It’s the go-home show for NXT Takeover: Respect, and the hype train was pulling into the station. It’s this week’s NXT recap and review…
Show opened with Kyle Edwards doing his ESPN recap of the Dusty Classic. Looks like Jordan & Gable fulfilled my dreams by knocking The Hype Bros. out of the tournament, and we got a recap of Dash & Dawson defeating The Vaudevillains in a shocking upset. This sets up tonight’s tag match between Finn Balor & Samoa Joe facing Enzo & Cass. Looks like the semi-finals and the finals will both take place on Takeover next week.
1. Enzo & Cass vs. Finn Balor & Samoa Joe
Enzo & Cass are super over as usual, but their pops are outshone by Joe and Balor. Joe and Cass start things off with some big guy stuff before they both spill out to the floor. Enzo performs a sweet looking tope onto Joe while Balor FLATTENS Cass with a flip dive. He landed right on him. That looked like it sucked for Cass as the back of his head smashed into the ramp. We cut to a commercial break a little earlier than expected, and when we come back it feels like 6-minutes of the match had been cut. As we come back, Balor and Enzo are doing a double-down spot to lead to the hot tag. Hmmm. They both get said hot tags and Joe and Cass do some more big guy stuff. Cass barely gets Joe up for his Boss Man Slam, but they manage to pull it off. Enzo hits the Rocket Launcher, but Joe kicks out. He then throws Balor then hits his corner dropkick to Cass which knocks him out of the ring. Joe hits the Muscle Buster on Enzo and Balor hits the Coup de Grace for the win. They’ll face Dash & Dawson in the semi-finals next week.
Backstage, Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa are talking about the highs and lows of their NXT run so far – which includes one win and one loss. Gargano is facing Apollo Crews tonight, which they hype up. Tyler Breeze walks in and says that a friend of Crews is an enemy of his and he challenges Ciampa to a match later on.
We get a hype video for Asuka which shows a lot of footage of her from Japan. This made her look very dangerous and it was awesome.
2. Johnny Gargano vs. Apollo Crews
These two know each other very well as they are very fluid in the ring. It seems quite evenly matched until Gargano hits his launching spear through the ropes. This slows the pace right down, but not to your usual NXT Chinlock City boredom. Gargano locks in a modified Abdominal Stretch which was pretty neat. However Crews makes a comeback and hits the Stinger Splash and his leaping clothesline. He sets Gargano up with the Gorilla Press Slam and hits his Standing Moonsault for the win. A perfectly fine TV match.
Backstage, William Regal is with Dana Brooke and Emma. He recaps them interrupting the debut of Asuka last week and calls it very rude. Regal is so great. He announces that Dana Brooke will face Asuka next week at Takeover. While the match would have been better with Emma, this is a great way for Dana to learn. Dana says this is all fine because they made Asuka run scared last week. Dana says that she ran away with her tail between her legs like a “hi-heena”. I’m not even sure how to write what she said. She said “hi” and then said the rest of the word like it rhymed with Cena. So odd. Regal corrected her and said it’s “hyena”, but Dana corrected him by repeating “hi-heena”. Emma just shook her head and said, “that’s how she says it”. Clearly this was an inside joke. Regal then shows Dana and Emma some clips of Asuka, which we never see but can clearly hear. Brooke’s face dropping as she realised what she’d gotten herself into was awesome. Emma tapped Brooke and the shoulder and said, “good luck with that”.
ANOTHER NIA JAX PROMO. IT HAS BEEN A MONTH NOW. ASUKA HAD ONE WEEK OF PROMOS AND SHE SHOWED UP. IT IS TIME TO DEBUT HER NOW. AND GUESS WHAT – NIA JAX IS STILL COMING SOON.
We then see the Asuka footage that Regal showed Brooke and Emma. She was kicking a bag and then smiled at the camera.
