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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Jan. 4, 2017): In your house show

Another two hour special from the Pacific tour, this one in front a very different audience than last week in Japan. Welcome to Melbourne!


Riddick Moss & Tino Sabatelli s vs. The Revival

Scott Dawson started off with Moss and quickly goes to the headlock, but Riddick breaks free and rolls him up for two, taunting him a bit afterwards. Both men get tags, and Tino gets sent into Dash Wilder’s boot on the transition, allowing the former tag champ to return the smack talk by mocking the gesture Sabatelli does to show off his abdominal muscles.

Nice show of athleticism from the former NFLer, but he and Moss then mess up the timing on a couple double team moves, causing Corey Graves to explain they only started tagging when General Manager William Regal put them in the Dusty Classic. Clotheslines by Riddick put his team in control, with both members of the Revival eating fallaway slams and other maneuvers. Eventually, the Top Guys regroup on the outside and when Moss tries to bring Dawson back in, he holds onto Wilder. When the referee goes to separate them, Dawson rakes the eyes of his opponent to put the Revival back in charge.

Cutting the ring in half, Dash & Dawson do their thing for a while until Sabatelli gets a tag. He throws Dawson into his partner, then powerslams him for a nearfall. Dash trips Tino after he makes a tag to set-up another tandem move; Moss tries rolling up both members of the Revival, including once after Wilder accidentally forearms Scott off the apron, but to no avail. A blind tag allows the former champs to hit Shatter Machine and pin Riddick after an eleven minute contest.


  • You could tell from the pop at “SAY YEAH” that Australia (an “entirely new continent” per Graves) meant this show was gonna be something else.

  • Boy, did I miss seeing Dash & Dawson work on a regular basis! The heel work to get back in the driver’s seat, especially dragging Moss’ face along the top rope, had me grinning from ear-to-ear.

  • Boy, are Sabatelli & Moss green. I’ve never been a wrestler or a trainer, so I don’t know, but they’ve both been signed for two years... should they be farther along? Tino showed flashes here which got me excited. Riddick - and maybe this is just bitterness because we still have no update on Hideo Itami? Not so much.

  • Come to think of it, maybe the Itami thing is why I enjoyed Dawson giving him rope burn on his forehead.

  • Anyway, yeah, I was excited as Melbourne to see the Top Guys. Otherwise...


Tye Dillinger & Buddy Murphy vs. Bobby Roode & Elias Samson

After Elias Samson plays a song through “You’re a Wanker” chants, the other three men in the match enter to loud ovations. Roode begins with hometown boy Murphy, and they trade takedowns, spinning on one another’s backs and the “GLORIOUS” taunt. Bobby then gets upset water from Buddy’s hair got in his eyes as we’re in full house show hijinks mode. Murphy eventually hits a dropkick for out first pin attempt, but Roode kicks out at one and bails when his nemesis Dillinger becomes the legal man.

The Drifter slows things down by targeting Tye’s arm, but the faces turn the tables and work quick tags while targeting Samson’s wing. Dillinger flips Roode into the ring and delivers the “TEN” stomps in the corner (actually, almost everything in this and the next match got “TEN” chants from Melbourne); Elias is the victim of punches until Bobby distracts. Roode tries his own corner offense but the crowd only chants “ONE” for him.

A spinebuster from Roode on Dillinger lets he & Elias work over the Perfect Ten for a bit. The Glorious One denies the crowd punches they count along with, but while he’s gloating he walks into a superkick. Samson and Murphy come in at the same time, and Buddy is a house afire. A blind tag to Tye precedes a dive that takes out Roode on the outside, leaving the Drifter all alone for a Tye-Breaker, and the fan favorites emerge from another eleven minute affair with a victory.

Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kay

Native daughter Billie is cheered at the outset, even though, unlike Murphy, she’s still playing a heel. The good girls chase Kay so they can lock up themselves, and Liv flattens Ember with a shoulder block. That’s answered with a rana but - after Moon stares Kay back to the floor - a dropkick and headscissors from Morgan puts her in the driver’s seat for a while.

