Following the epic NXT Takeover: Respect, NXT returns to Full Sail to crown a new number one contender for Finn Balor and a new feud it brewing for Bayley. It’s this week’s NXT Recap & Review…
We get a video recap of NXT Takeover: Respect, involving an awesome look at the main event between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Show opens with the NXT Women’s Champion Bayley coming out for a promo. She looks incredibly happy to be there, which is truly infectious. She talks about the main event of NXT Takeover: Respect and how great it was that she and Sasha took the Divas Revolution to a whole new level. She seemed disgusted to use the word ‘diva’. Crowd starting chanting “women’s wrestling” which made Bayley smile. She stumbled over her words a couple of times, but this was pretty good. Alexa Bliss’ music hits and she comes out with Blake & Murphy. Crowd did not like Bliss at all. She gets the “what” treatment, which doesn’t throw her off her game. She says that Bayley is a great champion and deserves all the accolades she’s getting. She raises her hand, but in doing so steals the title from Bayley and stands behind Blake & Murphy. As Bayley tries to get to her title, Bliss’ bullies stand in her way. I think we all know where this storyline is going. Bliss says that she didn’t write letters to herself when she was a kid like Balyley did, but she wants to be the new NXT Women’s Champion. She throws the belt back to Bayley and leaves. An interesting feud to say the least but this was a great segment.
We get an interview with the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, from last week. William Regal walks up to them and congratulates them. Joe says that it has been an honour to tag with Balor, but he wants a shot at the NXT Championship, which Finn accepts. But Regal says ‘it’s not that easy’ and orders a Battle Royal to determine a new number one contender. Joe is not happy about this. He says that he is undefeated and deserves the shot, but Regal stands firm with his decision for a Battle Royal. Further teases of a Joe heel turn, but could be a swerve for a Balor heel turn down the line. I hope it’s the latter.
We then get some interviews from some of the competitors in said Battle Royal, including Tye Dillinger (good), Apollo Crews (okay) and Rhyno (awesome).
They then play a trailer for Breaking Ground, the new reality show based around NXT.
1. The Vaudevillians vs. Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Faulton
Sixteen minutes into a one-hour show, we get our first match. Faulton has a stupid haircut now, which Corey Graves calls “New York skunk”. Very basic match, but was made interesting by The Vaudevillians unique offence. There isn’t another team like them and that’s what makes the fun to watch. The heels cut off Aiden English and hit him with some stiff looking, but perfectly safe, shots. They’re really getting better. English escapes and gets the hot tag to Simon Gotch who runs wild on Dawkins. Gotch tags English back in and they hit the Whirling Dervish for the win. There was a funny moment where English forgot he was the legal man so there was a delay in him going for the cover. A fine little squash match.
Amazingly, we get ANOTHER NIA JAX PROMO. She’s up next.
We get a video recap of Asuka’s debut match against Dana Brooke, which was so awesome. In a video from last week, we see doctors and Emma tending to Brooke after Asuka knocked her out. Asuka is also there and scares the shit out of Emma without saying a word. She mimics Dana’s head patting that she does to Devin. Emma goes back to Dana who comes to and thinks she beat Asuka.
2. Evie vs. Nia Jax
Evie, from New Zealand, comes out to music that sounds like it came from the menu screen of a PS2 era Sonic the Hedgehog game. Nia Jax, on the other hand, comes out to a rejected Lady Gaga number. Jax is… unique. She certainly doesn’t look like your typical WWE diva. But that actually works in her favour. More surprising, however, is that this badass Samoan who has been talking for weeks about taking what she wants comes out smiling like Rocky Mavia. Odd. This match was so basic, there was a long Bear Hug spot 30 seconds in. Evie bumped around Jax for a bit and then she killed her with a slam. In all honesty, Evie looked better in this match than Jax did.
We get another recap of the Sasha Banks and Bayley main event, this time with interviews with Stephanie McMahon, Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Triple H. This was here to push THE DIVAS REVOLUTION. WWE’s branding bullshit is spilling over into NXT.
