12/7 Zim’s NXT TV Live Review: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship in Japan

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600By Zack Zimmerman

NXT on WWE Network
Taped on November 30 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University (and in Osaka, Japan on December 3)

A brief video package hyped the main event of the show, a rematch for the NXT Championship between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe from Osaka, Japan… The opening video played…

Inside the arena, the commentators talked up the main event before settling in and sending things to the ring announcer. New NXT Tag Team Champions #DIY were introduced and warmly welcomed into the Full Sail arena for the first time since winning the gold in Toronto. They went out into the crowd to celebrate with the fans as the commentators talked about them solidifying themselves as top guys with their title win.

Gargano and Ciampa finally made it to the ring where they continued to celebrate. They hit poses all over the ring and the crowd chanted “you deserve it.” They eventually grabbed microphones, but they continued to stall to entice more chants. Before they could begin speaking, they were interrupted by the music of the Authors of Pain. They made their way onto the stage with manager Paul Ellering. Ellering said there was a prophecy and its proving true. He noted that his Authors are undefeated, they won the 2016 Dusty Tag Classic, and they think #DIY are celebrating prematurely.

Before Ellering could continue, former tag champs The Revival interrupted and got a big pop. Scott Dawson recalled that the only reason the Authors were able to make it to the finals was because they interfered and helped. The Authors backed The Revival down the ramp intimidatingly and shoved them hard to the ground at ringside. Ellering simply stated that the next chapter written by the Authors will read “NXT Tag Team Champions.” The Authors backed up the ramp, Revival remained at ringside, and #DIY held the ring to close the segment…

The commentators, Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in from the booth. They pivoted to a video package promoting “Showtime” Percy Watson for the first time in what seems like a few years. He is not returning to competition, however, as he was welcomed to the booth as the new third commentator (because more must mean better, right?)…

No Way Jose made his entrance. His partner, new Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann was out next. He was greeted with “you deserve it” chants before they went to a quick break. [C] Swann and Jose were dancing and goofing around when Sanity’s music hit. What was once a bizarre quartet appeared to have been whittled down to three members. The commentators called attention to the missing member and wondered if it was a mind game of some sort. Once in the ring, Eric Young revealed that he was carrying Sawyer Fulton’s jacket. He threw it down with disgust and kicked it away, seemingly signifying the end of Fulton’s time with the group.

1. No Way Jose and Rich Swann vs. Sanity (Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe (w/ Nikki Cross). Swann and Jose rolled early, including an assisted ‘rana. The momentum was quickly halted when Wolfe stopped Swann on another ‘rana attempt, allowing Young to tag in and begin working over Swann. [C] Back from break, Young was firmly in control. He hung Swann with a dragon sleeper while standing on the middle turnbuckle, and Sanity continued to isolate Swann. Wolfe thrashed around the ring like he was in a mosh pit and then applied a nerve hold. Go figure.

Swann finally landed a kick on Wolfe and Jose took the hot tag. Jose ran wild on Young before planting him with a TKO, but Wolfe broke up the pin attempt. Swann dumped Wolfe to ringside and then hit a phoenix press off the middle turnbuckle onto Wolfe outside. Jose was knocked out to ringside when suddenly he was ambushed from behind and shoved face-first into the ringpost by a big burly man in a black hoodie. The commentators acknowledged the man as “Damo” and marveled at him while Young hit Jose with his wheelbarrow neckbreaker and scored the pin.

Sanity defeated No Way Jose and Rich Swann.

Sanity gathered in the ring and looked on while Damo threw Fulton’s jacket to the floor and walked out of the arena…

Zim Says: From the top, I like what they’re doing with the tag title picture considering the pieces they’re working with, but I wish we could’ve heard more of a promo exchange than Ellering’s very mediocre promos and a line or two from Dawson. As far as the match, it was a Sanity match but Jose and Swann add a bit of fun to the mix. I’ve been critical of how lame Sanity is once you get past the initial impression of the neat entrance and look, but Damo could potentially be a game-changer for the group if he is indeed joining.

Backstage in his office, GM William Regal was standing by to provide an update on the situation in the tag team division. He announced that The Revival will be granted their title rematch against #DIY on the January 11 episode of NXT. He proceeded to announced that the winners will go on to defend against the Authors of Pain at Takeover: San Antonio during Royal Rumble weekend. He appeared to be finished when Tye Dillinger walked in and requested a moment of Regal’s time. Dillinger was down on himself and recalled saying that if he couldn’t beat Samoa Joe last week than maybe he doesn’t belong.

Regal cut him off and instead threw another opportunity at Dillinger. He announced that next week will be the beginning of a tournament of four matches, with the winner of each advancing to a four-way match, and the winner of that match earning an NXT Championship match. Regal offered to put Dillinger in the tournament, noting that things hadn’t been going Dillinger’s way, but he sees a lot in Dillinger. Dillinger accepted the offer, and when prompted to repeat why he came into the office, Dillinger had conveniently forgotten. Regal shook his hand and saw him off. As the segment closed, Regal slipped on a pair of brass knuckled and sighed nostalgically…

A replay aired of what had taken place between Sanity, Damo, and No Way Jose… Backstage, a reporter tried to get a word with Sanity but Young and Wolfe blew right past her. Nikki Cross stopped, but as the shot widened it was revealed that she didn’t have interest in speaking, but rather she caught a glimpse of the NXT Women’s Championship belt. She approached, but as she got close, champion Asuka appeared to snatch it up. Not a word was exchanged, but the looks told the whole story and it appears Asuka may have a new contender…

Back in the arena, Ember Moon made her entrance. Her opponent, Northeast and women’s independent standout Kimber Lee was already waiting in the ring.

