NXT keeps on rolling on this week, with a stellar main event between two in-ring generals. Sami Zayn has been very vocal about his desire to soon climb the ladder on the roster and challenge Neville one-on-one for the NXT Championship. But tonight he will have to prove his credentials against a recent close rival of the champ, Tyson Kidd. Due to the stipulation of his last title opportunity, he can no longer challenge for the belt whilst Neville remains champion. However, that won’t stop him chasing the spotlight, and tonight plans on showing Zayn that he won’t be able to cut it at the peak.
Outside of the main event of the packed show, there are a flock of other matches to keep the fans entertained. The NXT Tag Team Champions, the Lucha Dragons, are in action against Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, and Becky Lynch gets an opportunity to prove herself against NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte. Additionally, there is a whiff of New Jersey in the air, as Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady continue their beef with the Legionnaires, and Carmella makes her in-ring debut. Lastly, Baron Corbin looks to continue his wave of destruction against Elias Sampson.
- Baron Corbin defeats Elias Sampson
- The Lucha Dragons defeat Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy
- Charlotte defeats Becky Lynch
- Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady defeat The Legionnaires
- Carmella defeats Leva Bates
- Sami Zayn defeats Tyson Kidd
Baron Corbin vs. Elias Sampson
The opening contest should be an extremely one-sided affair if recent history is anything to go by. Baron Corbin has been pushed as an absolute monster since his re-packaged return at Takeover II. He is a tall, powerful loner, whose only purpose seems to beat people as quickly and dominantly as possible. This doesn’t bode well for presumably his latest victim, Elias Sampson, who isn’t exactly considered a huge prospect on the roster at this time. Normally, I would make another paragraph to cover the details of the match, but for this match it will not be necessary. Corbin through Elias against the ropes and connected with the remarkable End of Days to be the victor within twenty seconds.
Though it’s a squash match and therefore lacking quality and chemistry, the story that is surrounding Baron Corbin remains exciting. The production that has gone into his vignettes, his look, and ensuring his dominance in the manner of his victories point to big things in this man’s future. Obviously, he will need to eventually step into the ring for extended periods against top superstars, but for now this strategy works. It is not simply Corbin squashing jobbers, but the manner in which he is doing it is hugely impressive. And the End of Days is rapidly becoming my favorite finishing maneuver.
Rating – 1.5/5
Sami Zayn/Tyson Kidd Promo
Sami Zayn comes down to the ring, fresh off of last week’s defeat at the hands of Titus O’Neil. It was a fair victory by a powerful O’Neil, and Zayn clearly has been perturbed by what such results mean for his future goals. Zayn grabs the microphone, and says that he is sick and tired of seeing others beat him fairly, because he knows that he is better than that. He knows he can perform better against the top stars from previous experience, and is now firmly set on becoming NXT Champion.
Predictably, Tyson Kidd feels he needs to add his two cents to this speech, stating adamantly that Zayn will never be NXT Champion. Kidd proclaims Zayn a choker, somebody who is incapable of grabbing the brass ring, an utter loser. Zayn’s response is less than agreeable, questioning whether Kidd’s wife Natalya let him off the leash to make this interruption. Kidd continues to berate Zayn as a failure, suggesting he wasn’t good enough to cut it at NXT, and that he was the most pathetic wrestler Kidd had ever laid eyes on. Zayn replies by saying that this is the beginning of his road to redemption, and he plans on starting it by taking down Kidd first. So, that will be tonight’s main event. Will Zayn return to winning ways, or can Kidd prove him to be a loser.
The Lucha Dragons vs. Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy
The Tag Team Champions return to NXT action this week after a short absence, and they arrive to a scene where their division is rife with talent. Their opponents tonight Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy may not have been together long, but it is a sign that with The Ascension out of the picture, those on the roster are now seeing the tag team division as a chance to make their mark. Nevertheless, the Lucha Dragons are champions for a reason, their high-flying offense and uncanny teamwork proving a handful for most teams. Apparently, Blake and Murphy have dubbed their alliance Team Thick, which sounds a little less fitting a WWE team, and more like a double act on PornHub.
