This week’s show is the next-to-last before the TakeOver: San Antonio event and the second of three consecutive tapings at Full Sail University, so God willing, the crowd will still have some energy throughout this hour. Prior to the intro video, the Nakamura/Roode contract signing is hyped for tonight.
Match #1: Nikki Cross (w/ Sanity) v. Kennadi Brink
Cross attacks like a rabid wolverine (too soon?). After a brief one-sided beating, Cross hits her finisher which saw her hook Brink in position for a fisherman’s suplex and instead turn it into a swinging neck breaker. That’s good for the win.
Winner: Nikki Cross via pinfall.
Thoughts: Nikki Cross comes across as legitimately a vicious human being and I’m starting to buy into it. Basic squash match to build her up as a threat to Asuka. I’m really glad she dialed the crazy back slightly as she came across a little too strong when Sanity made their debut – she was way over the top. She needs to stop biting the ropes, though. That’s just not sanitary. Has she earned a shot at Asuka, albeit in a Fatal Fourway on a TakeOver show? Not really, but audience-established female talent has been somewhat lacking since the Charlotte/Becky/Sasha/Bayley/Alexa/Nia/Carmella purging. Notice I left out Dana Brooke? Not an accident.
NXT has done an excellent job of establishing Asuka as unbeatable – maybe too good of a job. Do I think this Fatal Fourway will be a show-stealer? Probably not, but I’m intrigued. Asuka’s ability to retain is in doubt and that is likely the goal.
Backstage: No Way Jose cuts an upbeat promo about 2017 being a fiesta or something. Kona Reeves (A.K.A. 1996 Rocky Maivia) enters the picture and says Jose is no friend as he left him to take a beating at the hands of Sanity several weeks ago. I honestly did not remember this taking place. Anyway, Kona is displeased, if you smell what he’s cookin’. No, he didn’t say that, but he should have.
Still to Come: What’s next for Tye Dillinger? A couple of guys are going to sign a contract.
Backstage: The Revival talk about being the best and how they want in on the tag title match at TakeOver. TM61 interrupts looking like a couple deer in headlights. Dawson calls them the ‘Tilapia of NXT’, which I presume was an insult and made me LOL. It sounds like there will be a match.
Match #2: Roderick Strong v. Steve Cutler
Tom Phillips reminds us that Andrade Cien Almas recently called out Roderick Strong. Meanwhile, Cutler took early control with some power offense – kicks, punches, and a hot-shot into the top rope.
Cutler has flashes of being a body double for Ron Pearlman/Hellboy. I think I just heard Percy Watson for the first time tonight as well. Did he just show up? Poor Percy, he’s trying. In the middle of the match, it’s confirmed that William Regal has booked The Revival versus TM61 for the main event tonight.
Back to the match, Strong fires up with some nice kicks, a back fist, and a running knee in the corner. Strong goes for a back suplex into a gourdbuster and connects. Strong comes off the ropes with a Sick Kick for the win.
Winner: Roderick Strong via pinfall.
Post-match, Strong is interviewed outside the ring and blows off Almas and says he’s here for the NXT ‘World’ Championship.
Thoughts: Roderick Strong has a smaller cult following. He’s a veteran and he’s a very good wrestler. His current problem is that he’s not connecting to the audience as he seems to lack charisma. It’s early and he’s only been in NXT for a minute, so I’ll wait to see how he comes along. He started to fire up the crowd with his move-set before quieting them down with the low-impact Sick Kick. It just doesn’t work as a finisher after you see Strong’s innovative signature offense. Also, thumbs up to Strong for slipping in ‘World’ when talking about the NXT Championship. True statement.
Backstage: Ember Moon is standing by for an interview. She starts to say she wants the NXT Women’s Champion after TakeOver, but is interrupted by Liv Morgan. Morgan challenges her to essentially a #1 contender’s match. Moon accepts and they show each other respect. Ember Moon’s promo seemed a little scripted and forced, but it’s OK. She can get it done in the ring and the promo can come later.
