By John Moore
NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped October 4, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
This week’s NXT started off with William Regal giving an announcement from his office. Regal talked about inserting Nikki Cross in the NXT Women’s Championship qualifier battle royal due to interference in the last match she was involved in which took her out of the running. Regal also addressed the show closing angle from last week involving the conflict between Sanity, The Authors of Pain, and The Undisputed Era. Regal said he was enforcing proper conduct. Regal announced Sanity vs. AoP next week for the NXT Tag Team Championships with the third member of Sanity not in the match being banned from ringside…
John’s Thoughts: See! It’s not that hard… More pro wrestling shows should take notice of this sports like presentation. They had Regal show up and just insert some logic and common sense. No heel authority nonsense, no three way hardcore ladder wars, no overbooking. NXT having some sort of code of ethics and ethos in general also enhances the heels actions as it makes their breaking of the rules have more impact.
The NXT opening video aired. I noticed more Undisputed Era, Drew McIntyre, and Andrade Almas in the opening video. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch made their entrance. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary…
1. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Lorcan started off the match against Moss and did his signature stiff shots on Moss. Moss pushed off Lorcan and called him crazy. Lorcan came back with a strong dropkick and tagged in Burch. Burch was pushed into the opposite corner. Tino tagged in. Burch fought out of a corner with kicks. Burch caught Tino with a missile dropkick. Tino ended Burch’s onslaught with a lariat takedown.
Sabbatelli and Moss isolated Burch away from his partner. Moss and Sabbatelli had a nice showing of tandem offense. Sabbatelli maintained control by kicking Burch in the gut. Burch managed to escape the double team by crawling under Sabbatelli’s legs. Lorcan tagged in and initiated his madman offense. He gave some stiff chops, slaps, and uppercuts to both opponents. He hit Tino with a smooth blockbuster. Moss caught Lorcan and hit a fallaway slam on him into the turnbuckle. Moss and Sabbatelli hit a Gory Special/Bulldog combination to pick up the win.
Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss defeated Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch via pinfall in 4:03.
John’s Thoughts: Nice to see the team of Moss and Sabbatelli finally pick up a somewhat credible win. “Somewhat” in that Lorcan and Burch rarely win, but they are such badass anomalies that losses don’t stick on them. Moss and Sabbatelli do need either some sort of makeover or defining characteristic. So far, Moss is the good wrestler who makes goofy facial expressions and Tino Sabbatelli is the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers who’s trying to play pro wrestler. There’s something there with the two, they just need to find a way to make it work. That aside, it looks like NXT is doing a steady job at building up a strong tag team division from the ground up.
They cut to the commentary table. Sound mixing was bad as Tino Sabbatelli’s entrance theme was overtaking Mauro’s voice. I believe he was talking about Taynara Conti interfering in Nikki Cross’s match on behalf of the Undisputed Era. After showing highlights from the last qualifier, they cut to Mike Rome, who was in the middle of the ring. Rome introduced the women in the battle royal for the final spot in the four way. The following women were in the match: Vanessa Bourne, Bianca Belair, Sage Beckett, Mercedes Martinez, and they cut to commercial… [C]
A lot of the women were already in the ring. Candice LeRae got a full entrance. Also in the ring were most of the Mae Young classic competitors sans people like Shayna Baszler, Mia Yim, and others not in the match. Billie Kay also got a full entrance. Peyton Royce was at ringside. Nikki Cross made her entrance through the alternate arena entrance.
2. NXT Women’s Championship Qualifying Battle Royal. Nikki Cross ran right at Taynara Conti. Madness ensued everywhere else. Cross simply shoved Conti over the top rope. Taynara pulled Cross under the top rope so Cross wasn’t eliminated. Peyton Royce also got involved by shoving Nikki Cross on the outside. Nigel McGuinness said the optimum strategy for this type of match is to stay low which hurts the taller women in this match. Candice and Santana Garrett were shown hanging on the top rope to avoid elimination. More madness ensued.
