The Cowboy makes his debut in NXT and we get a monster v monster main event. There’s also an amazing hype video for Apollo Crews. It’s this week’s NXT Recap & Review…
Show opens with a recap of the Battle Royale from last week, looking to set up a couple of new feuds – including Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno, Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Breeze and Enzo & Cass vs. Dash & Dawson. Apollo Crews is put over hard.
1. Asuka vs. Billie Kay
Askua still has the best entrance music in NXT. So, Billie Kay is now a heel and she cuts an inset promo about how she’s wrestled Askua before and will beat her tonight with her long legs. Askua offers a handshake early on, which Kay accepts but the kicks her in the gut to get the heat. Kay holds Askua up for a long vertical suplex and then locks her in for our first NXT REST HOLD of the night. Askua tries to escape, but Kay shouts loudly in her thick Ozzie accent, “I don’t think so mate”. Finally Askua starts to fight back with a series of kicks that nearly takes her off her own feet. Kay tries to fight back, but Askua gives her *that* smile, and locks in an awesome armbar. She gives Kay a wicked German Suplex and then locks in the Askua Lock for the win. This was a fun little match, made better because Askua is so awesome. Such a shame she’ll never be on the main roster. Kay looks to be an effective heel as well.
They hype up the main event of Rhyno vs. Baron Cobin before playing a hype video for Corbin. It was pretty great.
We then get a promo from the latest NXT wrestler to ascend to the main roster, Tyler Breeze. He says that rained on Joe’s parade last week because if Prince Pretty isn’t number one contender, than Joe can’t be either.
2. Enzo & Cass vs. Dash & Dawson
While they are over, Enzo & Cass don’t feel as over as they were a couple of months ago. It almost feels like NXT should have pulled the trigger on this team winning the belts at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn rather than The Vaudevillians. Enzo says that Halloween is coming round the corner, and they’re not handing out “trick or treatings” because they’re handing out “beatings”. Very clever. Standard stuff in the early goings as Dash & Dawson get the heat on Enzo. They work over the legs for a long time, which is great simple heel work for Dash & Dawson. Cass runs in to break up the submission attempt, and then Enzo rolls Dawson up for the win! That came out of nowhere! Cass didn’t even tag in. After the match, Dash & Dawson beat down Enzo, but Cass runs in to make the save. Not that it works, as Dash & Dawson hit their double team move on Cass and celebrate. Dash & Dawson are awesome, but neither team got over here. Hard to push Dash & Dawson as the new number one contenders if you’re beating them in silly matches.
We get a hype video for Rhyno that shows his shocking debut in NXT as well as title wins from back in the day – including the US Title, Hardcore Title and ECW Championship. We get a compilation of promos from his career, including some from ECW. There’s even clips of Paul Heyman talking about awesome Rhyno is from his days on 2001 WWF commentary. This was awesome.
We get another video from the robotic redhead, Eva Marie. She cuts a horribly scripted promo from Paris while stereotypical French music plays in the background.
3. Danny Burch vs. “The Cowboy” James Storm
The crowd EXPLODES for Storm. There is one guy in the crowd who is losing his shit. Crowd chant “you belong here” while the commentators put him over spending the last 15 years, “on the independents”. Sucks to be TNA. Burch gets the heat on Storm early, but The Cowboy makes a comeback and hits The Eight Second Ride for the win. I’ve not seen TNA in quite a few years, so I’m not sure if this was the finisher he’s been using as of late. Guess he can’t use the Last Call Superkick with Tyler Breeze on the roster. After the match, Storm shouted “sorry about your damn luck” at Burch while the crowd do the Beer Money chant. I miss Beer Money.
Apollo Crews will challenge Balor for the NXT Championship in two weeks. We get a hype video for the leader of the Apollo Nation, which includes a lot of family history and him growing up in Uganda. This was so great. He talks about watching WWF Raw with his Dad and how it made him want to be a wrestler. He talks about how he loved The Ultimate Warrior, which makes sense given the Gorilla Press Slam in his moveset. Talks about his Mum buying him wrestling toys and belts, even though she had no money. He starts to well up talking about her. We get photos and footage from his early days in EVOLVE, and he talks about driving for two hours to earn $5 from a show. His father didn’t want him to do this, but he’s setting out to prove him wrong. Like the Finn Balor videos before the show in Japan, this was so great in building up Apollo Crews as a personality. Not just a wrestler, but a personality that people can connect with. This was fantastic. We’re getting another look at Apollo Crews next week.
Despite debuting last week, we get a hype video for Nia Jax, who will be back next week.
4. Alexa Bliss vs. Peyton Royce
This was pretty sloppy in the early goings, but there were some fairly decent spots. Let’s put it this way, it was better than every Eva Marie match. Alexa grounds Royce and even stands on her back at one point to celebrate. She’s a fantastic heel. This match was overshadowed by Byron Saxton and Corey Graves arguing. Saxton is the utter worst. Royce fires back with a series of high kicks and dropkicks. It’s weird that her fellow countrywoman, Billie Kay, has essentially the same gimmick. Bliss hits the Bliss Flip and Sparkle Splash for the win. Bliss cuts a promo after the match about how she deserves to be champion and how she’s coming for Bayley’s title.
Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Breeze will be next week.
5. Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno
There is a woman in the crowd who is screaming so loud for Corbin, it’s unreal. This is a rematch from NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, which wasn’t very good. With that said, this has more drama going into it given their teaming during the Dusty Rhodes classic. This is, as Kefin Mahon would describe, trucks fighting bins. They did punches and kicks and stuff in the corner. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing to write home about. They tease a countout, but Rhyno gets back in. This is all Corbin in control, and he locks Rhyno is our second NXT REST HOLD of the night. And, wow, this was a LONG rest hold. Rhyno makes somewhat of a comeback, and they tease another countout. As Corbin rolls back in, Rhyno takes charge of the match and hits some power moves. Rhyno goes for the Gore, but Corbin reverses it. Rhyno then hits the Gore for a near fall. Corey Graves sold this like Corbin kicked out of a suplex. Rhyno goes for another Gore but Corbin reverses it into the End of Days for the win. Nothing terrible in this match, but it was pretty dull.
Before the show closes, we get a promo from Samoa Joe backstage. He hypes up next week’s match with Tyler Breeze in his usual Joe style. This was actually fantastic. Again, it’s a shame this guy will never be on the main roster.
Not a blow-away edition of NXT, but there wasn’t much to hate either. Like a lot of episodes, this was ‘just a show’. It was an hour long, and it was all fine. The Storm debut was fun and Asuka’s match was great, but the second half of the show with Bliss and Corbin – ironically the two who will head to the main roster at some point – wasn’t quite as good. Still, it was better than Raw.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and a contributor on The Flickering Myth Movie Show. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen.