Welcome to the latest installment of the NXT Recap, and one week removed from an excellent Takeover special, it is time to reflect on the numerous implications on this episode. The main event undoubtedly is one of the key talking points, as Adrian Neville managed to retain his NXT Championship in a fatal four-way match against Sami Zayn, Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze. However, it was not without controversy, as Zayn looked to have the match won before Neville pulled the referee out of the ring when his supposed friend had a certain pin. Following the match, Zayn looked numb and despondent in his post-match interview, as his dream of being champion once again suffers a delay. Will the two friends confront each other tonight?
Also, after his highly-anticipated arrival at NXT, Hideo Itami, formerly known as Kenta, makes his in-ring debut this week against Justin Gabriel. The International Sensation will look to impress a new fan following as quickly as possible, but will the Ascension be lurking following the confrontation at Takeover? Additionally, NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte is in action against Emma, and CJ Parker looks to make amends from his decimating defeat last week as he has a rematch against Baron Corbin.
- Charlotte defeats Emma
- Hideo Itami defeats Justin Gabriel
- Baron Corbin defeats CJ Parker
- Tyson Kidd and Titus O’Neil defeat Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn
Titus O’Neil Promo; Interrupted by Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville and Tyson Kidd
Titus O’Neil opens the show, and is clearly upset about the attention that the NXT roster has been getting in recent weeks. O’Neil accuses them of taking away time on his show RAW, a statement that stretches the phrase his show to the very limits of its definition. So, he plans on standing out in the ring for as long as possible to take up some of the NXT crowd’s time.
Sami Zayn makes his way to the ring, and proceeds to mock O’Neil for his incessant barking and for being beaten up every week by a bunny. He defends the NXT roster for stealing the show from the actual superstars. NXT Champion Adrian Neville joins them, stating that it is his job to defend NXT from disrespectful jerks like O’Neil, which Zayn certainly doesn’t agree with.
Finally, Tyson Kidd offers his two cents to this crowded situation, attempting to stir the pot between Neville and Zayn for the shady way that the former retained his title. This seems to work, as Zayn questions Neville’s morals, whilst the Geordie responds by suggesting his companion doesn’t have the killer instinct needed to be a champion.
NXT General Manager William Regal finally decides to interject to bring some order to proceedings. He unleashes his inner Teddy Long to make a tag team main event, as Tyson Kidd and Titus O’Neil will take on Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn. Will Neville and Zayn be able to stay on the same page following the events of Takeover and the confrontation tonight?
This was a decent segment, and its a break from the usual process of opening with a match. This is fine as long as it isn’t made a habit. O’Neil looked somewhat sloppy on the microphone, whereas Zayn was the clear star, presenting himself with a mixture of confidence, humor and intensity. The main focus was in the budding rivalry between Neville and Zayn, with a singles feud over the championship seeming likely in the near future.
Charlotte vs. Emma
The NXT Women’s Champion woos and flips her way into the ring, fresh off of her hard-fought victory over Bayley at Takeover. Will there be any follow-up from her saving of the bubbly diva from a post-match assault from Sasha Banks? Tonight she takes on the kooky Aussie Emma, dancing her way down the ramp once again on NXT. Good to see her back – bet she wishes she’d never left.
Charlotte thrusts her championship in the face of her opponent, but Emma punches it to the canvas. You don’t want to make the Nature Girl mad, and she immediately puts her dangerous legs to work. She shows great strength by clasping Emma into a figure-four headlock and flipping her across the canvas three times. Charlotte’s size and power is impressive, and make her such so good at controlling the pace of a match.
Emma is able to halt the champion’s attempt at a moonsault, and when Charlotte charges for her she rolls through into a pin attempt, which only gets two. Emma gets her second wind, and as Charlotte attempts to regain the initiative, Emma flips through the ring ropes, kicking the champ in the head. She then ascends to the top rope, and leaps like a kangaroo into a crossbody for another close call. However, an emphatic neckbreaker by Charlotte leaves her rival prone for Natural Selection, and it’s another victory for the champion.
Short, sweet, and to the point, this match gave Emma some TV time and continued Charlotte’s impressive winning run. The champion has been impressing a lot of people with her diverse talents within the ring, and the way she carries herself during the match. A feud with Sasha Banks looks to be in the offing, but even if ‘The Boss’ knocks the daughter of Ric Flair off her mighty pedestal, expect that to be the sign that a move to the main roster is imminent.
Rating – 2.5/5
Hideo Itami vs. Justin Gabriel
This is certainly a moment that many been pining for, as Hideo Itami makes his debut in the ring. The former amateur kickboxer and GHC Heavyweight Champion is looking to make an immediate name for himself on NXT, and so a bout with the veteran Justin Gabriel is an ideal platform to test his skills. The crowd when his entrance music hit were on their feet, and chants of ‘Hideo’ suggests the name change will work over time. Japan vs. South Africa – it’s like the World Cup.
The match begins with Gabriel asserting himself on the new guy. But, when Itami leapfrogs Gabriel and the South African Werewolf attempts the same, he is met with a hard kick to the face. Gabriel ducks to halt Itami’s attempt to dive through the ropes, and then sweeps the International Sensation’s legs from underneath him as he lands hard on the back of his head.
