By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped in Dallas, Texas at WrestleMania Axxess
Backstage, NXT GM William Regal thanked viewers for making NXT Takeover Dallas a success. He announced The Vaudevillains vs. Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, Bayley in action, and Shinsuke Nakamura’s NXT TV debut for tonight’s show… The opening video played…
Inside the small arena set up at WrestleMania Axxess, the crowd chanted “NXT” before Austin Aries made his entrance. “You are now about to witness the curse of greatness” was the introduction to Angelo Dawkins’s entrance. He came out with a bad airbrushed t-shirt and 2 headbands.
1. Austin Aries vs. Angelo Dawkins. Dawkins lost both headbands in the opening exchange, as he took Aries down with an amateur-style slam. Before long, however, Aries outmaneuvered Dawkins into a crucifix pin for a quick two-count. Aries connected on a series of armdrags and then performed his headstand out of a head scissors into a low dropkick. Dawkins dropped Aries with a clothesline and put the boots to him, but Aries fought back with a series of forearms and used a neckbreaker across the second rope. Aries went up top and came down with a big missile dropkick and then charged across the ring with another big dropkick to the mush. Aries crumpled Dawkins with a rolling elbow and scored the pinfall…
Austin Aries beat Angelo Dawkins in about 4:00.
Backstage, Samoa Joe was asked what’s next for him after coming up short against Finn Bálor. Joe said nothing had changed just because Bálor escaped twice. Joe said he is a warrior who doesn’t stop until he accomplishes his mission. He said next week he brings his war to Apollo Crews, and that’s what’s next… Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger was hyped for later in the show… [C]
Zim Says: Standard extended squash from Aries. It was entertaining and crisp, but not much more than a holding place match for a guy who I want to see take another step in storyline.
A “No Way Jose” vignette aired and hyped him for next week… Back in the arena, Alexa Bliss made her entrance. Her opponent was already in the ring, and the commentators discussed the legacy of her family, the Blanchard family.
2. Alexa Bliss vs. Tessa Blanchard. Blanchard got the better of Bliss in the opening minute or so, but she eventually ran into a hard back-elbow and Bliss began to go to work. Bliss stood on Blanchard’s back like a skateboard and stomped her face into the mat. The crowd rallied for Tessa, but Bliss halted things with a cravat. Blanchard rolled through for a quick pin attempt, and then got in Bliss’s face before firing up. She acted confident, but Bliss just goozled her, hit an STO, and then hit her back-handspring knee drop for the win…
Alexa Bliss beat Tessa Blanchard in about 3:50.
Backstage, Finn Bálor was asked who should be the next No. 1 Contender. Bálor said he has an obligation to defend his title against anyone worthy and thats something that he takes pride in. The interviewer, Dasha, asked about Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bálor said that he would be sticking around to watch his match tonight because he’s known him for a long time. He said he’s sure Nakamura came to NXT to be champion, and when the time comes Bálor said he’ll be ready… [C]
Zim Says: Well I sure as hell can’t wait to see that match when the time does come. The ladies match was competent enough but it never really got going. It was just kind of there.
Back in the arena, the duo of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa made their entrance. The Vaudevillains were out next.
3. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch). Gargano and Gotch kicked things off with a nice exchange into a fancy quick pin attempt by Gargano, but before long the Vaudevillains took control. Moments later, Gargano rolled out of the corner and caught English with a kick to the head. Gargano and Ciampa crunched English in the corner with a combo knee/kick and then Gargano wiped out the Vaudes with a dive through the ropes to ringside.
Gotch took the tag as the fresh man and got the better of Gargano in the ring. The Vaudes grounded Gargano and methodically worked over the arm as the crowd tried to rally, but English slammed Gargano hard to the mat to keep control. Just shy of the five-minute mark, Ciampa took the hot tag and began to roll. He hung English up on the top rope before dropping him with a Flatliner. Gotch blind-tagged in for a quick false-finish, but Ciampa reversed into his new bridging armbar and Gotch quickly tapped.
Gargano and Ciampa over The Vaudevillains in about 6:00.
The commentators put over the magnitude of a win over former NXT Tag Team Champions and built up the momentum of Gargano and Ciampa… Backstage, Tye Dillinger was asked about facing Shinsuke Nakamura, but Dillinger argued that Nakamura was facing him. Dillinger said that the guy is great, but it’s not going to be as easy as walking through Tye Dillinger. Dillinger said he’s going to send Nakamura packing home to tell everyone about the Perfect 10…
Zim Says: Nice little tag match, and the right finish considering Gargano and Ciampa are signed now and The Vaudevillains are moving onward and upward. Nice little promo from the under-rated Dillinger as well.
