WWE NXT for November 23, 2016
Watch: WWE Network
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We are less than one week removed from NXT TakeOver: Toronto, where new champions were crowned, Bobby Roode was serenaded by a choir and Mickie James made her return to WWE. How will all of this translate in a post-TakeOver: Toronto world? Let’s dive into the show and find out.
Rich Swann vs. Kona Reeves went to a No Contest
Swann was out first, to a nice pop. He gave up a lot of size in this one, but used that to his advantage, as his agility allowed him to counter Reeves’ power moves at every turn. Up to this point, Swann and Reeves were having a hot, back-and-forth opener that the crowd appeared to be into, but the match was thrown out when SAnitY attacked both competitors. Try as he might, a valiant Rich Swann is unable to fight off SAnitY, which leads to a promo from Eric Young. Young says that the world is in a state of utter chaos, mentioning that SAnitY is here to “take…” before cutting himself off. We come back from a commercial break, and No Way Jose cuts a brief, yet fiery promo challenging Young to a match next week. We come back from a commercial break, and No Way Jose cuts a brief, yet fiery promo challenging Young to a match next week, which leads to a four-on-one assault. I’m not quite sold on SAnitY, but Young saying that their purpose in NXT is to “take,” seems to indicate that they could be challenging for titles sooner rather than later.
A recap of The Authors of Pain vs. TM-61 segues into an interview with the former team, as well as their manager, Paul Ellering. Ellering calls AOP a “team of destiny,” warning the rest of the NXT tag team division that their next chapter is to be written soon.
Backstage, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce confront Daria Berenato, who they ask to be their partner. Berenato accepts, so she and the Aussies will take on Liv Morgan, Aliyah and Ember Moon later tonight. Afterward, Dasha Fuentes interviews The Aussies and Berenato about their upcoming match. Kay and Royce call themselves the “cool kids,” of NXT, which is why they invited Berenato to sit with them. Solid backstage segment that plays into The Aussies’ mean girls persona.
A recap of Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger is followed by an emotional interview from the latter. Dillinger admits that his loss to Roode was disheartening and it seems like every time he’s close to catching a break, he comes up short. In closing, Tye mentions that this should’ve been his moment, promising that he will not fail next time. This was good. Dillinger came across as sympathetic in defeat, while also maintaining his composure and not losing his cool, like many competitors in situations similar to his tend to do.
We take a look at the NXT Tag Team Title match between D.I.Y. and The Revival. Then, the new champions, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, are interviewed. D.I.Y. says that the tag titles are everything they’ve ever worked for and tell their interviewer that they’re having trouble putting this moment into words. Another genuine, emotional promo that didn’t feel forced.
Following a recap of Asuka vs. Mickie James, James provides a brief interview, simply saying that she’s happy to be back in WWE and that she may have lost respect for her opponent when Asuka refused to shake her hand. Details surrounding James’ future in WWE are murky at the moment, but if she signs, I’d love to see her become the women’s division equivalent of Brian Kendrick.
In what is (hopefully) our last recap of the night, we take a look back at Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Interviewers attempt to catch Nakamura on the way to his vehicle, but Shinsuke simply says: “I want my rematch.” Shortly thereafter, it is announced that the new NXT Champion, Samoa Joe, will return to NXT TV next week.
After SAnitY’s attack on No Way Jose earlier tonight, it is announced that Eric Young has accepted his challenge, and those two will go one-on-one next week.
Ember Moon, Aliyah & Liv Morgan def. Peyton Royce, Billie Kay & Daria Berenato
Although Moon, and to a lesser extent, Kay and Royce, were the focal points of the match, I came away thoroughly impressed with Liv Morgan. Having not seen her compete in quite some time, it was apparent that she’s made noticeable improvements and tweaked her move set to make it appear crisper. I’m also digging the faux-MMA style of Berenato, who hit some quality strikes during her time in the ring. After the heels work over Aliyah, she makes the hot tag to Ember Moon, who wreaks havoc on all three members of the opposing team. The Aussies tag in an unsuspecting Daria, leaving her victim to an Eclipse, bringing us to the end of a solid, yet inconsequential match.
As the show goes off the air, commentary announces that Shinsuke Nakamura will get his NXT Championship rematch against Samoa Joe in two weeks in Osaka, Japan.
WWE NXT FOR NOVEMBER 23, 2016
Average - 5.0/10
The post-TakeOver NXT TV format is a flawed one. While the matches are generally solid to good, the shows are taped prior to big events in an attempt to engage the crowd. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, the matches and angles at hand are often presented as filler and do nothing to separate themselves from the pack. Perhaps it's just poor execution, but I do wonder if this time would be better spent developing characters and providing meaningful storylines. This show, while filled with emotional, heartfelt promos, didn't feel consequential to me as someone who'd already watched TakeOver: Toronto.