Tonight, NXT is back at Full Sail University for the last of 3 shows at this taping and Tom Phillips, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness are back on commentary. A quick preview of tonight’s show features the Women’s Triple Threat between Ember Moon, Peyton Royce, and Liv Morgan for a title shot against Asuka next week. Also, Pete Dunne will face Mark Andrews and the NXT Champion Bobby Roode will face No Way Jose in what is presumably a non-title match.
You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show.
Match #1: #1 Contender’s Match: Ember Moon v. Liv Morgan v. Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay)
It sounds like the rationale for Royce being in the match, but not Billie Kay is that Liv Morgan defeated Billie Kay one-on-one a few weeks ago. Side note: I was asked, “Is that Peyton Royce’s mom with her?” Poor Billie Kay.
The bell rings and there’s a cautious start before Royce kicks Ember in the gut. Moon takes another kick to the gut from Morgan and then Morgan hurls Royce into Moon for a spear of sorts that knocks Moon to the floor. Morgan scores a near fall on Royce off a crucifix into a sunset flip, and then another near fall on a roll-up attempt. Peyton escapes a slam and throws Morgan to ringside, but turns around into a leg lariat by Moon. Moon goes for a plancha over the top to the outside and ends up flattening only Morgan as Billie Kay pulled Peyton to safety. Royce then hurls Moon viciously into the stairs as NXT cuts to break.
Back from break, Royce is in control of Morgan. Moon tries getting back in the ring, but Royce knocks her down. Morgan surprises Royce with another roll-up for a near fall, but Royce quickly regains control. Peyton locks in some kind of grapevine arm submission in the ropes. Moon is knocked off the apron again. Royce is working a slow and deliberate pace at this point. Moon gets kicked off the apron for a third time. Morgan scores with a head scissors take down out of the corner for a 1-count. Meanwhile, Moon is knocked to the floor a fourth time.
Morgan finally counters again with a drop toehold into the bottom buckle (That looked bad). She then hits a double stomp to the back of Royce. Morgan connects with a running bulldog, but Ember Moon breaks up the pin. Moon kicks Morgan in the face, but Morgan catches her with a tilt-a-whirl head scissors that sends Moon out of the ring AGAIN. Morgan blocks a Royce superplex, but Moon sunset flips in to powerbomb Royce, who superplexes Morgan. Ember Moon goes to the top for the Eclipse, but Billie Kay gets in the ring and ends up eating the finisher.
Morgan takes advantage of the distraction and knocks Moon out of the ring AGAIN. Royce then hits a running knee to Morgan, which looked pretty stiff. Royce drills Morgan with a Perfect-Plex and scores the win.
Winner: Peyton Royce via pinfall.
Thoughts: First off, it wasn’t a show stealer. The story was built around Moon finally getting back into the match. The result makes sense. Like I said last week, Moon isn’t ready. She also doesn’t take the pin, so she still lays claim to never being pinned in NXT. Morgan already had her shot at Asuka and was annihilated in like under a minute. With Royce, NXT can still capitalize on the numbers game and Asuka battling against the odds. That’s perfectly fine for a TV match next week.
That said: I’m not sure who this referee was, but he had a rough time. He was bad at being in position for counts and nearly collided with Morgan at one point.
Video Package: Kassius Ohno is still very dangerous. He’s returning, but still no date.
Match#2: Pete Dunne v. Mark Andrews
A nice little pre-match recap introduces Mark Andrews as the party boy and Pete Dunne as a vicious brawler. The Bruiserweight is over at Full Sail. Dunne starts with some nasty finger and wrist bending submissions. Andrews counters a sunset flip attempt with a moonsault into a basement drop kick to Dunne’s face. That was neat. Andrews goes for a moonsault off the apron to the floor, but Dunne catches him. Andrews manages to counter that with an arm drag on the floor.
Back in the ring, Dunne goes back to the brutal-looking submissions. Andrews manages to counter a vertical suplex attempt by landing on his feet and delivering an enziugiri that sends Dunne to the outside. Andrews goes back to the moonsault off the ring apron, but Dunne moves. Andrews lands on his feet, but turns around into a brutal forearm smash from Dunne. Dunne stomps on his hand on the stairs, continuing his focus on that body part. Dunne suplexes Andrews onto the ring apron as we cut to break. WrestleMania is 39 days away and there’s like 1 match booked. That has to be some kind of record for futility.
Back from break and Dunne is brutalizing his legs, arms, and face – basically his whole being. Now his ear because why not? Dunne tosses Andrews to the floor and seems content with a count-out win. Andrews comes back in the ring and counters being tossed out again with a victory roll into a double stomp to the chest of Dunne. Andrews scores with a springboard hurricanrana and a running shooting star press for a near fall. Andrews heads to the top for the shooting star press, but Dunne is up to his feet. Andrews jumps over him and goes for a springboard move, but Dunne hits him with a forearm in mid-air. Dunne hits a release vertical suplex for a 2-count.
