By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped in Dallas, Texas at WrestleMania Axxess
The opening video played… Inside the arena set up at WrestleMania Axxess, the fans chanted “NXT” and the commentary team briefly hyped Samoa Joe vs. Apollo Crews as the main event…
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady kicked off the show with their entrance. Enzo delivered his usual intro promo and once they were in the ring, Cass asked the crowd how they were doin’. Cass said that he and Enzo were the longest tenured team in NXT history but they’ve never faced their opponents tonight. He said that everyone is going to find out whether or not American Alpha is S-A-W-F-T. New tag champs Gable and Jordan were out next to a big reaction from the crowd. The fans chanted “this is awesome” prior to the bell.
1. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan) in a non-title match. Enzo and Gable opened up as the post-production commentary talked about Enzo and Cass showing up on Raw and finding success so far. For the next couple of minutes, Jordan and Gable isolated Enzo and traded multiple tags back and forth while working over his arm. Enzo managed to grab the ropes during a moment of separation and Cass tagged in to face off with Jordan going into a break. [C]
Back from break, Cass had taken control and used a scoop slam on Enzo, dropping him right across Jordan. Gable tagged in and used a nice judo throw on Enzo before the two rocked each other with forearms to a double-down. Cass tagged in and took advantage for his team against the smaller Gable. Cass tossed Enzo into Gable hard in the corner and Enzo went to work with leg drops and a deep rear chinlock. The crowd sang for Enzo during this rare instance of him being in control, and Enzo and Cass continued to isolate Gable despite his best efforts to reach his corner.
Cass hit a big Stinger splash in the corner and then impressively hoisted Gable over his head by the arm before slamming him to the mat. He did it again, which looked better the second time, and maintained ahold of the arm with an overhead wristlock. Gable created space when he sent Cass face-first into the turnbuckle and Jordan took the hot tag. Jordan tossed Enzo around with ease, but when he looked for his corner spear, Cass took the bullet for Enzo. Moments later, Jordan hit another suplex on Enzo before delivering the spear in the corner and the Grand Amplitude assisted suplex to Gable for the win.
American Alpha defeated Enzo and Cass in about 10:00.
Backstage, Apollo Crews said nothing bothers him more than bullies. He said that he’s followed Joe’s career since before he started training himself and he’s well aware of what Joe can do, but tonight he’s going to show Joe what he can do. He welcomed everyone to the “Age of Apollo…”
A No Way Jose vignette aired hyping him up next… [C]
Zim Says: Decent tag match. This Axxess crowd isn’t the best and the fact that they couldn’t decide who they wanted to win didn’t help the atmosphere at all. Neither did the chin locks. When things picked up it got alright though. These two teams just don’t gel together (yet).
Back in the arena, German WWEPC trainee Alexander Wolfe made his entrance with no video and generic rock music. No Way Jose danced his way out next wearing a getup that looks like someone bleached Bray Wyatt’s closet completely white. He also had a big afro tied back.
2. Alexander Wolfe vs. No Way Jose. Jose swiveled his hips to escape a wrist lock and danced while executing all of his offense. He used a jumping snapmare, and an airplane spin going both directions before hitting a Finlay Roll. Jose strutted into a leg drop, but ate a face full of turnbuckle when Wolfe tripped him up. Wolfe grounded Jose in a hold, but Jose rallied before long. he hit a series of jabs, a hip toss, a scoop slam, a axe handle to the chest, and a running bulldog. Jose wound up and hit a big baseball punch for the pinfall.
No Way Jose pinned Alexander Wolfe in about 3:50.
