NXT is coming from us in a new home in Florida this week as Carmella is set to take on Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship. Friendships will be tested, and places need to be earned. There are also appearances from NXT’s Job Squad, and a fantastic main event angle. Oh, and one of the worst matches of 2016 so far. It’s this week’s NXT…
1. Baron Corbin vs. Johnny Gargano
Corbin’s hatred for indie wrestlers continues as he takes on Johnny Wrestling. Corey Graves argues that Corbin has a good claim to still be the #1 contender. Heads up Graves, he doesn’t. Story of the match was similar to one from a couple of weeks ago where Corbin is the bigger and stronger man while Gargano was the quicker man working round him. Gargano has some offense early on, but Corbin cuts him off with a strong right hand and then takes over. He uses some power moves and the locks in a week-looking sleeper hold. Garagno reverses and locks in one of his own, but Corbin backs him into the corner. Corbin charges at him, but Gargano catches him with the slingshot spear through the ropes. That doesn’t last long however as Corbin kicks out at one, and then flattens him with the Deep Six. Corbin takes his time getting over to Gargano, who recovers and hits a superkick for a decent nearfall. Corbin rolls to the outside, and Gargano chases him round the ring. As Corbin rolls back into the ring, Garagno runs into End of Days for the win.
They show highlights from the triple threat two weeks ago, and then get comments from Sami Zayn about William Regal’s decision for a rematch between Zayn and Samoa Joe. Zayn says that he felt he won, but respects Regal’s decision. He says that winning the NXT Championship the first time round wasn’t easy, so he shouldn’t have expected winning it again to be different. He promises he will beat Joe and go on to become the first-ever 2x NXT Champion.
They show the promo package for The Vaudevillains… again. What is this? They’ve turned heel, we get it.
2. The Hype Bros. vs. John Skylar & Corey Hollis
I really, really hate The Hype Bros, and I’m not the only one. Corey Graves buries Mojo on commentary, calling Zack Ryder a former US Champion and former Internet Champion and Mojo his “idiot partner”. Tom Philips notes that Ryder never lost the Internet Championship, which is a great point. Hype Bros. take the match early, then Hollis and Skylar get the heat momentarily. Mojo fights back and hits The Pounce and a Hyperdrive. Ryder comes in and hits the Broski Boot and they hit the Hype Rider for the win. This was your regular NXT squash match.
Backstage, Carmella and Bayley are being interviewed about their upcoming match. Bayley says she has overcome some incredible odds to hold on to her championship including Nia Jax and Eva Marie, and she’s proud of Carmella getting to this point. Carmella calls this the biggest match of her career and says she may not get an opportunity like this again.
3. Alexa Bliss (w/ Blake & Murphy) vs. Cameron
This looks like a really bad idea on paper. I think both of these girls are heel? Not sure who we’re supposed to cheer for in this match? They… I don’t even know what they did in the early goings. Then Cameron botched a clothesline something fierce and the crowd – who were dead from the beginning – turned on the match. This is very, very bad. JR would have called it, ‘bowling shoe ugly’. Cameron ran the ropes and took about twenty-five steps to do so. Bliss uses heel tactics to get the heat, but Cameron trips her up and hits some horrible punches and kicks. I think she’s supposed to be the face, but she’s acting like a heel. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Alexa Bliss – who is hardly on the same level as Emma, Bayley and Asuka – deserves so better than this match. Bliss hits her Double Knees Handstand and the Sparkle Splash for the win. This was a developmental match, and not a pretty one. But, hey, they’re learning – and that’s the point of NXT. With that said, this should never have made television and is possibly an early contender for the worst match of 2016. This was apparently edited heavily, so you can only imagine how bad it was live for the crowd. An amazingly bad match.
Backstage, Enzo & Cass cut a promo on Dash & Dawson. When is this match happening, it feels like they’ve been cutting these promos for weeks? American Alpha walk in and tell them that they may have been 2015 Tag Team of the Year, but they will be the 2016 Tag Team of the Year. They banter back and forth for a bit and then leave.
