WWE Wednesday Night Wrestling Wrap Up for Wednesday 7/13/16
Welcome to the new era of Wednesday nights for the WWE on the WWE Network. WWE will be giving us not one but two hours of 1st run programming every week starting last week, and lasting until September 14, 2016. WWE will be pairing up the weekly hour of NXT television we know and love with an hour of the Inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classic. If the first week of this pairing is any indication of how things are going to be then we are in for a fun two months. For the next few months, instead of the usual, weekly NXT Review, I will be doing a review of both programs. Just consider this your one-stop shop for all things NXT and CWC.
Hour one: NXT Episode 344
NXT episode 344 starts off with a short highlight video looking back at Shinsuke Nakamura telling Finn Balor he has to defeat him. We get our usual NXT opening video followed by a quick look at Balor arriving at Full Sail and Nakamura getting in a quick workout before the big match.
Corey Graves and Tom Phillips welcome us to this weeks episode of NXT. As they talk about the main event for the night the music of the champ plays. Graves and Phillips both looked shocked to hear the entrance music and we turn our attention to the entrance ramp. NXT Champions Samoa Joe makes his way to the ring and he doesn’t look happy. Joe says he is here, like everybody else, to watch Balor vs Nakamura. While he is looking forward to the match he is not very happy with the implications for the match.Those implications being that the winner becomes #1 Contender for his NXT Championship. He feels this is very disrespectful to him and he is here separate reality from fantasy. Joe says that some feel that Balor will be victorious against Nakamura and then defeat Joe for the title. Joe says that he slayed the “Demon.” Fans start to chant “Joe” which makes the champ smirk. He then calls those fans chanting his name hypocrites because they will also be cheering for Nakamura.
Joe: “The reality is I was the man who first brought strong style to these shores. So Shinsuke, if you’re the king you stand before the emperor, and if you try to snatch my crown I’ll leave you broken on a heap of all those who have tried before you!”
Joe goes on to say he is the man and dares anyone to try and run through him. This brings out Rhyno who challenges Joe to a match. Joe looks Rhyno over and laughs. Joe leaves the ring and says he will face Rhyno, but when he wants to. We got to a commercial break and when we come back we find out that next week we will get Samoa Joe vs Rhyno, American Alpha vs Authors of Pain and Bayley vs Nia Jax. We then get a short video of different people talking about Balor vs Nakamura. Finally, IT IS TIME!
Finn Balor vs Shinsuke Nakamura
The beginning of this match was delayed as first we got the ring entrances, a commercial break, and then the ring introductions. The mood for how important this match is was further defined by the fact that the ring introductions were similar to those we would get for a championship match along with the lights being out except for a spotlight focused on the ring. Before the match even starts the fans at Full Sail University start a “this is awesome” chant followed by dueling “Nakamura” “Lets Go Finn” chants. Both men exchange wristlocks to start. Balor puts Nakamura in a headlock. Nakamura backs Balor into the ropes and tries to play mind games with Balor but Balor turns the tables on Nakamura and spins him around into the ropes and “Too Sweets” Nakamura on the forehead. We get our first hard strike of the match as Nakamura knees Balor in the midsection. Nakamura loses control quickly as Balor applies another headlock. Nakamura shoots Balor into one of the corners and goes charging in after him. Balor leaps over the top rope. Nakamura attempts a clothesline but Balor blocks it. Balor goes for a kick to the head but Nakamura blocks that and delivers a kick of his own. Nakamura gives Balor the Good Vibrations boot choke in the corner not once but twice to the delight of the fans. Nakamura drapes Balor over the ring apron on the outside and follows this with a running knee lift and sends us to a commercial break after getting on the apron and taking Balor out with a leaping knee drop.
As we come back from a commercial break Nakamura is still in control with a leaping knee drop in the ring and then he puts Balor in the corner to deliver some knee strikes. Balor fights back with a basement dropkick to the knee of Nakamura. Balor then applies a knee lock to Nakamura. Nakamura break free only to roll up Balor and have Balor deliver a basement dropkick to the face. Balor takes turns chopping Nakamura in different corners until Nakamura tries to kick him. Balor blocks the kick, kicks Nakamura in the hurt leg and then drapes the leg of Nakamura over the middle rope and jumps on it to further damage the leg. Balor tries to apply a surfboard to Nakamura but is unsuccessful. Balor turns the negative into a positive by stomping on both knees of Nakamura. Balor applies a deep heel hook to Nakamura. Nakamura breaks free eventually with a knee to the mid-section of Balor followed by a spin kick. Nakamura then stomps away on Balor in the corner. Nakamura places Balor on the top rope and delivers his leaping double knee strike to the mid-section. Nakamura goes up top only to be meet with an enzuigiri by Balor. Balor delivers a basement dropkick as Nakamura tries to get back in the ring. Balor with a PK like kick on the outside as we go to our final commercial break of the evening.