Back in the arena, Tucker Knight made his entrance to 1992 WCW music in his awful gear. Baron Corbin was out next. The commentators put over his win in The ‘Dre and said he’s the new big-man in WWE on Raw and SmackDown.
4. Tucker Knight vs. Baron Corbin. Corbin backed Knight into the corner, but Knight slapped him across the face. Corbin put a beating on him before Knight made a comeback shortly after the minutee-mark. He hit a splash in the corner at impressive speed and the used a These Press, but Corbin came right back with the End of Days for the win…
Baron Corbin pinned Tucker Knight in about 2:00.
“Earlier Today,” American Alpha stood in the arena and discussed winning the NXT Tag Team Championships in the same arena that The Beetles played in. They were approached by Enzo and Cass who congratulated them. They put the match over as one of the best tag team matches they’ve ever seen and said they’re happy to see the belts around their waists. Enzo and Cass said they’re a major part of the legacy of NXT and the only team they’ve never faced is American Alpha. Jordan said they’ll make it happen before both teams shook hands…
Back in the arena, Bayley made her entrance to a big pop. The commentators remarked about it being her first appearance since losing the title, but noted that she hadn’t lost her smile nor enthusiasm. Liv Morgan was out next.
5. Bayley vs. Liv Morgan. Bayley went right to work with some of her signature offense, before Morgan avoided a knee drop and used a fancy handspring into a backwards rolling lucha headscissors. Bayley regained control quickly and hit her series of running shots in the corner. Liv fought back with a bulldog and then launched Bayley with a monkey flip, but Bayley caught her and planted her with the Bayley-to-Belly for the win.
Bayley over Liv Morgan in about 3:25.
The commentators talked about the mark of a champion being how many times you can get up when you’re knocked down, and Graves said that we’ll see Bayley and Asuka clash again down the road. Bayley took a mic and thanked the crowd for their response. She said the exact same thing that the dubbed commentary said about the mark of a champion. She admitted that she lost in Dallas to an amazing competitor in Asuka, who was the better woman that night. Bayley acknowledged that it makes some fans angry and it makes her angry too, but she warned people not to feel sorry for her because she will become champion again. She said that she stands for each and every one of the fans. She hugged Izzy on her way out of the arena…
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger was hyped up next…
Zim Says: Nice bounce back for Bayley with a response that is true to her character. Liv Morgan put on her best performance to date and managed to shine despite this segment being all about Bayley. Nothing remarkable, but good stuff.
American Alpha vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady was hyped for next week, as was Samoa Joe vs. Apollo Crews…
Back in the arena, Tye Dillinger made his entrance. Shinsuke Nakamura was out next.
6. Tye Dillinger vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. The two didn’t touch until the minute-mark, as the crowd chanted “he’s 11” about Nakamura to draw Dillinger’s ire. Dillinger mocked Nakamura, but Nakamura got his comeuppance by punking Dillinger out with his clean break spot, before putting a boot into Dillinger’s face. Nakamura ate a superkick, but kicked out at one on three pin attempts by Dillinger. Dillinger slowed things by settling into a chinlock, as the crowd tried to rally for Nakamura.
Nakamura worked back to his feet and dodged another superkick attempt before catching Dillinger with a spinning back kick. Nakamura used Vibrations in the corner and then a big running knee to the gut before landing the Kinshasa knee strike for the win.
Shinsuke Nakamura pinned Tye Dillinger in about 5:00.
Nakamura celebrated and bowed in the ring to close the show as the commentators declared that the King of Strong Style reigns supreme…
Zim Says: It’s always cool to see Nakamura, but this match was basically the same as everything else on the card. The show featured six matches, all of which were at least competent to varying degrees, but all of which were ultimately forgettable. I understand wanting to capitalize on the cameras you have in different atmospheres, but this Axxess setup and crowd aren’t particularly good, and the shows are more-or-less holding pattern rather than following up strong on the Dallas results and storylines. Not a bad show, but not the show I’m looking forward to coming out of a big show like Dallas.
Be sure to check back for the DotNet NXT Audio Recap and Darren Gutteridge’s NXT Hitlist.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.
This article may be delayed due to persisting issues with my internet. Please bear with me.
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