It’s a blockbuster main event on this week’s show with former NXT Champion Neville taking on the current NXT Champion Finn Balor. Plus, Austin Aries debuts, Emma is in action, and more…
Show opens with an amazing video package hyping up tonight’s main event between Finn Balor and Neville. Should be a great match.
1. The Vaudevillains vs. Hugo Knox and Tucker Knight
Hugo Knox, who was wearing very ugly purple tights, got a dropkick in early, but The Vaudevillains took over and controlled the match. The commentators put over how this mean streak has been a positive thing for The Vaudevillains. It feels like they’re building towards a Vaudevillains/Hype Bros. feud as they kept mentioning them on commentary. Corey Graves said Mojo has been training extra hard by licking extra windows. Not sure it was the most P.C. line, but it made me laugh. Knox gets the tag to Tucker Knight who looks like a serviceable Bull Dempsey replacement. He runs wild but gets caught by The Whirling Dervish to give The Vaudevillains the win.
Backstage Emma and Dana Broke are talking about Asuka. This feud is STILL going on. Tom Philips said it has spilled over from NXT Takeover: London, when it actually started at NXT Takeover: Respect in October. They said when they predict something it comes true, and Emma is going to make a mockery of her opponent tonight. Or something like that. To be honest I was more focused on remembering when this feud started.
They showed a tremendous video package for Finn Balor about his time in NXT. We then saw the footage shown last week of Enzo & Cass getting attacked by The Revival in the parking lot. Enzo & Cass cut a promo about how they’re going to beat them and become NXT Tag Team Champions. The Revival then cut a promo calling them the Catchphrase Kings and saying they don’t deserve to win the belts. The Revival were the better of the two. They announce that The Revival will defend the titles against Enzo & Cass at WWE Roadblock.
2. Emma vs. Santana Garrett
Emma got a huge pop coming out. She took control of the match early on with a nice double underhook suplex. There really isn’t much else to this match, but Emma is a very solid hand and Santana’s selling is fairly good. Santana then makes a nice little comeback including a side Russian legsweep and a handspring elbow that looked much better than when Chyna used to do it. The best thing about this match is Dana Brooke on the outside. Santana gets a near fall, but Emma kicks out and instantly locks in the Emma Lock for the submission win. This was a nothing match.
Backstage, Eva Marie and Nia Jax were with William Regal. He says he saw their promo from last week – which we didn’t see because it was on WWE.com and not NXT – and was very impressed. He said they were both big stars and deserved a big match. So he booked them against Bayley and Asuka, which is the same match as last week but without Carmella, basically saying Carmella is not a big star. Way to bury Carmella there. Eva Marie looks very sad and Nia Jax looks pissed off. I like this duo. Eva looked at Jax as if she was sorry for getting them into this mess.
In the ring, William Regal promotes how NXT brings the best talent in the world. He introduces the latest signing to NXT: Austin Aries. The crowd explodes for Aries who has a great new logo. And yes, he’s using Austin Aries as his name. But as he’s walking down to the ring, he’s attacked by Baron Corbin who lays down a wicked beating. He throws him into the ring apron and gives him an End of Days on the floor. This was so fantastically awesome. Regal looks so pissed off in the ring, and Corbin throws Aries’ t-shirt right in his face. It was fantastic. Aries sold the beating so well and was fuming that his big moment had been ruined.
3. Steve Cutler vs. “The Drifter” Elias Sampson
Urgh, it’s your Drifter match for the week. This was very, very boring. Sampson did some moves, played air guitar, hit the swinging neckbreaker and won. The crowd got more and more annoyed as it went on. They started off silent, and then booed louder and louder as it went on. Very bad.
Backstage, The Hype Bros. are talking about how they’re glad they got beat by The Vaudevillains. They said it’s given them a need and desire to win. They say some more stupid things and then go their separate ways, which was odd. From behind the scalfoding however, The Vaudevillains sneak out and reveal they were listening the entire time. They were like Saturday morning cartoon villains. It made me laugh but I’m not sure that was the intent.
They show a video package for Neville, which just highlights how poorly he’s being used on the main roster.
Next week, Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe take on each other in a 2-out-of-3 falls match.
4. Neville vs. Finn Balor
The commentators talk about The Bullet Club possibly coming to NXT, which means we could see Gallows and Anderson debut in NXT alongside Balor rather than on the main roster with AJ Styles. The match begins as a game of one-upmanship, but Neville gets the upper-hand. He’s showing some great aggression and he hard whips Balor into the corner and delivers a fantastic one-armed snap suplex. It’s times like these where you remember just how great Neville is. Neville is moving slowly, but just as he speeds up, Balor launches him over the ropes for a flat bump. That was an incredible spot. Balor’s control doesn’t last long though as Neville sends him to the outside and then hits a springboard moonsault to the outside. They exchange some punches and Balor hits the Pele Kick to send Neville to a seated position. Balor throws Neville into the corner and delivers his running knife edge chops. With Neville on the outside, Balor hits his running kick from the apron and rolls him backside quickly for a near fall. Balor goes for Bloody Sunday, but Neville reverses it and gives him his delayed German Suplex. Love that move. Neville goes for the Red Arrow, but Balor gets up and gives him an enzigurhi to send him to the outside again for a flip dive over the ropes. He goes up top for the Coup de Grace, but Neville recovers enough to push his feet off the turnbuckles to crotch him. Neville joins him on the ropes and hits a standing hurricanrana off the top. Unbelieveable stuff! Neville goes for the Red Arrow again, but Balor rolls out the way and hits the Slingblade. He tries his running dropkick, but Neville reverses it. Balor the turns him inside out with a clothesline and then hits his running dropkick to send Neville into the corner. He then hits the Coup de Grace and Bloody Sunday for the win. Great match with a tremendous finishing sequence.
Backstage, Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn are asked about their match next week. Joe calls Zayn one of the most ungrateful men he’s ever met because he saved his career from Kevin Owens’ beatdown. Zayn says that Joe is only here because he paved the way to make NXT great. Joe says that it’s ironic that he saved Zayn’s career and next week he’ll end it. Great promos from both me.
The last few weeks of NXT shows have been very missable, skipable and forgettable. This week was much better. The main event was tremendous and the Austin Aries segment – though short – was excellent. You can skip The Drifter and the Emma match, but this is worth going out of your way to see.
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.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/197064794″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=false” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]