Taped before Takeover at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Your commentators are Rich Brennan and Corey Graves (Byron Saxton is “on assignment”).
A great recap video of Takeover starts the show. Get used to the recap videos folks, this episode is full of ’em. Makes my job easier at least.
Enzo and BIG CASS & The Hype Bros vs. Dash and Wilder and NXT’s Greatest Tag Team (2-0)
Oh my GAWD that ovation for Enzo and Cass. Probably the second biggest pop of the whole night next to Bayley’s win. They straight compare Dash and Wilder to the Brainbusters, so I guess that’s what they are going for now. Gable and Jordan FINALLY have matching gear to make the greatness complete. The Hype Bros start but the crowd immediately wants Enzo in the match. Zack obliges and Enzo slugs away, taking out the rest of the heels which draws everyone in for a brawl. The heels get dumped and Cass LAUNCHES Enzo out onto the pile as we take a break. That was awesome.
Coming back, Enzo is in his usual state: getting pounded on by the heels. I love how before the break Enzo was in control and the first image coming out of break is Enzo on the mat getting worked over. This goes on for a while until Enzo throws Gable into the corner and he tries to get the tag, but Gable pulls him back and flips him over into the heel corner. Enzo hits a DDT on Dash and tries for Cass again, but this time Jordan cuts it off. He wastes time talking smack to Cass which allows Enzo to avoid a charge and make the hot tag to Cass. Cass is so fired up he almost rams his own head into the post on his corner splash and follows with the Empire Elbow, but Jordan breaks the pin. Cass eats post for real on another charge and Zack comes in, but is hit with the Shatter Machine for like the third time in three weeks (poor Zack). Mojo runs wild to get rid of Dash and Wilder and Cass hits a HUGE Black Hole Slam on Gable before hitting the Enzo Launcher for the pin. Dammit, I wanted to keep that record gimmick going! A tremendously fun tag match as Cass and Enzo are absolutely ready for the main roster as they have an act that is over as hell and have a good formula to their matches.
GM Regal reminds us about the Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic beginning next week and Neville interrupts him wanting in on the tournament. Regal promises him a spot but doesn’t tell him his partner.
Takeover recap video: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens in a ladder match. Finn speaks backstage after the match and says he proved Tokyo wasn’t a fluke and it is just the beginning of bigger and better things for him and NXT.
Video about Emma’s initial NXT run and her failed main roster run as she has to return to NXT and take a more “serious” turn. They need to do these for the women on RAW; two minutes to just get across what their character is and why you should care. I know they kind of did it when Becky, Charlotte and Sasha first came up, but they need to follow up on it.
Devin talks to Charlotte and Becky about tonight’s four-way with Emma and Dana Brooke. Charlotte’s promo is…not great. Felt more scripted than usual. She calls Emma Dana’s “lap dog” which Becky turns into a dumb pun. I get that Becky is supposed to be the “wacky” one, but they can’t go too overboard with that. Especially with these writers.
Speaking of Becky, here’s a video of her that should be on RAW on Monday. It explains why she’s in WWE, that she wants to be champion and why she joined with Paige, three things they haven’t bothered to establish with her in the month she’s been on RAW. More stuff like this, less absolutely horrendous MizTV segments that tear down all the work they’ve done to make the women less of a joke.
Eva Marie vs. Carmella
Eva still looks like she’s going in slow motion out there. Carmella is at least feisty and her moonwalking after ducking a punch is cute as hell. They have a tremendously basic match as 16,000 people shit all over Eva (apparently edited here it was supposedly even louder live). The crowd chants for Blue Pants which seems to magically turn into a “How You Doin'” chant. Eva’s selling by flopping around like a fish is high comedy. Rich even gets into the shittiness by calling a Thesz press a bronco buster (though Corey corrects him immediately) and Eva hits her shitty finisher for the win. She makes a belt motion around her waist as she poses which sends chills down my spine. If that match isn’t Bayley laughing at her, planting her into the earth with a Bayley-to-Belly and then giving her a slap bracelet they have lost their goddamn minds.
Takeover video recap: Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Breeze blows off the loss by saying he still looks #gorgeous while Liger has to wear a mask and he has another, bigger idea to run by Regal that will put him on the map.
Devin talks to Emma and Dana. Dana looks especially Miss Piggy-ish this week.
They show the same Takeover recap video that opened the show. That transitions into the same Dana Brooke video they’ve shown in the past. Maybe this didn’t need to be a 90 minute episode?
