NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs. American Alpha
American Alpha have black, silver and blue attire for the night. Gable starts with Dawson and they lock up. Crowd chants for “Gable”. Clean break in the corner before Dawson slaps Gable three times, annoying the challenger. Dueling “which one’s Dawson/which one’s Dash” chants. Gable takes Dawson down and of course, has the upper hand on the mat. With that advantage, he slaps Dawson three times and the teams nearly come to blows. Dawson works a wristlock before some shoulder block takedowns. He wins a hip toss battle and taunts towards Jordan. Arm drags from Gable and a tag to Jordan. He hits a gorgeous dropkick. The champions regroup outside. With a Dash distraction, Dawson rakes Jordan in the eyes. Legal tag to Dash and they get taken down by clotheslines from Jordan. The challengers hit stereo back body drops for two. Gable is back in but ends up in trouble in the corner. Dawson fires off a chop and sets Gable up top. Fable fights him off back to the mat and gets two on a rollup. He nails a springboard cross body for a near fall and delivers some more great arm drags. A dropkick on Dawson connects. Dash comes in and avoids one. They try a double suplex but Jordan gets past the referee to save Gable and they hit double dropkicks. They follow with stereo Germans and the crowd is molten. Blind tag by the champs turn things around. Dash lays Gable out with a clothesline outside. Inside, Dawson hits a back elbow for two. Dash applies a modified cobra clutch. Gable tries to roll out of it but can’t. Dawson comes in and kicks Gable for two. Dawson now applies the good old Gory special, really wearing down Gable. Gable comes back with a double DDT to open the door for a tag. He gets close but Dash sneaks under the ring and comes out to pull Jordan off the apron. The champions botch a double team move that nearly injures Gable. Dash covers but the referee stops him because he’s not the legal man. A “botchamania” chant starts. Dash gets the legal tag and misses a corner attack. Dawson stops the tag but Gable rolls through and under him to make it. Jordan comes in hot. Dropkick, flapjack and suplexes galore. THE STRAPS ARE DOWN! Corner shoulder thrust on Dash and another suplex for Dawson gets two. Jordan sets Dawson up top but is knocked off. Dawson covers and Dash assists on the pin but it’s still not enough. Dawson tries a slingshot suplex but Jordan counters and rolls him up for two. He gets sent into a Dash uppercut but Gable breaks up the pin. The champions look for a double team but Jordan flips over Dawson. Gable dropkick brings him over for a pin for two. Big belly to belly by Jordan but Dash saves him from more damage. Dawson rolls up Gable with a handful of tights for two. Each guy rolls the other up for two. Gable counters a slam into a pin for two again. He does another victory roll for two again. Jordan gets blind tagged. He hits a shoulder thrust and they nail their double team finish for the win.
Winners and New NXT Tag Team Champions: American Alpha in 15:11
I don’t know if it’s just NXT but these matches always have my heart pounding. The crowd was red hot for all of this, the action was tag formula done right with a ton of excitement and the right team won the gold. There were a few missteps that kept it from being truly great but it was damn good. ****
Bayley is shown earlier today posing with kids. Asuka is shown training by kicking a dude holding pads.
Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin
Aries goes right after Corbin with corner shots. Corbin grabs him by the throat and sends him back. Aries comes back with shots in the corner. Dueling chants for both men. Aries rolls hunder a clothesline and dropkicks Baron in the knee. He gets on his back but Corbin slams him over. Aries sends Corbin outside and goes up top. He comes off with a chop. Continued shots around the ring, not giving Corbin a chance to breathe. Phillips mentions Aries ending a 645 day title reign of Samoa Joe’s in the past. Corbin uses the middle rope to stop Aries in his tracks and stomps away. He wears down Aries with chokes and various strikes and kicks. Corbin goes to the Yokozuna Special, the nerve hold. He does hit some sweet elbows in the corner for two. It’s a very arrogant cover. Even though he doesn’t win, he shouts for the timekeeper to ring the bell. Corgin talks smack to teh fans while wearing down Aries. Aries reels off some overhand chops to get free, avoids an Irish whip and levels Corbin. He drives his knee into Corbin’s spine and, with Corbin in the ropes, fires away with shots. He goes over the top with a double axe handle. With Corbin on the second rope, he hits a neckbreaker, landing on the apron. Aries goes up, coming off with a missile dropkick. Corbin regroups outside where Aries greets him with the awesome heat seeking missile. He makes a mistake of running into Corbin’s Deep Six on the floor. Corbin desperately looks for the countout victory. Aries beats the count at nine and asks Corbin for more. Corbin hammers away on him. He picks up a lifeless Aries for End of Days but Aries flips out of it and rolls up Corbin to win.
Winner: Austin Aries in 10:43
While the opener was fun and frantic, this was methodical and kind of boring at times. I understood the story, which was well told for the most part. It just wasn’t meant to be exciting. **1/4
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The crowd hums along with all of Sami’s theme. Huge reaction for Nakamura. “Holy shit” chants. His theme is amazing and the atmosphere for this match is unbelievable. They go to lock up but Nakamura ducks it and does his usual mannerisms. The lockup happens and they go to the ropes where Namakura releases and does more of his typical stuff. He takes a charging Sami down and goes for hard kicks but Sami avoids them. Sami works an arm wringer as the crowd is still unreal. Nakamura cartwheels out and applies his own. Sami gets free and takes Shinsuke down. Arm drags form Sami, three in a row, and Nakamura takes a corner breather. Sami signals for him to come here, which Shinsuke did to him after the break earlier. Nakamura smiles at this. He fakes a test of strength and kicks Sami in the leg. He follows with a knee drop for a near fall. Serie of go behinds that Nakamura wins and takes it to the mat. Sami gets to his feet and elbows out. Off the ropes he comes but into a knee. Sami eats an enziguri and Shinsuke goes for his signature corner taunt. Sami catches his foot but takes another enziguri. Sami comes back with a suplex for two. Leg lariat from Sami for another close two. He fires off forearms in the corner but Nakamura hits one of his own. Nakamura goes to the second rope but a shot sends him over and outside. Sami grabs Nakamura on the apron, but eats a kick. With Sami draped over the apron, Shinsuke connects on a running knee and one falling onto Sami. Back inside, Now we get teh Shinsuke corner taunt. He misses a charge but puts Sami on the top, rolls backwards and hits another knee for two. Sami escapes a suplex and uses Nakamura’s momentum against him to fall over the top. Sami goes after him with his front flip senton. Inside, he hits a cross body off the top for two. Shinsuke blocks a suplex and starts in with the aggressive knee strikes. He runs into a Michinoku Driver from Sami and both men are down. As they get up, they trade blows and both guys get cheers. This goes on for a long time. Nakamura’s nose is busted open. The fans give them a standing ovation as the competitors get exhausted. Big shots form Nakamura, including one final one that sends himf to the ropes. nakamura checks his bloody nose before delivering more knees and kicks on the ropes. Nakamura comes off the ropes but gets turned inside out on a Sami clothesline. He hits a second but sets too early on a back drop. Nakamura kicks him and catches him in his awesome armbar. Sami clasps his hands together to block it, so Nakamura changes it to a triangle choke. Sami breaks it with kicks to the face. Sami hits a huge straight right hand and continues in with strikes and kicks, which we’ve never seen from Sami before. Sami avoids a shot and catches Nakamura in the Koji Clutch! Nakamura counters into a pin for two. As he gets up, he nails another enziguri. A “fight forever” chant breaks out. Nakamura is up first and tries a suplex that Sami elbows out of it. He nails a running kick that sends Sami to the corner. he goes to the opposite corner and avoids the Helluva Kick. Inverted exploder by Shinsuke and he tries Boma Ye. Sami avoids it and hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for an incredibly close near fall. Standing ovation from the crowd.Nakamura rolls outside and Sami goes for his signature tornado DDT through the trunbuckle, but Shinsuke greets him with a kick to the skull. Inside, Shinsuke climbs to the top where Sami meets him. He tries a suplex but Shinsuke blocks and sends him down. He nearly runs into the corner exploder but Shinsuke fights out of it with vicious elbows to the back of Sami’s neck. Shinsuke goes to teh second rope and nails a knee to the back of the head. As Sami slowly gets up, he takes Boma Ye and that’s all. It seems to have been renamed.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura in 20:06
You could not ask for a more perfect debut. Both guys went full tilt and held nothing back. The atmosphere was off the charts, they didn’t mess up anything, had tons of back and forth and worked a perfect battle of seeing who the better man was. It was what we’ve come to expect from Nakamura in big matches, where he tends to always deliver. I don’t give the score often but fuck it. *****
Sami Zayn seems like he won’t show Nakamura post match respect but does and hugs him. Nakamura leaves as Sami gets “thank you Sami” chants and leaves.
NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Asuka
Asuka has a mask with a design of tears on it and has some cherry blossoms fall from the sky. Bayler is sporting some different colors and has a cool jacket for her entrance. The fans sing to Bayley like this is London. Asuka goes for a quick spin kick but Bayley avoids it. Collar and elbow tie up as “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chants organically turn into “Bayley’s gonna hug you”. They exchange some wristlocks until Asuka sends her back with a strike. Bayley ducks a kick but runs into a shoulder block. Bayley hip tosses her over. Asuka avoids an elbow, runs off the ropes and then Bayley avoids a kick. STANDOFF! Kicks to the leg from Asuka. Bayley with a right hand but eats a forearm. Hip attack from Asuka and she nails a great kick. I just noticed that Asuka has added green to her hair. She misses another hip attack and Bayley levels her. She comes off the second rope with a back elbow for two, Shoulder thrusts from Bayley, sh etaunts and hits a back elbow in the corner. She goes up top and flies off with a cross body for two. Bayley tries a clothesline but Asuka catches her in a Fujiwara armar. Bayley reaches the ropes. Asuka gets set up top and into the tree of woe. Bayley does her little springboard elbow for a near fall. Again, Asuka is up top. Bayley lays into her with right hands and then a top rope rana. She bridges it for two and goes right to the guillotine choke that ended Nia Jax in London. Asuka gets free and applies an ankle lock. Bayley tries to roll out but Asuka keeps hold. Bayley finally is able to roll forward and send Asuka outside. Bayley, despite selling the leg, snaps off a rana on the outside and sends Asuka in for two. Bayley fires off shots but Asuka comes off the ropes with a dropkick. She reels off a series of kicks before coming off the second rope with a dropkick. Daniel Bryan like kicks to the chest and a big one higher. Shining Wizard from Asuka gets two. Bayley rolls her up for two. Asuka comes back with forearms. Bayley catches the hip attack and nails a back suplex. Asuka misses a kick but follows through with it and still manages to hit it after spinning. Both women go for dropkicks and whiff. They exchange shots and Asuka hits a massive slap. Asuka reels off more shots but her kick gets caught into a knee bar! Bayley has one of Asuka’s own submissions locked in. She gets close to the ropes so Bayley releases and slams hte knee into the mat. Asukaa fights for her life but Bayley stops her with a shot to the leg. She follows with a shinbreaker and some dragon screws. Still, Asuka is able to slap on the armbar. Bayley fights but Asuka turns it over. Bayley rolls free and rolsl her up for two. She ducks two big kicks and uses a small package to gain a near fall. She goes to whip Asuka but nearly ends up in the Asuka Lock. Suplex by Bayley, followed by a clothesline for two. Bayley instantly moves into the submission that won her the ironman match back in October. Asuka escapes into a pin, getting two. Bayley to Belly attempt but Asuka blocks it. She catches Bayley with a spin kick and follows with a suplex. Asuka locks in the armbar. Bayley tries to escape but nearly ends up in the Asuka Lock. Bayley reaches for the ropes but that allows Asuka to lock it in. Bayley fights for her life and gets to her feet. However, Asuka never lets go and goes back to the mat. Bayley passes out and it’s over.
