By John Moore
NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped February 22 in Orlando, Florida at the University of Central Florida
This week’s NXT intro video focused on Shinsuke Nakamura’s injury to hype his return to NXT on this episode. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. TJ Perkins was the return match for Shinsuke…
Tom Philips introduced the show from UFC. Nigel McGuiness and Percy Watson were the color commentators. Tye Dillinger came out to a pretty moderate reaction in comparison to what he usually gets at Full Sail and at other house shows. Sanity’s theme played. EY was joined by the other Sanity members but before he entered the ring he sent his stable to the back.
Philips didn’t buy that they were going to stay back for long. Sanity dragged out a beat up Roderick Strong which caused Tye to bail from the ring to check up on Roderick. No Way Jose came out to check up on Strong as well. EY yelled “You did that!” to the babyfaces. Dillinger and Jose stormed the ring and had a slight advantage until Dain’s power gave the numbers advantage to Sanity. Dain and Wolfe hit their dropkick powerslam combo. Young hit Dillinger with the Youngblood.
The commentators talked about how Tye was going to get rid of Sanity. Philips hyped Nakamura vs. Perkins for the main event of this week.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were filming a video about where to put the Breakout Star of the Year award. They were walking around the Performance Center and mocked Ember Moon who was in the weight room behind glass. They backed off a bit when Ember Moon teased an encounter… [C]
During the break, a pretty badass vignette played with a guy with an accent speaking. Could this be the debut vignettes of Aleister Black (Tommy End)?
John’s Thoughts: While Sanity at its current development does nothing for me, this was a step in the right direction because they are actually doing something. What does even less for me is how Dillinger, No Way, and Strong are obviously put in this random trio because NXT has no idea what to do with them which is a shame. I would find a way to get out of this quickly with maybe putting a little more heat on Sanity somehow to continue their development.
The world’s worst indie wrestler Ho Ho Lun made his entrance! The artist formerly known as La Sombra was his opponent…
1. Ho Ho Lun vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas. The crowd was behind Ho Ho which distracted Almas a bit. Almas dodged the rollup and hit a strong chop on Lun. Almas used the ropes to choke out Lun a bit. After a smapmare, Almas hit Lun with a basement roundhouse to the back of Lun’s head. Lun tried to fight back with light strikes which Almas nosold. Almas took a dropkick without going down. Almas then ran at Lun with a strong clotheslne. Almas planted Lun with the hammerlock DDT to pick up the victory.
Andrade Cien Almas defeated Ho Ho Lun via pinfall in 2:34.
McGuinness praised Almas quickly dispatching Lun. Watson hyped Moon vs. Kay for after the break… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Ho Ho Lun is still lousy, but at least he didn’t do much so he served his role playing local enhancement talent. This was a good win for Almas simply because it was a win, and we usually see Almas eat too many losses these days because he faces people with pushes. He’s one of the people I’m looking forward to post WrestleMania season when WWE will hopefully have more hands on deck in developmental.
2. Billie Kay (w/ Peyton Royce) vs. Ember Moon. Royce was in street clothes tonight. Philips pointed out how this match served as a showcase to William Regal as to who Asuka’s next opponent will be. Moon quickly hit a springboard crossbody early on in the match. Peyton Royce assisted Kay in keeping Kay away which led to Kay gaining the advantage. Moon turned the tide a bit with the school girl. Kay came back with Eat De-Feet for the two count.
Moon sold a Kay forearm really well with momentum to give Kay a two count. Kay yelled at Moon a bit which sparked a kick combo from Moon. Moon hit a basement front dropkick on Kay. Moon set up for the eclipse but Royce went up for the distraction. This didn’t help because Kay hit the finisher anyway leading to the victory.
Ember Moon defeated Billie Kay via pinfall in 3:31.
Philips talked about how much talent it takes to execute such an intricate finisher. Philips also wondered if Moon was the competition that Asuka finally has been waiting for. Nigel pointed out how Kay didn’t get up in the ring. They cut to the ring where the trainers were checking on Billie Kay. Nigel McGuinness used this to build up the Eclipse finisher as a devastating move. Kay and Royce did seem out of character as Kay started tearing up. The crowd gave Kay cheers when she managed to stand up while favoring the right side of her neck…[C]
John’s Thoughts: Another enhancement for Moon, which is the story of her career to this point. Just based off of the facial reactions of Kay and Royce, I’m assuming the injury was legit. It was interesting that the commentators use that to try to get over Moon’s finisher.
TJ Perkins was interviewed backstage. He said he hasn’t lost sight of regaining the Cruiserweight championship but he’s there to roll where ever competition takes him. TJP talked about being students together in Japan with Nakamura while using the same styles. Perkins said Nakamura claimed that he stole his armbar. Perkins said he doesn’t steal moves, he steals moments…
John’s Thoughts: Damn, are people not watching TJ Perkins go off the rails in a bad way on his promos? I know the guy has a good personality in him because I’ve seen it, but all we get in WWE is this douchey robot iteration. If you want to see a good TJP character moment, I would recommend the hilarious video of him trying to recruit Mahabali Shera for James Storm’s revolution.
