William Regal came out to announce that Baron Corbin would face Austin Aries at NXT Takeover: Dallas! I’m afraid that I can’t see Corbin winning that match…
Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn (2/3 Falls Match for the NXT Championship’s Number 1 Contender)
Your typical 2/3 Falls match is simply a normal length match broken down into three falls. The only one of (fairly) recent memory that I can remember that felt like three separate and full matches was HHH vs Stone Cold in their epic battle at No Way Out 2001 (it’s #67 on the WWE Network’s Best 100…List. Read my review here!). It was suspicious that this main event match was placed at the beginning of this episode of NXT. The commentators kept referring to other bouts due to take place, such as the women’s tag team match and the match to decide the Number 1 Contendership for the NXT Tag Team Titles. However, as the first fall wasn’t decided in the first five minutes of the match, I guessed Joe and Zayn were going to take up the entire episode. And I was right!
Each fall felt like a match of its own. That was both a blessing and a curse. There were pacing issues with the length of the match. It was obvious when Joe and Zayn were dragging the match out to make it feel suitably epic. However, in no way did that overshadow the sheer effort and drama of the final moments of each fall. It’s a rarity that a 2/3 Falls match doesn’t reach the third fall. Joe and Zayn didn’t break that tradition. It meant that naturally, the last fall was fraught with tension and saw the best sequences of the match. Zayn broke out his rare through-the-ropes DDT and a sunset flip. Joe executed his powerbomb/boston crab combo, and turned the boston crab into a crossface.
The only great disappointment was the revelation a few weeks ago that Sami Zayn would face Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas. Did that not negate the whole fight for the Number 1 Contendership? If Zayn’s match was already pencilled in, didn’t that mean that he wouldn’t be the Number 1 Contender? It spoilt the incredible effort both men put into this match. It was a notch below a Match of the Year contender, but touched on that line more than a few times.
VERDICT: 8/10. A literal one match show. Zayn and Joe made sure the time given to them was used wisely (most of the time) and to maximum effect. Sometimes the match ground to a halt (by design to give the wrestlers a breather!), but every move and breathing period had a purpose. A damned fine effort from both wrestlers!
Leave your thoughts/comments below!
(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 322)