It’s NXT time and we’re kicking off with a match between balding biker Baron Corbin and indie darling Solomon Crowe!
Match 1: Baron Corbin vs Solomon Crowe
Rocking a floppy emo hairstyle rather than his usual plugged-in look, Crowe goes on the offensive to start, flying across the ring and raining down punches on the bigger man. Corbin shoves him off and hits a clothesline that turns Crowe inside out.
Solomon is staggered as Baron picks him up and throws him into one turnbuckle, then another. Big Irish whip into the corner, and it’s hard to tell if the crowd are chanting ‘Corbin’ or ‘boring’. Knee to the gut from Corbin and then a throw to the mat, followed by a walk around the ring and casual stomp to Crowe’s head.
Eventually Crowe fights back with a big punch to the face and a kick to the chest, sending Baron into the corner. Running knee from Crowe, then another attack that is countered by Corbin tossing him to the apron. Big kick to the jaw from Crowe, but he climbs back into the ring and walks straight into the end of days for the pin and the three count.
Add Solomon Crowe to the list of talented wrestlers unable to carry Baron Corbin to a good match.
Rhyno hits the ring for a staredown, and the two start throwing punches. For some reason the locker room empties out to break up the fight. Rhyno gores a couple of guys for good measure as Corbin retreats to the back.
Finn Balor interview. Vaguely incomprehensible.
Match 2: Sasha Banks vs Blue Pants
The Boss makes her way to the ring, and Blue Pants is already waiting, wearing black shorts this week. Promo calling out Becky Lynch, who Sasha faces next week.
The bell rings and Sasha hits a knee to the gut, followed by an elbow to the back of the neck. Rollup from Blue Pants gets one, followed by a backslide for another one count. Sasha reverses an Irish whip and rolls to the outside to regather herself, then comes back in and runs the ropes.
Running crossbody from Blue Pants, then a takedown from Sasha followed by repeated strikes. Sasha picks up Blue Pants by the hair and slams her head into the turnbuckle, then lifts her up onto the middle rope and hits the double knee. After dragging Blue Pants to the centre of the ring Sasha pauses to pose, mocking Becky Lynch in the process.
As Blue Pants struggles to her feet Sasha hits a big lungbuster and locks in the bank statement for the tap out victory.
Not a bad match from the divas, but it doesn’t threaten to steal the show like in previous weeks.
Interview with Bayley and Charlotte, setting up a tag match at Takeover.
Promo package for Uhaa Nation. Coming soon.
Match 3: Carmella vs Alexa Bliss
I do not hold high hopes for this match.
Carmella is out first, followed by cheerleader Alexa Bliss. Lockup and Carmella gets the early advantage, shoving Bliss away. Another lockup and this time Alexa comes out on top, pushing Carmella into the corner.
Irish whip from Carmella is reversed into a sloppy backslide from from Bliss, followed by a crucifix that didn’t look much better. Alexa tries a couple of suplexes but Carmella blocks them and hits one of her own, hitting a couple of knees to the head for a pin and a two count.
Carmella locks in a leg scissors around Alexa’s waist, and Blake and Murphy decide that this is a good time to join the party. Carmella has a leg scissors armlock submission locked in as the tag champs applaud her, which may or may not be sarcastic. Head slam into the turnbuckle from Carmella, reversed into elbows from Bliss and followed by a messy looking takedown.
Really bad armdrag from the top from Bliss, followed by a rolling something or other. Standing moonsault double knee from Alexa may be the first successfully executed move in the match, but Carmella still kicks out at two.
Drop toe hold from Carmella into a submission, but Blake and Murphy climb onto the ring apron to distract her, allowing Alexa to take out her legs from behind. Bliss climbs to the top rope and hits the twisting splash for the pin and the three count.
Both of these divas need a lot of work.
Match 4: Hideo Itami & Finn Balor vs Tyler Breeze & Adam Rose
Itami and Rose start out with a lockup, with Rose getting the advantage in the corner and hitting a chop to Itami’s chest. Hideo fires back with chops of his own, forcing Rose back into the opposite corner and then tagging in Balor.
Balor comes in over the top rope with a single leg stomp on Rose for a one count, followed by some chain wrestling into a leapfrog and dropkick from Balor. Clothesline to the outside by Balor and Itami calls for the tag as we go to a break.
Back to the action and Balor is in the ring with Adam Rose, who hits a sunset flip reversed into a low dropkick from Balor. Pin gets a two count, and Finn works on Rose in the corner before the party boy reverses an Irish whip. Balor avoids the charge in the corner and hits a chop from the apron, then a boot on Breeze, taking him down.
Balor goes for a springboard but Rose cuts him off with a kick, knocking him to the outside. Breeze tags in and begins the assault on the outside, rolling Balor back into the ring and hitting a leg drop for a pin and a one count. Boots in the corner from Breeze and a tag to Rose, with Tyler laying in some heel offence behind the ref’s back for good measure.
Snap suplex from Rose gets a two count, then a tag to Breeze who hits exactly the same move a bit slower and also gets a two count. Breeze locks in a headlock, then tags Rose as Balor tries to fight out. Punch to the face and European uppercut from Rose, knocking Balor to the canvas. Rose goes to continue his attack but Balor fights back, hitting Breeze with elbows and Rose with a double boot to the face. Balor tries for the pin but gets hit with a big spinebuster from Rose for a pin and a two count transitioned into a Boston crab.
Balor eventually makes it to the ropes and Rose breaks the hold at the count of four, distracting the ref and allowing Breeze to hit a leg drop to the back of Balor’s head. Pin and a two count from Rose, who taunts Itami and then locks in a sleeper on Balor. Jawbreaker from Balor to escape but a European uppercut from Rose cuts off his path to Itami. Pele kick from Balor takes Rose out, and the Irishman finally makes the tag to Hideo Itami just as Rose tags Tyler Breeze.
Clotheslines and a leg sweep from Itami, followed by a running knee in the corner and tornado DDT over the top rope. Itami goes to the top rope and hits Adam Rose with a flying clothesline as he enters the ring to interfere. Strike sequence from Itami to Breeze, followed by the hesitation dropkick in the corner.
In a bit of a dick move, Balor tags himself in and hits Rose with the sling blade, followed by the shotgun dropkick on Breeze in the corner. Balor drags Breeze to the centre of the ring and goes to the top rope, but Itami jumps up and tags himself in, talking smack to Balor for long enough to get rolled up by Breeze for the pin and the three count.
Dissent between Itami and Balor after the match, so Breeze sorts things out by hitting Itami with a supermodel kick and Balor with the beauty shot. Rose starts to celebrate in the ring, but Breeze hits him with the supermodel kick and poses with the selfie stick.
Strong setup match for Takeover, with Adam Rose having the best match he’s had in two years, Finn Balor continuing to shine and Hideo Itami performing well despite his reported injury. Breeze leaves the show looking strong, which suggests to me that he’s going to job at Takeover.
Interview with Sami Zayn, who talks about his shoulder injury which happened 30 seconds into his match with John Cena. He’s not backing down from his match with Kevin Owens, and they face off next.
Back from the break and Sami Zayn is facing off with Kevin Owens in the ring. Sami spends a couple of minutes asking Owens the hard questions, and the champ leaves the ring without saying a word. At the top of the ramp he tells Zayn that he knows he is hurt, and that at Takeover, he is going to hurt him so badly he’s not coming back.
Credits roll and that’s it for another week of NXT. Bring on Takeover!
Tags: Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, NXT, sami zayn