Arena Reports CALDWELL'S WWE "NXT: HOUSTON" LIVE RESULTS 9/17: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Balor, Joe, Bayley, more from debut show in Texas
Sep 17, 2015 - 10:30:21 PM
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WWE NXT Live Results
September 17, 2015
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
WWE's NXT brand kicked off its first-ever Texas Tour in Downtown Houston on Thursday night. The Revention Center (working on the third naming-rights) is where TNA ran house shows in the early 2010s when they came through Houston.
This night's crowd was similar to when TNA had some buzz with the Beer Money vs. Motor City Machineguns feud about five years ago. Multiply that by five with fans hyped for Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Bayley (popular with guys and gals), and even Enzo Amore. Plus, the overall NXT brand having juice during its ascension. Fans were excited pre-show since NXT's reputation is consistently good to very good shows.
Demographically, the crowd was
mainly a mix of 20 and 30-somethings with an affinity for the Monday Night Wars and/or NXT as a "counter-brand," as Triple H put it yesterday, to the main WWE product aimed at kids and families.
Even non-fans came along with knowledgeable fans to be part of something that fans could be proud to say, "Yeah, I watch wrestling, come check it out." This also led to a discovery of one of the key problems with the WCW angle on Raw. Outside of the building, a non-fan asked a regular fan: "Could you explain what your WCW Nitro shirt about? I just know WCW as Woman Crush Wednesday." Welcome to the Monday Night Wars in 2015.
About five minutes before showtime, Greg Hamilton and Dasha Fuentes warmed up the crowd and polled the audience on who they came to see. Greg sounded very polished and ready for the big-time.
The show started with the National Anthem and the announce duo introducing the opening match.
The crowd exploded for Enzo Amore and Big Cass our first doing their SAWFT routine. Great warm-up act. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were out next for the opener. Really strange lighting for the match where it looked like they were wrestling in the dark with a yellow light bouncing off the ring.
(1) Enzo Amore & Big Cass best Jason Jordan & Chad Gable at 6:52. Long beat down on Amore until Big Cass tagged in. Double-team finish for the win. The crowd was into everything during this match, feeling like they were part of the routine they've watched on the Network. It would be really interesting to see if the act could translate to the main roster.
(2) Bull Dempsey beat Tye Dillinger at 6:50. The crowd alternated between "Bulls---" and "Bull-Fit" chants before the match. Dillinger mocked Bull's weight throughout, drawing sympathy from the crowd, which enjoyed Bull doing a 6.5 handstand. Bull hit a top-rope Earthquake splash for the win. Bull's spot on the main roster seems to be the kid-friendly big-man who gets sympathy for trying to overcome his perceived weight issues.
(3) Apollo Crews beat Solomon Crowe at 7:34. The first two matches (which you couldn't see much of in the dark) were more warm-up/character-driven bouts, so Crowe and the former Uhaa Nation turned up the volume on the wrestling with a good match. Crews really sold a mid-match attack as if he were injured, which set up a strong comeback with a flurry of offense culminating with a standing moonsault for the win. Another crowd-pleasing finish. Also of note, no dramatic nearfalls thus far. Must be saving them for later.
(4) Samoa Joe beat Baron Corbin via submission at 10:55. Joe's laid-back NXT music really takes the edge off what would be a monster pop with this crowd. Joe dominated early on, but Corbin cut off Joe's attack. The crowd taunted Corbin with a "You Can't Wrestle" chant, to which he tried to respond with a punch to Joe's back that, well, completely missed. Cue up the dramatic nearfalls both sides, leading to a finish of Joe nailing an enziguiri into the rear-naked choke for the win. Credit to Joe for setting a good pace for Corbin to work within. Corbin is getting better, and it helps to work with a pro like Joe.
(5) Dana Brooke beat Carmella at 5:53. Carmella's solo act independent of Enzo & Big Cass needs some fine-tuning to connect with the crowd. Most heel heat of the night for Brooke, who doesn't have the respect of the crowd. And no fix to the dark lighting during the break. Carmella got the crowd invested by downing Dana early on. Well, invested in a "Blue Pants" chant when Dana took over. Dana then finished off Carmella with a fireman's carry driver for the win. Strong boos for the first heel winning.
(6) NXT tag champions The Vaudevillians (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) beat Blake & Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss) at 10:36 to retain the NXT Tag Titles. The ring lighting finally improved to see a good old fashioned Test of Strength to start the match. The Vaudevillians were fantastic to start the match. Alden was a great ring leader setting up B&M for heel tactics to take control. They went back and forth trading nearfalls before Aiden nailed a running neckbreaker for the win. The tag champs's act is very good. Probably destined to be heels on the main roster, but this crowd enjoyed them very much.
(7) NXT Women's champion Bayley beat "Dark & Twisted" Emma at 10:28 to retain the NXT Women's Title. The crowd was en fuego when Bayley's music played and she was introduced. Long pre-match hug lap before the opening bell. Solid match with Emma dominating as the cocky former main roster star, setting up Bayley's big underdog comeback with a Bayley-to-belly suplex for the pin and the win. Both were really good.
Main Event time. Tyler Breeze was our first on the selfie-stick cam as the NXT Title challenger. After a pause, the demon was unleashed in the form of Finn Balor. No face or body paint for the house show. Strong entrance regardless. The crowd joined in the standard posing before Hamilton handled formal ring introductions.
(8) NXT champion Finn Balor beat Tyler Breeze at 14:03 to retain the NXT Title. Very good main event reflecting what NXT wants to be about - snug, hard-hitting match with dramatic nearfalls and good sequences building to the finish of Balor hitting the Coup de Grace for the win. The crowd was into both wrestlers, so they popped for Breeze's near-wins, Balor's comebacks, and Balor's finishing moves. Good close to a solid show.
Overall, a nice show. No b.s., just straight wrestling without interference. The crowd is into every act, either booing or cheering, so there's no need for shortcuts or shenanigans to try to get reactions or heat. NXT is in a good place with the crowd into the product. If they could have done something about the lighting early on, this would have been a very good show.
Attendance ended up being about 2,000-2,500, which is a good draw for a non-WWE main roster show in Houston on a Thursday night. The floor was full and the balcony was about three-fourths full. Good turn-out without any local advertising. They basically promoted this online and through social media.
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