“What the hell’s going on out here?”

Word came out almost immediately following New Japan Pro Wrestling’s super-stellar Wrestle Kingdom 10 that four of their major stars had given notice and word was they would be heading to WWE/NXT. So far, only AJ Styles has been given any formal sendoff from New Japan and has been removed from a number of ROH bookings. It is almost certain that Styles will be showing up on WWE programming, whether that means NXT or going straight to the main roster, we still have no idea.

As for the other three (Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Shinsuke Nakamura), all we know is that they’ve given their notices. None of the three have left New Japan yet and none, so far as we know, have signed with WWE or any other promotion.

The NXT of 2016 has a chance to be even more exciting than 2015 depending on the result of the rumored New Japan raid, but the state of this week’s NXT? Not nearly as exciting.

We have a second week of “Best of 2015” content, including one-third of every match, before we get to new content for a new year. We’re also about to enter an exceptionally long stretch without a Takeover special – the next Takeover is on April 1, in Dallas, during WrestleMania week.

Honestly, one week of “Best of” felt like more than enough, and I don’t have any more bullshit awards to hand out, and neither does NXT (more on that later)! Let’s go for it.

What ever could they be getting at?

NXT opens, before the intro music, with the story of Beast in the East. Finn Balor tells us how much he loves wrestling in Japan and the journey both he and Kevin Owens took to meet in Japan.

Opening with such a focus on Japan is probably innocuous enough, it certainly is most weeks, but wrestling fans are pretty sensitive to WWE programming referencing Japan in any way.

After some banter that would make Joe Lanza cringe, Corey Graves and Rich Brennan throw to Balor and Owens’ Beast in the East match that’s, you’ll never guess, already in progress.

The final five minutes of this match are as great as you probably remember them – and so is Balor’s celebration. The Japanese fans love the guy and something about his performance in front of them fits so well. Great match, one of the best of the year, NXT or anywhere else.

Later tonight we’re being treated to an Apollo Crews/Tye Dillinger match from the WrestleMania on-sale event at AT&T Stadium.

Hopefully WrestleMania Has More People

Like Neville/Cesaro last week, this match has no entrances or context, and starts with five minutes of the match left, but you get a pretty clear vision on the enormity of the new Cowboys Stadium. The ring hardly takes up more than the Cowboys’ star at midfield and the crowd reaches out just past the hashmarks. The whole thing looks kind of silly on camera, but I bet it was a blast.

Crews, as is the story of his time in NXT, has an incredible wins-to-offense ratio. Crews spends four minutes and 45 seconds getting beat down by Dillinger before hitting two moves – his press slam/moonsault combo – and getting the win.

The Future of the Women’s Division

Surprisingly, we’re going to spend a little time on the future of NXT instead of the highest of highlights. After acknowledging the departure of (three of) the Four Horsewomen, Graves and Brennan introduce an, as always, well-produced video connecting all of the women who debuted (Nia Jax, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Asuka, Alexa Bliss) or returned (Emma).

I recall there being some turmoil regarding the departure of the Horsewomen to the main roster. While that concern has come to fruition insofar as the #DivasRevolution has gone, the NXT women’s division is in great shape. And there’s more to come in 2016. #Foreshadowing

“Brother, I’m bad, and they know I’m bad.”

Dusty Rhodes was a major part of NXT’s backbone and his loss this year was huge, not only for WWE and NXT, but for wrestling fans around the world.

We’ve eulogized Dream all over Voices of Wrestling, but there was a couple of clips in this video package – and the one that followed chronicling the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – that haven’t been in other Dream vignettes. Even if the rest of this episode is unnecessary viewing (and it most certainly is), I would recommend checking out the Dusty Rhodes in memoriam video. Better yet, just watch it in the following tweet.

Following the tournament is a video of all of the permanent call ups in 2015. The Ascension, for example, got more TV time in this video than they’ve received in months. Tyler Breeze, Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Charlotte and the Lucha Dragons all got time.

A Chance To Get Everyone Else on the “Year End” Show

An eight-man tag team match from Takeover: Brooklyn (Enzo and Big Cass and the Hype Bros vs. Dash and Dawson and Jordan and Gable) picks up, as expected, in progress and misses the best part of this match – Enzo and Big Cass’s entrance. This abbreviated version does, however, catch the crowd chanting for Enzo and more offense that Enzo gets in during most months, including Cass throwing him over the top rope to the outside onto all four members of the opposing team.

We jump ahead, again, following Enzo’s dive/throw to Enzo doing what he does best: getting his ass kicked. The Hype Bros, who were mostly involved to distract the other team so that this match could be the Enzo and Cass show, took out the rest of the team so the hometeam could hit Air Enzo for the pin on Chad Gable.

Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor

The best part of catching up with Takeover: London’s stellar Joe-Balor match is that we don’t REALLY have to talk about the babyface NXT Champion being compared (favorably) to Jack the Ripper during his entrance.

We all really liked this match in our roundtable review. We actually really liked the whole event. As with any of the Takeover matches on both of these “Best Of” shows, you’d be better served to go watch the whole event than the 5 or 10 minutes they show on the “Best Of.”

NXT ends their “Best Of” shows having neglected to hand out the Best of NXT awards, probably because they were taped so far in advance, but it’s still a weird quirk. Seems like it would be a natural fit. Alas, we can continue to reminisce next week as well.