From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
Tonight: A triple threat match for the NXT title #1 contendership between Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin.
American Alpha vs. Blake and Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss)
Fine, I’ll play along with the name. I still like mine better though.
The match is pretty much another showcase for the Alphas as Blake and Murphy try to counter the technical skills with hair pulling and cheating but Jordan and Gable just toss them around the ring. Murphy feigns a knee injury to bring in Blake for a sneak attack which Gable sniffs out, but Murphy takes his knee out to put Gable in trouble. Gable uses his good leg to catapult Murphy out of the ring and eventually makes the hot tag to Jordan. Suplexes are thrown (including Blake being suplexed onto Murphy), straps are dropped and Grand Amplitude gets the win. The commentators make note that this the third former tag team title holders they have knocked off. Decent little match to keep the Gable and Jordan train going.
Emma and Dana Brooke are asked about Emma’s match against Carmella next week. They completely blow off Carmella, saying that Bayley was the focus last week and Carmella is a nobody that has done nothing but lucked out in a battle royal. She doesn’t have the skills to beat Bayley, let alone Emma. Hell, she lost to Blue Pants! Next week, her luck runs out.
Hype video for Asuka as we see the carnage she has wrought since coming to NXT. Spoiler: she kicked people really hard in the face.
Nia Jax (w/Eva Marie) vs. Liv Morgan
Pretty much a Nia squash though there is a good callback spot where Morgan goes for the same guillotine that Bayley beat Nia with but Nia slams her down and gets pissed off, catching a charging Morgan and (eventually) spinning her into a sideslam and dropping the leg for the pin. Yay for continuity! Not much else to say since Eva can’t screw up standing at ringside and clapping.
Carmella heard what Emma and Dana said and promises to beat Emma by herself and stick it to her doubters. Enzo and Cass run down Dash and Dawson with Enzo particularly fired up saying that their loss in London ruined his Christmas and he almost beat up a poor gas station attendant back in Jersey. He tells them to “finish your cup of Average Joe and move the hell on. Go punch yourself or we will. How you doin’?”. Pissed off Enzo Amore is the best Enzo Amore.
All three competitors in the main event have a little hype video of their own sprinkled through the hour which helps put over the importance of the match. It’s little touches like that that make NXT what it is.
The same “The Vaudevillians are bad now” vignette we saw last week is shown.
Bull Dempsey vs. Alex Riley
So suddenly Alex Riley is back. And he’s looking jacked the hell up. He puts the badmouth on Bull as he beats him in the corner and hits a sloppy neckbreaker for 2. Bull fights out of a chinlock, but Riley dumps him with a spinebuster and a running knee gets the pin.
The Drifter plays guitar in the back as he’ll be in action next. Oh goody.
Alex Riley cuts an emo promo in the back whining about how he’s been ignored while guys like Sami Zayn get hype videos when they come back from injury. “I guess that’s what hard work and eight years in this business gets you.” Cheer up dude, you are part of one of my favorite wrestling gifs of all time:
The Drifter vs. John Skylar
I know this is only like his third TV match, but goddamn can they give me any reason at all to care about this Drifter character? Corey blatantly burying him on commentary pretty much echoes my own feelings on him; it would be one thing if he comes off as charismatic or has a creepy Wyatt-esque vibe to him, but he just doesn’t. If you asked me to describe him I would say “He carries a guitar and kinda looks like a young Randy Savage.” Anyway, he wins with a spinning neckbreaker. Next.
The Hype Bros discuss those cryptic Vaudevillains videos since they are facing them next week. This then somehow segues into taking about Mojo’s Zubaz pants and the revelation that Mojo watches Ryder sleep. Mojo Rawley is some crazy fratboy science experiment gone wrong, isn’t he?
We look back at the first Finn Balor/Apollo Crews match two months ago, which ended in interference from Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe. They meet again next week in a non-title match. That match was getting real good before the finish so I’m looking forward to next week.
Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn (#1 Contender’s Match)
Corbin uses Zayn to knock Joe to the outside to start but Sami avoids a charge and dumps him. Joe cuts off a dive and beats on him on the floor, taking a second to boot Corbin down as well. Zayn fights back on Joe but Corbin storms in and takes control as we take a break.
Zayn and Joe take out Corbin as we return and focus back on each other with Zayn leveling him with a clothesline that sends Joe to the outside. He dumps Corbin out as well and launches himself out onto both of them. Back in, Corbin catches Zayn with Deep Six for 2 but Joe comes back and squishes both with a senton before powerslamming Zayn for 2. He slaps Zayn around in the corner and goes for the Muscle Buster but Corbin breaks it up. Corbin tries a superplex on Sami, but Zayn fights free and hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Sami rests on the ropes and Joe suddenly comes from behind and drags him to the floor in the Coquina Clutch to put Zayn out of the match. Back in, Joe looks to finish Corbin but runs into the End of Days and Zayn barely gets back in to break up the pin, which has Corbin pissed. He tees off on Zayn, but Sami catches him on a charge with the Exploder and hits the Heluva Kick, but Joe breaks up the pin. They brawl outside and Zayn sidesteps a charge to send Joe into the steps before heading back in and locking in a Sharpshooter on Corbin. Suddenly, Joe sneaks back in and slaps on a crossface just before Corbin taps. Confusion reigns as both men argue with the ref about who should be the winner. GM Regal comes down and takes the referee with him, promising that he will review the tape and make a decision. The match got cooking in the last few minutes, but the finish is a pretty blatant “we gotta stretch this shit out another few weeks!” angle. Corbin looked pretty good against the best of NXT, but he kind of feels thrown aside by this result with the focus on Zayn and Joe.
OVERALL: Another decent show as they continue to mark time before things get really interesting over the next few months. As of this writing they’ve taped all the way to Takeover: Dallas and after reading the spoilers (I have no self-control) I have to say:, things are gonna get REALLY good.
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