By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped April 28 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The opening video played… Back inside Full Sail Arena, the commentators briefly mentioned the NXT Title change in Lowell, MA before the new champ himself, Samoa Joe, kicked off the show by coming to the ring. A large portion of the crowd chanted “Joe” along with his music, but there were some vocal boos as well.
Samoa Joe started out by introducing himself as a man who keeps his word. He said that despite the best efforts of Finn Bálor, Joe is as inevitable as death and taxes and now stands before the crowd the new NXT Champion. Joe said that he’s putting the world on notice and it’s a new era. He said that if anybody has a problem with him running things, he’s more than happy to beat you down and choke you out.
Unfamiliar music played with no video, before Eric Young walked out onto the stage and his name appeared in a logo on the screens. The crowd went wild and chanted “holy sh*t.” Young had a mic and said that he knows Joe and Joe knows him, while he walked to the ring. He said that the only thing in life truly guaranteed is change.
Young pointed at Joe’s title belt and said that he collects those. He said things are going to change for Joe and they’re going to change for himself. Young went face-to-face with Joe, but Joe ducked out of the ring and walked up to the ramp before retorting “you don’t even belong in the same ring as me,” but noting that he’ll beat Young’s ass when it does happen…
Zim Says: Good debut and confrontation for Young. People may begin to criticize NXT for flooding the top of their card with notable former TNA talent, but the realty is that they’re very talented wrestlers who were bogged down in a mismanaged company. There’s no reason not to bring them on board in an environment that will hopefully use them more consistently with greater upside.
Corey Graves and Tom Phillips checked in from the commentary booth and there was an awkward quick cut to the entrances for the first match… Tessa Blanchard made her entrance. Jia Jax was out next.
1. Nia Jax vs. Tessa Blanchard. Blanchard used her quickness to evade Jax and landed some forearms, but she bounced off Jax when she attempted a running crossbody and it was all Jax from there. Among other things, Jax hit a Samoan drop and a leg drop for the win…
Nia Jax squashed Tessa Blanchard in about 1:00.
A No Way Jose vignette aired and Tom Phillips hyped him in his Full Sail debut later in the show… [C]
Zim Says: Same old stuff from Jax, who seems to be plateauing somewhat in the ring and that’s not a great sign. Tessa showed some good fight and looked alright in the minute she got to be on screen.
Back in the arena, Tye Dillinger made his entrance with an updated entrance wall and lights. The Full Sail crowd went wild with the “10” chants. Austin Aries was out next and got a significantly lesser response than Dillinger, though there was a contingent of chants for him.
2. Austin Aries vs. Tye Dillinger. The crowd went right back to “10” chants as soon as Aries’s music died down. Dillinger got the first takedown and flashed ten fingers in Aries face. Dillinger was in control through the opening couple of minutes and quelled Aries attempt to create momentum with a backbreaker. Dillinger whipped Aries hard into the buckles as the crowd continued to chant largely in favor of Dillinger with “10” and “that was 10” chants.
Aries began to fire up with chops and a clothesline before coming over the top with a senton atomico. Dillinger rolled to ringside, but Aries was right there to follow up with a corkscrew plancha. Back in the ring, Aries used a neckbreaker with Dillinger hung up in the ropes and looked to be in control. He charged for a dropkick, but Dillinger cut him off and hit a fireman’s carry into a neckbreaker over the knee for a two-count. Dillinger looked to follow up, but Aries cut him off before catching him with the dropkick in the corner and a 450 splash for the win.
Austin Aries defeated Tye Dillinger in about 4:35.
Replays aired before the commentators turned to a replay of The Revival attacking The Hype Bros after their match last week. The resulting match, The Revival vs. The Hype Bros was hyped up next…
Zim Says: Very good little match from two seasoned vets. I wish it went a bit longer and I hope this response to Dillinger (albeit among the Full Sail crowd) doesn’t go unrecognized and the guy is utilized to a bit more of his potential, because he always delivers on his end. Aries looked good here, though this just seemed like a holding pattern match as he seems to be a man without a storyline at the moment.
Back in the arena, The Hype Bros made their entrance. The Revival were out next.
3. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley). Dash backed Ryder into the corner early but Ryder no-sold and fired away at both members of the revival. Before long, Dash yanked Ryder off the ropes with Dawson’s distraction and The Revival began to work the heat on Ryder. They isolated him in their half of the ring and worked together, including a drop-toe hold into a running elbow drop.
Ryder’s chance came when he reversed a bulldog attempt by Dash and Mojo took the luke warm tag. He fought off both members of The Revival for a short time before a quick blind tag caught Mojo unaware and he walked into the Shatter Machine for the loss.
The Revival over The Hype Bros in about 4:15.