Morgan does her rolling covers on Billie, then strikes both her opponents before putting them down with a double-bulldog. Leapfroggin over Kay, a Thesz Press gets two on Ember, but Billie breaks that up and sends Liv outside. Moon goes for a roll-up, but Kay responds with Eat De-feet, which leads to more leg-based offense from the Aussie.

Lots of fun interactions while Billie was on top, as the crowd wanted to cheer her (even singing the Bruce Channel oldie usually reserved for a certain Hugger) and she kept insulting them. Morgan tries to re-enter and gets thrown by Moon this time, who turns into a rolling elbow for two. Kay dumps both women over the top, and Liv hits the apron hard on her way down, causing the referee to need to check on her.

After getting both her opponents back inside, Kay gets nearfalls on both, then chops them out of frustration. After Morgan and Moon chop Billie down, they target each other. Ember goes into her finishing sequence, but Liv cuts her off on top when she’s going for her finisher. Moon fights of a superplex and, when Kay joins the party, managers to avoid the Tower of Doom spot. Morgan takes a powerbomb from Billie, and when Liv kicks out, Kay turns into an Eclipse. Ember covers for the win in roughly eight and a half minutes.


  • The Drifter is so naturally good at getting heat - and threatening to not play his song if the crowd doesn’t stop booing him before coming up with an asinine reason to do it anyway (here because he likes the sound of his own voice too much) is never not great. Wish I enjoyed him in matches as much as some others do, though. Unsurprisingly, I like him as a tag wrestler a lot more than as a singles guy, where stretches of nothing but headlocks and slams don’t make me question whether he bugs me for the “right reason”.

  • Very excited that Corey might start liking Samson as he does most of the other heels on the roster. And I appreciate that Graves even denied us that, with a nod to Perfectly Glorious continuity, since Elias “screwed up his opportunity” to be Roode’s tag partner.

  • Character work is Bobby’s strength, and that really shines in these house show matches. The bit where he responds to the staredown with Dillinger by pumping himself up, getting the crowd amped for a renewing of hostilities between them just before he tags out? Glorious.

  • Could Alexa Bliss’ man work as a babyface outside his hometown? I don’t know, but I’d support them giving it a go. Both Blake & Murphy are solid workers and, especially in Developmental, they have value for that reason.

  • While acknowledging I’m headed into dangerous waters, can we talk about Billie’s ring attire? Much like her countrymen in the next match and their diaper-y trunks, her one-piece seems like it’s just regular wrestling gear, but the fabric lays in a weird and unflattering manner. From sternum to thighs, she looks more like a grandmother at the beach than a Femme Fatale. It’s not helping, especially in addition to whatever other growing pains she’s experiencing (also, seeing Melbourne desperately want to cheer her reminded me how much I liked her as a face on the indies).

  • That nitpick aside, I thought all three ladies did well here. It was as much a comedy match as anything else, and not something that’s gonna make anyone forget about Bayley or Sasha, but there were good flourishes and some nice selling. One to grow on, I think.

  • Except for that bump Liv took on her way out of the ring... yeesh. That had to leave a mark.


#DIY vs. TM61

Shane Thorne & Nick Miller, another pair of local boys greeted enthusiastically by the crowd, get a title shot, with Thorne & Ciampa beginning the match with a standoff. Johnny Gargano & Miller come in and are also equally matched for a short while but Nick works a wristlock and brings his partner back in for a few European uppercuts. Another quick tag and big delayed suplex, but Johnny gets some space to hit a rolling kick and manages to reach his corner.

The Sicilian Psychopath delivers knees and kicks in the corner, leading to a Northern Lights suplex that gets two. TM61 rally, hitting their moonsault/fist drop tandem spot, causing the champs to regroup outside. Miller dives onto them both and sends Ciampa back in where he gets a Falcon Arrow from Thorne and we take a commercial break.

