By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped August 25 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The opening video played, featuring new video clips for the new talent but the same old song… Inside the arena, the fans chanted as the commentators hyped that we would be hearing from NXT Women’s Champion Asuka later in the show. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Steve Cutler was announced as the main event.
TM61 kicked things off by making their entrance. The commentators said they’re looking to re-kindle their fire after being knocked down a bit by the Authors of Pain. The CWC contingent of Tony Nese and Arya Daivari were out next.
1. TM61 (Nick Miller and Shane Thorne) vs. Arya Daivari and Tony Nese. The crowd did the “Aussie – Oi!” chant for TM61, but Nese got the better of Thorne early with a series of strikes and a legsweep. Thorne came right back with a sequence of his own finishing in a low dropkick before both men tagged out to their partners.
Miller threw some hard forearms, but a short time later, he was taken out at ringside by a big dive from Nese that also took Daivari down. Right there to follow up was Thorne, who hit a huge flip dive over the ropes nearly over-shooting both of his opponents. Daivari and Nese got the heat on Thorne shortly after the three-minute mark. Nese used a nice delayed lifting suplex thrown into the ropes and a hard running knee before bringing Daivari in.
Daivari mocked Miller who was on the apron and got caught with an uppercut from Thorne, but Nese tagged in and cut Thorne off before he could reach Miller. [C] Action resumed right as Daivari caught Thorne with a rolling elbow, but Thorne made the hot tag to Miller moments later. Miller ran wild and hit a Sliding D forearm for a two-count. TM61 got another two-count off a high and low, but it was broken up by Daivari.
A short time later, the CWC team got Thorne in their corner and hit a sit-out pumphandle slam and a diving splash for a near-fall. They looked to be in control until Thorne fired off a hard lariat. Moments later, TM61 hit Thunder Valley and scored the pin.
TM61 beat Daivari and Nese in about 8:00.
Replays aired and TM61 posed in the ring before the cameras turned to the commentators Tom Phillips and Corey Graves. They talked up next week’s CWC finale before turning to Phillips’s interview with Asuka, which he conducted “earlier today…”
At the interview set, Asuka was standing by with Tom Phillips. He congratulated her on her successful defense in Brooklyn and asked what was special about the match. Asuka said the crowd in Brooklyn was crazy and she was excited. Asuka said that Bayley showed that she’s the heart of NXT and fought hard, but Asuka fought harder. Phillips ran through the talent who Asuka has beaten, and Asuka said that she has cleared out the whole division. She said that they got saved because they don’t have to face her any more.
Phillips asked what it means to represent Japan as champion. Asuka said that being champion is the most important thing to her. She said that she represents her country, and then delivered a message to her Japanese fans in Japanese. Phillips asked who Asuka sees as a ready challenger and Asuka fired up at him in Japanese before unleashing her trademark smirk and calmly declaring “no one is ready for Asuka…”
Andrade Almas vs. Austin Aries was hyped for later in the show… Outside somewhere, Ember Moon was couched down before she donned her hood leaving only her red eyes showing. Her NXT TV debut was hyped up next… A Connor The Crusher video aired and I will never not tear up at it…
Zim Says: Nice tag match to open. It started out hot, got decent enough time, and kept a fun pace throughout. The CWC team looked good, as did TM61, but they were kind of just like four guys out there wrestling well. There wasn’t necessarily a reason to care or root or invest one way or the other. Asuka’s english seems to be making some marked improvements. I thought she came across very well there, and I really like that NXT isn’t afraid to let talent with broken English speak. It’s endearing and it’s makes the talent seem so much more genuine.
Nakamura. Cutler asked what Shin had actually sacrificed. He said that there was no sacrifice nor honor in Nakamura. Cutler said that he sacrificed four years of his life to get there. Huh? He said that he doesn’t care if you like him or hate him, but you will respect him…
Back in the arena, Leah Von made her entrance. Ember Moon was out next with her cool entrance and glowing red eyes to a good response from the Full Sail crowd.
2. Ember Moon vs. Leah Von. There was a solid little back-and-forth early with Moon landing an arm drag on her feet and getting the better of Von. Moon used a springboard crossbody from the middle rope for a quick two-count early before Von cut her off. Von looked for a back-handspring move, but Moon avoided it and anded a stiff kick, a knee strike, and an elbow in the corner. Moon tossed Von with a suplex and then hit the front handspring clothesline in the corner. She went up top and came down with her diving twisting stunner for the win.
Ember Moon pinned Leah Vaughn in about 2:45.
A replay showed the finish, which was as picture-perfect as it was at Takeover… Backstage, No Way Jose was asked to react to Bobby Roode. Jose said that he comes in looking spiffy, calling himself glorious, and disrespecting Jose. Jose said that it’s not the first time he’s been disrespected, after all, he’s wearing white after labor day. Jose said he’s going to show Roode that he disrespected the wrong guy… Andrade Almas vs. Austin Aries was hyped up next… A Revival vignette aired…
Backstage, a trainer was working on Tommaso Ciampa’s ribs when Johnny Gargano approached. Ciampa said his ribs were ok and Gargano said his knee was too. Gargano said that he had just come from William Regal’s office, and he said that if Ciampa is cleared to go, they have a tag team opportunity next week at the CWC finale. The trainer said that he should be fine by then, and Ciampa said that they’ll show the world that they’re better than ever. They agreed that they’re going to hit The Revival where it hurts most, by taking the NXT Tag Team Titles…
Back in the arena, Andrade “Cien” Almas made his entrance wearing his lazily designed first WWEShop shirt. Austin Aries was out next.
