By John Moore
WWE NXT on WWE Network
Taped December 8, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia
Tom Philips and Corey Graves checked in on commentary as Philips hyped this as Samoa Joe’s and Shinsuke Nakamura’s final encounter. Corey Graves hyped the tag team title match between DIY and TM-61. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, The Revival, made their entrance for the opening match. Their opponents came out to a minimal reaction…
1. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabatelli. Dawson started the match off against Moss. The two wrestlers started off with a chain wrestling sequence. Moss attempted the quick pin attempt. This caused Dash and Dawson to come up with a gameplan. Moss made the tag to Tino after isolating Dawson in their corner with the wristlock. Dash managed to tag in and dominate the rookie. Corey Graves pointed out that Tino Sabatelli and Riddick Moss have the advantage of having little video tape released to scout. Tino managed to turn the tide with a jumping crossbody.
Moss tagged in and hit a clunky knee into Dash. Dash ran right through Moss and the former tag champs dominated Moss in the corner. Moss had a rally and backtossed Dash but Dawson was the legal man at this point. Moss ran into Dawson’s knee. Moss caught Dawson midair and backtossed him. Moss and Tino managed to clear the ring somehow. Dawson raked Moss’s eyes while the ref was distracted which actually drew cheers. Dash tagged in and was tossed on Moss by Dawson.
Dawson tagged in and the former tag team champs clubbed Moss in the corner. Dawson picked up a nearfall after a suplex. The crowd started a “Dash and Dawson” chant which shows you they were at least interested in the over team. Dash tagged in to initiate a headlock sequence. Moss tossed Dash into the second rope to crotch him. Dawson tagged in to prevent Moss from reaching Sabatelli. The crowd liked Moss missing the enziguri. Tino Sabatelli tagged in to boos. He hit high dropkicks on Dash and Dawson.
Tino gorilla pressed Dash into Dawson. Tino Sabatelli hit a clunky powerslam on Dawson. Moss and Tino went for the Hart Attack but Dash pulled Tino out of the ring. Dash got the blind tag which Moss caught. Dawson held Moss on the ropes but was accidentally punched by Dash. Moss picked up a somewhat believable nearfall off of that. Dawson got the blind tag which led to the Shatter Machine for the victory… [C]
The Revival defeated Tino Sabatelli and Riddick Moss via pinfall in 10:57.
John’s Thoughts: Yup, we’re still in house show mode and that is evident when you have NXT B-Team wrestlers wrestling. Moss and Sabatelli are still very green but you probably would have assumed that looking at the card. Tino in particular needs to learn to be a bit more crisp and safe. The Revival tried. They got one decent nearfall out of them, but there’s only so much you can do.
It was Drifter time. He came out to some boos so there was at least that. Moss tried to have some fun with the crowd but ultimately the crowd got what they wanted in the glorious Bobby Roode entrance. By the way, they’re using Andrea D’Marco as the NXT ring announcer and she sounds like she is about to blow her voice out after each ring announcement. I’m actually more of a fan of her when she was the Smackdown backstage interviewer before they exchanged her with Dasha Fuentes. Murphy got a mild reaction, which is decent for him. Dillinger is as over as usual… [C]
2. “The Drifter” Elias Samson and Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger and Buddy Murphy. Murphy started the match off against Roode. Roode toyed around with Murphy to start the match. He did the Glorious-Beer Money thing which Murphy mocked. Roode dominated. Murphy came back with a low dropkick to pick up a pin attempt. Dillinger managed to tag in after a Murphy wristlock. Roode and Dillinger had a staredown which Roode milked out until he tagged in Samson.
Samson drifted into the ring. Samson locked in a chickenwing. Dillinger escaped and did the ten stuff. Dillinger was tossed outside but quickly came back at Samson with a springboard splash. Murphy tagged in and hit a footstomp on the Drifter. Dillinger did some of his signature offense until Roode distracted him. Samson hit Dillinger with a knee which opened the window for Roode to tag in. Roode hit his strong spinebuster on Dillinger in the middle of the ring. Drifter tagged in and continued the methodical offense. The heels isolated Dillinger from his corner.
