WWE NXT returns to Full Sail University this week. Find out what happened as the new era kicked off with an NXT Tag Team Championship match.
Previously on WWE NXT, the tour of the eastern hemisphere continued. After airing a live event from Osaka, Japan, last week’s episode was filmed in Melbourne, Australia. The show featured the final battle between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, a steel cage match for the NXT Championship.
In other action from Down Under, DIY defended the NXT Tag Team Championships against TM61. Despite being the native conquering heroes, Shane Thorne and Nick Miller fell short in their quest to win gold in NXT.
This week, the show returns home to Full Sail University. As announced several weeks ago, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa will defend the NXT Tag Titles for the third consecutive episode. This week, their opponents in a heavily-hyped match are former champions The Revival. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are looking to become the first three-time champions in NXT history. Notably, the winners of this match already have their first title defense scheduled – against the Authors of Pain at TakeOver: San Antonio.
With the Nakamura vs. Joe saga over (for now, at least), it’s the beginning of a new era on Wednesday nights. Bobby Roode is the top challenger for Nakamura and the NXT Championship. How will the two superstars interact?
The Women’s division has been taking shape as of late, as well. Asuka has no shortage of challengers for the Women’s Title. Between Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Ember Moon, and Nikki Cross, a main contender should emerge shortly. How will the title picture shape up?
Please continue reading for all the highlights and results from Wednesday’s episode of WWE NXT.
Clearly, the direction of the women’s division I alluded to above is this. The post-match promo from the Aussie Mean Girls makes it seem like a fatal four-way match is on tap, unless a tag match happens in the meantime. But Nikki Cross coming to Asuka’s aid only to attack her is inSAnitY. (see what I did there?)
Asuka’s impassioned plea at the end of the episode for a match against “ALL OF THEM” was probably not meant to be as funny as I found it to be. But the streaked makeup and dirty jacket just looked like a bad attempt at costuming.
The Nikki Cross/SAnitY segment backstage was notable for the lurking Killian “Don’t Call Me Damo” Dain. It was also the sanest I’ve seen Eric Young in NXT, so there’s that.
As for the match tonight, it’s probably not a good thing when Sarah “Crazy Mary Dobson” Bridges is the most over competitor in a throwaway tag match that exists just for the post-match shenanigans. But, it’s Full Sail, and she’s been around a couple of times before under various names, so I’ll allow it.
I know nothing about Bridges’ tag partner, Macey Evans. Well, I know she reminded me of a biker version of Michelle McCool, at least. It’s nice to see the women’s division continuing to expand. We’ve still got Kimber Lee, Heidi Lovelace, and Rosie Lottalove/Andrea in the pipeline, as well. Good times coming up!
Result: Elias Samson defeated Jonathan Cruz via pinfall
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
There’s not a lot I can say about Elias Samson that I haven’t said already. The guy is taking a terrible, poorly thought out gimmick and turning it into something. It’s still not great, but it’s closer to good than bad, if you get my drift. (I swear, I’ll stop these Dad Jokes soon.)
Anyway, Samson is looking tougher and tougher every week, which is exactly what he needs. Getting a match against an enhancement talent-type opponent can serve to highlight what he does well.
And bingo, that’s what happened tonight against Cruz. The Drifter got to show he can shake off an attack and come back even tougher. There was a running lariat in the corner that made me cringe, and that’s in an Elias Samson match!
The big boot leading up to the finish was another big spot, and, again, that’s what Samson needs if he’s going to succeed. He needs to be somewhat memorable, and convincing as a vicious dude. The twisting neckbreaker finish is looking good, and all it needs is a name. I’m open for suggestions, people!
Not too much came out of this interview on the Nakamura side of things. But even in his absence, Bobby Roode made the biggest impact in this segment.
Seriously, giving your opponent a ticket stub to his debut show is all kinds of scumbag behavior. Like, did Roode give it up because he didn’t think it had any value anymore? Or is he just saying, “I saw your debut, remember? And I don’t really care because I’m not impressed.” It’s GLORIOUS, I tell ya!
Result: Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Oney Lorcan via pinfall
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Right off the bat, props to Oney Lorcan for not sitting there like a goof when Almas lounged on the ropes. How many guys have stood around twiddling their thumbs as Cien just mocked them? Lorcan has seen it, remembered what happened, and adapted to make him pay for it. Continuity is keeping it 100. (Ok, I promise, no more puns.)
I really liked the first match between these guys in Osaka, but I really think I liked this match better. Since the Osaka match was from a WWE NXT live event, they got a bunch of time to fill. House show matches are a chance for guys to go out and try things out, so they last a while. In a truncated form, the fat is trimmed and only the good remains – ideally, at least.
Because this match built off the first one, it enhanced what was already really good. Lorcan is as talented as his name is stupid. Almas as an evil, arrogant showboat is fantastic. 50/50 booking aside, this one hit the high points and left out the excess.
Moving Almas into a feud with Roderick Strong is an interesting turn. I still think the Austin Aries injury messed up not only the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic booking, but how Roddy was going to be used as well. He came in teaming with an arrogant guy who thinks he’s the greatest, now he’s booked against… an arrogant guy who thinks he’s the greatest? At least Roddy has a type, I guess.
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) (c)
Result: DIY defeated The Revival via pinfall
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
When the conversation about greatest tag team in the world takes place, invariably there’s some debate. The Young Bucks are always brought up because of their athleticism, and then shot down because of their over-reliance on it.
But one thing I always hear about the Bucks is that there’s never any wasted motion in their matches. Part of what makes their athleticism seem so impressive is how quickly the Jackson brothers can transition from one spot to the next.
Watching The Revival, I see the exact same smoothness moving from spot to spot. There isn’t an ounce of wasted motion in anything they do. And I think the reason some people give them the nod as greatest tag team is that they don’t do the flippy stuff. The Bucks get knocked down for the excessive flips, but there’s none of that to distract from how good Dash and Dawson are.
It would be asking a lot for tonight’s rematch to be another match of the year like in Toronto. There was so much going on in that contest, not to mention it being a two out of three falls match. But with The Revival being the greatest team in the world (sorry, Matt and Nick!), and Gargano and Ciampa on the hot streak of a lifetime, it had to be a great match regardless.
The psychology was on point – even down to ring attire. Corey Graves (speaking of greatest of all time, he’s the best commentator in WWE right now in a walk) pointed out that Dash and Dawson were wearing the same ring gear as they did at TakeOver: The End. You know, where they regained their titles.
Gargano does such a great job of playing Ricky Morton, and he even remembers to sell on offense! Ciampa lived up to the Psycho Killer moniker with the dive from the apron onto Wilder and the timekeeper’s station – that was nuts. The only thing I didn’t like was the post-match ambush by the Authors of Pain. It makes sense, I guess, but I could have done without it. That’s just me, though.
I can’t say enough positive things about this match. The entire trilogy – Brooklyn, Toronto, Full Sail – should be permanent examples for aspiring tag team wrestlers. It’s as close to perfect as wrestling can be, in my humble opinion.