SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE NXT Report
February 17, 2016
Taped at UCF in Orlando, Fla.
Report by Justin James, PWTorch NXT contributor
[Q1] Pre-credits package hyping tonight’s #1 contender match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady get the crowd pumped up with a promo on the way to the ring as NXT highlights another episode from the on-campus arena at University of Central Florida. American Alpha gets a big pop, too, and they have new retro-’90s singlets, looking like a shirt from the “Martin” credits.
1 – AMERICAN ALPHA (JASON JORDAN & CHAD GABLE) and ENZO AMORE & COLIN CASSADY vs. WESLEY BLAKE & BUDDY MURPHY and NXT Tag Team champions DASH & DAWSON (DASH WILDER & SCOTT DAWSON w/Alexa Bliss) – eight-man tag match
Gable and Dawson to start, which should be a special treat of clashing styles. Huge support for Gable from the crowd. Collar-and-elbow and they break mid-ring. Another tie-up, moving to chain wrestling. Dawson rolls into the ropes to get a break, outclassed by the former Olympian. Dawson goes to his corner for advice. Graves and Phillips heap praise upon Gable.
Gable is forced to the corner, where he breaks free. Suddenly, the ring is filled with every participant. Staredown, and a brawl breaks out. The heels are sent to the outside, then come in with a coordinated attack. The heels get cleared again. You can tell that Tom Phillips was on Smackdown for a time, because it was predictable that he was throwing to break.
[ Break ]
Blake has Gable in a side chinlock out of the break. An inset video shows how Gable was victimized by the numbers game and distractions during the break. Gable shifts momentum on a suplex to reverse into a two count. Dawson comes in to just grind on Gable. Dash and Dawson do the bulk of the work as Bliss heaps insults from the outside.
Hot tag to Jordan, who clears house on Dawson, then Blake. Cassady backs him in. The action breaks down, but Cassady and Jordan work together. Huge belly-to-belly sends Dawson for a ride, then a press slam from Cassady puts Wilder onto the crowd. American Alpha with their team finisher, but Wilder breaks it up. Air Amore ends it.
WINNERS: American Alpha and Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady in 8:57. Standard NXT tag match fare (which is nothing but a compliment). The real highlight was seeing Jordan and Cassady working together, as they looked great, full of raw passion.
[Q2] Alex Rayex interviews Deonna Purrazzo about her match with Asuka. Purrazzo puts over Asuka, but she says her previous loss was a learning experience. Dana Brooke and Emma interrupt. Brooke says that Purrazzo hasn’t learned a thing, and they run NXT. Brooke says Asuka was lucky to beat Brooke and Emma. Brooke says that Purrazzo is pathetic for thinking that she can beat Asuka. Pat to Rayez.
Back in the arena, Purrazzo looks pretty positive for someone about to face Asuka.
2 – ASUKA vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO
Purrazzo looks edgy, then takes a series of kicks to her legs, which knock her down, then brutal kicks all around her torso. Jumping leg lock and Purrazzo scrambles to the ropes. Purrazzo gets boots up in the corner, then a cross-body gets one. Asuka Hulks Up in response to forearms. Purrazzo slaps Asuka. Audible “you f—– up” from the crowd in response.
Purrazzo leaps off the second turnbuckle into a roundhouse to the middle, then an anklelock from Asuka. Asuka shifts into a German suplex into a bridge for two, then slides into an armbar. Spinning back hands, then a roundhouse end it.
WINNER: Asuka in 2:52. I’ll give Purrazzo credit for taking a pretty stiff beating there. Asuka brought it hard in that match. Fun story told, with Purrazzo going from confident to desperate in a matter of minutes.
Recap of the NXT Women’s Championship match from last week, and the hi-jinks at the end. Bayley sure doesn’t look like she wants a piece of Asuka.
Backstage, Eva Marie and Nia Jax said they made a statement last week, and it was justified because Jax wasn’t allowed to be in the #1 contender battle royal. They put Asuka on notice. Jax calls it the “Divas division.”
Backstage: Samoa Joe looking intense in the locker room.
Ad for next week: Bayley and Carmella vs. Eva Marie and Nia Jax.
Tye Dillinger comes out. He’s facing Alex Riley, who looks like A.J. Styles’s super-jacked brother.
3 – ALEX RILEY vs. TYE DILLINGER
Lock-up turns into a wristlock. Riley takes Dillinger to the mat by controlling the wrist. Dillinger finally breaks free and flashes 10’s at Riley. Riley isn’t happy.