Tye Dillinger got his first bit of hope after a superkick from the corner. Murphy got the hot (?) tag. Murphy got a pin attempt after running double knees. Murphy got a top rope double knee. Tye Dillinger tagged in and hit the Tye Breaker backbreaker for the win on Elias Samson…
Tye Dillinger and Buddy Murphy defeated Elias Samson and Bobby Roode via pinfall in 11:18.
Tye led the crowd in a ten chant after the match. Philips hyped the Nakamura vs Joe main event. Graves hyped Liv Morgan vs. Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay… [C]
John’s Thoughts: We’re in full on house show mode tonight folks! At least Roode and Dillinger managed to get people to stay awake during a Murphy and Samson match.
3. Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon. Philips pointed out how Moon and Morgan both have issues against Kay. Billie Kay antagonized them a bit and rolled out of the ring to leave the babyfaces to fight. Moon kipped up to give Morgan a headscissors. Kay tried to get in the match to no avail. Kay was captured by Morgan and rolled around. They did this sequence where Kay and Moon tossed Morgan into pin situations on the opponent.
Billie Kay hit Eat D-Feet on Ember Moon to pick up a nearfall. The crowd had some fun doing their chants while Kay was on offense. Kay got a solid nearfall after a rolling elbow on Moon. Billie Kay backtossed Liv Morgan to the outside and it looked like she fell awkwardly on the apron. Moon managed to get a nearfall on Morgan after a springboard crossbody. Moon hit an underhook suplex on Kay. After a clothesline Moon went high risk but was stopped by Liv Morgan. They teased a tower of doom but Kay hit the power bomb on Morgan. Moon hit the eclipse stunner on Kay to pick up the win… [C]
Ember Moon defeated Billie Kay and Liv Morgan via pinfall in 8:27.
John’s Thoughts: One hour down, and it was an hour that didn’t really have to happen. It’s good for them to test live crowd reactions but not for great television. Ember is still amazing but on an island onto herself in that trio. Morgan still has some unsafe spots. Kay has gained something with the heel character, but she is still missing something as well that’s hard to pinpoint.
4. Shane Thorne and Nick Miller (TM-61) vs. Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Ciampa locked up with Thorne to start off the match. They started off the match with the babyface stalemate sequence. Gargano and Miller tagged in with Ciampa having fun with the crowd. Thorne tagged back in after a wristlock from Miller. Thorne locked in an armbar. Thorne and Gargano traded standing strikes. Miller tagged in and hit Gargano with a delayed vertical suplex.
Gargano got some offense in with his rolling low roundhouse. Gargano tagged in Ciampa and they double teamed Miller. Ciampa got a nearfall with a bridged German. Miller escaped a hammerlock and tagged in Thorne. The hit a tandem fist and moonsault on Ciampa. Miller took out DIY with a tope suicida. Thorne hit Ciampa with a falcon arrow to pick up the nearfall leading to the commercial break… [C]
Ciampa grapevined Thorne’s leg to lead to a tag with Gargano. Gargano turned the body scissors into a bin and turned that into a chokehold with the arms locked. After Ciampa tagged in Thorne fought out of the corner with a dropkick. Miller got the hot tag and cleaned house with Ciampa and Gargano. Miller picked up a nearfall after a running forearm. Miller had a deadlift German blocked. Gargano hit Miller with a spear from the outside of the ring.
Gargano hit a tornado DDT on Miller while kicking Thorne to lead to a nearfall. Ciampa tagged in but Miller hit him with the exploder suplex. Ciampa blocked a superplex. Thorne tagged in and went for it. Miller hit them with the tower of Doom for a nearfall with Gargano pushing Miller on Thorne to break it up. Ciampa hit a rolling clothesline on Thorne and hit him with a powerbomb backbreaker for a solid nearfall with Miller breaking it up.
Miller and Gargano traded punches in the next sequence. Gargano hit the enziguri. Miller missed a clothesline. Gargano missed the low roundhouse. Miller got a nearfall after a spinout powerbomb. Ciampa tagged in and DIY hit the double superkicks on Miller to retain the belts.
