We see video highlighting what took place on last week’s show from Columbus, Ohio.
We see the usual intro, then we go to the opening match.
NXT Women’s Title: Alexa Bliss vs. “The Boss” Sasha Banks (c)
Bliss earned this title shot after defeating Sasha by count-out on last week’s show. Boxing-style intros before the bell. Sasha yells at Bliss as the bell sounds that she doesn’t deserve this title shot. Bliss takes down Sasha, Oklahoma Roll, Crucifix and an inside cradle by Bliss for a series of early 2 counts. Lucha roll-up by Bliss gets another 2. Dropkick gets Bliss yet another 2. Sasha catches Bliss going up & over with a kick. Sasha trash talks Bliss and begins to take control. Running slap, Sasha taunts the crowd, then gets 2. Sasha runs into a back elbow, but comes back with the draping double knees in the corner for another 2. Japanese Stranglehold applied by Sasha, yelling at Bliss that she isn’t even in Sasha’s league. Crowd wills on Bliss. Sasha misses a clothesline, but blocks a roll-up. Bliss then with another inside cradle for 2. Sasha drives Bliss into the corner, but Bliss comes back with a rana from out of the corner. Bliss sidesteps Sasha, sending her outside. Referee begins his 10 count as Sasha is still down outside. Bliss goes out after Sasha and brings her back in, knowing she can’t win the title that way. Thesz Press and a big slap by Bliss. Flying forearm, leg sweep and the Bliss Flip (Standing Moonsault Double Knees) for a close 2. Code Red by Bliss from out of the corner for another close 2. Crowd chants for Bliss as she can’t believe it. Bliss heads up top, but Sasha slams her off the turnbuckles.
Bank Statement applied, Bliss taps.
Winner and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: “The Boss” Sasha Banks by submission (The Bank Statement)
Sasha celebrates her title retention afterward.
THOUGHTS: Decent match, but Bliss still has a ways to go. Tons of potential and she stands out from the rest of the NXT Divas as the “high-flyer” of the group, but the “everything else” about Bliss needs a lot more seasoning. Sasha did a great job of making this decent, doing the lions share of the work, proving how ready she is for the main roster as she is the most complete package of any of the Divas on NXT. OK start to the show.
Backstage, Kevin Owens talks about his NXT Title match tonight against Finn Balor.
Owens: “Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship. Finn, you & I have a lot in common. We’re both world-class performers, we’ve both fought tooth & nail to get here. We actually both got here around the same time and since we have been here, we’ve made quite the impact. But, the difference is, you made an impact by painting yourself up like some sort of demon and I made an impact by decimating Sami Zayn and taking the NXT Title in 2 months. To each is own, whatever works. But, I gotta tell ya, I’m looking forward to tonight. I’m looking forward to the fight because I know that you will bring it, but I hope that’s not all you bring. Bring the demon, cuz it won’t matter. Nobody is taking this title away from me or my family, trust me.”
THOUGHTS: Good promo from Owens, continued to be impressed by Owens skirting the line between dominant heel champion and sympathetic figure who wants to hold onto the title to make a better life for he and his family in his promos and overall character presentation. Makes the character very multi-layered and Owens stands out because its very rare to have multi-layered characters on WWE & NXT TV nowadays.
We then see a video package on Kevin Owens’s domination in NXT since debuting in December and the build to his NXT Title match tonight against Finn Balor.
Backstage, Emma walks up to Bayley in the locker room.
Emma: “Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.”
Bayley: “What are you talking about?”
Emma: “Well, I’ve been trying to tell you that you’re being too nice. Giving out headbands, giving everyone hugs and you went and lost to Becky Lynch. You need to be more aggressive, Bayley, bring it out, find it inside you. Seriously, friend-to-friend, the NXT crowd will try and fool you, they did it to me. But the thing is, they’re not gonna be the ones that are gonna get you to where you need to be, ok. Trust me, I know.”
Bayley: “No, you know what? I don’t think you know because we are totally two different people because I know we’re friends and we kind of came from the same thing, but the NXT Universe helped me get to where I am, they gave me the opportunity, they got me the #1 Contenders spot twice, they helped me…..”
All of a sudden, Emma slaps the taste out of Bayley’s mouth, knocking her down, then walks off.
THOUGHTS: Solid angle to complete Emma’s heel turn in NXT and begin a feud with Bayley. Story is very easy to get into and the matches should be pretty good, looking forward to this.
Backstage, Devin Taylor asks Tyler Breeze what’s next for him.
Breeze: “Oh wow, another high-quality question, Barbara Walters. Obviously, everyone saw me beat Hideo Itami. So now, I want to get back on track and get my NXT Title shot because I want to be NXT Champion and be the most gorgeous champion that anyone’s ever seen, oh what?”
Itami walks in.
Itami: “I think you forgot I beat you too, so next week, I challenge you, 2 out of 3 falls match. Me, you. You, me.”
Breeze: “I didn’t say yes!”
We see a vignette on Dana Brooke, who is coming soon to NXT.
Backstage, Devin Taylor interviews Finn Balor about his NXT Title match tonight.
Balor: “Listen, I’ve heard what Kevin Owens has to say. Kevin loves to talk, Kevin loves the sound of his own voice. Me, I do my talking in the ring. Now, as far as what Kevin has said, I do not need the demon to beat Kevin Owens.”
THOUGHTS: Short, simple and to the point promo by Balor.
We then see a video package on Finn Balor’s dominance in NXT since debuting in November.
We see video of Kevin Owens being dominant in his match with Alex Riley last week.
