It’s NXT time, and the night kicks off with Hideo Itami making his way to the ring!
Match 1: Hideo Itami vs Bull Dempsey
So here we have one of the best indie wresters in the world versus a tubby waste of space in a leotard. Still, if anyone can pull a good match out of Dempsey, it should be Hideo.
The match starts with Bull forcing Hideo into the corner and throwing clubbing blows, followed by a back elbow. Irish whip into the corner and Itami counters a charge by getting his feet up, but runs into a big right hand from Dempsey into a two count. Bull follows up with a pair of elbow drops and another two count as Itami wonders if the WWE payday is worth this humiliation.
The commentary team try and sell Dempsey as a ‘special kind of talent’ because he can drop a headbutt from the top rope, ignoring the fact that most workers don’t do the move because it’s likely to put you in a wheelchair by the end of your career (ask Dynamite Kid).
Itami fights his way out of a chinlock and floats out of a suplex, then tries to take down the fat man with clotheslines. Just kick him in the face, man! Bull hits a running hug for another two count, and Hideo finally starts to fight back with a strike combination.
Big series of kicks from Itami and the crowd starts getting into the match as Bull falls into the corner setting up the hesitation dropkick. Irish whip and a flying dropkick from Itami takes Bull down for the three count and this match is mercifully over.
Looks like I was wrong about the potential for this to be a good match. Bull Dempsey sucks.
As Itami poses on the ramp Tyler Breeze sneaks up on him and takes him out with the supermodel kick, then poses with the selfie stick. Suddenly Itami comes back to life and chases Breeze down to the ring, hits a clothesline on the outside and then kicks the crap out of him. Breeze bails and this thirty second segment was infinitely more entertaining than the preceding match.
Match 2: Lucha Dragons vs Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan
The jobbers entrance is interrupted by Solomon Crowe, saying that the NXT title would be his. The commentators put over Dillinger and Jordan as the future of NXT, which would be slightly more convincing if they won a match now and again.
Sin Cara starts out against Jason Jordan, and almost immediately gets dropped on his head. Fortunately, he doesn’t let this slow him down and tags in Kalisto, who reverses a suplex attempt into an arm drag. Cross body by Kalisto is reversed into a front slam by Jordan followed by an elbow drop, then the same exact move sequence again in case we missed it.
Pin and a one count by Jordan, followed by a tag to Dillinger. Tye dances around the ring and bows to Sin Cara, which would be vaguely insulting if the luchador was Japanese rather than Mexican. Kaliso reverses a scoop slam and tags in Sin Cara, and the Dragons hit a nice tag team kick and assisted senton. Cover and kick out leads to a tag back to Kalisto, followed by a double team powerbomb/moonsault.
Kalisto locks in an armbar as Dillinger reaches for the tag, then decides against it and gets hit with another tag team move from the dragons. Silly jobber. Jordan begs for the tag as Dillinger arrogantly tells him to relax, telegraphing the fact that he’s about to get pinned. Dropkick from Sin Cara and a tag to Kalisto, who hits a series of kicks and goes for a springboard arm drag, but Dillinger reverses.
Dillinger finally goes for the pin but Jordan drops to the floor with a ‘screw you, douchebag’ shrug, allowing Kalisto to his the SDS and tag in Sin Cara. Cara hits the top rope swanton and pins Dillinger for the one, two, three.
Standard match from the Lucha Dragons, combined with an odd booking choice of breaking up a tag team that nobody really cares about. Does anybody really want to see a Jordan/Dillinger program?
Interview with Finn Balor, who talks about his upcoming match with Brian Kendrick. Short and sweet.
Back from the break Tye Dillinger is still in the ring, demanding to see Jason Jordan. Instead, Baron Corbin appears, indescribably happy that he’s working with somebody other than Bull Dempsey.
Match 3: Tye Dillinger vs Baron Corbin
Wow. Two Tye Dillinger matches in one night? Did I kill someone in a previous life or something? Corbin takes him down with a shoulderblock, then hits the end of days for the pin and the three count.
Winner in record time, Baron Corbin’s receding hairline.
