By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped May 19 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
In his office, NXT GM William Regal noted that he originally planned on granting Bayley a championship rematch against Asuka, but Bayley is not medically cleared so the main event of this show will be a triple threat between Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella to determine the new no. 1 contender… The opening video played…
Inside the arena, the crowd chanted “NXT” as Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in on commentary and touched on the main event. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa kicked things off by making their entrance. Out next was the newest addition to the tag division, TM61, the team formerly known as TMDK from Pro Wrestling Noah. They didn’t get much of a response from the crowd. A cut-in video had them saying that they had been around the world and now they’ve landed in NXT to capture the NXT Tag Team Championships. They said they’re mighty and “the mighty don’t kneel.”
1. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne and Nick Miller). Ciampa and Miller opened up trading holds before Miller took Ciampa down with a shoulder tackle. Thorne and Gargano tagged in and the commentators noted that Thorne is a quirky guy. He and Gargano traded holds more impressively than the duo who opened, and their exchange ended with a high dropkick from Thorne to a seated Gargano.
A short time later, Miller used an atomic drop to propel Gargano into a running uppercut from Thorne. They remained in control until Gargano managed to scurry across the ring and Ciampa tagged in. He threw chops at Miller, but Miller chopped back harder. He and Thorne used a combo fist drop and standing moonsault before clearing Gargano and Ciampa from the ring and holding it strong. [C]
Back in the ring, Thorne had Ciampa grounded in a headlock. before long, he worked to his feet and made the tag to Gargano who came in with a slingshot spear to immediately take control of the match. He hit a kick to the head for a two-count and then used a Russian leg sweep into a nice leg-nelson neck crank. He worked the hold for a while before bringing in Ciampa for a turn on offense.
Ciampa threw a hard chop and then went right to a headlock. Thorne began to fight back, and after a brief stall in comeback momentum, Thorne hit a high dropkick and Miller took the hot tag, though the crowd didn’t react. Miller got the better of both Gargano and Ciampa as the freshest man. He caught Ciampa in Alabama Slam position and then dropped it into a neckbreaker slam from Thorne.
As the match broke down, Miller got wiped out to ringside and Thorne found himself isolated in the ring and on the receiving end of the running knee/superkick combo from Gargano and Ciampa for the finish.
Gargano and Ciampa over TM61 in about 9:20.
Replays aired before Gargano and Ciampa faced off with TM61 and gave them a nod of approval before backing out of the ring… The commentators touched back on the main event and then moved onto the impending cage match for the NXT Championship between Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe at Takeover. A video package aired recapping Samoa Joe winning the NXT Championship and he vowed that Bálor wont make it out of the cage at Takeover…
Backstage, Bayley said that she fought to get her rematch but admittedly, she’s not at 100% so Regal made the right decision, especially when the challenge is as strong as Asuka. Jia Jax approached and laughed at Bayley and said she’ll never be the same again. Carmella walked up and made her case. Jax said that she’s going to run through the other two ladies in the main event, and when Bliss walked up and asked what that was supposed to mean, Jax just laughed her off and said she wasn’t worth the time, then left. Carmella and Bliss bickered a bit more before Bayley and Carmella were left…
A vgnette aired of former CMLL and NJPW star La Sombra watching himself doing lucha on grainy video, while slowly unmasking himself. He pulled the mask off completely, though he didn’t reveal his face just yet. He stared at the mask in his hands before a graphic said Andrade “Cien” Almas: coming soon…”
Zim Says: Woohoo! About time. People are really going to like what Almas has to offer. Nice first showing for TM61. I’m a little bit surprised at how sedated the crowd was, but Noah is pretty off-the-radar even amongst tuned-in fans stateside so maybe I shouldn’t be. Either way, I expect it won’t be long before the fans really latch onto these two. They bring a lot of credibility as a team to a tag division that is finally starting to establish itself as a place for tag teams to be showcased.
Back in the arena, Austin Aries made his entrance in street clothes. He said that “the best” is the most overused phrase in sports. He said that everyone wants to be the best, but that only lasts until someone better comes along. He said that’s why he prefers to be great. He said once you have it, greatness can never be denied. He said that greatness is all of the things he’s done in his career, but he also realizes that timing is everything. He said that other guys started grabbing attention as soon as he arrived in NXT and the crowd chanted “Nakamura.” Aries said that everything is about to change. He said that whoever comes out of the cage, Finn Bálor or Samoa Joe, it’s only a matter of time before Austin Aries comes for the title.
He was preparing to carry on when the lights cut out and Shinsuke Nakamura made his full entrance; lights, pose, and all. Aries was smiling in the ring and looked like he was happy about the interruption, until Nakamura got in the ring and told him to wait so he could hit his pose on the ropes again. Once he was done, Nakamura acted like he was blown up. He spoke in Japanese and then said “sorry, you don’t understand Japanese right?” Nakamura said the NXT Championship isn’t going to greatness, but to the King of Strong Style. The crowd chanted his name, before GM William Regal’s music hit and he came out onto the stage.