Backstage, Alex Riley was asked about his match next week with “Shinsuke Nakamura: King of Strong Style.” Riley said that he doesn’t know what strong style is, but next week a man half of his size with 1/10 the strength is going to punch him in the face, and then a raging lunatic is going to punch back. Riley said he gets the hype around Nakamura, but next week Nakamura’s going to take a beating because it’s time to rage…
Zim Says: Fine tag match. Nothing special, but The Revival said they’re going to fight their way back in their promo last week and I suppose this was step one of them doing so. Why is Riley still employed? (Other than to take a knee to the face from Nakamura).
Back in the arena, No Way Jose danced his way to the ring. The announcers touted this as his Full Sail debut, as they’re not counting the numerous dark matches he’s had there prior to his debut. His opponent was already waiting in the ring.
4. No Way Jose vs. Noah Kekoa. The crowd danced and sang for Jose, including singing “Jose” to the tune of Ole while Jose danced himself into a sweat. Jose took his opponent down with an armlock and the match literally opened into a rest hold. Noah blocked another arm takedown attempt, but Jose didn’t allow him to pick up momentum as he made his dancing comeback. The crowd chanted “Si se puede” before Jose hit a hard baseball punch and a cobra clutch slam for the win.
No Way Jose pinned Noah Kekoa in about 2:15.
Backstage, a new interviewer congratulated Aries on his win over Dillinger and Aries congratulated her on looking good today (ugh). He acknowledged that Dillinger is an A-level talent, but isn’t AA-level. Aries said after coming in as the big acquisition with lots of buzz, he finds himself flying under the radar these days. Essentially, he said that he’s going to have to make some waves to keep his name in the mix, and then he left to eat a banana and replenish potassium…
Samoa Joe vs. Eric Young was hyped up next… [C]
Zim Says: Of course Full Sail loves Jose, but this thing really is 2016’s latest campy NXT gimmick that won’t work outside of NXT and has limited legs.
A Finn Bálor vignette aired. Creepy music played and we were apparently taken into the mind of Finn Bálor who repeated “my obsession” regarding the NXT title. He declared that he will embrace the demon inside, before a graphic hyped that Finn Bálor will return to NXT TV next week…
Back in the arena, Eric Young made his entrance for the main event. NXT Champion Samoa Joe was out next.
5. Eric Young vs. NXT Champion Samoa Joe in a non-title match. The two traded armlocks to kick things off before Joe fired the first shot with a forearm and Eric returned fire with intensity. They traded shots back and forth, but Young came out with the advantage as he caught Joe with a dropkick and swinging neck breaker for a quick pin attempt. Young stayed in control until Joe aggressively shoved Young over the top rope to ringside. Seconds later, Joe hit the ropes and wiped Young out with the elbow suicida. [C]
Back in the ring, Joe leveled Young with a hard back-elbow to firmly establish control. Young fired back with shots, but Joe put him down with the running back elbow and twisting enzugiri in the corner for two. Joe continued to fire away with headbutts before settling into a nerve hold. Young rallied, but Joe cut him off with the atomic drop, boot, and running senton for two.
Joe toyed with Young in the corner and landed several jabs, but Young fired back and began to pick up momentum. He fired away at Joe, but couldn’t take Joe off his feet and Joe sent him overhead to the mat with a back body drop to regain control. Joe landed more shots in the corner as Young continued to fight, but once again Joe cut him off with a hard back-elbow for a two-count.
Joe shot Young into the corner, which allowed Young to do his flip over the ropes and kick off his comeback. He began to roll and suplexed Joe to the mat before coming off the top rope with a high leaping elbow drop for a good two-count. Young lifted Joe back to his feet and looked for a piledriver, but Joe fought out and liked Young to the mat out of the corner. Joe teed off with slaps and chops before hoisting Young to the top rope and crashing him to the mat with the Muscle Buster. Unfinished, Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch and Young was forced to submit.
Samoa Joe beat Eric Young in about 10:30.
Joe held onto the choke for a short time past the bell before they rang it again and he relinquished the hold. Replays aired and the show closed with the champion standing tall over the face-down newcomer to NXT…
Zim Says: Fine 10 minute main event but nothing memorable. Young’s debut made for a good episode, but it feels like it could’ve been dragged out a bit longer and built up a bit bigger. With this result, Young is essentially sent down the ladder night one. He’d likely end up around the upper mid-card of NXT anyway, I just think they could’ve made a taping-long arc of this match rather than abbreviating it into a one show bookend segment blowoff. Overall though, this was an enjoyable show. There may have been one too many matches on the show that kept time from others, but it felt refreshing to be back in Full Sail and the show felt like it flew by. I was entertained, but I also didn’t get the kickoff to the next feuds that I wanted and that concerns me about NXT capitalizing on their buzz through their TV. I’ll elaborate more in members audio, and of course I’ll be back to cover the show next week. Thanks for reading!
Be sure to check back tomorrow 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.