2/17 Powell’s WWE NXT Live Coverage: Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Championship, eight-man tag match


By Jason Powell

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NXT on WWE Network
Taped January 22 at the University of Central Florida

A brief video package focussed on Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe, and then the opening video played… The broadcast team of Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in…

Powell’s POV: I am filling in for Zack Zimmerman tonight. Barring any breaking news, I will be making my NXT audio review available as an Prowrestling.net All Access Daily Podcast on Thursday.

1. Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, Chad Gable, and Jason Jordan vs. Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder, Blake, Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss) in an eight-man tag. Enzo and Cass performed their pre-match mic work. All eight men ended up in the ring and fought. It didn’t take long for the babyfaces to clear the heels from the ring. The heel foursome returned and were once again dumped to ringside. [C]

The heels isolated Gable in their corner and took turns working him over. Gable eventually made a hot tag to Jordan, who threw dropkicks at his opponents and got some help from Big Cass, who used a couple of power moves. Jordan performed a belly-to-belly on Dawson. Jordan tagged in Gable and they hit their finisher on Dawson, but Dash broke it up. Moments later, Cass launched Enzo off the top rope onto Dawson, and Amore got the pin…

Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, Chad Gable, and Jason Jordan beat Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder, Blake, Murphy in 9:00.

Powell’s POV: A crowd pleasing eight man tag match with the babyface tag teams hitting their signature spots. There was zero friction between the teams on either side, as the babyfaces were all hugs and handshakes afterward.

Backstage, Alex Reyes interviewed Deonna Purrazzo about her match with Asuka. She was interrupted by Dana Brooke and Emma, who said they run NXT. They claimed Asuka was lucky when she beat them. Dana said that if Deonna thinks she can do what they couldn’t do, then she’s even more pathetic than she looks… Phillips hyped the main event… [C]

2. Asuka vs. Deonna Purrazzo. Asuka dominated with kicks early. Purrazzo fired back with a punch, but Asuka quickly recovered and applied a leg lock that Purrazzo broke by reaching the ropes. Purrazzo got a one count off a running cross body block. Asuka no-sold several forearm shots and then sold the last one before smiling. Asuka fired back. Asuka applied and ankle lock. Purrazo stood up and Asuka performed a German suplex and then applied an arm bar. Asuka threw a few spinning back fists and then followed up with a kick before pinning Purrazzo…

Asuka beat Deonna Purrazoo in 3:00.

Powell’s POV: A good showcase match for Asuka. I like that they featured Purrazzo briefly discussing the rematch in a backstage interview even though she was interrupted. Asuka is just so damn impressive in everything she does in the ring.

The broadcast team narrated highlights of Bayley beating Carmella last week, followed by the post-match attack by Eva Marie and Nia Jax, and then Asuka running off the heel duo. They also showed Asuka acknowledging her interest in the NXT Women’s Championship…

Backstage, Eva Marie and Nia Jax delivered a promo about making a statement by attacking Carmella last week. Eva said Asuka needs to stay out of their business. Nia said Asuka will end up like the rest of the Divas Division – broken…

A shot aired of Samoa Joe looking intense while sitting on a chair backstage… [C] Bayley and Carmella vs. Eva Marie and Nia Jax was hyped for next week…

3. Alex Riley vs. Tye Dillinger. Phillips said it was Dillinger’s first time at UCF. Graves said Phillips didn’t know if that was true and he imagines that being a Perfect 10 would make him a big hit on campus. Phillips said Riley is frustrated beyond belief, and said Riley told him that NXT is a cartoonish joke. The fans got behind Dillinger doing his Perfect 10 gimmick.

Graves questioned why Riley is so upset. Phillips said he was part of a WrestleMania main event and he’s not fighting for his career in NXT and feels he’s been overlooked. Dillinger caught Riley with a rollup and got the upset win…

Tye Dillinger beat Alex Riley in 3:15.

Powell’s POV: I like Riley’s new look and the story they are trying to tell with his frustration. His loss here played into that nicely, so the outcome of the match may have been more about his story than a sign of Dillinger being pushed.

Backstage, Reyes interviewed Finn Balor, who spoke about both men in the contenders match before saying he will successfully defend his title against either man… Sami Zayn was shown getting ready for his match… [C]

Backstage, Baron Corbin entered William Regal’s makeshift office and asked to be put in the main event. Regal said that he lost the Triple Threat match and therefore his decision is final. Corbin said he believes in an eye for an eye, especially when it comes to stealing… The broadcast team hyped the Divas tag match and Blake & Murphy vs. American Alpha for next week’s show… Ring entrances for the main event took place…

4. Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Championship. The fans sang the “Ole” song before the match. Zayn ducked an early kick that Joe threw at his head. After a slow build start to the match, Joe ended up at ringside. Sami ran the ropes, but stopped himself when he saw that Joe was ready to dodge him. [C]

Joe landed some kicks. Sami came back briefly, but Joe cut him off. They traded punches and just as Sami was taking control, Joe cut him off again with a nice leg sweep.

Phillips said Joe will do whatever it takes to get another title shot again Finn Balor. Joe chopped Zayn and jawed at him. Joe ran the ropes and Zayn put him down with a clothesline. Joe fired back, but Sami got the better of the exchange briefly. He went for the Blue Thunder Bomb, but Joe blocked it. Joe tried to run the ropes, but Sami grabbed his shorts and then executed the move.

Joe came back with a reverse atomic drop, a kick, and a senton for a two count at 10:45. Joe performed a power slam a short time later and got another two count, then showed some frustration over not getting the pin. Sami fought back wiht punches, but Joe whipped him into the corner and followed up with a running elbow and a a kick. Zayn came back, but Joe caught him in a sleeper hold and Zayn fell so that Joe was in the ropes and had to break the hold.

Phillips said Zayn was out. Joe went for the Muscle Buster, but Zayn slipped out of it and performed the Helluva Kick. Zayn pinned Joe in a way that resulted in the shoulders of both men being down. The referee counted to three. Zayn celebrated, but the referee shook his head no. Joe celebrated and the referee did the same.

Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn fought to a double pin in 14:45.

William Regal came out and the referee explained that the shoulders of both men were down, so his decision is a draw. Regal said he needs a number one contender. The referee repeated his decision. Regal again asked who the number one contender is. The referee said he can’t tell him that and said the match was a draw. The show went off the air with the wrestlers and Regal both looking frustrated…

Powell’s POV: A solid match and I really liked the finish. It could have come off really contrived to have this type of finish following the Triple Threat finish, but the wrestlers executed it well and the live crowd reacted the way you want them to in a situation like this with the initial pop for Zayn followed by the crowd being confused briefly when Joe didn’t win either. I must say that the match was not as hot as one might expect from these two, but it was still very entertaining and I assume we will be getting a rematch. I’m not sure where Corbin fits in since he keeps pestering Regal. Overall, a good edition of NXT, especially compared to some of the flatter shows we’ve seen in recent weeks.


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