This IS NXT
From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
This week: One week away from Takeover: The End, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor go face-to-face in a special interview hosted by Corey Graves.
The Revival head to the ring for a promo. It becomes abundantly clear that Scott Dawson needs to do all the talking because all Dash can provide is a standard generic promo while Dawson has much more personality. They admit that American Alpha are great “amateur” athletes, but this is the big leagues and they are going to take their titles back. They are interrupted by Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, who say that the Alpha have already proven they are better than the Revival and they think Dash and Dawson can’t beat them either. Dash calls them “guys with beards that everyone considers a ‘good hand'”, but Ciampa turns those words right around on them. Dawson tells them to head back to the bingo halls and let the “top guys” handle things, but Ciampa brings up Dallas. Dash tells them to come back and talk when they’ve actually won something and leave, but Gargano gives them sass as well and the fight is on with Gargano and Ciampa getting the upper hand. A challenge is issued and I think we have a match tonight.
I know everybody hates the opening promos on RAW, but I actually like that they are starting to do more in-ring promos on NXT instead of taping everything backstage since it allows the crowd to react and keeps the guys on their toes since they can’t just start over if they mess up. I’m really digging the Gargano and Ciampa team stepping it up over the past month.
Cathy Kelley asks Shinsuke Nakamura about his match with Aries at Takeover and, after contemplating the question for a bit, says Aries will bow down to the King of Strong Style. Dude has the best promo in the company right now.
“The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger vs. Buddy Murphy
Murphy got his first name back in the breakup, at least. He still has the same Tron, gear and music, which is just sad to see. Time to move on, Buddy.
Tye works the arm as Graves talks about Buddy’s bad week, including his poor dog dying. Buddy charges in with a punch in the corner and takes over as we are told GM Regal has made The Revival vs. Gargano and Ciampa official for tonight. Tye makes the comeback and punches in the corner, punctuating it with a superkick that literally knocks Buddy’s teeth out before hitting a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for the pin. Tye is still insanely entertaining so I hope this is the start of him doing more.
We get a special interview hosted by Graves with Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. Simply put, this was fucking fantastic. Just watch:
Samoa Joe needs not only to be on the main roster, but he needs to be WWE Champion. The way he doesn’t seem to want any part of Finn’s bullshit and STILL brings up how Finn wasn’t a MAN and gave him a title shot after they won the Dusty Classic (even though it was Regal who denied him in the first place), was masterful. They play off each other so incredibly well as Joe arrogantly swipes away all of Finn’s arguements and just carries himself like he’s always been the best but had to battle Finn and THE OFFICE to get there. He also brings up Finn’s “revisionist history” about how he got to Japan through “hard work”. Things get uncomfortably tense as Joe brings up how Finn said he barely survived the first two matches and has an advantage since Finn has never been in a cage match. Graves asks why Finn seems to be risking his future for this match, but to Finn, there is no future without the NXT Title and that is “the most important ‘ting to me right now”. Joe sees the match as a way to put Finn in his place and he only stabbed Finn in the back because Finn was running away so he couldn’t do it in his heart. They go face-to-face as Joe says “it’s all over.”
Five fucking stars. Find me a better promo you’re going to see all year in NXT or WWE as a whole. I dare you. This is going to be an epic cage match.
The Drifter vs. Austin Aries
There sounded like an audible “NOOOOOOO!!” from the crowd as The Drifter’s music starts. Can’t really blame them. Pretty much a squash for Aries as Samson gets a bit of offense, but Aries fights back and hits a dive to the outside before bringing him in for the rolling elbow and the Last Chancery gets the tap. He grabs a mic and promises that at Takeover, he’s going to take the spotlight and shine it where it belongs: on him.
Andrade “Cien” Almas will appear next week at Takeover: The End.
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Revival
Gargano and Dawson mix it up to start with Gargano getting the upper hand and Dawson gets double teamed for a 2 count. Ciampa tries to cut off the ring and takes Dash out, but Dawson tosses him and hits Gargano to draw the referee away so Dash can cheapshot Ciampa on the outside and we take a break.
The Revival work over Ciampa and cut off any attempts at a tag, even after Ciampa sends Dawson into the post on the outside. Ciampa escapes a suplex and Dawson grabs him to try and keep him back, but Ciampa eventually makes the tag anyway. Johnny goes wild on Dawson and hits the spear through the ropes, but Dash saves the match. He eats a jumping enzigiri for his troubles but we get an AWESOME spot where Dawson rears back for a punch to sucker Johnny into ducking his head which allows Dawson to grab him and hit a DDT. I don’t know how many people will love that as much as I did. Ciampa saves the pin and he and Dash have a scrap on the outside while Dawson sets Gargano up for a superplex, but Gargano cradles him on impact and gets the flash pin! Well, that’s a bit of a surprise. Incensed, the Revival jump them after the bell and hit the Shatter Machine on Ciampa. They go to break his knee like they did to Big Cass, but American Alpha charge out for a brawl, which Alpha get the better of with stereo German suplexes.
Fun tag match as it looks like Gargano and Ciampa are going to be next in line for the tag titles. They had a great match with the Alpha late last year, so I am so down for more of that.
GM Regal is in the ring for the NXT Women’s Championship match contract signing and introduces the principles. He begins to sing Asuka’s praises, but Nia Jax snatches the mic from his hand and doesn’t understand why everyone is so scared of Asuka. She may have beat Bayley in Dallas, but she “broke” the “heart and soul” of NXT. She’s never faced anybody like Nia and she is not scared of Asuka at all. Asuka says that Nia talks too much before laying into her in Japanese which, considering how she is dressed, sounds like the scariest performance review you’ll ever have. If Nia is not scared of her, she should be. Asuka fires off the strikes, but Nia catches a kick and hits a powerbomb to lay the champion out as we fade. I’m still not completely sold on Jax in the ring, but Asuka pulled my #10 match of 2015 out of Dana Brooke, so I’m keeping optimistic here.
OVERALL: You may remember a month or so ago I said I wasn’t all that excited about the prospect of another Takeover so soon after Dallas but, as usual, they have done a tremendous job of building up the matches. Sure, we have two Dallas rematches on the card, but Alpha/Revival are always great together and if you watched that promo tonight and are not way into Balor and Joe in a cage I don’t know what to tell you. If this is the end of the current era of NXT with the brand split looming, they should go out with a pretty good show.
See you next week for The End.
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