A look at everything that happened on this week’s episode of WWE NXT. Featured matches include the semifinals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Previously on WWE NXT, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicked into high gear. The entire second round of the tournament was shown. Half the matches took place in Southern California while NXT was on tour. The other half aired from Full Sail University.
In SoCal, TM61 was scheduled to take on Austin Aries and Roderick Strong. But the injury suffered by Aries turned the contest into an impromptu singles match. Shane Thorne managed a victory over Strong, sending TM61 into the semifinals.
Also in California, No Way Jose and Rich Swann hit a giant roadblock in the form of the Authors of Pain. Akam and Rezar actually took a bit of a beating, but were left unfazed as they moved on in the tournament.
At Full Sail, DIY earned a forfeit victory over the NXT Tag Team Champions, The Revival. Scott Dawson claims to have suffered a severe knee injury, but it seems less than legit. DIY faces the Authors of Pain this week in the semifinals.
Finally, SAnitY continued to look impressive early in their NXT careers as they moved on to the semis. Sawyer Fulton and Alexander Wolfe defeated TJ Perkins and Kota Ibushi, albeit with some help from Eric Young and Nikki Cross. They take on TM61 this week in the semifinals.
In addition to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, this week’s episode features a contract signing for the NXT Championship match at TakeOver: Toronto. Current champion Shinsuke Nakamura and challenger Samoa Joe will meet face to face roughly 10 days before their big rematch. Will they maintain their composure, or will things devolve into chaos?
Please read ahead for all the results from this week’s episode of WWE NXT.
DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar, w/ Paul Ellering)
Result: The Authors of Pain defeated DIY via pinfall
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
By far, this has been one of the top matches in the tournament. Part of the reason it shines is because it features two legitimate tag teams. Gargano and Ciampa have spent the past year building chemistry. They even live together! And Akam and Rezar came up together, and they’re led by a Hall of Fame manager. It’s a recipe for success.
Another thing that helps this match stand out is the removal from Full Sail. This match was taped in front of a smarky Los Angeles crowd, but it’s a far cry from the Full sail regulars. As someone who attended a pre-WWE Network NXT taping at Full Sail, it’s sad that things have gotten to the point where you want to see NXT anywhere else.
But DIY built some cred in Cali with their work in PWG, so the LA audience was all into this match. The explosion when Ciampa hit Rezar with a German suplex was nuts, for all the right reasons. Same when Rezar hit that double fall away slam.
The finish was a little wonky, but it makes perfect sense. Ellering has been getting more involved in matches as the stakes get higher, so he jumps onto the apron to save his team. It’s the first time either of the Authors has ever been in danger of getting pinned, so the timing is perfect. Off that distraction, The Revival plays the part of the Young Bucks and sneak out from under the ring to attack Gargano. Chekhov’s Knee Injury, as was expected.
So the Authors of Pain make their way to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, leaving DIY free to challenge for the NXT Tag Team Championships at TakeOver in a just-announced two of three falls match.
I’m all for more Tye Dillinger promo time. The guy has all the makings of a superstar – the crowd loves him, he’s super talented, and he holds his own on the mic. This is nothing more than some hype for TakeOver and his match against Bobby Roode, but you can’t help but root for the guy.
SAnitY (Sawyer Fulton & Alexander Wolfe, w/ Eric Young & Nikki Cross) vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
Result: TM61 defeated SAnitY via pinfall
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
After seeing the Authors of Pain win the first semifinal match, there was very little drama left for this match. The likelihood of seeing two teams made up of huge, unstoppable, undefeated monsters in the finals was slim to none.
But regardless of the drama or lack thereof, the match was solid. It was a very simple, straight forward story told to perfection. SAnitY is the tough, unpredictable team, so they attack before the bell and leave TM61 in a bad way.
Once the match officially got under way, SAnitY’s plan was divide and conquer. How long did it take to get Miller on the apron and even ready for a tag? It was a good 5 minutes or so at least, if I had to guess. And then when he finally got up there, he got knocked right back down!
Poor Shane Thorne, though. Guy had to fight a singles match against Roddy Strong last week, and this week he was all alone for the majority of this one. I hope Miller buys him a beer or two after all the work he’s been putting in.
And once the match ends, the finals is what everyone expected when the tournament was announced: a TakeOver: Brooklyn pre-show rematch! The Authors are famously undefeated thus far, and TM61 is on the hottest streak they’ve been on since arriving in NXT. Something’s got to give in Toronto. Either way, the match should be even better than their match in Brooklyn a few months back.
And, in a backstage exclusive, there’s a stipulation in place to keep Paul Ellering from interfering. I won’t spoil it, but it will prevent any fishy business.
Roode plays the part of Snitsky (it’s not my fault!) as he hypes TakeOver. The Roode Revisionist Hour is one of my favorite things about NXT. I want to see him try to spin things he wasn’t even involved in. “David Arquette? He was only WCW Champion because I got involved and handed him a victory on a silver platter! It was GLORIOUS!”
Result: Ember Moon defeated Rachael Evers via pinfall
Rating: 2.0 out of 5 stars
To my knowledge, this is the second new ring name for Rachael Evers since her initial NXT debut under her real name, Rachael Ellering. I get trying to distance her from her famous father, but maybe keep Rachael Fazio? She’s got entrance music and a video now, so hopefully this is it for the change.
As far as the match, the incredibly obvious march to make Ember Moon a credible threat to Asuka continues. In all honesty, the march should be pretty short. But a continued build to hype her up, even more, is a good thing, especially if we keep getting matches like this.
There wasn’t a whole lot of back and forth in this one. Honestly, it didn’t need it. Evers got enough offense in to look like she wasn’t a total scrub. Better still, she got in enough offense to make Moon angry. When she fights angry, it’s like a whole different wrestler. She’s vicious.
Go back and take another look at that shotgun front kick. They should just diagnose Evers with a concussion now, that’s how nasty it looked. The springboard forearm that followed was equally intense.
And that’s how you make someone look like they can stand with Asuka, who’s the most vicious competitor to come through NXT’s Women’s Division so far. Yes, more so than Nia Jax. After Asuka’s TakeOver exhibition against Mickie James (yeah, I said it), Ember Moon should be next in line.
I’ll be completely honest: I’m still cracking up at “Samoa Joe, Community Theater Superstar.” Seriously, he’s got the acting chops of every New York City waitress who sends a resume and headshot out with the bill. He even does accents!
The best part? Joe was using such a vast vocabulary, I think Nakamura was legitimately confused. All he knew was that Joe had his own table on the stage, and he said the words “mouth breathers.” The look in his eyes was of the “what’s my cue?” variety.
Also, if we’re being completely honest: I really thought Nakamura was going to pee on the contract when he threw it on the ground. I know it’s a PG program and that’s completely unacceptable on a McMahon-produced program, but it seemed like that’s what was coming.
This segment hit it out of the park on so many levels, but Regal’s involvement is the most bittersweet. His interactions with Joe are like Daniel Bryan and Miz segments on SmackDown. They’re killing it with the mic work, and all you want to see is a fight between the two, but real health issues make that impossible. Seriously, how much money would you pay right now to see a one on one match between William Regal and Samoa Joe?
And then Nakamura takes out six security guards as nonchalantly as humanly possible. He finishes off the assault with a powerbomb to one poor schlub through a table. When was the last time you saw Shinsuke Nakamura use a powerbomb? He’s out to show Samoa Joe that even though he’s beaten him before, he’s got more tricks up his sleeve.