Friday, 2 June 2017

WWE NXT #250 Review (31st May 2017)


On 31st May, WWE aired the 250th episode of NXT, taped at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL on 25th May. The show's main event saw Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno take on the team of Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe, representing SaNItY. In-ring action also came courtesy of WWE UK Champ Pete Dunne, Andrade Almas, Danny Burch and Cezar Bononi aswell as a bit of explanation from Tommaso Ciampa. But first, another new theme tune...




Ciampa explains DIWhy he did it.



We open on a becrutched Ciampa coming to the ring to the complete hatred of the Full Sail crowd, what would follow would be possibly the most satisfying promo in terms of content and delivery in NXT since the days of Kevin Owens. Ciampa covered a lot of ground from calling out Gargano knowing he was still away 'injured' to explaining that he did what he had to in order to remain in our collective memories, blaming Reddit (he didn't say Reddit but I'm saying Reddit) for fan-booking their own new partner for Gargano in the event of Ciampa having injury leave. If anyone's wondering, my choice would of course be The Gronk. He wanted to make sure that people remember him and that if he was going away for a long time, Gargano would be going away for a long, long time. The terrifying thing about this promo is how well justified it was, Ciampa's repeating of the phrase 'best friend' may have leant it, sadly, comparisons to  Owens and Jericho but Ciampa is his own beast. Just as maybe the crowd might start to buy into his portrayal of things, he turns on them again stating that it was his moment, not Jonny's, not theirs, his. He would finish by nearly spitting at the audience that he is 'the most dangerous, sonuvabitch in NXT, I'm professional wrestling, whether you like it or not'. Shit, this was good. Neat, considered, never wasteful and impactful as fuck. It's a shame that actual injuries do mean it's going to be a while before we actually see Gargano v Ciampa but when we do, considering the belter that was their CWC match, I have no doubt it will be beautiful.

  • We get a video package for Danny Burch. We don't learn much but it's nice to see him get something.
  • We get a medical update, well we learn that Ciampa will be out for a bit with injuries and that Gargano has refused to speak to anyone since the injury.
  • Bobby Roode is having a GLORIOUS celebration but we aren't invited. Rude.

Dunne Def. Burch



Percy Watson tries to provide some meaningful commentary on Dunne but sadly forgets that the entrance themes are more important than him in the sound mix. The two men lock up to begin with, Dunne transitions into a grounded armbar, wrenching the wrist, Burch escapes getting in a chinlock of his own, transitioning to a waistlock, Dunne escapes but it's clear Burch has done his research as he uses Dunne's own shtick against him catching him with a finger snap, test of strength, trading slaps and shoulder blocks, Burch nearly has Dunne in a crossface but Dunne wriggles to the ropes, Dunne changes the tides with something as simple as a forearm getting a neat two count, back from the ad break and Dunne is firmly in control with knuckles to the neck, throwing him to the corner, going for a splash, Burch takes him out with a boot and then hits a second rope missile dropkick, trading strikes, an enziguri, an exploder and a right hand earn Burch another two count, dueling two counts as Burch hits a headbutt and a knee strike for two, Dunne hits a snap suplex, running kick and an X-Plex for one of his own, goes for the Bitter End but Burch reverses into a crossface, escape and a big kick by Dunne, bigger clothesline by Burch, Dunne wriggles to the apron, goes for a Springboard but once again forgets his own shtick as Burch punches him out of the air into a draping DDT for another two count, goes for some form of punt but DUnne hits a lovely (and by lovely I mean 'ow, my head' says Burch) turnbuckle German suplex followed by the Bitter End, bang, and the Burch is Dunne. Having a lengthier encounter helped both men, packing their near 8 minutes with enough brutality to suggest a rematch (perhaps on a WWE UK show...?) could be lovely. Dunne looks so much better for having a decent length match instead of a two minute squash and Burch is made to look like a contender.
  • After the match, Dunne talks about the title that belongs to him being held by 'some boy' and that it was his pleasure to take it. History will remember that the Bruiserweight started the WWE UK brand. Hard to argue with him.
  • Velveteen Dream refuses to be interviewed because the ambience isn't right then he insults the interviewers hair. What a heel.
  • Paul Ellering talks some stuff about the book of pain and prophecies and sagas and the coming of a Dovahkiin or something like that, I don't know, I got bored and stopped listening.

