By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped April 28 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
A brief video package built up the show’s main event of Bayley vs. Nia Jax… The opening video played… Inside the arena, the crowd chanted “NXT” before the show kicked of with Blake and Murphy making their entrance, led by Alexa Bliss. Tom Phillips and a sharp-dressed Corey Graves checked in from the commentary booth and questioned who Aries’s mystery partner would be. Austin Aries was out next to a seemingly subdued response from the Full Sail faithful. The light’s cut out and that oh-so-familiar chord hit leading to Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance. The crowd went bonkers as one would expect. The heels were not happy with this revelation.
1. Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Blake and Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss). The crowd chanted loudly for Nakamura, but Aries opened things up to build to the tag. Blake and Murphy bickered about who was going to start, allowing Aries to come in hot with a running dropkick for a near-fall right out of the gate. Nakamura tagged in and did the Vibrations spot before he and Aries used a nice backbreaker/slingshot elbow combo.
Murphy managed to get the better of Aries briefly, but Nakamura was back in before long and he wore Murphy out with a series of kicks. He merely motioned toward Blake on the apron and Blake was out of there. Nakamura hit the knee in the corner, the reverse powerslam, and the Kinshasa for the win.
Aries and Nakamura beat Blake and Murphy in about 2:45.
Replays aired and the babyfaces held the ring. Alexa Bliss walked out on her guys afterwards, and then Blake walked out as well, leaving Murphy sitting along on the ring apron looking lost…
Backstage, Bayley was interviewed about her match tonight. She said that Nia uses her size to intimidate opponents but she isn’t afraid. She admitted that Nia is tough but said bullies don’t win. Bayley said that she’s going to beat Jax like she did in London and then re-focus on getting her NXT Women’s Championship back…
A NXT Takeover update from GM William Regal was hyped for later in the show… [C]
Zim Says: Well, Aries and Nakamura make a pretty excellent team but I really want to see those two emphasized as singles so hopefully this was just a one-off or something they’ll do from time-to-time (like perhaps the Dusty Tag Classic). Bayley the character peaked in the second half of 2015, but I’m curious to see how they’re going to keep her hot and fresh and relevant.
Back in the arena, the commentators recapped Bayley’s promo, hyped the main event, and then turned to a video package highlighting NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. A well put-together series of clips of Asuka’s spots were shown spliced in with a Halestorm music video that they used for Takeover Dallas…
Backstage, No Way Jose was asked to tell people more about himself. He smiled, said that it’s a smile and he has a nice one if he may say so himself. He said that some people may see his smile and underestimate him but to them he said “no way, Jose.” He said he lives his life as Jose being Jose. He said Jose is going to have a fiesta, but more importantly he’s there to fight. He then danced off set… Nia Jax was shown walking backstage…
Zim Says: How long before the guy has Go Away Jose heat with the masses like he’s starting out with me?
Carmella cut a sit-down promo alone and said that what happened to Enzo Amore was super unfortunate, but Big Cass has been killing it in his absence. She said she’s so proud of him, but she’s in NXT because she has a dream too, and that dream is to become NXT Women’s Champion… Back in the arena, Carmella made her entrance and cut her promo on the way to the ring. Peyton Royce was out next.
2. Carmella vs. Peyton Royce. Graves continued his gimmick of saying that Carmella looks so much better since losing Enzo and Cass. Royce took control right out of the gate and immediately grounded Carmella in a chin lock. Carmella fought back to her feet and attempted a series of rollup attempts before Royce caught Carmella’s boot and swung her face-first into the mat.
Royce hit Three Amigos, but finished off with a bridging fisherwoman’s suplex for a near-fall. Royce looked for a big spinning kick but missed, enabling Carmella to mount her comeback. Carmella hit a series of These Presses and then a ‘rana out of the corner. Carmella hit a Bronco Buster and then a Flatliner into the “inverted triangle” submission, which quickly forced Royce to tap…
Carmella over Peyton Royce in about 3:30.
A video clip from the NXT live event in Portand, OR last Saturday aired showing the brawl between Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe after the main event. The locker room cleared to try to separate them and eventually did after a big dive from Bálor… A Facebook video showed GM William Regal announcing that the NXT Championship will be defended inside a steel cage on June 8 at the next NXT Takeover special. Joe promised Bálor that if he signs, he will not survive. Bálor said that it all ends at Takeover, and it ends with himself becoming the first-ever two-time NXT Champion. All three men signed the contract and it was official…
Baylay vs. Nia Jax was hyped for later… [C]
Zim Says: Short but solid match from the ladies. These are two of the women who are, in my mind, the featured acts of the next generation of NXT ladies, so it’s nice to see them starting well together. Fingers crossed. I like the announcement of the cage match too, It would just be one too many (some may argue it still is) if they didn’t at least add some sort of gimmick and this one is fitting.
Backstage, Blake was begging Bliss to stick around when Murphy approached. Bliss said that was the last straw. She said they’ve blown opportunity after opportunity and she’s done. She said now it’s about her, and it’s going to be much easier to win the NXT Women’s Championship without carrying those two on her back going forward. She walked off, and once again Blake walked off as well…
Back in the arena, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa made their entrance. Their opponents were already in the ring.
3. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Danny Burch and Rob Ryzin. Gargano used some fancy armwork early on and then got the better of Rizin with a nice series of arm drags. The crowd chanted for “Johnny Wrestling.” Ryzin hit a knee to the gut and tagged in Burch, but Burch also fell victim to Gargano’s arm drag. Gargano and Ciampa used some nice tandem offense and Ciampa began to battle it out with Burch, but a distraction from Ryzin on the apron allowed Burch to take control.
Ryzin and Burch looked to hit some team offense, but Ciampa reversed and Gargano took the hot tag, He ran through both enhancement guys, wiping out Burch at ringside and then catching Ryzin with the slingshot spear. Gargano and Ciampa hit a running knee/kick combo in the corner, and then a running KO knee to the back of the head from Ciampa while Gargano hit a super kick to the kneeling opponent for the win…
Gargano and Ciampa pinned Stone and Ryzin in about 5:00.
In his office, NXT GM William Regal formally congratulated Enzo and Cass, as well as The Vaudevillains, on making their debuts on the main roster. He then announced that American Alpha will defend the NXT Tag Team Championships against The Revival at the June 8 Takeover… Bayley was shown warming up backstage and was hyped in action up next… [C]
Zim Says: Nice showcase for Gargano and Ciampa, who are starting to click together as a unit. They still don’t look the part together, but they’re working the part together nicely. it’s also interesting considering that both are singles entrants in the GCS, so will this team persist? It it off-and-on? Is it a short-term holding pattern? As for the tag title announcement, I’m all for it. These two teams have been working all of the live events together and will have an excellent match formulated for that show.
Back in the arena, Bayley made her entrance to a big reaction. Jia Jax was out next to mostly boos.
4. Bayley vs. Nia Jax. Jax immediately overpowered Bayley and drove her into the mat. Bayley looked to take Jax down by the arm and began to target it quickly. Jax looked to slam Bayley, but Bayley slipped behind into the choke for a quick tease that was quickly thwarted by Jax. Bayley synched in a headlock, but Jax lifted her up like a back suplex, before reversing momentum and driving Bayley face-first into the mat. Jax went to work from there.
The pacing wasn’t particularly exciting, though Bayley did continue to show fight and got occasional comeback hope spots, before being overpowered by Jax. There was one particularly good looking spot where Bayley drove Jax’s head into the turnbuckle 10 times, but Jax reversed and drove Bayley hard into the middle turnbuckle. It was Bayley’s bump that made it look so good. [C]
Back from break, Jax was in control, quelling a bit of momentum from Bayley with a kneeling shoulder breaker. Jax again whipped Bayley’s shoulder into the turnbuckle and then began to clear target the arm on the mat. Jax repeatedly headbutted the arm and then landed a stiff kick to the middle of Bayley’s back. Jax locked in an imperfect Cobra Clutch and Bayley began to fade. She fired some desperation elbows, but Jax put her right back down.
Jax went right back to the Cobra Clutch before turning it into the bearhug. Bayley looked for the choke, but couldn’t sink it in. Bayley shared at Jax in the corner and mounted a one-armed version of her comeback, with come extra strikes for good measure. Jax charged at Bayley, but Bayley dodged and sent her tumbling to ringside. Bayley looked for the slingshot ‘rana through the ropes, and eventually hit one running off the apron after a brief back-and-forth.
Back in the ring, Bayley came off the to rope with a diving crossbody for a near-fall. She hooked for her suplex, but Jax easily powered out and spiked Bayley with a thrust spinebuster for a near-fall of her own. Jax charged at Bayley, but ended up going shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Bayley took advantage and looked for the guillotine choke, but Jax managed to power out. Bayley went right back to it, and then shifted her weight into a DDT for another near-fall.
Bayley continued to sell the effects of the match, in particular her left knee. The referee actually appeared to hold up the match for her knee, but it was just to set up Jax charging across the ring and crushing Bayley with a splash in the corner. Jax hit a knee breaker and then dropped a leg across the back of Bayley’s head which was good enough to secure the pin, much to the crowd’s dismay.
Nia Jax pinned Bayley in about 13:00.
Replays aired and the crowd could be heard not being heard in disappointment. The doctor entered the ring to tend to Bayley and her knee while Nia Jax held the ring to close the show.
Zim Says: The match told a decent story but the pacing just wasn’t there. I struggled to pay attention, and it sounded like the Full Sail Crowd (who is completely willing to buy into a Bayley match 100 percent) was in the same boat as me. Nia Jax still doesn’t convey the confidence and grasp on her character and work to be in this role and be booked so dominantly. Obviously with someone as unique as her, you don’t want to bring her in like everyone else, but you also don’t want to push her to the top of a division that she’s not ready to be in the mix with. Time will tell I suppose, as a win over Bayley puts Jax in the conversation for a title shot, if not outright making her the No. 1 contender. I suppose time till tell on that too, I enjoyed this show very much until the main event slowed things down a bit. Unless I’m forgetting something, there wasn’t anything hyped for next week’s show which is uncharacteristic for NXT, but I’ll be back as usual so be sure to read along with me again!
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.
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