Once again the stars of NXT invaded the National Guard Armory in Lakeland, Fl for another intense night of wrestling action. The wrestlers left it all in the ring in an effort to gain momentum heading into the next live special less than three weeks away.
In our opening contest Big Cass and Enzo Amore took on Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton of Shoot Nation. Enzo and Cass start off strong in the early going but it wouldn't be long until Amore was isolated in the ring and dominated by the size and power of Dawkins and Fulton. Shoot Nation have gelled well and are showing it with some great tandem wrestling. However, the always durable Amore finally manages to make the hot tag to Cass who comes in and clears the ring. After a series of corner splashes and a big boot Cass sends Fulton to the outside. He lays out Dawkins with a side slam and tags Amore for an assisted splash for the win. Enzo and Cass are super over with crowds no matter where they go and are always a wise choice for firing up a crowd. I don't quite know what's going on with the Shoot Nation concept, the only real constant seems to be Fulton and Dawkins. Fulton finally seems to be developing a bit of a mean streak in the ring, it's fitting for a man of his size and stature.
Next up is Steve Cutler vs Elias Sampson. The match opens with the two men trading side headlocks until the bigger, stronger Cutler takes over. Cutler begins wearing down Sampson until he began to mount a comeback accentuated by an explosive knee strike which usually spells victory for Sampson. At this point Kevin Owens hits the ring and hits a pop-up powerbomb on Sampson who hit the mat with a sickening thud. Owens takes a microphone and states he came out here and did this because he can, because he is Kevin Owens and he is NXT champ. He continues that he will be champ as long as he wants to be. He exits the ring and beats down Cutler before heading into the back.
Next Solomon Crowe takes on Mike Rawlis. Things always get a little more intense when Solomon Crowe hits the ring, and he wouldn't be intimidated by his obvious size disadvantage. The two men collided several times with Crowe hitting the mat every time. Crowe finally punches Rawlis in the jaw and takes over eventually contorting Rawlis into an octopus hold. Rawlis freed himself and mounted a comeback using his power advantage to whip Crowe around the ring with ease and launching him over his head with a fallaway slam and following with an abdominal stretch. The always explosive Crowe came back with a series of strikes including a running knee in the corner followed by a dropkick to the leg of Rawlis which toppled him. Crowe followed by locking on the stretch muffler for a submission victory. Following the match "Perfect 10" Ty Dillinger comes out and gives the match a 4. Mike Rawlis is showing improvement in the ring while Crowe is a guaranteed main eventer one day.
Next up we get a Takeover preview as Becky Lynch takes on womens champ Sasha Banks. These two women know each other so well and it shows in a beautiful opening sequence with several counters as they parlayed for control. Lynch takes over with a frenetic fast paced energy that left the champ struggling. Ring savvy Banks draws Lynch into the corner and sends her into the turnbuckle. Sasha dictates the pace wisely slowing things down and locking Becky into a straightjacket. Eventually Lynch breaks free and begins firing back, laying out the champ and following with a trifecta of perfect leg drops. Lynch grabs Banks arm in an attempt to take her down for an armbar, but Banks counters with a backstabber into a Bank Statement giving Lynch no choice but to tap. Afterwards a cocky Banks begins to leave but returns to the ring to humiliate Lynch who surprises her with an armbar. This was a show-stealing performance by both ladies and I cannot wait for these two to meet on May 20th.
Next the team of Bull Dempsey and Tucker Knight take on Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. The larger, imposing team of Dempsey and Knight absolutely dominated their opponents in the early goings of the match. It's never long before the wily team of Dawson and Wilder find and advantage to be found somewhere and take control. The two make frequent tags while working on the leg of Tucker Knight accentuated by a half crab from Dawson. Eventually Knight makes the tag to Bull he comes in running over any one in his way, but Dawson makes a blind tag and moments later flapjacks Dempsey onto Wilders knees giving them a pinfall victory. Dawson and Wilder (who were introduced without "The Mechanics" name) continue to be the most underrated tag team in NXT, but I have a feeling that may be changing really soon. Dempsey and Knight made an intimidating team and worked well together. I wouldn't mind seeing them tag again at some point, especially considering Dempsey seems to be in limbo of late and Knight appears to be out of the Shoot Nation equation completely.
Ty Dillinger is out next and states that so far the night has only been a 3, but not to worry because we are about to see a perfect 10 match (even though Lakeland is a 0). Unfortunately for Dillinger, his opponent is Baron Corbin. The bell rings and the two men circle each other, and after each successful maneuver Dillinger would cartwheel over to his corner and score himself a 10. Finally after a takedown that sent Dillinger tumbling, Corbin did his own cartwheel and scored himself a 10. Dillinger was not amused and demanded his card back, Corbin relented and laid the card down in the center of the ring. Dillinger reached over to grab the card and found himself on the receiving end of a fameasser, followed by a flurry of signature Corbin moves. Eventually Dillinger manages to turn things around slowing the pace and keeping Corbin trapped in an armlock. Corbin breaks free and manages to block a superkick from Dillinger. A persistent Ty goes for a second superkick and nails it for a very close count. Frustrated Dillinger pulls down his kneepad to go for his knee smash, but takes too much time. Baron Corbin gets to his feet and snatches up Dillinger for an End Of Days and the victory. Afterwards Corbin takes a microphone to state that he relishes taking away the hopes and dreams of all the superstars in the back, and that at Takeover he will be the only thing truly unstoppable. Both guys looked great tonight and put on a highlight match of the evening.
We continue with more womens action as Bayley and Alexa Bliss take on Carmella and Devin Taylor. The good girls start out really strong with Bayley hitting a lot of her signature spots early on. Eventually things turn around and the team of Carmella and Devin Taylor take over on an isolated Bayley. After taking much punishment Bayley makes the hot tag to Bliss who comes in and takes charge, ejecting Carmella from the ring and takes it to Taylor, first with a glitz flip and ultimately a sparkle splash for the win. This was a fun match that Carmella came out of looking particularly strong. Carmella who seems to excel as a heel, has come so far so fast. Tonight she handled the bulk of the load for her team protecting the less experienced Devin Taylor.
Our main event of the evening is Tyler Breeze vs Hideo Itami vs Finn Balor. Early on it is evident that Breeze is the odd man out and he quickly evades the ring stating that he doesn't need this. Balor and Itami surround the ring and chase Breeze back in, only for him to evade a few moments later. Finn and Hideo finally lock up then and begin several minutes of awesome grappling with Breeze trying to sneak back in to take advantage only to get tossed back out. Finally all three men are in the ring and as it goes with these types of matches, the action was fast, furious and impossible to do justice with words. All men looked amazing with Breeze looking especially dominant. Later in the match after not one, but two GTS teases Hideo walks into a beauty shot from Breeze who appears to have it won, but Finn makes the save. A few moments later, Finn goes for his coups de grace but Breeze rolls out of the way. Hideo then goes for a shotgun kick but Breeze ducks and it nails Balor. Itami goes for another this time nailing Breeze for the pin. The night ends on an excellent note, and it appears come May 20th these three men just may steal the show.
Source: Masons Ringside View