Regal commented both on their significant impacts to NXT. He said that he liked what he saw when they teamed up last week, but he likes even more what he’s seeing now. The crowd chanted “Takeover” and Regal agreed that he’d like to see them compete against each other, and so at the June 8th Takeover, it will be Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries. The crowd chanted “yes!” and the two men shook hands mid-ring and stared each other down…
A graphic hyped American Alpha’s upcoming defense of the NXT Tag Team Championships against The Revival at Takeover… Backstage, American Alpha cut a promo saying that they know what they’re getting into with The Revival. They acknowledged their talent but said that American Alpha proves to be the best week in and week out. they dropped their catchphrase to close…
Back in the arena, No Way Jose danced his way into the arena. His opponent was already in the ring.
2. No Way Jose vs. Jonathan Ortagun. Phillips tried to explain that No Way Jose’s name comes from getting into fights as a kid, all the while Jose was dancing his ass off in the ring. Jose danced while doing a snapmare and then did a multi-directional airplane spin. Ortagun briefly halted Jose’s momentum, but before long Jose fired up and made his comeback. He hit a reverse atomic drop and a one-handed bulldog. Jose connected with the baseball punch and the cobra clutch slam for the win.
No Way Jose beat Jonathan Ortagun in about 3:20.
The commentators touted that Jose is still unbeaten before replays aired. Then, you guessed it, Jose danced. He went over to the commentary booth and revealed Tom Phillips and Corey Graves as terrible dancers with the opposite of rhythm… The commentators then awkwardly transitioned to a discussion of the Takeover cage match main event, and Finn Bálor got a video package to mirror Samoa Joe’s from earlier in the show…
Zim Says: Ok, when I caught myself moving a little bit to Jose’s music, I realized that maybe the guy is starting to grow on me a little bit, but realistically I stand by my point that I just can’t imagine the ceiling on this guy being any higher than an Adam Rose or Tyler Breeze type. As for the announcement of Nakamura and Aries, it does feel like a match thrown together with two guys that they don’t have anything for right now, but I imagine it’s going to result in a pretty killer math so of course I’m not going to complain.
Backstage, Asuka was asked if she had any preferences in tonight’s match, Asuka said that no matter who wins, she will defeat them… [C]
Corey Graves hyped that he would have a sit-down interview with Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor in the same room next week. They also hyped Austin Aries vs. Elias Samson for next week… Backstage, Carmella was shown walking with Bayley before she made her entrance into the arena. She didn’t cut her usual promo on the way to the ring. Alexa Bliss was out next, and Nia Jax rounded out the competitors in the match.
3. Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella to determine the no. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship. Bliss rolled to ringside right from the onset, opting to let Carmella and Jax wear each other out. Carmella managed to evade and counter Jax early on, but before long Jax’s power was too much. Bliss thought she had found her opening and went to the top rope, but Jax turned and looked right at her, and Bliss decided against it and hopped right back down to ringside. [C]
Back from break, Jax looked for a pop-up power bomb on Carmella, but Carmella fought out and sent Jax shoulder-first into the ringpost and out to ringside. Bliss wasted no time jumping in the ring and attacking Carmella from behind to take control. Jax was kept at bay momentarily at ringside as Bliss continued her attack with a Vader bomb for a two-count. Alexa googled Carmella and swept the legs before landing her back-handspring knee drop. She made the cover but Jax entered the ring to break up the fall. Bliss managed to avoid it however, and came off the top with the Sparkle Splash on Jax for a good near-fall.
The two smaller ladies looked for a double suplex on Jax, but Jax went the other way with it and suplexed them to a big reaction from the crowd. Bliss and Carmella began trading shots from their knees and sent a charging Jax crashing to ringside. Jax caught Carmella on a dive, but Bliss dropped Jax with a kick from the apron and a second attempt at the time proved successful for Carmella. Back in the ring, Carmella fired up on Bliss and hit a bunch of offense before coming in with a Bronco Buster and an STO. Carmella locked in her Inverted Triangle, but Nia Jax broke it up from ringside and disposed of Bliss.
Back in the ring, Carmella slipped behind on Jax and locked in a choke which appeared to be working until Jax broke it up in the corner. Carmella went up to the top rope however, and came off with a Thesz Press for a two-count. Carmella went for another Bronco Buster, but Jax caught her and planted her with a spine buster. Jax dropped the leg and scored the pinfall to silence from the crowd.
Nia Jax won in about 8:50 to become no. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship.
Post-match, Jax celebrated her win until Asuka’s music hit and she came out onto the stage. She smiled for a while, and then decided to head right to the ring. She got right in Jax’s face and help the title high. Jax warned that if Asuka ever stepped that close to her again, she’d drop her where she stands. The show closed with the two face-to-face in the ring.
Zim Says: The match didn’t overstay its welcome at all and they really kept it moving. This was a well put-together match that the ladies executed nicely, albeit with a predictable and unexciting finish. The idea of Nia Jax vs. Asuka would sound a lot better if Jax had more experience under her belt and had the reputation of delivering impressive performances. At this point though, it just feels more like the developmental experiment in a sink-or-swim match against an established veteran. It would also feel like a much bigger clash if Jax was the wall that Asuka hit after really gaining some momentum with that championship. With only a few weeks of build though, at least they’re doing everything they can to build up Jax. This show did a nice job of loading up on newsworthy stuff towards the next live special, but again this feels like such a sudden announcement and build to the next Takeover. Next week is go-home week and there are some very strong matches for the special on paper, so I’m looking forward to the final push they give to the big show. Be sure to tune in with me next week. Thanks for reading along!
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.