This week's WWE NXT started with the standard introduction video package and Todd Grisham and William Regal introducing the show. Matt Striker was in the ring with a bucket of eggs that looked like ping-pong balls, then Darren Young came out to cut a promo on him. Young said Striker is a washed-up former WWE wrestler who's now an NXT host. Striker told Young he's tired of listening to him talk about his past accolades, which is why he won't win NXT. Young then popped Striker in the mouth and bailed from the ring to continue jawing at Striker. A match between them was then set, much to the crowd's delight. Striker checked his mouth as they cut to the announcers.
Announcers: Todd Grisham brought in Tyson Kidd, who was standing by backstage. He has a match against Justin Gabriel tonight. Kidd took exception to the announcers discussing Gabriel's background and claimed he's the best to ever come from the Hart Dynasty dungeon. For now, he'll settle for teaching Gabriel a lesson and making him suffer. He said he'll make ol' Justin realize how great he truly is.
1 -- JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. TYSON KIDD
Regal relayed a note from a friend that Dynamite Kid is a huge fan of Kidd and Dynamite thinks Kidd is the next installment of him. Strong back-and-forth action early on as Kidd showed his trademark aggression. Grisham noted tonight's show is like a Hallmark movie (as opposed to a Lifetime movie last week) with Regal sharing various career reflections and memories. Gabriel then slipped Kidd to the floor and went for a springboard move, but Kidd cut the legs out from under him and knocked him to the floor. They cut to break with both men selling on the floor.
Back from break, Kidd was in control of the action working a reverse chinlock center-ring. Lots of screaming here from Kidd. Gabriel broke free, but Kidd resumed his attack. Gabriel then flipped over Kidd and landed a discus forearm for a nearfall. He followed with an enziguiri that put Kidd flat on his back. Gabriel then teased the 450 splash, but Kidd wisely rolled out of the ring. Gabriel re-adjusted and executed a baseball slide kick through the ropes followed by a corkscrew plancha.
Back in the ring, Gabriel went for a springboard splash, but Kidd rolled through into a close nearfall. The crowd oohed the nearfall. Kidd then found himself trapped in a neck and leg vice submission before reaching the ropes for a break. Gabriel tried to follow up with the 450 splash again, but Kidd crotched him. Kidd then executed a top-rope springboard huracanrana, but it was only good for a two count. Regal said he believes Kidd has been the star of NXT throughout the season because of his offensive displays.
The action reset at 13:00 with Gabriel countering a whip into the ropes into a sit-out slam for a two count. Gabriel tried to follow up, but Kidd slipped on a single-leg Boston Crab. Regal referenced Lance Storm as Gabriel suddenly countered the hold into a quick roll-up for a two count. Gabriel followed with a modified STO, then climbed up top for a third time. Gabriel took his time setting up for the 450 splash and he connected to a big reaction. (Kidd had to assist in positioning himself a bit.) Gabriel with the pin for the win as the kids roared for Gabriel.
WINNER: Gabriel at 14:43. Nice match. Good athleticism and a nice back-and-forth pace setting up a strong final five minutes. Probably one of the best matches on NXT this season. (**1/2)
Up Next: Matt Striker gets a shot at Darren Young.
2 -- MATT STRIKER vs. DARREN YOUNG
Young was out first, then Striker - complete with standard trunks this week - charged the ring and wanted a piece of Young, but the ref held him back so they could officially start the match. Once the bell sounded, Striker charged at Young, who absorbed an early flurry of punches before taking control of the action with a neckbreaker on the ring apron. Young continued to wear down Striker after executing an overhead belly-to-belly suplex that dropped Striker on the front of his face. Striker came up bleeding from the nose, but came back with a Gory bomb special. Striker was bleeding heavily from the nose, but the match wasn't stopped by a ringside medic. Has the blood rule been done away with in WWE?
Striker executed MVP's playmaker, but Young kicked out twice. Striker wiped the blood off his nose as the referee, now wearing gloves, checked on him. Striker followed with a flying boot, but Young kicked out. Young then came back with a gutbuster across his knees after throwing Striker out of the fireman's carry position. It was good for the pin to give Young a win over the bloody Striker.
WINNER: Young at 4:46. Fine enhancement for Young's heel character.
Still to come: Titus O'Neil vs. Derrick Bateman.
WWE Title video: They aired the NFL Films-style video package from Raw on the Cena-Punk feud going back to the MITB PPV and continuing to Summerslam this Sunday.
Announcers: Grisham and Regal discussed Cena vs. Punk at Summerslam, now with Triple H as special referee. Regal was completely speechless trying to find the words on what will happen before concluding Hunter sometimes has ulterior motives.
Backstage: Daniel Bryan was shown walking around. He then found Derrick Bateman playing a video game, claiming he's training. Bryan shut it off and said they need to talk. Bryan said the reason why he hasn't been in his corner lately and why he won't be in his corner tonight is because he's been making a fool out of himself. Bryan told him that until he figures himself out, he's going to be on his own. Bryan walked off, leaving Bateman to ponder his life mission.
In-ring: Hornswoggle's music played to bring out Titus O'Neil flanked by his jack and jill buddies, Hornswoggle and A.J., who were both sporting new hair looks. Regal said the kids are so happy to see Hornswoggle. Derrick Bateman then slowly walked out with sort of a blank look on his face. Regal said he doesn't get Bateman and thinks he's right up there with Jimmy The Gimmick a/k/a JTG in his book.
3 -- DERRICK BATEMAN vs. TITUS O'NEIL (w/Hornswoggle and A.J.)
Regal said Bateman is a bit nervous tonight because he was eliminated from Season 4 in this same building. Bateman was the aggressor early on and repeatedly yelled into the crowd after successful offense. Meanwhile, Regal critiqued Bateman on his application of a reverse chinlock, which foreshadowed Titus easily escaping and mounting a comeback. Bateman chopblocked him, though, and went for a sunset flip, but Titus sat down on his shoulders and scored a three count. It was quite anticlimactic and came out of nowhere, exemplified by A.J. looking caught off guard and forgeting to celebrate when the camera focused on her.
Post-match: Bateman attacked Titus from behind, then turned his attention to Hornswoggle, but Titus smashed him from behind. Titus then delivered an emphatic sky-high bomb. Titus wasn't done, as he set up Hornswoggle to deliver the Tadpole Splash for an exclamation point on the proceedings. A.J. applauded this time and the trio celebrated just like last week to close another episode of the never-ending NXT. Titus hoisted Hornswoggle on his shoulders, just like I saw live Week 1 earlier this year, and that ended the show.
WINNER: Titus at 3:29. More of the John Morrison treatment for Bateman, who has regressed from Season 4. Either it's setting up Bateman's character to snap and "flip the switch" to go the other way or WWE has lost complete confidence in him. Meanwhile, Titus is right where he's always been.
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