So, the wife and I decided on a romantic evening out at one of the NXT live events, this time in Poughkeepsie. After the title change in Lowell, MA, it really gives a sense that anything could happen at these. Besides, we had a really great time at the last one we went to. We wound up getting great seats - third row on the floor, right by the entrance ramp. This show was pretty great, so I decided a quick recap was in order.
The first match was a delight for me, as Mojo Rawley, all by his lonesome now, was soundly defeated by Chris Girard, of all people. You might remember him from TV several weeks (months?) ago, as a jobber who made great faces and threw great elbows. He continues to excel in both of these areas. I really thought he was going to lose again here, so him winning, even on a house show, gives me a lot of hope for this guy in the future.
Next was BayMella vs. Dana Brooke and Peyton Royce. There was a lot of comedy in this one, but the punchline was a Belly to Bayley on Dana Brooke. If this match did anything, it cemented how far above the other girls Bayley is, and how little NXT can afford to lose her to RAW right now.
The next match seemed like it was going to be a cool-down. Tomasso Ciampa came out, and then a guy named Manny Andrade, I guy I've never even heard of who had no real entrance. I had to look him up when I got home. He evidently wrestled as La Sombra in CMLL. Anyhoo, this one wound up being absolutely spectacular. My favorite match of the night, in fact, owing to what a surprise it was. Great back and forth, some high-flying, and a lot of technical stuff. Crowd was initially pretty quiet for this one, until Manny kicked out of a devastating-looking powerbomb lung-blower. Then everybody was on their feet. The big surprise was Manny actually picking up the win with a running double knee to the corner. I want Manny on TV yesterday.
Next up with Elias Samson, who sang a song to infuriate the crowd. He got interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura. Okay. Okay. Guys. There is no substitute for seeing this guy's entrance live. It's electric. Going back to the old argument about this guy for a second, big house/small house doesn't matter. He fills the place up. Match itself was alright. They did some pretty good comedy spots that will probably be in next week's TV match. Nakamura gets the win, naturally.
We took intermission, then came back with the Revival vs. American Alpha in a 2/3 falls match. This one was a ton of fun, and it turns out that Dash Wilder is really funny. He was constantly shouting stuff from the apron. American Alpha took the first fall with the Grand Amplitude, and Revival the second with the Shatter Machine. Finally, American Alpha won the match with a spectacular double ankle-lock spot that was just a ton of fun and really came out of nowhere.
Women's title match was next, and Alexa Bliss was the challenger. I'm a big fan of both her and Asuka, but honestly this one didn't click for me. It was alright at best. Alexa Bliss needs to work on her punches more. Asuka won with the Crossface Chickenwing.
Main event wound up being a triple threat, with Aries added to Joe and Finn. Rumors of Finn being injured wound up being true - he was wearing kinesthetic tape on his shoulder, and I suspect that's why Aries got added to the match. He didn't seem to be hurt badly, though, and he should probably be fine in a couple weeks. Before anything started, Finn made finger pistols at Aries, which got a huge pop from the crowd. Match was really good, with a lot of fun spots, including a missile dropkick from Aries on to Joe which I had one of the best seats in the house for. Finish came when Finn hit Bloody Sunday on Aries, but Joe tossed him out of the ring and stole the pin to retain.
After the match, Finn stuck around to address the crowd, but we beat him to the punch with chants of "Thank you Finn," and "See you Monday," the first of which seemed to genuinely move him, and the second of which he seemed to get a pretty good chuckle out of. He thanked us for coming out, and claimed that he wasn't going anywhere, which is usually a pretty good indication that a guy is going somewhere. He also took a curtain call on the way out, which you don't usually do if you're not finished.
Further evidence that you'll be seeing Finn on Monday? He didn't leave on the bus with the rest of the talent. We stuck around trying to catch some of the wrestlers afterwards, but the mob was way too big. I could see Bayley, Carmella, Asuka, and Jason Jordan, and I saw everbody get on the bus, but that was it. No Finn, though, so my guess was he ran out of the arena into a private car, and went straight to Hartford for RAW.
Fun evening, and I definitely recommend any NXT house shows that come to (or near) your necks of the woods.
I was tempted by this show, but decided against the 90 minute drive. I like how these guys bounce all around CT, but never set foot on Vince's turf. It sounds like they changed the card, but I like this line-up better.