We come back from the break and Balor hits the Coup De Grace on the back of a bent over Nakamura for a two count. Balor applies a grapevine short leg scissors to the injured leg of Nakamura as Phillips and Graves talk about how they have never seen the move. After letting go of the hold Balor blocks a kick attempt by Nakamura but gets nailed with a knee strike. Nakamura gets Balor in a triangle choke but doesn’t get a tapout. Both men are back up and Nakamura has Balor in the corner. Balor dodges a knee strike in the corner by Nakamura. Nakamura plants his hurt knee hard into one of the turnbuckles. Balor plants Nakamura with what Graves called a reverse 1916 for a two count. Slingblade by Balor. One foot dropkick by Nakamura. Nakamura delivers a KINSHASA to the back of the head of Balor but only gets a two count as he was slow to cover Balor. Nakamura charges at Balor only to be taken down by a standing Coup De Grace to the chest for a two count. Nakamura blocks an attempt at 1916. Both men exchange forearms. Balor kicks Nakamura in the knee, Nakamura kicks Balor in the head. Slingblade again by Balor. Balor takes down Nakamura with a basement dropkick into the corner. Balor misses the Cope De Grace off the top rope. Nakamura with a knee strike off the top followed by KINSHASA for the win.
Winner, by pin fall, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Following the match both men shake hands and give a deep bow of respect to each other. Balor leaves to allow the fans to show their support of the victorious Nakamura as we fade to Filmed in Florida.
Hour two: Inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classic, Episode 1
Episode 1 of the Inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classis opens with a look back at some of the great cruiserweights from the past like Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko. The video mentions that some managed to rise above their supposed limits to the top of the industry, showing Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30. The video turns to this tournament and the wrestlers in it trying to make history and put their own names along sides the legends of the past.
Corey Graves is in the CWC Control Center to talk about the matches for this episode.
First Round Match: Gran Metalik Vs Alejandro Saez
Before the match begins we get to a short video about each competitor, something that would be repeated throughout the night for the wrestlers in each match. The match starts with the ref making sure both men were told the rules in the back prior to the match and ask them to shake hands. This, like the pre-match video, was repeated in all of the matches. Both men shake hands and we are underway. Saez dominates early. Metalik nails Saez with an excellent superkick. Metalik shows off his excellent balance while walking the middle rope. Metalik with a step-up, springboard over the top dive onto Saez on the floor. Back in the ring and Metalik walks the rope again, this time the top rope, to deliver a splash. Later in the match Saez delivers a shooting star press, off the ring apron, onto Metalik on the arena floor. Saez misses a Spiral Tap allowing Metalik to regain control, hit a cradle driver and get the win.
Winner by pin, advancing to the Sweet 16, Gran Metalik
First Round Match: HoHo Lun Vs Ariya Daivari
This match starts with Daivari refusing to shake hands, drawing boos from the crowd at Full Sail University. Daivari with the first impressive move of the match, taking down Lun with a nice leaping neckbreaker. Later we get a nice running knee strike Daivari and a beautiful 360 kick that sounded just as good as it looked. Daivari later nails Lun with a really nice roaring elbow. Near the end of the match Daivari missed a frog splash, allowing Lun to knee Daivari in the back of the head. Lun finishes the match with a superkick to Daivari and then a bridging German Suplex for the pin.
Winner by pin, advancing to Sweet 16, HoHo Lun
First Round Match: Clement Petiot Vs Cedrick Alexander
Both men shake hands, but Petiot pulls in Alexander and things are intense from the start. Alexander with an absolutely beautiful dropkick which came on the heels of him taking Petiot down with a backflip, handspring head scissor takedown. Petiot shows his power with a nice suplex. Alexander misses a splash in the corner and Petiot drops Alexander with an enzuigiri followed by a knee drop. Petiot with a flurry of forearms strikes. Petiot misses a knee in the corner as Alexander moves out of the way. Alexander snaps Petiot back first across the top rope and then gets back in the ring with a springboard clothesline. Later Petiot hits a discus clothesline but doesn’t get the win. Petiot goes for another roaring elbow but Alexander counters into the Lumbar Check for the win.
