We see the usual intro, then the music of Sami Zayn hits as he makes his way to the ring for the first time since being injured by Kevin Owens at NXT Takeover: Rival last month. Crowd chants for Zayn as he grabs a mic.
Zayn: “Well, its good to be back. (“Welcome back” chant by the crowd.) Thank you, thank you. So, I was away, some of you may know I was away overseas in Abu Dhabi and it was great, it was a great tour and I’m happy to be there and uh, you know, I had a lot of time, a lot of time to think and I realized that the timing was interesting for you know when I needed to go. There’s questions unanswered and a lot of concerns and while I should have been thinking at that time about how great it was to be in Abu Dhabi or how it was to wrestle in front of my people, you know. Oh yeah, oh yeah, it should have been great, but the thing that was on my mind was Kevin Owens. And I realized something, I realized that the Kevin Owens that I was in the ring with at Takeover: Rival two months ago was not the same Kevin Owens that I got in the ring with two years ago, or for the 10 years before that, he is a different guy. And I don’t just means in terms of his ability or what he can do in the ring, I mean as a person, as a human being. I looked in his eyes and I saw something that I haven’t seen before, but its fine, its fine because now I’ve seen it and I get it and I know exactly what I’m dealing with. And so, I’ve had a lot of time to think and a lot of time to formulate a plan and here’s my plan. (“Kick his ass” chants by the crowd.) Well, first of all, obviously, I’m going to use my rematch and recapture my NXT Championship. And at the very top of my list, #1 on the priority list, is KICK KEVIN OWENS’ ASS!!!”
THOUGHTS: Good promo from Zayn, as it appears what the path will now be for the next live special after there was some questions after last week’s show with the Owens/Balor NXT Title match already being given. Now its clear as day that it will be Owens/Zayn II for the NXT Title. Not upset about that at all. Sign…Me….Up!!
Commentary runs down the card for tonight’s show as we go to the first match.
“The Man Beast” Rhyno vs. A Jobber
Rhyno drives the jobber into the corner, series of right hands, belly-to-belly throw.
GORE, GORE, GORE!!! 1-2-3!
Winner: “The Man Beast” Rhyno by pinfall (The Gore)
Afterwards, Rhyno has a mic as the crowd chants for him.
Rhyno: “I came to NXT to make a statement. I came here for the NXT Championship. (“GORE” chants by the crowd.) What do you want? Do you hear that? Sami Zayn? Finn Balor? And you, Kevin Owens? It doesn’t matter who gets in my way because the end result will be the same. You will be ripped in half with a GORE, GORE, GORE!!!”
THOUGHTS: Arrive, GORE, cut simple and menacing promo, leave.
Back from commercial, we see another vignette on Dana Brooke. She debuts on NXT TV in 2 weeks.
THOUGHTS: Brooke has a unique look and will stand out for having the bodybuilding background, but even in the vignette, you can tell that she doesn’t have the acting chops down just yet. Hopefully the in-ring work is there to justify the build-up.
We see video highlighting last week’s NXT Title match as Kevin Owens retained over Finn Balor.
We go to post-match comments from Owens backstage after last week’s show.
Owens: “(laughs) I won, that’s all that matters, all that matters is nobody’s taking this away, nobody. Not Finn Balor, not Sami Zayn, nobody.”
THOUGHTS: More simple exposition to the multi-layered Owens character. We got in and we got out, thumbs up.
Grudge Match: “Its” Bayley vs. “The Dancing Queen” Emma
Emma comes out for her entrance, not really into doing her dance, playing with the bubbles, nor doing the skin the cat into the ring. The two have words as the bell sounds as Emma is not taking Bayley seriously. Crowd chants for Bayley. Some moron yells out “I love you Bubbles!” Feeling-out process early. “Bayley’s gonna hug you” chants by the crowd. Chain wrestling, Bayley with a shoulder tackle. Bayley goes to help Emma up, but Emma sweeps out her leg for 2. O’Connor Roll by Bayley for 2. Emma then drills Bayley with a clothesline.
Emma begins to take control on Bayley, talking trash and yelling at Bayley to “bring it out.” Bayley fights back, but Emma with a forearm. Bayley comes back, sending Emma repeatedly into the turnbuckles. Emma avoids a corner charge, Tartanula applied in the ropes. Emma charges in, Emmamite Sandwich to Bayley in the corner.
Emma dances on top of Bayley in a nonchalant cover, but Bayley takes advantage and reverses the pin for the win.
Winner: Its” Bayley by pinfall (Sunset Flip)
Bayley helps Emma up afterward as Emma is distraught. They have words as then Emma has a smile on her face. Bayley leaves, but it appears she is still angry and distraught over losing.