Sin Cara starts out against Blake, but this battle is quickly won by the masked superstar with a high monkey-flip. A tag is made to Murphy, who endures a few low kicks from Sin Cara, before lifting him over the top rope. The balance of Sin Cara keeps him on the apron, where he takes down first Blake and then Murphy with forearms, before a great show of strength from Murphy blocks a tornado DDT attempt into a hard suplex on Sin Cara. That’s a good way to get noticed. Quick tags are made between Team Thick, who keep Sin Cara grounded with strikes and kicks, until the luchadore is able to escape a headlock and kick his way to his own corner. A tag to the pacy Kalisto brings a pair of springboard crossbodies, the second with an added corkscrew on Blake. Kalisto tags Sin Cara before launching himself over the top rope onto Murphy at ringside. Sin Cara places Blake on the top turnbuckle, stunning him with a kick, and then lands a unique version of a sunset flip bomb into a pin and the win for the Tag Team Champions.
Very good match, surprising considering the relative anonymity of Blake and Murphy. Besides their ridiculous team name they looked like they had potential, especially Murphy. But, the champions do have the edge still, and were unlikely to meet a shock loss here. Kalisto was limited to a quick cameo with plenty of fast offence, but props to Sin Cara for his new finishing maneuver which is very original. But, the Vaudevillains are likely the next challenge, which should hopefully make for a longer and more competitive contest.
Rating – 3/5
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
In spite of the impressive performances of the fiery Irishwoman Becky Lynch, she has made less of an impression on the win/loss side of the business. Last week she fell to Sasha Banks, although once more gave a competitive effort. But, things don’t get any easier in NXT, as she now has to take on the best the division has to offer in NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte. Charlotte has recently been preoccupied with the challenges of Bayley, but she is the champion for a reason. Last time these two met, the Nature Girl took the victory, but Lynch knows any victory here will undoubtedly put her in line for a shot at the belt in the future.
The pair lock up, the crowd quickly getting behind the underdog Becky. The women exchange some crisp chain wrestling, including a cool battle over performing an armdrag, showing the flexibility and core strength of both ladies. Lynch gets the advantage and maintains a firm grasp of the champ’s arm, despite Charlotte’s attempts to escape the pressure. Charlotte eventually gets away, only to fall into a single leg takedown by Lynch, who puts pressure on the leg now. Charlotte’s strength and technique allow her to roll Lynch over into a cover that the redhead Matrixes out of, before performing some quick armdrags. But, she gets a little overzealous diving into the corner, and Charlotte capitalizes with a hard backbreaker. Charlotte locks in the Figure Four-Headlock, using the grasp to ram Lynch’s head into the canvas repeatedly.
Lynch is able to break this hold into a cover, but Charlotte kicks out and responds with a stiff knee to the gut. But, Lynch keeps hold of the ropes when she is whipped across the ring, causing Charlotte to miss her dropkick. Lynch battles back from this uncharacteristic misstep from the champ, until a double clothesline knocks both down. Lynch comes back best with clotheslines and a dropkick, followed by a hat-trick of leg drops to the downed Nature Girl. Charlotte employs her height and power to reverse Lynch’s suplex with one of her own. A springboard kick by Lynch has Charlotte reeling in the corner, followed by a nice heel kick. But, the fire burns out as a hard neckbreaker by Charlotte leaves Lynch prone to Natural Selection for the victory.
These women should be on RAW, Smackdown and anything else the WWE can put them on, because these ladies can wrestle. The chain wrestling was as crisp and compelling as anybody could have done, the flexibility and core strength of both Charlotte and Lynch very impressive. The fact that these two are still in developmental and Eva Marie, Cameron and Rosa Mendes fill our screens is why people use the Divas matches for bathroom breaks. Following this, Sasha Banks confronted Lynch about her inability to win with the attitude she has. With Banks really the only heel diva in NXT, maybe it would be a good fit for Lynch to turn to the dark side to help her stand out.
Rating – 3.5/5
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs. The Legionnaires/Carmella vs. Leva Bates
The Jersey Boys are out in force tonight, as the charismatic duo of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady make their way to the ring, spouting their usual blend of catchphrases and insults for their beleaguered opponents. The Legionnaires have suffered greatly at the hands of Amore and Big Cass, especially Marcus Louis, who had his head shaved bald as a result of Sylvester Lefort losing a Hair vs. Hair match at Takeover II. Now, the Frenchmen have the opportunity for revenge and restore their pride, as long as Louis’s hairpiece remains intact.
