This week’s show opens with a nice music video recapping the TakeOver: San Antonio event. Additionally, don’t expect any big storyline progression this week as the show mostly consists of matches taped prior to the main TakeOver card in the Freeman Coliseum.
Match #1: Ember Moon v. Aliyah
Why, oh why, is Aliyah wearing cat ears? I don’t see how it fits in with her character. Oh well. Big ‘Ember’ chants from the crowd as she was announced from Dallas, Texas. Ember Moon connects with an under-hook suplex early and settles into an abdominal stretch-type move while cranking Aliyah’s head. Looked good, but even the announcers didn’t know what to call it.
After Aliyah gets out of the hold, it appeared as though she connected with a swinging neck breaker, but both of them sold the move. Aliyah is up first and connects with a few European uppercuts and a northern lights suplex for a near fall. Moon comes back with a second rope springboard moonsault out of the corner for a near fall on Aliyah. Aliyah then hits Moon with a hurricanrana. Another hurricanrana attempt is blocked, but Aliyah turns it into a sunset flip attempted. Moon rolls through and rebounds with a big clothesline. Moon goes to the top and connects with the Eclipse for the win.
Winner: Ember Moon via pinfall
Thoughts: This was a pretty decent match, actually. Aliyah has pretty much zero character development at this point as I think the focus is just on her working matches. That said, I think she’s improved considerably. Is she one of the Four Horsewomen? No, but she’s made huge steps from some of the sloppy messes she was in last year.
Back from break, a video recap of Tye Dillinger v. Eric Young was shown. They then cut to a WWE.com exclusive interview with Eric Young and Sanity after TakeOver. Young basically says more choices will be coming for people and they’re going to ‘take’.
Some footage of Tye Dillinger entering the Royal Rumble at #10 is shown. An interview with Tye is shown and he talks about coming up short, but being at the Royal Rumble is a dream come true. He’s sort of emotional and a little speechless.
Now a video recap of the Fatal 4-Way match is shown. Asuka is interviewed backstage following the match and asked about Ember Moon declaring herself a contender. Asuka answers with, “Ember who? She works here? Ok.” Cue a backstage interview with Ember Moon. She says she’s glad Asuka won because she wants to be the one that beats her. Asuka will know who she is after she wins.
Match #2: UK Champion Tyler Bate v. Oney Lorcan (Non-title)
Oney is so matter of fact and no BS with his entrance that I can’t help but laugh. It’s a slow start to the match with a tie up and a rope break. Bate wants a test of strength and eventually forces Lorcan into the ropes for another break. Bate fakes Lorcan out and catches him with a left jab to the mouth and follows it up with a big drop-kick. Bate goes for the Tyler Driver 97, but Lorcan counters into a roll-up, but rolls the back of Bate’s head into the bottom turnbuckle. Lorcan unleashes punches, chop, a knee, and European uppercuts. Bate counters into a back slide for a near fall.
Bate launches off the second rope with a European uppercut that levels Lorcan. Bate eats a vicious-looking elbow to break a waist lock, but catches Lorcan in the airplane spin. He spins and spins until he slows down and acts as though he’s going to fall down. Nope, more spinning. That’s only good for a 2-count. Lorcan catches Bate with another uppercut, but Bate rebounds off the ropes and hits a rolling wheel kick into the back of Lorcan’s head. Bates nails the Tyler Driver 97 and picks up the win.
Winner: Tyler Bate via pinfall.
Thoughts: Bate is only 19 years old? That’s shocking to me. He’s very good in the ring and already has a very distinct style that sets him apart in NXT (although, I’m not sure if this was a one-off appearance on NXT). Lorcan is Lorcan. He’s a good tune-up guy for people higher in the card at this point.
Back from break, Roderick Strong is interviewed after his TakeOver match. He says his match against Almas was a statement and he’s coming for the NXT Championship.
A video recap of #DIY v. Authors of Pain is shown. Backstage, Paul Ellering declares that they are the new sheriffs in town and under their law, there will be no mercy.
After a video recap of Roode’s win over Nakamura, there is footage of Nakamura being helped backstage. Triple H walks up to check on him. Kassius Ohno walks up and appears to be supportive of Nakamura. Interesting. There are no further updates on Nakamura’s storyline injury status.
Next Week: A Glorious Celebration!
A video recap of Corey Graves’ entire NXT stint is shown. It’s a great video. I realize a WWE-produced video may not tell the entire story, but Graves really put in the work after his retirement from the ring and deserves to be where he is now. But seriously, who is going to insult Elias Sampson now?
Match #3: No Way Jose v. The Drifter Elias Samson
Elias waves goodbye to Graves during his entrance. Graves says he saw a guy in San Antonio last night lying on the ground playing a guitar, so he gave him $50 just for not being Elias Samson. Samson is a heat magnet. He asks who wants to walk with the Drifter and receives ‘No’ chants. Just as he’s about to sing, No Way Jose’s music hits.
Samson scores with a running drop kick to Jose as the bell rings. Jose explodes out of the corner with a clothesline. Samson whips Jose down to the mat by the hair. After a sloppy sequence, Jose delivers a body slam and a rolling senton out of a fireman’s carry. Samson rolls out for a breather, but eats a baseball slide and a forearm smash off the ring apron.
Jose goes to the top rope, but gets crotched. Samson clubs Jose in the corner until the referee pulls him back. The Drifter locks in a chin lock. Samson evades several attempts to break the chin lock until Jose finally scores with a sidewalk slam. Jose fires up with punches in chops, but Samson evades a knockout punch. Unfortunately for Samson, he gets caught with a pop-up variation and it’s good for the win.
Winner: No Way Jose via pinfall.
Thoughts: It was a decent showing for Jose. I’m still waiting to see with whom his next big feud is with, though. As for Samson, I don’t know. The guy has tremendous heat, but as I said before, he never wins matches. I really don’t know what you do with the guy now, but I’m also not being paid to figure that out.
That’s all for this week. Next week, NXT will be back at Full Sail and we’ll get some clarity moving forward to WrestleMania weekend.
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