WWE NXT LIVE Event- August 12, 2016
by Scrooge McSuck
- Coming to you LIVE from the Venice Community Center in Venice, FL, it's NXT LIVE! With about 325 fans in attendance, that constitutes being a full house in these neck of the woods. Charly Caruso (formerly a sports reporter for FOX59 Indianapolis) is both our host and ring announcer for the evening. We're in full-on hype mode for Takeover: Brooklyn, as she runs down the card for that particular evening. Probably not the best idea considering how weak the depth chart is for tonight's show when it comes to top of the card names.
Jeet Rama vs. Noah Potjes:
Not much to say about Jeet Rama, but that's not to say there isn't anything worth noting. Rama was signed out of India in one of WWE's annual "let's try and build interest with foreign born talent" and actually debuted him during their most recent tour of India with a victory of American Alpha's Chad Gable. Noah Potjes, a native of Hawaii, signed with WWE in 2015 and has experience in Afa's World Xtreme Wrestling. I wouldn't be surprised if he were trained in the Wild Samoan Pro Wrestling Training Center. Underwhelming start to the show. The crowd sheepishly chanted for "Jeet" even though he hasn't been a regular at the Venice shows, but other than that, didn't react much. Noah, a stand-out for working the crowd last time, didn't do much to get heat. Mostly strikes and headlocks. Finish came with Noah missing a charge to the corner and Rama pinning him with a school boy roll-up at the 6:00 mark. I'm not going to hand out star ratings, but this definitely was an 0 for 1 start to the night.
Heavy Machinery vs. Chris Atkins & Kishan Raftaar:
Niko Bogojevic and Tucker Knight comprise the newly formed team of beefy grapplers. Bogojevic is former Amateur Wrestler out on Wisconsin and signed with WWE shortly after WrestleMania. He was featured on the card held on July 8th, but didn't see much action since it was a complete squash for the Authors of Pain. Knight has been working live events and made occasional TV appearances, but nothing of note. Atkins is a 6'6" Australian who must be really green since his latest TV appearance was 30-seconds being squashed by Mojo Rawley, and Raftaar is another Indian talent signed around the same time as Jeet Rama. Complete squash match for Heavy Machinery, out-wrestling their opponents and at times using their bulk to their advantage. Finish came when Bogojevic pinned Raftaar following a Vader Bomb at the 3:00 mark. 1 for 2 for the sake of it being a decent squash match.
- Charly Caruso interviewed Heavy Machinery and they were quickly interrupted by the Revival. After talking big and bragging about how awesome they were, they backed out of defending the titles later tonight, because neither Bogojevic or Knight deserve it, but they will get a "top guys" whooping.
Daria Berenato vs. Billie Kay:
The women's division is clearly in desperate need of rebuilding. Billie Kay is a native of Australia and has experience in the U.S. with Shimmer, among other independent promotions. She's been used on NXT TV for the last year or so, mostly in jobber duty until recently. Daria has only a year's worth of experience, completely credited to the Performance Center, and has a background in mixed martial arts. Her ring attire appears to be a cross-over of such gear, with fingerless "Tap Out" gloves. I wonder how well it worked for Josh Woods mixing a MMA background into a wrestling career (spoiler: he was released a few weeks ago). I've seen a fair share of Billie Kay recently, and she's just not very good. I guess you could say having matches with an inexperienced Daria or Liv Morgan hardly qualifies as a good measuring tool, but she doesn't do much to impress and moves at a very deliberate pace. Daria, on the other hand, shows her inexperience. Her striking is awful and she only did basic rest holds. Billie Kay caught Daria by surprise with her charging big boot for the victory at around the 8:00 mark. 1 for 3 on the night, and this wasn't even a close one.
Adrian Jaoude vs. Buddy Murphy:
Finally, a match with some crowd energy. Murphy may not be much on his own, but the guy at least knows how to work a crowd. Jaoude is a Brazilian mixed martial artist who was actually on the verge of representing his country in the Rio Olympics, but failed to qualify. They really seem to be trotting out their international signees this time around, and are just vanilla faces without much reason to support them. Murphy took exception to being yelled at for hanging out on the apron, so he deliberately sat around and took a referee's count as much as possible until Jaoude had enough and comically chased him around the ring. Another match that didn't feature much action, but at least kept the crowd invested, thanks to Murphy's constantly playing the crowd and over-selling all of Jaoude's strikes. Murphy picked up the surprise win by blocking a sunset flip and sitting down on Jaoude's chest for three count at the 9:00 mark. 2 for 4 for the antics and energy of Buddy Murphy. Anyone else and this could've easily been another failure.