3. Andrade Almas vs. Austin Aries. A large portion of the crowd chanted for Aries, while a smaller but vocal contingent filled in with “sucks.” Aries caught Almas with a low dropkick at the minute-mark and backed off to gloat. Andrade reversed an Aries drop-down into a low and short dropkick before firing up with a running headscissors that sent Aries out to take a powder.
Back in the ring, Almas used his tranquillo pose in the ropes to reverse a whip attempt by Aries, and he followed up on his advantage with a dive to the outside a short time later. Back in the ring, Almas went to the top rope looking for a moonsault, but Aries jumped to his feet and shoved Almas toppling to ringside, with his back clipping the apron on the way down. [C]
Back from break, Aries was working the heat on Almas. He hit a diving reverse elbow to the back of a seated Almas for a two-count. Aries looked for his shinbreaker and back suplex, but Almas flipped over and landed on his feet to begin his comeback. Alma hit a high kick and a springboard dropkick. He called for the crowd, but they chanted for Aries. Alma retreated to the corner to charge for his knees, but he took too much time setting up and Aries caught him with the high-impact running dropkick in the corner.
The two battled on the top rope, where Almas managed to knock Aries off. Almas went for a moonsault, but landed on his feet on the first and immediately followed up with a second, connecting for a two-count of his own. The two traded shots before Almas hip-tossed Aries into the turnbuckles. Almas once again looked for the running knees, but Aries slipped to ringside. Back in the ring, Almas looked for a springboard ‘rana, but Aries planted him with a powerbomb and transitioned into the Last Chancery to force the submission.
Austin Aries submitted Andrade Almas in about 8:15.
A series of replays aired and Aries’s arm was raised in the ring… Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Steve Cutler was hyped up next… Samoa Joe was shown walking backstage and Corey Graves noted that he would be joining them on commentary for the main event. [C]
Zim Says: Another fun match, much like the opener. It kind of sucks that the crowd is already so decided on not taking to Almas, but I think it’s a fair message to send that he’s just not connecting as-is. There are things that can be done to change the course, it’s just a matter of whether or not creative will do something before the damage to his brand is irreparable. As far as Aries, he seems to win an awful lot which I’d have to believe is being stored in the bank for a number-one contender’s run or something towards the top of the card, but time will tell.
A Sanity vignette aired… No Way Jose vs. Bobby Roode was announced for next week’s show…
Back in the arena, Samoa Joe joined the commentary booth. Steve Cutler made his entrance, and that was followed by the elaborate entrance of the NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. At the booth, Joe admitted that there were things he took for granted going into his title defense in Brooklyn and that’s why he lost. As Nakamura’s entrance carried on, the camera would flash to Joe who was losing his patience but keeping his cool.
4. NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Steve Cutler in a non-title match. The crowd warned Cutler of his imminent doom and Nakamura just smiled. Shin cracked himself up when he teased a test of strength before kicking away Cutler’s hand. Nakamura suckered Curler in and caught him with a knee to the gut before sending multiple Vibrations in the corner. Nakamura charged at Cutler, but Cutler flapjacked him onto the top turnbuckle and took control.
Cutler wasn’t on offense long before Nakamura fought out of a suplex with a nee to the head. He teed off with strikes and a kick before hitting the knee to the gut of Cutler who was hung up in the corner. Nakamura hit the reverse powerslam and then connected with the Kinshasa for the win.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Steve Cutler in about 3:30.
A replay showed the finish and Nakamura celebrated with his belt in the ring as the crowd sang along with his music. Joe stared a hole through him from the booth until Nakamura finally noticed and they made eye contact. Joe silently left the contrary booth as Nakamura posed in the ring to close the show.
Zim Says: This was nothing more than a showcase for Nakamura and a way to further build the tension between Nakamura and Joe. It’s interesting that they keep noting that they “found a few other issues” when treating Joe for his jaw injury, as they may use that as an out to get Bobby Roode the hometown title shot at the next Takeover in Toronto. If so, I like what that means in terms of long-term build, but I don’t like that it presumably means further extended NXT tenures.
Anyways, I liked this show exponentially more than last week’s atrocity. This one had two fun eight-ish minute matches and two showcases for talent that I very much enjoy watching be showcased, so a solid thumbs up from me. Things look to be back on track; let’s hope that continues. I won’t be back next week, as I’ll be down in Florida for the CWC Finals and the NXT tapings, but Jason Powell will have you covered on all things NXT and CWC in my absence. Thanks for reading along!
Members can check back tomorrow for the DotNet NXT Audio Recap, and Darren Gutteridge’s NXT Hitlist will be available to everyone.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.