By Zack Zimmerman
NXT on WWE Network
Taped on November 22 in Ottawa, Ontario
The opening video played… Inside the full-sized arena with the big-league stage setup, NXT Women’s Champion Asuka kicked off the show with her entrance. Her opponent, independent wrestler Nicole Matthews, was already waiting in the ring.
1. NXT Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Nicole Matthews in a non-title match. Matthews fired forearms at Asuka in the opening minute but she no-sold them and just smiled as the crowd chanted for her, She hit a flying hip attack and then teed off with shoot kicks to the chest, hitting so hard that Matthews collapsed before Asuka could finish the series of kicks. Asuka worked several variations of an armbar before landing a high kick and synching in the Asuka Lock to force the submission.
Asuka over Nicole Matthews in about 2:20.
Replays aired. As Asuka celebrated her win, the commentators noted that Asuka has been champion for 243 days and counting. She disrespectfully stood over the fallen Matthews and held the title overhead… The commentators, Tom Phillips and Corey Graves, transitioned the focus to a discussion about the new Sanity group. They threw to a replay of Sanity attacking Rich Swann and Kona Reeves during their match last week before No Way Jose running out to try and stand up to Sanity, only to be laid out himself. No Way Jose vs. Eric Young was hyped for up next… [C]
Zim Says: Standard Asuka squash, which was fun but the same as we’ve seen for the past year. Poor Nicole got worn out with those kicks. Time to start building challengers for Asuka in addition to just building Asuka.
A graphic promoted the rematch for the NXT Championship between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura for this Saturday in Osaka, Japan… Backstage, Samoa Joe was interviewed about his upcoming title defense. Joe said that in Toronto, he proved that Nakamura is not on his level. Joe said that nobody in NXT is close to him. Joe was carrying on when Tye Dillinger walked up to him.
Dillinger said that he wants to test himself against Joe tonight. Joe said that Dillinger isn’t on his level and didn’t want to embarrass him in his home country for the second time this month. Dillinger said he didn’t need to give ten reasons for Joe to accept the challenge, only one. He then slapped the hell out of Joe and scurried off-screen. Joe took a moment to collect himself and then screamed that Dillinger won’t walk out of the building tonight…
Back in the arena, No Way Jose made his entrance. Sanity was out next to escort the apparent leader Eric Young for his match. They were flailing and thrashing around the ring like goobers when Corey Graves announced that the main event had been made official with Tye Dillinger getting his match against Samoa Joe.
2. No Way Jose vs. Eric Young (w/ Nikki Cross, Sawyer Fulton, and Alexander Wolfe). Jose took the fight to Young and tossed him overhead with a back body drop before Young went to ringside to recollect with Sanity. Jose continued to roll and whipped Young so hard into the corner that Young toppled over the top rope to the floor. [C]
Back from break, a distraction by Wolfe allowed Young to take control with a neckbreaker across the top rope. Young worked Jose over with stomps in the corner and then stood on the second turnbuckle while hanging Jose; lifting him off his feet with a dragon sleeper. Jose fought out of a chin lock and began to rally with a series of clotheslines and hip toss into a neckbreaker. Jose leveled Young with a hard clothesline for his first two-count.
Jose knocked Wolfe off the ring apron and then connected with the pop-up punch on Young. He had the match won, but the other members of Sanity had the referee distracted on the other side of the ring. Moments later, Young connected with his wheelbarrow neckbreaker and scored the pinfall.
Eric Young pinned No Way Jose in about 6:10.
Sanity joined Young in the ring and Fulton had to hold Nikki Cross back because she wanted to go after Jose. Replays aired and Sanity slowly left up the ramp. Suddenly, Nikki Cross broke free and sprinted to the ring. She went up to the top rope and nailed Jose with a wicked top rope dropkick. She smiled maniacally before rejoining Sanity up the ramp…
Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger was promoted as the main event… [C]
New NXT Tag Team Champions #DIY were announced to be appearing on next week’s show for the first time since winning the titles…
Zim Says: The match was nothing special. I just can’t buy into this Sanity act the way it is. Something needs to change. I’m not as opposed to Jose as I may have initially been, but this feud doesn’t feel like the thing to get him hot.
