By Arnez Richmond
Back in March a good buddy of mine Derick S from the Oversell Podcast literally sent me a text that woke me up out of a nap to let me know that NXT was returning to the Memphis area. First thing I did was call my buddy Cam to let him know the news and as soon as the tickets were on sale we had them.
This would be my 2nd NXT house show (8th WWE show overall) and I always enjoy going to live shows no matter what level the promotion and this was no different so I’m going to give a rundown of the show and my thought on the show overall.
Small but very lively to say the very least. There may have been 300-350 people there but they were very much into most if not every match on the card. I didn’t expect the show to sell out with it being a house show of guys who aren’t on national TV every week but considering the internet & the WWE Network I felt these guys could at least draw more than 500 but I kept in mind that it was a house show.
Match 1: No Way Jose def. Eric Young w/ SAniTy
A lot of energy from the crowd for this one. Jose was very much over with Southaven & even danced with the ref & ring announcer before the match. SAniTy comes out which surprised me to see them so early into the show but I always enjoy their entrance and music. Nikki Cross is just a mad woman easily the most unhinged member of the stable can’t really seem to control herself. Pretty good match to kick things off. A little interference from SAniTy which was met with loud boos & even a comedy spot inserted in the match but No Way Jose got the win with a roll up for the 3 and a loud pop and bolted after SAniTy rushed the ring.
Eric Young gets on the mic and issues an open challenge to anyone in the back and out comes DIY to take on Killian Dian and Alexander Wolfe. The ref threw out Nikki Cross and EY to the back before the match started.
Match 2: DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa) def. SAniTy (Killian Dian & Alexander Wolfe)
Pretty hard hitting match with these 4 guys. Even though DIY is much smaller here they more than held their own against their much larger opponents. Very brutal looking double team moves from both guys and some great near falls but in the end DIY came out on top and by the way Killian Dian is much bigger than I imagined.
Match 3: Sonya Deville def. Aliyah
Crowd for the most part had no idea who these women were when they came out and personally I recognized Sonya but I didn’t know she had a name change (she was Daria on the last season of Tough Enough that nobody watched). Either way, by the end of the match it didn’t matter because both girls worked hard and Sonya won the crowd over with her stiff shots that rang throughout the building. Don’t remember the finish but jeez can Sonya give a beating.
Match 4: Dylan Miley def. Patrick Clark
Patrick Clark once again a lot of people in the crowd didn’t recognize him but I remember him being touted as one of the stand outs on the aforementioned season of TE who was highly praised by a lot of big WWE names despite being eliminated. He’s been working this Prince-inspired gimmick for nearly a year and you can tell by some in the crowd it could easily be mistaken for something else. Dylan Miley is billed as “The Freak” and I can see why, the guy looks like an ogre who hit the gym and never left. He’s not necessarily a tall guy but just solid and stacked and very weird looking. Either way it was a good match, not much to it. Patrick stayed on his bicycle for the most part and hit a great missile dropkick but in the end was overpowered by the Freak.
Match 5: Hideo Itami def. Andrade “Cein” Almas
Pretty decent match. Both men were trying to one up each other especially Almas who was playing the arrogant heel. Hideo was clearly the favorite with the crowd with chants of “Hideo” and “GTS” and he gave Almas some pretty stiff chops and kicks which Almas gladly returned some stiffer chops of his own. Itami won with the GTS. Itami has a championship match at Takeover: Chicago in May which is long overdue considering a lot of his peers (Finn Balor & Shinsuke Nakamura) have already made the main roster before he has and he was in NXT first but his tenure has been plagued with injuries so hopefully his day will come soon.
Match 6: Aleister Black def. Cezar Bononi
I really like Aleister Black. His look, his entrance, his music which sounds awesome live and brings everything together the guy is money only if I can resist the urge to call him Tommy End (his indie name). The crowd loved this guy he was easily the most unique guy on the card. He faced Cezar Bononi a big Brazilian jacked up guy who clearly doesn’t have a lot of experience but he does have a look and that’s about it. Aleister does this springboard backflip from the second rope into his indian style pose which make me cringe everytime I see it. I just get worried he’s gonna hurt himself but that’s just me. Not much to the match Black hit Black Mass (spin kick) for the win got a good babyface reaction. I see big things for this guy.
Match 7: Asuka & Ruby Riot def. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Crowd was very much into both teams. Royce and Kay were sneaky heels at one point stealing the ring jackets of Asuka and Ruby. Asuka was easily the most over person in this match despite getting a few -and I do mean a few- boos. The heels worked on Ruby most of the match. When Asuka and Ruby did get the upper hand they taunted their opponents and in the end Asuka got the pinfall and one thing I noticed was Asuka was wearing the old NXT Women’s Championship. I know for house shows WWE have replica belts but this was not a replica of the new belt they just introduced this was the belt that was presumably retired earlier this month.
Main event: Bobby Roode def. Tye Dillinger to retain the NXT Championship
Best match on the card in my opinion. No surprise both guys super over. Hot crowd from bell to bell. Great near falls. Brawling up the aisle. Funny comedy spots. Just a very fun main event. Tye hit his Tye Breaker for a 2 count and Roode hit the Glorious DDT for a 2 count. In the end Roode distracted the ref and hit a low blow and the Glorious DDT for the win. After the match Roode continued to beat down Tye and he grabbed a chair and Tye dared Roode to hit him but Tye hit a low blow and the Tye Breaker & an added bonus hit a Perfect People’s Elbow to send the crowd home happy. Also Bobby Roode had on the presumably retired old NXT Championship instead of the new belt which prompted chants of “Where’s the new belt??”
Overall I give the show 8 out of 10.
It was a rather disappointing turnout but it wasn’t a quiet turnout. The guys put on a great show and the crowd reacted to it. It was nice to see WWE guys do a lot more WRESTLING than talking and I surely got my money’s worth once again from a NXT show.