SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s WWE NXT episode featured Bayley defending the Women’s Title against Eva Marie with a strange introduction of “WWE Corporate” over-seeing the match. Plus, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor had an NXT Title contract signing.
WWE NXT Report
November 25, 2015
Taped at Full Sail University
Report by Justin James, PWTorch contributor
Tonight is a big night for NXT. Bayley defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Eva Marie (this feels like an excuse to get Nia Jax or Asuka into the title scene, or Alexa Bliss back in it), and The Vaudevillains get a shot at taking the Tag Team Championship away from Dash & Dawson. Also, Samoa Joe has a contract signing with Finn Balor.
In other news, Solomon Crowe (Sami Calahan) has requested and been granted his release. This is disappointing but not unexpected. Crowe was over more as a “known indy star” than an NXT wrestler in his own right, failing to have any break-out moments for whatever reason. He had an unrealistic gimmick (hacker who can control the broadcast) in an environment that prefers more realistic characters, he was never booked strongly, and was a babyface who never really did babyface things. I hope that this can be a learning experience for NXT on what does not work well for them.
[Q1] Michael Cole opened the show in the ring for the contract signing. Is he filling in for William Regal? He tells us that Regal’s surgery was successful and he won’t be here for the night. Cole says that he has been put in charge, and the crowd starts in with “No!” He has a special announcement. Regal would not have “this match” happen, but “everyone has a boss” and Cole got a call from “Corporate” and he is to book Bayley against Eva Marie, and he also has the contract for Samoa Joe against Finn Balor. Cole is trying to introduce Finn Balor, but Balor’s music beats him to the punch by half-a-second. Balor is out in street a suit, wearing a Balor Club shirt and the title under his blazer. On commentary, Corey Graves suggests that Balor’s championship is in grave danger and he should be in no hurry to get to London. Balor shakes hands with Cole and takes a mic while pacing.
Balor says that Joe did what he felt he needed to do to get a match, and Balor says that Joe made him realized that trust and loyalty are rare in this business. He wants Joe to come out and look him in the eyes so that Joe can see he isn’t entitled to anything because this is NXT and Balor will ram his foot down Joe’s throat. Cole puts Joe over hard, and brings him out. The crowd has turned on Joe nicely. Joe stomps out, doesn’t even look at Balor as Balor demands that he make eye contract, signs the contract, and stomps off. Balor looks angry, and signs his sign with fury. Cole makes a formal announcement as Balor fumes.
After a replay of Joe’s signing, they cut to Balor on the ramp, where Joe ambushes him. Joe takes him to the ring, Balor strikes back, and Joe is on the ropes getting battered, red everywhere. Kokita clutch mid-ring. Joe demands that Balor tap, but Balor passes out instead, with foam coming out of his mouth. Joe towers over Balor as the refs shoo him away.
[ J.J.’s Reax: They just took the tired contract signing formula and flipped it on its head, to great effect. Joe and Balor were both an absolute spectacle to behold. Michael Cole as interim GM is a bit of a distraction due to the reaction the crowd gives him. Someone more neutral or liked would have been better; perhaps Renee Young or JBL reprising his role as NXT GM. ]
Asuka is booked to face Dana Brooke tonight. Now it is time for the Tag Team Championship match. Both of these teams are a real delight in the ring to watch.
1 – NXT Tag Team champions DASH & DAWSON (DASH WILDER & SCOTT DAWSON) vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS (AIDEN ENGLISH & SIMON GOTCH) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match
[Q2] Dawson and Gotch to start. Dawson throws Gotch into the ring and takes some liberties. European uppercuts drop Dawson for one. English in and a double combination move gets two. Wilder and Dawson try a double team, but English kicks them away and locks in an armbar on Wilder. Giant backflip, and Dawson tries to interfere, but gets booted out. Blind tag lets Dawson get a cheapshot on English, who sells an arm injury.
[ Break ]
Wilder is trying to rip English’s arm off out of the break. The announcers ask why Dash and Dawson aren’t working English’s hurt leg. English breaks free, double tag, and Gotch handles both Dawson and Wilder. Sunset flip gets Gotch two, roll-up for another two, suplex for a nearfall. Wilder provides a distraction, and Dawson just clobbers Gotch. Chaos everywhere, and Gotch almost pins Dawson.
