It’s NXT time and we kick off with champion Kevin Owens making his way to the ring, microphone in hand. He waits for the crowd to shut up before speaking, then talks about how Sami Zayn interrupted his beatdown of Alex Riley last week. Owens calls Zayn out, but William Regal appears instead.
As Regal starts to do his thing Owens cuts him off and demands Sami Zayn, who appears on command. Regal sets up a title match for NXT Takeover on May 20th, but Owens argues that Zayn hasn’t done anything to earn the title shot. Sami counters that Owens has been living in his shadow, goading the big man into accepting the title match.
Match 1: Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy vs Blake & Murphy
How u doin? Enzo starts the match against Wesley Blake, who is wearing a ridiculous top ponytail tonight. No matter how hard he tries, he’s not going to look more ridiculous than Enzo.
Kick to the gut from Blake, who then throws Enzo into the corner and tags Murphy. Tag team boots in the corner followed by a big elbow, head slam into the turnbuckle and tag back to Blake. The champs continue their steady offence on Enzo until he hits a chinbreaker and tags in Big Cass.
Murphy tags in at the same time and gets taken out by Cass, who then turns on Blake and clotheslines him out of the ring. Big splash in the corner from Cass followed by a sidewalk slam for a pin, but Blake breaks up the count at two. Enzo goes to the top rope and attempts a crossbody on the champs, but they just move out of the way and Enzo crashes to the mat. You don’t see that enough in wrestling these days, the simple ‘move to one side to avoid a top rope attack’.
Murphy pauses to have a chat with Carmella, then turns around right into a big boot from Cass. He takes Blake out with an elbow and then tags in Enzo, sending him to the top rope. Assisted splash from Enzo for the pin and the three count, and the number one contenders have beat the champs, setting up the title shot at Takeover.
Some good chemistry between these two teams, and despite the repetitive intro Enzo is still one of the best talkers in NXT.
Becky Lynch promo, and she still has a charming accent. Might need to work on how she says ‘third’, though.
Match 2: Bayley vs Dana Brooke
Brooke looks like a muscular stripper to me. Bayley is without her headband, and apparently this is a big deal which could potentially cost her the match. Really?
Lockup to start and Brooke grabs an armbar, but Bayley reverses into an armbar of her own. Brooke shoves Bayley to the ground and then rams her head into the turnbuckle a couple of times before Bayley reverses and returns the favour. Knee in the corner from Dana but Bayley dodges a charge and takes her down with a drop toehold.
Bayley does her spinning back thing and goes for a charge in the corner, but Dana dodges and grabs her hair, throwing her to the mat. Brooke climbs on top and slams Bayley’s head into the canvas over and over again, but the ref eventually breaks it up.
Handstand choke in the corner from Dana, then a leg choke over the middle rope. Bayley is struggling as Dana picks her up in the fireman’s carry position and slams her down, a move I believe Wade Barrett calls the Wasteland. Bayley kicks out at two so Dana locks in a modified Boston crab, but Bayley fights out with boots to the head.
Irish whip from Dana gets a double fist to the head from Bayley, followed by another. Shoulder block in the corner followed by a back splash, and Bayley is feeling the groove. Suplex from Bayley, who goes to the second rope.
Just as Bayley is about to fly, her music plays and Emma dances out wearing Bayley’s shirt. The camera guy is so distracted by Emma he almost misses Bayley hitting a diving back elbow on Dana. Rather than go for the pin, Bayley gets distracted by Emma waving her headband, allowing Dana to attack from behind, hitting a sitout slam for the pin and the three count.
Another good match from the divas, although Dana Brooke is still looking a little green in places. The headband thing was pretty stupid, though.
William Regal appears at his desk, announcing a triple threat match between Tyler Breeze, Finn Balor and Hideo Itami for the number one contender slot at NXT takeover.
Match 3: Hideo Itami vs Adam Rose
Poor Adam Rose. He seemed to have so much potential as Leo Kruguer, but his move to the main roster really seemed to misfire. Lockup to start, and Itami snatches a wristlock. Rose struggles against it for a moment, then rolls out, continuing to forward roll all the way around the ring. He poses for the crowd and turns around into a stiff chop from Itami that takes him down.
