Date: February 17, 2016
Location: CFE Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves
Tonight is a big show for NXT as we’ll find out the #1 contender for Finn Balor’s NXT Title with the title shot coming at Takeover: Dallas in about six weeks. Other than that we’re starting to see the next challenger to Bayley’s Women’s Title as Asuka seems ready to come after the belt. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Sami vs. Joe to bring us to tonight.
Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady/American Alpha vs. Scott Dawson/Dash Wilder/Blake and Murphy
No Carmella this week. Dawson and Gable get things going with the fans cheering for Chad as you would expect. Gable rides him to the mat and Dawson is quickly frustrated. Everything breaks down and the good guys clear the ring in a big stereo throw over the top. Back from a break with Blake holding Gable in a chinlock before Dawson scores with a good looking elbow to the jaw.
The heels keep taking turns on Gable in the corner until Dash plants him for two and puts on a chinlock. Back up and Gable collides with Wilder, finally allowing for the tag off to Jordan. Everything breaks down with Colin feeding Dawson into a belly to belly from Jason. Grand Amplitude gets two on Dawson with Dash making the save. Not that it matters as the Rocket Launcher puts Dawson away a few seconds later at 12:58.
Rating: C+. Totally standard and run of the mill “take four teams and throw them together into a big match” deal here and there’s nothing wrong with that. American Alpha should be ready to go after the belts in Dallas while Enzo and Cass should be on the main roster by then. Good match here though, even with the heels being badly outshined.
Deonna Purrazzo is ready for a shot at revenge on Asuka when Emma and Dana Brook come in to say they run this place.
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Asuka
Asuka starts fast with some kicks to the ribs and a leg bar to make things even worse. Back up and Deonna fires off some forearms but makes the mistake of slapping Asuka in the face. Asuka easily takes her down into an ankle lock before tucking the ankle behind Deonna’s back for a suplex. A tease of the Asuka Lock sets up a hard spinning kick to the head to put Purrazzo away at 2:53. Total squash.
We look back at Eva Marie and Nia Jax beating down Bayley and Carmella until Asuka made the save.
Nia and Eva say they were justified last week because Nia would have won the battle royal if she had been healthy. Asuka needs to stay out of their business. Eva sounded better here but still very scripted while Jax sounded natural.
Tye Dillinger vs. Alex Riley
Apparently Riley has called NXT a joke, which sends Graves on a tirade against Alex’s facial hair. They fight over wrist control to start until Tye nips up and shouts TEN. A hard clothesline from Riley earns a ONE as Graves thinks Riley has been ripped off by an Uber driver to make him this mad. Alex’s chinlock doesn’t go anywhere and Tye comes back with a Thesz Press, only to charge into a hard right hand. Riley grabs a full nelson but gets rolled up for the pin at 3:16.
Rating: D+. Not much here but that’s the case almost every time Riley is out there. The promotion has passed him by since his injury, though to be fair it had probably passed him by years ago. Dillinger has something there with the TEN gimmick but he needs something else to go with it.
Finn Balor congratulates Apollo Crews on a great match last week and knows that Sami and Joe are going to give it their all tonight.
Baron Corbin comes in to see Regal and demands to be put in the #1 contenders match tonight. That gets him nowhere so Baron threatens violence and leaves.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Winner gets the title shot at some point in the future. Sami bails from a kick to start but gets caught in a wristlock to take him to the mat. Back up and Sami fights out of a headlock before running Joe over with a shoulder. The SAMI chants replace the OLE’s as Sami grabs a wristlock. Joe gets sent to the floor and Sami teases a dive but has to backflip into the ring again as we take a break.
Back with Joe nailing a hard chop and catching a charging Sami with the Rock Bottom out of the corner. Sami tries slugging it out for some reason so Joe sweeps the leg to take over again as Zayn’s face goes right into the mat. A hard kick to the face keeps Sami in trouble as they still haven’t really cranked it up like you would expect them to. At least we’re getting some loud strikes from Joe to make you cringe every time.
Sami tries to fight up but gets kicked again, only to come back with a clothesline to put Joe down. The Blue Thunder Bomb is easily blocked but Sami finally pulls him up for two. That’s fine with Joe as he kicks Sami in the face (why try anything too complicated) and drops a backsplash for two more.
Back up and Joe tries another clothesline but has to fight out of a Koji Clutch attempt. A snap powerslam gets two for Joe but now it’s Sami slugging away. Joe’s enziguri in the corner staggers Zayn but he’s still able to suplex Joe into the corner. The Helluva Kick is countered into the Koquina Clutch but Sami gets a rope. Sami is almost out of but still escapes the Muscle Buster, setting up the Helluva Kick for the pin out of nowhere at 16:12.
Rating: A-. This kept a slow pace throughout but they were hitting each other so hard that it was difficult to not get sucked in. Sami collapsing into the pin at the end is perfect for him as he is always fighting from behind and both guys are even in the end. This was the usual good stuff from a big time NXT main event, but did you really expect anything else?
However, all four shoulders are down and the referee looks confused. Regal comes out and gets an explanation but the referee says he can’t pick a #1 contender because that was a draw. Confusion reigns as we go off the air.
Overall Rating: B+. It’s another strong episode of NXT with the big main event anchoring the whole thing. They’re doing a good job of setting up things for the Dallas show while not blowing anything big or making it seem like they’re trying to stretch it out. At this point we’re only six weeks away from Wrestlemania weekend so just let everything be built up especially well instead of doing the whole thing early.
Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady/American Alpha b. Scott Dawson/Dash Wilder/Blake and Murphy – Rocket Launcher to Dawson
Asuka b. Deonna Purrazzo – Spinning kick to the head
Tye Dillinger b. Alex Riley – Rollup
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe went to a draw
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