WWE NXT for 12/14/16
Watch: WWE Network
Full Sail University – Orlando, Florida
After successfully recapturing the NXT Championship in Osaka, Japan, Shinsuke Nakamura looks to put an end to his rivalry with Samoa Joe, as he defends his title in a Steel Cage match. Plus, eight competitors will compete in qualifying matches to determine who moves on to a Fatal 4-Way Elimination match to crown the number one contender to the NXT Title in next week’s main event. Let’s dive right in.
NXT Championship Steel Cage Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) def. Samoa Joe
Note: This match was taped at a recent NXT live event in Melbourne, Australia.
Before the match, a video package recapping Samoa Joe’s victory over Shinsuke Nakamura in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as well as Nakamura’s victory over Joe in Osaka, Japan aired. While clipped, what we got to see of this match didn’t leave much of a lasting impression, often feeling like both competitors were content with doing the bare minimum. The cage rarely came into play and, while I’m not asking that the competitors batter each other, some semblance of emotion would be nice. For the majority of the match, the action was lifeless, dull, tame, and uninspired. I did, however, enjoy the finish, which saw Nakamura pull the cage door shut and deliver two final Kinshasas, giving himself closure and finality. Mid-match, there was an odd, poorly-edited cut away from the action that gave viewers no indication they were headed to a commercial break.
We get a recap of the six-man tag team match from three weeks ago, which saw Peyton Royce and Billie Kay abandon Daria Berenato, allowing Ember Moon to pick up the victory for her team. The recap segues into a backstage interview with Kay and Royce, hosted by Dasha Fuentes. Kay and Royce make it clear that they didn’t lose the match, Daria did, and they refuse to associate themselves a losers. Berenato interrupts the interview shortly thereafter, stating her intent to hurt either Kay or Royce next week.
NXT Championship #1 Contenders' Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match Qualifier: Tye Dillinger def. Eric Young
Young wastes no time going to work on Dillinger in the corner. Dillinger does a nice job of getting the crowd behind him, working that energy into a fiery comeback that allows him to gain traction after the interference from SAnitY. The end of the match saw Nikki Cross jump Dillinger, causing a disqualification. The story here is that Cross’ unpredictable behavior continues to cost SAnitY, but it doesn’t seem to bother the other members of the group all that much, at least not yet. After the match, Dillinger was able to ward off an attack from the other members of SAnitY, but he was blindsided by Damo, who appears to be replacing an injured Sawyer Fulton. A fine match that played into SAnitY’s ongoing storyline, while not undermining Dillinger.
NXT Championship #1 Contenders' Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match Qualifier: Andrade Almas def. No Way Jose
There’s some solid back-and-forth action with neither man being able to gain the advantage early on. Throughout the match, Jose and Almas taunt each other in an attempt to rile up the crowd. No stranger to nefarious tactics, Almas is willing to do anything to win, as he viciously rubs Jose’s head across the ropes. Up to this point, Jose and Almas were having a solid match, but it picked up quickly down the finishing stretch with rapid counters from both competitors. I enjoyed this, and although it never felt like Almas’ chances of winning were in jeopardy, Jose showed some fire, adding a new move to his arsenal in a hip toss into a neck breaker.
NXT Championship #1 Contenders' Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match Qualifier: Roderick Strong def. Elias Samson
This is Samson’s return after an absence of injury, and by the looks of things, he hasn’t improved a bit. His execution is still sloppy, his control segments are lacking, and he’s done nothing to come across as anything more than a disinteresting performer. Strong attempted to hold this one together, delivering a number of impressive knee strikes during the comeback sequence that led him to victory. Once Strong took control, the action was fine, as it ended up being more of a showcase in his favor.
We learn that Daria Berenato will get a chance to redeem herself next week, as she is scheduled to go one-on-one with Billie Kay.
NXT Championship #1 Contenders' Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match Qualifier: Bobby Roode def. Oney Lorcan
Roode repeatedly disrespects Lorcan, slapping him around and pandering to the crowd. This allows Lorcan to gain the upper hand for a brief period of time. The thing about Lorcan is that he always works with a sense of viciousness and urgency. You know he’s driven by the will to win, and every strike he lands is going to help him reach that destination. Lorcan comes up short after Roode is able to capitalize on a mistake, but he was able to get in a few hope spots along the way. This was a solid main event. Lorcan continues to impress me in his sporadic TV appearances, and Roode’s addition to the Fatal 4-Way elimination match next week indicates a potential face-off with his nemesis, Tye Dillinger.
WWE NXT FOR 12/14/16
Average - 5.0/10
While I appreciate the focus the NXT Championship received during this week's program, I feel that the matches could have been given more time. We got to see roughly ten minutes of the Steel Cage match between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura, which was supposed to be a big blow-off for their feud. Instead, it was just another speck in what has come to be a wildly disappointing main event feud. Other than the brief segment between Kay, Royce, and Berenato, the tag team and women's divisions were given no airtime, which would've been fine had Joe vs. Nakamura been allotted more time.