Going into commercial, we’re reminded that NXT has far superior theme songs for their ‘live specials’ compared to the main roster shows. At least according to my subjective tastes.
In Ring: Tye Dillinger is out in his wrestling gear to a good reaction like always. He asks what’s next for Tye Dillinger and expresses frustration about never being able to win consistently or when it matters most. Crowd chant of ‘Royal Rumble Number 10’.
Dillinger says he may not have ‘it’ anymore. Cue Sanity’s music. Eric Young stands in the aisle with Sawyer Fulton’s old jacket in hand (What ever happened to Fulton, by the way?). Eric Young is just a ridiculous level of tan. Not a nice tan, either. Like a fisherman’s tan. Anyway, Young says maybe Dillinger never had ‘it’ to begin with. This leads to Young suggesting that Dillinger joins Sanity.
Alexander Wolfe brings the jacket to the ring and hands it to Dillinger, who then drops it to the floor outside the ring. Young now gets into the ring with the jacket and pleads his case to Tye. The crowd actually seems kind of split on this. Finally, Young snaps and says he isn’t asking Tye, he’s telling him. Of course, that leads to Tye dropping the jacket and flashing the 10 in Young’s face before a brawl ensues. Dillinger clears out Wolfe and looks to hit Young with his finisher before Big Damo storms the ring and spears Dillinger. Damo then hits the One Winged Angel variation on Dillinger and accepts the jacket from Young. Looks like we have a new member of Sanity.
Thoughts: This was a really good promo from Dillinger. He’s settling into Sami Zayn’s old NXT role. Lovable underdog who can’t win the big one. He sounds natural when he cuts a heartfelt promo. Young is also very good on the mic. That said, I think Dillinger is headed up to the main roster soon, for better or worse (likely worse).
A commercial airs for WrestleMania 33. Don’t worry, there’s no way it can be as bad as WrestleMania 32.
Back from commercial, Tye Dillinger v. Eric Young is made official for TakeOver: San Antonio.
Match #3: Revival v. TM61
Who can’t wait for the Revival to hit the main roster and get lost in the meaningless shuffle? Revival start out doing what they do best: beating people up and cutting the ring in half. Vintage Revival early on. The match starts to break down after the commercial as Shane Thorne gets blind tagged as he comes off the ropes and eats a Shatter Machine. Miller comes in on fire, but soon gets planted with a spine buster by Wilder. Out of nowhere, Miller gets Wilder in a small package and it’s good for the win as Thorne was stopping Dawson from making the save.
Winners: TM61 via pinfall.
Post-match: The Revival attacks TM61 immediately after the bell. Miller gets a Shatter Machine. Shane Thorne takes a Demolition Decapitation and then The Revival perform the broken leg/knee spot. Shane Thorne sells being seriously injured.
Thoughts: The Revival is just so good. Even since TakeOver Dallas, the progress they’ve made is astounding. That said, I’m not sure where they go from here. They could likely be baby faces, but they’re just so good as heels.
Up Next: A contract signing that you may have heard about.
In-Ring: Regal is in the ring for introductions. Out first, Glorious. Seriously, whomever picked out that theme music deserves untold millions and infinite praise. Roode just plays his part perfectly. The champ is out next. It is not possible to be more over with the audience in NXT than Nakamura. He should be main eventing WrestleMania, but what do I know?
Roode cuts a condescending promo and mocks Nakamura’s haircut, fashion, and hand motions. Roode says he’s dressed like Michael Jackson in the ‘Thiller’ music video. Nakamura says Roode is like a Shiba Inu (Japanese dog). Pause for a Shiba Inu chant from the crowd. Roode takes a shot at Japan by saying Nakamura isn’t in the ‘Land of No Talent’ anymore. Roode says he’s the biggest star in the world and Nakamura is pathetic.
Roode is about to say the NXT Championship will be Glorious when Nakamura puts a hand in his face to cut him off. He says Roode isn’t winning. The contract is signed and Nakamura says it will be Glorious – mocking Roode, who is furious.
That’s it for this week. Next week is the final show before TakeOver.
this article comes to you via @SVTVenom46
image credit – WWE.com