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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (June 1, 2016): More than happy to

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Unlike their main roster counterparts, NXT usually delivers a compelling sales pitch for their live shows. Did they reaffirm that belief with June 1's 'go home' show for The End... ?


#1 contenders for the tag championship, and former titleholders themselves, The Revival are out in street clothes, promising to become the first ever two time champs in NXT history next Wednesday when they face American Alpha. Dash & Dawson talk up Chad Gable & Jason Jordan's amateur success, but say that they're in the big time now.

Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano interrupt. The former champs ask if they're lost, and Ciampa & Gargano say everyone knows The Revival can't beat American Alpha. Dash & Dawson put them down as "good hands" who work "bingo halls", playing off comments about them not winning in Dallas. The "top guys" leave, but Tommaso & Johnny accuse them of running away and then drop kick them out of the ring when they come back. An angry Revival throws down a challenge for later tonight.

Backstage, Cathy Kelley asks Shinsuke Nakamura about his match with Austin Aries on June 8, and he replies that Aries will "bow down to the King of Strong Style" along with his usual antics.

Rebounding from the break-up of BAMF last week, Buddy Murphy has a singles match against Tye Dillinger. Their five minute match is almost all Dillinger, although the Aussie gets a couple nearfalls and a chance to mock the Perfect Ten in between a big running punch and drop knee. Tye wins after his inverted Overdrive finisher.

The interview segment with the men in the NXT title program is next, as Corey Graves moderates between champ Samoa Joe and challenger Finn Bálor. Graves asks Finn about losing the belt in Lowell, and he answers that he was shocked to lose it at a house show, but he doesn't regret putting it on the line because that was his job as champ.

His answer sets the tone for the rest of the segment, as Joe returns to their history as tag partners in, and winners of, the Dusty Rhodes Classic last year and how he felt betrayed when Bálor didn't demand that General Manager William Regal give Joe a title shot, instead placing him in the battle royal won by Apollo Crews. Finn fires back that the guy who attacked him during his match with Crews isn't the friend he'd known for ten years - the man who's wedding he attended.

Their steel cage match will be a first for the Irishman, but he's not worried, because the ladder match with Kevin Owens in Brooklyn was also a first, and he did just fine. Graves asks about Finn's future on the main roster, and he said he's sick of hearing about the main roster. He's living in the moment, and the NXT title is everything. Next week he plans to become the first two-time champ in brand history.

Joe says the match is a chance to show Bálor where he belongs. He says the former champ is the untrustworthy one, and the only reason he stabbed him in the back is because it was the only place he could stab him after he turned his back and ran. Graves tries to wrap things up professionally, but the competitors end up eye-to-eye and the Demon tells Joe to enjoy the title now, because he's taking it back in SEVEN DAYS.


  • Whew. There was a lot of talking in the opening twenty or so minutes tonight. Which is just fine with me, as the mic work was anchored by two of my favorite stick men in the game right now, Scott Dawson and Samoa Joe.

  • This may not effect you that much, but I need to give a heads up to my people in the real world, because I'm gonna be exiting a lot of situations I don't want to be in with "top guys coming through" for the next little while. The Revival continues to entertain on the microphone almost as much as they do in the ring, with Dawson being a real standout.

  • Since the 'Reality' era burns with insider terms aren't shocking any more, the big surprise of the opener for me (and a recurring theme throughout the night) was seeing non-exclusive talent Ciampa & Gargano so prominently placed. This is the third week in a row they've been on television - a real feat with NXT's one hour per. Obviously they're being positioned for the Cruiserweight Classic (CWC). But maybe there are bigger plans for them?

  • His biggest feat tonight may have being unobtrusive in the interview segment, but props to Corey Graves for saying what we were all thinking when he commented that Murphy may have lost his partner and his girl, but he got his first name back.

  • A good wrestler with a solid gimmick... could we get Dillinger a sustained push and a storyline? Murphy - excuse me... Buddy - has more of an angle going than Tye, and he's been doing nothing for more than six months. Solid match from these two, both of them are (ahem), "good hands".

  • Remember a couple of months ago when we were all like, "damn, Joe/Bálor again..."? For me at least, this has turned into my favorite men's program since the glory days of Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville. Joe is more of a traditional heel than Neville was, but otherwise, this has some of the same "both guys have flawed points, so root for whichever one you like more" vibe.

  • Not sure why it took this long for their feud to get so good. I really don't think about what went on before Dallas that often, which is why it was a good thing that this segment focused on that part of their story. It also set Joe - who was his usual masterful self here - for the dagger when he paraphrased Kevin Nash to declare he would have happily stabbed Finn in the heart if he hadn't been busy turning his back on his partner.

  • Much to my pleasant surprise, this wasn't all Joe, however. Bálor has (with the help of some 'Reality' Era rumor about his call-up) become the most interesting he's been in WWE since losing the strap in Lowell. He can't avoid some groaners - you can't come at a boss-level M.C. like Joe with "you're a squeaky wheel", Lego boy - but he successfully conveyed emotion and didn't just fall back on meaningless Demon hype.

  • Loved this segment - and I'm now more sold on a match I dwas already all in on.


