It’s NXT time and we kick off with a promo package for the main event, then we’re heading into the ring with Aiden English and Simon Gotch!
Match 1: The Vaudvillains vs Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder
Apparently Dawson & Dash are throwbacks to the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, which is a reference that I’m guessing most people are going to miss. Wilder starts off against Gotch, who snatches a headlock but gets forced back into the corner as the tag is made to Dawson.
Dawson and Gotch face off, showing that Dawson is pretty short, then they lock up. Gotch is forced back into the corner again and Dawson breaks on three, but hits a cheap shot to the ribs. Irish whip into the corner from Dawson, but Simon uses some old-timey calisthenics to dodge a charge, then hits a sunset flip for a two count.
Arm wrench from Gotch and a tag to English, who goes to the second rope and hits a manly elbow to Dawson’s arm. Immediate tag back to Gotch, followed by some sweet team strikes and a strongman pose from Gotch. Dawson gets back to his feet and Gotch locks in an armlock, but Dawson grabs the hair to force him back into the corner and break the hold.
Tag to Dash Wilder and he lays into Gotch with some stiff strikes, then tags back to Dawson and holds Gotch while Dawson kicks him in the gut. Irish whip by Dawson followed by a back elbow, then a leg drop and knee drop for the pin and a two count. Nostril grab from Dawson, followed by a stiff elbow to the head, then a European uppercut and tag to Wilder.
Gotch manages to dodge a convoluted double team move and makes the hot tag to English, who takes down both Dawson & Wilder with a series of straight right hands. English whips Wilder into the corner, hits a big back body drop on Dawson and then an atomic drop on Wilder, finishing the sequence with a running kick to Wilder’s head.
Tag to Gotch, European uppercut to the back of the head, running neckbreaker combo from English and Gotch gets the pin and the three count. The recap suggests that this move is called the whirling dervish, which is as good a name as any I suppose.
Nice, hard hitting opening match. I enjoy the Vaudvillains schtick but I’m not sure I can see them breaking through on the main roster, while Dawson & Dash bring something a little different to the NXT tag scene, which is always a good thing.
Interview with Becky Lynch about an injury to her hip flexor, which means she has to take a few weeks off. Bummer. I like Becky Lynch.
Match 2: Baron Corbin vs Tucker Knight
They’re calling Corbin the Big Bad Wolf, and at least one of those words is accurate. Tucker Knight looks like Bull Dempsey in trunks, which does not bode well.
Lockup, then a break, and Corbin kicks Knight in the gut and smacks him in the head. Facebuster chokeslam from Corbin, followed by the end of days for the pin and the three count.
I want my two minutes back.
Back from the break we’re in Regal’s office with Enzo, Big Cass and the Vaudvillians, announcing their number one contenders match next week.
Next up is part 3 of Who is Finn Balor, showing off some of the awesome body paint he’s worn over the years. Another great video package about a humble man who has paid his dues.
Match 3: Emma vs Carmella
Emma is accompanied to the ring by Dana Brooke, and Carmella is working the fabulous gimmick. The crowd chant’s We Love Emma, which is pretty funny as she’s supposed to be the heel in this match.
Headlock takedown from Carmella but Emma reverses with a headscissors, keeping the hold locked until Carmella slips out. Back on their feet Emma grabs a headlock, but Carmella wrenches the arm and grabs a headlock of her own. A somewhat clumsy Irish whip spot ends with Carmella taking down Emma with another headlock.
Emma grabs Carmella’s hair to break the hold and whips her into the corner, but runs into a back elbow from Carmella. Second rope headscissors takedown from Carmella followed by a high clothesline. Emma tries to hide in the ropes but Carmella grabs her arm and pulls it over the top rope, only breaking when the ref gets to a four count.
Big kick to the gut from Emma, followed by a nasty hair pull slam, and I get the impression that Emma might be working a little stiff in response to the high clothesline. Pin with Emma’s knee across Carmella’s throat, but a kick out at two.
Emma locks in a bodyscissors submission, then lays in a couple of forearms to Carmella’s back for good measure. Carmella tries to roll her over into a pin but Emma reverses and goes batshit crazy, slapping and punching the back of Carmella’s head.
Dana Brooke yells encouragement as the crowd chants for Carmella to tap out, but Carmella hits a couple of back elbows to Emma’s jaw to break the submission. Shouldercharge from Emma in the corner, but Carmella gets her boot up on the second time around. Shoulderblocks and a Thetz press from Carmella, then a kick to the gut and running boot to the head.
Carmella goes for the Staten Island shuffle but Emma reverses with a drop toehold, locks in the Emmalock and Carmella quickly taps out.
Remarkably stiff match from Emma, with Carmella trying to keep up but giving a performance JR would call ‘bowling shoe ugly’.
