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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Oct. 19, 2016): Parti pris

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The road to TakeOver: Toronto starts here. They should get a little sign and hang it in Full Sail so the guys and gals can point at it. You know, for practice come WrestleMania season after they get called up.


With a flashback to last week’s big closing brawl, Tom Phillips informs us that NXT champ Shinsuke Nakamura is in the building and will address his fight with Samoa Joe and William Regal’s announcement that they’ll headline TakeOver: Toronto. Then, it’s time for a dance party!

As Rich Swann & No Way Jose party their way to the ring, Tony Nese & Drew Gulak get a picture-in-picture promo where Nese hypes the Raw guys up as premiere athletes. Swann and Gulak start, with Drew countering a few jumps and flips with roll-ups for nearfalls. A big kick gets Rich to the corner, and Jose comes in to wrestle Nese. Tony evades, so NWJ dances at him. No Way takes advantage of his size to get two on a flapjack and hit a big delayed suplex. Double-team splash gets the faces a cover, but then Nese pulls Swann neck-first into the ropes. On the floor, Gulak is taken out, but his partner cartwheels off the apron and hits a superkick to send us to commercial.

We return to Gulak working a resthold before a double clothesline spot takes both he and Swann down, and eventually gets tags for each team. Jose comes in hot and turns Nese inside out with another clothesline, but Drew responds, laying into the larger man with strikes. NWJ fires back with a big right hand that could have ended it if Tony hadn’t broken up the pin. He then looks to take out Rich, but misses and ends up on the floor. With that opening, Swann takes care of him with a corkscrew plancha while No Way pins Gulak after a side slam in about six and a half minutes.

The winners cut a promo afterwards, working in both their catchphrases - Swann says there’s “no way” they were going out in round one, Jose asks their second round opponents, Authors of Pain, if they “can handle this”.

After Phillips breaks the news that Hideo Itami is injured and out of the Dusty Classic, we cut to a scene of Tye Dillinger in the trainer’s room that was filmed earlier. He talks about what happened to him when Glorious Ten lost to SAnitY, and asks William Regal to give him a match against Bobby Roode in Toronto. Tom tells us the General Manager granted that request and they’re fighting at TakeOver.

Backstage, Austin Aries refuses to tell Dasha Fuentes who his partner is. When she doesn’t want to hear about the benefits of potassium, he takes the opportunity to mock Itami for his neck injury. Aries teases that his partner is the only man worthy of tagging with the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived in the tournament “where only the greatest and strongest survive”.


  • Mentioned it on Twitter, but I’ll repeat it here... still don’t like Jose, but his theme song made me smile when I was having a crappy day. So there. Don’t say I’m inflexible.

  • The pairing of Jose and Swann makes a lot more sense than starting this match like it was “random Raw cruiserweight match B”. NXT isn’t doing much more than the red brand to help the Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) alums at this point.

  • Overall, this was a fun match, which makes sense given its goal was to further establish Swann/Jose as the happy fun team to get them over and turn up the heat on AoP when they beat them, but nothing I’ll think twice about.

  • My enthusiasm for Dillinger/Roode has not diminished, and I’m really intrigued about the outcome. Should tell us a lot about how they view the Perfect Ten.

  • Douche-y Aries is the best Aries. Very glad they’re keeping the embers of his feud with Hideo burning - hopefully that’s another good sign that Itami won’t be out too long this time. A little bummed A-Double wasted like a quarter of that banana, though.


CWC participant Sean Maluta awaits the Glorious One. Full Sail sings his theme, and once the match starts, he eats a drop kick while doing his signature pose. Maluta mocks said pose, but that’s about the best it gets for him. Roode answers a forearm and spin kick with his spinebuster, following that up with a lifting DDT to be victorious in under three minutes.

Bobby grabs a microphone for a mixture of talking up how you-know-what his being in Toronto will be, and spinning his abandoning of Dillinger last week - saying Tye begged him to tag with him, and he was only trying to lift the Perfect Ten up from his mediocre life. Dillinger’d heard enough and charged the ring. He initially got the worst of it, but a steady “TEN” chant from the crowd got him fired up. Once Tye connected with enough punches, Roode scurried up the ramp.

Liv Morgan barely gets a chance to start talking tough to Charly Caruso when Peyton Royce & Billie Kay attack. They drag her to the stage where Royce levels her with a running knee. The duo ran down Morgan verbally (Kay with a great line about how Morgan was complaining about being beaten up when she got beat up again), then said the division belongs to them - and that includes Asuka.

After the team of Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight make their way to the ring, Aries’ mystery partner is revealed to be none other than Roderick Strong. Otis starts with Austin, who cheap shots him after setting up the test of strength. Dozovic eventually powerslams the veteran and tags in the even larger Knight, and they sandwich A-Double and then celebrate by jumping belly-to-belly. Roddy comes in and trades chops with Tucker, but is then caught by a drop kick and the younger guys stay in the driver’s seat for a while.

The heels get somewhat back in control when Aries thwarts a second rope move from Otis. Strong lights him up with kicks and holds him in place for his partner’s springboard elbow. Generation Next works a few more tandem maneuvers, but Dozovic makes it to his corner and Tucker suplexes Roddy and splashes both former Ring of Honor (ROH) tag champs. A second splash on A-Double misses. Tag to Strong, who hits a big knee while Austin elbows Otis to the floor. The newest member of the NXT roster polishes off Knight with a Gutbuster/Sick Kick combo to advance to the next round in a little more than five minutes.


  • Chatted a bit about this in the FanShot regarding the Toronto card, but Full Sail’s reaction to Roode during and after this match is something to which it’s worth paying attention. Yes, it’s fun to sing his theme song and do the pose, but he’s able to generate boos from most of the people with his wrestling and promos. The crowd will be mixed at TakeOver, but I’m not worried about Bobby doing to Tye what Tye did to Almas.