The Revival came out next and their opponents were the twin Ealy brothers, and they WERE definitely shadow clones of each other! Their names were Uriel and Gabriel and Tom Philips couldn’t even tell them apart. Philips called them the first twin tag team in the history of the Performance Center…
Before the match could start the Authors of Pain took down the twins from behind. The Revival quickly scurried out. The AoP hit an Ealy with The Final Chapter…
William Regal was talking with Ember Moon for an announcement. Regal announced that Ember Moon would face Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship. Moon said at takeover the NXT Women’s Division will begin a new phase (you get it? because Moons have phases!)…
John’s Thoughts: A simple yet effective bait and switch where the Authors attempted to return the favor to the Revival. The Revival are starting to come off as cool heels which might be a good experiment to pull off before their main roster call up because they can always reset to full heel on Smackdown or Raw. As for Regal’s announcement, it could have used something in ring to be honest. Also, I compared Moon to Gail Kim and have the same criticism about her talking, she doesn’t have to yet especially if it’s going to be bad puns.
Tom Philips interviewed Kassius Ohno and asked him how it was like to be back since he was here about four years ago. Ohno said it was exciting but a bit surreal coming back. Ohno talked about seeing the PC as a warehouse back in the day. He also reminisced about Dusty Rhodes’s “art of communication” classes and the ring. Philips talked about Ohno getting a NXT Title Shot for the first time next week.
Ohno talked about Pro Wrestling being the thing that he was good at and how he traveled around the world. Ohno said it was in NXT where he began to doubt his abilities for the first time. Ohno said until he gets the championship, that doubt won’t be put to rest. Philips brought up the possibility of Ohno walking into Takeover Orlando as NXT Champion. Ohno agreed that it would be a huge moment to walk into NXT biggest show of the year…
Via satellite, Bobby Roode was interviewed from “his home” in Toronto, Can where he sat next to a picture of himself, some flowers, and the NXT belt. Philips asked Roode about his thoughts about Ohno. Roode told Tom to shut up and he doesn’t care about what Ohno has to say. Roode said Ohno tried to put his stink over all of Roode’s work. Roode said he has the responsibility to mold NXT in his vision.
Roode said he was trying to shape this brand to how he sees it. Roode asked Tom if a champion should look like Roode or a long-haired hippie from the 70s like Kassius Ohno. Roode said the fate and future of NXT was in his hands and on his shoulders. Roode said he was walking out next week as NXT Champion and will walk into the main event at WrestleMania weekend. Roode said he was going to take NXT to a level that it’s never gone before and was going to make NXT Glorious. Roode called Philips and cameras stupid and ended the interview…
TJ Perkins made his entrance first wearing reading glasses which he put on the eyes of a little girl on his way to the ring. Nakamura made his return to his usual loud reaction…
3. TJ Perkins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Nigel McGuinness talked about how Perkins, Nakamura, Samoa Joe, and Daniel Bryan came from the New Japan dojo in Santa Monica, Ca. Perkins and Nakamura traded kicks early on. Nakamura gained the upper guard but Perkins kicked out. Nakamura did his signature “come on” sequence. Perkins rolled into his signature headscissor takedown sequence. Nakamura tried to get up but Perkins kept the headscissors locked in while adding a “come on” and dap.
Nakamura got up and did a dap of his own. Perkins hit a huracanrana to sent Nakamura outside. Nakamura dodged the wreckingball dropkick and gained the advantage at the commercial break.[C]
Nakamura had the headlock locked in. Perkins dodged a shining wizard and targeted Nakamura’s injured knee. Nakamura bought some recovery time with an enziguri. Nakamura hit Perkins with the vibrating knee in the corner. Perkins dodged an encore and hit Nakamura with a neckbreaker. Perkins hit Nakamura with a basement dropkick and then hit the wrecking ball successfully leading to a nearfall.
Perkins went for the bennadryler but Nakamura reversed into the triangle armbar. Perkins reversed into the jackknife pin. Nakamura hit several kicks to gain momentum. Nakamura went for the signature knee in the corner but only hit turnbuckle after Perkins dodged. Perkins continued to target the injured knee with the Dragon Screw. Perkins went for another but Nakamura locked in the crossarmbreaker. Perkins and Nakamura traded armbars. Perkins reversed into a scorpion deathlock.
Nakamura tried to make a comeback but Perkins locked in his signature leglock. Nakamura made it to the ropes. Perkins went for a roundhouse but it was caught. Nakamura came back and hit an axe kick and knee to the side of the face of Perkins. Perkins came right back with a roundhouse and went high risk. Nakamura hit the signature knee in the corner. Nakamura hit Perkins with a single leg backstabber and suplex. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa to pick up the victory.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated TJ Perkins via pinfall in 11:15.
Nigel McGuinness continued to focus on the story of the match which was the knee of Shinsuke Nakamura. Tom Philips said William Regal was about to announce something. Regal announced that Shinsuke Nakamura would be facing the winner of next week’s NXT Championship match at NXT Takeover:Orlando.
John’s Thoughts: This was a really, really good match that was killed by a dead crowd. Some would say that it was due to the damaged TJ Perkins character, but they reacted mildly to Nakamura’s return as well. I was getting Impact Zone vibes from this crowd all night because of how mild they were reacting and it was not a good showing from UCF. They gave Tye Freakin’ Dillinger a mild reaction! Think about that.
Overall, this was a good show with a bad crowd. Everything served a purpose of moving forward and the two interviews were simple and effective. While Regal’s announcements are getting a bit cookie cutter, at least they do their job. I hope next week’s Roode vs. Ohno match gets better crowd support which might be tough given how Roode and Ohno work technical styles.
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...