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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Feb. 8, 2017): Possessed by what is not

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All kinds of new eras starting tonight, as we return to Full Sail to kick off the Road to... a TakeOver that will take place about 20 minutes from campus.


Our new commentary team of Tom Phillips, Percy Watson and, replacing Corey Graves, Nigel McGuinness, welcomes us. All four members of SAnitY make their way to the ring for our first match, where they await their victims opponents, the Bollywood Boyz. Killian Dain starts off (Alexander Wolfe is his official partner, but Eric Young & Nikki Cross are also in their corner) and throws one of the Sihras into the other, forcing a tag. Harv & Gurv try a double-team assault of the big Irishman, in between some dance moves, to no avail. They end up decimated by powerbombs, sentons and a running crossbody before Dain ends it with Ulster Plantation for a win after two and a half minutes, in a match where he never needed to tag his partner.

With the entire group in the ring, Young tries to talk, but Cross won’t stop yelling “ASUKA” into the microphone. She’s eventually calmed down, and EY says that he humbled Tye Dillinger at TakeOver: San Antonio, so now the Perfect Ten needs to admit he belongs with SAnitY.

Next up is Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kay, who’s accompanied to the ring by her Iconic friend, Peyton Royce. After an early standoff, Liv latches on a body scissor and does one of her rolling pinning predicament spots. Billie stops that with a Stun Gun off the ropes, then proceeds to put the boots to her. Kay controls things from there, including a couple nearfalls off a clothesline and suplex. Peyton tries to help her partner get leverage on the ropes, but Morgan sends them crashing into one another, then surpises Billie by bridging through a roll-up to steal a win after a little under four minutes.


  • The announce trio didn’t get off to a great start, but I didn’t think the night was a disaster, either. After spending this opening bout basically asking each other questions - “what was that thing Harv & Gurv danced to the ring with, Perce?” - things got smoother later. Nigel is finding his character, and playing the inverse Corey Graves (a face who likes a few heels) he went with tonight might not be the final form. Watson occassionally added a unique perspective, and Tom was solid as ever.

  • What I don’t think we’ll have again is a commentator who can single-handedly make a bad match enjoyable. Such was the magic of the Savior of Misbehavior, in a two-man booth, without Vince McMahon in his or his partner’s ear.

  • Ah yes, the opening match. A great showcase for the former Big Damo, and the group with which he recently aligned himself. The entire episode seemed designed to make SAnitY a big deal, and it worked, for the most part.

  • Of course, the one player who continues to shine the brightest, even among Young’s gravel-voiced punk, Wolfe’s unhinged berserker and Dain’s calculated destroyer, is Cross. She sold her eventual showdown with the Women’s champ better with one word and five seconds than just about anything else on the show.

  • I’m not talking about Peyton’s boots and jeans ensemble - YOU’RE talking about Peyton’s boots and jeans ensemble!

  • Have written before how it seems we’re one step forward, one step back with Liv and fellow youngster Aliyah. This was a “step back” night for Morgan, in my book. Billie was every bit the dominant heel this match called for, but the babyface comeback was uninspired. And judging by the reaction she got from Full Sail, it wasn’t just me.


Backstage, Andrea D’Marco asks Dillinger what he thought of Young’s earlier comments. Tye says he wasn’t humbled in San Antonio, he just fell to the numbers game, and he’s definitely not joining SAnitY. He starts to change the subject to the Royal Rumble, but is assaulted from behind by EY. The group clubbers him through the curtain and into the ring, where Tye makes a stand but is eventually flattened by Dain. Roderick Strong and No Way Jose run-in to even the odds, and are able to dump Killian after each man hits him with a signature move.

In the General Manager’s office, William Regal is proudly informing us the United Kingdom championship will be defended on next week’s show when Tyler Bate faces Trent Seven, but the Icons burst in, demanding a match against Liv. Regal says he wouldn’t normally give in, but in this case he will... making a tag match between Kay & Royce and Morgan & a partner of her choosing. The Aussies look upset, then burst out laughing since they don’t think Liv has any friends.

Following a storyline update on Shinsuke Nakamura’s knee - it doesn’t require surgery, but he will be out rehabbing it for a time - Heavy Machinery make their official NXT television debut. Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic have their work cut out for them, however, as they’ll face the two-time tag champs, The Revival.

Dash Wilder has no luck taking down Knight at the start, and he continues to be manhandled when Tucker literally throws him to Dozovic after a tag. Scott Dawson eventually distracts the referee so Dash can use a dirty trick to create some separation, and The Revival cut the ring in half and work Otis over with double team manuevers. A side slam from Dozovic allows both teams to make tags, and Knight makes like a freight train while cleaning house. When he looks to bring in his partner to finish the job, however, Wilder pulls him from the apron. Tucker gives chase, but runs right back into a DDT from Dawson. Top Guys win 1 - 2 - 3 in about four minutes.

On the mic, Dash & Dawson remind everyone they’re the best tag team in the world, messing with fans about their year-end awards (some fans were smart enough to vote for them, but not all of the crowd are smart). They say #DIY never should have beat them, and will be a footnote in history since they couldn’t defend their belts against Authors of Pain. They want a title shot at TakeOver: Orlando. Paul Ellering brings out the champs, but the Top Guys bail, saying they don’t fight if they’re not getting paid to fight. When Akam & Rezar are on the ramp, The Revival attack them from behind, sending Rezar flying and working over Akam. When AoP regroups, Dash & Dawson scurry away again.


