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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (May 18, 2016): Wanna hear the uproar

We're reminded of the last time tonight's main eventers went one-on-one in London, and then we're off!


The grin on Austin Aries face tells us he has something good planned for his tag match against Blake & Murphy, and when the lights go out and violin music starts, Full Sail erupts for Shinsuke Nakamura. All three members of BAMF are obviously thrown by Swagsuke's appearance, and Blake immediately tags out, leaving his Australian partner to take stiff-looking strikes and suprisingly crisp tandem offense from the two veterans.

Story-wise, Blake backs away from Nakamura before he finishes off Murphy after about two and half minutes with Kinshasa, setting up both Alexa Bliss and Wesley to walk out on their teammate after the pin. Aries also was annoyed that Shinsuke didn't tag him back in for the finish.

An interview from Cathy Kelley with former Women's champ Bayley follows, where the Hugster vows to repeat her victory over Nia Jax from London in tonight's main event. We're then treated to a music video recapping current titleholder Asuka's run in NXT, set to Halestorm's "Mayhem".

Then we rejoin Kelley, this time speaking to No Way Jose. The Dominican sensation talks up his smile, then says he's in NXT to have fun - and to fight - before he dances away.

  • Everybody in the opener was telling stories with their faces - really good stuff. The fear & disbeleif from BAMF was especially fun.
  • While I'll cop to some small frustration at the latest Nakamura squash, he still looked great and the seeds were planted here for... something... with Aires, who's another veteran in need of a purpose in NXT. Not sure that purpose should a feud between these two, but, other than selling tickets, I don't know what Shinsuke's doing down here, because there's no way he's putting developmental talent over.
  • Put me with the many fans saying "uh-oh" on the Dubstep Cowboys break-up. I happen to enjoy Blake & Murphy quite a bit, but they've struggled to break out with Alexa - so I don't hold out much hope they'll manage to without her. What's wrong with being a jobbers-to-the-stars team who valets for a female wrestler, anyway?
  • The video for Asuka is a great idea, considering the language barrier keeping her away from interviews and promos. Maybe a little heavy on the shots of the band, but as long as the song fits the performer and the clips used, that's not a bad thing. Just not sure what benefit NXT gets out of it, since I doubt Halestorm fans will subscribe to the Network for that segment.
  • Wow, I do not know how to feel about Jose. I guess I'm a grumpy old crank, because this interview both did some of what I've been asking for (explaining his character) and made me want to see him get punched in his smiling face. Like, he's Latin Mojo Rawley, basically. Well, he's a better wrestler, obviously, but I'm stil firmly on the fence regarding this gimmick.
  • Forget where I read it, so apologies to whoever I'm stealing this point from, but... I really wish they'd give him a last name. It would make "No Way" a nickname for a character who could be booked in serious feuds, instead of the main way he identifies himself. "Hello, my name is No Way Jose" is a big mountain of cheese for a performer to have to climb.


Pre-taped promo from Carmella where she shouts out her boys, Enzo & Cass, for their main roster work (and wishes Zo well in his comeback from injury), but says she's staying in NXT to achieve her goal of being Women's champ. Then she's out to the ring for her pre-match spiel and a match with Peyton Royce.

That starts evenly, but the "Venus Flytrap" counters a kick and gets a couple of nearfalls off a kick of her own and some suplexes. Carm brawls her way back into control, finishing with the Bronco Buster, then the Flatliner into her submission finisher for the tapout victory in a little more than three minutes.

A recap of the main event and brawl between NXT champ Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor from Portland, followed by the video of their contract signing for a steel cage match at TakeOver next month. We then cut to Blake trying to plead with Alexa in a backstage hallway. Murphy joins in, but Bliss shuts them both up and says they're done. She's going after the Women's title, and doesn't need their dead weight holding her back. Buddy walks away, leaving the Other One alone.

Tag action is up next, as Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano enter to face Danny Burch & Rob Ryzin, who are already in the ring. A fun five minute match ensues where the Cruiserweight Classic-bound team mostly dominates, although Ciampa does get worked over for a moment so Johnny Wrestling can come in like a house afire. This one is mostly notable for three sick tandem maneuvers pulled off by Ciampa & Gargano, including a new finisher where they nearly behead Ryzin with a Superkick/running knee before the pin.

