NXT WWW Review Archive (December 2015-July 2017)

NXT Review 3/9/16 – Pride Before The Fall

My favorite day of the week is once again upon is. Why is Wednesday my favorite day of the week? Well, it’s quite simple: NXT. The fledgling product of sports entertainment powerhouse WWE has been a consistently solid product, and I enjoy seeing talent develop and break off the chains episode by episode. While these are characteristics that undoubtedly define NXT, we won’t see any bright young stars abolishing any chains on them. What we will see, however, is two veterans of NXT fighting in what’s sure to be a landmark match in NXT’s history. Sami Zayn, the enigmatic firecracker, is set to go one on one with The Samoan Submission Machine, Samoa Joe, in a two out of three falls match to once and for all, determine the better man and the rightful contender to Finn Balor’s NXT Championship. Before we get into the thick of what’s sure to be a hellacious battle: NXT General Manager William Regal has officially announced that at NXT TakeOver: Dallas, Baron Corbin will go one on one with NXT’s latest debut: The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, Austin Aries.

Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn - 2 out of 3 Falls Match****

“Notice how with each strike he lands, it’s almost like Joe becomes more confident, more comfortable in there” – Corey Graves
The time for talk, the time for games, the time for controversy, it’s all going to come to an end tonight. With absolutely no definitive answer to the question of who Finn Balor’s rightful contender is the past few times these two veteran ring warriors have clashed, there’s no other way for this match to go. Sami Zayn wants to do the impossible: conquer Samoa Joe and become the first ever two-time NXT Champion. Meanwhile, Joe has to prove that he can win the big match. Neither man can afford to lose, but one man has to. My favorite part of how they’ve been playing this out is the level of continuity between the matches. Some may considering this a minor detail, but they’ve even changed out the referee assigned to this match, as Drake Younger was the referee in the first two meetings between these too. Samoa Joe, ever the predatorial technician, tries in the early going to disable the legs of Zayn, even narrowly missing the head of Zayn by a sliver of a inch with a knock-out kick. Joe builds a head of steam, only to be taken straight down by Zayn who works Joe’s size against him, going to work on the shoulder of Joe. The emotional favorite amongst the NXT faithful, Sami Zayn, has things on lock down in the early going against Samoa Joe. Rallying back with vicious resounding kicks, Joe fires off on the upper chest area of Zayn, following it up with a crushing elbow drop. Joe builds up some momentum and fires off a vicious drive-by kick in the corner. Zayn fires back, but is cut off with an explosive belly-to-belly suplex, grounding the underdog. Zayn connects with a succession of clotheslines to down the Samoan Submission Machine and ascends the top rope, only to narrowly miss falling victim to the Muscle Buster. More dominating offense by Joe, but he’s unable to come up with the fall. At this point, we’re about 25 minutes into the match and there has been absolutely no falls. Joe is dishing out everything he can, and Sami demands more. Another comeback by Zayn, who tries to capitalize with a Blue Thunder Bomb, but the weight of Joe works against him, flattening him., and turning him inside out with monstrous clothesline. Joe finally scores with the Muscle Buster, earning the first fall.

Coming out with a fire under his ass, Joe pummels Zayn, who looks like a corpse in the ring at the moment. Two failed Muscle Buster attempts later, Zayn nails Joe with a huge drop kick off the top rope that actually manages to gash the Samoan Submission Machine. Joe recovers in the corner and unloads again, pummeling Zayn right back down to size. Joe disposes of Zayn like an old bag of garbage, tossing him repeatedly into the outside area, flattening him with a shot into the steel steps and an STO. Zayn with a fire in his eyes launches back at Joe, suplexing the near 300 pounder, following it up with a huge suicide dive. Joe tries to counter with a vicious clothesline back in the ring, but falls victim to the Koji Clutch for the second fall. Zayn and Joe unload on each other with burst of punches and kicks, and Zayn connects with a Blue Thunder Bomb that isn’t quite enough. Zayn ascends the top rope and connects with a sunset flip powerbomb, which is still not enough. Following up a huge DDT through the outside rope, Zayn tries to connect with a Helluva Kick, but is trapped in a crossface by Samoa Joe. Sami tries to apply a Coquina Clutch to Joe, but Joe is able to escape. The recovering Joe is down just long enough for Zayn to try for a Helluva Kick, which is quickly reversed to a Coquina Clutch, spelling the end for Sami Zayn and his dreams of being the number one contender.

Was this an instant classic? No, not really. What it was, though, was a showcase by two of NXT’s elite tier talents. A lot of people will criticize this match solely based on the fact that it took an entire episode of NXT to go through it, which in reality with commercials was give or take 40 to 45 minutes, and that’s OK. I would urge people who view this match to give it a chance. Joe and Zayn told the right story and did all the right things, but the crowd element just wasn’t there as it normally is in Full Sail, which was surprising. Joe looked like a monster in the way he dominated Zayn, and Zayn furthered his stance as the best babyface in the business right now by doing what he does best: perpetuating the never say die attitude to the very end, no matter what. This was a great effort by both men, and establishes Joe as perhaps the most significant threat to date to the NXT Championship and to Finn Balor. How their match at TakeOver: Dallas will play out is as good a question as any I’ve heard today. I would be shocked, however, if Joe does not walk out with the title after the enormous build and, for lack of any better term, coronation he got here tonight as the Number One Contender.

About the author

Al McMahon

Al is the Co-Owner of Wrestling With Words alongside Trask. While he's predominantly a WWE fan, Al likes to branch out and cover New Japan and NXT as well. He recently discovered independent wrestling, and is also an avid music theory advocate.


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