This week in NXT we saw former tag champs try to one up each other in singles competition, the arrival of a CWC competitor, two women looking for their opportunities, some big victories, and two huge match announcements for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn…Welcome to NXT!!!
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Wesley Blake
We open the show this week with The King of Strong Style himself making his way to the ring for the opening bout, with him oozing charisma as per usual. His opponent is the former NXT Tag Team Champion Wesley Blake. Backstage earlier Blake and Murphy were seen talking and confirming their break-up with Buddy Murphy challenging Kota Ibushi later in the night. Early collar and elbow tie up to start the action, with Nakamura demonstrating his charisma playing to the crowds every whim. Blake not enjoying this quickly attempts to gain the upper hand. A break in the action sees Blake unconventionally blow a kiss at Nakamura, to which he catches and tries to give away to the referee, before crushing under his boot. This very much works in Shinsuke’s favour however because with the ire of Blake drawn, he able to drop his opponent hard to the mat.
Ever the fan favourite Nakamura continues to pile on the pressure with two good vibrations for Blake to enjoy. His penchant for playing to the crowd, however, gave Blake the space to hit him with a huge clothesline and take control of the match. With Blake fully in control, a couple of pin attempts come to nothing, with him staying on top of his charismatic opponent. Blake was dishing out some strong style of his own, but he became overconfident, allowing Nakamura to prove why he has such a unique nickname. Nakamura was back in full control and rolling and a reverse exploder suplex was quickly followed by the devastating Kinshasa for the victory via pinfall. Nakamura is dripping in charisma and anyone who he wrestles seems to get some of that, Shinsuke was near flawless as per usual, and if Blake truly sets out on a singles career, this match will boost his popularity like you wouldn’t believe.
With the victory party in full swing, the music of General Manager William Regal hit with the man himself entering Full Sail University. With Regal on the microphone, he finally announced what the world was waiting for, granting Nakamura an NXT Title shot at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.
Billie Kay vs Santana Garrett
Next up on the card, Billie Kay arrived into full sail ready to get into action against Santana Garrett. In the opening exchanges, both women were fighting for the upper hand, with neither wrestler gaining much advantage. With Garrett seemingly gaining control, a surprise counter from Billie Kay turned the match truly in her favour. Billie Kay then slowed down the match, grounding her quicker opponent and targeting the neck and shoulders.
With encouragement from the NXT universe, Garrett was able to regain control pushing the speed and overwhelming her opponent. This however led to a missed kick and a huge boot for her troubles with Billie Kay picking up the big victory and a vastly different NXT women’s division. The NXT women’s division took a huge hit in the draft losing many of its mid to upper card players, with the departure of Bayley imminent, Both these women will feature in the future, however from this display have a long way still to go.
Backstage we see a conversation between Regal and Bayley, with the latter pushing for her rematch with Asuka at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, and while nothing was announced there and then it seems it will be just a matter of time.
Next up we saw what could only be seen as a very confusing vignette stating categorically that the end is only just beginning, very interesting going forward with someone seemingly ready to arrive and make a statement. The NXT universe are a very receptive audience, so any new arrival is usually met well.
TM61 vs Rob Risen and Adrian Nails
Then it was time for TM61 and the team of Shane Thorne and Nick Miller, and tonight they came up against Rob Risen and Adrian Nails. Thorne started off the match vs Nails quickly gaining the upper hand and tagging in Miller for a huge suplex. Quick tags were the order of the night with Thorne and Miller switching very fast and showing their tag team ability. However, with a quick counter Risen was tagged in and immediately grounded his opponent. Attempting to cement the upper hand, Risen managed to keep Miller grounded, however not for long as a Miller was able to reach his partner and tag in Thorne. Within seconds TM61 hit Thunder Valley for a somewhat routine victory. A fantastic show of respect with all men shaking hands in the centre of the ring. This was the closest thing to a squash match without actually being one which seems like keeping TM61 active as opposed to actually advancing them. With American Alpha drafted to the main shows, expect TM61 to attempt to take their place.