  • As we've discussed recently, she's got a long way to go. But the way Carmella was presented tonight did a great job of making her seem like a legitimate contender. It also sent a message that, barring crowds turning on her or noticeable backtracking in her performance, they'd like her to be the big babyface for 2016 after Bayley got called up.
  • A lot of credit probably needs to go to Royce - who needs a promo or two to explain her act, but otherwise delivered in a way that only makes you more mystified that she hasn't been featured more on screen. But with someone who can guide her through the bulk of a match where she's catching a beating, Carm's working her pint-sized brawler offense into her character very well. She's got the five (well, three, but who's counting?) moves of doom sequence down, and the only thing missing from her finisher is a name. This could work.
  • In fact, the biggest challenge might be that the woman they positioned as a future main heel on this episode has many of the same challenges in front of her. Alexa vs. Carmella should be a money feud, but... who's gonna carry who in that one?
  • Still, props for using this episode to re-stock the Women's division - even if I'm salty Athena's match from these tapings got cut (again).
  • Before we get a graphics interexchange format example of how sick Ciampa & Gargano are, shout out to Corey Graves for his one-liners in the tag match. There were several, but I specifically made a note of his saying Ryzin "grew up without those light switch protectors in his house", because it made me laugh out loud.
  • Know the CWC is around the corner, but could we work tag matchs and/or feuds between these two and the Revival and/or American Alpha onto the card this Summer?


The General Manager joins in praising Enzo & Cass, and also touts the #1 contenders to the WWE tag titles, the Vaudevillains. He announces a championship bout for TakeOver - a rematch with American Alpha defending against The Revival.

Full Sail was electric for the main event, with Bayley in her Macho Man jacket and Nia Jax stalking to the ring like a monster. A little slow to start, with the former champ going for the choke she won with in London, and generally trying to work in speed-based offense but getting brushed off. We go to commercial after Jax counters an attempt to slam her head into the turnbuckles by hurling the Hugster into the corner, leaving her laying.

When we return, Nia is working over Bayley's left arm and generally mauling her with things like a loud kick to the kidneys in between rest holds designed to wrench her shoulder. The smaller woman eventually breaks free with some elbows, and brings Jax down with kicks to the knee.

They end up on the floor, where Bayles counters a powerbomb into a rana, but her ankle smacks off the steel ramp on landing. Back in the ring, a Belly-to-Bayley fails, and a spinebuster from Nia gets a two count. A missed shoulder charge allows Bayley to try for the guillotine, but she can't lock it in with her wounded wing and Jax impressively turns it into a vertical suplex - but the Hugster slips out and nails her with a DDT for a nearfall.

Both women look exhausted, and Bayley is selling her leg and arm. Nia connects with a splash to the corner, and then a series of leg drops - one to the wounded knee, another to her head - resulting in a clean victory for Jax.

"Trainers" check on Bayley as the show ends.

  • Uh, I loved the main event a lot.
  • Not sure I can critically appraise a Bayley match at this point, other than to say she's one of my favorite people to watch wrestle. I get completely caught up in her bouts as a fan/mark - even this one, the outcome of which I knew in advance thanks to having read the spoilers. For me, she's as engaging a performer, who works the perfect character for her style and natural charisma, as I can recall. She's the female Daniel Bryan, but without the decade of having watched her on the indies (although, Dragon could get to me this same way even when he was a kid I'd only been watching for a few years).
  • This match was a little sloppy at times, and the psychology of worked body parts wasn't perfect, but it didn't matter because I was sucked into the story.
  • Nia played her role really well, too. This was a promising night for the future of the women's division, with Jax and Carm showing signs of growth. We're likely never going to have the first half of 2015 again, but that doesn't mean there's not a lot to be optimistic about. Nia's not Kong, but busting ass to display a decent array of offense over a fifteen match is no small feat. We're getting the launch of a monster here, and it's off to a good start.
  • Now that several weeks of house show results prove the injury was played up for storyline purposes, the question becomes what does NXT do with the ladies for June 8. I have a hard time seeing them keep Bayles off the TakeOver card, but that could be the reason for the trainers and being helped to the back. If they have the chutzpah to do it, booking a Jax/Asuka title match while using a tag match to further Bliss & Carmella's rise at the same time they give live debuts to a couple of ladies from the Performance Center (Athena? Nikki Storm?) would really get things moving toward a post-Bayley scene.
  • That's just fantasy booking, though. Did I mention I thought the main event rocked?

For the first time in a long while, NXT reminded me of the show I used to anticipate every week. A mix of fun action with character building and storyline advancement capped off with a really good match.

Grade: B+

TakeOver season is upon us... what did you think?

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