They really want you to be hyped for Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura III, starting with the pre-intro video package. Just so you know...
New NXT tag team champions #DIY return to Full Sail for the first time since winning the belts from the Revival in Toronto. They walk through the stands and celebrate with the faithful before climbing into the ring to alternating chants of “Johnny Wrestling” and “Psycho Killer”. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa grab microphones, but before they can speak, Authors of Pain’s music hits, and Paul Ellering and his boys are on stage.
The Hall of Famer says the prophecy has come true - and since the Authors are undefeated and winners of the Dusty Cup, #DIY’s celebration is premature. Dash & Dawson’s theme then blares through the arena, and the two-time tag titleholders are greeted as returning heroes by the fans as well. The Revival say they are the number one contenders, and the only reason AoP won the Dusty Classic is because they forfeited. Akam & Rezar get in the top guys’ face. Dawson tries to de-escalate, but the Authors show the Revival to the floor. All three teams stare each other down as Ellering says the next chapter will be written by his men, and it reads NXT tag team champions.
Corey Graves tells Tom Phillips he got them some help, and a video package recaps Percy Watson’s “Showtime” days from pre-WWE Network NXT. Watson takes a seat at the table to call the first match.
That comes after entrances for No Way Jose and new cruiserweight champ Rich Swann, who’ll be facing SAnitY. There are only three members of the faction, but Eric Young is carrying a jacket. As the commentators put together that it belongs to the absent Sawyer Fulton, EY stomps on it in the ring and throws it up the ramp.
Jose starts off against Alexander Wolfe and immediately gets the best of him with a flapjack into the corner and some chops. Swann comes in for a tandem move where No Way swung Wolfe into a hurricanrana, but when Rich tries the throw again he gets caught. A tag to Young leads to the champ getting stomped on the apron. The beatdown continues on either side of a commercial break. EY and his partner tag in and out, both working rest holds until Rich breaks free for a tag to Jose. Big clothesline sets up a TKO that nearly ends it, but Wolfe breaks up the pin. Swann takes him out with a corkscrew senton onto the floor, and things break down into a four-man fight outside the ring.
Just after Jose counters a dive off the apron by Young with a big right hand, a mountain of a man shows up behind the Dominican and throws him into the ring post. No Way is thrown back into the ring for a wheelbarrow neckbreaker from EY to give SAnitY another win in roughly seven minutes. The crowd and Graves clue us in that the new man is the recently signed Damo. He examines the discarded jacket on the ramp, but throws it down before leaving while Eric, Wolfe and Nikki Cross watch and celebrate in the ring.
- Ah, the triumphant homecoming. I’m still bitter the best tag team on the planet lost, but it’s almost impossible to not be happy for Johnny & Tommaso. Even Graves breaks down and cracks a smile.
- They did almost immediately come down with a mild case of the “disappearing champs”, huh? It was the right call, I suppose, showing how the target is now on their back, but I could have used a few words from #DIY in exchange for some of Ellering’s mic time.
- Or just let Dawson do all the talking. But as we saw tonight, it’s time to move the top guys to the next level if they’re to stay heels. Not that I can blame ‘em, but Full Sail’s respect has turned to adoration, as evidenced by the theme song sing along and the pop for their staredown with Akam & Rezar.
- Very pleased Watson has toned down the “Showtime” schtick for his new gig, but I’m still not sure why we need another voice at the desk. My fear is its because Corey and/or Tom will be too busy for NXT soon, but there’s no justification for that. I guess WWE just likes a lot of people talking during matches. Percy didn’t disrupt things too much, but there’s opportunity cost - every time Phillips or Graves has to ask him something is a missed piece of insight or snark from the Savior of Misbehavior.
- One of many reasons I prefer NXT Graves to the Raw version. Even though this show is much shorter, he usually gets many more opportunities to speak.
- So, SAnitY beat up Jose again. Okay? Especially as someone who stays on the fence about No Way, I don’t have a huge problem with it, but it’s a curious choice. Three weeks in a row sends a message.
- This was all about introducing Damo and teasing his joining EY’s gang. In that regard, it was... also fine. The crowd knew who he was, so it comes across as a big deal even if what he actually did wasn’t all that impressive. Exiling Fulton with no explanation on the hopes of getting a force of nature you can’t control to sign on with group gets over the chaos-theme better than Young’s Toronto promo. SAnitY needs some forward momentum and the Damo stuff should achieve that. We’ll get to the star of the group in a second, anyway.
General Manager William Regal is interviewed by Dasha Fuentes in his office, and announces the Revival will get their rematch for the tag titles on the Jan. 18, 2017 edition of this show. The winner of that will face the Authors in a championship match at TakeOver: San Antonio.
