By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped January 22 at the University of Central Florida
The opening video played… Inside the area, Chad Gable and Jason Jordan kicked off the show with their entrance. Blake and Murphy were out next with Bliss alongside as always.
1. American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan) vs. Blake and Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss). Gable opened things up and went to work tying Murphy up on the mat. The babyface duo worked well together while keeping control of the arm, and Gable hit several big amateur slams to maintain control when Blake tagged in. Gable followed up with a very impressive series of arm drag and an old school flying headscissors.
A short time later, Gable reversed a double team attempt by the heels and hit tandem dropkicks with his partner going into a break. [C] Back from break, Jordan was in control for his team when they used a double Northern lights suplex for a two-count. Gable maintained control of Blake with an armlock, but eventually fell victim to the numbers game and was wiped out by a hard clothesline from Murphy.
Murphy quickly grounded Gable with a chinlock and the heels utilized frequent tags to keep control for their team. Gable got a brief hope spot with a wheelbarrow victory roll attempt, and the hot tag came moments later. Jordan ran wild with dropkicks and suplexes. He hit his spear in the corner on one opponent and flapjacked the hell out of the other. American Alpha hit their ally-oop back suplex and scored the pin.
American Alpha over Blake and Murphy in about 10:15.
Replays aired before the commentators transitioned to a replay of last week’s main event finish which ended in a draw between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe, leaving the No. 1 contendership in limbo.. Backstage, William Regal announced that in two weeks, Sami Zayn will wrestle Samoa Joe in a 2-out-of-3 falls match to determine the true No. 1 contender. Regal then announced that contracts had been finalized with a new talent and that individual will debut next week…
Bayley and Carmella vs. Nia Jax and Eva Marie was hyped for the main event… Apollo Crews was hyped up next… A Drifter vignette aired…
Zim Says: Boy that match was like a 10 minute squash match. AA really smothered Blake and Murphy throughout most of that match and I’m guessing that’s not unintentional as far as booking goes. Good opener.
Back in the arena, Apollo Crews made his entrance. Generic music played and the man from Boston once known as Biff Busick, Christopher Girard, made an intense walk to the ring.
2. Apollo Crews vs. Christopher Girard. Girard came out very aggressively but was quickly but down by a few forearms and a dropkick from Crews. Girard fought out of a suplex attempt with a series of uppercuts and hit a great pose to the camera before delivering a hard sliding uppercut. However in a moment of death, one of the commentators compared Girard to Gillberg.
Girard grounded Crews in a chinlock and even hit his signature saka otoshi takeover into the grounded rear choke. Crews tried to fight out but Girard put him right back down with a hard back elbow and went back to the chinlock. Crews eventually powered up and just fell backwards with Girard on his back. Crews then fired up with a series of double-leg takedowns. Crews hit a stinger splash and his jumping clothesline before knocking Girard out onto the ring apron. Crews brought Girard back in the hard way and planted him with the toss-up powerbomb for the win.
Apollo Crews beat Christopher Girard in about 5:10.
Zim Says: Good first showing for the talented Girard and a solid showing for Crews, but it really doesn’t feel like he’s making noticeable improvements to any part of his game. He came in good and he’s still good, but he doesn’t feel like he’s clicking quite right.
The commentators put over the influx of new talent coming into NXT and talked about Girard being an honorable mention for that list. They then turned their attention to a replay of Bayley defending her championship against Carmella before both ladies were attacked by Nia Jax and Eva Marie before being saved by Asuka.
Backstage, Baymella were standing by with Rich Brennan. Bayley put over Carmella as a great future champion and Carmella threw some shade at Eva and Nia Jax. Bayley said she was glad Asuka was there to make the save, and she saw in Asuka’s eyes that she wants the NXT Women’s Championship… Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bull Dempsey was hyped up next…
Security camera footage from outside the WWEPC showed Dash and Dawson attacking Enzo Amore in the parking lot before Big Cass came to the rescue…
Zim Says: How can they have footage of that and not have Regal respond by suspending the champions or anything? Could you imagine the same scenario at an NFL facility or a UFC gym?