  • Interesting to see them jump on advancing the Glorious Ten feud so quickly. Take it as an indication they see it as a priority.

  • They also kept the spotlight on Kay & Royce, which is also a positive for their standing. This is a gimmick NXT has done a few times in the past, but especially in wrestling, there’s very little that’s new under the sun, so I don’t have a problem with it. Would love to see them get a squad name, though... and if it’s BFFs2.0, then I’ll cry infringement.

  • All told, the women provided my favorite moments in an episode that didn’t do a lot for me. Peyton’s vicious knee and Billie’s ice-cold line delivery were real standouts.

  • Man. Everything I loved about the SAnitY debut last week? Roddy’s launch had none of that. From an extremely muted response from Full Sail (his name was on the TitanTron for like ten seconds and I couldn’t make out any discernable change in volume from the crowd) to a match which at times seemed more designed to get Otis over than the “big” new name, this was one of the more unfortunate Superstar reveals in brand history.

  • I’m not giving up hope, though. The final minute of this match was laid out really well and the Messiah of the Backbreaker looked great while ending it. There’s a lot riding on the second round showdown with TM-61, for Strong and Shane Thorne & Nick Miller, but that’s a bout which could really impress.

  • Performance Center teams are getting in a lot of offense during these first round matches, and I suppose I get what they’re doing - we complain when they don’t let the newer names shine, and they can’t afford to get stuck at square one if Vince comes calling for a bunch of folks at once again. But in making Knight & Dozovic look tough this week, and Tino Sabatelli & Riddick Moss last week, they’re not doing the guys who are going over any favors.

  • Speaking of missed opportunties, why were Otis & Tucker not billed as Heavy Machinery? And speaking of names, how quickly can we start officially calling Dozovic “Dozer”? Not sure Otis does much for me.


A look back at the Revival’s win in the first round of the Dusty leads into footage of Andrade “Cien” Almas attacking his partner, Cedric Alexander. Andrea D’Marco is our translator for another chat with the now-villainous Cien. He says he took off his mask in order to come to NXT, but his actions have not been reciprocated, as he’s received no respect since arriving in WWE. Cien cuts off Andrea to tell us in English that he no longer cares about respect - he only cares about himself.

SAnitY takes over the stage, as all four members come out for Nikki Cross’ bout with Danielle Kamela. The former Nikki Storm’s aggressiveness gets the best of her at the beginning and the end. First, Kamela gets in a suplex after a reckless charge during the match, which Cross quickly wins with a knee, neckbreaker and fisherman’s suplex. After the bell, even Eric Young can’t stop her from continuing the assault, so the referee reverses his decision and gives Danielle the win by disqualification.

We learn we’re getting the final two first round matches in the tag tournament next week, and then the champ arrives with the usual fanfare. Shinsuke Nakamura cuts a promo declaring he’s not done with Joe. If the Samoan Submission Machine wants his title, he’s welcome to come get it. And in Toronto, Nak plans to beat him with “no mercy”.

Naturally, Patrick Clark cuts him off and starts paraphrasing “Let’s Go Crazy”. The Prince cosplayer tells Swagsuke we’ve already seen him fight Joe, so he wants to give him something new - the Patrick Clark experience. The Tough Enough contestant takes off his dangly earrings and steps to the champ, who quickly kicks out his leg and then takes his head off with a second kick. Samoa Joe tries to sneak into the ring, but Nakamura sees him, so Joe stops his approach. While referees help Clark up, Shinsuke nails him with Kinshasa, and the TakeOver headliners stare each other down to end the show.


  • More of the same from ACA, which is fine, but I’m actually pissed we haven’t heard from Alexander at all. This is a guy who could be a big deal for this show - and at the next level - and it seems NXT is okay with presenting him as a character who accepts being stabbed in the back.

  • And if they want to get him over, we need more of Almas wrestling and less of him talking. At this point they’ve replaced his generic good guy with a cookie cutter bad guy. They’d get more heat on him by presenting Cedric’s side and having them fight.

  • It’s early, but SAnitY is working for me... big time. When their music hit and the spotlight panned across their logo, I was instantly keyed up.

  • Fascinating to watch Nikki, who so clearly isn’t the “White Chocolate Cheesecake of Sports Entertainment” any longer, inhabit this new persona. She overplayed the self-mutilation aspects a bit tonight, at least for my taste, but that they’ve given a high profile role that’s as far away from her old gimmick as possible without turning her baby - it shows the powers-that-be have as much confidence in her as her fans do .

  • Let EY talk soon, though, please.

  • Nice little speech from the champ, who’s learning curve with the language is meshing nicely with his naturally oddball delivery. He hits the “f*** yeah!” lines (like “come get it”) just right, which is essentially what you need from a top face.

  • Not feeling the Clark schtick, and not because I’m worried it’ll go gay panic - although that fear is always gonna be there with WWE until they deliver a Dalton Castle or push a homosexual character without harping on the fact that he or she is homosexual. The Prince riff is just... sad. And not someone I particularly want to boo. Just someone I want to make sure I don’t get stuck talking to at a party.

  • One last thing I sincerely hope NXT integrates into the main event angle soon, especially considering Joe has accused Regal of favoritism in the past: the fact the champ assaulted security last week should be addressed. I understand the GM subtly stacking the deck against heels - it’s part of why I love him. But letting attacks on non-wrestling employees slide is approaching Foley levels of managerial malfeasance.

After really liking every episode from the last taping, the first dose from the latest batch left me cold. The model is still sound - simultaneously build name veterans while introducing fresh blood, but with the exception of the women, they weren’t particularly successful in executing the plan this week.

Grade: C

What’s your take, Cagesiders?

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