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WWE NXT #381 (3.8.17) Play-by-Play and Review



NXT comes to us from the University of Central Florida this week and Tom ‘Face F****r’ Phillips, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness are back on commentary. A quick preview of tonight’s show promotes Shinsuke Nakamura taking on TJ Perkins.

You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show.

Match #1: Tye Dillinger v. Eric Young (w/ Sanity)

Eric Young calls for the entrance music to be cut early and sends Sanity to the back, so he can go one-on-one with Dillinger. We quickly find out the ulterior motive as Sanity returns dragging a beaten up Roderick Strong into the aisle. Dillinger heads up the ramp to check on Strong and is then joined by No Way Jose as Sanity regroups in the ring.

Jose and Dillinger hit the ring, but they’re outnumbered and quickly overwhelmed. Jose gets taken out with a double team finisher and Young hits Tye with the wheelbarrow neck breaker. The baby faces are all left laid out.

Winner: No Contest

Thoughts: That was a unique start. The crowd was eerily silent when Sanity dragged Strong out. I’m not sure if they didn’t know who it was or what. I assume that this is all going to keep building to TakeOver: Orlando. I’ll be honest: This is one feud that isn’t really getting me excited. I’m more interested to see where Young and Strong go after this is done.

Backstage: Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are backstage at the Performance Center looking for a place to mount their NXT Year-End trophy. They come across Ember Moon working out and make fun of her through a glass wall. They exchange some words and coming up next: Ember Moon will face Billie Kay and it is noted that William Regal will be watching closely – meaning the winner is likely going to be #1 contender.

Promo: I have no clue who it was that they were teasing in the promo, but the guy signed off with ‘fade to black’.

Match#2: Ho Ho Lun v. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

Ho Ho Lun is out first and ready to take a beating. Almas is out with his dumb little hat. That hat has so much heat with me. It’s on par with Sami Zayn’s little newsboy hat. Almas chops Ho Ho Lun so hard that Elise from the Insidious movies will need to venture into The Further to bring back his soul. Almas dominates with kicks and knees and the crowd tries to get behind Lun.

Almas continues the assault until Lun tries to make a comeback. Lun hits a drop kick off the second rope, but Almas doesn’t go down. Almas then hits a giant lariat and hits the hammerlock DDT for the easy win.

Winner: Andrade Almas via pinfall.

Thoughts: Really dominate win for Almas to try to re-establish him as a credible heel. In that, I think they took a step toward succeeding. Almas is more natural as a heel, but does anyone else think he still seems a little out of place? What’s next for him? I don’t know.

Match #3: Billie Kay (w/ Peyton Royce) v. Ember Moon

Billie and Peyton were playing patty-cake or something and Billie Kay turns around to eat a super kick immediately after the bell. Ember Moon hits a springboard cross-body on Kay for a near fall. Royce tries to pull Kay out of the ring, but Moon drags them both in. Billie uses the chance to hit Moon from behind and give her a slingshot into the middle rope. That’s only good for a 2-count. Billie Kay hits that stump-puller move that I have no clue what to call and gets another near fall.

Moon and Billie trade strikes, but Billie scores with a rolling forearm to level Moon as she comes off the ropes. Billie Kay gets cocky and ends up eating several kicks to the face and head. Moon hits a running knee in the corner and goes to the top rope. Peyton gets on the ring apron to hit her, but strangely just backs off. Moon comes off the top with the Eclipse to Billie Kay and gets the win.

Winner: Ember Moon via pinfall.

Post Match: Billie Kay is still down in the ring and officials and the doctor are checking on her. The crowd seems to think it’s a shoot and urge her on with a clap. She walks out on her own with Royce and officials.

Thoughts: It seems clear that it will be Asuka against Ember Moon in Orlando. I’m curious if that’s because it’s time for Asuka to pass the torch or is it because Ember Moon’s amazingly awful promos recently have them souring on her and they want to go ahead and get the first loss on her record and try to develop her some more.

As for Billie Kay and Peyton, it’s probably time to think about splitting them up. I’m thinking Billie Kay will blame her ‘injury’ tonight on Peyton Royce hesitating to stop Ember Moon.

Backstage: TJ Perkins says he and ‘Shin’ go way back and they steal each other’s moves.

Match #4: The Revival v. The Ealy Brothers

The Ealy Brothers don’t even make it to the ring before the Authors of Pain attack and obliterate them. The Authors of Pain want revenge, but Dawson and Wilder want no part of that and bail through the crowd. One of the Ealy Brothers gets pulled in to receive a Last Chapter.

