By Zack Zimmerman
NXT on WWE Network
Taped on December 8 in in Melbourne, Australia and November 30 at Full Sail University
A video package showed Samoa Joe winning the NXT Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura in Toronto, and Nakamura subsequently winning it back in Osaka, Japan. Afterwards, Joe demanded a rematch on December 8 in Melbourne, Australia. Regal made the match a steel cage match, and a graphic hyped the match up next…
Inside the arena in Melbourne, the camera panned the crowd as they chanted “NXT.” The lights dimmed as a steel cage lowered around the ring. Samoa Joe made his entrance., followed by the champion Nakamura. Both competitors received formal in-ring introductions with the crowd solidly behind the champion.
1. Samoa Joe vs. NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship in a steel cage match. Tom Phillips on commentary noted that this would be the “final encounter” between these two. They felt each other out with some pseudo-shoot style back-and-forth. Nakamura taunted Joe and got the better of him early with a leaping knee drop and Good Vibrations in the corner. It didn’t last long however, as Joe trapped Nakamura between the ropes and cage and teed off on him, before charging in and sandwiching the champion. The show abruptly and randomly jumped to a commercial. [C]
Back from break, Joe appeared to be in control until Nakamura caught him with a windmill heel kick. Nakamura pounded on Joe with grounded knees and then spend Joe overhead with a German suplex. Nakamura charged for the Kinshasa, but Joe snatched him up and planted him with a snap powerslam for a quick two-count.
They traded shots mid-ring before Joe slipped in the clutch. Nakamura managed to fight out and he hit an axe kick to the back of Joe’s neck and then slid in with a knee strike to the face for two. Shortly before the seven-minute mark, both guys were slow to their feet as if they’d been wrestling for considerably longer than seven minutes.
The two battled on the top rope, where Nakamura teased escaping and Joe teased the Muscle Buster, but Nakamurs slipped out and hit an ugly sunset powerbomb for two. Nakamura went back to the top rope, but this time he walked out to the middle of the top rope and leapt off with a flying Kinshasa. Nakamura crawled towards the door of the cage which was being held open for the win, but rather than walk through he slammed it shut and nailed Joe with a Kinshasa. Nakamura retreated to the corner and stalked, before charging at Joe and connecting with a final Kinshasa knee strike for the pinfall.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Samoa Joe in about 9:18 of TV time to retain the NXT Championship.
They wasted no time transitioning away and pulled up a graphic hyping the start of the tournament to determine a new No. 1 Contender to the NXT Championship. The first qualifying match, Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young, was advertised up next… [C]
Zim Says: Slightly better than last week’s match I suppose, but it still felt like a cut-together match that lacked what their two takeover matches delivered. Conceptually, I can appreciate what they tried to do with Nakamura and Joe, but now that it appears to be over I can say that I’m really disappointed with the Joe/Nakamura feud. I really looked forward to it, but it just didn’t come through as I’d hoped.
Back inside the arena at Full Sail, the commentaryy booth of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Percy Watson checked in. They recapped the six-woman tag match where Billie Kay and Peyton Royce walked out on their partner Daria Berenato, leaving her to take the loss… Backstage, Kay and Royce were standing by for a promo. They denied losing and claimed Daria lost. They said they don’t associate with losers. Daria walked on set and stoically said that she wanted to hurt one of them next week, and she’ll let them figure out which it will be…
Tye Dillinger made his entrance and the match was announced as a qualifying match for next week’s No. 1 Contender’s four-way match. Eric Young was out next, along with the other two members of his Sanity faction. The commentators noted that Sawyer Fulton was out of Sanity and Damo appeared to be in last week.
2. Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young (w/ Nikki Cross and Alexander Wolfe) in a qualifying match. Young went right after Dillinger, but Dillinger held his own and fought back. He delivered 10 punches in the corner, and then stomped away as the crowd continued to chant “10.” Dillinger lowered his kneepad and set up his finisher when Nikki Cross ran in and leapt on Dillinger’s back, forcing the ref to call for the bell.
Tye Dillinger beat Eric Young by DQ in about 1:30 to advance to the No. 1 Contenders four-way.
Dillinger managed to clear all three members of Sanity from the ring before he was ambushed from behind by Big Damo. Damo laid him out with a Wasteland slam and then crushed hilo with a leaping senton for good measure. The three members of Sanity looked on from the ramp as Dillinger was announced the winner, but they were fixated on Damo. Damo walked right through them on his way up the ramp, and the commentators questioned whether that might’ve been an audition…
A graphic revealed Dillinger as one of the guys in next week’s four-way before a graphic hyped Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. No Way Jose up next… [C]
Zim Says: Damo in Sanity is a big boost for Sanity, but a talented worker with a great look isn’t going to solve all of their image issues. They still need to find a way to get themselves to be taken seriously. Speaking of which, Tye Dillinger could take the same advice.
