Welcome back to our weekly review of WWE NXT! Al here, per usual, and this time on NXT, we’ve got a massive main event of Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe to determine the new Number One Contender for Finn Balor’s NXT Championship. Coming off of last weeks episode, is there a clear favorite for tonight? All three men looked strong in their matches last week, so it should be interesting to see how the main event plays out. That being said, let’s jump right into things as NXT kicks off with some tag team action!
American Alpha continue to improve with every showing they have. It’s incredible to think that they’re on top of their game and they still get better with every match they work. As Graves pointed out, the tag team division in NXT is incredible strong right now, and my favorite part of NXT as a fan. Tom Phillips and Corey Graves talk about the issues between Asuka and the partnership of Dana Brooke or Emma, with the dynamic duo backstage in an interview. Emma talks about her upcoming encounter with Carmella, stating that Carmella even being the contender to Bayley’s championship is just pure luck, and that Emma will look to end that streak of luck next week.
Nia Jax’s theme bothers me to this day. I love the fact that she’s an absolutely brutal and dominating competitor, but that upbeat pop theme irks me. Liv Morgan tries to use some agility to derail Nia Jax, but is ragdolled around the ring with the encouragement of Eva Marie at ringside. Nia Jax dominates Liv Morgan and puts the nail in the coffin with the leg drop for a very underwhelming victory. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Backstage, we see a rather angry Carmella who tells Emma that she’s in for the fight of her life and that she doesn’t need anyone’s help to beat Emma. Enzo and Cass get some words of their own in to Dash and Dawson, who are clearly still seething from their loss to the tag team champions in London. Afterwords, we get a short video package about Baron Corbin, one of the three men in tonight’s Number One Contender’s Triple Threat match.
Alex Riley, much to my dismay, is back and competing in NXT. Riley is having none of the BullFit antics of Dempsey. Riley is absolutely unloading on Bull Dempsey, even at one point yelling “Is this what NXT’s come to?”. Riley is very clearly being utilized as a heel. Dempsey fights out of the attack of Riley, but is planted with an absolutely huge spinebuster. Riley follows that up with a huge leaping knee strike, and picks up the victory in his return to NXT.
Riley looked pretty darn good in his return to the ring, even to someone who is not a fan of his work like myself. It’ll be interesting to see how things continue with Riley, but he’s definitely being positioned as a heel. On the heels of that, we get a look at Elias Samson backstage, who’s in action next. Alex Riley cuts a promo backstage, and he’s clearly unhappy, stating that WWE does not care about him as star and they’re more invested in other returning and debuting talent. He’s not entirely wrong, to be honest. I’m not sure that anyone in WWE at this point can be entirely invested in the guy. He flopped on the main roster, thanks in no small part to being glued to The Miz, but that’s an entirely different story.
Corey Graves said something about Samson that I absolutely agree with: the more I see of this guy, the less I like him. Aside from an absolutely awful gimmick (come on, does anyone really buy this garbage), he just has nothing to offer in the ring that hasn’t been seen before. Samson is all over Skyler, just physically dissecting him, and even the Full Sail crowd notorious for garbage chanting is absolutely dead silent for this. Samson puts Skyler away with a neckbreaker in short order. Much like the Nia Jax/Liv Morgan match, this is not even remotely worth watching.
Heading to the backstage area, we see Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley bantering about picking up chicks at the night club, touching on the creepy Vaudevillians promos, and how Mojo apparently watches Zack Ryder sleep. Not really sure what the point of that promo was, but good to know that Mojo Rawley is still an absolute tool. I actually feel sorry for Zack Ryder having to deal with that every day.
The beginning moments of this match belong strictly to Samoa Joe, who makes short work of both Zayn and Corbin. Zayn does his best to fight back with Corbin neutralized on the outside, but the ferocity of Joe is just too much. Corbin makes his eventually entrance, blindsiding Zayn and surgically dissecting him. Joe re-inserts himself into the affair, trading blows with the Samoan Submission Machine and even flooring him at one point. Zayn launches himself over the top rope and nails Corbin and Joe with a huge senton. Corbin is the first man back into the ring, nailing Zayn with the Deep Six, but isn’t able to come up with the three count. Joe follows suit, nailing a vicious combination of moves on Corbin and laying Zayn out with a running senton. Joe maintains physical dominance in this match over Zayn and Corbin, even attempting to go for a Muscle Buster on Zayn. Zayn, in a show of freakish strength, hits a Blue Thunder Bomb on Corbin but only gets a two count on the affair. Joe drags Zayn to the outside and locks him into a Coquina Clutch to neutralize him on the outside. Back inside the ring, Corbin neutralizes Joe with an End of Days but is only able to come up with a two count on the affair. Corbin asserts some physical dominance of his own and rains clotheslines down on Zayn in the corner of the ring. Zayn comes up with an exploder suplex and hits a huge Helluva Kick in the corner. The match ends in controversy as Zayn and Joe both had him in a submission and Corbin tapped out. William Regal comes out, but has absolutely no announcement about who won the match. Thus, we hit the end of this episode of NXT.
No, I’m not kidding. That’s literally how we end the match. We end it with Zayn and Joe bantering with William Regal about who won. That’ll wrap it up for this episode of NXT, folks. Join us again next Wednesday for a hopefully less disappointing episode.