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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (October 21, 2015): Because I never

WWE Network travelled back in time on Back to the Future day, bringing us the key points from last week's battle royal main event.

And before we get started, shout out to Bill Hanstock, who covered the results post for me tonight and even offered to handle the Reactions, as yesterday was your boy's birthday. But not even turning 84 years old will break my streak of more than two-and-a-half years of writing up my weekly thoughts on NXT. Apologies in advance if these are a little brief in order to get them out on schedule.


Kicks vs. legs in our opener, with Asuka making her regular episode in-ring debut against Billie Kay. The Australian has ditched the bright colors in favor of a more rudo look, and gets an in-set promo putting over her indie background (including facing the Japanese woman then known as Kana) and the length of her limbs. Billie rejects a handshake and gets in a bunch of offense before Asuka smiles up after a forearm, immediately starts working submissions, hitting German suplexes and eventually winning with the Asuka Lock.

Tonight's main event gets some build with a spotlight video package on Baron Corbin. After a commercial, Tyler Breeze's uses the selfie stick to talk smack at Samoa Joe, saying that if he can't be #1 contender, Joe can't either.

Some Halloween-themed taunts follow Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady's usual entrance promo, before Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder storm into the ring for their match.  Zo starts, and is immediately taken down so The Mechanics can start working over his knee. Cas breaks up a submission, and after he gets cleared off the apron, Amore rolls up Dawson for the win. But he and Wilder put the boots to Enzo, and after a save attempt by the seven-footer, Cassady takes a Shatter Machine.

  • Though her entrance music has shot to the top of my rankings, Asuka's ring gear kind of mystifies me. I guess they're going for "eccentricly dangerous person who was allowed to pick out her own clothes at too early an age" and, if they are, I suppose it works. But we still have to deal with the fact that she's wearing a giraffe print g-string over some raindow granny panties.
  • However, I am 100% in favor of Dark Billie Kay. From promo to look to wrestling style, she's got a high ceiling as a heel - which comes as bit of surprise (but not a shock) for fan's of Everybody's Favourite Girlfriend.
  • This opening match, and tonight's show in general, eased my doubts about the future of women's wrestling on NXT - and solidified NXT as a women's wrestling show. Both performers were great, showing that they know how to get themselves and their opponent over. The transition into Asuka taking charge was great...just an entertaining match that accomplished everything it set out to do.
  • We've seen this Corbin vid before, right? Also, please don't turn Tyler into Fandango meets Rico on the main, pleaseandthankyou.
  • Unsure if it's the rumors of a Big Cass injury or their string of losses taking some of the shine off The Realest Guys, but I wasn't as amped up for their appearance as I have been in the past. Not sure that a roll-up win followed by getting their asses kicked addresses that problem, either, but if there's anything to the broken leg report, it may not matter.
  • Or, it could be that I am completely enamored with Dash & Dawson right now, and things like Scott's chop block of Finn Bálor at Respect entering canon only intensifies that. #NoFlipsJustFists
  • Legitimately torn over whether or not The Mechanics or Chad Gable & Jason Jordan should be next in line for The Vaudevillians belts. Maybe we should have a best-of-five series to find out?


Corbin's opponent gets a hype video detailing Rhyno's NXT run, and Eva Marie greats us from Paris with her heel schtick.

Music for Danny Burch is just a little misdirection for the introduction of TNA's James Storm. Burch gets in a tiny bit of offense before The Cowboy hits his signature spots and wins with an 8 Second Ride to pop Full Sail.

After the announcement that the title shot he earned in last week's main event will take place on November 4, we get a documentary-style look at Apollo Crews covering his family, childhood and motivations. Next week we'll get more, as Crews gets a similar treatment as his next opponent, Finn Bálor, did in the run-up to Beast in the East.

Post-debut Nia Jax gets a similar treatment as pre-debut Nia Jax when we're told she'll be here next week.

Another title challenger, Alexa Bliss, is helped to the ring by her men, Blake & Murphy, for her match with Peyton Royce. The Aussie acts arrogant on her way in, but works babyface and really gets the crowd on her side while coming back from some submission attempts/rest hold, but falls to a Bliss Flip & Sparkle Splash. Alexa cuts a promo on Bayley afterward, mockingly congratulating the Women's champ before stating her intention to come for the belt.