A few women teamed up to put Rhea Ripley on the apron. Bianca Belair used Zeda as a weapon and used her to eliminated Ripley. Bianca also eliminated Zeda while she was at it. [C]
Lots of people trying to avoid elimination back from the commercial. Sage Beckett eliminated Dakota kai. Lacey Evans avoided elimination by punching Abbey Laith in the butt. It worked! Sage Beckett eliminated Aliyah. Santana Garrett eliminated someone, I didn’t catch who. Cross took everyone out with a crossbody. Cross cleaned house. Cross tossed out Bourne. Cross sidestepped Beckett to eliminate her. Cross eliminated Santana next and Laith right after. Billie Kay slowed down Cross’s roll. Martinez eliminated Sara Logan. Cross hugged the second and top rope to avoid elimination.
Lacey Evans caught Candice with a sweep from the apron but Candice pushed her off the apron to eliminate her. Bianca, Candice, Billie, Nikki, and Mercedes were left in the ring. Peyton Royce was looming outside. Bianca Belair showed off her impressive strength by lifting Candice LeRae with ease and Gorilla Pressing her outside to eliminate her. There were four left. Billie Kay avoided elimination by holding on to Bianca Belair’s hair which popped the crowd. The crowd was popped further when Belair went crazy in whipping Kay with her hair.
Cross and Kay fell through the bottom ropes so no elimination. Belair tied up her hair to avoid it getting in the way. Mercedes fought out of a powerslam. Martinez laid in strikes on Belair in the corner. Martinez gave Belair a boot to put her on the apron. Belair dragged Mercedes to the apron. Mercedes and Bianca brawled on the apron. Nikki Cross eliminated both women with a clothesline. Billie Kay tried to steal one by putting Nikki Cross over the ropes. Cross skinned the cat and then eliminated Kay.
Nikki Cross won the qualifier battle royal in 12:19 to earn a spot in the Women’s Championship four-way at NXT Takeover: War Games.
John’s Thoughts: In-ring wise, there was nothing to write home about, but the match handled it’s job well in that there were some good and quick storylines either developed of started. Sage Beckett got to look good early on. Of the newer girls, Bianca Belair continues to impress. Where I think she stands out is her unexpected feats of strength. She has a good future. Of course, the match was overall a showcase for Nikki Cross, who got to be the buzzsaw.
Mauro Ranallo introduced the new graphic showing all four women in the four way for the women’s championship: Nikki Cross, Kairi Sane, Peyton Royce, and Ember Moon. William Regal entered the ring with the women’s championship. Cross acted like a little girl begging for candy to Regal. She then entered crazy gorilla yelling mode when Royce entered the ring. Ember Moon made her entrance followed by Kairi Sane. Both women got full entrances. They then cut to commercial. What?..
John’s Thoughts: It was a nice touch to have Regal do a formal ceremony but that was a bit abrupt.
Drew McIntyre was swarmed by the “press” outside. Zelina Vega yelled at Drew for his attention and asked why Almas hasn’t gotten a NXT Championship match yet. Drew said he told her once and twice and now he’s going to tell her trice (nice line), that Andrade has to ask for it face-to-face just like Roderick Strong did. Drew said he’ll even tell the man Gracias when he does but for now Drew’s busy and it was time for him to Adios. Drew left. The “press” tried to interview Zelina but she yelled at them and walked away…
Mauro introduced the band Marmanozets, who were providing the music for NXT Takeover: War Games. Aleister Black made his cool entrance as he headed to the ring for his upcoming match. Black made hit to the bottom of the ramp. Suddenly, from below the fog, Velveteen Dream Patrick Clark emerged and beat up Black from behind. Black was thrown into the steps. Dream tied up Black in the ropes like a crucifix. Dream yelled at Black to “Say my name!!!” several times. Dream slapped Black as he was trapped. Black no-sold Clark and just glared at him. Dream ran the ropes and Black escaped the crucifix with his boot. Black went for Black Mass but Dream ducked the move by a hair. Black stared in the direction of Dream as Dream backed up on the ramp with a confident smirk on his face. Roderick Strong was shown heading to the ring for the main event of this episode… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Again! Wowzers! This is hand’s down my favorite feud in professional wrestling at the moment. Seriously! When you see this feud on paper, you would have thought it was throwaway but I’m telling you to check this out starting with Black’s first ever promo in NXT. More feuds should be written with this much efficiency. That aside, Black has it and Velveteen Dream has finally found it. Patrick has big time potential with this new character and I really hope he doesn’t shift away from it.
