From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Emma (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Shazza
Emma and Dana’s synchronized posing to each other’s themes is one of the many best things in NXT right now. NXT’s jobber matches even have continuity as the announcers point out that Shazza was Emma’s last opponent before she came to WWE. Australia is really pumping out the quality female wrestling talent lately, aren’t they? Shazza makes me miss Alexa Bliss: glitter-spewing cheerleader fairy. This is basically an Emma squash as she is pissed off and sending a message to Asuka that Emma is not afraid of her. Emma Sandwich and a fierce looking Emma Lock get the submission.
We look back at James Storm’s debut last week and he cuts a fun good ol’ boy promo backstage about how happy he is to be in NXT. Guy has a ton of charisma.
We get a hype video for Finn Balor that seems to be a Cliff’s Notes version of the special look they did back before the Toyko match.
NXT’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa
I should have taken a picture of my face when I read this match happened in the spoilers. Simply put, for the most part, THIS MATCH FUCKING RULED. It is amazing how quickly and how well Gable and Jordan have embraced the superface tag team role. Gable and Ciampa start and have an amazing stalemate sequence as they roll on the mat and bridge up at the same time before Gable absolutely schools him and brings the crowd to it’s feet. I love how they can still be the same super arrogant team they’ve been but the crowd loves them now because they are too awesome to boo. Gargano and Ciampa do get some double team moves on Jordan but Jordan catches Gargano out of the air and sends him into the corner to tag Gable
Gable: “Thank you!”
Jordan: “You’re welcome!”
Gable hangs off the apron with an armbar on Gargano and sends Ciampa flying before fighting them both off until Gargano drills him with a spear from the apron to stop him cold as we take a break. This match could go the rest of the episode and I’d be fine with it.
The match slows down at this point as Gable gets methodically worked over and Gargano and Ciampa smoothly tag and switch positions on an abdominal stretch on Gable. Gable judo throws Gargano away and makes the hot tag as Jason Jordan has found his calling as “dude who gets hot tags and wrecks shit“. A capture suplex has Gargano saving the pin and Gargano and Ciampa hit stereo corner strikes before Gable saves after a Gargano DDT. They go for a double suplex, but Jordan slips behind, dumping Gargano and faceplanting Ciampa before the Grand Amplitude gets the win. Get this shit on RAW ASAP.
Devin (:sadface:) asks Bayley about Alexa Bliss’ recent actions. Bayley isn’t quite sure what has gotten into Alexa, but she is proud to be a role model and has stayed true to herself, unlike Alexa since she became evil. She’s the champion and she’s going to stay that way.
Eva Marie is still in Paris but she’s coming back. She’s going to a showing of Moulin Rouge which is her favorite show.
Because Rouge is French for red.
Because she has red hair.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Nia Jax
Nia has black, Mad Max inspired gear and it looks so much better. This is similar to her first match as the smaller face pinballs around her while Nia doesn’t have to do a whole lot to be menacing due to her size. Nia does sell pretty well when Ray gets some offense, but she catches her on a springboard and plants her (Graves: “She just spiked her so hard I was expecting an end zone dance.”) before dropping a leg on her for the pin. Variety is always good in wrestling so the women’s division getting its own version of the big hoss type is a nice development.
We recap Dash and Dawson taking Enzo and Cass apart last week. Enzo and Cass come out for a rematch, but Dash and Dawson jump them as Enzo starts his spiel (#1 HEELS) and toss Enzo off the stage before taking Cass’ knee apart to write him off for a while as he apparently is legit injured.
Alexa Bliss verbally abuses poor Tom Phillips before challenging Bayley to a six-person tag next week. She’s not sure what losers Bayley will be able to scrape up, though. Once again, Bliss is Best.
We get the second part of a special look at Apollo Crews as he talks about his move to NXT and his debut in Brooklyn. He doesn’t think he’s proven himself yet and puts over Finn Balor, but says Finn hasn’t faced someone like him. Next week, he’s taking the title.
Tyler Breeze vs. Samoa Joe
Joe is definitely looking suitably pissed off for this match. Tyler channels his inner Owens by bailing to the floor and making Joe come for him to allow Tyler to get the first shots in. Tyler poses in the corner, so Joe just kicks him really hard and goes to work. Tyler bails again, so Joe launches himself out onto him as we take a break.
Joe continues taking Breeze apart out of the break, but Breeze hits his backcracker move for a 1 count. Breeze slugs away and argues with the ref before hitting a dropkick. Breeze tries to ground Joe with a chinlock but Joe makes the comeback and crushes him with a senton for 2. He drops Breeze with an STO before setting him up for the Muscle Buster, but Tyler rolls off into a pin for 2 before hitting a super(model) kick for another 2 count. Frustrated, Tyler trades strikes and tries a rollup, but Joe yanks him back into the Coquina Clutch for the submission. A good outing for what is presumably Tyler’s last NXT match (at least as a regular).
Finn Balor closes the show with a promo about his title defense next week. He gives credit to Crews for winning the battle royal and beating some top people, but he hasn’t beaten someone like Finn. Someday Apollo will be NXT champion, but it won’t be next week.
OVERALL: Another really fun show. It’s an easy thumbs up on that tag match ALONE, but both main singles title feuds got some more hype and we had a good main event. RAW this week seemed to have some of the same simple booking philosophy that makes NXT so easy to watch and it was the best episode of RAW in at least six months. Hopefully they keep taking more cues from this show. Especially regarding the tag division and the women.
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