Dunne tries for the Bitter End, but Andrews counters with an arm drag and step-up enziugiri. Dunne then retaliates with one of his own. Andrews counters a back suplex and flips Dunne with a reverse hurricanrana. They reset on the mat and let everything soak in for a bit. Back to their feet, Dunne catches Andrews with a snap German suplex and ends up with Andrews on his face. Andrews then counters a Dunne release vertical suplex into a hurricanrana into a pin attempt for a VERY near fall.
Dunne manages to go back to the hand of Andrews and then clock him with an unbelievable forearm. He transitions right into the Bitter End, but Andrews counters again into a small package for another near fall. Dunne hits a palm strike and sends Andrews into the corner. Andrews tries for a corkscrew DDT, but Dunne blocks. Dunne goes for what appears to be a powerbomb, but Andrews drills him with a Stunner (Stundog Millionaire). Andrews comes off the top with the shooting star press, but Dunne gets his knees up. Dunne finally hits the Bitter End and it’s good for the win. Good lord.
Winner: Pete Dunne via pinfall.
Thoughts: I had no idea what to expect from this match and then it more than delivered. I really, really liked that no one hit his finisher until it was the actual finish. Again, really impressive stuff here. The announcers made it sound like Pete Dunne versus Tyler Bate may be on the horizon. There must be something in the water over in the U.K. because these guys have all been really, really good so far.
Backstage: Peyton and Billie are giggling and playing with each other’s hair. Peyton says she’s walking out the NXT women’s champion next week. Uh-huh, good luck with that.
Video Package: Patrick Clark is in action next week and may be ready to be the biggest heel in NXT with that amazing character. Also, there’s a second title match next week: Authors of Pain will be defending against #DIY.
Backstage: Tye Dillinger is trying to walk into the Performance Center, but he gets ambushed like TMZ for an interview. He cuts a promo on Sanity, but nothing new is said that we haven’t already heard.
Match #3: NXT Champion Bobby Roode v. No Way Jose
Tye’s promo leads right into Jose’s entrance. Who can’t wait to see what kind of entrance Roode has for Takeover Orlando? There’s a Shiba Inu chant toward Roode before the bell. I LOL’d. Roode schools Jose to start and talks some trash.
Roode goes into a wristlock, but Jose reverses. Jose returns the favor from earlier and showboats a little. Jose scores with some punches, but Roode picks him up and spikes him with a spine buster headed into commercial. Back from break, Roode is on the second rope and clubs Jose in the back of the neck. The crowd tries to fire up Jose with some Ole! chants, but Roode continues the beat down. Roode nails a big vertical suplex and gets a 2-count. Roode settles into a snug rear chinlock.
Jose fights out of the hold and hoists Roode up in a fireman’s carry. Roode gets free, but eats a few chops and some jabs. Roode sets up Jose for the Glorious DDT, but Jose counters into a half nelson slam for a near fall. Jose winds up for the elbow shot, but Roode dodges it. Roode then gets blasted with the elbow coming off the second rope, but he falls to the outside. By the time Jose gets Roode into the ring, Roode had time to recover and then hit the Glorious DDT on Jose as he was getting back into the ring. That’s good for the win.
Winner: Bobby Roode via pinfall.
Post Match: Roode heads back into the ring to deliver a chop block to Jose. Roode locks in a really deep single leg Boston Crab. All the sudden, Kassius Ohno’s music plays and he hits the ring in street clothes. Roode bails out of the ring. There’s a big Welcome Back and Ohnochant from the crowd. Roode has a microphone in the aisle and asks who the hell Ohno thinks he is? Ohno replies that he’s Kassius Ohno and he’s not one to mess with.
Ohno says he has unfinished business (the NXT title). Roode fake cries and says that’s a touching story, “but lucky for you, Mr. Ohno, if that is your real name, you’re looking at a fighting champion,” and we don’t have to wait. Ohno goes to take his jacket off and Roode attacks him from behind and takes his leg out. Ohno counters the Boston Crab attempt and elbows the hell out of Roode. Ohno hits a back body drop and throws his shoe at Roode (yes, really). There was a big crowd pop for the shoe. Roode gets clotheslined over the top to the floor. I think we know who the next title contender will be.
Thoughts: Typical tune-up match for the champion against a lower mid-card guy. The real story came with the post-match and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I anticipated a Sanity beat down of Jose, but instead we got Kassius Ohno returning.
I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar with Kassius Ohno, but I’ll try to do some catching up. I’m afraid he’s in an awkward spot since it’s a given that Nakamura and Roode are going to main event Takeover. Does Ohno lose after a brief feud with Roode while we wait on Nakamura to return?
- Peyton Royce defeated Ember Moon and Liv Morgan to become #1 contender
- Pete Dunne beat Mark Andrews
- Bobby Roode beat No Way Jose
- Kassius Ohno confronted Roode after the match and they had a brief brawl
Announced for Next Week:
- NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka © v. Peyton Royce
- NXT Tag Team Championship: Authors of Pain © v. #DIY
image credit – WWE