  • Such a shame that Eva isn't very good at talking, because the content of these spots and the current direction of her character is so right.
  • Anybody else feel a little bad when Full Sail was chanting "You Belong Here" at Storm? I wonder if the vets have a chip on their shoulder about being on the feeder show, or if they're just so happy to be working in a professional environment with good creative.
  • That question aside, watching the fans rise to try to figure out who was coming on stage and then some of them freaking out for The Cowboy was really cool. Hearing Rich Brennan describe his post-WCW career as being on the indies was cold-blooded...but what else do you call TNA?
  • Storm vs. Burch was fun, and I understand the value of guys like the 38 year old in the system, but I still have a hard time mustering up much interest in his presence here. Put him in a heel tag team (preferably the one without Chris Harris he's most famous for) and I'll sing a different tune.
  • Crews crying about his mother pretty much rules him out for a heel turn before his title shot. Probably means we're at least going into his match with Bálor as face vs. face, since the question seems to be more if we'll even see the champ - as opposed to if he'll turn heel - before then.
  • Though it's no fault of Finn's, Sesugh Uhaa's life story is considerably more interesting than his came across when he got the same treatment.
  • Have to laugh at the continued Nia Jax vignettes. It's just...I have to laugh.
  • Then, thankfully, we're back to the ladies. Royce seems a little confused about her alignment. She was quite full of herself walking down the ramp (she left Izzy hanging for crying out loud, that's almost as heelish for a woman as buttoning your collar is for a guy), but still had on her bright colors. What happened inside the ropes makes you think they could keep her tecnico, however, as she definitely got the crowd on her side for her comeback.
  • Or, it could be that Alexa is such a great villainess that we'd root on whoever they put against her. Like the opener, this one did exactly what it was supposed to do, and both ladies came out of it looking better. Bliss isn't Sasha Banks in terms of workrate, but she has come a long way - watch the Bliss Flip double knees from six months as opposed to now for the most obvious example - but combine what she's capable of with her acting and she's just fine.
  • Her mic work is top notch, as well, and will likely get better. Still don't quite think she nails the mock-sincerity vibe they're going for in these promos on Bayley, but once she goes into ham mode she's aces.
  • And, some quick praise for Blake & Murphy, who have embraced their role as stooges/valets and really add to the vibe of Alexa's matches and segments.

Next week's main event of Tyler Breeze vs. Samoa Joe is announced, and then it's straight into our featured attraction.

Extemely even battle in the early going, with Corbin really establishing his heel credentials with punches over the referee on breaks and rolling out when Rhyno gets some momentum going. After a commercial, Baron amps it up even further, gloating while brutalizing his former tag partner and slowing the pace. The Lone Wolf eventually gets a little too cocky, and The Man-Beast turns an attempted punch into a toss into the stairs to get back on top.

Following some suplexes and a spinebuster, Corbin remarkably kicks out of a Gore. A shocked Rhyno attempts another at the request of the crowd, which his opponent counters into an End of Days and a win.

To close the show, we get Joe's thoughts on his match next week, where he plans to beat Breeze into an Uggo.

  • Not much to say about the main event, other than that it was a fairly standard clash of powerhouses-type deal...with the good and bad of this type of match. It's pretty clear that Rhyno is not the kind of worker Corbin can shine with right now, though. We got none of the moves or sequences that got fans buzzing from TakeOver or last week's battle royal - and it does hinder Baron's rise, at least a little.
  • Mostly, it would have been better had this match not happened right now. I guess once the decision was made to go with Crews, there really wasn't another credible opponent for him to beat, but this team-up had some excitement behind it coming out of The Dusty. If a break-up was going to lead to good showdowns, that would be one thing. But for what was essentially a filler would have been better for all involved to keep them together for a few more months.
  • Corbin is learning how to play the bad guy, and looks to be flourishing in the role. But more wins over Rhyno don't help him, and I'm not sure where he goes from here if they're not going to put him against (and over) the top faces...which is another reason why the tag scene seemed like such a good fit.
  • Know I've said it before, but I can't help but think it every time he's got a towel around his neck and a camera in his face - Joe is one of my favorite promos in the game.
  • There's not much suspense about the outcome of next week's main, but I am looking forward to watching two of my favorites bring it.

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but seek out the women's matches - and the show-closing speech - but all but the biggest James Storm marks can safely skip the rest.

Grade: B-

Take it away, gang.

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