DIY defeated TM61 via pinfall in about 14:53 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship.
TM61 was met by an ovation by the hometown crowd. DIY entered the ring for the handshake to leave the crowd happy… [C]
John’s Thoughts: The best match of the night so far, but it still was too happy go lucky for an actual title match. It was like a house show title defense where you can predict the outcome from a mile away. They really should have built this episode around one match again and just ran video packages to build up “the final encounter” between Nakamura and Joe.
A video package aired which showed highlights from the Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe encounter in Osaka, Japan. Andrea D’Marco handled ring introductions for the main event encounter…
5. Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a steel cage match for the NXT Championship. Nakamura started off the match with a single leg takedown. Graves gave Joe credit for having a strong jujitsu base. Nakamura and Joe then locked in the standing guard with Nakamura on top. Joe tried to contain Nakamura’s swagger but to no avail. Nakamura hit the jumping knee on Joe. He then hit Joe with the vibrating foot. Joe powered through Nakamura and tossed him into the cage.
Joe hit right hands on Nakamura and followed up with a splash into the cage. Nakamura fought back with knees to the gut of Joe. Joe came right back with a shoulder and spinning enziguri… [C]
Joe dominated coming back from break and hit several kicks on Nakamura who was on the ground. Nakamura blocked the powerbomb. Joe then just slammed Nakamura against the cage. Joe hit Nakamura with a low kick sweep to get a two count. Nakamura managed to get some breathing room with a jumping thrust kick. Nakamura had the advantage next with a roundhouse and enziguri. Nakamura then did his signature knee in the corner while joe was hanging. Joe was dropkicked into the cage.
Joe gained momentum after an atomic drop and boot. He missed the running senton. Joe kept Nakamura from climbing out the cage by pulling on the leg. Joe turned a pin after a powerbomb into the STF. Nakamura turned it into a pin attempt. Joe picked up a close nearfall after a running knee. Joe worked on Shinsuke in the corner with punches and chops. Nakamura fought from the top rope with kicks but was stopped by an overhead Pele kick from Joe. Joe worked on Nakamura from the apron area.
Joe hit Nakamura with a clothesline from hell for another nearfall leading into the commercial break.[C]
Nakamura hit the spinning wheel kick on Joe and then worked on him with grounded knee strikes. Nakamura hit Joe with a German Suplex. Nakamura went for the Bomaye but Joe reversed it into a powerslam. After trading strikes, Joe locked in a standing sleeper. Nakamura used the ropes for leverage to escape. Nakamura hit Joe with an axe kick and running knee to lead to another nearfall. Joe met Nakamura on the top rope again. Samoa Joe went for the super Kinniku Buster but Nakamura fought out. Nakamura barely hit a sunset flip bomb.
Nakamura went on the top rope and hit Joe with a top rope Kinshasa. Nakamura then went to escape the open door but had second thoughts. Nakamura closed the door and hit another Kinshasa on Joe. Nakamura yelled “Yeaoh!” and hit another Kinshasa on Joe to pick up the pinfall victory.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Samoa Joe via pinfall in about 18:40.
The crowd sung Nakamura’s theme as usual as Nakamura held up his title in the middle of the ring. Graves and Philips went over the highlights including the top rope Kinshasa that gave Nakamura the win…
John’s Thoughts: A good match but not as good as the Takeover match or even the Osaka match. They were hyping this as “The Last Battle” a lot so I wonder if this is truly leading to a call-up for Joe, which I do hope for, as Smackdown could really use a strong heel like Joe. Raw would be just the kiss of death unless they are going to have him just destroy Reigns. Fans have predicted a Joe call-up for years at this point, so seeing is believing on that one.
The second hour was okay as far as match quality was concerned but ultimately this was a miscible show. If you want to watch better Nakamura vs. Joe matches, you can look at the network archives. Also, knowing how much programming is out there, there are higher priorities on other shows happening this week, including the last hour of Wrestle Kingdom 11 and maybe New Year’s Dash from New Japan. Hell, I’ll probably end up watching a few more Tiger Mask W episodes on Crunchyroll. Be sure to check out my member exclusive audio review coming out later today.