Interview with Charlotte about how Sasha Banks has never beaten her one on one. After the break we have a Tyler Breeze promo, calling Hideo Itami a cockroach and making most fans want to punch him in the face. Nice heel work by the pretty boy.
Match 4: Bayley vs Becky Lynch
Lockup and some chain wrestling to start, and it’s good to see that someone in NXT still knows the fundamentals. Dempsey and Corbin, you could learn a lot from these ladies. Becky matrixes out of a pin and takes Bayley down with a shoulderblock, then Bayley pops up and returns the favour.
Bayley reverses a charge in the corner and hits a springboard armdrag, but misses a charge and get thumped with a pumphandle suplex by Becky. Lynch hits elbows and stomps on Bayley, then a pair of running legdrops, the second with a twist. Quick hair whip by Becky followed by another legdrop, then a pin and a two count.
Lynch locks in a submission but Bayley fights her way out, then throws Becky to the outside. Bayley sets up and hits a sloppy version of Sami Zayns awesome running turnbuckle dive, hitting a dropkick rather than a DDT. As Bayley climbs back into the ring Lynch hits her with a running knee, but Bayley reverses an Irish whip and hits a couple of back elbows.
Another big knee from Becky but Bayley hits a drop toehold and rolls into a headlock, punching her opponent repeatedly in the face. Lynch pulls herself to her feet in the corner but Bayley hits a running shoulder, the a trio of running back splashes. Bayley lifts Lynch onto the top rope, leading to a series of reversals and Bayley hitting a flying back elbow from the second turnbuckle.
Bayley sets up for the Bayley to Belly but Becky reverses into an armbar, then twists the move again forcing Bayley to tap out. Your winner by submission, Becky Lynch.
Backstage interview with Rhyno about why he is here in NXT. It’s for the intensity, apparently. And to gore, gore, gore people.
Match 5: Finn Balor vs The Brian Kendrick
Kevin Owens joins the commentary team for this match as Kendrick makes his way to the ring to a good response from the crowd. Finn Balor is next to appear and is massively over with the audience, pausing to pose with some fans in Bullet Club t-shirts.
The match starts out with a lockup and smooth series of reversals, with Balor getting the upper hand and locking in an armbar. Kendrick reverses into a headlock, followed by a sunset flip into a dropkick from Balor. Kendrick is thrown to the apron and botches a flip back into the ring, and it looks like he might have legitimately injured his ankle.
Balor acts like a gentleman and gives him time to recover, giving Owens the chance to talk smack about him on commentary. Kendrick reverses a lockup into a quick rollup, but Finn kicks out at one. Leapfrog spot into a big dropkick from Balor, and Kendrick rolls out to the floor.
The Irishman rolls Kendrick back into the ring, but he immediately tries to roll out the other side, clinging onto the ropes as Balor tries to pull him back in. Finn backs off and is hit with a jumping back kick from Brian, followed by an armlock submission.
Kevin Owens walks away from the commentary box after getting annoyed by Alex Riley, and to be fair that would probably happen to most of us. Back in the ring the pace is picking up, with a pinfall, headlock takedown and corner reversal kick in the space of a few seconds. Clothesline from Balor sets up the hard chops in the corner, with a running chop leading to a pin and a two count.
Kendrick reverses a charge in the corner with a boot to the face, then hits a tornado DDT for a long two count. Kendrick goes to the top rope and hits a big dropkick on Balor, followed by a sweet tiger suplex dumping Finn on his head and neck. Kendrick picks Balor up and goes for Sliced Bread #2, but Finn reverses and hits a clothesline that turns Kendrick inside out.
Sling blade by Balor, followed by the shotgun dropkick hammering Kendrick into the corner. Kendrick is almost dead on the mat as Balor heads up to and hits the coup de grace for the pin and the three count.
Excellent match, with Kendrick keeping pace with Balor, and the Irishman proving that he can have great matches week in, week out.
Owens comes back out and grabs Alex Riley, throwing him over the commentary deck and staring at Finn Balor with menace in his eyes.
Not the greatest episode of NXT, but salvaged by a fantastic closing match between Finn Balor and the returning Brian Kendrick.
Tags: brian kendrick, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Lucha Dragons, NXT