Date: April 13, 2016
Location: Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, Texas
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips
We’re back to normal now after Takeover: Dallas but we’ll be seeing some the action from Wrestlemania Axxess where about four weeks of shows were taped. This is going to include some TV debuts and potentially the fallout from the big show, though there’s a good chance a lot of that will be included in backstage segments. Let’s get to it.
Commissioner William Regal runs down some of tonight’s big events, including Shinsuke Nakamura’s TV debut.
The camera is a little different here as the hard camera is opposite the entrance. Other than that it looks like a regular setup, despite Axxess taking place just a few feet away.
Austin Aries vs. Angelo Dawkins
The fans are behind Aries here of course. Dawkins quickly takes off his headband but gets taken to the mat and ridden a bit. A hard shoulder puts the much smaller Aries down but he snaps off some armdrags to take over. Dawkins throws him down and stomps away before slapping on a front facelock. This sets up a lot of yelling about Dawkins’ Island, the meaning of which I’m sure will be covered later. Back up and Dawkins misses a charge in the corner, allowing Aries to start in with those hard forearms. The neckbreaker over the middle rope sets up a roaring elbow for the pin on Dawkins at 4:15.
Rating: C-. Standard debut here and there’s nothing wrong with that. Aries looked fine here and beat up a jobber that we’ve seen before, though none of that really matters as we’re still waiting to see his next big match. Given that Corbin is gone, maybe he could challenge Balor as there’s no point in seeing Balor vs. Joe III.
Samoa Joe says nothing has changed and now he wants Apollo Crews next week.
No Way Jose is coming next week.
Alexa Bliss vs. Tessa Blanchard
Tessa is of course the daughter of Tully. Bliss takes her down to the mat to start but gets kneed in the face for two. Back up and Alexa drops her again, allowing Bliss to stand on her back for Graves calls a Tony Hawk. We hit the cravate for a bit before Bliss loads up a slap. Tessa blocks it though and shouts I DON’T THINK SO in a Stephanie style screech. Alexa is done with this though and grabs Blanchard by the throat while giving us the best crazy eyes I’ve seen since Edge retired. A shove Tessa down and a standing moonsault into knees to the chest gives Alexa the pin at 3:52.
Rating: C+. Bliss’ best match ever and a lot of it is due to those eyes. I know she gets a lot of compliments for her looks but that was one of the best visuals I’ve seen in a very long time. At the same time though, Tessa clearly has that it factor and knows what she’s doing in the ring. Give her some experience and a bit of a character and she’s ready to be one of the top women in NXT. Really nice surprise here and I’m very pleased.
Finn Balor is ready for any challenger as the new #1 contender. He’ll be sticking around for Nakamura’s in ring debut. That’s really the only option right now but it still seems a little soon.
Tommaso Ciampa/Johnny Gargano vs. Vaudevillains
Gargano armdrags Gotch into an armbar to start before it’s quickly off to Ciampa who takes English’s head off for two. Everything breaks down for a bit and Gargano gets double teamed on the floor to give the Vaudevillains their first real advantage. Gotch works on the arm and tags in English, who comes in between the bottom and middle rope. I’ve never seen a male wrestler come in that way unless he was injured.
Gargano knees Gotch off the apron and quickly crawls over to Tommaso for the hot tag. A hanging downward spiral (think Randy Orton) gets two on English but Gotch makes a blind tag to come in. The rollup doesn’t work though and the flip over armbar makes Simon tap at 5:03 in a big upset.
Rating: C+. This picked up near the end but above that it was a big surprise. You really don’t expect a main roster team (and they were acknowledged as such) to lose to a team that hasn’t had a ton of success even in NXT. Still though, well done on a clean win and maybe Ciampa and Gargano are going to be the next challengers.
Tye Dillinger says Nakamura is great but tonight Nakamura is competing against him, not the other way around. Tonight Nakamura is being sent back to Japan. Dillinger leaves but comes back to give interviewer Rich Brennan a 3.
Baron Corbin vs. Tucker Knight
Corbin takes him into the corner for some right hands to start but Knight gets in a nice dropkick and a Thesz press. Back up and End of Days puts Knight away at 1:57. Nothing to see here.
American Alpha stood in the empty convention center wearing their new titles earlier today when Enzo and Cass showed up to praise the new champions. They’d also like a match, which doesn’t even need to be for the titles. Jordan and Gable seem to agree with the idea.
Bayley vs. Liv Morgan
Wristlocks are exchanged to start as the fans sing the HEY WE WANT SOME BAYLEY song. Morgan does a Matrix move to avoid a clothesline, only to get elbowed in the back. The fans think Bayley is going to hug her but Morgan grabs an ankle scissors to take over. A bulldog sets up a monkey flip, only to have Bayley counter a whip into the Bayley to Belly for the pin at 3:24.
Rating: C-. Just a quick match to get Bayley back on her feet but Morgan looked good out there at the same time. It’s clear that they’re planting the seeds for the next batch of women and with Sara Del Ray coaching them, there’s little doubt that they’ll all work out. Remember how nothing Bayley and Sasha were back in the day and then look at where they were just a year or so later.
Post match Bayley says she was beaten by a better woman but the fans make her want to keep standing and be champion again.
Tye Dillinger vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The chants are almost split to start but Nakamura’s fans cut off Tye’s with a HE’S ELEVEN chant. Tye armdrags him down and holds up the ten fingers, which fascinate Nakamura for some reason. He even asks the referee about it but Tye tells him to bring it, which you just don’t do to this guy. Back up and Nakamura takes him to the ropes before casually putting his head on Tye’s chest. That gets a ten from Shinsuke and an offer to bring it.
The fans already say it’s awesome and while I get the sentiment, could you save that for more than two minutes into a glorified squash? Tye gets two off a good looking superkick and we hit the chinlock. Graves has to mock the fans for failing to chant ELEVEN in rhythm as Shinsuke starts his comeback. We get the kicks to the chest and head, including the shaking stomp in the corner. The Kinshasa puts Dillinger away at 5:14.
Rating: C. Dillinger is a great example of someone who has skills and talent but is rarely ever going to win a big match. However, as soon as you get the TEN thing going, everyone forgets about that because he’s got enough charisma to carry him wherever he needs to go, even if that’s normally to a loss. I don’t think Nakamura needs much more explanation.
Overall Rating: C+. This was back to basics for NXT and that’s what they do best. It was a night of quick/nothing matches but we got some storyline advancement and potential matches set up for down the road. It also helps that they announced two matches for next week (American Alpha vs. Enzo/Cass and Joe vs. Crews) to give us something to look forward to. As usual, NXT knows how to book week to week and sets the standard for doing so.
Austin Aries b. Angelo Dawkins – Roaring elbow
Alexa Bliss b. Tessa Blanchard – Moonsault knees to the chest
Johnny Gargano/Tommasso Ciampa b. Vaudevillains – Flip over armbar to Gotch
Baron Corbin b. Tucker Knight – End of Days
Bayley b. Liv Morgan – Bayley to Belly
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Tye Dillinger – Kinshasa
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