Whirling Dervish, but Dawson escapes. Dawson with a schoolboy, but English kicks out. English with a sunset flip, Wilder tags in, Shatter Machine, and the match is over.
WINNERS: Dash & Dawson in 5:22. Surprisingly short match, but very high intensity. I want a 15-minute match, not a five-minute match from these teams. I love how Dash and Dawson come into every match with a totally different gameplan, keeping things fresh.
Post-match, Dash and Dawson celebrate on the ramp, when Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady’s music hits. Dash and Dawson look scared. Amore and Cassady come out all business, dressed in black, and just destroy Dash and Wilder. Nice to see a serious presentation of Amore.
– Tom Philips interviews Eva Marie backstage. He wants to know why she is in William Regal’s office. She needs a bigger place to prepare for her match, and she knows that Regal won’t mind. Why did Marie call this championship match inevitable? Marie calls herself the hottest prospect in NXT, and has been beating everyone she faces. Bayley is a swell girl, but it is time for a real woman to be champion. She has the amazing support of th N XT universe, and the camera pans to a bunch of presents. Friendship is great, and Marie introduces her “good friend,” Nia Jax, who has a present for her. “You see Tom? Nothing beats friendship.” I guess this means that Nia Jax is a heel after all?
[ J.J.’s Reax: Gotta say, not a fan of Nia Jax playing Eva Marie’s sidekick. ]
Replay of Asuka’s destruction of Dana Brooke at “NXT Takeover: Respect.” They replay the interview with Tom Philips and Asuka last week, which Brooke interrupted.
Vignette of a guitar-playing wrestler. It looks like Cal Bishop, but there are lots of super-close shots so it is hard to tell. He plays country music. Well, isn’t that fitting after Raw in Nashville?
Yet another theme song for “NXT Takeover: London” is announced.
[Q3] Big pop for Asuka who just seems more and more confident on her way to the ring every week. Dana Brooke is out by herself, but she has a microphone. Brooke hopes that Asuka is done smiling, because she’s about to come down and smack the smile off Asuka’s face. Emma jumps Asuka, but Asuka easily handles her. As Asuka jaws at Brooke, Emma nails a chop block. Emma with the Emma Lock, as Brooke shouts at them. Asuka won’t tap. Emma and Brooke make tracks. Asuka gets off the mat with her sly-as-a-fox smile.
Bayley tells Tom Philips backstage that she saw Eva Marie’s interview. She acknowledges that Marie is pretty, has corporate behind her, and is on a reality show. But, Bayley is a wrestler, and will show Eva Marie why she is the NXT women’s champion. “Amirite?” and a high five with Philips.
Video package on Sami Zayn. Highlights of some of his best matches with part of an old promo. “Sami Zayn Returns” the graphic reads. No date. Now there is something to be excited for.
Speaking of excitement, here is Apollo Crews. This crowd is really into Crews. They even made up words to his song. He’s facing Jesse Sorensen, who was seen a few months ago on NXT. A couple boos for Sorensen. On commentary, Rich Brennan says this is a surprise, and Graves asks why.
2 – APOLLO CREWS vs. JESSE SORENSEN
Crews with a gorgeous dropkick to take Sorensen down. “That’s too easy!” from the crowd, and Crews sets up a long delayed vertical suplex. The crowd counts and gets to 21 before Crews drops Sorensen. Crews runs into a boot, and Sorensen delivers chops in the corner. Forearms get Crews out of the corner.
Sorensen bumps for Crews. Jumping clothesline then a kip-up from Crews. Crews lifts Sorensen into a suplex, then throws him in the air and twists into a sit-out powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Apollo Crews in 2:02. Another amazing performance from Crews.
Post-match, Crews says that Baron Corbin ruined his championship shot, so he accepts the challenge for London. He will lay Corbin down. This should easily be the best match that Corbin has been in.
Backstage, the cameraman asks Corbin about Crews. Corbin runs Crews down as a future has-been.
