After last week’s Gold Rush Tournament Quarterfinals wrap up, WWE NXT 08/15/12 gives us both semifinal matches. Also, last week’s episode promised us that the Ascension would “rise” on this week’s episode. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT 08/15/12 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Cold open on an “earlier today” segment. Briley Pierce interviews Richie Steamboat about his semifinal match against Jinder Mahal. Steamboat says being the first champ would be a blessing and being a champion has been his dream since he was a child. Jinder enters, says some stuff in a combo of English and Punjabi, and says tonight Richie’s dream becomes a nightmare.
Standard NXT opening credits and we’re taped from Full Sail. Byron welcomes us to the show and – wait – is that Brandi Rhodes in the crowd? A chyron pops up to tell us our commentary team is Saxton, William Regal, and Jim Ross. JR joins again at the end, so it seems he can only be bothered to do commentary on the tournament matches and the main event of each episode.
Jinder’s music hits and he’s out to no reaction. I’m not kidding. You could hear a pin drop. Jinder’s a pro and shouts and wildly gestures on the way to the ring, but no one cares. He puts his turban in the plexiglass case and climbs into the ring. Steamboat is out next to a modest pop. We’re watching the semifinals of the tournament to crown the first NXT Champion and the Full Sail is as dead as I’ve ever heard them. Odd.
Match #1: Jinder Mahal vs. Richie Steamboat (Gold Rush Tournament Semifinal Match)
Wow. The crowd just does not care about this match. It’s… an okay match. Steamboat still has really yet to do anything on this show to make me feel like he’s a big deal. Jinder is 2012 Jinder. He doesn’t do a whole lot beyond punches, knee strikes, and stomps. Steamboat fires back with some pinning combinations, but they only ever get him a two count. The finish comes when Steamboat takes a risk, misses off the top rope, and Mahal slaps on the Camel Clutch. Steamboat is forced to tap.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I mean, I guess I can kind of see why the crowd is dead for this match. I figured at the very least Jinder would get some boos after Steamboat tapped out, but complete silence and no reaction from Full Sail. I guess “booing Jinder just for the sake of booing Jinder” is still about five years off.
Post-match, we see the bracket graphic get updated to show Jinder in the finals.
Meanwhile, Briley is backstage with Leo Kruger and wants to know where things stand for Leo after losing in the Gold Rush tournament. In first truly surreal moment on NXT so far, Kruger takes a false tooth out of his jaw, starts speaking in a foreign language, laughs like he’s now crazy, and leaves. This seems way too early for the transformation into Adam Rose… so… yeah.
Heath Slater is out next with a mic cutting a promo about what he’s been doing on Raw recently – but telling us that is all in the past. I’m missing some context here since I wasn’t watching WWE when this originally aired. Either way, Slater gets almost zero reaction from the crowd and he’s out here to issue an open challenge to “anyone in the back”. A meager “Triple H” chant breaks out and we go to break.
Back from a fade to black break with no ad, Slater is still in the ring and is now saying no one will answer his challenge. Scotty 2 Hotty’s music hits and he’s out. Yeah, that Scotty 2 Hotty. I don’t know either. Regardless, this wakes the crowd up and Scotty 2 Hotty is incredibly over.
Match #2: Heath Slater vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
A throw away comedy match. But, hey, Scotty 2 Hotty once beat Heath Slater with The Worm on a NXT episode. That happened. Yes, it did.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – No women’s match on this episode, but this is a thing that happened instead. Granted, the women’s division has been hot garbage so far, but still.
Back from break, we see Jinder making Bo Dallas tap out last week. What we didn’t see last week was Briley interviewing Bo after his loss. We see that now. Bo says he was so close and next time he gets his shot he won’t miss. Derrick Bateman appears and they bro out, Bateman quotes that song by Chumbawamba, and continues playing a “passive aggressive” friend to Bo.
Meanwhile, the Ascension are out to their big production entrance. The Usos are out next. Both teams are more over than Jinder, Steamboat, and Heath Slater. But, no one is more over than Scotty 2 Hotty!
Match #3: The Ascension vs. The Usos
This was okay until they realized these are the only two real tag teams so far on this show and neither can afford a loss. So, guess what? DQ finish. Jey Uso was going up for a splash to put away the Ascension and Connor (not the legal man) gets up on the apron and shoves him off. IMMEDIATE DISQUALIFICATION. Sigh.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – If you can’t risk having either team lose, why have the match?
Post-match, Jimmy Uso attempts to take on both members of the Ascension and it ends in a Fall of Man.
Later tonight? Seth Rollins vs. Michael McGillicutty in the second semifinal match.
Meanwhile, Richie Steamboat is backstage and he’s… walking. Briley tries to interview him and Steamboat doesn’t want to talk.
Next, we see Matt Striker in the locker room with Hunico and Camacho. Hunico claims he lost to Mike Dalton and Jason Jordan because he was “sick with a 107° F temperature”. Striker calls him on it saying most people are in the hospital with that kind of fever – but Camacho and Hunico are not most people! Also, Camacho lost his burro. So yeah, that’s why they lost.
After that, we see Raquel Diaz staring into a makeup mirror backstage. She mentions “granny panties” and buries the women’s division for making NXT “look like a zoo”. Your NXT Women’s Division in 2012, everyone.
Finally, we get the main event. McGillicutty and Rollins are both out to no reaction. Seriously, what is up with this crowd? Also, JR is back on commentary because this is the main event.
Match #4: Michael McGillicutty vs. Seth Rollins (Gold Rush Tournament Semifinal Match)
Well, easily the best match on this show – but that isn’t saying a whole lot. McGillicutty puts Rollins in peril for most of the match with some neckbreakers and attempting to slow Rollins down. Rollins hits the suicide dive early but settles into getting “worn down” by McGillicutty and mainly sneaks in a few strikes here and there. The finish comes when Rollins attempts the Sunset Flip Bomb that blew out his knee. McGillicutty blocks it, but Rollins counters that and hits a buckle bomb across the ring. From there Rollins hits a Curb Stomp and goes to the finals.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – The crowd actually popped for the finish and seemed excited that Rollins won.
Post-match, Rollins celebrates until Jinder’s music hits. Jinder is out once again to no reaction. Rollins runs at the ropes and that backs Mahal off. Dusty Rhodes comes out, announces the finals, and wishes them both luck. Mahal uses this as a distraction and attacks Rollins from behind. Rollins is able to counter off the ropes and send Jinder to the outside.
We go off the air with Mahal yelling at Rollins from the ramp.