Tye Dillinger comes in and asks to speak to Regal, and begins to talk about his saying he didn’t belong in NXT if he couldn’t beat Joe last week. The GM cuts him off to tell him about the #1 contender tournament starting next week. He wants Tye to have a spot in it, if he’d like that. Dillinger accepts, choosing to not continue with what he was saying before. The Villain also picks up his old brass knuckles from his desk and tries them on as the scene ends...
SAnitY storms backstage as an interviewer tries to get a comment for EY. He walks past without saying anything, but Nikki pauses when she sees the Women’s title sitting on an equipment cart. Asuka steps into frame to grab her belt, leading to a staredown between the two ladies.
Former Chikara Grand champion Kimber Lee is in the ring for a match against Ember Moon. Lee wins an early test of strength. Ember pops back up to deliver some kicks but gets put down with a side slam for a nearfall. A back-and-forth brawl ensues, but Moon lands a dropkick to set-up her handspring forearm and the Eclipse for a three minute victory.
- Much more excited for another round of #DIY/Revival than anything involving the Authors, but giving everyone a month and a half to lay out and practice the TakeOver match is smart.
- So Tye’s not leaving immediately, but he could still be leaving soon. Dillinger’s mic work is always better when he’s interacting with another performer, and this was no exception.
- THOSE KNUCKS BETTER GET DIRTY SOON! DON’T TEASE ME LIKE THAT!
- HOLY $#!+! NIKKI CROSS VS. ASUKA FOR THE WOMEN’S TITLE! YES! AND WHEN? Also, YES!
- Kimber better be here to warm-up for the Women’s Classic, know what I’m saying? She helped elevate yet another three-minute Ember match, which was nice. Also aiding that cause was Percy reacting to Eclipse like he was seeing it for the first time. It’s never gonna not be impressive, but they’re in danger of having it not feel special. And possibly of Moon developing lombar problems.
We learn the #1 contender tournament starts next week, and we’re shown this graphic of the four qualifying matches:
Then it’s off to Japan, and last Saturday’s match between NXT champion Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. The rivals circle one another, blocking early shots and actually cleanly breaking when they’re driven into the ropes before Nakamura lands some knees and does Good Vibrations a couple times before Joe rolls out to regroup. He hops back up on the apron and manages to choke Shinsuke with the referee pinned between them as we head to a commercial.
The STF is locked in when get back, but Nakamura slips free and they trade holds for a while. After Joe reaches the ropes to escape a triangle choke, they get back to their feet. After a German suplex from the champ, Shinsuke goes for his finisher but runs into a powerslam. Joe tries for a Muscle Buster but Nak wiggles out, but finds himself in a Coquina Clutch, then taking more suplexes.
Action spills outside when Joe hits an enziguri after Shinsuke fights out of a Muscle Buster set-up. He tries to slam Nakamura on the steps like he has before, but is fought off. Swagsuke counters with a knee to the back of Joe’s neck. He gets them back in the ring for a vicious striking exchange that the challenger wins. Nak lifts Joe onto his shoulders but can’t hold him, and they both fall to the mat. As Joe’s rising, Shin comes off the second rope with a knee, and then hits Kinshasa clean to regain his title. We were shown about eleven minutes of their match.
Phillips & Graves speaks about the historic events we’ve just witnessed over several minutes of footage of the new champ celebrating in front of an excited Japanese crowd. Charly Caruso then informs of us the steel cage rematch booked for Melbourne as the show ends.
- Extremely pumped for the tournament. Feels like a return to the Fatal 4Way days where it actually seemed like there were more than two players in the main event scene. After coming up on two years with only four realistic contenders (and never more than two at a time), that’s really good news.
- That graphic and the announcement made it sound like we were getting those four matches next week, but a subsequent Tweet and simple math point toward the tournament starting next week and building toward TakeOver.
- On to the main event... another Joe/Nak match I liked but not loved.
- Maybe it was a creative choice on their part, or maybe they were just jet-lagged, but both Nakamura and Joe looked tired in this match.
- They sure tried to make this feel special, and maybe looking back on it from somewhere down the road, it will, but it just didn’t do much for me tonight. Knowing the outcome in advance didn’t help, nor did having it come just weeks away from a superior Toronto bout. It was a good TV main event. But not the HISTORY MAKING EVENT they had Tom yelling at us about.
- Regardless, it’ll be over soon. And as much as I love both guys, that’s the best thing for them and the show at this point.
Tonight, NXT showed us the building blocks they’ll use to make TakeOver: San Antonio and probably the road to (are we really gonna call it) TakeOver: Orlando the usual great shows we expect from them. So I’m more optimistic about the next few months than I was before watching, and that’s a good thing.
Heck, there was a minute in the middle of the show where I was FREAKING OUT about the teases they were throwing out.
But on its own, as an hour-long piece of wrestling entertainment? This was another “okay” episode.
What say you, Cagesiders?