Takeover video recap: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley in the match of the year. Bayley can barely stay composed as her family joins her backstage talking about her victory.
Devin talks to GM Regal about the Tag Classic and Baron Corbin enters, also wanting in. Regal teams him with Rhyno in the opening match of the tournament next week against The Ascension.
Kevin Owens is asked about his loss at Takeover, but Owens just promises to “break” Cesaro at SummerSlam before walking out the door.
“The Drifter” Elias Sampson vs. Bull Dempsey
Elias gets the double whammy of obvious canned crowd noise and theme music added in post-production. He’s got a guitar now. The “New and Improved” Bull Dempsey is…..the same Bull Dempsey with a robe. And now the announcers (and crowd) can make Bull-Fit jokes. See cause it sounds like bullshit. And here I thought they were going a more serious way with this character. This is a nothing match that goes way too damn long because this episode has to be 90 minutes for some reason and Bull wins with a sitdown splash off the second rope.
Takeover video recap: Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin. Joe calls it one of the toughest fights of his career and says he’ll continue fighting the biggest and baddest in NXT until he gets to the championship.
Nia Jax is still coming.
Takeover video recap: Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger. Crews talks about his win and being in front of so many people.
Takeover video recap: Blake and Murphy vs. The Vaudevillains. Alexa isn’t happy that her boys lost and promises to take care of Blue Pants next week. Alexa is one of the best promos on the show right now.
Video spotlighting Charlotte. She thinks she can be one of the biggest stars in WWE and wants to main event WrestleMania. Really, how hard is this shit to do on RAW? These videos are just preaching to the choir.
Emma vs. Dana Brooke vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
Becky gets by far the biggest reaction of the four which is actually pretty surprising to me. She seemed to be the least developed character of the Four Horsewomen. Emma looks quite good tonight in her Patriots cheerleader cosplay.
The faces square off with the heels and Emma and Dana end up back to back. They don’t quite trust each other and Becky and Charlotte jump on them and toss them, leaving a match that I really do want to see and one I don’t remember happening too much on NXT. They dispatch the heels again and square off again with Becky getting the upper hand as a quite loud “Let’s go Becky” chant rings out. Charlotte escapes and headscissors her around the ring leading to a face off, but the heels again come back in and take them out, sending Charlotte into the dasher boards as we take a break.
Emma and Dana work over Becky in the corner. I said a while back that Dana should be able to do decent matches in six months with this crew. Well, it’s been six months and all I’ve seen her is in multi-woman matches doing pretty basic stuff, so I may have to change my assessment there. Emma tells Dana to finish off Charlotte on the outside while she hits a double underhook suplex on Becky….but Dana breaks up the pin. No, not these two! They make up, but Dana hits a jumping enzuigiri on Emma to complete the breakup. Charlotte runs wild on both heels and DDTs them, getting multiple two counts on both. Becky comes off the top and accidentally dropkicks Charlotte. Becky runs wild on both heels herself and sends them to Suplex City, but Emma breaks up the pin. She hits the corner splash on Charlotte, then Becky…..and gets the pin on Becky? Uh….oops. Charlotte lays her out with Natural Selection and counts her own pin (the planned finish, I assume). So I guess they blew the finish and just rolled with it. Becky knows she fucked up as she and Charlotte make the heels tap to their holds and celebrate in the aisle as we fade. A pretty decent main event aside from the fucked up finish. However, if this is the last we see of Charlotte and Becky in NXT, the only woman that I have any faith in having good matches with Bayley is Emma (and maybe Blue Pants if she’s here to stay). Alexa hasn’t wrestled much on TV since her turn so I can’t judge her improvement and Carmella and Eva Marie just stink. Strange times are coming to the women’s division in NXT.
OVERALL: In the past I’ve said that I would be fine with NXT experimenting with 90 minute episodes. I might have to change my tune after this. They obviously had to fill a LOT of time between matches so we got longer commercial breaks than usual and MULTIPLE video packages (some even repeated). I get that this was a HUGE night for them and they wanted to get a bunch of people out there to reward them, but Bull/Sampson and Eva/Carmella were not matches to put in front of that crowd. This is a time of transition for NXT as they need to reset and refill some spots. It may not be the end of the glory days, but Takeover did feel like a bit of an “End to an Era” to me. I do have much more faith in this crew rolling with it than if main roster WWE was in this position, at least.
That’s it for this week. @PKIsTwitting on Twitter so say hi and read my Takeover recap if you haven’t already.