It’s NXT time and we kick off with a recap of Finn Balor’s epic title win in Japan. The reign of the demon has begun!
Balor makes his way to the ring wearing a suit and carrying the belt. The crowd chants ‘you deserve it’ as he is interviewed by some guy named Greg. Heartfelt interview, but the sound was a little dodgy at times.
Interview with Eva Marie. Not a great talker, but her pink hair is cute.
Match 1: Eva Marie vs Cassie
Lockup to start and Cassie grabs an armbar, but Eva cartwheels out and grabs a wristlock. Cassie rolls through and hits an armdrag, but Eva hits a knee to the gut. Irish whip into the corner from Cassie, followed by a running spin kick, then another to the back.
Cassie goes to the middle rope but Eva takes her down with a forearm and hits a suplex into a cover for two. Armbar/abdominal stretch combination by Eva, then an Irish whip into the corner and a running back elbow. Big boot from Eva followed by a running senton, then a cover and a two count.
Back to the submission for Eva, which doesn’t look very painful to be honest. Is grabbing the boob part of the submission? After what feels like half an hour Cassie fights her way out with a chinbreaker, then hits a couple of spinning back kicks and a boot to the gut. Another spinning back kick gets two and a half, but Eva drops Cassie’s neck over the middle rope then hits a sloppy looking sliced bread for the pin and the three count.
Not a particularly good match from either competitor, particularly compared to some of the recent matches between Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. It seems that Eva Marie might actually be worse in the ring than she is on the mic…
Next up we have Tyler Breeze complaining to William Regal about not being in the title picture. That’s because you’re a one-note guy, Tyler, and that note is just about played out.
Match 2: Baron Corbin vs Purple Ranger
Speaking of one-note wrestlers, it’s time for your weekly Baron Corbin snoozefest. He’s facing a jobber in a purple power ranger outfit.
Jobber gets literally no offence before Corbin hits the End of Days for the pin and the three count. FTS.
Match 3: Samoa Joe vs Mike Rallis
Rallis goes on the offensive immediately, hitting a running kick and strikes on Joe. Shrugging it off, Joe throws him into the corner and hits his strike combo, finishing with a chop to the head as the crowd chants ‘Joe’s gonna kill you.’
Strikes from Rallis, but as he tries to build up momentum Joe casually takes him out with a running back elbow. Headbutt from Joe, followed by a big chop in the corner. Irish whip to the opposite corner and then a running back splash from Joe, followed by an enziguiri. Facewash in the corner to Rallis, but Rallis cuts off the running boot and hits some forarms.
Rallis whips Joe into the corner and charges, but Joe picks him up and hits the single arm spinebuster. Up onto the top rope for Rallis, musclebuster and pin for the three count.
Essentially a squash match, and for some reason I got the impression that Joe didn’t really want to be there.
Interview with Emma. A hug makes everything better. Okay…
Match 4: Emma vs Bayley
Emma is accompanied by Dana Brooke, and Bayley is out for revenge for the broken hand that was somehow caused by a slap to the face. Nice storytelling, WWE.
Emma starts out the match by slapping Bayley with one of Bayley’s own slap bracelets (available now from the merch stand) which has to be about the weakest offence ever. Bayley takes the band off her and goes to attack, but Emma dodges behind the ref and hides in the ropes.
The ref then spends a minute telling Bayley to put the slap band away, and this is just pathetic. As Bayley slowly puts the band on the ring apron Emma attacks her from behind, laying in some clubbing blows to the back. Head slam to the mat gets a one count, so Emma rams Bayley’s head into a couple of turnbuckles for good measure.
After the fifth slam, Bayley hulks up and hits some turnbuckle head slams of her own, then a running bulldog for a pin and a two count. Emma tries to roll out of the ring and Bayley grabs her hair, but the ref demands she let go which results in Emma slamming her hand into the ring post.
Emma keeps working the hand with strikes and submissions, in a long and frankly boring sequence. Butt slam to the back from Emma gets a two count, then it’s back to working the hand. Another butt slam to the back from Emma, who then rubs Bayley’s face into the canvas.
Bayley fights her way out and hits a couple of running axe handles, stupidly using her injured hand. Have you never heard of a clothesline, Bayley? Irish whip into the corner and then a shoulder charge from Bayley, followed by a running knee and a second rope back elbow. Is it just me, or is the ref telling wrestlers to ‘get down off the ropes’ an entirely ridiculous conceit?
Pin from Bayley gets two, then a double clothesline takes out both Divas. Dana Brooke attacks Bayley’s hand from the outside, but does it right in front of the ref so gets banished from ringside.
Emma can’t believe it, so Bayley takes advantage and rolls her up for what is meant to be a two count, but Emma forgets to kick out so the ref has to stop counting and wait. She eventually rolls through into a pin of her own which gets two, but Bayley pops up and hits the Bayley to Belly for the pin and the three count.
Not a great match from two talented workers. I don’t know if the ladies are pissed off that Charlotte, Becky and Sasha have been promoted to the main roster, but they’re really stinking up the joint tonight.
Interview with Charlotte about her move to Raw, interrupted by Dana Brooke who wonders why people boo her. It’s because you’re not very interesting, Dana, and the mean girl act has been done by far better workers than you.
Match 5: The Vaudvillains vs Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton
Simon Gotch starts out against Dawkins with a lockup, headlock and whip into the corner. Gotch charges in but gets flipped over the top rope, so hits a shoulder charge through the middle and then a sunset flip variation for a pin and a one count. Dropkick from Gotch and an Irish whip into the ropes, but Dawkins holds on and hits a big boot as Fulton makes the tag.
Boot to Dawkins from Gotch but Fulton hits him from behind, then lays in some straight right hands on the ground. Falling splash from Fulton, followed by a falling back splash, but the pin only gets one. The announcers talk up Dawkins and Fulton as the next big thing, but it doesn’t even sound like they really believe it.
Abdominal stretch from Fulton, then a tag to Dawkins. Double team move where Fulton lifts Gotch up, accidentally drops him, then picks him up again so Dawkins can hit a high elevation dropkick. Pin gets one and a half, so Dawkins goes for an abdominal stretch of his own. Gotch fights his way out by grabbing his own foot and hitting Dawkins in the head with it, which I have to admit is pretty funny.
Hot tag to Aiden English, who takes out Dawkins with a straight right hand. Stiff kick to the gut from English, who then grabs Dawkins head and slams it into his knee. Running knee from English, followed by a modified side effect.
Tag to Gotch, then a whirling dervish for the pin and the three count on Dawkins.
Entertaining match from the Vaudvillains, but Dawkins and Fulton still don’t come across as a legitimate threat.
Interview with the Dubstep Cowboys, who seem to be treading water as NXT tag champs.
Last and certainly least, we have the contract signing between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor. I hate contract signings, and this one was as predictable as ever.
Overall a sub-par episode of NXT, which is not a great sign at the start of a new taping cycle.