Charles Robinson comes down the ramp, which surprises Corey Graves. He gets a “Little Naitch!” from the crowd. He shakes the hand of the ref in the ring. Greg Hamilton announces that WWE Corporate has sent “senior official” Charles Robinson to ensure that there will be no controversy in this Women’s Title match. This all feels like a set up, given the three separate references to “WWE Corporate” on the show so far.
Next week, Samoa Joe is in action against Tommaso Ciampa. Poor Ciampa can’t get a win, and it looks like next week won’t be his night, either.
Eva Marie comes out to a large amount of heat. Nia Jax accompanies her. Byron Saxton rightfully calls this out as one big set-up.
[Q4] The crowd is hot for Bayley as always. Bayley is all smiles, not worried about the set-up here. Bayley gives her fans plenty of love on the way out, as always. Dim building with a spotlight on the ring as Greg Hamilton does a formal introduction. You can roast a turkey with the heat Marie gets. Are we going to have two referees for this? Bayley looks nervous and she hands over the championship, realizing the situation she is in.
3 – NXT Women’s champion BAYLEY vs. EVA MARIE (w/Nia Jax) – NXT Women’s Championship match
Marie is all smiles and Robinson is outside of the ring. Headlock take-over from Bayley, but Marie gets to her feet. They tussle, another takeover from Bayley. Marie slams Bayley to the mat, then celebrates like Heath Slater. Suplex gets a two count for Marie. Bayley-to-Belly out of nowhere, but Nia Jax yanks the referee out of the ring. Marie sneaks in a cover from behind as Bayley checks on the ref, and Robinson slides in to count.Robinson checks on the ref, then Nia Jax jumps Bayley, and Marie lands a senton, but Marie can’t get the win after three cover attempts.
The crowd has nothing but disdain for this match and for good reason. Bayley fights off her knees. Jacknife for two, crucifix for two. Bayley with a clothesline to buy a reset. Suplex from Bayley. Bayley delivers her usual offense, but Robinson steps between Bayley and Eva Marie as Bayley is abount to hit a back elbow. Asai DDT from Marie, but Bayley kicks out. Marie yells at Robinson for the count speed.
Marie gets bumped into Robinson, and he is out like a light. Big boot drops Bayley. Marie to the second rope, but Bayley meets her there. Jax yanks Bayley’s foot. Bayley then gets rid of Jax, Bayley-to-Belly off the second rope, and the original ref is back to count three.
WINNER: Bayley in 6:45 to retain the Women’s Title. Easily the worst match in NXT in years. The modern version of NXT has never disrespected their loyal audience like this. Ref bumps, set up from “corporate,” outside interference, and on top of it the action was clunky and stiff. Bayley’s had some amazing matches, but she couldn’t pull a minute of quality from Eva Marie. The only thing that went right in this match was that Bayley retained.
Post-match, Nia Jax nails Bayley with a leg drop, holds the title then hits another. She then chases the ref out of the ring.
Final Reax: Perfectly fine episode of NXT until the final segment made me wonder if they fired the whole booking and writing crew and replaced them with people raised on old episodes of WCW and TNA. Skip the final segment, unless you really like Eva Marie.
[Graphic (c) WWE]
Gotta disagree with you about the main event. The match wasn’t good for sure, but from a pure storytelling perspective, it was fantastic. They had the crowd hanging on every Eva nearfall. This was a crowd that looked like they would riot if Eva had won the title, and the bookers clearly played that fact right into their hands. Everything from corporate trying to set up Eva’s win to Nia Jax’s interference was perfect. Not to mention they did a really good job of hiding Eva’s weaknesses in the ring with the interference and ref bumps. Eva still has a long way to go in the ring, but for the first time she actually looked slightly competent and major props to Bayley for carrying her to a watchable match. Not to mention this clearly sets up Nia Jax facing Bayley at Takeover: London with Eva most likely in her corner. Like I said, the match wasn’t pretty but the storytelling they did with this match was very well done. Hopefully Eva stays out of the ring and continues to train behind the scenes now that she’s paired with Nia.
I would agree with Anthony – but I am definitely not used to seeing this level of hijinks in an NXT match, and I get where Justin is coming from. Eva IS coming along slowly but surely.