With NXT making its Southern California debut I headed up to Bakersfield on October 29th to check out the action. Bakersfield has a pretty long history with professional wrestling, with Strelich or Strongbow Stadium, which later became The Dome, being one of SoCal’s iconic wrestling venues. In recent times Bakersfield has seemingly become more of an MMA town and non-WWE wrestling events are rare. Even WWE shows have topped out at about 5,000 people in the last few years. For those reasons it was a little strange NXT decided to run in Bakersfield versus having a show in Orange County, the Inland Empire, or San Diego, but maybe just logistically Bakersfield was a good stop for them between San Jose and Los Angeles.
Before the show it looked like Samoa Joe’s merchandise was selling really well, as they quickly sold out of some sizes. They were selling a show poster with an announced lineup that only one of the matches on it actually happened as well. Attendance for the show was in the 1,500 range. There were lots of empty seats in the lower sections and people in the upper sections moved down as the show started to fill the seats in, leaving the upper section almost completely empty.
Roderick Strong defeated Oney Lorcan (a.k.a. Biff Busick) & Patrick Clark in 8:13 in a triple threat match
This was a really good match to start off the show. Roderick Strong was really over and there was a pretty loud chant for him. They worked this in more of an indy style than a WWE style match and all three looked really good. They did a Tower of Doom suplex spot in the match and Oney did a pretty crazy dive at one point too. Roderick won after hitting a Sick Kick on Clark.
Rating: *** 1/2
Daria Berenato & Aliyah defeated Peyton Royce & Billie Kay in 11:18
It seemed like a lot of the crowd didn’t know these wrestlers and this match had the worst reaction of the night. Peyton and Billie were the heels and most of the match consisted of them beating down Aliyah. Eventually Daria got the tag in and cleaned house. She hit a spinebuster on Peyton and got the win. The match seemed to drag in parts and was really predictable. I thought Daria’s offense looked really good however.
Rating: * 1/2
Tye Dillenger defeated Buddy Murphy in 18:51
Buddy Murphy cut a pre-match promo on Wesley Blake, who wasn’t on the show. Tye Dillenger was super over. Tons of “ten” chants throughout the match. The first five minutes of the match was pretty much all stalling, but once it got going it was pretty good. Dillenger should be on the main roster, but I guess three years in NXT isn’t enough. Dillenger won with the Tye-Breaker.
Rating: ** ½
Next we had intermission followed by William Regal cutting a promo. There was a “one more match” chant and also a “he’s still got it” chant, to which Regal replied “I never lost it.”
Austin Aires came out next and cut a promo trashing Bakersfield. He mentioned how he begged to be on the night before’s show in San Jose, but even if he could wrestle he wouldn’t waste his talents on a b-town like Bakersfield which drew a large cheer. He then compared Bakersfield to No Way Jose, which of course brought No Way Jose out.
Samoa Joe defeated No Way Jose via submission at 12:03
This was Samoa Joe’s first SoCal match since he wrestled for CWFH a couple years ago. Both guys were really over. Samoa Joe dominated most of the match but No Way Jose got in enough offense where it kept both guys strong. Joe won via submission with the Kokina Clutch. This was a good match.
Asuka defeated Mandy Rose in 12:38 via submission (Asuka Lock) to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
Asuka pretty much dominated this entire match with Mandy only getting a little offense in. Asuka used a lot of butt based offense in that she was hitting Mandy with her butt. A lot. I thought this was actually good for what it was. The little offense Mandy had looked good. I’d say that Mandy is a better wrestler than some of the women on the main roster such as Eva Marie and Dana Brooke already. Asuka is maybe the best women’s wrestler in the world. Asuka won with the Asuka Lock.
Rating: ** 1/2
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Bobby Roode in 16:32 to retain the NXT Championship
The main was advertised as a six-man, but when this was announced as the new main the crowd went crazy. Roode was super over. I’d say it was actually split for him and Nakamura with people singing his entrance long after the song ended. Lots of comedy in the match early, with Roode raising his arms to the sky and Nakamura putting his head on his chest and just waving his arms. There was a sequence when Nakamura stomped the fingers on both of Roode’s hands and Nakamura started doing his signature hand gesture while Roode looked to be doing the same because of the pain of having his fingers smashed. The match eventually got more serious with lots of impressive looking offense from both guys. I can see this being the next main event NXT program after Nakamura and Joe ends. Nakamura won after hitting a Kinshasa.
Rating: *** 1/4
After the match Samoa Joe came out and attacked Nakamura, leading Tye Dillenger to come out. For a little bit Joe and Roode brawled with Nakamura and Dillenger but eventually the faces cleared the ring and celebrated to end the show.
Overall I thought this was a pretty good show and despite the building not being full a pretty fun atmosphere. I also like the fact that NXT seems to be doing completely different shows in each city on their California tour as well, rather than just running the same lineup out there each night like WWE does on their house shows.