It’s time to crown a new #1 contender to Finn Balor as Sami Zayn takes on Samoa Joe in the main event. There’s also some other matches, but this is mostly about the main event. It’s this week’s NXT…
Show opens with a video package to hype up the #1 contenders match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe. This should be a great main event.
1. Enzo & Cass & American Alpha vs. Blake & Murphy & Dash & Dawson
American Alpha are wearing outfits that look like rejects from the Mr. Motivator collection. That’s a joke for UK readers. Gable and Dawson do some chain wrestling early and it’s pretty awesome, but it quickly breaks down with all eight guys running into the ring. The good guys clear house and the crowd explodes. Back from the break and the heels have taken over with Blake working over Gable. Dawson is fantastic, he really is a tremendous worker. They work over Gable for a long, long time until he finally gets a hot tag to Jason Jordan. All hell breaks loose as Jordan and Cass run wild on the heels with big power moves. Jordan hits the shoulder block in the corner and he and Gable hit Grand Amplitude, but it’s broken up by Wilder. Cass was standing right there and could have stopped him. What a terrible team mate. Wilder’s attack doesn’t last long as Gable throws him to the outside and Enzo & Cass hit the Rocket Launcher for the win. They pinned the tag champs! This was a fun little match, but the heat segment was a little bit long and boring. Like watching a Triple H championship match in 2004.
Backstage, Deonna Purrazzo is talking about being knocked out by Asuka a few weeks ago. She says that being knocked out was a learning experience when Dana Brooke and Emma show up. They tell her that they rule NXT and that Asuka was lucky when she beat both of them. Emma notes that even Michael Jordan has an off day.
2. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Asuka
Asuka kills Purrazzo early on with kicks and a running leg vine into a knee bar. Pretty impressive stuff. She runs into a boot from Purrazzo who then lands a running crossbody. She stars to hit Asuka, but that just makes her mad. Purrazzo tries to hit an axe handle of sorts from the top rope of sorts, but Asuka kicks her in the gut hard. She locks in another knee bar and transitions into an armbar. She then hits some spinning forearms and a kick to the head for the win. A fun squash match because Asuka is so damn good.
We saw some highlights from Eva Marie and Nia Jax’s attack on Carmella and Bayley last week. We then get a horrible backstage promo from All Red Robot and Jax. It was as scripted and as horrible as you’d imagine. They announced Bayley & Carmella vs. Eva Marie & Nia Jax for next week.
3. “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger vs. Alex Riley
Neither man got any sort of reaction, especially when compared to Asuka, American Alpha and Enzo & Cass. Riley is actually getting the John Cena treatment. This wasn’t much of a match really. Alex did some power spots and toyed with Dillinger. Corey Graves is burying Riley on commentary hard. Then all of a sudden Dillinger rolls Riley up for the win! I think that’s Dillinger’s first win since he started the Perfect 10 gimmick.
Backstage, Baron Corbin is talking about tonight’s main event. He puts over Apollo Crews as a great competitor and hopes he’ll be in the ring with him again soon. He then puts over both Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe, but he says he will be ready and waiting for whoever wins. This was pretty scripted and not great.
We cut to Regal in his office backstage, which looks like another area of the locker room. Baron Corbin walks in and says that he deserves to be in the main event. Regal reminds him that he lost. Corbin says that he believes in an eye for eye, especially when it comes to stealing.
4. Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Joe uses a power game early on, but Zayn turns the tide briefly with an armdrag. This is very slow-paced, allowing time to build a story. It was all about Joe using power, and Zayn using Joe’s strength and weight against him. Back from the break, and Joe has abandoned his ground game to muscle Zayn around and bully him with punches and kicks. Sami gets another armdrag, but Joe kills him with his corner STO. Zayn tries to fight back again with some forearm strikes, but Joe wipes him out. Just when it looks like he has no hope, Zayn fires back and takes Joe down. He tries to hit the Blue Thunder Bomb but couldn’t get him up. He tries a couple of times, but when Joe tries to run away he hits it perfectly. That was an awesome spot. Joe gets back to a vertical base, and he knocks Zayn down again. Joe hits his running powerslam for a nearfall. Zayn is punch-drunk and out on his feet, but he tries to fight back once again, but Joe again stops his momentum. But as Joe goes to attack, Zayn hits the Exploder Suplex and goes for the Helluva Kick but Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch. Zayn backs him into a corner to break the hold, but Joe holds on for the maximum five seconds. This is really great. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster, but Zayn powers out and hits the Helluva Kick and falls on top of Joe. The ref counts the three, but there’s a question about who’s shoulders were on the mat. Zayn fell on top of Joe and slid so his shoulders were on the mat, and the commentators put over that Joe had his arm on Sami so it looked like he had the cover – even though he was on his back. This makes no sense. This is daft, stupid and dumb. Zayn raises his arm, but the ref puts it down and shakes his head. Joe raises his arm but the ref puts it down and shakes his head. William Regal came down and the ref told him it was a draw, which both Joe and Zayn are unhappy about. Aside from the finish, this was pretty solid.
Another weird ending to NXT in terms of building towards NXT Takeover: Dallas. It really just made the ref look incompetent and certainly didn’t add any drama to the feud. The rest of the show was average too, but the opening match was a lot of fun.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the co-host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen.