We see a Mauro Ronallo-narrated video package covering the history of Nakamura and Finn Balor. Finn walks into the locker calmly earlier today, while Nakamura gets in a last-minute heavybag workout. Samoa Joe comes down while a fan in an orange shirt boos him to the rhythm of his theme song. Joe says he’s here to see Nakamura vs. Balor and says that the fans are probably here to see that match. However, the implication of that match is an insult to him – the Champ. He says that the winner here doesn’t automatically become a contender and in reality, he slayed the demon before and a win here shouldn’t give Balor a shot at him again.
Joe calls the fans who cheer him hypocrites, and says that fans think Nakamura will win and go on to face Joe and beat him for the gold. Fans respond by chanting Nakamura’s theme and he says that he brought Strong Style to America long before, and if he’s the King, he should hand his crown to the Emperor. Joe wants a challenge, so Rhyno comes out. Rhyno says that Joe’s the guy he has to go through to get to the top, so he will. We get a brief staredown and Joe just leaves – he’ll do things on his time. Bayley vs. Nia Jax is announced for next week, as is American Alpha vs. The Authors of Pain and Rhyno vs. Samoa Joe.
We get a long hype video for Nakamura vs. Balor where HHH says that Balor and Nakamura became huge names in the US before they ever came to WWE. American Alpha says they can’t wait to see it and just sit back to chant “this is awesome”. We get a lot of house show footage of Finn and Nakamura paying homage to one another and we see Nakamura walking backstage to come to the ring. Corey calls Balor the “Prodigal Prince” as he walks backstage.
The Balor Club logo brings out a non-Demon version of Finn Balor, who saunters down and stands mid-ring. The lights go out and Nakamura’s theme hits and we get more performance art as Nakamura poses against the strobe lights. Nakamura is now timing his iconic rope pose to the biggest beat in his song while the fans go “Ooooh!’ and it works perfectly. Fans sway their hands back and forth while we get a staredown between them on opposite sides of the ring for an ad break. What an amazing setup for this.
A “this is awesome” chant starts off before the ring announcements formally begin. Nakamura is busting out his all-red getup tonight, and it remains glorious. They tease a tieup, but Nakamura goes for a leg kick. They exchange armwringers and Nakamura wins that with a cartwheel. Finn gets a side headlock and we see a unique sliding camera angle showing them on the mat that makes them look gigantic. A shoulderblock gets 1 for Finn and we get a clean break from Nakamura, leading to Too Sweet to the face by Finn.
Nakamura hits a knee to the gut, but Finn ducks the flurry and hits a modified KENTA combo and a basement dropkick for 2. Nakamura blocks an apron kick from Finn and hits one of his own before going for Good Vibrations and landing it twice. Nakamura drapes him over the apron for the knee strike and a kneedrop off the apron leads to an ad break.
A jumping kneedrop hits Finn and gives Nakamura 2 after the break. Corner knees to the gut land hard, but Finn hits a basement dropkick to the left knee. Finn locks on a legbar, but Nakamura escapes and goes for a sunset flip that Balor turns into a dropkick for 2. Finn lands a series of corner chops, including an impressive running chop. Nakamura tries to respond with a kick, but Finn puts the leg on the ropes and drives his knee into Nakamura’s and sends him to the floor.
Finn sets him up for a surfboard, but slams the knees into the mat instead for 2 – ala Daniel Bryan. Balor locks on a heel hook, but Nakamura gets to the ropes. Nakamura avoids more damage to the knee by landing a knee with the bad leg and then landing a spinkick – going for a hail Mary play mid-match to at least gain some momentum. Finn goes for a strike combo, but Nakamura blocks and hits an arrow-pull punch to get the edge.
Nakamura lands more corner knees and another Good Vibrations. He sets him up top for the corner knee and hits for 2. Balor elbows out of the inverted exploder and hits a chop before kicking Nakamura to the floor, baseball sliding his stomach, and penalty kicking his jaw for an ad break. Finn hits a Coup de Gras to the back of the head of a kneeling Nakamura for 2. Nakamura goes for a kick, but Balor locks on a unique legbar trapping the knee with a grapevine. He gets to the rope to force a break.
Finn elbows the knee, but eats a high kick off it. Flying armbar is almost locked on, but Nakamura turns it into a triangle, but Finn makes it to the rope. Nakamura lands the stiff knees to the gut and head. A Nakamura gourdbuster hits, but a knee smash misses, and leads to a Balor tornado kick. A reverse 1916 gets 2. Balor gets crazy eye and hits a slingblade, but eats a flying kick and a Kinshasa to the back of the head for 2 – the first time the knee strike has only gotten 2 in NXT. Balor counters a second Kinshasa with a mushroom stomp for 2!
Nakamura avoids 1916 and we get a forearm exchange. Finn superkicks the knee and hits a high kick before landing another slingblade and the shotgun dropkick. The Coup de Gras misses, but a super Kinshasa and running Kinshasa end the match! Graves calls it combat in its purest form while the fans sing Nakamura’s theme. They hug and shake hands just like they did to start things off and Nakamura dances to his theme to close the show. This was an amazing hour of TV and something that WWE could just replay on a Monday night and make two main event-level stars instantly.
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Tags: balor vs. nakamura, Finn Balor, NXT, Rhyno, Samoa Joe, shinsuke nakamura