WWE NXT
Thursday, October 30
Full Sail University

Cold open as we begin with a promo backstage with Sami Zayn talking about how he hasn’t won the big one yet but he’s on the road to redemption. He’s interrupted by Titus O’Neil who says to get to Adrian Neville, Zayn needs to get through him.

5-Team Battle Royal: The winning team in this battle royal will get a shot at the Lucha Dragons. This is a WrestleMania 14-style tag battle royal where if a single teammate gets eliminated, that team is eliminated. Let’s see if anyone follows it this time around. Teams are Vaudevillians, Enzo and Big Cass, The Ascension, Jason Jordan & Tye Dillinger and of course Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake. Vaudevillians go out first (but slip under the ropes), Jordan & Dillinger and Murphy & Blake get tossed out together. The Ascension squares off with Big Cass and Enzo. The Ascension are a charisma void right now in NXT. I don’t care if they are ready or not, stick them on the main roster and let them fill some depth in the tag division. They aren’t going to get any better in NXT and the crowd just doesn’t care about them anymore. The Vaudevillians slide back into the ring as Enzo and Big Cass are tossed out. Hideo Itami comes down, The Ascension decides to turn around and point at Itami while the Vaudevillians sneak up from behind and eliminate them! The Vaudevillians will get the title shot. **

The Ascension get back into the ring, Hideo charges right behind them and starts hitting some nice looking kick. Eventually the numbers game gets Hideo and he’s getting a hell of a beatdown — has this man NO FRIENDS?!

Viktor gets on the mic (this should go well) he tells Hideo to go back to Japan or he’ll send him there… in a box. I hope it has holes. Hideo gets beatdown for the 9th straight week (okay maybe it’s 3 or 4 but man). I know where this is going and the payoff is worth it but it’s to see this being a good way to get Itami over.

Emma vs. Carmella: Insert terrible, predictable phone case joke here. I’m happy to see Emma on my TV again, remember where she was at the beginning of the year? No new music for Carmella yet so she continues to have the dirt worth theme music in wrestling. She’s got a mic and tells Emma that she’s never met a chick like her before then drops a “BA-DA-BING HOTTEST CHICK IN THE RING” Quick rollup from Carmella to start us off but Emma kicks out at two. Decent back and forth, Carmella is a good athlete and kept things basic here. Carmella locks in a leg wrap and the bulk of the match focuses on Emma getting out of it and trying to pin Carmella while in it. Emma eventually gets out of it with a powerbomb. Emma Sandwich but Carmella kicks out a two! Carmella takes Emma down and Carmella locks in her Face Lock combo submission and gets the tapout. This got a lot of time, more than I expected but that’s a good thing, this was solid. **1/4

Justin Gabriel vs. Bull Dempsey: Our favorite Twitter favoriter versus, uh, our favorite South African? The match is probably what you’d assume, Gabriel tries to fly but Dempsey keeps cutting him off. I’ve been enjoying Dempsey a lot more as of late, he’s starting to come into his own and understand the type of ring work he should be doing. When he first came to NXT, he was trying to be too cute but he’s been keeping it simple — power moves! Dempsey to the top with a flying headbutt and it’s all over. This was a good statement match for Dempsey and Gabriel did a great job selling his offense. **1/2

Backstage, Bayley cuts a pretty terrible promo about Becky turning on her. She says if Becky and Sasha want a match next week, she’ll bring her friend, Charlotte with her. I’m not being mean, I like Bayley but she’s not very good in these settings.

Baron Corbin vs. Tony Briggs: Briggs is a former California indie worker, he’s wearing a Johnny Jeter’s leftover Spirit Squad tights. The NXT crow-eeer Universe is doing a countdown during Corbin matches to count how long they last — that’s really cool actually. Oh by the way, Corbin won with the End of Days in about 20 seconds. This is a great way to build a star, it’s so simple and so under-utilized in today’s WWE, at least with the main roster. You want to get a guy over? Have him win a lot of matches so fans think he’s successful and thus cool. NR

Hideo Itami backstage says he’s bringing a friend next week — EEEEEEE!!!!

Marcus Louis vs. Sylvester Lefort: They are just throwing this blowoff match on free TV?! This, of course, is built because Louis lost his hair at NXT Takeover II despite the fact that Lefort lost a hair vs. hair match. Louis was sans-Kurt Angle wig headgear as he’s the babyface here. Louis showing some nice fire here as he wins convincingly screaming “YOU DID THIS TO ME” pretty much the whole time. Louis’ gimmick is that of a deranged lunatic these days, it’s different, I’ll give them that. *1/2

Sami Zayn vs. Titus O’Neil: Let’s hope this is better than the other Titus NXT matches. They’ve been stall-fests with Titus playing monster. They work in this context but you’d like to see a quicker pace for NXT main events, especially to showcase the Neville and Zayn’s of the world. A few minutes in and we’re already at a quicker pace, Titus is playing monster again but doing so with a lot more aggression — clubs to the back, stomps, european uppercuts and huge chops in the corner.

Back from commercial, it’s bearhug time! Zayn is doing a good job by putting his legs up while in this move, it’s definitely making it look more powerful than Neville who just stood up while he was in it. The second half of this match is a crawl as Zayn works from the bottom and Titus screams to the crowd. It’s working here because Titus is looking like a million bucks but this NXT crowd is falling asleep. I’m cool with it though, keep doin’ you Titus. Zayn with a crossbody from the top but he barely gets two. Zayn gets floored with a huge clothesline but is able to kick out at two. Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle and Zayn is off to the races, Helluva Kick and it’s over! I enjoyed the hell out of this and thought it was Titus’ best work in NXT. *** 

Zayn’s road to redemption continues and he’s showing some nice fire and facials throughout his matches, he’s the best. Post-match Tyler Breeze makes his way to the entrance way and says if Zayn wants to be number one contender, he needs to beat The Prince of Pretty. Next week, one-on-one Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze!

Final Thoughts: 

A great episode of NXT! Sure, nothing was spectacular but everything was really good and it’s the easiest, most rewarded hour of wrestling you’ll watch this week.