  • Now that it looks like reports Dillinger won’t be headed to the main roster are correct, it’ll be interesting to see if he continues to de-emphasize the Perfect Ten schtick for his ongoing feud with SAnitY. I hope he does, because keener observers than I have noticed similarities to Dreamer/Raven and the more Tye plays up his underdog everyman characteristics, the better he’ll serve that kind of tale.

  • Loved the callback to Jose’s history with EY’s crew; kind of baffled by Roddy’s involvement. Just last week he was laser-focused on the title... how does this help him with that? I’ll give Phillips credit for theorizing he wanted to be proactive since SAnitY could come for anyone on the roster, but it’s a stretch. And for a gimmick as vaguely defined as Strong’s, we need to be tightening up his motivations, not diluting them.

  • Will never not pop for a “Regal’s office” scene, but this one mostly made me think “Emma and Dana did it better”. But I guess that’s a recurring problem for the Icons.

  • Now that the Top Guys look to be in the mix for the NXT tag titles, can everybody stop @-ing them each Tuesday night?

  • Seriously, how weird(ly awesome) was it to see The Revival flexing some different muscles? Seeing Dash-in-peril and just generally watching he & Dawson make Dozer & Knight look like studs their first time out of the gate as Heavy Machinery was probably a nice prelude for the AoP feud, since the size/power difference will force them to look outmatched, and the bookers seem to be leaning into how much the crowd wants to cheer Dash & Dawson.

  • “The Revival vs. Everybody”, as my TakeOver podcasting partner dubbed it, sure sounds good to me. The Best Tag Team in the World doesn’t give two shits about alignment. Bring on that Triple Threat, Orlando.


After a quick video introducing us to the UK champ, it’s time for the new NXT champ’s opening address. Bobby Roode says he’s not the kind of guy to say “I told you so”, then cracks himself up because he’s totally that guy. Since arriving in WWE, he’s proved he’s on a different level than everyone else, and he did it again at TakeOver by beating a guy who ran roughshod over Japan for a decade (which he explains to the dummies in the room means ten years). Now the brand has someone who walks, talks, looks and acts like a champ. It’s no longer “We are NXT”, Roode says, because it’s “MY NXT”. And it will be... GLORIOUS.

Trent Seven gets a video package, then each of the babyfaces in our main event - Strong, Jose and Dillinger - get individual entrances before SAnitY gets it’s second of the night. The good guys don’t wait for the bell, attacking on the floor so EY, Dain & Wolfe can’t cause their own chaos. After a quick commercial, Tye’s in control and Young has called a huddle outside the ring. Eventually, No Way and Wolfe are the legal men. They tug on one another’s beards before Jose gets a takedown, but he still ends up in SAnitY’s corner. Young comes in, but ends up dropped on his back so Roddy can tag in. Strong shows off with a great standing drop kick to Wolfe before bringing in Tye.

The Perfect Ten falls to the numbers game, with Dain in particular doing a lot of damage. When Wolfe comes back in, Dillinger gains some separation and reaches Roddy for a tag. He cleans house with a nice backbreaker on the German and a drop kick to Young. Jose slingshots himself onto Wolfe on the outside, and Strong brings Tye back. He hits his finisher on EY, but Nikki Cross leaps onto him from the top rope and head scissors him to the floor. Dain hits an unsuspecting Strong with his running crossbody, and Young swoops in to collect the pin at just about the eight minute mark.


  • Usual great work on the Bate & Seven vignettes. Some have been advocating for a second men’s belt on this show... looks like we’re kind of getting one, at least for a while.

  • Roode is a sneaky good promo. Like his introductory speech last Summer, he stays on message, setting up the story without rambling on for too long, and accenting it with just enough character flourish to annoy & entertain. I knew the “told you so” punch line was coming and I still laughed, while also thinking, “what a dickhead”.

  • Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I also got a second layer from the celebration. His claiming NXT finally has a champ who fits the part could also a dig at fans complaining about TNA veterans with experience being on camera gaining favor over indie workers or developmental talents. Which will naturally make them cheer louder when an indie worker/developmental talent-type tries to take back NXT from the Glorious One.

  • Gonna level with y’all. I don’t know if it’s just because my life has been extra hectic the last several days, or if the match wasn’t that compelling, but I could not stay focused on the main event. Think it was a bit of both, honestly... our second helping of SAnitY, a guy I don’t love in Jose and the ill-defined NXT version of Roddy after an already full episode seemed both too much and not enough.

  • What I remember seemed okay, but maybe tryed to serve one too many masters. Specifically, Strong got stretches where he controlled the action and looked like a badass. Combined with TakeOver and his fallout interview, I’m thinking they’re positioning him for the next step.

  • Then he took the pin! With Jose, whose whole modus operandi is “guy who can do the job in while teaming with babyface main eventers in multi-man matches”!

  • Or have Tye take the fall! He’s lost so much, it’s basically part of his charm - especially if SAnitY is taking advantage of him so we’re even more fired up to see him try and beat them again later!

  • I don’t get it. But all four members of SAnitY came off as threatening in some way, so overall - mission accomplished.

  • And, b-t-dubs, in case you missed it... Nikki celebrates the win by slapping the taste out of Alexander Wolfe’s mouth, because she’s the best.

They packed a lot into an hour and all of it was watchable. There weren’t any major “WOW” moments, which is appropriate considering we’re at the start of most of these stories, but that also kept it from being something I’d strongly recommend to those still on the fence about NXT in 2017.

Grade: B

Give us your take.

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