Kyle Edwards opens this week’s WWE NXT by recapping the final quarterfinal matchups. The Hype Bros fell to Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, who will take on Baron Corbin and Rhyno at NXT Takeover: Respect.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 1, 2015
Enzo and Cass vs. Samoa Joe and Finn Balor
Finn Balor came out last with a new intro to his music, which makes sense seeing as he’s the champion, but it makes more sense considering he new swagger befitting a man coming to the ring in a skin-tight leather jacket and a familiar Balor Club logo on the screen behind him. Can’t wait to see the inevitably awesome Balor Club shirt coming soon – and the horrible logo/slogan WWE insists be on the back of it.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the hosses start the match out with some back and forth before heading to the outside and they’re followed by Enzo and Balor who each dive to the outside onto their respective opponents, but just as they get back up and stare each other down…WWE CUTS TO A GODDAMN COMMERICAL.
We aren’t even five minutes into the episode, much less the match, and we’re cutting to commercials. I complain about this a lot, but this instance was, by far, the most egregious. And, of course, once they came back from their 15 second spot, everyone was back in their places like nothing happened.
The end of the match came really quickly after the commercial break. Joe kicked out of the Air Enzo, which was a surprise, but Balor got the tag just before Joe hit the Muscle Buster and Balor the Coup de Grace for the win. A surprisingly quick victory in a quarterfinal match, even if they were the favorites.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa start a promo backstage explaining their disappointment with their performance in the tag team tournament, but Gargano is looking forward to his match against Apollo Crews tonight. Just then, NXT’s most prolific promo interrupter, Tyler Breeze, comes into frame and complains about how Gargano and Ciampa cost him the tag team tournament and, as a result, Breeze and Ciampa will wrestle tonight. Look at that, quick storytelling and match making without an overbearing authority figure. Take note, RAW.
Johnny Gargano vs. Apollo Crews
Do you think Apollo Crews wears Old Spice deodorant? Bearclaw?
This is a match built on respect, Gargano made it clear in his promo before the match that they were pals and that they’ve traveled the world together. The early part of the match was highlighted by fast paced chain wrestling, Crews’ Okadaesque dropkick and a Gargano spear through the ropes from the apron.
Gargano locked an abdominal stretch on Crews and Byron Saxton said “what is this?” Is it time to have the talk about Saxton yet? He was great when he was only on NXT, but he’s gotten actively worse since going to RAW, including making up story points that never happened to try to create sympathy for a babyface.
Crews took control shortly after the back and forth from the early going, as is his MO lately. He won with his nameless Gorilla-press-standing-moonsault combo.
Commissioner William Regal is in his office with Dana Brooke and Emma after the match and Regal puts Brooke in a match with Asuka at Takeover next week. Apparently Brooke hasn’t seen the videos online – something that Regal assumes as well because he shows both of them a video on his computer of Asuka’s abilities…presumably that’s what it was. We only heard the video and saw the back of the computer. Whatever Regal showed them, it seemed to put the fear of god into both Brooke and Emma. This was Brooke’s best acting work in NXT. Probably because she didn’t talk.
Good news, after a commercial we see the video Regal showed Brooke and Emma. It was just Asuka hitting a heavy bag. Not that intimidating, really.
Dana Brooke and Emma vs. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Emma has gone full heel now, she’s wearing black leather gloves in her entrance. Brooke, for her part, has completely ruined her look by going with proper athletic shoes instead of Chuck Taylors. One step forward, two steps back, Ms. Brooke. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce did not get an entrance, which, as we know, does not bode well for their futures in the match.
While Brooke’s moves may still be a little sloppy and occasionally unconvincing, the way she does the little things proves her potential. Dragging Kay across the ring by her ankle, pulling hair and jawing at the referee make me think she’s got a good shot at being a premier NXT women’s competitor. She’s just got to work on that promo style and get some more reps. Emma, unfortunately, is still a bland performer outside of her submissions, which are spectacular and properly vicious. Emma might be what we though Bayley was before her title run: a solid performer who will rise or fall to the level of her opponent.
Emma and Brooke controlled the entire match before finishing Peyton Royce off with a distraction from the outside and a Samoan Driver from Brooke.
Jason Jordan, who is now going by JJ (“That’s sick,” according to Chad Gable) and Gable have a promo backstage. They’re excited to fight Corbin and Rhyno. They’re interrupted by Dash and Dawson, however, who think they’ve been slighted as the assumed underdogs against Samoa Joe and the champion of the territory, Finn Balor. But yeah, they should be favorites. Anyway, the four argue into a commercial break. Also, how can no one have an uninterrupted promo in NXT? I demand an investigation.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tyler Breeze
Fun note: Ciampa is being billed from Milwaukee, the city that yours truly calls home, in NXT. Here I was thinking that our only claims to wrestling fame in this century was the decidedly awesome Silas Young and Austin Aries. Turns out Fake Tommaso Ciampa also lives here.
This match started out with some more solid chain wrestling, similar to Gargano and Crews, except Breeze and Ciampa ended act one of their match with Breeze riding around the ring on Ciampa’s back like a horse. Not a great look.
Ciampa took control of the match with some spectacular kicks and knee strikes and got a near fall on a discus elbow lariat. To be honest, it should’ve been a three count, the normally great Drake Wurtz couldn’t have counted slower if he forgot what came after two.
Breeze countered a dive from Ciampa off the top rope with a dropkick and hit Ciampa with an Unprettier shortly thereafter for the victory. That’s a great move for Breeze if he’s going to start using it as a finisher, and he doesn’t even need to rename it. The Unprettier is perfect.
— WWE (@WWE) October 1, 2015
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley video package
This is another WWE instant classic promo package. The best part about these is that you can watch a big event – a PPV or Takeover special – with a friend who doesn’t normally watch wrestling and they can immediately be invested in the story. They do an exceptional job of recapping weeks and months of storytelling in seven minutes or so.
Final Thoughts: Sure, I wish they’d add some more nuance for those of us watching weekly, but some stories don’t need that nuance. This is one of those stories that doesn’t need anything more than we’ve already got. God, this is a great feud. We could do a major Voices of Wrestling roundtable about why the “Divas Revolution” is falling at the feet of NXT’s women’s wrestling division, but for the time being, let’s just enjoy the best feud on all of WWE TV.