February 3, 2016
(taped January 7, 2016)
City: Winter Park, FL
Venue: Full Sail University
Commentary: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Dasha Fuentes
Apollo Crews wants to prove himself against Finn Balor, tonight.
“Roar of the Crowd” by CFO$
The Vaudevillains vs The Hype Bros
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Result: Aiden English pins Zack Ryder after the Whirling Dervish
Good match. As the Vaudevillains’ recent videos would indicate, they were angry. They fought with a lot of strikes and violent precision. Lots of strikes and hard moves. It really felt like the winners of the match were obvious, but that didn’t really detract from the match. This was a way for the Vaudevillains to reinsert themselves into the tag division, and I think they succeeded. It wasn’t a squash match, and that’s a good thing. It actually made them look good since they overcame a decent team that put up an okay fight.
Earlier today, Tom Phillips spoke with Carmella about becoming the number one contender. Carmella revealed that she is a second-generation wrestler, her father being Paul Vandale. She also talked about her friendship with Bayley and how their match will not change their relationship.
** I think it’s interesting (well, a little interesting) how both NXT and the main roster have title versus friendship storylines happening right now. Hopefully neither storyline goes the predictable route. **
Alex Reyes asks Dash & Dawson about Enzo and Cass’ words. Dash compares them to Groundhog’s Day. He says they can say whatever they want, but they won’t beat Dash & Dawson. Dawson says they welcome another match with Enzo & Cass.
Carmella vs Emma w/ Dana Brooke
(referee: Danilo Anfibio)
Result: Carmella wins via pinfall with a backslide
A pretty good match, but I felt like it was very one-sided in a couple of ways. For one, Emma dominated most of the match. She kept Carmella down and Carmella came back with a pretty okay underdog win. But more importantly, it felt like Emma was simply the better wrestler. As an example, there was a segment where Emma had Carmella down on the mat, the camera cut to Dana Brooke, then cut back to Carmella in a completely different position while Emma hasn’t moved. That indicates to me that editing helped Carmella look better than she actually performed.
There’s no way Carmella takes the title from Bayley. No way. I like Carmella as a character, but she shouldn’t be the Women’s Champ.
Also, Emma has long been vastly undervalued and underused. I almost feels like she’s in a Chris Jericho role of a talented veteran helping put over rookies and new people to the company. I think that’s great, it shows the company’s trust and respect for Emma, but she’s never really had her chance to shine in the spotlight. That needs to happen at some point.
Earlier tonight, Sami Zayn says the decision of the winner of last week’s match is out of his hands, though he had a submission on Corbin for longer.
Earlier tonight, Samoa Joe doesn’t like answering questions. So he doesn’t.
Spotlight on American Alpha.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs “Irish” Jack Hurley & Ricky Starks
(referee: Drake Wuertz)
Result: Enzo Amore wins via pinfall on Jack Hurley with a diving splash
This was a squash. Enzo and Cass’ opponents weren’t even named (even to the live crowd) and I can’t find any info online as to who they were (Edit: Via Facebook I found out who they are). One of the guys (Hurley) stayed in the ring the entire time getting beat up and the other one only saw action when he got roughly tossed to the floor from the ring by Cass (Ricky Starks). Not an entertaining match.
** Honestly, I don’t get the love of Enzo and Cass. Why do people like them so much? **
Apollo Crews recites a practiced speech indicating that he is capable of becoming the NXT champ.
William Regal tells Corbin that he definitely lost last week’s match. He then says that there will be a match between Zayn and Joe to decide the number one contender.
** I suppose this was a good decision, but it really could have gone a lot of ways. Corbin actually has a good argument for being in contention. Yes, he tapped, but it took two guys to make him tap. Neither Joe nor Zayn were proven to have beaten him one-on-one in that specific match. There should really be another triple threat. Better yet, there should be a three-way-dance. That would easily eliminate the possibility of another controversy. **
Asuka vs Santana Garrett
(referee: Eddie Orengo)
Result: Asuka wins via submission with the Asuka Lock
Pretty good match. Santana started strong and there was a very close pinfall attempt for her, but there was no question who the winner here would be. Asuka showed her grappling abilities, but it really wasn’t a huge step forward for her. If anything, it just kept her name and face at the forefront of people’s thoughts since she is not involved in the Women’s title hunt right now.
Really though, after her and Emma’a match at the last Takeover, why are both of those women serving as supporting characters? I don’t get that, unless they are just saving both of them for later.
Alex Reyes asks Finn Balor about Regal’s decision. Balor says he thinks Regal’s decision is a good one. He also says he will beat Apollo Crews tonight.
Apollo Crews vs Finn Balor (NXT Champ)
(referee: Drake Wuertz)
Result: Finn Balor wins via pinfall after a Bloody Sunday (lifting single underhook DDT)
Time: 11:00 (1 break)
Very good match. This had a good build to it. The whole first segment before the first commercial break was all about trading headlocks. That’s it. After that it built to where both guys got some good moves in, but Balor was the clear dominant wrestler. There were some segments where Crews showed that he is good, but Balor was instrumental in his elevation.
We know Balor is good, but this match showed that Crews has many things to offer. In the right scenario, Crews can be very good, but right now it takes someone like Balor to really show this. Balor understands how to create a match that highlights the talents of both competitors. This match made me respect Crews more, and that’s a huge sign of respect for Finn Balor.
Despite some of the obvious character-building, the main event made this show. Balor versus Crews was a very good match. Not a classic, but it was a departure from the regular WWE/NXT formula.
Match of the Night
Apollo Crews vs Finn Balor
Easily the best match of the night and the best match of NXT so far this year. I guess you could say that there hasn’t been much competition since the year is young, but this was a very good match. Independent of NXT and WWE, this was a good wrestling match between a guy who has the look (and skills) versus a guy who has the skills (and the look). That’s what I like about NXT, that occasionally you’ll see a match that transcends the company. That’s what happened here.