Backstage, Asuka was interviewed and asked about a possible change in her attitude. She said there’s no change. She just wants competition and she’s afraid there’s nobody left…
Back in the arena, NXT Champion Samoa Joe made his entrance. Backstage, Tye Dillinger was interviewed on his way to the production area. He said that his challenge may have been a rash one, but he’s come so close time after time and he just needs that one big win to prove he belongs. He made his entrance next.
3. NXT Champion Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger in a non-title match. Dillinger threw a slap and a chop at Joe, but Joe gave him a receipt right back. Joe couldn’t gather momentum however, as he ran into a dropkick from Dillinger and took a powder at ringside. [C] (They promoted the return of Hideo Itami to Japan, but it wasn’t clear as to whether or not it’ll be in-ring or just an appearance.)
Back from break, Dillinger fired away with punches and then used a slingshot splash. Moments later however, Joe dropped him with the sit-out double knee buster that he used to soften up Nakamura in Toronto. Joe began to wear Dillinger down with shoot outside leg kicks and then dropped into a rolling kneebar, but Dillinger reached the ropes to force the break.
Dillinger tried to pick up momentum but he ran into a trademark sequence from Joe with the back chop, chest kick, and elbow drop. Joe beat Dillinger down with jabs in the corner and then reminded Dillinger that this is what he wanted. Dillinger slapped Joe in the face repeatedly, but Joe put him down in a hurry with a snap powerslam for a two-count. Joe began to toy with Dillinger as he tossed him overhead with a snap suplex and mocked Dillinger’s taunt.
The crowd rallied mildly for Dillinger with “Canada” chants, but Joe put a halt to all of it with a hard back elbow and twisting enzuigiri in the corner. [C] Back from break, Joe fired away shoot kicks to the chest and back of Dillinger for another two-count. Just shy of the nine-minute mark, Dillinger avoided a shot from Joe and took him down with a hard clothesline. Dillinger began to build momentum with a couple of running forearms. HE stomped away at Joe in the corner as the crowd chanted “ten.”
Dillinger lowered his kneepad, but he was unable to lift Joe because of damage done earlier in the match. Joe crunched Dillinger with a German suplex, but Dillinger fought out of the follow-up attempt and rocked Joe with a superkick. Dillinger fired up and set up the Tye Breaker, but Joe slipped out and spiked Dillinger to the mat with a uranage. Joe hit the powerbomb into the crab into the STF into the Crossface and then mounted and rolled Dillinger over with the Coquina Clutch. Dillinger went out and the referee called for the bell.
Samoa Joe choked Tye Dillinger out in about 12:30.
Tom Phillips tried to put over Dillinger’s tenacity for going out and not tapping, but Graves said it is what it is: he got put to sleep. A brief replay aired before Joe celebrated his win. A graphic once again promoted that title match between Joe and Nakamura in Japan on Saturday. Joe left the arena ad Dillinger slowly made it back to his feet and raised his arm for one final round applause from his home-country crowd to close the show.
Zim Says: So Joe beat the hell out of him for three segments and then won. That was a 4-5 minute match stretched into 10+. That’s the theme for this show actually and it’s odd. There are a lot of times where I complain that they cram too much into a show, but this show was quite the opposite where it felt like nothing stretched into an entire show. The middle of the show was completely forgettable, the opener was a fine squash, and the main event could’ve been condensed into the length of the opener and been just as well because honestly, as fun as the “ten” thing might be for live crowds, Dillinger is branded a career jobber by their own hand.
For the second week in a row, NXT was out of their usual environment and did absolutely nothing to capitalize on that in any aspect. There are tapings tonight down at Full Sail which look pretty fun so hopefully things turn around. Otherwise, I might be offering up this slot in exchange for 205 Live coverage. Kidding, not kidding.
You can check back tomorrow for an All-Access NXT Audio Recap available to anyone reading this, plus Darren Gutteridge’s NXT Hitlist.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...