No Way Jose vs Steve Cutler
Back into Full Sail and the arrival of No Way Jose, here comes a dance party and it is always a fiesta when he is around. His opponent is the ever-dangerous Steve Cutler. Seems Cutler isn’t happy with not being given his chance, if this is the case No Way Jose represents that challenge. Cutler attempts to take control, but Jose is still in party mode and Cutler at first doesn’t know to deal with this. Jose is all about the party, but in recent weeks we have seen a new side to No Way Jose and he is here to fight. In firm control, No Way Jose puts Cutler away in quick fashion with the pin. This match was seemingly just a way to get No Way Jose into the ring to call out Austin Aries and Cutler was the unfortunate recipient of what can only be described as a complete squash.
No Way Jose got himself a mic after the match and let his frustrations be known with The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. He continued to berate him for trying to take advantage of his kindness, and now it is time to pay for that as Jose is ready to fight.
Buddy Murphy vs Kota Ibushi
Next up is a match requested by Buddy Murphy himself, against the Golden Star Kota Ibushi. This could be a mistake, or a stroke of genius on the part of Murphy going up against the red-hot Ibushi and only time will tell what kind of decision this was. Ibushi is fresh off his recent first round win in the CWC, and looks ready to go. In the early going both men sized each other up looking for the smallest advantage. Murphy seemingly had that advantage until Ibushi started to drop some kicks on him. Rolling outside the ring after a pin attempt, Murphy tried to catch his breath, with Ibushi ready to jump the ropes, Murphy interrupted painfully dropping him to the apron and grounding him.
Working Ibushi on the ground, Murphy hoped to wear out his opponent, but Ibushi is a hard man to hold down. Murphy had clearly done his homework, knowing when and where to counter his moves, but with one mistake Ibushi was back. Going kick for kick with Ibushi is a bad idea and, after trading kicks, Murphy found this out the hard way taking a huge kick to the head and a bridging German Suplex for his trouble, which resulted in a near fall. After the near fall, Ibushi took his time to enjoy the moment, however this gave Murphy the time to recover and regain control of the situation. Atop the ropes is a very dangerous place to go, and attempting to end the match, Murphy took Ibushi to the high rent district. This however backfired with Ibushi countering into a huge Sitout Powerbomb for the debut victory. This was overall a very good match, Ibushi announced himself to the NXT crowd and Murphy showed he can hang with some of the best, a great show of talent from two exciting future stars.
Arriving in the building Samoa Joe found out backstage about his future title challenger and it is safe to say he wasn’t happy he hadn’t been consulted. His arrival at the ring only helped him show his disdain for the situation. His claim of disrespect for his position as champion being the main reason for his ire. He made clear that he wasn’t consulted therefore he won’t be facing Nakamura at Takeover: Brooklyn. Stating that Nakamura hasn’t earned his shot.
Thankfully for the NXT universe, the arrival of William Regal cut him short, stating that Joe will face who Regal says he will face. Joe continued to argue the point that Nakamura doesn’t deserve a shot at the title and that he should choose who he faces. Regal was quick to return fire stating if he didn’t fight he would be stripped of the title. Reluctantly Joe accepted, however threatening to destroy Nakamura just as he did Balor, stating that if Nakamura crosses his path before, he won’t make it to Brooklyn. Ever the showman, who’s music was to hit, who else but Shinsuke Nakamura, staring down the champion and showing no fear. The least charismatic champion in NXT history continues to reign and is about to face the most beloved and charismatic superstar on the roster. Nakamura has the crowd behind him, and win or lose, and hopefully he can lend Joe some of his charisma, so he might finally be entertaining instead of sounding like a petulant teenager.
Overall a very strong show from what has quickly some of the best WWE programming. Pretty much the whole show was entertaining, excluding the arrival of the champ, whose reign seems to become more boring the longer it goes on. Joe may have fought his way to the top, however the crowd in NXT and this writer in particular can’t wait for him to fall back to the back of the line.