Backstage, we get some more interviews to hype the Battle Royal to determine a new number one contender. This time from Tyler Breeze and Baron Corbin.
We cut to a video of a robot with red hair standing in front of the Eifel Tower. It’s Eva Marie. She says that after all her gruelling botching in NTX, she’s taking some “me time”. She misses the NXT Universe. This was… nothing.
3. Battle Royal to determine a new number one contender for the NXT Championship featuring The Hype Bros., Dash & Dawson, Enzo & Cass, Apollo Crews, Tye Dillinger, Tyler Breeze, Bull Dempsey, Blake & Murphy, Tammaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Samoa Joe, Steve Cutler, Danny Burch, Elias Sampson and Riddick Moss
A lot of tag teams in this Battle Royal. Crews and Breeze don’t get entrances, but Rhyno, Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe do. Dash, Dawson, Rhyno and Corbin instantly go after Samoa Joe, furthering the storylines from the Dusty Classic. They tease Joe going early, but he fights off all four of them off, which lights the crowd up. Corey Graves, who has been backing the Bull Fit gimmick, is now burying it deep beneath the Earth. Steve Cutler is the first one out and is nearly unnamed as he goes over. How was he even in this match? Danny Burch is out next followed quickly by Elias Sampson. Apollo Crews picks Johnny Gargano up and launches him over the top rope on to Cutler, Burch and Sampson. The crowd boo’d the elimination of Gargano. They’re putting Crews over pretty hard. Match turns into every Battle Royal you’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t badly worked at all. Big Cass throw out some guy named Riddick Moss before being eliminated himself by Dash & Dawson. Not to be outdone, Enzo gets revenge by eliminating both Dash & Dawson at the same time. But among the chants of “how you doing”, Tye Dillinger eliminates Enzo. Bull Dempsey then starts decking Dillinger and eliminates him as the crowd chant along. In a fairly humours moment, Bull and Corbin go at it, and Rhyno nearly misses a planned spot. You can hear Corbin calling his name to let him know it’s time. Rhyno eliminates Dempsey and it seems their tag team is still alive. Mojo Rawley is eliminated by Corbin, which makes him the biggest babyface in my eyes. He then eliminates Zack Ryder. He’s my new favourite. Corbin and Rhyno appear to be working together, until Corbin stabs his partner in the back and eliminates him. Rhyno looks shocked.
Tamasso Ciampa was eliminated by Joe during the second commercial break. We’re now down to Samoa Joe, Blake, Murphy, Corbin, Apollo Crews and Tyler Breeze. Joe then eliminates Blake & Murphy in one go. Tyler Breeze is the most over person in the ring and the crowd is going nuts for him. Breeze is then eliminated by Joe to hue boos from the crowd. Joe then goes for the Muscle Buster on Corbin, but the big man escapes. He knocks Joe over the ropes, but Joe kicks his Corbin as he charges at him. But, shockingly, Breeze grabs Joe by the foot and yanks him off the apron to eliminate him! We’re down to Corbin and Crews. Crowd chants, “thank you Tyler”. What did Joe do to anger the NXT crowd? They’re now super into Crews as they really don’t want Corbin to win. They do the boo/yay spot and the crowd explode, although they start chanting for Breeze again. Corbin hits Crews with a tree slam and then tries to dump him over the ropes, but Crews keeps hanging on. Crews makes his comeback and knocks Corbin off his feet. He goes for the Standing Moonsault, but Corbin gets his knees up. Corbin then goes for a spinning slam, but Crews counters with a series of kicks. Eventually these kicks lead to one final clothesline that sends Corbin over the top rope. A great ending sequence and the elimination of Joe really made this anyone’s game. Apollo Crews is your new number one contender!
A good show, that amazingly felt padded out at times. The Battle Royal was a lot of fun, and it was nice to see that they didn’t just go the obvious route of having Joe win. Apollo vs. Balor should be a tremendous match, so it will be interesting to see if they save that for the Takeover show in the UK in December.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.