Tino Sabbatelli vs. Angelo Dawkins:
One of our casual friends who came along for this show said Dawkins looked like a LeBron James wannabe. Well, I guess that is accurate, since that's exactly what he allegedly called himself on the recent episode of NXT. First time seeing Sabbatelli. Before venturing into the world of professional wrestling, he was a standout Safety at Oregon State and was drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent time with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Kansas City between 2007 and 2011, and signed with WWE in October 2014. This was the match that almost broke me the rest of the night. I guess the show was running short, so these guys had the honor of killing the crowd. First, the obnoxious poses: Sabbatelli's "make it rain" and Dawkins "stirring the bowl" were done to the point it became a sick joke that they kept doing it. The match started OK, with them doing a respectable face vs. face type exchange until Dawkins sucker punched Sabbatelli. Then it was rest-hold city. At one point, Dawkins held onto a chin-lock for roughly 5-minutes. I've never been a rude fan before, but at this point I was actually insisting on people chanting boring. Sabbatelli eventually won the match with what used to be called the Final Cut (Big Show's finisher in 2001-02) at the 15:00 mark. 2 for 5, and if it were possible, I'd add a phantom match to the tally, this was that boring.
No Way Jose vs. Patrick Clark:
Apology accepted. After sitting through the most boring match I've ever witnessed from any NXT or WWE brand events over the last year, I'm treated to an appearance from someone I was hoping to get an appearance from... No Way Jose. Yeah, I didn't think I'd say the same thing two months ago, but here we are. He's awesome. Clark was recently featured on Tough Enough, but didn't win. He's made occasional appearances on NXT TV as a jobber, but he's already showing more ability and progress than most other performance center guys on this show. Most of the match was No Way Jose doing his thing: dancing, smiling, and incorporating some comedy with Clark. Went longer than expected, with Clark getting his share of offense. Finish came when Jose knocked him silly with the Popeye Punch and put him away with the Cobra Clutch Slam at the 8:00 mark. 3 for 6 for getting the crowd into the show and for Jose having a fun vibe.
- Charly Caruso interviewed Aliyah. After signing autographs and being a fan pleaser during the "Meet and Greet", she's trotted out playing an obnoxious female dog, saying that Breaking Ground made her look like an idiot, but bragged about being young and legal (to drink), specifically called out Asuka for being over a decade older than her, and promised that Asuka would not be relevant and soon she would be instead.
Heavy Machinery vs. The Revival:
(Niko Bogojevic & Tucker Knight vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Non-Title Match, as mentioned earlier. The Revival talked a big game until they had to back it up, and quickly reneged on defending the Championships. Crowd seemed to love chanting "Two-Time Dorks" at the Champs, and one fan got a smart-ass response for a "Two Horsemen" chant. Put together like an old school NWA tag team match. Bogojevic and Knight dominated the opening minutes, constantly out-smarting the Revival and out-wrestling them at times, too. To my surprise, it was Bogojevic who played the face-in-peril, since he seemed more like the "star" of the team. The Revival's quick tags and double team efforts were fantastic, some of the best, effortless looking tag team work I've seen of any team in NXT or on the main roster in a long time. It shouldn't be long until they're promoted, too. Knight got the hot tag, but things quickly broke down. Bogojevic went for the Vader Bomb, but Dawson swept him off for a crash landing, and with the assistance of his Dash Wilder and his own feet on the ropes, pinned Bogojevic at the 14:00 mark. Solid match, in the neighborhood of the 3-stars marker, and easily boosts the show to a 4 for 7 success rate.
NXT Women's Championship Match:
Asuka © vs. Ember Moon:
Main Event of the card, to my surprise. I say that simply because Moon has yet to be featured on TV, while in previous shows, the Main Event featured strictly "TV talent" that were given decent pushes. Moon has worked on the Independent circuit for nearly a decade, mostly under the name Athena (not to be confused with the ring attendant in the early days of TNA). She's sporting a gladiator style outfit that seems like a less cartoonish version of Faarooq's (pre-Nation days). Both played face, never really doing anything to heel it up. Would've been interesting to see Asuka act heel, but in the Main Event against an unknown to the casuals, you can't do that. Both worked hard and took some solid bumps, including Moon getting knocked off the apron with a flying hip attack and taking a hard leap into the security rail. Asuka worked in a lot of submissions, including a standard Boston Crab, the Lion Tamer, and a Surfboard. Moon's offense mostly came through counters, striking, and the occasional dropkick. Asuka eventually made Moon tap out to the Asuka Lock (Crossface Chicken-Wing) and retained the title at the 14:00 mark. Another good match, and probably the best of the night if not for lackluster crowd heat, and we end the show with a 5 for 8 success rate, with the last three matches doing a good job of digging them out of the hole they were in.
Final Thoughts: It's easy to look at the lineup and consider this a disappointing show. Other than Asuka, The Revival, and No Way Jose, they didn't pack in a lot of the top names featured on TV, and we're coming off a show that just featured Shinsuka Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Bayley, and a returning Hideo Itami, among others. This came across as a B-show, and looking at who was used in Tampa the night before, I can confirm that suspicion. On the positive side, the top matches of the night delivered decent action, helping make up for what came off as a very underwhelming undercard, and it's always fun to see the talent we should expect to see added to the weekly product, assuming there's a role for them and the more green talent shows improvement.
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