Bononi def. Almas



Almas attacked Cezar Bononi from the bell hitting a dropkick, stomping on the back of Bononi, double knees in the corner, more knees, a tasty slap to Bononi's chest, more kicks and a knee to the gut, Bononi fought back with some MMA knee strikes, attempted a suplex only to have it reversed into a backbreaker-elbow combo, back to kicks, strikes, clotheslines and Almas' beloved running shout at the opponent and then slap them with this one sounding like it smarted, Almas went for a suplex only for Bononi to reverse it into a small package for the pin. I get that it is to tell this 'I'm distracted by all the pretty ladies' storyline but if the company really sees potential in Bononi, this might be a win but it did nothing to show him as anything interesting.

  • Almas gets into a huff about losing, throws some chairs around but shrugs it like a tranquilo motherfucker and goes off to party. Lad.
  • The Iconic Duo are being filmed by a presumably much abused presumed intern, still trying to decide where to put their Iconic Wing in the PC till Ember Moon wanders through to sign the 'I can wrestle stuff again paperwork'. Delightful.
  • In two weeks time, we get the rematch of the NXT Women's Title Triple Threat but this time under elimination rules. Also delightful.
  • After Itami lost at Chicago, he had a little tizzy and started kicking chairs, throwing bins  and flipping tables! of water! How wasteful, it's almost like he doesn't know that summer's coming up, he's going to feel very silly if there's a hosepipe ban. This all happens much to the shock of Oney Lorcan, Funaki and Kassius Ohno. Ohno tries to calm down Itami who is appears to have all the fucks that Almas doesn't give as he has to be bleeped out for a minute.
  • Luckily in the car park, just before filming they handshook it out. I'm glad they're still friends. Next Week: Itami vs Lorcan.

Strong & Ohno def. SaNItY (Young & Wolfe)



Young and Wolfe are accompanied to the ring by Dain, when the match begins, Dain is forced to leave the ring like a sad panda, Young and Strong start off trading shots, a Backbreaker by Strong (surprising) puts the faces in controls, Wolfe tags in, Dropkick by Strong, tag to Ohno, Wolfe and Young utlisie shenanigans to take control, I could tell you what happens next but really it can be summarised as Ohno plays the former WxW, PWG and CZW Champ-in-Peril, being traded between the two heels, hitting a few attempts at a comeback only to be derailed by interference from the big lad from Belfast Dain, When Ohno manages to hit the hot tag, though he does so by breaking convention and standing up to do a normal tag, Strong starts an invigorating comeback sequence including a high-angle Slam to Wolfe and an apron backbreaker to Young, Young get Wolfe in a pin but his foot is on the ropes, a surprise tag to Young leads to Strong falling right into the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker but Ohno breaks the pin, Dain tries to get involved but No Way Jose comes back to take out Dain and the crowd don;t quite lose their shit but they're pretty excited to see him back, Ohno hits a Rolling Elbow on Wolfe, Strong hits the Backbreaker Lumbar Check on Young for the pin. The lads celebrate at the top of the ramp. It was fine, I guess. I think it felt weird seeing the man FKA Chris Hero playing the underdog role especially when he's capable of so much more. Equally, it now seems clear the SaNItY might be on root to actually be the new Wyatt family by which I mean never allowed to pick up enough wins in a row to become a credible threat. It seems that Killian Dain is being treated as the most important (male) element of the faction which is a shame as Young is a real class act and Wolfe has his moments too. It's hard to fault the actual in-ring action as it was pretty standard, structural fare but really, this group are capable of producing something far more interesting.

Finally...


A superb overall product with some well-considered angle with a big return from No Way Jose and a potentially star-making promo from Ciampa was let down by a disappointing, structurally sound but unexciting main event. I'm glad they're clearly making Strong look so Roderick in order to set him up to be Roode's next contender and despite the matches ranging from ok-to-great, I can't wait for the Tye and Friends vs SaNItY feud to pass. Still, worth giving at least the first half of the show a watch for Ciampa's promo and a continued effort by Pete Dunne to steal all shows he's on.


ATPW Scale Rating: 5/10



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