Winner: No Contest

Thoughts: More build-up to the 3-team match that will surely happen at TakeOver. The Revival still is playing the part of the crafty heel team that is teetering on the edge of being baby face. This Triple Threat match will undoubtedly be the show-stealer.

Backstage: William Regal is backstage with Ember Moon and says she will face Asuka at TakeOver: Orlando for the NXT Women’s Championship.

Backstage: Tom Phillips is taking a break from sexting his hook-up and is sitting down with Kassius Ohno. Kassius says it’s surreal being back in NXT. He cuts the typical baby face promo.

Backstage: Bobby Roode joins from his home in Toronto via satellite. There’s a portrait of himself with the title behind him. Roode says Kassius is a long-haired dirty 70’s hippy. Roode says he’s going to continue to make this brand Glorious.

Match #5: TJ Perkins v. Shinsuke Nakamura

Nakamura is back and even this ho-hum UCF crowd is showing signs of life. There’s some chain wrestling to start and a non-clean break in the ropes. Nakamura blocks a head kick and ducks a punch. TJP ducks a punch from Nakamura. There’s another rope break and Nakamura does his taunt.

TJP counters a wristlock into a head scissors take down and keeps the legs locked around Nakamura’s neck. Nakamura gets up and gets taken down again as TJP taunts him. Nakamura gets up and dabs at TJP to a big pop. TJP scores with a hurricanrana that sends Nakamura to the floor. Nakamura dodges a slingshot drop kick to the ring apron and kicks TJP in the face before hitting a running knee as he’s draped over the ring apron. Commercial break.

Back from break, Nakamura hits a jumping knee drop and settles into a chinlock. Nakamura rolls through a sunset flip attempt, but TJP dodges a running kick. TJP then DDTs the bad leg of Nakamura. Nakamura comes right back with an enziugiri and Good Vibrations in the corner. TJP leap frogs a charging Nakamura and hits a neck breaker. TJP comes back with several strikes to Nakamura and a drop kick to the face. TJP goes back to the springboard drop kick on the apron and connects. Perkins then hits a springboard DDT for a near fall.

TJP goes from the Detonation Kick, but Nakamura counters into a triangle submission. TJP flips over for a pin attempt, but only gets a 2-count. Nakamura misses the first roundhouse kick, but spins around again and connects with a spinning heel kick. Nakamura fires up with strong style strikes and a running knee in the corner. Nakamura drapes TJP on the top rope, but TJP moves and Nakamura knees the buckle. TJP then comes off the top with a drop kick to the knee. TJP dragon screws the knee, but gets caught in another triangle when he tries for a second one. Nakamura transitions to an arm bar, but TJP rolls out and goes for an arm bar of his own. Nakamura quickly counters back into an arm bar. TJP somehow manages to transition to a hybrid single-leg Boston Crab/ Sharpshooter move.

TJP appears to try for the knee bar, but Nakamura flips him over and gets a near fall. TJP ducks another kick and fully locks in the knee bar. Nakamura manages to crawl to the bottom rope and break the hold. TJP goes to the leg kicks, but Nakamura catches an attempt and hits a flurry of strikes and knees. Nakamura hits an ax kick and a knee to the face. TJP kicks Nakamura in the head, but gets caught on the top rope and eats a knee to the gut.

TJP counters a Kinshasa attempt, but ends up in a wheelbarrow position. Nakamura hits a back stabber and the inverted exploder suplex. Nakamura fires up in the corner and beheads TJP with the Kinshasa for the win.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall.

Thoughts: Wow, really good match. This would be the one part of this week’s show worth watching if you missed it. Well, that and Bobby’s Roode framed portrait. I’m really glad TJP was competitive because I feel like Vince really dropped the ball with him on the main roster. The guy is phenomenal in the ring – likely the best in-ring guy on the roster after AJ Styles. Even though he lost, he lost to Shinsuke Nakamura, so he’s fine. The other purpose was to tease Nakamura’s knee not being 100%. I assume that will be the story headed into TakeOver, which is amazingly really soon.

Backstage: William Regal is backstage and he says the winner of Roode/Ohno next week will defend the title against Shinsuke Nakamura at TakeOver.


  • Tye Dillinger and Eric Young never happened as Sanity laid out Tye, Strong, and Jose.
  • Andrade Almas beat Ho Ho Lun.
  • Ember Moon beat Billie Kay.
  • The Revival and Ealy Brothers never started after the Authors of Pain attacked.
  • William Regal announced Asuka versus Ember Moon at TakeOver.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura beat TJ Perkins.
  • The winner of Bobby Roode and Kassius Ohno will defend the title against Nakamura at TakeOver.

Announced for Next Week:

  • NXT Championship: Bobby Roode v. Kassius Ohno