January 13, 2016
(taped January 7, 2016)
City: Winter Park, FL
Venue: Full Sail University
Commentary: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
“Roar of the Crowd” by CFO$
William Regal walks out onto the stage and wishes everyone a happy new year. He announces a women’s battle royal for the number one contender spot. He also introduces Sami Zayn.
Sami introduces himself. He claims partial responsibility for building NXT, and he’s happy to be home. He also makes a proclamation: he came back in order to become the first two time NXT champ. Samoa Joe immediately makes his way to the ring.
Joe points out that he had to save Sami’s life before. He says Balor barely survived in London. He tells Sami to walk away. Baron Corbin hits the stage. Corbin walks to the ring and tells Sami to get to the back of the line. He also points out that Joe had a chance but lost in London. He claims he is the uncrowned champ.
Joe tells Corbin he doesn’t even belong in the conversation. He also tells Sami to know his place in Joe’s ring. Joe walks away. Corbin attacks Sami from behind but gets booted out of the ring. Joe returns to the ring, faces Sami, but backs away up the ramp.
** Not sure about Corbin, but I could get behind Joe and Sami fighting for a spot. **
Rich Brennan and Bayley talk about her match with Nia Jax in London. Bayley wishes everyone good luck in the battle royal later. She hugs Rich and walks away.
The winners of the NXT Year-End Awards are announced:
Tag Team: Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
Female Competitor: Bayley
Male Competitor: Finn Balor
Takeover of the Year: Brooklyn
Match of the Year: Bayley vs Sasha Banks (Iron Man Match at Takeover Brooklyn)
Overall Competitor: Finn Balor
Tommaso Ciampa vs Danny Burch
(referee: Danilo Anfibio)
Burch goes for a wristlock. Ciampa takes Burch down with a hammerlock. Burch hits a second rope dropkick and stomps Ciampa. Ciampa comes back with strikes and hits a hanging facebreaker. Burch punches Ciampa who crumbles to the mat. 2 count for Burch.
They exchange strikes. Ciampa hits a jumping knee. Burch goes for a backslide but Ciampa counters with a bridging armbar.
Result: Tommaso Ciampa wins via submission with a bridging armbar
Pretty good match. Burch put up more of a fight than I expected. The match was mostly a lot of strikes, but there were some good transitions here and there and Ciampa’s hanging facebreaker was surprising.
Amore and Cassady don’t forget. They call Dash and Dawson “chicken tenders.” They have unfinished business with them.
Billie Kay tells us her name and says she’ll win tonight.
Deonna Purrazzo reminds us that Asuka knocked her out cold and says we’ll forget it. ** Why did you remind us if you want us to forget it? **
Emma will prove herself again and make everything about her. Again.
William Regal decides to make a match with Zayn, Joe, and Corbin for the number one contender spot.
Dash & Dawson (NXT Tag Champs) vs The Ascension
(referee: Shawn Bennett)
Wilder pushes Viktor’s face. Viktor responds with a barrage of strikes. Dawson distracts Viktor allowing Dash to hit a clothesline. Dawson tags in. Dawson controls the match and Dash tags in. Dash and Dawson use quick tags to isolate Viktor and dominate the match.
Viktor hits an STO on Dash and both men tag. Konnor dominates Dawson with strikes and a flapjack. Dash distracts the ref and sends Viktor to the floor. Dash makes a blind tag and slides in the ring behind Konnor. Dash and Dawson hit Shatter Machine for the win.
Result: Dash Wilder pins Konnor after Shatter Machine
Not a bad match. Dash and Dawson pretty much dominated that match. They used very good teamwork and tag psychology to keep the advantage most of the time. I expected them to win, but it’s kind of surprising to see them dominate the Ascension that much.
The trainer tells Regal that Nia Jax can’t compete tonight after getting choked out by Bayley. Eva Marie says it’s okay. She has this. Then Eva Maire overacts with a fist pump.
Carmella says 2016 is a brand new start.
Peyton Royce hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. She’s also a Venus flytrap.
Alexa Bliss will win because she’s focused.
Elias Samson vs Corey Hollis
(referee: Drake Wuertz)
Hollis puts on a side headlock and refuses to break while holding the ropes. He punches Hollis and kicks him in the corner. Hollis tries to fight back but gets mule kicked in from the corner. Samson takes his time. A lot of time. He hits a version of a swinging neckbreaker for the win.
Result: Samson wins via pinfall after a swinging neckbreaker
I’m not that impressed with Samson. Not with this match anyway. He took a lot of time between attacks. I think he’s going for confidence or arrogance, but it’s not exciting. And it doesn’t make him look any more impressive either. It makes it seem like he’s more concerned with the camera than with his opponent. I don’t like that. Save it for promos or after the match. I also didn’t like that the ref didn’t force the break after Samson grabbed the ropes. Even if you let go of the rope the hold should still be broken. That bugs me.