Back in the arena, the now-released Bull Dempsey made his entrance. His opponent, Tommaso Ciampa, was already in the ring.
3. Bull Dempsey vs. Tommaso Ciampa. Bull struggled to get his t-shirt off at the bell and needed the referee’s help. The to competitors didn’t even touch until after the minute-mark, at which point Bull began to do jumping jacks out of a wristlock. Ciampa hit a big running arm breaker around the two-minute mark and began to target Bull’s arm.
Bull just curled up in the ring and wouldn’t give up his arm so Ciampa just began to stomp and punch Bull. Ciampa hit a hard knee lift but Bull kicked out at one. Bull avoided a move and began to rally with a series of jabs, but Ciampa quickly grounded Bull and applied his bridging armbar for the submission win…
Tommaso Ciampa forced Bull Dempsey to submit in about 4:15.
Backstage, the roving reporter asked Samoa Joe for his take on William Regal’s announcement of the 2-out-of-3 falls match. Joe said that he’s not surprised because he’s been jumping through ridiculous hoops since he arrived. He took credit for making NXT hot. He said Regal’s decision just means that Zayn will suffer twice as much because he’ll lose his chance at No. 1 contendership twice…
Zim Says: Throwaway match from Ciampa and Bull really. Great promo from Joe though.
Backstage, Rich Brennan was standing by with Sami Zayn for his reaction to Regal’s decision. Zayn said that he’s ready and he even has experience in this type of match. He said he has tunnel vision towards becoming the first-ever two-time champion and nothing is going to get in the way of that…
Back in the arena, Nia Jax made her entrance. Eva Marie was out next. Carmella came out as far as the ramp, and Bayley rounded out the competitors.
4. NXT Women’s Champion Bayley and Carmella vs. Eva Marie and Nia Jax. Carmella went right after Eva with a series of Thesz presses and Baymella hit double team suplex before Eva wanted out and Nia Jax tagged in. Jax quickly put Bayley down and allowed Eva to re-enter the match in control of Bayley. Bayley quickly regained control for her team though and they hit a series of clotheslines in the corner before Carmella celebrated with a moonwalk. [C]
Back from break, Nia Jax took control of Carmella and began to ragdoll her around the ring. Carmella nearly made a comeback when Eva entered the match, but Jax came back in to reassure control for her team. The heels continued to isolate Carmella and Nia Jax showed how green she really still is while trying to work past the five-minute mark.
Carmella managed to avoid a charging Jax and made the hot tattoo Bayley. Bayley ran wild on Eva Marie with a scoop suplex and her series of elbows in the corner before hitting a diving reverse elbow. Bayley wasted no time hitting the Bayley-to-Belly, but Nia Jax broke up the pinfall. Carmella tagged in and put Eva in her submission hold, but Jax once again intervened to extend the match. A short time later, Jax was legal and hit a series of three leg drops, but Eva made the tag and slipped in for the pinfall on Carmella.
Eva Marie and Nia Jax defeated Carmella and Bayley in about 8:20.
Jax showed no signs of frustration and was all smiles as she backed up the ramp with her partner, victorious… Backstage, Rich Brennan was standing by with William Regal and Finn Bálor. Regal addressed Finn and said that he’s approaching the all-time record with the championship and there’s a debate stirring as to who is the greatest NXT Champion ever. Regal said that he’s arranged for a match between Finn Bálor and the man who currently holds the distinction, Neville. Bálor simply said that he looks forward to it, and the show ended.
Zim Says: Fun little announcement at the end there. I like that they acknowledge things like that and take the opportunity to make the most of it. I’m looking forward to that match. Hopefully it will deliver as a main event in a much stronger way than this week’s, because that was rough. As fantastic as Bayley is, she can’t carry a match from the ring apron. This was at least 5 or 6 minutes of Carmella, Nia Jax, and Eva Marie in the main event slot and that just doesn’t cut it. Next week’s show looks to be a hot one with the tease of new talent, plus Bálor vs. Neville, and the week after is Joe vs. Zayn 2/3 falls which I also have high expectations, so here’s hoping things are actually going to be ramping up from here.
Be sure to check back for the DotNet NXT Audio Recap and Hitlist.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.