4. “The Drifter” Elias Sampson vs. Jesse Sorenson
TNA’s Jesses Sorenson makes another NXT appearance for your Drifter Squash Match of the week. Anyone else get the feeling that this gimmick is going nowhere? Sampson does his usual schtick while the crowd chant “Nickelback” at him. He hits the swinging neckbreaker for the win. Still going nowhere.
They show highlights from the match between Finn Balor and Apollo Crews from last week, and then Crews cuts a promo about going toe-to-toe with the champ. He says that he learned what it takes to get to the top of the mountain, and the next time you see him, he’ll be a new Apollo Crews. This felt like the tease of a heel turn, so we’ll see where it goes. If Samoa Joe is heading to the main roster, Balor is going to need some established top heels to feud with. And if Zayn is leaving with Joe, then he’ll need more top guys other than Shinsuke Nakamura.
5. Carmella vs. Bayley for NXT Women’s Championship
They hug before the match begins and then do a bit of back-and-forth with neither getting the advantage. After a couple of more lock-ups, Bayley takes control and grids Carmella down with some submission moves. As we come back from the break, Carmella begins her comeback. She hits her boot in the corner and then hits a sloppy-as-shit hurrincanrana, but Bayley fires back with a desperation clothesline. Bayley gets caught in a small package, but she recovers and hits her shoulders and diving forearms in the corner. She hits a powerslam for a nearfall, but Carmella knocks her to the outside when she goes to the top rope. It was a nasty-looking spill, and Carmella looks concerned that she’s hurt her friend. But as Bayley gets to her feet, Carmalla dives through the ropes with a crossbody and then celebrates so hard she nearly fell over. That was a great looking dive, by the way. She gets back into the ring and then does the same spot again, only this time she rolls her back into the ring to go for a pin. Bayley kicks out three times, and Carmella starts to get frustrated. She does the Staten Island Shuffle and hits a Bronco Buster before hitting a Downward Spiral before trying to lock in her submission. Bayley escapes and they do a series of pin reverals until Bayley finally gets Carmella down for the three. Carmella looks despondent, but they hug after the match was over. This wasn’t a particaurly great match, but compared to the Cameron match from earlier it was Okada vs. Tanahashi from Wrestle Kingdom.
After the match, as Carmella walks up the ramp, Eva Marie and Nia Jax run out and attack her. Bayley tries to make the save, but she’s outnumbered. Jax hits her running leg drop several times on Carmella in the ring, and they pick her up to kick her some more. Crowd is shitting all over Eva. They continue the beatdown until Asuka comes down to the ring. The crowd explodes! She gets into the ring and stares down Nia Jax. Eva, in a brilliant move, hides behind Jax. Asuka never takes her eyes of Jax and Eva begs her to get out of the ring. Great move for the monster heel to not leave of her own accord or run scared. As the crowd chant, “Eva sucks”, Bayley gets into the ring to stare them down with Asuka. But then all of a sudden, Asuka turns her attention to Bayley and smiles. She taps Bayley’s title and lets her know that she’s looking for a title shot. This was so awesome. Asuka was fantastic. Seriously brilliant. She never said a word or did anything, but her face told the entire story. The match wasn’t much, but this angle was totally worth everything.
Backstage, Samoa Joe cuts a promo on Sami Zayn. He says that he never thought Zayn was an ungrateful man, but based on his actions that clearly isn’t true. He says that he saved Zayn’s life last year when he was being beaten down by Kevin Owens, and next week he’s going to beat Sami Zayn and then go on to be the NXT Champion. This, as always, was a great promo.
A very standard edition of NXT that was saved by a wicked final angle. Odd to have the Joe promo after the match as the image of Asuka leaving Bayley in the ring was so much stronger, but that’s just nitpicking. The main roster’s women’s division would kill to get heat like Bayley vs. Asuka got. The matches weren’t much, but go out of your way to see the main event.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and a contributor for Flickering Myth TV. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen.