Date: May 11, 2016
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves
Finn Balor is back tonight and it’s already time for him to go after his NXT Title again. Balor lost the belt a few weeks back at a house show to new champion Samoa Joe, meaning Finn’s target should be obvious. Other than that it’s time to really hit the gas on building towards the next Takeover which is scheduled for about a month from now. Let’s get to it.
We open with a video on Finn Balor, talking about how the title is his obsession before the loss to Joe. I believe this aired last week as well. Balor may have lost the title but it’s time to embrace the demon inside.
Here’s Finn to open things up. After a THANK YOU FINN chant, Balor thanks the fans and talks about how the matches with Joe could have gone either way but he won the first two. Before he can talk about what happened in the third match, Elias Samson comes out to sing about Balor’s masquerade being exposed. Samson says Finn is nothing without the title so Balor kicks him in the head to put Elias outside. The guitar goes flying but thankfully Samson makes the save. Jeff Jarrett is somewhere groaning at the guitar not being destroyed.
Last week, Eric Young called himself a world class maniac who is so glad to finally be here in NXT.
Balor wants Samson tonight.
American Alpha vs. Corey Hollis/John Skyler
Non-title. Chad takes Skyler to the mat to start and we get the Kurt Angle themed chant. Hollis comes in and gets headlocked down as well before we hit the seated armbar. It’s off to Jordan who easily throws Hollis into the air for a face first crash onto the mat. A double hiptoss puts Hollis down and there’s a double dropkick for Skyler as this is completely one sided so far.
Hollis finally realizes that he can cheat and the jobbers take over on Gable for the first time. Skyler drops a knee for two and we hit the chinlock. That works for all of five seconds before it’s off to Jordan as house is cleaned. Cue the Revival on the ramp for a distraction but Grand Amplitude puts Hollis away at 5:10.
Rating: C-. This was a nearly complete squash and that’s all it needed to be. Alpha is so far ahead of everyone else right now that it wouldn’t make sense to have them do anything but squash other teams. Revival vs. Alpha II should be a really solid brawl though and it would help to have something like No DQ involved. A regular match would be fine too though.
Shinsuke Nakamura is asked what he thinks about Alex Riley’s rage. Nakamura starts shaking, like he has rage you see.
Alex Riley vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Riley had been calling himself the white lion down in NXT, at least until he got released a few weeks after this. Riley goes right after him to start like he’s a guy about to be released going after one of the top stars in the promotion. Nakamura misses a knee though and Riley hammers away, earning himself a string of knees and forearms to the ribs and face. The running knee in the corner sets up the inverted exploder suplex, followed by Kinshasa to put Riley away at 2:38.
Austin Aries is in William Regal’s office to say he wants to prove he’s the best. Blake and Murphy come in to talk about being disrespected. Aries: “You don’t even have the decency to bring Alexa Bliss with you?” Bliss comes in and yelling ensues so Regal makes Blake/Murphy vs. Aries/a partner of his choice next week. Aries pulls out his phone and implies he knows someone.
Alexa Bliss vs. Rachel Ellering
That would be Paul’s daughter. Bliss starts on the arm by bouncing it off the mat and working on an armbar. A forearm gets two on Rachel and it’s back to the armbar. The comeback goes nowhere as Bliss does the psycho eyes choke to set up the Sparkle Splash for the pin at 3:52.
Rating: D. They’re doing a good job of setting up Bliss as the midcard heel though I can’t imagine her ever being a real threat to someone like Asuka. Ellering was really just there and didn’t show anything outside of being competent in the ring. Then again that’s been the case several times before, but she’s a long way behind Tessa Blanchard in terms of potential.
Bayley says she’s getting ready for her rematch when Nia Jax interrupts. She learned from the loss to Bayley but it’s clear that Bayley has learned nothing from losing the title. A challenge for a rematch is issued and Bayley says she can choke Nia out again. This was a really awkward, and likely WAY too scripted, exchange.
Bayley vs. Nia is official for next week.
Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson
Just regular Finn here and his shoulder is taped up. Feeling out process to start until Balor knocks him to the floor and takes us to a break. Back with Balor holding an armbar and the fans saying it NEEDS MORE COWBELL. Samson fires off some forearms but Balor just blasts him in the face a few times. Some running chops in the corner put Samson on the floor for a baseball slide. The Sling Blade sets up 1916 for the pin on Samson at 7:47.
Rating: C-. This was fine and did exactly what it was supposed to do. In theory this sets up another Balor vs. Joe match but I’m really not needing to see them fight for a third time out of four total major matchups. This is also where Samson is a good player. He’s not going to be a top heel anytime soon but those songs are enough to get the fans hating him every week and then he can take a beating and make someone else look good. That’s an important role to have and Samson is as good of an option as they have for it at the moment.
Balor says he wants his rematch for the title because it belongs to him. Now he’s possessed like a demon stalking his prey so here’s Samoa Joe to interrupt. Before it can get physical, Regal comes out to make Balor vs. Joe III for Takeover on June 8. That’s really rare for NXT as they almost never have feuds go on this long. Joe yells a lot so Balor dives over the top to take him out.
Overall Rating: C+. They’re finally starting to set up some stuff for the next Takeover, which is a good thing even though I’m not wild on the main event they’re going with. However, this was a step up over last week’s show and they’re setting up some stuff for the future, which is where NXT shines best. Aries’ partner could be interesting and you don’t know what they might pull off for that.
American Alpha b. Corey Hollis/John Skyler – Grand Amplitude to Hollis
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Alex Riley – Kinshasa
Alexa Bliss b. Rachel Ellering – Sparkle Splash
Finn Balor b. Elias Samson – 1916
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