Welcome to our weekly review of NXT! Per usual, I’m Al and I’m back with a vengeance. We’re back at WrestleMania Axxess for this episode of NXT, with a Samoa Joe and Apollo Crews clash set to headline!
If, like Corey Graves, you thought Enzo and Cass were gone due to their debut on RAW, then I’ve only got one word to describe you. Unlike Enzo and Cass, I won’t spell it out for you. It’s pretty incredible to think that American Alpha and Enzo and Cass haven’t crossed paths in NXT until this point. As incredible as that is, it’s even more incredible to see such amazing and deserving athletes like Jason Jordan and Chad Gable holding the NXT Tag Team Championship. Gable and Enzo start things off, with Gable rolling Enzo around so much I’m afraid his wacky hair may fly off his head. Not to anyone’s surprise, American Alpha are asserting their amateur prowess and keeping Enzo down and out and focusing all offense on the arm of Enzo. Cass finally gets the tag, and stares down Jordan as we cut away to a commercial. Coming back from the obligatory sell-out mode of NXT merchandise on WWEShop.com – Enzo is scooped slammed onto a prone Jordan by Big Cass. Things come unhinged pretty fast for Enzo and Cass, but Cass gets the tag back in and starts working over the smaller Gable. A lot of the match is turning into either headlocks, arm extensions, or high impact moves delivered at random. Speaking of high impact moves, Big Cass connects with a running splash in the corner on Gable, and then begins to attack the arm of Gable. Jordan and Enzo both get the tags, and Jason Jordan fires up and tries to connect with the spear, but ends up smashing his head into Big Cass’ elbow, which looked pretty painful. Another suplex, and Jordan goes as far as to put his straps back UP to take them down again and connect with Grand Amplitude.
Seeing Enzo and Cass do limb work and rest holds is a strange, strange sight. It wasn’t a bad match, really, but it wasn’t as good as expected to be honest. I’m a little bit disappointed, since this may be yet another swan song for NXT talent, and they didn’t look as great as they have. I’ve been wrong before though, and I’m sure others will like this match far more than I will.
Corey Graves asking the tough questions: “Who is this Jose and why is he being denied”? Better known to most people as independent star Manny Garcia, this is Jose’s official debut. The crowd is absolutely eating it up and even giving him a Jose chant to the tune of the typical “Ole” chant that Sami Zayn elicits. Jose connects with some goofy offense and winds up like he’s about to hit a home-run over the Green Monster in Fenway Park (I’m from Boston, I’m allowed to make this reference) and connects with a stiff, stiff shot to the face for the pinfall victory.
Interesting debut for an interesting gimmick. Not sure I have much of a opinion on No Way Jose yet. Other than a not very good gimmick, his move set is at least flashy and has some entertaining spots to it.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Nia Jax on weekly NXT programming. If memory serves me correctly, it’s been since the string of shows in early February at the CFE Arena since we last saw it. Meanwhile, every time Purrazzo is on television, she’s ragdolled around viciously. This match looks to be no different as Jax is unleashing a torrent of punishment. Purrazzo tries to connect with some clotheslines and even a few high-risk moves, but is put in her place with a Samoan Drop and a vicious leg drop, finally putting her down.
With Jax more than likely being positioned as the newest challenger for Asuka’s NXT Women’s Championship, this match definitely served its purpose. After being away from the limelight for so long, this was a good way to reintroduce Jax to the NXT viewership and remind them just how vicious Jax really is.
It’s main event time! Samoa Joe and one of NXT’s recent call-ups in Apollo Crews square off. Crews tries to wear down the Samoan Submission Machine early by focusing on the arm, but Joe is having none of it as he fires back with some vicious strikes and knees. Joe showing off his uncanny agility for a big man as he hits a running splash in the corner and quickly transitions into an enzuigiri. Apollo Crews is being downright bullied in this match by Samoa Joe. Crews manages to rally and connect with the standing moonsault, but Joe shrugs it off. Crews tries to connect with his signature powerbomb, but Joe throws him down with authority, taking the chance to slap him around a little bit before mercifully applying the Coquina Clutch, ending things.
The entirety of this match was a Samoa Joe carry job. Apollo Crews looked absolutely lost during this match, as if he had no idea that he was a wrestler. It’s dumbfounding to me that Crews needs to be carried through a match at this point in his career. Not a good look with him now being a part of the main roster. I just don’t know what else to call that match or say about it. He’s incredibly green still.
That wraps things up for this episode of NXT. Next week, we’ll at least see our lord and savior, the King of Strong Style Shinsuke Nakamura in action, so that’ll help spruce things up as NXT is in a “reset” mode heading into the next TakeOver.