Alex Reyes asks Balor about the next number one contender. Balor says he faces every challenge and that the NXT Title will stay with him.
Cameron is here and isn’t just a Funkadactyl.
Aliyah will make her debut tonight.
Liv Morgan is gonna’ win for her family and the NXT Universe and Jersey and for the gram (I think).
Asuka will become number one contender.
Battle Royal for the Number One Contender for the NXT Women’s Title
Cameron vs Billie Kay vs Peyton Royce vs Liv Morgan vs Aliyah vs Deonna Purrazzo vs Alexa Bliss vs Emma vs Carmella vs Eva Marie vs Asuka
(referees at ringside: Drake Wuertz, Danilo Anfibio, Eddie Orengo, Shawn Bennett)
Asuka immediately spin kicks Eva Marie as everyone watches. Eva Marie rolls out of the ring. Everyone stares at Asuka. Emma is the first to attack her. Everyone else fights with each other.
Everyone is still fighting and no one has been eliminated. Emma keeps going after Asuka. In the corner, Cameron pushes Aliyah up and over the ropes for the first elimination. After a few seconds, Deonna Purrazzo runs towards Cameron. Cameron does the splits and pulls the top rope down sending Deonna tumbling out to the floor.
Liv Morgan looks like she’s going for a powerbomb or alley-oop on Cameron but they lose their balance and fall to the mat. Cameron gets up with punches. Morgan goes for it again and struggles to get Cameron up into a powerbomb position. Morgan manages to get Cameron over the ropes but Cameron hangs on with her legs. Alexa Bliss dumps them both out to the floor.
Emma puts the Dil-Emma on Carmella and hits her with a cross body in the corner. Carmella rolls out under the bottom rope. Emma picks up Alexa Bliss but can’t get her over the ropes. Sleeper by Alexa Bliss on Emma. Emma puts Alexa on the top turnbuckle then carries her over onto the apron. Emma eliminates Alexa with an elbow.
Emma gets double-teamed by Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. They set Emma up on the top turnbuckle. Asuka kicks Emma and sends her to the floor.
Billie and Peyton get Asuka over the ropes, but she slides back in on the apron. Billie and Peyton start to fight with each other. Billie is lifted onto the apron and takes an elbow from Asuka. She stays on the apron. Asuka lifts Peyton onto the apron with Billie. Asuka hits a double hip attack to eliminate both women.
Eva Marie runs in from behind and dumps Asuka over the ropes. Carmella also runs in from behind and dumps Eva Marie out.
Result: Carmella wins after eliminating Eva Marie
Time: 8:00 (1 break)
|Wrestler||Eliminations||Eliminated By||Eliminated Order|
|Liv Morgan||0||Alexa Bliss||4|
As far as battle royals go, this was okay. I really wanted Asuka to win, but I’m sure she’ll get her chance at the title later. I didn’t really like how obvious it was that Eva Marie was going to spend the whole time out of the ring. Add to that how Carmella exited the ring and the ending was not surprising at all. There was no drama to it. If they had either Asuka or Eva Marie not get eliminated right away when they were surprised it would have helped a little. Or not using the ring out technicality at all would have been even better I think.
Bayley runs to the ring and congratulates Carmella. Asuka backs up the ramp, smiling.
The show as a whole was a little underwhelming. I’m looking forward to what’s coming, but the matches on this show weren’t great. Being the first NXT from Full Sail in over a month and the first one in 2016, I thought they might have done a little more with the show. I liked that all the women in the battle royal had equal time to talk before the match.
I think the ending to the battle royal was anti-climactic as well. I wanted Asuka to win, but I can kind of see why she didn’t. I think it’s going to be hard to keep anyone as a babyface if they take the title away from Bayley, and I suspect they might want to put the title on Asuka at some point. I think the better story might be someone turning on Bayley. Like her friend Carmella. They kind of built up that same story last year with Balor and Joe though, so they might not want to do it again right away.
I think the battle royal also showed the effect the “Divas Revolution” on the main roster had on NXT. The women’s division seems to have gotten fairly thin. There are still some women that are just as strong or stronger than the main roster women (Asuka, Emma, Bayley) but a lot of the rest of them have a way to go. I think that showed in the Rumble. And when your biggest heel is someone that people just don’t care about (I don’t think people dislike Eva Marie as a heel, they dislike her because she’s still terrible after all this time with the company), that’s a problem. I’m not saying the women’s division is bad, just that it’s not nearly as strong as it was. I think a high profile signing might help.
Match of the Night
Dash & Dawson vs The Ascension
It wasn’t a great selection to choose from tonight, but I really like Dash & Dawson’s teamwork. That’s nothing unusual for them, but on this night it’s what put them in the best match.