By John Moore
NXT on WWE Network
Taped February 1 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The show started off with an in-memoriam for George “The Animal” Steele. The intro video talked about the upcoming Ember Moon, Peyton Royce, and Liv Morgan triple threat for this show. Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuiness, and Percy Watson were the commentators for this episode… Phillips hyped Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews. Bobby Roode was facing No Way Jose later on in the show. The women’s triple threat was opening up the show.
1. Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) vs. Liv Morgan in a Triple Threat to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship. Phillips pointed out that Liv Morgan was getting a chance at a title shot as a result of her pinning Peyton Royce. Nigel picked Royce as his favorite. Phillips said Royce and Kay were unbeatable as a unit.
Royce came at Moon with a kick early on and Morgan took advantage of this by tossing Royce into Moon and went for a rollup. Morgan did the matrix dodge for another pin attempt via rollup. Moon came at Royce with a kick to sent her to retreat outside. Kay pulled Royce away from Moon’s plancha which caused her to fall into Morgan. Royce tossed Moon into the steps to send us into commercial.[C]
Royce had Morgan dominated back from the break, putting the boots to her in the corner. Royce used her boot to choke Morgan in the corner as well. This led to a pin attempt by Royce. Royce made sure to kick Moon to keep her on the outside looking in. Royce locked in a modified tarantula on the ropes. Royce made sure to keep Moon outside every time she made it to the apron. This included hitting her with a basement dropkick.
Morgan fought out of the corner with a boot and headscissors to pick up a two count. Morgan tried to come back with more forearms after Royce kicked Moon off the apron again, but it was to no real avail. Morgan got hit with a spinning back kick in the corner. Morgan escaped with a drop toehold and double stomp to the back of Royce. Morgan hit a bulldog on Royce. Moon finally made it in the ring to break up the pin. Moon got sent back out by Morgan with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors.
Royce recovered and put Morgan in position for a superplex. Morgan blocked the superplex. Moon took advantage of this to nail Royce and Morgan with a sunset flip tower of doom. Billie Kay tried to protect Royce from the Eclipse but got hit herself. Liv Morgan tossed Ember Moon outside but the distraction caused Peyton Royce to defeat Liv Morgan with her bridged fisherman suplex.
Peyton Royce defeated Liv Morgan and Ember Moon in 8:20 to become the number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship.
Royce still loves her flower as she and Kay retreated up the ramp. This was the point where the commentators checked in on commentary. Nigel and Tom cut to video packages for Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews. After the packages that aired during the UK tournament, they cut to commercial with the Kassius Ohno vignette… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Pretty good match from the women with a good story of Royce’s focus being placed on keeping Ember Moon out of the ring. Even though it was a good match, I don’t think anyone is taking Peyton Royce as a serious threat to the title since Asuka has beaten both Billie Kay and Peyton Royce and they haven’t been presented as serious threats (which is actually why I felt it was necessary for one of them pic up the title at the last Takeover to cause a shakeup).
Mark Andrews made his way to the ring, thankfully not riding a skateboard like Bart Simpson. Nigel McGuiness made a shoutout to Andrews’s band.
2. Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne. They both started the match with the code of honor handshake. Nigel pointed out that Dunne’s first match ever was against Mark Andrews. Dunne kept a wristlock on Andrews and turned it into a finger stretch which drew the crowd’s attention. Andrews managed to use his agility to flip out and hit a dropkick to send Dunne outside.
Dunne almost blocked an apron moonsault from Andrews who turned it into an armdrag. Nigel said Dunne has been called a young Fit Finlay by William Regal while he thinks Dunne reminds him of Daniel Bryan (Danielson). Dunne took advantage with his methodical offense. Andrews sent Dunne outside with an enziguri. Dunne didn’t fall for the moonsault twice and side stepped it leading to a running forearm to Andrews. Dunne stomped on Andrews’s hand on the steps. Dunne hit Andrews with a front suplex on the apron to send us to commercial. [C]
Dunne had Andrews’s legs trapped while also continuing to pry at the fingers of Andrews. After softening up Andrews some more he tossed Andrews outside. Andrews staggered Dunne with a tiger feint kick. Andrews rolled up Dunne into a footstomp to get a bit of momentum. Andrews followed up with a springboard huracanrana and standing shooting star which lead to a nearfall. Mark Andrews went for his finisher but Dunne was playing possum. Dunne punched Andrews who was midair. Dunne hit his tilt-a-whirl flapjack to lead to a good nearfall. Dunne went for the Bitter End, but Andrews came back with an enziguri. Dunne caught Andrews with a running enziguri of his own.
Andrews came back with a desperation huracanrana but couldn’t capitalize due to taking prior punishment. Dunne hit Andrews with a sick snap German. Andrews blocked the flapjack with another headscissors to lead to a nearfall and this is awesome chants. Dunne blocked a DDT but Andrews reversed it into a flip stunner. Dunne blocked dodged the Shooting Star and hit the Bitter End (pop up Flatliner) for the victory.
