NXT is on its own Road to WrestleMania as we’re in the fallout from last week’s controversial main event. What’s in store for Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn? Who is the number one contender? Elsewhere, Baymella take on Eva Marie and Nia Jax in the main event, we have Bull Dempsey’s possible final match, Biff Busick’s debut and there’s a big signing coming next week. It’s this week’s NXT Recap & Review…
1. American Alpha vs. Blake & Murphy
This is a re-match from a few weeks ago, and is being pushed a chance for both teams to ascend further up the tag team ranks of NXT. Murphy is probably the loudest seller in the history of this brand. Gable has him in a leglock early on and he’s screaming for Blake so loudly. It’s kind of awesome. I say this almost every week, but Chad Gable is utterly brilliant. He does these swinging armdrags and flying armdrags and it’s just so impressive. American Alpha take this match early, and even when Blake & Murphy try to gain control they cut them off. It’s actually kind of surprising how one-sided this match has been. However, there was a momentary lapse from Gable and the heels are able to take over. They ground down Gable and work him over, until he gets a hot tag. Jordan then does my favourite comeback in the entire world where he just suplexes fools all over the shop. It’s just glorious. They hit Grand Amplitude and Blake & Murphy lose yet again. A fun little match with four great workers. Blake & Murphy do deserve to get a few wins under their belts though before they become a joke.
They show a recap of last week’s controversial finish to the main event where both Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe were pinned. We then cut backstage to Regal’s office where he announces Zayn and Joe will face off in a 2-out-of-3 falls match in two weeks. He also announces a new signing will be here next week, which I’ll assume is Austin Aries.
The Drifter sings a song. This gimmick is death.
2. Apollo Crews vs. Christopher Girard
Crews said we were going to see a new side of Apollo Crews a few weeks back. Nothing of that is on show here. Girard is the former Biff Busick (this is his real name), who is best known from EVOLE and PWG. The commentators say that Girard has been all over the world, but he’s now in the big leagues. I thought Raw was the big leagues? Crews shows off his athleticism early, but Girard cuts him off with some wicked uppercuts – including a running uppercut from a seat position. That was awesome. Tom Philips says he can’t wait to find out who the new signing is – he should check the WWE.com website. I know the new design is horrible, but you’ll find it. Girard grounds Crews with your NXT CHOKEHOLD OF THE WEEK. Crews powers out and hits his Stinger Splash and diving clothesline. He then hits the Toss Powerbomb for the win. Girard kept punching Crews in the head while he was doing it which was a nice touch. Girard was very impressive in defeat and had a great showing like Rich Swann. He’s like a scary-looking version of Cesaro. Not much of a match though.
They showed highlights of the Bayley vs. Carmella title match from a couple of weeks ago and the attack by Eva Marie and Nia Jax. We cut to Bayley and Carmella hyping up their tag match tonight. Carmella says that Marie and Jax ruined one of the biggest nights of her life. Bayley says that Asuka is fixed on winning her Women’s Championship, but she won’t let her.
We cut to security camera footage of Dash & Dawson attacking Enzo in the parking lot before Cass could save him. This is a feud that is seemingly never-ending.
3. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bull Dempsey
Poor ol’ Bull Fit – this might be one of the last matches we’ll see of his on NXT. Dempsey did some comedy early on where he couldn’t get his t-shirt off. It was actually hilarious. Ciampa attempts a test of strength, but Dempsey turns it into jumping jacks. Ciampa smiles and joins in, but then attacks Dempsey. Ciamap hit a giant running armbreaker that looked utterly vicious. The commentators are putting it over Ciampa as a heel, but I guess I missed that turn? Ciampa locks in his armlock for the submission win. Again, not much of a match.
Backstage, Samoa Joe is walking around looking pissed off. He says that he’s been jumping through hoops since he joined NXT to get what is rightfuly his. He says that’s made NXT hot. He says he feels sorry that Sami Zayn has to go through a 2-out-of-3 falls match with him.
4. Baymella vs. Eva Marie & Nia Jax
In a nice touch, Carmella didn’t do her usual spiel because this match means something to her. Bayley was more serious too, but she can’t help but be the most likeable person on the planet. Carmella comes out swinging against Eva Marie with some pretty horrible looking spears. Eva’s selling wasn’t much better. Baymella whips Eva into the corner from about two feet, and it took her 20 steps to get there. Unbelievable. She is seriously getting worse. Carmella does her moonwalk and Bayley attempts to copy her but does a purposefully terrible job. It was damn cute. Back from the break, and Carmella has Eva in YOUR SECOND NXT CHOKEHOLD OF THE WEEK. Jax gets a blind tag and Carmella takes 50 steps to run into her. Jax does a bearhug and Carmella fights out with the facelock that Bayley defended the title with in December. Eva hits some horrible kicks and Jax locks in another bearhug. After a long time, Bayley gets the hot tag and runs wild on Eva Marie. She hits the Bayley to Belly, but Jax breaks up the pin and headbutts her. She tags Carmella in who locks in her wacky leg chokehold, but Jax breaks that up too. Jax drags Eva back to their corner and tags herself in. She hits Carmella with three running leg drops of complete death and Eva blind tags herself in on the third to get the pin. It’s a great dynamic, because Jax doesn’t fight with Eva because she’s happy their team won. There’s no squabbling – yet. This was a very basic match, but it wasn’t terrible.
Backstage, Regal is with Finn Balor, and he tells him that he’s coming up on being the longest running champ in NXT history. And with that, he’s booked Finn Balor vs. Neville for next week. Why this closed the show I don’t know, but it’s still pretty cool.
This was a very skipable edition of NXT. Nothing major to check out, but it wasn’t a terrible episode by any stretch of the imagination. Next week though we’ve got the debut of Austin Aries and Balor vs. Neville, so that should be pretty awesome.
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.