[Q3] Riley starts to over-powered Dillinger as Tom Phillips explains Riley and his struggles, prompting the heel turn. Big Thesz Press from Dillinger, then an atomic drop, but Dillinger hits the ropes and runs right into a ham fist from Riley. Suprise roll-up gets Dillinger his first win in a very, very long time.
Post-match, Alex Riley stews in the ring.
WINNER: Tye Dillinger in 3:17. That was not the expected result. Good match. Riley looked dominant, and Dillinger continues to be the Dolph Ziggler of NXT. A short Riley-Dillinger feud to move one of them up the board a bit into the mid-card seems like it could be good.
Rayez is with Finn Balor. Balor gives Apollo Crews a huge endorsement after their match last week, softening his heelish mannerisms. He knows that Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe will both pull out all the stops for the NXT Championship, but he will be willing and ready to defend the title against anyone.
Backstage, Sami Zayn warms up.
William Regal has a new bathroom, which looks like a janitor’s closet. Baron Corbin demands to be in the #1 contender match tonight. Regal stands up and tells him too bad. Corbin says he believes in “an eye for an eye,” especially for thieves.
American Alpha are billed to face Blake & Murphy next week, and the women’s tag match will be the main event.
With 20 minutes left in the show, Samoa Joe makes his entrance, which means either a nice long match, or Baron Corbin will be interfering. Side note: the “Ole!” chants are definitely a Montreal thing. I was there a few weeks ago near the Bell Center and Canadiens fans in the streets were chanting it after a win.
4 – SAMI ZAYN vs. SAMOA JOE – #1 Contender match to the NXT Title
Roundhouse from Joe as they consider a lockup and Zayn ducks it. Lockup, Zayn slides to the wristlock, Joe reverses it. Zayn tries to roll out of the lock, but Joe levels him to the mat. Zayn gets a rope break, but Joe pops him in the head. The match finally gets a bit of motion. Zayn is now controlling the wrist. This is pacing for a very long match. Zayn makes like he is running away from Joe, then low bridges Joe, wants a flip dive, but Joe moves, so Zayn bounces back into the ring off the ropes. Time for a breather.
[ Break ]
Joe and Zayn are still feeling each other out. Joe backs Zayn into the corner. Monster chop and Zayn looks like he just swallowed a bag of ice. Armdrag sends Joe to the corner, but Zayn runs into a one-arm slam. Joe starts to dissect Zayn.
[Q4] Zayn makes a comeback with rights, but Joe suddenly dives at Zayn’s feet and takes him down. Joe punishes Zayn and yells “you wanted this!” Zayn is staggering, but pops to his feet for clotheslines. Zayn telegraphs a body drop, then comes back with another clothesline. Joe blocks the Blue Thunderbomb, then Zayn pulls it off for a nearfall. Atomic drop, big boot, and senton combination get Joe a nearfall.
Joe gets in Zayn’s face, then delivers rapid slaps. Zayn with a Koji Clutch, but can’t lock it in. Powerslam gets Joe another nearfall. Zayn to his knees, then his feet. Joe knocks him into the ropes with punches. Zayn delivers forearms, then punches Joe back into the corner.
Joe reverses a whip, lands a back elbow, and eats an enziguri. Zayn collapses in the corner, but manages an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle. Helluva Kick, then Joe spins around him to lock in a sleeper. Joe uses his weight to take Zayn to the mat, but a corner break makes him let go. Zayn sells the hold.
Joe stands Zayn up in the corner and preps the Muscle Buster, but Zayn slips out. Helluva Kick for the win. No, no, the ref has not called for the bell. Zayn flopped over Joe in a manner that led to Zayn’s shoulders being on the mat, too, and Joe being over him just enough to count it as a pin for Joe.
WINNER: Double pin in 14:19. Really intense match here. A second non-finish in a row in this series makes sense.
Post-match, William Regal comes out to find out what is going on. The ref explains that this is a draw. Regal says he needs a #1 contender, the ref says that isn’t his problem, and that this match is a draw and there is nothing that can be done about it.
[ J.J.’s Reax: Wait, did a WWE referee just tell an authority figure that the rules matter more than the booking needs?! ]
Final Reax: NXT has not been focusing much on the next Takeover, so it is clear that their usual cadence has been interrupted by the winter break and the Road to WrestleMania. I feel like the longer stretch is allowing more breathing room, though, and putting less pressure on the title scenes has allowed many new competitors to establish themselves on the roster. The Zayn-Joe feud continues to simmer at a nice pace.