Pete Dunne defeated Mark Andrews via pinfall in 9:57.
John’s Thoughts: Really fun match between two of the stars from the WWE UK Tournament. Dunne is a WWE prime heel in the making if they want as he plays the character well while integrating it into his in ring style. Andrews finally gets a chance to mean something and he’s making the most of his spotlight by showing off his fluid athleticism. Also, even though he still has it written on his tights, I’m glad WWE realizes that “Mandrews” is a dumb ring name.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were interviewed backstage during their gloating session. Royce called the interviewer a pleb. Royce also blamed Crazy Nikki Cross for losing at Takeover. Royce said she’s number one contender because she had a fair go tonight and next week will win due to having a fair go. Royce said she was taking the title down under. They cut to commercial with a “Patrick Clark Experience” video… [C]
Phillips hyped two huge matches next week with the Women’s Championship and Tag Titles being on the line. They cut to Tye Dillinger being interviewed at the performance center. Tye said that Sanity has made him the focal point of their twisted agenda. Dillinger said if Strong and Jose didn’t show up he would be in trouble. Dillinger said they and he won’t let these psychotic bullies take over. Dillinger said he has an agenda like Young but it doesn’t include Sanity…
No Way Jose made his entrance for the next match in the show. Of course he was against the “Glorious” NXT Champion Bobby Roode…
3. No Way Jose vs. Bobby Roode. Roode took his sweet time getting ready telling everyone to not rush him. No Way did some dance shimmies to start off the match. Roode immediately locked in a headlock and belly to back suplex. Roode toyed with Jose with slaps and did his Glorious playing to the crowd. Jose had a wristlock and danced his way out of it. Jose comically got Roode to do the wave with him in the wristlock. Jose toyed with Roode to return the favor to Roode.
Roode had a kick blocked. Roode dodged the telegraphed punches of Jose and hit him with Roode’s signature spinebuster leading to the commercial break. [C] Roode went to the second rope and hit No Way with a clubbing fist to the back of the neck. Roode did his glorious thing again. Roode then went to work on the eyes of No Way on the ropes. Roode hit a Suplex on Jose to continue his methodical onslaught. Roode keeps things at his pace with the headlock which brought the crowd into it to rally back Jose. Jose hit Roode with a chop to the gut and then went for the TKO which Roode blocked. He did managed to stagger Roode with a back elbow and axe handle fists.
No Way hit the telegraphed punches this time to get a mini-rally. Roode rallied back but had the Glorious DDT blocked into a full nelson chokeslam by Jose. Roode went for a neckbreaker but it was blocked. Roode blocked Jose with the boots. Roode went high risk but flew right into the right had of Jose. Jose walked right into Roode’s Glorious DDT which earned Roode the pinfall victory.
Bobby Roode defeated No Way Jose via pinfall in 6:08.
Nigel McGuiness called Roode the most deserving Champion in NXT. Roode walked up the ramp and had second thoughts which caused him to head back to the ring. Roode gave No Way Jose a chop block. Roode added insult to injury by locking in the half crab on Jose with the knee to the back of the head. Suddenly Kassius Ohno’s theme played as the former Chris Hero ran in to run off Roode.
Ohno was met with “Welcome Back” and “Oh No!” chants. Roode asked Ohno who the hell he was to interrupt the champion. Kassius said “they” (the fans) know who he is and Kassius knows that Rhoode knows who Ohno its and he’s Kassius Ohno who is no one to mess with. Oh no said in his travels anything he wanted he’s reached out and gotten. Kassius said he had some unfinished business because Roode has what Kassius wants and needs which is the NXT Championship. Roode did some mock cries and said that must be a sad story. He called Kassius “Mr. Ohno if that’s your real name”. Roode said he was a fighting champion and they don’t have to wait. Roode said the title can go on the line right here right now.
Roode told Kassius to take his jacket off so they can get to work. Roode called the ref to the ring. As Ohno had his back turned, Roode hit Ohno with the chop block. Ohno blocked the half crab and hit some clotheslines and several elbows. Ohno then hit Roode with a back drop. Ohno’s shoe fell off during this and Ohno threw his shoe at Roode as Roode was dispatched of. Roode walked up the ramp as Ohno’s theme played to close out the show…[C]
John’s Thoughts: Nothing really special match-wise with Jose and Roode being solid in the ring but there was no doubt that Roode would pick up a decisive victory here. I like that Roode did the post-match attack, but if they really want him to be a heel they have to take away the entrance theme. He has all of the tools in the ring yet these days he’s falling back on an entrance theme to pull the adverse reaction as to what is intended.
The Ohno appearance was a good one and sets up what can be a really good feud between him and Roode. Given how these two are stellar technicians in the ring, their impending match could be epic. Roode just has to tone down the comedy, which he’s fell back on too many times in his NXT run. That said, a solid closing segment and a somewhat noteworthy show next week with two title matches. DIY vs. AoP should be fun in particular. Make sure to check back tomorrow morning for my All Access NXT TV audio review.