As has become formula before the NXT Main Event. The commentators hyped up segments for next week. Nigel advertised the Sanity vs. Authors of Pain championship match for next week. Andrade Almas made his entrance for the main event of the show. Zelina Vega cut a promo. She said she’s a patient woman, but Andrade has been waiting one week for a championship match against Drew McIntyre. Zelina complained about not getting the match. Zelina said Drew is ducking Cien Almas…
3. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Roderick Strong. Almas and Strong started off with some quick chain wrestling. Mauro talked about Almas being a hybrid of Mexican and Japanese wrestling. After some counters, Strong hit one of his signature backbreakers on Almas. Almas tried to suplex Strong from the apron but Strong brought Almas on board with him. Almas blocked a backbreaker. Almas planted Strong with a fist and backbreaker on the apron. [C]
Almas gave Strong chops in the corner as Vega cheered him on at ringside. Almas did his spiderman thing to block a whip. Almas locked in a crossarmbreaker on the ropes. Almas then locked in an armbar in the center of the ring. Strong escaped with an armdrag and threw Almas outside. Strong caught Almas with a roundhouse and enziguri. Strong and Almas traded elbows. Strong caught Almas with a leaping lariat. Almas blocked the angle slam. Strong hit a popup gutbuster on Almas. Almas caught Strong with a boot. Strong locked in a reverse tarantula on Almas. Strong hit Almas with an enziguri and backbreaker on the apron. Almas caught Strong with a reverse tornado DDT to get a nearfall. Strong went for a Tiger Bomb but Almas reversed with a huracanrana.
Almas set up and hit Strong with his signature double knees. This led to a nearfall. Vega yelled at Almas to finish off Strong. Strong reversed the hammerlock DDT. Almas came back at Strong with an elbow CQC combo and back elbow. Strong blocked the knees with a tiger knee. Roderick Strong hit Almas with the Angle Slam. Strong then clotheslined Almas to the outside. Strong then followed up with a dropkick to the outside. The referee’s attention was directed at Almas which allowed Zelina Vega to hit a quick and impressive huracanrana on Strong to send him into the steps. The crowd popped. Almas hit the hammerlock DDT to pick up the win.
Andrade Almas defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall in 9:17.
Andrade Almas thanked Vega when she entered the ring to celebrate. They showed the highlights of the end of the match. Zelina Vega and Almas walked over to the commentary table. Vega took the headset off of Mauro. Vega asked Drew if he’s a man of his word. Vega said next week Almas will meet Drew face-to-face. Almas tried to say something in the mic but the mic didn’t catch what he had to say. I think he talked about Drew. Nigel wasn’t sure either. The camera cut to Roderick Strong. The Undisputed Era’s theme played as the Undisputed Era made their entrance, wearing their t-shirts. Cole wasn’t mic’d, but we could hear that he was recruiting strong to his stable.
We heard Adam Cole say that “you will be undisputed” to Strong. Strong accepted Adam Cole’s armband but didn’t put it on. Mauro closed the show by asking what does it mean?
John’s Thoughts: A fun main event as expected from these two. Roderick continues to show off his fire as Almas continues to rebuild himself in credible fashion. His pairing with Zelina Vega is working pretty well so far in that they are logically putting him in positions where her coaching is giving him the advantage. Plus, he’s doing good heel work with Zelina running heel interference for him as well. That was a sweet huracanrana and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen her do a move that well. Vega was known as “Rosita” in TNA where she played Sarah Stock’s (a trainer in NXT) little cousin.
As for the Undisputed Era thing, these guys are starting to fade into the background, but I’m not too afraid for them yet because there’s just so many good things happening in NXT right now. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of them taking more of the NWO approach as opposed to the Shield domination approach. It almost seems like Adam Cole is opening up an NXT branch of the Young Bucks’ Elite stable. Anyway, this was a good episode of NXT and they do a good job with the hype for next week. I’ll be by later on today with my All Access audio review.