Winner by pin, advancing to the Sweet 16, Cedrick Alexander
First Round Match: Kota Ibushi Vs Sean Maluta
Both men shake hands before the match. Back and forth action to start the match. Kota shows early why his kicks are among the most feared in all of professional wrestling. Maluta misses a splash from the top early. Ibushi with a really nice springboard missile dropkick. Ibushi takes down Maluta with with a nice T-Bone Suplex. Later in the match Maluta comes off the top rope and scores with an amazing Code Breaker that Ibushi sold like a million dollars. Maluta does a flip dive over the top rope that doesn’t go exactly right but he hits enough of it to maintain control. Maluta take down bushi with a nice straight kick followed by a neckbreaker for a two count. Ibushi with a near Okada-level dropkick. Ibushi ducks a punch from Maluta and then fires off a series of strikes finished off with a stiff kick to the chest and a standing moonsault. Both men later are on the top rope. Ibushi is trying superplex Maluta. Maluta blocks the superplex and knocks Ibushi off the top with some forearm smashes. Before Maluta can take advantage of the down Ibushi the “Golden Star” gets back to his feet, leaps up, and knocks Maluta off the top rope to the outside with a Pele kick that would make AJ Styles proud. Ibushi showing his amazing ability off by hitting Maluta with a triangle moonsault over the top to the outside. Back in the ring and Maluta shows why some call him the “King of the Savate Kick” by nearly kicking the head off of Ibushi. This amazing kick only got a 2 count. Ibushi finishes things off with a beautiful roundhouse kick and a Last Ride sit-out powerbomb for the win.
Winner by pin, advancing to the Sweet 16, Kota Ibushi
-The promo by Samoa Joe during NXT Episode 344 may be one of the best he has done in his entire career and it was probably my favorite thing from the entire night of action on the WWE Network.
-Episode 345 should be fantastic.
-Nakamura vs Balor was a fantastic match with my only issue being the on-again, off-again, selling by Nakamura of his knee that Balor was working on during the match. That small nitpick aside, I loved the match and if it was indeed the last match for Balor in NXT then he went out with a bang.
-If Balor took Nakamura down with a reverse 1916, should we call it a 6191?
-I loved the first episode of the CWC. The presentation was fresh and the look was very appealing. The video game like graphics were a nice touch as well.
-If Daniel Bryan does not take one of the General Manager jobs on the main roster I would love to see him as a full-time announcer.
-Bryan worked extremely well with Mauro Ranallo and the two made a great announcing team. Pairing them Corey Graves in the CWC Control Center made for the best three man announce team in all of the WWE.
-I could easily see all of the participants in this show, even Lun, getting full-time deals to work at least NXT, if not the main roster.
-Gran Metalik needs a bigger mask. He lost his mask when finishing off Saez. Had they not shown it in the reply you would have never known he lost the mask completely.
-Alejandro Saez has a lot of the right things going for him and with some work could be a good lower mid-card performer.
-HoHo Lun had a look of total shock that he won after his match. If he wasn’t actually in shock he should have been because he was totally out-performed in that match.
-Ariya Daivari could be a big star if he continues to progress. He has a great look, excellent facial expressions, moves very well in the ring, and knows how to work the crowd and be the character he is trying to portray. If they haven’t already signed him then WWE needs to do so now.
-Clement Petiot from a looks standpoint reminds me a lot of a start-of-TNA AJ Styles. While he looks a young Styles, he does not have the in-ring ability that Styles had then. Petiot was trained by Lance Storm, one of my all-time favorites, and shows a lot of promise. He is someone I could see WWE getting behind with a nice push once he gains more experience.
-Cedrick Alexander is as smooth as butter in the ring and I can’t wait to see him face Ibushi in the second round. Alexander was always a personal favorite of mine in Ring Of Honor and I think they made a huge mistake in letting him go to WWE.
-Sean Maluta may be the most athletic of the currently performing members of the Samoan Wrestling Tree. His Code Breaker off the top rope and his Savate kick were things of beauty. Granted, Ibushi sold them like a million bucks so that helped. We already know they think pretty highly of Maluta since they had him perform at the most recent NXT TV tapings.
-Kota Ibushi in NXT. I never thought I would see Ibushi working full-time in WWE. It goes right up there with seeing AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Namakura performing under the WWE umbrella. If Okada, Omega and Shibata join the WWE in the near future then almost all of my NJPW favorites will have made their way from the Land of the Rising Sun to the McMahonLand.
Overall a great first night of back to back NXT and CWC action. The next few months should be very interesting. I apologize for the lateness of this review as I had a very busy weekend finishing out my time in graduate school to get my Masters Degree in Education.
Agree or disagree with any of this review? Let me know by Let me know with an email, a comment below or send me a tweet at ThePhillMc. Until next time, keep it clean and keep it classy and that’s the bottom line because The Phill said so! YeaOH!