I’m baccck! Thanks again to Dan for filling in on last week’s NXT review as I was dealing with a lot of busy work from my job and the site. I’m here to reclaim my rightful throne though! This week’s edition of NXT still emanates from the CFE Arena, and acts as more of a filler episode between now and next week’s huge episode. Not to say this show isn’t important, as it is. With the hype surrounding NXT TakeOver: Dallas, it’s critical for NXT to set the right tone and put the right foot forward going into the biggest show of the year.
In a rematch from their clash a few weeks ago, Jason Jordan and Chad Gable clash with Blake and Murphy, as they likely head to a match for the Tag Team Championship at TakeOver: Dallas. Gable works Murphy over with hilarious results, showboating as he brings debilitating pain upon Murphy. Murphy is able to get a tag out to Blake, but Blake is dominated in short order by the amateur standout Gable. Proving he’s more than just a technician, Gable throws in some flash and flair, throwing Blake around with some tremendous looking armdrags and even a head scissors. Every time Murphy gets into this match, he essentially screams bloody murder due to Chad Gable. Attempting to turn the tide in their favor, Blake and Murphy go for a double lariat on Gable, but are instead derailed as they slam their heads together with a sickening thud. As we return from a plethora of WWE Network original commercials, Jason Jordan is in control of Blake, utilizing the same arm-targeted offense of his partner Chad Gable. Murphy and Gable end up getting into the fray, and Gable is decapitated by a jaw-jacking clothesline. Blake and Murphy dominate the smaller Gable with double team offense, trying to demoralize the firecracker, frantic, and technical offense of Gable. Jordan comes in off an insane hot tag and cleans house with a flurry of dropkicks and german suplexes. The straps come down, and it’s all elementary from there. Jordan hits the spear on Blake, gets the tag to Gable, and throws him up for the alley-oop bridging german and the victory.
Very technical, and yet again impressive showing by American Alpha. As Corey Graves notes during the broadcast: they keep getting better every time they’re able to work in the ring. It’s absolutely ridiculous that these two guys keep becoming better every week, and it’s all but writing on the walls as far as Gable and Jordan getting the opportunity, and seizing it, for the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver: Dallas. We flip backstage to NXT General Manager William Regal, who has two very important announcements for us: the first being that Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe will once again clash in two weeks on NXT in a two out of three falls match to finally determine the number one contender to Finn Balor’s NXT Championship. The second? We’ll have to wait til next week to see who exactly it is, but NXT has signed a well known independent star. Hell of a way to hype up the next two episodes of NXT, especially as we head down the road to arguably NXT’s biggest event thus far this year. Following all this, we receive an Elias Samson vignette. If you read any of my NXT reviews, you’ll know I hate Elias Samson and have nothing noteworthy to say about this.
Apollo Crews, who has been in a bit of a downward spiral since losing to Baron Corbin at TakeOver: London, looks to get himself back on track. His opponent tonight is Christopher Girard, who most fans will recognize as Biff Busick. Crews comes out swinging, and so does Girard too for that fact. Girard is working absolutely stiff, hitting an absolutely vicious running uppercut that knocks Crews off his game. Girard takes control and grounds Crews, applying excruciating pain to the neck and back of his opponent. Crews tries to mount some offense, but is met with another stiff elbow, once again grounding Crews. In the end, Crews manages to stuff literally all of his offense in this entire match into about the last two minutes, nailing the coup de grace in his powerbomb.
I’m really confused by the fact that Crews literally had no offense until the last two minutes of the match. If you’re trying to build this guy up as a potential contender and front-runner in the NXT Championship picture, or just the division in general, why would you have him be worked over that much. Is WWE looking to experience the same issues they did with Baron Corbin by building him up this way? I’m just not sure at all. Color this reviewer confused. Flipping backstage to Alex Reyes, he talks to Baymella about the issues that occurred last week following their NXT Women’s Championship match, saying they look to exact a measure of revenge against Eva Marie and Nia Jax tonight. Bayley continues her streak of absolutely awful interview and promo segments. We get shown some raw footage from a security camera outside the NXT Performance Center, with Enzo Amore being attacked by The Revival (which is the new name for Dash and Dawson apparently), until Big Cass makes the save. First Dean and now Enzo, seems to be a landmark week in terms of employee security and human resources for WWE, wouldn’t you say?
In what I believe is the last televised match of the recently released purveyor of Bull-Fit, Dempsey clashes with Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa has been nothing but impressive in his last few showings in NXT, especially in his last match against Samoa Joe. Dempsey starts off with some Bull-Fit antics, doing dual jumping jacks with Ciampa, until Ciampa decides he’s had enough of the shenanigans and attacks. Ciampa gets tossed around a little bit by Dempsey in the early going, but strikes back, leaping into the air and bringing the arm of Dempsey crashing square into the mat. Ciampa has now put a bullseye onto the shoulder of Ciampa, being absolutely relentless. Ciampa tries to powerlift the much larger Dempsey, but pays for his efforts with the big man crashing square down on him. Demspey tries to go for a comeback, but Ciampa locks in a bridging armbar and picks up the submission victory.
Leave the memories alone, Bull Demspey. Ciampa comes up big and looks great, per usual. I’m interested to see if they continue to utilize Ciampa as they have been or not. We head straight backstage to Samoa Joe, who is being questioned about the decision administered earlier this evening by William Regal. Joe says it’s just another hurdle in his road to being NXT Champion that he feels he has no reason to go through. Joe as a heel has a slightly uncomfortable element about it because he has that stone-cold killer face that not a lot of heels have. He’s able to do more in showing no emotion than most heels are with showing emotion. Sami Zayn is also questioned by Alex Reyes about the announcement, saying that he’s ready for this match and the only thing on his mind is becoming the NXT Champion.
It’s interesting to draw attention to the reaction that Eva Marie got, and for that fact Carmella. Eva Marie got a thunderous chorus of boos when her music hit, which faded into absolutely radio silence by the crowd, and continued into the end of Carmella’s entrance. Talk about a chain reaction. Want to know how to literally kill a crowd? I guess you ought to take some lessons by Eva Marie. Carmella goes ballistic on Eva Marie, unloading furious punches. Eva decides enough is enough, and tags Nia Jax into the match who dominates Bayley with ease. Eva gets tagged in and Bayley returns the favor, tagging in Carmella to exact more revenge. This trend continues the entire match until the ending. Eva Marie was in this match far too much, and the consistently tagging in and out played absolutely no purpose at all. I couldn’t have cared less about the main event of this show, and that’s a shame because Carmella and Bayley are actually very good, but they just weren’t set up for success here.
The ending of the match was equally as lackluster as the match itself: Nia Jax unloaded three leg drops in a row onto Carmella and Eva Marie tagged herself in to pick up the victory. I found myself doing and thinking a plethora of other things during this match, but none of it related to this match being good or even really caring about the match itself. So, how do we follow up that hot garbage of a match? William Regal is talking to Finn Balor back in his office, and notes that Balor is close to being the longest reigning champion in NXT history, which begs the question: who is the greatest NXT champion? Regal wants an answer to that, and he has named the main event of next week’s episode: Finn Balor vs. The Man That Gravity Forgot, Neville. Holy hot hell, is next week’s episode going to be great or what? Before we talk about next week though, let’s conclude this week. All in all, a strong showing in most matches except for the main event, which again is a shame. American Alpha, more important Chad Gable, stole the show. Ciampa looked strong and vicious in his match against Dempsey, and Crews is attempting to build some momentum and break away from his currently stagnant position in the roster.