From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Tonight: The NXT Women’s title is on the line as Sasha Banks defends against Charlotte one more time.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable vs. Steve Cutler and Elias Sampson
Jordan insists on starting the match and rides Sampson, tagging in Gable who shows off impressive amateur skills on Cutler. The heels cut him off and work Gable over, but Gable makes the hot tag and Jordan runs wild before he literally throws Cutler into a Gable back suplex, which is an awesome double team move, to get the pin. The Greatest Tag Team in NXT History is 1-0. It’s just the beginning, folks. But seriously, the NXT tag division has plenty of teams with good character and so-so in-ring skill so it’ll be nice to see a team like this thrown into the mix.
We see highlights of the NXT women debuting on RAW. In theory this was awesome, but in practice I had a few problems. One, why is the heel authority figure Stephanie McMahon berating the dominant heel champion and giving her more obstacles? Why can’t the Bellas just tell Paige to “go back where you came from” and Paige answering she did go back to her NXT roots and brought an Irishwoman to break your arms, a Flair to break your legs and a Boss to break your neck? It’s definitely a more organic way to introduce them instead of Stephanie suddenly saying “the women we promote are jokes, so l brought these girls in because I am smart and know how to fix things!”
Secondly, I really don’t like Sasha teaming with Naomi and Tamina. Mostly because Tamina needs to go away forever and I’m afraid Naomi is going to try and keep up with women much better than her and end up huring herself or others.
Third, poor Bayley. Broke her hand at the worst possible time. I’m guessing she’s gonna help anchor the NXT division while the others (hopefully) tear it up on RAW and PPV, but she deserves to be there just as much as the other three.
If there is one thing I am hoping against hope that WWE doesn’t fuck up, it’s this. Because if they DO fuck it up, the damage caused will be hard to repair.
Samoa Joe vs. Axel Tisher
Tisher is one of the new Performance Center recruits. He’s a big boy. This is basically a Joe squash which allows me to ask the one question that’s been bugging me: do they have plans for Joe or what? Yeah he’s done some stuff with Kevin Owens, but I thought that would lead to a match at the Brooklyn show, but instead (spoiler) they are doing a title rematch with Balor and Owens. That kinda leaves Joe with nothing to do. I guess he could do a match with Tyler Breeze, but that kind of has to result in Breeze going over, doesn’t it? They need new main event challengers for Balor once he’s done with Owens and Breeze seems like a natural opponent so a victory over someone the stature of Joe would be great for him.
As an aside, Joe needs new music. Desperately.
We get a video for Baron Corbin. I guess it’s supposed to be in the vein of the Balor videos they’ve done, but here it doesn’t work. Corbin says he won four college football conference championships “by himself” and says he was “the baddest man to ever play in the NFL.” I honestly didn’t know he even played in the NFL. He complains about people like Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe are waltzing into NXT thinking they are something because they’ve made a name on the internet and wrestling in high school gyms and he’s made more money in the NFL than they will ever see. It’s an effective heel promo in that I am not completely indifferent to him anymore; now I want someone to kick his ass. He’s never even played in a single NFL game! I Googled it! I guess I asked for more vignettes going into the backgrounds of these characters, but Corbin’s wooden delivery and the fact that it felt too much like a wrestling promo and not natural knocks it down several pegs for me.
Oh boy, an Eva Marie promo. I’m shocked they put her in front of that crowd live. The promo is predictably awful as she reads her lines and announces she’s gonna wrestle next week. Oh man, that could be the pinnacle of comedy. She’s gonna have to wrestle the best match of her life to not be completely shit upon and even then that might not be enough.
Oh man, I just got visions of a Eva Marie/Dana Brooke title feud in 2016 and now I feel really sad. And I *like* Dana!
Blake and Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins (non-title)
Not really much to talk about here as Blake and Murphy are happy to wear down Dawkins for most of the match. Byron Saxton breaks the stupid meter by saying that Blake and Murphy used to “eat toothpaste sandwiches dipped in Listerine” and is IMMEDIATELY made fun of by the others for it. It’s that kind of wit that gets you a spot on the RAW announce team, folks! Blake takes down Fulton to isolate Dawkins and the brainbuster/frog splash combo gets the win. Alexa isn’t satisfied, so Fulton takes a further beating after the bell and B&M punctuate it by launching Alexa cheeleader-style into a Sparkle Splash in an AWESOME spot. Everyone is learning that throwing your partner at people is an effective offense it seems. Big Cass has launched his own revolution! These three are among my favorites in NXT right now.
Sami Zayn (arm in sling) joins us for a promo in-ring. He says that 2015 has been as bad for his career as 2014 was great and says he’s probably not coming back until 2016. He vows to come come back to win the NXT championship and get his revenge on Kevin Owens. “Watch your ass Kev, because I am coming for you!” Sami returning in the Rumble match and beating on Owens would be the perfect way to go here.
We once again see Finn Balor winning the NXT title in Tokyo and then go to the WWE panel at Comic-Con where GM Regal announced the rematch at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Both guys offer comments on the match.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (C) (NXT Women’s Championship match)
Considering this was at the end of a long taping, kudos to the tired crowd for getting into this match. Charlotte controls the early moments, headscissoring Sasha around the ring, but Sasha cuts her off in the corner and drops the double knees to control as we take a break.
Sasha slows things down with a straightjacket hold as we return and then chokes Charlotte in the corner, leading to a Flair flop. Hey, as long as it isn’t his spending habits and drinking, Charlotte can take whatever she wants from her father’s repertoire. Sasha reapplies the straightjacket and Charlotte tries to escape, but Sasha apes her moveset and turns it into a headscissors. Charlotte swipes at her, so Sasha slaps her in the stomach to quiet her down, but Charlotte powers to her feet and turns Sasha into a powerbomb. They slug it out and Charlotte nails a spear for 2. They fight over a backslide and Sasha turns it into a neckbreaker for another 2. Sasha talks trash and slaps Charlotte, so Charlotte goes OFF on her with slaps and chops into the corner followed by a boot. Sasha turns a Figure Eight attempt into a rollup for 2 and another rollup gets another 2, frustrating the champ. Sasha goes for her own figure four but Charlotte pushes her off and rolls into a Figure Eight attempt, causing her hair extensions to come off in the process so she just swats at Sasha with them as the intensity has ramped up in this match. Sasha makes the ropes, so Charlotte drops off the apron with the hold still applied for just a bit more punishment. Back in, they desperately trade rollups and Charlotte goes for a slam, but Sasha drops behind her and backcracks her into the Banks Statement. Charlotte shifts her weight to get a 2, but Sasha repositions her and cranks way back as Charlotte’s flexibility allows her to bend back and make that hold look like absolute agony before she finally taps.
Afterwards the two longtime rivals share a teary hug and salute the fans, this part of their careers seemingly coming to an end and both going on to hopefully even better things. A slow start but once they got going they delivered a fine match. A couple matches like this on RAW will go a LONG way in the eyes of the fans.
Please, please, PLEASE WWE, don’t fuck this up.
OVERALL: A good main event caps a show that didn’t have a whole lot of starpower aside from the main event, but still showcased some of my favorite newer characters and allowed them some time to shine. Obviously NXT will be in a transition period for the rest of the year as more of the “established” stars go on to bigger things and it will be up to some of the people we saw tonight to carry more of the load.
That’s it for this week. I’m @PKIsTwitting on Twitter if you want to say hi.