This IS NXT
It’s the final week of matches taped at WrestleMania Axxess in Dallas, Texas. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
We immediately get to the big story of the week: Samoa Joe is the NEW NXT Champion, having defeated Finn Balor last Thursday at a show in Lowell, Massachusetts. We’ll see footage from the title change later tonight.
Asuka vs. Eva Marie (non-title)
Asuka cracks Eva in the back of the head with a kick as Tom has the GALL to bring up Corey’s analogy about the alligator and the deer a few weeks ago. Asuka makes fun of Eva’s mannerisms and knocks her to the floor with a hip attack. Nia Jax comes to ringside to check on her good friend as we take a break.
Eva is dominating as we return, avoiding another hip attack and hitting her with a forearm as Corey says he will recognize Eva as Women’s Champion if she wins. The match grinds to a halt as Eva puts on a hold, but Asuka escapes and hits a dropkick, laying in kicks until Eva awkwardly ducks one and throws her down, but Asuka comes back and nails her with a roundhouse kick for the pin. After, Nia and Asuka have a staredown.
Eva is better than she was, but she is still horribly awkward in the ring and Asuka needed to slow herself way down so Eva could keep up. This kind of brings up a pretty big problem for the women’s division right now: if Bayley isn’t going to win the title back, there really is no other woman on the roster that is even close to her league that the fans would buy as beating her.
We see highlights of Joe beating Balor in Lowell and the crowd LOSING THEIR MINDS. I wanted to go to the show the next night in Kingston, RI, but things fell through so I’m glad they at least didn’t do the change there. Joe cuts a promo afterwards, saying that Finn survived twice before, but couldn’t a third time.
The Revival vs. Matt Lee and Jeff Parker
The Revival beat on Parker (aka “Jamoke #1” according to Graves) while Lee (“Jamoke #2”) WON’T SHUT THE FUCK UP on the apron, trying to get a “defense!” chant going for whatever reason. That just gets his partner more of a beating as they hit the double team move they were probably shooting for at Takeover, a powerbomb/clothesline combo. Dawson throws Parker at Lee and demands he tags in. Lee gets less of a beating than he deserves while the crowd actually chants “defense!” and the Shatter Machine finishes. Should have hit it about three more times on that guy.
Dawson grabs a mic and proclaims they are still the best tag team in the world, but they need the NXT Tag Team titles back. They are putting every other team on notice that none of them are safe.
The Hype Bros vs. Blake and Murphy
B&M are without Alexa and thus the intrest level in them goes completely down the drain. They focus on Zack’s knee, but Mojo makes the hot tag and kind of throws Blake into Murphy before the Hype Ryder finishes. Man, Blake and Murphy used to be a decent heel team, but if they are taking Alexa from them, then they are pretty much at the bottom of the barrel.
The Revival jump the Bros post-match, including a Demolition Decapitation off the apron onto Mojo. Well…they DID just warn everybody.
Carmella vs. Aliyah
Graves has a new appreciation for Carmella now that she doesn’t have Enzo and Cass around her anymore. Aliyah is known from completely bombing in her Performance Center introduction on Breaking Ground. They actually proceed to have a fun little match as Aliyah shows off some good athleticism and character before Carmella makes a comeback and finishes with her leg triangle for the submission.
The Drifter thinks GM Regal misinterpreted him when he booked him against Nakamura, but promises to make Nakamura sorry he drifted into NXT.
Next week: Austin Aries in action.
The Drifter vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Graves is quite looking forward to the Drifter getting his ass kicked and says he spoke to a guy he knows who promised he would give Samson a job as a bouncer back in Pittsburgh. Nakamura drops a knee but we keep with the theme of the night as Samson gets a bit of offense in and grabs a hold but Nakamura hits a kick and an inverted exploder before the Kinshasa finishes. Nakamura celebrates in the ring as we fade.
OVERALL: Another decent episode, but I keep hearing how everyone thought the crowd was unusually dead for these tapings. Honestly, the crowd wasn’t terrible, but almost every single match tonight followed the same formula with the heel taking control and just grabbing a hold so the fans could clap for the face’s comeback until said comeback and the finish. There just wasn’t much to any of these matches tonight to get really excited about aside from being able to see Nakamura live or booing Eva. Who honestly can give a shit about Blake and Murphy right now?
Joe winning the title does put a little wrinkle into things for this coming Takeover in June. Will we see one final Joe/Finn match to blow that off once and for all and send Finn to the main roster? It might be too early to do a Joe/Nakamura match, but since people like Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin seem to be no longer in NXT, I don’t see any other directions to go. As far as the women’s title, I would MUCH rather see a Bayley/Asuka rematch than a match with Nia Jax. Jax is OK, but she’s still very green and it would be another example of Asuka having to reign herself in so an inferior opponent could keep up.
I guess we shall see.
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