3. Dana Brooke & Emma vs. Peyton Royce & Billie Kay
In probably a first for WWE, ¾ of this match is Australian. Nothing important there, just thought I’d point it out. Royce starts this off with Brooke by hitting several pinning moves, but Dana kicks out of all of them. She tags in Billie Kay and they hit a rather sloppy double team kicking move. Emma gets tagged in, but Billie greets her with a long vertical suplex. While neither Dana or Emma are selling the Asuka segment from a moment ago (due to the tapped format), the commentators cover up for this by saying their minds are on her and that’s why Kay and Royce are running wild. Clever. Dana distracts Kay long enough for Emma to get the heat however. Brooke calls Billie Kay “Billy Goat” and then cackles. She’s awesome. Brooke starts kicking Kay in the corner and the ref starts to count and pull her off, to which Brooke shouts back “I know the rules!”. She is clearly taking notes from Xavier Woods on getting awesome heel heat. She then shouts at the ref to count faster. Dana Brooke may not be quite there in the ring, but she has got her character NAILED. Emma slows the pace down with some leg holds, but its overshadowed by Saxton and Graves bickering. Graves is fine, but Saxton is the worst. Emma kicks Kay and you can hear Brooke shouting, “how did that feel?” Take note Eva Marie: this is how it’s done. Kay gets the hot tag to Royce who runs wild with some great looking spin kicks and then hits one of the sloppiest dropkicks you’ll ever see. Royce hits her spin kick in the corner, and then attempts a crossbody from the second rope but she Sin Cara’d and slipped. Dana recovered the spot by going for a cover. The match sort of breaks down as they try to work out what to do next. Emma throws Kay out of the ring and then Royce throws Emma out of the ring, managing to distract herself in the process. Time stands still once again as she turns around to face Brooke. They mis-time their punching spot and Emma grabs Royce’s leg from the outside and trips her up. Brooke then hits her still unnamed finishing move for the win. This was a good little match that fell apart in the end.
Backstage, Jordan & Gable are with Devin. Devin introduces them as Gable and Jordan, and Jordan asks her to call him JJ. The heels laugh at their brilliance. They’re becoming one of the best teams in NXT. Gable loses his cool a bit when Devin says they’ve got to overcome the odds when facing Baron Corbin & Ryhno, but JJ calms him down. He says they’ll win. Gable then says that they’ll go to the finals and beat either Balor & Joe or Dash & Dawson. When Gable says it could be Dash & Dawson, JJ laughs and says, “not likely”. But as Gable is going to do his catchphrase, Dash & Dawson interrupt and ask why they don’t think it will be them in the final. Dash & Dawson run the other heels down and say the last time they were in the ring together was in Brooklyn where Gable lost the 8-man tag. They tell JJ & Gable that next week will be their end of days. The four of them then argue and Devin just leaves. Looks like they’re setting up that the finals will be Corbin & Rhyno vs. Balor & Joe while Dash & Dawson will go on to feud with Jordan & Gable. Sorry, JJ & Gable.
4. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tyler Breeze
For the record, everyone is saying Ciampa’s name correctly. Apart from the ring announcer. WE WERE DOING SO WELL. They do some chain wrestling early which was pretty awesome, and then Breeze somehow ends up sitting on Ciampa’s back while he crawls around the ring. This was a very odd spot, but the crowd popped big for it. I laughed. Saxton says, “didn’t even have to pay 25 cents!” I laughed again. Match gets serious as they battle for control. Ciampa gets the better of Breeze, but Tyler hugs the bottom rope which allows him to take over. Saxton and Graves bicker again. Guess what, he then puts Ciampa in a chinlock. Ciampa makes a comeback with a series of kicks and a wicked little DDT. Ciampa goes to finish Breeze off with a powerbomb, but Tyler reverses it. Breeze then attempts a Beauty Shot, but Ciampa reverses that and hits an awesome looking knee to the face. Ciampa throws off his elbow pad and hits a discus lariat for a good near fall. Ciampa goes to the top rope, but Breeze gets up and stops him. Ciampa fights him off however and goes for a flying move of some sort that Breeze counters with a dropkick to the face for another great near fall. Breeze then hits The Unprettier for the win. Is this Breeze’s new finish? This was a great little TV match.
Backstage, Ryhno & Corbin are asked if anyone can stop them in the tournament, which they laugh off. They both cut a short promo about winning. This was fine.
They hype up NXT Takeover: Respect by running down the card which includes: Dash & Dawson vs. Finn Balor & Samoa Joe, Baron Corbin & Rhyno vs. JJ & Gable, Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews, Dana Brooke vs. Asuka and Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in a 30-minute Iron Man match. Bayley’s graphic has her holding the title with a double thumbs up. Awesome. That’s a lot of matches for a two-hour show. The show ends with a video package to hype up the Iron Man match next week, showing highlights from the awesome NXT Takeover: Brooklyn match and them training. This was spectacular. Bayley says that she needs to prove that she is a worthy champion, and Sasha is out to prove that she is the best. This was all great, great stuff.
A fairly decent, but remarkably skipable show for NXT. The opening tag match felt like it should have been much longer, but the other matches on the show were fun (despite the botching in the women’s match). Some good promos to hype up next week – which should be a tremendous show – but nothing much to see here.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.