Comedy segment with Bull Dempsey assaulting a candy machine. To say that he is slightly more entertaining out of the ring is not meant as a compliment.
Match 4: Tyler Breeze vs Tye Dillinger
Breeze stalls to start, quick lockup into an armdrag on Dillinger. As Tye collects his wits Breeze poses across the top ropes, drawing Dillinger in for the charge but cutting him off with a furry boot to the face. Elbow from Dillinger then some kicks in the corner, then a boot choke over the second rope.
Jumping boot from Dillinger, then another which gets a pin and a one count. Multiple cover attempts from Dillinger, but Breeze kicks out before the ref has a chance to count to one. Chop in the corner and a headbutt to the back from Dillinger, followed by a finger stomp and a powerslam.
Irish whip into a jumping reversal from Breeze, followed by a reverse DDT. Strikes from Breeze into a hurricurana, then a short reversal sequence before Breeze hits the beauty shot for the pin and the three count.
Nothing remarkable from Breeze, although Dillinger got more offence than usual, which is nice for him I suppose. I’d have been more than happy to drop this match and give the main event more time.
Locker room confrontation between Sasha Banks and Emma & Dana. The boss challenges them to a match, then realises that she needs a partner. Ooh, drama.
Match 5: Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs Kevin Owens & Rhyno
Rhyno starts out against Joe, and cuts off the lockup with a kick to the gut and forearm to the back of the head. Rhyno throws a punch, but Joe responds with a flurry blows, forcing Rhyno back into the corner. For some reason Joe decides this is a good time to attack Kevin Owens, but KO dodges the attack and Rhyno hits Joe from behind.
Irish whip reversal sends Rhyno into the corner, and Joe hits the running back spash/enziguiri combo. Tag to Balor, who hits Rhyno with a chop, Irish whip and a dropkick, then covers him for a one count. Balor grabs a headlock but Rhyno lays punches into his ribs, then forces him back into the corner and tags in Owens.
Rhyno holds Balor in the corner as Owens lays in some shots, then they hit a nice sequence of reversals into an Owens sunset flip/seated dropkick from Balor. Back on their feet Balor tries to hit a suplex, but he can’t get Owens off his feet, and the big man hits him in the ribs to break the hold.
Owens lays in some more strikes and kicks in the ring, then tosses Balor to the outside and taunts Joe. While the ref is distracted getting Joe out of the ring Rhyno gets in some cheap shots on the floor, then we’re off to an ad break as Rhyno rolls Balor back into the ring.
Back from the break and Owens is still working over Balor, taking him down with a hard back elbow for a two count. Tag to Rhyno and some more clubbing offence, followed by a nice delayed vertical suplex and some squats into a slam. Pin gets two, then Owens hits a snapmare into a chinlock, wearing Balor down.
Balor tries to fire up but Owens hits a couple of big shoulderblocks and then a blue thunder bomb and a five knuckle shuffle. He picks Balor up in the attitude adjustment position, but Balor fights his way out and hits a double stomp to Owens chest. As Owens crawls over to Rhyno, Balor makes the tag to Samoa Joe!
Rhyno hits the rings and gets taken down wit some stiff clotheslines, an inverted atomic drop and a running kick to the head from Joe. Running senton gets two and Joe lays in some straight shots to Rhyno’s head. He hits the ropes but Owens takes a shot at his back, so Joe turns around and punches him in the face.
As Joe turns back around Rhyno hits a spinebuster for a pin and a two count, then makes the tag to Owens. KO charges at Joe but gets taken down with a single-arm slam, then Joe makes the tag to Balor.
The Irishman goes to the top rope as Joe sets up Owens for the muscle buster in the opposite corner, but Rhyno spoils the fun but jumping up and pushing Balor off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Joe levels Rhyno with a clothesline but turns around and walks into a pop up powerbomb from Owens.
Balor hits the ring and goes for the sling blade on Owens, but he reverses and hits a superkick. Balor is staggered but hits the Pele kick and takes Owens down. As Finn and Owens struggle to their feet, Rhyno lines up for the gore, but Balor dodges out of the way and Rhyno hits Owens!
Shotgun dropkick from Balor sends Rhyno crashing into Owens in the corner, then out of the ring. Hesitation dropkick on Owens in the corner sets up the coup de grace, and Finn Balor gets the pin and the three count on Kevin Owens.
Solid match from all four men, with Samoa Joe looking dominant even though he didn’t really have a lot to do. This match would have benefitted from more time (like, the whole episode) but I get that they need to keep something in the bag.
Better than average episode of NXT, with two good tag bouts and a fun diva beatdown.
Tags: Finn Balor, JT on NXT, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe