NXT recap 3.18.15 – Kevin Owens destroys A-Ry #NXT

NXT 3-18-15 - Finn Balor posesFor the first time in the promotion’s history, NXT has an episode on the road as the superstars invade Columbus, Ohio as part of the Arnold Sports Festival.

The set is very reminiscent of ECW’s road trip to Florida for a series of TV tapings back in 1995. Always good to mix up the visual a bit for the viewers.

Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze. For awhile it looked like Breeze was just going to be higher level NXT jobber, but he’s gotten on a bit of a roll the last few weeks culminating in his clean victory over Hideo Itami. NXT 3-18-15 - Tyler Breeze vs Kalisto

Kalisto proves a fun match-up for him and we get a solid back and forth encounter before Breeze counters Kalisto’s finisher with the Beauty Shot for the win. Prince Pretty is on a nice winning streak. Like Jim Ross says on The Ross Report, the easiest way for fans to connect with a wrestler is for them to get some wins.

Alexa Bliss talks about her excitement in wrestling in front of her hometown fans.

Look at the NXT Gang invasion of Arnold Fest including autograph signings and fan greeting sessions. I know there’s no such thing as faces and heels when the cameras aren’t running, but I find it harder to not be an even bigger fan of heel Women’s Champ Sasha Banks or heelish NXT champ Kevin Owens when they’re smiling and posing for pics with fans. Back in the wrestling stone age days when I started watching in 84 if I saw Iron Shiek or Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan glad-handing fans, it’d be a lot harder for me to root against them. Just to ensure the heels actually get booed, I’d significantly limit their fan interactions as long as they’re heels. Plenty of time

Balor talks in back with Riley to warn him of the dangers of Owens, who’s already put Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville on the shelf, and says he’ll be watching to have his back. Riley is glad to hear it as he wants a witness to the beating he’s gonna level on Owens. Well, I suppose confidence is a good thing even if it’s laughably misplaced in this case.

Another look at NXT in Ohio at the Angora. Triple H sounds like a proud papa as he hypes the roster up in preparation for the show. Have to appreciate Breeze being the only one to stay in character as he is focusing on his face and hair as much as Triple H. It’s those little things that makes a guy stand out. Charlotte showed a much more likeable side to her personality in these brief clips than at any point since I’ve started watching.

NXT 3-18-15 - Cass, Enzo and CarmelaColin Cassady vs Weskey Blake. Blake & Murphy are amped up. I dig their enthusiasm. Now we just need to get them a name. The crowd goes nuts for Enzo and Cass (or maybe it’s just Carmela). These guys are the most organic successors we’ve seen since the heyday of The New Age Outlaws. They’ve got all kinds of catchphrases for the audience to sing along with and with the hyper ADD attention span of the modern WWE viewer, there’s little reason to suspect they couldn’t get bumped to the main roster and be a hot midcard act for years.  The crowd chants for Blue Pants. I concur. Cass doesn’t wrestle like a 6’10” guy, which is both a positive and a negative. He could stand to incorporate more of his size in his moveset while keeping his

Cass dominates, but Murphy hops on the apron to distract him. Cass boots him, but Blake rolls him up and knocks Carmella off the ring apron as well allowing Blake to get the win. Carmella sells the ankle injury, but we cut to commercial before any resolution.

NXT Diva Dana BrookeDana Brooke video. Apparently she was an NXT diva who’d been on the shelf for awhile, but it seems clear she got her start as a fitness model as she takes part in a competition during Arnold Fest.

She didn’t win though otherwise that would have been a longer package.

Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks. Non title?? Bliss is in her hometown. Sasha has such great charisma and has her character down perfectly. Banks and Bliss are fired up and laying in shots so stiff that I started wondering if there was some legit beef between the two. In this realm of sports entertainment, you really can’t ask for more. NXT 3-18-15 - Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks

Proving Triple H has a lot more sense than senile old Vince, Bliss doesn’t take the loss in her hometown, instead taking the fight to Banks on the outside and barely getting back in to get the count-out win ensuring Bliss gets a title match. Booking wrestling isn’t that hard, which makes it all the more baffling when writers manage to screw it up.

Owens promo. He’s going to finally rid us once and for all of A-Ry. I’m confused, wouldn’t that make Owens the face? Bliss talks about her victory, Banks interrupts and William Regal announces a title match. See? Just that simple.

NXT 3-18-15 - Kevin Owens dominates Alex RileyAlex Riley vs. Kevin Owens. Foreshadowing the fan response for his grudge match, a kid nearly leaves Riley hanging while he enters. Riley is ready and hits his big moves — the standing dropkick and spinebuster – but the fans remain unimpressed chanting “Kill Owens Kill.” Owens trash talks while he’s got Riley in a headlock. How sad is it that Owens seems like a much more entertaining Wrestlemania match against Brock Lesnar than Roman Reigns? Owens pretty much dominates and hits the pop up powerbomb for the win. Where does Riley go from here? More intense training so he can come back and provide a stronger challenge to Owens? Not a bad storyline, but no need to waste it on Riley.

NXT 3-18-15 - Finn Balor and Kevin Owens face offOwens goes for the ring apron powerbomb, but Balor walks out leading to a brawl. Just as Balor goes for the coup de grâce, Owens runs out, but kicks Riley on his way out. How do you not love this guy? Next week: Kevin Steen vs. Prince Devitt, one of the few legitimate  independent dream matches coming our way. I may be overselling it, but I fully expect it to be in the running for Match of the Year. No pressure at all guys.