Irish whip into a running knee from Itami, then a running kick to Rose’s chest. Rose flops on the mat like a fish out of water before Hideo goes for the pin, but the party boy kicks out at two. Rose rolls to the outside, and when Itami tries to drag him back in by the hair, Rose takes out his feet.
Back in the ring Rose picks up Itami and slams his head into the turnbuckle, then lays in a few kicks. Snap suplex from Rose gets two and Rose hits a couple of elbows as we recap his big trip on Itami. Fist drop from Rose gets another two count, then he goes to the dreaded rear chinlock.
Itami eventually fights out with stikes to the chest, then dodges a Rose clothesline and hits a running kick followed by a pair of hard clotheslines. Strike combination from Itami and the crowd is chanting for the GTS, but Itami sets up the hesitation dropkick in the corner.
Irish whip into a shotgun kicks gets the pin and the three count for Hideo Itami.
Another professional if vaguely uninspiring match from Itami, but Rose never really looked like a legitimate threat.
Match 4: Becky Lynch vs Sarah Dawson
Test of strength to start, but Lynch turns it into some chain wrestling that ends with an ugly looking leg rollup. Lynch drags Dawson back to the middle of the rung and locks in a leg submission, but Dawson rolls her up for a two count.
Irish whip and Dawson takes out Becky’s legs, but Lynch matrixes out of the pin and hits a low dropkick. Running legdrop from Becky, followed by another, then a spinning leg drop for a pin and a two count. Dawson is thrown into the corner and takes some abuse from Lynch, who then picks her up and locks in a rope assisted neck vice.
Elbows to the back of the neck from Lynch, then an attempted powerslam reversed into a rollup by Dawson. Kickout at two and Lynch grabs an armbar, taking Dawson down to the canvas. She spins around and wraps one leg around Dawson’s neck, wrenching on the armbar until Dawson is forced to tap out.
Nice debut match from Dawson with some solid offence. They’re really building up Becky Lynch as a submission specialist, which is something different in the Divas division.
Rhyno calls out Baron Corbin. I hope the man-beast wasn’t just brought in to get Corbin over. I know that some people like him, but I still don’t get it…
Match 5: Sami Zayn vs Alex Riley
Kevin Owens joins the commentary team as Alex Riley and his rage make their way to the ring. He’s looking pretty jacked, suggesting maybe he needs to add the word ‘roid to his favourite emotion. The crowd is overjoyed to see the return of Sami Zayn, and chant for him even as Riley forces him back into the corner.
Waistlock from Zayn, and Owens is awesome on commentary as he chides the team for talking about a no-name like Alex Riley rather than the champ who is sitting right next to them. Back in the ring, Zayn and Riley trade wristlocks, which Riley eventually gets the best of with an armdrag.
Zayn fights his way out of an armbar and reverses an Irish whip, but gets hit with a big dropkick from Riley. Pin gets two so Riley locks on an armbar variation, then a running hug in the corner. Spinning neckbreaker from Riley gets a two count, then he locks in a rear chinlock.
Riley hits an Irish whip but Zayn reverses with a huge jumping back kick. He tries to hit the blue thunder bomb but Riley elbows out, then goes for the move himself. Zayn backflips out, then the two go into some chain wrestling that ends with Riley hitting an F5 variation for a pin and a two count.
Alex Riley can’t believe that Zayn kicked out, so he lays into him in the corner with punches, chops and kicks. Irish whip from Riley gets reversed by Zayn, leading to Riley being dumped over the top rope to the outside. Tope con hilo from Zayn, and suddenly Kevin Owens gets to his feet and attacks Sami from behind!
The ref calls for the bell, giving Sami Zayn the win by disqualification, but this isn’t enough for Kevin Owens. He runs down to ringside, picks up Riley and powerbombs him onto the ring apron, effectively ending the brief and underwhelming comeback of Alex Riley.
Both Riley and Zayn are laid out as Kevin Owens stands over them, laughing. Not the best match Zayn has ever had, but served well for moving the rivalry forward.
Yet another strong episode of NXT, with Kevin Owens proving he has skills both in the ring and behind the commentary table.
Tags: JT on NXT, Kevin Owens, NXT, sami zayn