition to NXT tag team champions The Ascension. That team has dominated everyone put in its path to this point. A popular team with a 7-foot competitor such as Big Cass would create an intriguing, and important, match for the tag division—something it has not had in quite some time.
A More Aggressive CJ Parker
To say CJ Parker's Moon Child character was a flop would be an understatement. The gimmick was stupid and failed miserably in its attempt to connect with the NXT audience. As a result, changes were made. Gone is the stoner voice and eccentric movements. Gone is the psychedelic entrance music.
In their place is an environmentalist character who is angry and frustrated by the NXT Universe's inability and unwillingness to protect Mother Nature. Parker is disenfranchised with the world around him and is championing change.
On Thursday night, he tore through rookie Steve Cutler and made it clear that the first target of his meaner, more aggressive approach to his ring game is Xavier Woods. Fed up with the idea that Woods has a main roster spot and has done nothing with it, Parker is ready to beat him and start taking what he believes is rightfully his.
Say what you will about his in-ring ability, but the change in attitude is exactly what Parker needed to succeed. His promo work after beating Cutler was solid, and it was easy to believe what he was saying. The feud with Woods may not be the flashiest, but it is a great way to continue introducing the new side of Parker to the NXT and WWE Universes.
Bayley and Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte and Sasha Banks
The Divas' contribution to this week's episode of NXT came in the form of a big tag team match pitting women's champion Charlotte and Sasha Banks, known collectively as the BFFs, against Bayley and newcomer Becky Lynch.
Lynch scored an impressive victory over Summer Rae on last week's show, despite Charlotte and Banks being at ringside, while Bayley has long had issues with NXT's resident mean girls, so the bout made sense from that standpoint.
It was a solidly wrestled match. Bayley, so likable, played an excellent babyface in peril, while Lynch made the hot tag and showed great fire in laying out the heels. Unfortunately, a dropkick to the knee by Charlotte, followed by the Bow Down to the Queen ended the Irishwoman's night.
The post-match attack by Bayley on Banks, who had been running her mouth to the fallen Lynch, necessitated the split of the BFFs in a backstage segment moments later.
The match was excellent, and the breakup between the heels is something that has needed to happen for a while now. With that said, the two Divas segments may have been great, but that does not mean they were without flaws.
Lynch has a ton of potential to be a big star for WWE, especially if they drop some of the over-the-top nods to her Irish heritage and let her be the wrestler she is. Why have her pinned in only her second televised match when the plan is to split up Charlotte and Banks anyway? Why not have Banks take a pin and then blame Charlotte for not being there for her?
If Charlotte really needed the win to regain the momentum she had coming out of Takeover, why not have her pin Bayley, who is bulletproof at this point, thanks to her quirky and lovable character?
It just seemed like a mistake to have Lynch take a pinfall this early in her run when other options were readily available.
Sami Zayn vs. Justin Gabriel
The main event of this week's show not only provided fans with a quality, competitive main event between the best wrestler in NXT and an underrated Justin Gabriel but also set the stage for what should be a tremendous tag team bout sometime in the very near future.
Sami Zayn and Gabriel put on a great match full of high spots that made sense, while Gabriel showcased underrated grappling that earned the praise of commentator William Regal.
Zayn won the match, as he should have, with the Koji Clutch, but it was the post-match beatdown by Kidd and Gabriel that was most newsworthy. Regal, who was quite excellent on commentary this week, planted the seeds earlier in the match by reminding viewers that Kidd and Gabriel had teamed prior to Kidd's knee injury, so when they worked together to assault Zayn after the bell, it made sense.
Adrian Neville hitting the ring to make the save was to be expected. He and Zayn vs. Gabriel and Kidd is a match with the potential to become a NXT Match of the Year candidate if it is given the proper time to unfold. The prospects of such a match should have every fan of the developmental brand salivating.
Tyler Breeze and the Little Things
One of the most effective things a performer can do is perfect the little things. They are the things that the casual viewer may not be looking for but that the passionate and devoted fans always manage to spot. The little things show that the performer has invested time and energy into making his character the best it can possibly be, and as a result, fans are more likely to support him or her.
Thursday night, during the backstage confrontation between Tyler Breeze and Adrian Neville, Breeze had his trusty cellphone in his hand. No big deal, right? Well, not so fast. This week, instead of a generic phone case, Breeze's phone was adorned in a miniature fur case that perfectly matched his vest.
That may not seem all that important to most, but the fact that he and management went through the trouble to add that small detail to the overall presentation of the character shows dedication. Couple that with Breeze's continuously improving ring game and the company has a potential breakout star on its hands.
Tyson Kidd's Sitdown Interview
If anyone would have said that Tyson Kidd would become one of the most entertaining heels of 2014, most would have thought them crazy. After all, he had never really proved himself as anything special from a charisma or mic skills perspective. In fact, he never had the opportunity to. He was merely a good hand between the ropes who was lucky to make it onto Superstars most weeks.
His time in NXT has completely rejuvenated his career, giving him the platform to perform that he was never allowed in WWE.
Thursday's sitdown interview with Renee Young saw a Kidd who was confident in front of the camera. More importantly, it showed a Kidd who understood his character and showed the right emotions at the right time.
Whenever Young would ask him a hard-hitting question, he responded by taking blame for his actions but, at the same time, offering up an excuse to try to explain it away. When she asked about marriage troubles with Natalya, however, Kidd became angry and left the set rather than try to come up with an answer that viewers would find acceptable.
It was a great bit of work from Kidd, who is flourishing in his role in NXT and quickly becoming one of its MVPs.