Backstage, Blake & Murphy walk up to the Jersey Boys & Carmella. Blake & Murphy apologize to Carmella for causing her to be accidentally knocked off the apron last week. They give her a gift, a piece of jewelry and leave. Carmella is taken aback by the gift, then complains to the Jersey Boys about not giving her jewelry.
THOUGHTS: More exposition onto the ongoing rivalry between Blake & Murphy and the Jersey Boys and continuing to tease Carmella ditching the Jersey Boys to join up with the champions. Fine for what it was.
Main Event for the NXT Title: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens (c)
Boxing-style intros once again before the bell. Owens goes outside as the bell sounds to stall. Back in, Owens gets a cheap shot in on Balor. Owens with a shoulder tackle, then yells out “where’s the demon now?” Balor comes back with a dropkick, sending Owens outside as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial as Balor works over Owens’ arm. Balor rolls through a Sunset Flip, basement dropkick gets 2. Balor goes back to the arm. Owens gets free, but is favoring the arm. Owens sent onto the apron, but blocks a suplex back in. Hot-shot by Owens to Balor across the top rope. Short-arm clothesline, right hands from the mount and an elbow drop by Owens. Owens chokes Balor, taunts the crowd, chinlock applied. Owens trash talks Balor, crowd wills Balor on. Balor fights out, Owens misses a clothesline, but hits a back elbow. Owens walks across Balor, gets 2. Owens goes back to the chinlock as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial as Owens continues to have control on Balor, taunts the crowd some more. Back to the chinlock, crowd again wills on Balor. Owens sends Balor outside. Owens goes out after him, then goes for the Apron Powerbomb, but Balor counters out with a back body drop! Back in, Owens regains advantage quickly, catching Balor off a crossbody and hits the Go Home Driver for 2. Back senton splash gets Owens another 2. Owens pours on the onslaught, continuing to trash talk Balor. Owens gets another 2. Once again, Owens goes back to the chinlock. Crowd chants for Balor. Owens with a neck twist, again back to the chinlock. Victim Kick by Owens, then whips Balor hard into the corner, with Balor bouncing off and down to the mat. More trash talk by Owens, Belly-to-Belly gets another 2. Snapmare, back again to the chinlock as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial as Balor fights back, but Owens cuts him off. Owens misses a clothesline, Balor back body drops him to the outside. Balor with a head of steam, flip dive wipes out Owens! Back in, Balor heads up top, Mushroom Stomp gets a close 2. Balor goes for Reverse Bloody Sunday, but Owens blocks it. Balor then hits Owens with the Pele Kick. Running chop in the corner, but Owens avoids a second. Owens off the ropes, Balor catches him with the Slingblade! Big clothesline by Balor, then this time hits Reverse Bloody Sunday for a very close 2. Balor goes for the running corner hestitation dropkick, but Owens moves out of the way!
Balor clutches his leg, appearing to have injured it when going into the turnbuckles. Owens kicks Balor’s leg out of his leg, followed by a chop block. Owens goes outside, grabs Balor’s leg and drives it across the apron, then against the ringpost. Back in, Owens continues to attack the injured leg of Balor. Knee-DT by Owens, then stands on the leg and hits a back senton onto it! Half crab applied in the center of the ring. Balor crawls to the ropes, but Owens sits down on the hold. Balor finally reaches the ropes to force a break. Crowd chants for Balor. Balor goes onto the apron, but Owens brings him back in. Owens goes for a powerbomb, but Balor takes him down and hits a double stomp! “This is awesome” chants by the crowd.
Owens goes back to the leg and heads up to the middle rope, but Balor with an enziguri. Balor heads up top with Owens and goes for a superplex, but Owens blocks it. SUPER SWINGING FISHERMAN’S BUSTER BY OWENS!!! 1-2…..BALOR KICKS OUT!!! Crowd chants again for Balor as he again rolls out onto the apron. Balor with a head kick, but as he heads back in, Owens with another chopblock to the injured leg. Owens charges at Balor in the corner, hits the Cannonball. Owens traps the injured leg of Balor n the corner, CANNONBALL TO THE INJURED LEG!! Owens goes for a third Cannonball, but Balor moves out of the way! Running dropkick by Balor sends Owens into the turnbuckles. Balor heads up top, COUP DE GRACE!!! However, Balor cannot make the cover because of the damage done to his leg and Owens gets back up.
Balor charges back in, POP-UP POWERBOMB BY OWENS!!! 1-2-3!
Winner and STILL NXT Champion: Kevin Owens by pinfall (Pop-Up Powerbomb)
Owens celebrates his title retention as the show closes.
THOUGHTS: Great main event, although I do question why this wasn’t on the next quarterly special. Would have to assume NXT has something even more grandiose planned for the next quarterly special then. Balor sold his leg like a million bucks in the final half of the match, Owens has done a very good luck in slowing down his matches to try and get the crowd to boo him and get behind his babyface opponent. Still a section of the crowd that cheers him no matter what, but week after week, slowly but surely, the crowd is beginning to boo him more and more, which means its working. Balor gave Owens his toughest fight since Owens’ debut and lost absolutely nothing in defeat, as the finish protected him very nicely as he had Owens with the Coup de Grace, but couldn’t capitalize due to the leg injury, allowing Owens to quickly hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb and win. One of the better NXT TV main events over the last year that wasn’t on a live special. Hats off to Owens & Balor.
Overall, NXT had a decent first half, with an OK match and some solid storyline development, but a great second half with the main event. Go see the main event on this show for sure.
Jason Namako recaps and reviews the weekly NXT TV, as well as all live specials on the WWE Network for Wrestleview.com.