Gabriel takes control with a butterfly suplex, but when he attempts a second Itami reverses out with repeated kicks and forearms landing precisely. He taunts his experienced foe with a few cheap boots to the face, before connecting with a running big boot. Itami is just all about the kicks, with one knocking Gabriel over the apron, followed by a springboard dropkick that looked slightly misjudged. Excellent air though on a hesitation dropkick, which sets Gabriel up for one final kick surprisingly, a double foot stomp from the top rope for a debut victory.
However, Itami doesn’t get the chance to celebrate his first win for long, as he is attacked from behind by the bitter Ascension. The Japanese star fights back against the former NXT Tag Team Champions briefly, but eventually the numbers prove the better of him. Konnor and Viktor beat him down in the center of the ring, and then add the final insult with the Fall of Man.
Good debut for Itami, would be nice to have seen a few more wrestling moves to counterpoint those kicks. However, he does look impressive as a fighter, and the Japanese strong style will lead to some unique matches for most NXT fans. A feud with the Ascension could be a great way to get him over with the audience quickly, but he will need to find a partner somewhere down the line.
Rating – 3/5
Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker
Takeover was a great show, but one person who certainly didn’t enjoy it was CJ Parker. The eco-warrior demanded to be put on the card, and William Regal fed him to the re-debuting Baron Corbin. Corbin wasted little time in sending a message to the entire roster and the NXT Universe, decimating Parker in less than a minute. Now, Parker looks to get some revenge in this rematch, but he probably has a better shot of cooling the Earth by eating some ice cream and breathing on the ground.
CJ Parker rushes in but is immediately tossed into the corner and hit with a hard clothesline against the turnbuckle. Corbin slowly lifts his fallen prey, and Parker tries to respond with a few punches, but is derailed by another vicious lariat. The unusual Corbin then connects with his impressive finisher, titled The End of Days, for another easy victory over Parker.
It’s hard to get too excited over a squash match, but it seems the WWE officials have a lot of interest in building Corbin as their next undefeated big man. His finisher is undoubtedly cool to watch, but it is still unknown whether he has the goods to fight an extended match yet. As for Parker, well I’ll miss him when he’s gone, because this is likely as far as his WWE career will ever go.
Rating – 1.5/5
Tyson Kidd and Titus O’Neil vs. Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn
The main event is upon us, as the confrontations in the opening segment come to a head in tag team action. Kidd and O’Neil will be looking to exploit any friction between their opponents tonight to pick up a big victory over two of the top superstars on the roster. Zayn’s entrance may not be very ‘serious’ but it fits him so well and gets the crowd excited from the get-go. And once again Neville’s entrance is not met with a very warm reception, with a significant proportion of the audience still upset over the events of Takeover.
Zayn looks to start out against Kidd, but Neville immediately tags himself in, some friendly competition already creeping into their team. Some great chain wrestling early on by the two excellent grapplers, Neville getting the better of things and forcing Kidd to his own corner. Zayn tags himself in, and takes a page out his partner’s book with a standing moonsault onto his fellow Canadian. The crowd start chanting ‘Better than Neville’ drawing a wry smile from the much-traveled redhead. Neville tags in and responds to the audience with a double corkscrew moonsault – not a bad way to answer back. Neville dropkicks Kidd to ringside, but unbeknownst to him Zayn had made the tag, and connects with an Asai moonsault to the outside, as the showmanship between the partners continues into the commercial break.
After the break, Kidd is able to force Zayn into his own corner and bring in the powerful Titus O’Neil. O’Neil tosses Zayn around the ring like he’s a hollow mannequin, showing little emotion as he drops him hard repeatedly across his knee. Kidd and O’Neil make regular tags to keep Zayn away from his partner, Kidd using his technical prowess to wear his rival out, and O’Neil his natural power. Kidd wraps Zayn in a tree of woe for an innovative means of choking his opponent, but avoids the following leg drop which leaves Kidd in agony on the apron. O’Neil is quickly in however to quell any hopes of a tag, headbutting Zayn repeatedly in the corner. He looks very impressive demonstrating his strength and showing no concern for the pain he’s causing his smaller rival. But, a misjudged shoulder barge into the corner gives Zayn the break he needs to reach the NXT Champion.
Neville explodes into action with his incredible flurry of kicks and uppercuts – he may not be at his most popular currently, but there’s no questioning the excitement his moves generate. A standing shooting star press forces O’Neil to break up the resulting pin attempt, but Zayn clears him to the apron. Neville ascends the top turnbuckle as the referee tries to get Zayn out of the ring, allowing O’Neil to throw the champion off into the waiting knees of Kidd, who picks up an important victory over the champion. Does that place the Dungeon survivor back into the title picture, as they leave the losing team bemused at what just happened.
The bubbling rivalry between Neville and Zayn is getting everybody excited, with the audience immediately choosing which side they were on. Zayn is undoubtedly the most popular, but I don’t feel that they will bite the bullet with a match between the two just yet. Kidd should be the next contender, building more frustration for Zayn which will add more fuel to his eventual opportunity. O’Neil was particularly impressive in this match, making his dominant power look both callous and nonchalant. His strength was a welcome change from the usual high-flying pace of the other three, and added a different dimension to the match.
Rating – 3.5/5