Jose danced in celebration and the crowd sang his theme song… Backstage, Austin Aries was asked to respond to Baron Corbin calling him “lucky.” Aries said he disagrees but Corbin is entitled to his opinion. Aries said he doesn’t need luck when he has skill, and he proved that skill in three seconds against Corbin in Dallas. Aries put the locker room on notice that he’s there to prove he’s the greatest. He acknowledged the plethora of “A-level” talent in NXT but said only one man is at the “AA-level…”
Samoa Joe was shown warming up backstage… The Drifter was playing his guitar backstage when William Regal walked in. Regal said that he’s listened to some of Samson’s songs and it sounds like he wants an opportunity. The Drifter channeled his inner emo teenager and said that Regal doesn’t know what he wants. Regal said he knows what’s best for NXT and so next week, The Drifter will face Shinsuke Nakamura. Samson was left looking salty and played a bummer rif…
Zim Says: I’m not taken by Jose. The gimmick is fun on the surface but the act has a short shelf life and nothing the guy did in the ring really stood out in a way that makes me believe he’ll break through. I suppose time will tell.
Back in the arena, Nia Jax made her entrance. Deonna Purrazzo was out next
3. Nia Jax vs. Deonna Purrazzo. Jax ragdolled Deonna right out of the gate and used a kneeling shoulderbreaker. Deonna showed some fight, but Jax planted her with a Samoan Drop before dropping a leg for the win.
Nia Jax squashed Deonna Purrazzo in about 1:35.
Backstage, Bayley (wearing way too much makeup) was asked about her thoughts on Asuka vs. Eva Marie. Bayley said she knows how lethal Asuka is first- hand, but you can’t underestimate Eva. Bayley said no matter the result, she still has her eyes on the NXT Women’s Championship… Apollo Crews was shown walking backstage… [C]
Asuka vs. Eva Marie was hyped for next week, as was Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Elias Samson…
Back in the arena, Apollo Crews made his entrance. Samoa Joe entered next.
4. Apollo Crews vs. Samoa Joe. The two opened slow with wristlocks and headlocks as the commentators noted than Finn Bálor had surpassed Adrian Neville for the longest NXT Title reign. They also mentioned that Samoa Joe will challenge Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship in Lowell, MA tomorrow night, which I will be attending. Things picked up a bit after the two-minute mark when Joe landed a series of rapid jabs in the corner. He picked up momentum off the ropes, but a leapfrog and drop-down later, Joe ate a big dropkick from Crews. [C]
Back from break, Joe landed several more jabs before Crews fired back with forearms. Joe shook them off and hit a running back elbow into a twisting enzugiri in the corner. Crews fired back with a chop and several forearms, but Joe promptly cut him off with a hard back elbow. Joe slowed things down with a neck crank and then went to a grounded surfboard stretch. Crews tried to rally, but Joe put him right back down with an atomic drop, big boot, and running senton for a two-count.
Joe looked for a suplex, but Crews blocked the attempt and suplexed Joe. Crews battled back with a series of strikes and hit a splash in the corer before delivering his jumping clothesline. Crews stalked and hit a kick to the head before his standing moonsault for a two-count of his own. Crews hit the ropes, but Joe popped up with a wicked snap powerslam for a near-fall. The two traded shots back and forth before Crews caught Joe with a big bicycle kick.
Crews lifted Joe for his finisher, but Joe rolled through and spiked Crews to the mat with the uranage slam out of the corner. Joe looked deranged as he stared into the camera. He delivered several stiff Kawada kicks to the head of Crews before synching in the Coquina Clutch to force the tap out.
Samoa Joe over Apollo Crews in about 10:00.
Joe celebrated his win and held the ring strong to close the show…
Zim Says: Fine but unspectacular main event. At only ten minutes and with a really slow start the match never got to pick up beyond a very low gear. The arena they’re in and this Axxess crowd is really hindering the atmosphere of these shows. This wasn’t a bad show, but like all of the other shows coming out of this Axxess taping, it was really nothing particularly good.
Be sure to check back for the DotNet NXT Audio Recap and Darren Gutteridge’s NXT Hitlist, as well my Live Reports of NXT’s shows in MA, RI, and NY over the weekend.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.