Warming up for his bout with Nakamura, Austin Aries has a match with Elias Samson structured very much like the Dillinger/Murphy bout. A-Double's win is never in doubt across four and a half minutes, but the Drifter uses his size advantage to set up rest holds with big strikes. Aries turns the tide with a back elbow and hits all his signature spots en route to a submission victory via Last Chancery.

Afterwards, Aries starts a promo but the crowd chants "Nakamura". He acknowledges them, saying at TakeOver he'll remove any doubt who the greatest man in the ring is. Following that, we get another hype video for Andrade "Cien" Almas which reveals he'll be at The End...

Gargano & Dawson start off in the tag match made in the opening segment. An even couple of minutes are ended with some heeling by the Revival when Dash cheapshots Ciampa outside to send us to an oddly timed commercial. Dash & Dawson cut the ring in half and work over Tommaso's leg.

Hot tag eventually brings Johnny Wrestling back in, and he almost wins it following his Spear through the ropes on Dawson, but then nearly gets pinned himself following a DDT. Ciampa saves the match, then he and Dash battle to the outside. The two legal men battle to the corner where Gargano eventually takes Superplex, but he rolls through on the landing and gets a flash pin for a big upset victory after about seven and a half minutes.

An irate Revival attacks after the bell, and go to take out Ciampa's knee after a Shatter Machine like they did to Big Cass, but Gable & Jordan make the save. The TakeOver opponents brawl until American Alpha sends Dash & Dawson running.


  • No disrespect intended, but they have to be gearing up to cut or demote/repackage Samson soon, right? He's really hit his stride in the ring, but t hey don't even bother with the singing or building angles around his lyrics anymore, and he hasn't come close to defeating a name guy. A win over him means next to nothing, and - at least on television - crowds aren't even that in to hating him.

  • Could be a function of how badly they want to boo Aries, I guess. His heel turn is coming, probably next Wednesday, and hopefully it kicks him into another gear (and possibly with a debuting Bobby Roode, who keeps Tweeting the equivalent of "wait for it" every few days). With guys like Almas coming, A-Double will get lost in the shuffle... Greatest Man that Ever Lived or not.

  • The tag match was like a trailer for a longer, better match these four men could have down the road. I'll never tire of seeing Dash & Dawson do their thing, but this felt like a placeholder. Until the end...

  • Did not see the #1 contenders losing heading into TakeOver, and I'm not sure what I think of that decision. It might seem both more surprising and meaningful if I didn't follow house show results, where the Revival lose on the regular - including often to American Alpha.

  • Definitely not outraged, but that's probably just because - despite the fact that I assume it will be 15+ minutes of fantastic wrestling that only needs to avoid glaring botches to top their still-fun Dallas encounter - the tag title match is not one I'm spending a lot of time thinking about. I enter into assuming the champs retain and hoping all this losing for Dash & Dawson is because they'll be among the mass call-up for the brand split.

  • Very curious about Gargano & Ciampa. They're nicely positioned for a tag run with this, but they're also about to competing against each other in the CWC...


Main event is the contract signing between Nia Jax and Women's champion Asuka. Regal begins to praise the champ, but Nia cuts him off. She says everyone is afraid of Asuka, but she doesn't know why. The Japanese woman may have beaten Bayley, but Jax - referring to the kayfabe injury which is keeping the Hugster off the TakeOver card - says she broke Bayley. The Empress of Tomorrow has never faced anyone like Nia, because there is no one like her. She's the future, and she's not scared.

After Jax signs, Asuka tells her she talks to much before yelling at her in her native tongue. She says that Nia should be scared of her, and makes the contract official. The champ steps to the challenger, who shoves her. Asuka unleashes a barrage of strikes, but Jax catches a kick and turns it into a Powerbomb. She walks off as Regal checks on his titleholder.


  • It's not just the video clips they released which caused me to structure the reactions this way - this whole show was strangely paced. The brawl at the end of the tag match was a much more traditional place to fade to black. Nia's Powerbomb was impressive, but you'd expect her to pose with the belt and stand tall afterwards.

  • Jax's promo style needs a lot of work. She delivers her lines, but suffers some the same issue which plagues Charlotte on the main roster - a flat delivery where attempts to emphasize phrases often goes astray. Nia also seems to be trying to force some witty charm, a la her Hollywood cousin Dwayne, and we've seen what happens when members of the Anoaʻi clan try to be Rocky.

  • Still, a fun little segment. I'd like to see Asuka yell in Japanese more, for whatever that's worth.

  • Leaving Bayley out of the mix for The End... has created legitimate intrigue about where they're going with the Women's title picture, too - at least for this writer. They've done an admirable job re-building Jax, and they continue to position her as the Hugster's nemesis more than the champ. An upset next week means they could either move Asuka up to the main or set-up a Triple Threat. If they can deliver half the match Bayley/Jax II was, a few good nearfalls could put their bout in position to steal the show (as NXT women's matches are contractually obligated to do).

Weird, but not bad, show. It's also strange that we only have four matches and a debut set for next week - and no other programs waiting in the wings that can quickly supply more, either - but they did build tension in all four with this episode.

I'm not "can't wait" for a TakeOver for the first time in a long time, but I am excited - especially for the steel cage.

Grade: B

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