This is NXT for July 13th, 2016.
Or: “This much good wrestling should be illegal.”
From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
This week: It’s finally time for the big match where Finn Balor faces Shinsuke Nakamura for the first time in NXT.
Finn Balor arrives in the locker room earlier today while Shinsuke Nakamura works the heavy bag at the Performance Center. Phillips and Graves are beside themselves with excitement as they talk about the main event.
Samoa Joe makes his way to the ring for the first time since Takeover. Like everyone, he’s here for Nakamura vs. Balor, but he feels disrespected. Everyone seems to think whoever wins will become the #1 contender to his title. Some think that Finn will win and then finally avenge his title loss. Others think that Nakamura will win and ride the momentum to the NXT title. The reality is, Joe slayed the Demon and brought Strong Style to the US LONG before Nakamura and if Shinsuke is the King of Strong Style he must bow to the Emperor. Everything that happens in NXT goes through him. Rhyno interrupts and throws down a challenge and Joe leaves the ring, saying that he’ll whoop Rhyno’s ass on his own time.
Probably Joe’s best promo since coming to NXT and he needs something to do while his next challenger is sorted out, so this is a decent side program for him.
They announce another stacked episode next week:
– Bayley faces Nia Jax after their encounter last week
– American Alpha finally get their hands on the Authors of Pain
– Samoa Joe faces Rhyno
A PPV-quality video package (that I think is the same they showed last week) provides the last bit of hype before our main event.
Balor and Nakamura walk the halls towards the arena as the match is next.
We get the ring entrances and Balor looks quite emotional as he makes his way to the ring for perhaps the last time in the NXT Arena. The Full Sail crowd goes nuts for Nakamura as usual and we take another break before the introductions.
They give the introductions the special spotlight treatment and both guys take off their jackets with INTENSITY~!
Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
They fight over armlocks as the feeling out process begins and the fans are split before just chanting for both of them. Finn works a headlock and rolls through a suplex attempt to keep it on. Nakamura backs him into the ropes and rubs his head into his chest, so Balor just shoves him against the ropes and Too Sweets him in the forehead. That’s pretty much the end of the feeling out period as Nak knees him in the gut but Balor answers back with kicks and a basement dropkick. Balor goes back to the headlock, but Nak shoves him into the ropes and they fight on the apron until Nakamura lands a kick and gives Balor Good Vibrations in the corner. He drapes Balor on the apron and hits a running knee before a jumping knee to the back of the head has Nakamura in control as we take a break.
Nakamura drops another knee in the ring and goes to work, but Balor rebounds on a whip and dropkicks his knee out, going to work on it. Balor rolls through a sunset flip and hits a dropkick for a 2 count. He chops away and blocks a Nakamura kick, draping his knee over the rope and coming down on it. Balor wants a surfboard, but Nakamura won’t give him his arms, so he jumps and smashes Nakamura’s knees into the mat before locking in a heel hook with Nakamura screaming out in pain as he frantically reaches for the ropes to break. He fights back, using the bad knee to hit Balor in the gut followed by a spinkick to take him down. He makes the comeback on Balor, seemingly forgetting all the work done on his knee and the draping knee in the corner gets 2. He tries the exploder, but Finn fights out of it. Nakamura goes to the second rope, but Finn hits a jumping kick to knock him to the floor, following with a dropkick through the apron and a soccer kick to the face as we take another break.
Balor hits a double stomp to the back of the head for a nearfall and blocks a kick, pulling Nakamura to the mat and locking the bad knee in a sort of short scissor hold, forcing Nakamura to get to the ropes again. Balor works the knee, but Nak uses his good leg to jump into a kick to get free and catches Balor in an armbar, transitioning into a trangle hold. Finn fades for a moment, but he comes back to life and gets a foot on the rope. Nak lands knees on the ground, his knee again looking no worse for wear, but he hits the turnbuckle on a charge and Finn hits a Trouble in Paradise kick before hitting an inverted 1916, but Nakamura kicks out at 2.
Finn hits the Slingblade and goes for the corner dropkick, but Nakamura answers with a dropkick of his own and hits a Kinshasa to the back of the head….but Finn kicks out at 2. Nakamura suddenly starts selling the knee again as he gets up for another Kinshasa, but Finn stops him in his tracks with a jumping double stomp for another near fall. He tries the 1916 proper, but Nakamura blocks and fights out as they trade forearms in a callback to the Zayn match, which Finn wins and goes back to the knee with a SICK looking kick, but Nakamura uses his good leg to land a kick of his own, but Finn hits another Slingblade and the corner dropkick has him set up to finish. Nakamura avoids the Coup de Grace and hits a knee from the second rope before another Kinshasa gets the pin.
Man…color me kind of disappointed. I’m not going to blame them for overhyping the match because this matchup deserved all the hype it got, but I can’t help but feel a bit let down. Nakamura’s selling of the knee really bugged me as it didn’t seem to factor into the finish at all since he was using it with no problems all throughout the finishing sequence. It probably was on par with his match with Aries, but it’s no where near the MOTY candidate the Dallas match with Zayn was, which I was expecting this match to try and match. I was expecting this match to be easily on my top 10 list this year….but honestly, it’s barely on the bubble.
Balor and Nakamura give each other respect as Balor leaves the ring to the victor and we fade.
OVERALL: My disappointment aside, yet another really good episode and they set up another one next week which should be equally as good. We have the next Takeover on the horizon and the card is slowly starting to become clearer.
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