2. Ember Moon vs. Kimber Lee. Moon came out early with a series of kicks on Lee. Lee sold well before cutting Moon off and getting some offense in. The match fell apart a little bit after Ember fought out of a powerbomb attempt. It didn’t last much longer before Ember hit the Eclipse for the win…

Ember Moon pinned Kimber Lee in about 3:00.

A graphic promoted the beginning of the No. 1 Contender’s tournament next week. The advertised matches for the qualifying round are Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young, Elias Samson vs. Roderick Strong, Oney Lorcan vs. Bobby Roode, and Andrade Almas vs. No Way Jose…

The main event title rematch from Osaka was hyped up next… [C]

Zim Says: I’ve seen a lot of Kimber Lee, as she’s a regular with companies like Beyond and Chikara. I’ve seen good Kimber Lee matches and I’ve seen clunky Kimber Lee matches. This one started nicely, and I’m not quite sure what went wrong but about halfway through it just got really sloppy and awkward before Ember hit her finish to end it. Not sure what to make of this, but it was weird.

Back from break, the ring announcer was mid-ring to announce the following match was for the NXT Championship. The camera panned out to reveal the arena in Japan as champion Samoa Joe made his entrance first. Challenger and Japan native Shinsuke Nakamura was out next. Both competitors received formal in-ring introductions. Nakamura got a bunch of red streamers thrown for him. Joe got none.

3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. NXT Champion Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship. The two opened pseudo-shoot style, feeling each other out with feints and leg kicks. Nakamura got Joe’s back against the ropes and did his signature limp pose. He hit a knee to the gut and did the vibration boot twice in the corner. Joe took a powder at ringside and then raked Nakamura’s face against the ropes to take control when he re-entered. [C]

Back from break and presumably skipping ahead in the match, Joe had Nakamura locked in the STF before transitioning to the arm-trapped crossface. Nakamura managed to reach the ropes to break the hold. Nakamura slipped out of a suplex attempt and rolled into an attempt at an armbar, but he was unable to extend Joe’s arm. Nakamura switched it into a triangle choke, but again he couldn’t lock it in and Joe escaped. The two continued to battle before Nakamura hoisted Joe up and over with a German suplex. He charged for the Kinshasa, but Joe snatched him up and planted him with a snap powerslam for two.

Nakamura escaped a Muscle Buster and Joe ducked another Kinshasa attempt before Joe locked in the choke. He released the choke and connected with two German suplexes. Nakamura tried to fight out, but Joe threw him overhead once again, this time with an exploder suplex for another two-count. The crowd chanted Nakamura the way an American crowd would, but Joe stayed in control with a high enzuigiri that knocked Nakamura off the turnbuckles to ringside.

Joe set up the uranage on the ring steps, but Nakamura fought out with relentless elbows before connecting on a Kinshasa to the back of Joe’s head which knocked Joe onto the ring steps. Both guys were selling the effects of the match as the fight went back into the ring. Nakamura connected on an axe kick and a sliding knee. He got Joe up onto his shoulders for the rare Landslide, but between the jet lag and Joe’s weight, Nakamura lost balance and fell backwards. He recovered and tossed Joe back into the ring before coming off the middle turnbuckle with a knee strike and then delivering the finishing Kinshasa. Nakamura made the cover and scored the pinball to regain the NXT title.

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Samoa Joe to win the NXT Championship.

Nakamura celebrated his win as the commentators put over him bouncing back so quickly after the first loss to become a two-time champion. The celebration carried on, which allowed for lots of Japanese girls to yell “Shinsuke!” and there appeared to be a guy in Asuka cosplay. He struck his pose mid-ring and the whole arena yelled “yeaoh!” because they know. Nakamura walked back up the ramp and replays aired to close the segment…

Charly Caruso appeared from the NXT control center, where she announced yet another NXT Championship rematch between Joe and Nakamura, this time in a steel cage from Melbourne, Australia…

Zim Says: I don’t think we saw the entirety of that match, and even if we had I don’t think that match was as good as either of their first two, It wasn’t bad, it’s just a two steps forward, one step back thing. I’m also not crazy about the quick back-and-forth with a title that had some prestige behindd it due in part to lengthy title reigns. It’s not inherently bad, I just hope it doesn’t become the trend. As a whole, I like what this show set up more than I like the show itself. The tag title stuff was simple but logical and I’m particularly intrigued about what’s next for The Revival. I like the idea of Asuka vs. Nikki Cross and Damo joining Sanity, and I like the attention remaining on Nakamura/Joe. That said, I wouldn’t really give a strong thumbs up to anything that we got on this show, and that’s becoming a trend. Hopefully this tournament thing turns it around. We shall see. Until next time, take care folks.

You can check back tomorrow for the member-exclusive 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.

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