THOUGHTS: More story than match as this did a decent job of getting over Emma’s confliction in what path does she want to take going forward. Does she want to still be the fun, bubbly, dancing queen? Or does she want to turn her back on the crowd and friends and go to the dark side to finally success? Utilizing Bayley and her standing with the crowd gave the story the effective touch it needed and I’m interested to see where it goes from here.
Backstage, Devin Taylor interviews Becky Lynch.
Lynch: “Devin, did you see Takeover? Did you see Takeover, did you see the Fatal 4-Way? Did you see that I was this close to winning the title? Did you see that I would have won if it wasn’t for that “hug hug” Bayley? Now, everybody else, everybody else, Devin, has gotten their title opportunity. Bayley has gotten her singles title opportunity. Charlotte, everyone knows has had her run in the sun. Even Alexa Bliss, NXT’s resident leading beauty, has had her title opportunity. Now, why hasn’t Becky Lynch gotten her title opportunity? I proved what I can do, time and time again, and I came from Ireland for one reason and one reason only and that is to become the NXT Women’s Champion. Now, Sasha Banks, Sasha Banks, she’s not that good, but she’s not this good and that is my title, this is my empire and there is no one that is better than me. So welcome, Devin, welcome to N’BEX’T.”
THOUGHTS: More and more by the week, NXT fans are seeing what longtime SHIMMER fans know Lynch has in her with her cocky persona. Lynch appears to be the next challenger in line for Sasha Banks, which will be intriguing to see how they build to the eventual title match between the former members of Team B.A.E, as they are both currently on the heel side of things. Lynch opened up some eyes at the last Takeover special, let’s see what she has in store on her ascent to the NXT Women’s Title.
NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy vs. The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara)
Blake & Kalisto start. Blake with a cheapshot early. Springboard armdrag by Kalisto sends Blake outside. Murphy in, but Kalisto sends him outside. Cara with a head of steam, wipes out the champions with a tope suicida! Kalisto heads up top, ORIHARA MOONSAULT WIPES OUT BLAKE & MURPHY!!! Back in, Cara gets 2. Kalisto in, Blake makes a blind tag, opens up the ropes, sending Kalisto outside.
Back in, Blake gets 2. Series of elbow drops for another 2. Chinlock applied, crowd wills on Kalisto. Blake drives Kalisto back down and puts more pressure on the hold. Kalisto tries to get free, but Blake holds on. Crowd again wills on Kalisto. Kalisto gets free, wheelbarrow sunset flip gets 2. Blake comes back with a clothesline. Murphy in, basement Meteora gets another 2. Back to the chinlock. Crowd once again wills on Kalisto. Kalisto fights out, but Murphy stops him from making a tag. Kalisto slips out of a back suplex, avoids a clothesline, tags in Cara.
Springboard headbutt, leg kick, big chop, springboard crossbody by Cara. Blake knocked off the apron, springboard moonsault to Murphy gets Cara 2. Cara sent onto the apron, but hits an enziguri. Cara heads up top for the Falling Star, but Blake pushes him off. Ref is with Kalisto, allowing Blake to get a cheapshot in on Cara from the apron.
Blake in, running suplex by Murphy, Frog Splash by Blake gets the win.
Winners: NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy by pinfall (Running Suplex/Frog Splash combo)
Blake & Murphy celebrate their win afterwards.
THOUGHTS: Much better match between these two teams than their Takeover match. Champions are getting more confidence by the week and the Lucha Dragons, as was seen this past Monday, are more than ready for a nice run on the main roster, especially Kalisto. Good, solid match.
Backstage, Devin Taylor goes to interview Sami Zayn, but Rhyno walks in.
Rhyno: “In case you weren’t paying attention, let me make my intentions clear. I didn’t come to NXT to wait in line, or earn a spot. In other words, I don’t care about your personal vendettas. See, because the line for the NXT Title starts behind me. Sami, it starts behind ME!!”
THOUGHTS: Nice way to put up a little roadblock on Zayn’s quest back to the NXT Title in Rhyno. Rhyno has been impressive since returning, interested to see how he’ll fare in a longer match setting with one of the best babyfaces in pro wrestling today.
Back from commercial, we see a video package on Solomon Crowe.
Grudge Match: Jason Jordan vs. Tye Dillinger
The two exchange words as the bell sounds. Dillinger with strikes early, but Jordan with a running shoulder in the corner. Down come the straps as Jordan with a series of amateur takedown, followed by a running leaping splash to the back of Dillinger for 2. Jordan talks trash to Dillinger, saying “you’re nothing without me.” Chinlock applied, crowd wills on Dillinger. Dillinger fights back, roll-up gets 2. Inverted atomic drop, big chops, a Russian Leg Sweep and a leaping stomp by Dillinger. Series of left hands by Dillinger in the corner, but Jordan comes back with a Snake Eyes.