No Way Jose was out first to a decent reaction. Andrade Almas was out next.
3. No Way Jose vs. Andrade Almas in a qualifying match. Almas did his tranquillo pose in the ropes early before Jose took over with a flapjack and airplane spin. Almas regained control a short time later and connected with a sliding kick to the face for a two-count. Jose mounted a comeback just shy of the three-minute mark. He hit a hip toss neckbreaker and then the pop-up punch, but Almas kicked out before the three-count.
Almas escaped a TKO attempt and planted Jose with a hammerlock DDT for the win.
Andrade Almas pinned No Way Jose in about 3:55 to advance to the No. 1 Contenders four-way.
Replays aired before the updated graphic was shown with two of the four spots filled in next week’s match. Elias Samson vs. Roderick Strong was advertised up next… [C]
Zim Says: It’s becoming painfully clear that they’re cramming way more into this show than they should. This is like there weeks worth of shows in one and that’s not a good thing.
Back in the arena, The Drifter was playing his guitar and singing poorly on the stage as the crowd booed relentlessly. He eventually finished and drifted down to the ring. Roderick Strong was out next, and some members of the crowd seemed excited at the prospect of him beating up the Drifter.
4. Elias Samson vs. Roderick Strong in a qualifying match. Samson briefly got the better of Strong before Strong connected on a high-speed single-leg dropkick and a pendulum backbreaker. Samson halted Roddy’s momentum and hung him in the tree of woe as he methodically worked Roddy over. Samson draped Strong over the ring apron and hit a running knee strike before settling into a rest hold mid-ring.
Roddy worked his way out and caught Samson with a high dropkick. Rowdy picked up momentum with running shots in the corner before he put Samson away with the Gut Check and Sick Kick.
Roderick Strong over Elias Samson in about 3:15 to advance to the No. 1 Contenders four-way.
The graphic for next week’s four-way was updated before the final qualifier, Bobby Roode vs. Oney Lorcan, was hyped up next…
Back from no break, Corey Graves announced that next week, Billie Kay would face Daria Berenato…
Zim Says: I hope Roddy’s financial fulfillment is enough to outweigh a pretty abominable work-rate and creative fulfillment at this point. Remember how good free agent Roddy was? Man, those days appear to be gone.
Oney Lorcan made his arena back inside the Full Sail Arena. “Glorious” Bobby Roode was out next and the crowd sang along with his music as usual.
5. Oney Lorcan vs. Bobby Roode in a qualifying match. The two went back and forth with armlocks out of the gate. Roode briefly got the better or Lorcan, but he took the time to gloat which allowed Lorcan to run wild on offense. He got a good burst of offense and a back suplex for a two count, but he tried to set up a dragon superplex when Roode fought out and took control.
Roode remained on offense uneventfully until Lorcan caught him with a running blockbuster around the four-minute mark for a near-fall. Moments later, Roode planted Lorcan with a spinebuster. He picked him back up and put him back down with the impaler DDT for the win.
Bobby Roode beat Oney Lorcan in about 5:15 to advance to the No. 1 Contenders four-way.
Replays aired and Graves talked up Roode as the next potential champion. The graphic for next week’s No. 1 Contenders four-way was shown and the show closed…
Zim Says: Oney looked really good during his runs in this match, but I’m losing faith in them using him in a meaningful way after start-and-stop uses. Roode is clearly the guy they’re getting behind, which doesn’t excite me in the slightest.
This show spread out over a few weeks, given time and build, could’ve been good. Instead, they crammed way too many matches into a single one-hour show, gave it no time to build nor breathe, and it wasn’t good. When was the last time NXT was good? I’m struggling to even remember because it’s been so lackluster for months and months now. Everything that looking forward feels like it could bring the show back around ends up not doing that, and now we’re faced with the prospect of Bobby Roode (all of him, not just his entrance) in a main event title program? Is that supposed to be promising? I’m losing faith, and wondering if the addition of 205 Live is taking vital resources, both talent and creative inspiration, away from NXT. Hate to end it on a bad note, but that’s pretty much where my head is right now and there’s no sugar-coating it. Until next week (for now), take care.
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.
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