Tye Dillinger vs Baron Corbin
The match didn’t happen, due to the interference of Apollo Crews! We’ve had the happy, smiling Crews for far too long: this intense, serious Crews looked awesome! He battered and bruised Corbin until Corbin managed to escape. I love angry Crews!
WINNER: No Contest
Bayley and The Hype Bros vs Alexa Bliss and Blake and Murphy
The feud between Bayley and Bliss continued with this rather good 6-Man Tag Team match. The Hype Bros are always exciting to watch, and Blake and Murphy honed their craft during their tag team reign. It may be true that Blake and Murphy will never be a great tag team (I difficulty telling them apart until they decided to have their names on their tights!), but they are a reliable team. Mojo Rawley benefits greatly from having a ‘veteran’ in the form of Zack Ryder to show him how to work in the ring. Bliss and Bayley saw little action in the ring, but fortunately the action was good enough to paper over that glaring error. It wasn’t great, but gave us plenty of entertainment.Ryder was the face beaten down throughout the match, until he got the hot tag to Rawley. Rawley cleared house and executed a modified military press slam on Murphy. Bliss broke up the following pin, and Bayley chucked her out of the ring. Bliss walked off with Bayley’s title. In a strange scene, Bayley hit the Bayley-to-Belly on Murphy, which suspended my suspension of disbelief. Am I supposed to believe she could hurl a man like that?
Regardless, Bayley ran off to find her title. And thanks to that move, The Hype Bros hit the modified Rough Ryder for the victory (falsifying my prediction last week that Bliss would pin Bayley. It would make sense for Bliss to get a pinfall victory over Bayley to secure a championship match, wouldn’t it?)
WINNERS: Bayley and The Hype Bros
VERDICT: 7/10: A solid and entertaining 6-Person Tag Team Match!
SEGMENT: The Ascension accept Jason Jordan and Chad Gable’s challenge to a match!
SEGMENT: Eva Marie intercepts Nia Jax and takes her to one side…what could they possibly be talking about? An alliance of sorts? I think we’d all like to see Jax squash Marie, but will Jax turn heel and team with Marie?
SEGMENT: Crews gives a great interview when he’s irate! He promises to break Baron Corbin. Let’s hope he does! Again, the serious Crews works wonders for his character. Without the grating smile, there’s a level of intensity that is very visible. Go Angry Crews!
Nia Jax vs Deonna
Jax brings another move to her imposing repertoire, in the form of a modified Samoan Drop. Of course, she’s Samoan, she has to have this move! With the match being as short as it was, Jax’s weaknesses didn’t show much at all. It’s the best she’s looked since her debut. But I worry if she is booked to work long matches…
WINNER: Nia Jax
VERDICT: 3/10. Simple squash match, but Jax’s best match so far (which isn’t saying much).
SEGMENT: Bayley found Alexa Bliss posing for photos with the title. Bliss ran away, Bayley took the title and bumped into Jax. Bliss attacked Bayley from behind, took one look at Jax, and scarpered. Jax picked up the title, looked at it, and handed it back to a bewildered Bayley. First Eva Marie eyeing the Women’s Title, now Jax…are they trying to undo all of the brilliant work that’s gone into the NXT Women’s Division?!??! Keep both of them away from the title! Very far!
The Vaudevillains (c) vs Dash and Dawson (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
The Vaudevillains haven’t been able to reach the heights of quality that they reached in their match against Blake and Murphy at Takeover: Brooklyn. Considering they faced the dependable Dash and Dawson, this match failed to ignite much interest or entertainment. Dash and Dawson stuck to their focus on the knee area, specifically the knee of Aiden English. Familiarity breeds contempt, and while it didn’t breed contempt here, Dash and Dawson didn’t enter any new ground in their knee-based assault. Gotch barely featured in the match, and English looked good in the first few minutes, but after a chop-block he was largely grounded. Even the hot tag to Gotch failed to sizzle, and there was a lack of excitement in the closing moments. To my great surprise, Dash and Dawson got the victory! They hurled Gotch into the steel steps, and Dawson slapped on a reverse figure 4 for the submission! The shock factor was the only wow factor of the match. In the ring, the action was only decent. Maybe that was the point: had The Vaudevillains underestimated Dash and Dawson? Had we underestimated Dash and Dawson? Regardless, let’s hope the rematch sets fire to the ring (not literally).
WINNERS: And New Tag Team Champions: Dash and Dawson
VERDICT: 6/10. Merely a decent match. The only memorable part was the shock victory of Dash and Dawson!
INTERVIEW: Dash and Dawson say that they are now the best tag team in the world! Let’s not go too far now, chaps…
SEGMENT: Samoa Joe told us why oh why he turned on Finn Balor. He’s always been good on the mike, but this was perhaps his best vocal work since entering NXT. He said that he carried Balor through the Dusty Rhodes Tournament, and all he wanted in return was a NXT Championship match. Balor accepted the challenge, but he allowed Regal to book a Battle Royale for the Number One Contendership. Balor made the right choice, but didn’t follow through with the right action.
Balor entered the arena, but referees invaded the ring to stop the two wrestlers fighting. Balor gave Joe a title match opportunity. Joe shoved a referee into Balor and slapped on the Kokina Clutch to leave Balor knocked out in the ring…for the second week running!
Joe has turned heel, and now he’s gunning for the NXT Champion. Incredibly simple but effective booking. It isn’t that difficult, is it? Joe vs Balor should be a great match. But when will it happen?
OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. Some great storyline progression, involving the NXT Championship, the NXT Women’s Championship, and Crews and Corbin. Simple and effective booking that makes sense, and more importantly, creates believable and relatable feuds. The quality of the wrestling was, however, fair to middling. The Tag Team Titles shockingly changed hands, but in a mediocre match. The other matches had a little more to offer.
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(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 305)