It’s NXT time and we start out with a recap of the Beast in the East and Brock Lesnar’s domination of New Day. In case you missed it the first time around, tonight they’re going to replay Finn Balor’s epic NXT title match against Kevin Owens.
Match 1: Dana Brooke (with Emma) vs Sasha Banks & A Mystery Partner
So the Boss a face now? Good for her. I like her description of Emma as Dana’s ‘little kangaroo friend’. After Banks admits that she doesn’t have a tag partner, Charlotte comes out and offers to be her partner, but she’ll owe her one. Banks agrees and starts the match against Dana.
Kick to the gut and a hair pull into the corner from Sasha, followed by an elevated foot choke. Quick tag to Charlotte, then Sasha slams Dana’s head into Charlotte’s raised boot before hitting a snapmare into a double team kick. Knee drop from Charlotte on Dana, who rolls to make the tag to a reluctant Emma.
Emma takes her time getting into the ring, and as soon as she does she gets rolled into a reverse bridge pin by Charlotte. Headlock takedown and a knee drop by Charlotte, then Emma bails to the outside to avoid a running knee drop.
Emma calls for time out on the outside, but Charlotte gives chase. On her way through the ring Emma tags in Dana, who kicks Charlotte in the head as she continues to chase the little kangaroo. Strikes from Dana into a tag to Emma, who lays in some boots in the corner before tagging her partner back in. More tags and an extended beatdown on Charlotte, including a Wasteland from Dana into a submission.
Charlotte eventually fires up and makes a tag to Banks, who hits the ring like a house afire. She takes down Dana with a clothesline and totally misses Emma with a running elbow in the corner, but she falls down anyway because wrestling.
Running double knee in the corner to a standing Dana, then another one as she lays slumped against the turnbuckle. Sasha drags her into the centre of the ring and pins her for a two count, as Emma breaks up the pin and Dana kicks out at the same time.
Banks tosses Emma out of the ring but gets attacked by Dana from behind. She goes for her finisher but Banks reverses and hits a lungblower, then locks in the Banks Statement. Emma runs in to make the save but Charlotte intercepts her and locks in the figure eight leglock.
Your winners by submission, Sasha Banks and Charlotte. Charlotte demands a title shot next week as payback, and Banks says that it’s on.
Nice opening match from the NXT ladies, with both Charlotte and Sasha more than ready to move up to the main roster.
Back from the break we’ve got an interview with Bayley talking about her broken hand and her goal of becoming NXT women’s champion, comparing herself to Triple H and Stone Cold.
Match 2: Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor – NXT title match
The talented Scott Keith already recapped this match perfectly in his Smark Rant. All I can do is recommend that if you haven’t already seen this, make an effort to find it. Possibly my favourite match of the last year.
Back from the break we’ve got more of the Jason Jordan / Chad Gable act. Still don’t care.
Solomon Crowe is back! He’s some kind of monster. Maybe the emo kind.
Match 3: Marcus Louis vs Solomon Crowe
Louis is still doing the shaved ape thing, like an off-brand George The Animal Steele. Louis misses a clothesline to start, and Crowe fires back with chops that the crazy Frenchman just shrugs off.
Straight punch to the jaw finally takes Louis off his feet, and Crowe covers for a remarkably long one count. Back on their feet Crowe locks in some kind of facelock / standing grapevine submission that looks like something he stole from Chikara, but Louis fights his way out and tosses Crowe into the corner.
Louis roars and charges, but Crowe dodges out of the way and hits a shoulderblock from the apron. When he tries for a springboard attack Louis hits the ropes and Crowe falls hard. Louis goes for the pin but Crowe kicks out at one, so Louis hits some hard knees to the gut to wear his opponent down.
Strikes from Louis into a weird rib grab surfboard submission. Crowe sells the hold like it’s killing him so Louis keeps it locked in for way too long, before Crowe finally gets bored and knees Louis in the face to escape. Jawbreaker from Crowe followed by a knee from Louis, but Crowe reverses and hits a couple of running axehandles followed by a modified stunner.
Crowe fires up and hits a running kick in the corner, followed by a low dropkick taking Louis down to the canvas. Crowe roars at the crowd and locks in the Crowebar submission and Louis quickly tags out.
Not a terrible match, but Crowe is yet to show his full potential in NXT. The Crowebar submission is better than his previous falling headbutt submission (hello concussions) but still looks more convincing when performed by Brock Lesnar.
Match 4: The Vaudvillains vs Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy
This is a number one contender’s match to face Blake & Murphy, a tag team I had honestly forgotten about until I typed this sentence. English & Gotch make their old-timey way to the ring first, followed by Enzo & Big Cass doing their usual shtick.
Gotch starts out against Enzo, and they lockup to a stalemate. Waistlock into a headlock from Amore, but Gotch powers his way out and takes Amore down with a shoulderblock. Leapfrog sequence into a series of reversals and a rollup pin from Gotch for a one count, and who knew Enzo could chain wrestle?
Lockup and Gotch muscles Amore into the corner and makes the tag to Aiden English, who used to sing his own unique theme song every week. I miss that. Headlock takedown from English and a quick tag back to Gotch, who looks slightly confused as English bails out of the ring and yells ‘get him, Simon’.
Gotch enters the ring but is thrown out almost immediately by Enzo Amore, who then hits a boot to an interfering English, who is then knocked out of the ring by a big boot from Big Cass. This match is breaking down, folks, and we’re off to a break!
Back from your mandated advertising requirement, Enzo and Cass are in control as they beat down Aiden English. Body slam from Cass, tag to Enzo, then Cass body slams Enzo on top of English. Pin from Enzo gets a two count, then he goes for a twisting armlock on Aiden.
Irish whip from English but he misses the clothesline and Enzo hits his dancing punches, goes crazy for How U Doin but runs into a pair of boots in the corner. English drags him to the centre of the ring and pins him for a long two count, then tags in Gotch who lays in the boots to Enzo.
Kneedrop from Gotch gets a one count so he locks in a modified reverse chinlock, keeping it locked in even as Enzo tries to roll his way out. Tag to English, followed by a double team move on Amore with an elbow drop from Gotch and running boot from English. Aiden goes for the tag but Enzo was under the bottom rope, so English pulls him to the centre of the ring and tries again.
English locks in the same modified chinlock as Gotch, which is a nice touch, and Enzo struggles to break the hold. He finally hits a chinbreaker, but English makes the tag as he falls and Gotch catches Enzo before he can make the tag to Cass. Knee to the back of the head from Gotch and a tag back to English who hits a legdrop for a pin and a two count.
Hot tag to Big Cass and he takes out English with a right hand and then brings Gotch into the ring the hard way. Another big right to English and a clothesline to Gotch, taking him over the top rope. Running splash in the corner from Cass followed by a delayed powerslam.
Cass goes for the SAWFT elbow but Gotch distracts him from the apron, allowing English to roll him up from behind. Cass kicks out at two and takes down English with a big boot, then hits Gotch with a black hole slam. Enzo goes up top for the assisted slam but Simon grabs Cassidy’s leg and won’t let go.
English hits the ring and Enzo hits him with a flying crossbody, but English rolls through it and pins Enzo for the three count and the number one contendership!
Solid match from everyone involved, but the right team won in my opinion. The Vaudvillains are talented workers with a distinct look, while Enzo and Cass are entertaining but haven’t really developed much in the ring over the past 18 months or so.
Above average episode of NXT, including your chance to watch a match of the year contender that you may have missed when it was on at five in the morning.
Tags: Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, NXT