From the CFE Arena on the campus of UCF in Orlando, Florida. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
This week: Sami Zayn faces Samoa Joe in a #1 contender’s match.
Enzo and BIG CASS & American Alpha vs. Blake and Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss) & Dash and Dawson
Jordan and Gable are trying out a Steinerized look this week. The headband works on Gable, I must admit. Gable rides Dawson down as the teams trash talk each other from the apron before they all decide “fuck it” and just start brawling. The faces dump the heels out and stand tall as we take a break.
The bulk of the rest of the match is the heel team methodically wearing down Gable while his partners and the crowd try to rally him. The ring mics pick up the heels trash talk as Dash RIPS OFF THE HEADBAND. DICK. Gable keeps kicking out and holding on until he starts to get close to the corner, but Dash knocks Enzo off the apron when Dawson diverts his attention. Love this team. Cass punches Dash, which knocks him back into Gable and gives Gable the opening to make the hot tag to Jordan. He runs wild like only he can and Cass comes in for the assist as they literally throw the heels to each other for side slams and suplexes before sharing the most beautiful moment in NXT history.
Brings a tear to your eye, don’t it?
Jordan spears Dawson and tags in Gable for Grand Amplitude, but Dash breaks up the pin. Gable disposes of him, but Enzo decides to tag himself in and Air Enzo on Dawson gets the pin. A pretty basic match but the personalities on both sides make it fun as hell.
Alex Reyes asks Deonna Purrazzo about her rematch against Asuka tonight. Sounding like she is reading cue cards, she talks about how their first match was a “learning experience” before Emma and Dana Brooke interrupt. They reiterate that they run this place and Asuka was lucky when she beat them (“Even Michael Jordan has an off day”) before insulting Deonna.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Asuka
Good for Deonna for getting back on the horse after getting murdered by this very woman a few weeks ago.
Asuka beats the shit out of her to start with kicks that make Brie Bellas’ look like love taps and hooks in a knee bar. Deonna makes the ropes and kicks away an Asuka charge before hitting a crossbody for 2. She fires off forearms, but Asuka just roars at her, so she tries a slap. If I ran the Performance Center, the first thing I’d tell my students is “for the love of God, don’t slap Asuka.” Hell, I’d put it right in the contract: “The signatory of this contract is advised that WWE bears no personal responsibility for loss of life and/or limb if the signatory is to ever slap, pat the head of or otherwise insult the honor of Asuka in any way, shape or form”. Deonna comes off the top with a flying nothing and Asuka just implants her foot right into her stomach. She hooks in an anklelock before transitioning into a German for 2. She tries an armbar and transitions into the Asuka Lock. Deonna won’t just go down so Asuka ends her with THREE spinning backfists and a roundhouse kick for the pin.
Requiescat in pace, Deonna Purrazzo. Again. Asuka should be illegal.
We recap the Women’s title match between Bayley and Carmella and the extracurricular activities with Nia Jax and Eva Marie attacking them before Asuka chases them off and does The Staredown with Bayley. We hear from Nia and Eva as they have bad words for Bayley, Carmella and, hilariously, Asuka. DID THEY NOT JUST WATCH WHAT HAPPENED? Deonna’s body isn’t even cold yet.
Next week: Bayley and Carmella face Nia Jax and Eva Marie.
“The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger vs. Alex Riley
It seriously looks like Alex lopped the head off of early 2000s HHH and put his own head on top. The commentators talk about how Kevin Owens broke Alex Riley and he isn’t the same guy that sucked in the commentary booth. Riley beats Tye down for a bit until Tye comes back with a Thesz press but Alex just punches him in the face. He goes for a full nelson but Tye drops down and rolls him up for the pin. Alex Riley is a geek; I thought this was well established already.
Finn Balor gives Apollo Crews credit for their match a few weeks ago before talking about the #1 contenders match. No matter who wins, Finn will be ready to defend his title.
Baron Corbin tries one last time to plead his case to GM Regal, but Regal reiterates that Baron lost and his decision is final. Baron threatens retribution for things being stolen from him.
Next week: American Alpha vs. Blake and Murphy. Didn’t we just see that match a few weeks ago?
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn (#1 Contender’s match)
Joe wears Sami down with an armbar and works over his shoulder, giving Zayn a slap after a break is forced. They are cutting a slow, methodical pace as Sami takes him down with an armdrag and uses Joe’s momentum to dump him out but Joe gets out of the way before Sami can dive out onto him and we take a break.
Sami takes Joe down again and gets rolling, but Joe stops that cold by catching him on a charge and dumping him to the mat with an STO. He slowly picks Sami apart with strikes and takes his knee out when Sami tries to fight back. He goes back to imposing his will on Sami with chops which Sami sells by nearly bending completely backwards. Sami suddenly fires back with a huge clothesline and answers a Joe kick with another. He struggles to get Joe with the Blue Thunder Bomb and hits it after pulling Joe back into him for momentum. Sami unwisely tries a suplex and Joe easily escapes, hitting a running kick and senton for a close 2. Joe hits a flurry of strikes, but Sami ducks a clothesline and takes him down, looking for the Koji Clutch, but he can’t wrap his legs around the bigger man and Joe answers with a snap powerslam for 2. They slug it out and Joe cracks him with a jumping enzigiri, but Sami catches him on a charge with the Exploder in the corner and goes for the Heluva Kick, but Joe wraps him in the Coquina Clutch, sitting in the ropes and wrapping his legs around Sami for extra leverage. He goes for the Muscle Buster, but Sami escapes and nails him with the Heluva Kick, flopping on top of Joe for the three count…but both men’s shoulders are down. Both men raise their arms in victory, but the ref pulls them both down. GM Regal comes down for an explanation as Joe contends his shoulder was up (and on replay, it was). Confusion reigns….again…as we fade.
So…does Regal just not know the phrase “restart the match”? Doing a finish like this in two consecutive #1 contender matches is a BIT ridiculous, but this match ruled and if it means these two face off one more time, I’m all for it. Definitely Sami’s best match since his return and Joe is pretty much his mid-2000s self all over again right now.
OVERALL: Don’t look now, but NXT is on a roll again. It’s amazing how quickly this show can turn it on when they are focused on a big show down the road.
Plus, NO DRIFTER THIS WEEK. That’s an automatic thumbs-up in my book.
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