This IS NXT!
From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
This week: Bayley faces Nia Jax in a rematch of their London battle. Also, stuff went down in Portland to alter the NXT Championship match at Takeover.
Blake and Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Austin Aries & ?????????
Aries is all smiles as he walks to the ring as he has chosen his tag partner wisely: Shinsuke Nakamura.
Blake and Murphy can’t agree on who will start which allows Aries and Nakamura to get the early advantage. It really is remarkable how much on a higher level Nakamura is in this environment. It’s almost a waste that he is only in NXT at this point but I’ll take it. Aries gets worked over a bit but makes the hot tag and Nakamura completely destroys Murphy while his partner flees in terror, leading to the Kinshasa (after Aries reaches for the tag and is completely ignored) for the pin. Aries is happy, but is noticeably miffed at having the glory taken from him. BAMF officially break up as Alexa gives them the death stare (oh god don’t kill them and eat their souls) and walks up the ramp before Blake does the same to his partner. But who gets custody of the dubstep? If this builds to a jealous Aries turning heel (because he seems to be a lot better as a prick you’re supposed to hate) and a match with Nakamura at Takeover this is all worth it.
Cathy Kelley asks Bayley about her match tonight and Bayley cuts a MUCH better promo then last week, saying that she isn’t afraid of Nia and we are going to see a repeat of London. Once Nia is out of the way she can refocus on winning back her title.
We get a great music video on Asuka set to that Halestorm song they used in Dallas. Fits Asuka quite well. NXT is always great at doing this stuff to build up their characters.
Cathy gets No Way Jose to introduce himself. He cuts a spirited promo about how he loves to have fun, but he’s also here to fight. But first, we dance!
Carmella talks about how her boys Enzo and Cass have been killing it on RAW and SmackDown and living their dreams. She has a dream too: to be NXT Women’s Champion.
Carmella vs. Peyton Royce
Graves expertly gets over the fact that Royce is supposed to be Poison Ivy without violating any DC trademarked properties. Royce steals the Three Amigos rolling suplexes, turning the third into a fisherman’s suplex for 2. Carmella makes the mid-00s Divas comeback with Thesz Presses and terrible punches before hitting a decent superkick before finishing with the leg choke. It was nice to see Peyton Royce back on TV and it seems like they are trying to build up Carmella as a title challenger and maybe the new #1 babyface woman if/when Bayley finally gets the call. Carmella isn’t terrible, but I just don’t think the fans see her as much more than Bayley’s BFF and that girl that was with Enzo and Cass. At this point you definitely wouldn’t buy her hanging with Asuka, that’s for sure.
We see the brawl that happened this past Saturday in Portland as the locker room had to try and separate Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. On Tuesday, GM Regal brought them together for the contract signing and tells them that conduct like that was unacceptable and their rivalry will end at Takeover. For the safety of the fans, he is making the match a cage match. You have to love how NXT takes tired match stipulations and makes them exciting again by A) not pulling them out except in special circumstances and B) having a good logical reason for doing so. Joe says that Finn will not survive this time and Finn answers that this will end with him as the first two-time NXT champion. Personally I would have loved a wild brawl through Full Sail but they should make it exciting.
Alexa, Blake and Murphy argue in the locker room as Alexa drops them like a bad habit, saying her becoming Women’s Champion will be a lot easier without the dead weight she’s had to carry. Have I said how much I want to see Alexa/Asuka and the potential loss of limbs that may happen?
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Danny Burch and Rob Ryzin
This is pretty much a squash for Ciampa and Gargano as they seem to be refocusing them more as a tag team (though they will probably be in the Cruiserweight tournament). They pretty easily take care of the jobbers and finish Ryzin with stereo kicks in the corner and a superkick/knee combo. A really fun squash as it’s always nice to see Gargano and Ciampa together.
GM Regal announces a NXT Tag Team title rematch between American Alpha and the Revival at Takeover.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Naturally, Full Sail still loves Bayley. I really love the new camera work they do on Nia’s entrance.
This match, aside from showing how good Bayley is no matter who she’s in the ring with, really showed the improvement Nia has made since the London match. She still has rough edges, but she definitely moves with much more of a purpose. It helps that Bayley bumps like a boss for her and she does a LOT of bumping as all her attempts at offense are pretty easily swatted aside by Jax and Bayley is sent violently into the middle turnbuckle as we take a break.
Jax drops her with a shoulderbreaker and goes to work on the arm, stepping on it while Bayley feebly kicks at her. She locks in a cobra clutch and levels Bayley with a clothesline as she fights out before working on the arm some more. Bayley finally fights back, using her bad arm and tries the same rana through the ropes she used on Asuka, but Nia catches her. Bayley escapes to the apron and hits the rana anyway before going up and hitting a crossbody for 2. She tries the Bayley to Belly but Nia shoves her off and hits a spinebuster, but Bayley avoids a charge and locks in the guillotine, but uses the bad arm which allows Nia to impressively power out and try a suplex, but Bayley escapes, selling an awkward landing on her leg before hitting a DDT and collapsing, holding her knee. The ref tries to keep Nia back, but Jax wants nothing of that and crushes her in the corner, dropping a leg on the bad knee before another across the back of the head gets the pin. Trainers check on Bayley’s knee as Nia jaws with the fans and we fade.
REALLY interesting booking to this match as Bayley pretty much got trucked and never really had the big comeback we usually see in her matches. On the one hand, Nia really needed a dominant match like this against a top star to show she could hang with the champion and she looked pretty good through most of it. On the other, if this was some sort of injury angle, I don’t know why they are seemingly writing off arguably their top star for a period of time (she’s no longer mentioned in the commercial for their UK tour in a few weeks). I suppose they are giving her a bit of a break leading to building to the big rematch with Asuka at the Takeover before SummerSlam. It’s a story they kind of did already last summer, but it’s one that fits her character perfectly.
OVERALL: This next Takeover won’t have near the hype and quality of the Dallas show, but it’s still shaping up to be a pretty decent show even if two of the matches are rematches. What happens after Takeover will be interesting to find out as NXT seems to be trying to reload and find new stars to fill the spots of all the talent that has been called up over the past month or so and possibly the (eventual) spots of their top male and female stars.
This will be an interesting summer for NXT.
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