When we return, Gargano is back in and working with Shane, who he takes down with a dropkick to the head. Ciampa gets some offense in, but runs into a boot that lets Thorne connect with a dropkick of his own for the tag. Miller has clothelines for everyone, a knee for Johnny and a suplex for Tommaso, but a follow-up forearm on Ciampa only gets two. Gargano gets the tag and enters with his slingshot spear, but has to battle one-on-two while his partner recovers on the outside. He does just that, and isolates Nick in their corner when Tommaso is ready to come back in.

Miller fights out of a corner tandem manuever, sending Gargano to the floor and hitting an exploder supex on Ciampa. Nick sets up for something on the top rope, but Tommaso headbutts his way out, but Thorne comes in and is launched onto Ciampa, allowing both Aussies to team up for their own Tower of Doom when Miller powerbombs his own partner while he superplexes Tommaso.

That’s not enough to end it, however, and Tommaso eventually comes back with a big clothesline followed by Project Ciampa, but Miller breaks up the pin. Nick and Gargano throw everything they have at each other, and the challenger finally connects with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a great nearfall. Miller can’t believe it, which gives Johnny Wrestling enough time to make a tag. #DIY knock Thorne out of the picture and connect with their superkick/running knee finisher to retain in just under fifteen minutes.

The crowd chants for TM61 while the champs celebrate, so #DIY bring them back for handshakes, which are accepted. We learn that next week, the Revival get their rematch against Ciampa & Gargano, plus Asuka will be in action. After a video recap of the NXT title match in Osaka, it’s main event time.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe

We just saw a version of this a couple weeks ago (read a recap of that here), so as with last week’s repeat main event from Osaka, I didn’t take a lot of notes. There’s a roughly eight minute stretch that was cut from the first showing which is largely Joe in control, including having a STF cinched in, but Nakamura survives it all, obviously. The champ is in peril heading into the second commercial break we got on this episode, and when we return we’re back to the closing stretch we saw on Dec. 14. Shinsuke battles back, considers leaving after one Kinshasa, but decides to deliver two more and get a pin to win the match and end their feud in this eighteen minute steel cage encounter.


  • Probably my favorite TM61 match since they joined the WWE, so that’s good.

  • Ciampa & Gargano are quietly the tag team equivalent of AJ Styles right now, though, and pretty much incapable of having a bad match with anyone (although that may be put to the test in San Antonio at the end of the month), so I’m hesitant to announce the Aussies have turned a corner.

  • The big challenge for Miller & Thorne is... what are they going to do next? Even on the other side of TakeOver, they’re not going to get to work with #DIY a lot, at least on television. Best case scenario for them would probably be bad news for Dash & Dawson, but a feud from San Antonio to Orlando with the Top Guys could be just what the doctor ordered for TM61.

  • Overall, this was a very good match, but I think I liked last week’s with Tajiri & Tozawa more. Whether it was the more blatant face vs. face dynamic or that some of Thorne & Miller’s regular spots leave me a little cold, I didn’t get sucked into this one until the final five minutes or so. Those were great, though, and I jumped out of my seat for the Blue Thunder Bomb false finish.

  • Wow, am I all out of words re: Joe & Nak (and frankly a little salty NXT made me re-watch chunks of the same matches twice over the last month). It had it’s moments, but to paraphrase something Dr. Leo Marvin once said to Bob Wiley, it was good because they feuded, and it’s good because they’re done.

Same as last week, really... a fun show if you’ve got a couple hours to fill, but nothing vital. Grading it slightly lower for a few reasons, among them that this was the second helping of basically the same concept, and because I’m an old man who can get annoyed with overly-participatory crowds - so I’m always gonna pick Asia over pretty much anywhere else.

Grade: B-

Anyone else ready for a return to Full Sail?

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