Welcome to a very special “Is There A Normal NXT This Week Or A Recap For The Holiday?” edition of the Voices of Wrestling’s WWE NXT review!

The Return of Heel Cole and (Nearly) the Greatest Contract Signing in NXT History

With Commissioner Regal out of commission (get it?) following neck surgery, Michael Cole has been put in his place as the temporary NXT boss. No one is happy about this, and Cole, always the corporate stooge, announces Bayley will defend the NXT Women’s Title against Eva Marie tonight as a mandate from corporate. Stooge Cole is best Cole, but that’s not saying a ton.

Cole also announces the contract signing for NXT Championship match at NXT Takeover: London will take place..right now!

Finn Balor comes out and says he want Samoa Joe to sign this contract and look him in the eye. Joe comes to the ring, signs the contract, and immediately leaves. No confrontation, no funny business.

Or is there?

Balor signs the contract himself and heads up the ramp where Joe comes back out and lays Balor out, eventually locking in the Coquina Clutch and choking him out.

For a heartbeat there it looked like Cole’s first contract signing as commissioner would be the ultra-rare nonviolent contract signing. Alas, this is pro wrestling and Michael Cole is no William Regal.

What we give thanks for in this segment: Commissioner Regal.

The Vaudvillains vs. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder

Voices of Wrestling’s Rich Kraetsch may hate rematch clauses, but THEY’RE CANON. So we’re getting an NXT Tag Team Championship rematch from last week to get it out of the way before the final approach to Takeover: London.

Dash and Wilder are brutal bullies, at least by WWE standards, and it makes them a ton of fun to watch against the relative lightfoots that make up the still-stellar NXT tag team division.

This was a fun little match. It won’t be in our Match of the Month discussions, but the finishing stretch was surprisingly hot with failed attempts at both the Shatter Machine and the Whirling Dervish. Eventually, however, Dash and Dawson got the extra tag and hit a Shatter Machine to retain the titles.

A decidedly more serious Enzo and Cass block the exit for Dash and Dawson and put the boots to them back in the ring. Dash and Dawson take their licks and hightail it out of the ring. Looks like the NXT Tag Team Championship match is just about set for Takeover: London.

Eva Marie, heeling it up, has taken over Commissioner Regal’s office as her personal locker room because she needed the space. Resident Ice Queen and Corporate Favorite are apparently Eva Marie’s full gimmick now, which is an improvement. She is, however, still dull, but at least WWE is telling us they know she’s dull. If this Eva Marie Era is going to work, this is the only way it’s going to happen. Sort of like the Roman Reigns Era, but that’s another story for another time. Oh yeah, Eva Marie is pals with Nia Jax now.

Dana Brooke issues a rematch challenge to Asuka who responds with “yeeeeeeeeees.” Apparently she’s the female Funaki and “yeeeeeeees” is her “INDEED.” And that’s kind of OK.

What we give thanks for in this segment: Funaki.

The Drifter

We’re apparently a little short on wrestling content this week (Eva Marie is main eventing, after all) because we got a full length music video from “The Drifter” Elias Sampson. Do the alt country thing if you like, Dillinger, but Steve Earle you are not. Steve Earle, you are not.

What we give thanks for in this segment: Steve Earle.

Asuka vs. Dana Brooke

Dana Brooke provided a distraction during her entrance so that Emma could attack Asuka from behind. Asuka took her out once, but Emma’s tenacity was not to be denied and she put Asuka in the Emma Lock.

But.

Alas, we only got to see Asuka throw one head kick this week. We’re not giving any thanks for that.

Bayley hits the nail on the head in a backstage interview saying that Eva Marie is the corporate favorite, but the difference between her and Eva Marie is that Bayley is a wrestler. Speaking of wrestlers, we’re treated to a short vignette promoting the eventual return of Sami Zayn. No date yet.

What we give thanks for in this segment: Wrestlers.

Apollo Crews vs. Jesse Sorenson

Tom Brennan was stoked to see Jesse Sorenson whose only discernible gimmicks are “from Texas” and “trained by the Dudleys.”

This was a short match and Crews won with a spinning sit-out powerbomb. It’s good to see Crews win with something that wasn’t quite as set up as his Gorilla-Press-to-Moonsault combo.

Crews accepts the challenge to Baron Corbin for Takeover: London after the match and we cut directly to Corbin’s response backstage. Corbin says that Corbin will be the answer to a trivia question one day, which is the best thing Corbin has ever said on television.

What we give thanks for in this segment: Baron Corbin’s improvement.

Eva Marie vs. Bayley

This is hilarious. “WWE Corporate” sent Charles “Lil Naich” Robinson to insure that there would be no funny business in this week’s NXT Women’s Championship main event. This is hilarious because, as we know, Lil Naich has been at the center of plenty of controversy.

Eva Marie comes to the ring with Nia Jax and, as usual, everyone hates her. The only difference is that now they’re trying to turn it into a work. Good for them, but this doesn’t change the fact that Eva Marie is a decidedly dangerous worker.

Bayley comes to the ring to many, many cheers. They do the lowered lights for the intros and faceoff, as they should. Weirdly, Lil Naich is outside the ring, just to “supervise” apparently. Sounds like funny business is afoot. #Foreshadowing

Bayley had the match won in the first 2 minutes, but Jax pulled the referee out of the ring.

FUNNY BUSINESS.

Charles Robinson replaced him but didn’t disqualify Eva Marie.

FUNNY BUSINESS.

With Robinson distracted by the downed official, Jax headbutted Bayley resulting in a near fall. The Samoan headbutt gimmick is my favorite, even if it is kinda racist.

Robinson was clearly working a corporate angle and giving Eva Marie every advantage, but was knocked out of the ring when Bayley countered a Sliced Red attempt from Eva Marie. Jax went to interfere again, but Bayley fought her off and hit a Bayley-to-Belly from the middle rope and the original ref returned to count the victory.

The whole match was a farce, but then again, it was supposed to be.

Jax lays out Bayley after the match and drops a giant leg drop on her.

NXT goes off the air with Bayley in a crumpled heap in the ring and Nia Jax smiling as she walks up the ramp…without Eva Marie.

What we give thanks for in this segment: Samoan headbutts.

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans.