It’s a packed edition of NXT this week as Finn Balor and Samoa Joe sign the contract to make their title match at NXT Takeover: London official, Dash & Dawson defend their tag titles against The Vaudevillians and Eva Marie battles Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship. All that and so much more in this week’s NXT Recap and Review…
Show opened with Raw’s Michael Cole in the middle of the ring. Cole announces that William Regal is home following successful surgery, and so he’s in charge of the show. The crowd chant, ‘no’. He says that Regal would have never sanctioned the Bayley vs. Eva Marie match for tonight, but management from above have said that the match must go ahead. But he’s kicking off the show tonight with a contract signing between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe for NXT Takeover: London. Balor come out and cuts a quick promo on Samoa Joe and calls him out. Michael Cole, in a very odd move, berates Balor and announces that he was going to bring Joe out first. Joe literally walks into the ring, signs the contract and leaves. That was so awesome. In shock, Balor also signs the contract and Cole makes the match official. What I really like about NXT is that they often do contract signings, but they’re always different. You would expect to see someone go through the table, but nothing happened. It was all the more effective. But just when you think it was over – A WILD SAMOA JOE APPEARS and attacks Balor on the ramp! Balor tries to fight back, but Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch and puts the champ to sleep. A good opening segment.
1. The Vaudevillians vs. Dash & Dawson for the NXT Tag Team Championships
We’re shown highlights of Dash & Dawson taking out Enzo & Cass from a couple of weeks ago, so one would think they’re setting up for a tag title match at NXT Takeover: London. The Vaudevillians take the match early on with both English and Gotch working over Dash & Dawson, however an armbreaker from Dawson to English to get the heat. Back from the break and Dash is in control working over the arm. This is why Dash & Dawson are awesome – picking a body part and work over it. Before it sinks in, however, Gotch gets the hot tag and runs wild on both men. Awesome sequence of reversals followed. Dash & Dawson went for their double team move, but English pushes Dash out of the way. The Vaudevillians then go to hit Dawson with the Whirling Dervish, but Dawson escapes. He goes for a pin, but English reverses it into an amazing near fall. English then gets hit with Dash & Dawson’s double team move for the win. The match wasn’t much, but it really picked up in the final moments.
After the match, Enzo & Cass made their triumphant return to Full Sail. They rush Dash & Dawson back into the ring and beat them down before wiping them both out to send them packing.
Backstage, Eva Marie is sitting down in Regal’s office when Tom walks in. He asks why she’s in Regal’s office and she says that she needed a bigger place to get ready. Sewing further seeds that she’s the chosen one from WWE Corporate. Philips asks her why she thinks her title match was inevitable, and Eva Marie struggles to say the word ‘inevitable’ and says that she deserves the shot because she keeps winning. She says that the WWE Universe loves her, and the camera pans over to a load of presents sent to her by fans of Total Divas. She then introduces her new best friend, Nia Jax. So, they’re like Shawn Michaels and Diesel, or Seth Rollins and Kane. This was all very staged. If Tom walked into the room to interview Eva, how did he not spot Nia Jax standing in the corner next to him?
We get highlights from the NXT Takeover: Respect match between Dana Brooke and Asuka. That match ruled.
We get a hype video for Elias Sampson, who is doing the drifter gimmick he debuted after NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. He plays a song on his guitar about… something.
2. Asuka vs. Dana Brooke
Match never happened. Brooke cuts a promo on Asuka before the match, saying she’s going to smack the smile off her face. From behind, Emma runs into the ring and tries to take out Askua. Although Askua fights back, Emma gets the Emma Lock and leaves Asuka laying. Brooke and Emma celebrate afterwards.
Backstage, Bayley is being interviewed by Tom Philips about Eva Marie. Seriously, they got rid of Devin for this goober. Bayley says that she is a wrestler, and Eva Marie is just a reality TV star, and she will prove she is the best. She says she will prove the doubters wrong, and boasts about beating Sasha Banks. Given how Banks has been treated on the main roster, that’s nothing to brag about. She high fives Tom and leaves.
We get a hype video for Sami Zayn, who will be returning soon. This was so awesome.
3. Apollo Crews vs. Jesse Sorenson
The former TNA star and “son” of Dixie Carter is back in Full Sail. Sadly for Sorenson, he’s taken out by Apollo. He does some athletic stuff and then hits a very long delayed suplex. The crowd count along with it which is cute. Crews then hits an awesome delayed sit-out powerbomb for the win. It feels like Crews is trying out new finishers so he has more than the standing moonsault. After the match, Crews accepts Corbin’s challenge for NXT Takeover: London and says he’ll take him out.
Backstage, Baron Corbin talks about Apollo Crews, but he doesn’t say much. We then cut to ringside and the commentators act surprised that Charles Robinson is walking out. With Eva in Regal’s office earlier, this is starting to get very interesting. It’s announced that Robinson will be the referee for the match and will ensure no controversy takes place. Very interesting indeed.
They announce Samoa Joe vs. Tamasso Ciampa for next week.
4. Eva Marie vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship
They put over that WWE Corporate made this match, assigned Charles Robinson to officiate and how Eva is coming down to the ring with Nia Jax. They put over strong that Eva Marie has not earned this title shot, and that she’s here because it’s good for stakeholders. This is an excellent storyline. Even Saxton is selling this storyline well, and that’s an incredible achievement. Crowd is fired up for this match. It’s amazing that Bayley is in a John Cena storyline (the odds are stacked against her), but she’s getting the reactions management wish Cena got. Eva took some of the match early, but then Bayley hit the Bayley-to-Belly from out of nowhere. She has the match won, but Nia Jax pulls the referee out of the ring. Saxton explodes with anger, it was so awesome. Eva then rolls up Bayley and Robinson runs to count an amazing near fall. Bayley shouts at Robinson for not disqualifying Eva Marie, but Robinson says that he didn’t see what happened. Jax then headbutts Bayley and Eva gets another amazing near fall. This crowd is explosive. Bayley mounts a comeback with a clothesline and exploder suplex. She hits her corner charges, but Robinson steps in the way to stop her. Eva then hits The Kendrick for an amazing near fall. She goes for the move again, but Bayley shoves her off into Charles Robinson who rolls to the outside. Eva goes to the top rope, but Bayley fights back and goes for a Super Bayley-to-Belly, but Nia Jax stops her. Bayley rolls to the outside and drops Nia Jax. She then hits the Super Bayley-to-Belly and the original ref rolls back in and counts the three. Not a brilliantly worked match, but fantastic from a storytelling viewpoint. Easily Eva’s best match to date and she actually looked competent in the ring. Amazing what happens you put her in the ring with someone who knows what she’s doing. After the match, Nia Jax takes out Bayley and hits her leg drop of complete death on her.
A really fun edition of NXT with some fun matches and a great show-long storyline. It will be interesting to see where they go with Eva from here, as I imagine WWE Corporate will announce a rematch for NXT Takeover: London where the odds will further stacked against Bayley. I’m going to that show, so I can’t wait. Or they’ll announced Nia Jax vs. Bayley, but I think Eva as champ with Nia Jax wanting the title is a better storyline. They really struggled with Eva to begin with, but they’ve finally nailed her character. She actually drew legit heat this week, which is awesome. She’s The Corporate Rock taking on Mankind in 1998. The Balor and Joe segment was awesome too, and they will tear the house down come NXT Takeover: London.
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.