Byron Saxton excitedly reminds everyone that tonight is the culmination of the Gold Rush Tournament, with Seth Rollins against Jinder Mahal in the finals to determine the first NXT champion.
Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton come out for a re-match of a few weeks ago when Dalton beat Camacho out of nowhere.
JASON JORDAN & MIKE DALTON vs. HUNICO & CAMACHO – Tag Team match
Dalton and Camacho start, and Dalton and Jordan immediate double-team him. Jordan keeps Camacho on the mat with power, but Camacho responds with a big spinebuster. Jordan gets isolated by Hunico and Camacho. Hunico shows surprising strength for his size, lifting Jordan off the mat with a pumphandle hold and body-slamming him. Jordan finally tags in Dalton, who takes Hunico down with speed. Dalton with a really amazing move, reversing a flapjack into a huracanrana into a roll-through into a cover for a nearfall. The ref gets distracted by Jordan, letting Hunico land a brainbuster for the win, as Camacho keeps Jordan from breaking up the tag.
WINNERS: Hunico & Camacho in 4:06. All we saw of Mike Dalton before was him getting beat up and rolling up Camacho for the win; this time, he had a few minutes to shine, and he made excellent use of those minutes. He really seems like he has excellent potential for in-ring excitement, and I look forward to seeing more of him on NXT.
The Usos come out, and Jimmy reminds viewers of their loss to The Ascension and subsequent beat down last week. The Ascension take advantage of their dark-arena entrance to sneak up behind The Usos and ambush them. They handily destroy The Usos, including a sick tag team where O’Brien lands a chop block while Cameron hits a spinning heel kick at the same time, they do it to both Uso brothers. That was pretty unique for a beat down, between using the entrance as an advantage, and not just ganging up and stomping and punching The Usos.
Video package on Alicia Fox, with clips making her sound a bit heelish.
Video package on Antonio Cesaro.
2 – VIC DONOVAN vs. BIG E. LANGSTON
Langston just demolishes Donovan, finishing him with a sort of cutter from a body slam position, if a cutter involved holding the waist instead of the neck.
WINNER: Big E. Langston in 0:40. Not much to say, it was a squash.
Video packages on Ryback and John Cena.
They bring out the NXT roster to the ramp for the culmination of the Gold Rush Tournament. JR, William Regal, and Byron Saxton have announcing duties.
Backstage, Briley Pearce interviews Big E. Langston. Langston breaths heavy instead of answering questions, and Pearce slinks away.
Dusty Rhodes comes out, and they have Howard Finkel doing the intro. Rhodes takes the NXT title belt to the ring. Jinder Mahal comes out to boos and jeers from the crowd and NXT roster. Seth Rollins comes out next, to cheers from the crowd and claps from the roster, and they need to back up and give him some space for his flailing entrance. Finkel gives a full, formal ring intro for the championship match. The ref shows both wrestlers the title to further enhance it as a big deal. Rhodes shakes Rollins’s hand, but Mahal refuses the handshake and acts like he is should be declared champion now.
SETH ROLLINS vs. JINDER MAHAL – Gold Rush Tournament Final match
Rollins quickly takes down Mahal in an early lock-up, and then repeats it. Mahal needs a rope break to get away, and uses it to sucker punch Rollins and take control. Rollins quickly turns it away again. Rollins continues to outwit and out wrestle Mahal, until Mahal trips him on the apron, then throws him from the apron to the ramp.
It isn’t good for the win, and Mahal starts to look frustrated.
Video package on C.M. Punk.
Mahal is controlling Rollins with a hold out of the break. Rollins tries to rally, but Mahal blocks a suplex and continues his attack. The crowd and the roster members on the ramp are hungry for Rollins to make a comeback, but he continues to absorb abuse. Mahal cuts off another rally with a high knee. Mahal wants the Camel Clutch, but Rollins gets to the ropes before it is locked in. Rollins looks half dead, but a surprise enziguri gets him some space. Rhodes looks appreciate on the outside.
Rollins is finally able to get some traction, and he moves faster and faster as he does more damage. Mahal misses a high knee in the corner and falls over the ropes to the ringside. Rollins to the top and he lands a big crossbody to Mahal on the outside. Rollins rolls Mahal into the ring and goes to the top, but Mahal crotches him. Mahal with a superplex and they are both down.
Video package on Layla.
Rollins and Mahal are just getting to their feet from the break. They trade bombs as JR reminds us that Rollins’s back may be hurt and Mahal’s knee looks like it is in pain. Rollins kicks out of a tilt-a-whirl side slam, but Mahal is slow to get up too. Rollins with a Pele kick and a knee drop to the back of Mahal’s head from the top rope gets two-and-seven-eighths. They are both slow to recover, and everything Rollins does takes a lot out of him, too. Mahal dodges a corkscrew moonsault and stalks Rollins. Rollins barely kicks out of a full nelson slam. Mahal sets up the Camel Clutch, but Rollins gets the ropes. Mahal re-applies it, but Rollins rolls him up instead. Rollins manages to pick Mahal off the mat and powerbomb him into the turnbuckle, and he follows with the Blackout for the win.
WINNER: Seth Rollins in 15:31. That was a beyond emotional win. Rollins put up a great fight, appearing to be the underdog against the odds, but never looking so weak that his win was a fluke. Easily the best match Mahal has ever been in. The last time WWE built up to a title match with this level of seriousness and made it seem like the title was this important was John Cena and C.M. Punk at Money in the Bank last year. Despite knowing who was winning from various reports, I was incredibly emotionally invested in this match, dying to see the rookie Rollins defeat the larger veteran Mahal. This match also proved that Rollins can easily put together long-form matches. This match felt like such a big deal, from the video package last week involving major Superstars, the roster being on the ramp to watch, Howard Finkel’s formal introduction, the presentation of the belt by the ref… everything about it was picture perfect to make you feel like Seth Rollins just won the most important prize in professional wrestling.
Post-match, Rollins breaks down in emotion and the crowd is going nuts. Mahal can barely roll out of the ring, and even Dusty Rhodes looks amazed. Rollins and Rhodes hug in the ring and Rhodes raises his hand in victory. The face Superstars from the ramp rush the ring and hold Rollins up on their shoulders. He jumps the railing and celebrates with the crowd.