Wrist Clutch T-Bone by Jordan gets him the win.
Winner: Jason Jordan by pinfall (Wrist Clutch T-Bone Suplex)
Jordan celebrates his win afterward.
THOUGHTS: Jordan tying in his amateur background into his offense was well done and Dillinger did well as a babyface, but just wasn’t feeling this because these guys have been portrayed as an enhancement talent for the longest time and now, all of a sudden, we’re supposed to care about either one of them? Gonna take time to rehab both of them, but there is potential in Jordan with playing off his amateur stuff.
We see a video package, highlighting the rivalry between Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze heading into tonight’s 2/3 Falls Match.
Main Event in a 2/3 Falls Match: “Prince Pretty” Tyler Breeze vs. Hideo Itami
Dueling chants by the crowd as the bell sounds. Feeling-out process early. Breeze drives Itami into the corner, series of shoulders to the ribs. Running elbow in the corner, then Breeze yells “you’ll never beat me, Hideo!” Another running elbow by Breeze, but Itami follows him in with a corner clothesline, a kitchen sink and a PK. KENTA Series by Itami, followed by the running corner hestitation dropkick.
Running Flying Kick gets Itami the first fall.
Hideo Itami wins the first fall via pinfall (Running Flying Kick)
Bell sounds for the second fall as Breeze slumps down in the corner, still feeling the effects of Itami’s prior kicks. Referee keeps Itami back, but Breeze is playing possum.
Beauty Shot quickly ties things up for Breeze.
Tyler Breeze wins the second fall via pinfall (The Beauty Shot)
Next week, its a special edition of NXT as we look at their week at Wrestlemania AXXESS.
Back from commercial as Breeze stomps away at Itami in the corner to start the third and final fall. Breeze chokes Itami, back elbow gets 2. More dueling chants by the crowd. Series of elbows to the head by Breeze for another 2. Chinlock applied. Itami fights out, but Breeze catches him off the ropes with a dropkick for another 2. Series of short kneedrops by Breeze, followed by a leg drop for yet another 2. Back to the chinlock. Itami fights out, then avoids another Breeze dropkick.
Two clotheslines by Itami, followed by a leg sweep. Shotgun Knees in the corner, followed by the Tornado Hot-Shot. Itami heads up top, but Breeze avoids him. Breeze blocks a clothesline, but Itami TURNS HIM INSIDE OUT with a Discus Clothesline for a close 2. Breeze blocks a Fisherman, Inside Cradle gets 2. Sunset Flip by Itami gets 2. Jackknife Pin by Breeze gets 2. Big boot and a roll-up by Itami for another 2. Breeze with a big boot, then counters Itami going for another Discus Clothesline with the Supermodel Kick, but Itami kicks out! Series of front kicks by Breeze, but Itami fires up after every right hand by Breeze. Another KENTA Series by Itami backs Breeze into the corner. Itami goes for another running corner hestitation dropkick, but Breeze moves out of the way! Breeze goes for another Beauty Shot, but Itami avoids it! Spinning back kick knocks Breeze into the corner, another running corner hestitation dropkick!
Itami goes for another running flying kick, but Breeze catches him with another Beauty Shot! 1-2-3!
Tyler Breeze wins the third fall via pinfall (The Beauty Shot)
Winner: “Prince Pretty” Tyler Breeze 2 falls to 1
Breeze celebrates his win as the show closes.
THOUGHTS: Solid main event, but not even in the same league as previous 2/3 Falls matches on NXT. Maybe an unfair comparsion, but this just didn’t live up. Both men worked their tails off and the final couple of minutes were very good, but the first half was very pedestrian, much like the show this week. Itami, unfortunately, appears to be having the hardest time adjusting to WWE than any of the new hires over the last year. Something just isn’t clicking with him and its a shame to see, because he is supremely talented. Don’t get me wrong, the match was still good, especially at the end, but compared to past 2/3 Falls matches in NXT’s history, this was a swing and a miss.
Overall, NXT was just pedestrian to me this week. Nothing was outright terrible or anything, but other than some solid character development and teases for future matches, nothing really blew my socks off either. No show is perfect and no fan should expect that, but you can take the week off of watching NXT and be just fine and see their AXXESS special next week, which should definitely have some good stuff on it. Last week’s NXT was a home run because of the main event, this was an infield single.
Jason Namako recaps and reviews the weekly NXT TV, as well as all live specials on the WWE Network for Wrestleview.com.