Big Cass starts out against Lefort, and immediately slams the Frenchmen to the mat. Lefort backs into his own corner, and Louis asks to tag in. His teammate obliges, but as Louis enters through the ropes, Lefort grabs for the middle rope and takes Louis’s wig in the process. Louis is left looking like Agent 47 in a 19th century swimming costume, and does not look happy with his compatriot. Louis unleashes his pent-up aggression on his partner, raining down strikes to his hairy former friend, until he is counted out and Lefort is left a broken heap on the ramp.
But Amore and Cass don’t look finished for the night, and proceed to call out a lady from the back in blue tights. She is not introduced by name, but it is independent wrestler Leva Bates. Then, the un-SAWFT pair introduce Carmella, their former hairdresser and friend that they have been training for a try-out match tonight. Carmella certainly has the look of a diva, but can she compete with some of the impressive grapplers in this division? Well, Bates starts out forcing Carmella into a corner as the crowd chant “Let’s Go Blue Pants”, not a great sign for the debuting Carmella. But, the Jersey girl responds with a dropkick followed by a drop toe-hold into a unique headlock crossed with a yoga stretch to force the submission victory. It is a first win, but still a lot left to see.
The first “match” was simply a nice piece of comedy, what you expect from Amore and Cassady. But this could now separate Louis, who has looked reasonably impressive since debuting from Lefort, who could soon be taking his ragged locks back to the independents. As for Carmella, if she is going to be associated with the popular Amore and Big Cass, an image shift may be required. Her ring skills as of now are unknown, and whilst Amore and Cass aren’t exactly saints, they have a more likable nature. The crowd immediately jumped behind the jobber chosen to give Carmella a winning start, probably because she looks like she was signed for two standout reasons. Hopefully, over time she can prove this assumption wrong between the ropes.
Rating – 1/5 for wrestling, 2.5/5 for comedic value
Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd
Following the earlier promo that set this bout up, it is now time for the main event. Tyson Kidd is determined to stay in the spotlight despite no longer being allowed to compete for the NXT Championship, and will use this as an opportunity to show Sami Zayn that he has no business challenging Adrian Neville either. Zayn though is on a mission to show GM William Regal, the fans of NXT and champ Neville that he is ready to capture the elusive prize and prove that he is capable of being the man.
Both men start typically with some quick chain wrestling, including some speedy headlock takedowns before it ends with a stalemate. But Zayn decides to up the ante by throwing Kidd’s fancy hooded jacket into the face of his opponent, riling up the Dungeon survivor. The crowd start getting on the back of Kidd, as the pair again go into some back and forth following a shoulder block by Zayn, which once again leave both men on an even footing. Zayn launches himself back into the action with three deep armdrags that seem to knock Kidd off his game as he escapes to ringside. But, that is no safe place to be with Zayn around, who charges towards the ropes. However, he sees Kidd take avoiding action, and so springboard moonsaults onto his feet back into the ring, continuing to play mindgames with his experienced foe. Zayn invites Kidd back into the ring, but Kidd refuses, leaving Zayn with no resort but to chase him in. Kidd ducks in fast and keeps Zayn out with a few kicks, before a hefty punt from the apron knocks the redhead to the floor.
When the action returns from the break, Kidd is in control with a tight headlock, but Zayn battles back to his feet. Kidd seems to be back in control after a spin kick to the gut, but Zayn responds with clotheslines and a high dropkick. Kidd is able to avoid an attempted Helluva Kick, but can’t do the same with an elevated cross body for a near-fall. Kidd hits some elbows to the face to fight back, but as he looks to bounce off the ropes, Zayn pulls him back by the tights into the Blue Thunder Bomb for another two count. Zayn attempts a suplex, only to see Kidd reverse and connect with his own cradle swinging neckbreaker for a close call. Kidd locks in the Sharpshooter, but Zayn scratches and claws his way to the ropes despite the crippling pain. Kidd attempts his leg drop across the apron, only for Zayn to duck away at the last minute. Kidd charges at Zayn in the corner, but is caught with an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle. The crowd erupts as Zayn calls for the death knell, as he lands the Helluva Kick and gets the three count for an impressive win.
These two don’t tend to have bad matches against each other, and this was no exception. It was mainly mind games and reversals at the opening, but turned into a signature move spectacular, with numerous near-falls to a well-built climax. With Kidd now getting slightly more explosion on WWE main programming, and now he can’t battle for the NXT Championship, it was the right decision for him to take the loss here, but he still looked great. But Zayn is the man of the moment down at Full Sail University, and will be looking for a string of victories and strong performances to propel him into a match with Adrian Neville by the next live special.
Rating – 3.5/5