Winner and New NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka in 15:22
They had the tough task of following Nakamura/Zayn but did more than enough to stand out. I don’t think it quite ever reached the great level, but I found it to be damn good. Bayley looked like an even match for Asuka and never tapping out added to this. ***3/4
Bobby Roode is shown in the front row. He gets a pop. I forgot to mention it but Funaki, Stephanie McMahon, Scott Hall, X-Pac and KOTA FUCKING IBUSHI are also in the front row.
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Finn is wearing blue and red and has a chainsaw. I’m guessing Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Joe is not intimidated. Dueling chants. Joe charges but Finn avoids it and they trade shots. Joe sends him outside but Finn is quickly back in with right hands. Joe throws him out but Finn is right back in. Joe is busted open on the side of his face and Finn flies over the top with a front flip senton. Finn chops Joe as the referee goes to check on him and Joe fires up. He tosses Finn over the guardrail and Finn ends up taking out a security guard. Finn creeps up over the rail and springboards off with a right hand. They continue to trade blows in teh corner, with Joe’s sounding louder. He wallops Finn with a slap and some strikes. Joe kicks him outside and follows with elbow suicida. Fans chant bullshit as Drake Younger checks on Joe’s eye. Joe sends Finn inside and gets pissed as they continue to check on him. Joe angrily allows them to fix him. Inside, Balor is back with shots until he runs into STJoe. He looks for the Coquina Clutch but Balor blocks, so he just chooses to wear him down instead. He sends Balor into the corner and nails an enziguri. Joe’s cut again and the officials again have to stop to patch him up. Joe levels into Finn with more vicious shots. Facewash boot from Joe. Balor comes off the top after fighting Joe off but leaps into an inverted atomic drop. Kick from Joe, followed by two loud strikes and a knee drop gets two. Joe connects on kicks but Balor fires up with a dropkick. As Joe is checked on again, they boo loudly. Balor ducks a clothesline and nails a flying forearm. He hits some corner running chops but Joe gets a boot up on his fourth attempt. Joe goes up but takes a chop and he falls outside. Finn connects on a baseball slide. Apron soccer kick from Finn and the crowd is alive again. Joe comes alive, stopping a slingblade with a belly to belly for two. Split chants from the crowd as Joe gets in shots in the corner. He goes for the facewash again but Finn hits slingblade. Finn tries the corner dropkick but Joe trips him up and nails a senton for two. Powerbomb by Joe. Finn kicks out and of course, Joe transitions into a Boston crab. He turns that into a crossface in the center of the ring. Finn gets free and double stomps Joe. Both men are down. Finn hits a second slingblade and the corner dropkick. He goes up for the Coup de Grace but Joe is up and stops him. Muscle Buster attempt is blocked and Finn fights him off. Joe hits the enziguri and drills Finn with the Muscle Buster. Finn somehow kicks out and Joe is in disbelief. Joe gets in slaps. Finn comes back with his own strikes. Joe hits a big shot and Finn hits the pele. Both guys are down again. Finn yells when he gets up and Joe can’t believe it. Slingblade, corner dropkick and Coup de Grace hits. Finn continues to look possessed, so he tries for Bloody Sunday. Joe counters into the Coquina Clutch. Finn starts to die but fires up and does the old Hart/Austin Survivor Series 1996 finish where he runs up the corner and falls back onto Joe for three.
Winner and Still NXT Champion: Finn Balor in 16:21
Much better than their London match. Instead of being your standard wrestling contest, this felt like a fight between two guys that hated each other. The doctors constantly getting involved hurt it a bit, but I thought it was awesome overall. If it had a better finish, I think I would have gone higher. ***3/4