Happy New Year folks, and welcome back to Wrestling With Words’ weekly NXT review! We’ve got a crazy show in store, as Sami Zayn returns to the Full Sail Arena, and a massive Women’s Battle Royal is held to determine the new #1 Contender for Bayley’s NXT Women’s Championship. Let’s get right into it!
William Regal starts things off for us on the first NXT of the new year, and introduces Sami Zayn. Zayn is fired up and says that as much as he loves the fans of NXT and they make him feel “warm and fuzzy” inside, he came back to NXT for one purpose, and that is to capture the NXT Championship. Clearly unhappy about this, Samoa Joe comes down to the ring and pleads his case, saying that if Sami wants to keep his shoulder in his socket, he should walk away. Baron Corbin makes his case for being the number one contender, and Joe is quick to dismiss this. Eventually, all the banter regarding who the rightful number one contender is ends with Corbin ambushing Zayn, but Zayn fights him off in time to stop Joe from getting a few licks in.
An interesting opening segment, to say the least. Baron Corbin is still blue as hell on the mic, though. Onward to our first match!
Glad to see Ciampa back in Full Sail. I enjoyed this match, as nothing particularly offensive happened during it. Ciampa spent the majority of the match focusing heavily on the arm of Burch, and the middle of the match ended up being a nice, hard hitting brawl with Danny Burch nailing a stiff knockout shot to the ear of Ciampa. Ciampa almost gets rolled up by Burch, but rolls through and applies an armbar for the victory.
We head to the back now and get a promo from Enzo and Cass, who are clearly still upset about the way that London went down for them. Enzo and Cass claim that they’ve got some unfinished business with Dash and Dawson that they intend on finishing. We also get to see a promo for the upcoming Battle Royal in the evening. William Regal then announces that in two weeks on NXT, we’ll see a Number One Contender’s match between Zayn, Joe, and Corbin. Next up, we’ve got The Ascension returning to NXT to take on Dash and Dawson.
Talk about a fall from grace for The Ascension. To be fair, we all knew their gimmick had no traction whatsoever once it hit the main roster. It worked in the small confines of NXT, but it has never and will never work on the main roster shows. Dash and Dawson end up picking up the victory, kicking the crap out of The Ascension in the process before hitting the Shatter Machine in short order. Not exactly a good way to start off the new year for the tag champs.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse than The Ascension jobbing out in weak fashion to Dash and Dawson…we see the absolute worst acting by Eva Marie. Apparently Nia Jax still hasn’t been cleared after being choked out by Bayley a month ago. Eva Marie tries to console her but poorly fist pumps behind her back. If this acting was any worse…I don’t know. It makes me sad talking about this. Let’s just move on to the next match.
I’d call this match a squash, but that’s an insult to squash matches. I don’t know what the point of the Elias Samson and his gimmick is, but NXT needs to hit the drawing board again and come up with something better than what he’s currently stuck with. Entirely skip able match. The best I can say about this match is that Elias hits a vicious neckbreaker.
If I were to start a list of the reason that I love Asuka, the way this match started off would be on it. She interrupts Eva Marie’s entrance and even shoves her aside. Eva doesn’t appreciate that one bit and decides to mouth off to Asuka, who is more than happy to kick her head off. Aaliyah makes her in ring debut during this too, which is a cool footnote I suppose. She ends up being the first one eliminated. Typical battle royal nonsense ensues, and we eventually get down to our final four: Asuka, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, and Emma. Emma is disposed of (much to my dismay, since Emma is delightful) by Asuka after a vicious kick to the head while she’s on the top rope. Asuka is able to stave off an elimination attempt by Kay and Royce and eliminates both of them.
However, you’ll notice there’s one person missing if you watch, and that’s good old Eva Marie. Turns out Eva rolled to the outside after not checking herself and subsequently wrecking herself earlier in the match. She eliminates Asuka and Full Sail was not having any of that. The crowd was absolutely furious, and I can’t say I blame them. As we see the life leave their eyes, Carmella, who also rolled to the outside during the match, makes her way back into the ring and eliminates Eva Marie to win the battle royal. Bayley and Carmella celebrate in the ring to end the show. This battle royal was arguably the highlight of the show, and considering the way that battle royals go down, that’s a shock.
In general, I would say this is an entirely skip able episode of NXT. The only thing this sets up is Bayley and Carmella, so if anything, watch for the Battle Royal. It’s a new year for NXT, so a reset show like this one where we get introduced to new feuds was entirely expected. I’m just hoping the next few episodes of NXT aren’t as dull as this one. Also, for those wondering the year-end awards results, here they are in all their glory:
- Overall Competitor of the Year: Finn Balor
- Male Competitor of the Year: Finn Balor
- Female Competitor of the Year: Bayley
- Tag Team of the Year: Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
- TakeOver of the Year: Brooklyn
- Match of the Year: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn