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WWE NXT #397 (6.14.17) Play-by-Play and Review



You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. Tonight, Asuka defends the NXT Women’s Championship in a Triple Threat Elimination match against Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot.

Match #1: Drew McIntyre v. Rob Ryzin

Interesting bit: McIntyre defended the TNA Grand Championship against Ryzin back in January in, where else, Orlando.

McIntyre powers out of a couple early moves from Ryzin, so Ryzin gives him an arrogant shove. McIntyre responds with a big boot that levels Ryzin. McIntyre hits a few chops and launches Ryzin with an overhead belly-to-belly across the ring. Ryzin surprises McIntyre with a super kick, but only gets a 1-count. McIntyre quickly recovers and hits another suplex throw, an avalanche into the corner, and then an elbow to the top of the head off the top rope.

Ryzin decides it’s a good time to slap McIntyre across the face, God bless him. McIntyre beats Ryzin down in the corner before sitting him on the top rope and knocking him to ringside. McIntyre hits the Claymore and it’s good for the win.

Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall

Thoughts: Not bad, but I’m ready to see McIntyre in something more competitive. There isn’t much else to say right now. We know he’s a very good wrestler and he’s maintained his credibility in NXT.

Backstage/Recap: As a result of the Peyton Royce / Ember Moon drama, they will have a match next week in Moon’s return from injury.

Vignette: An Aleister Black vignette aired.

Match #2: Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) v. Anthony Dominguez & Wilmer Freyday

I can find absolutely nothing on the local talents. Akam levels Dominguez with a boot and goes to work on Freyday in the corner while Ellering and Rezar chat out on the floor. Akam picks up Freyday and hurls him over the top rope and all the way onto the ramp. Akam picks up Dominguez with sort of a pump-handle into a fireman’s carry into a Death Valley Driver for the finish. Rezar never had to get in the ring. Or even onto the ring apron.

Post match, Rezar and Akam hit both guys with the Super Collider. Ellering gets on the microphone and says the Authors are undefeated after a year (Side Note: All current NXT Champions are undefeated on TV – unsure about Roode on live events). They beat American Alpha, TM-61, The Revival, and #DIY. He says Heavy Machinery won’t even be a footnote in the Book of Pain. Cue the Heavy Machinery music as they get into the ring for a face-off. Ellering pulls his guys out of the ring a little unwillingly.

Winners: Authors of Pain via pinfall

Thoughts: Like the previous match, it was great enhancement match. We know the Authors are dominant, but this was a little different with Akam working the match by himself. I’m not a Heavy Machinery fan and the crowd was not vocal at all for them when they stood down the Authors. There’s just way too much invested in the Authors for them to drop the titles to a team like Heavy Machinery. I think it has to wait for TM-61 to return as the ultimate underdogs. I think there is a real draw there and more fan interest.

Recap: Bobby Roode’s take down of Roddy Strong on the microphone was shown. Strong’s recent tweet is shown saying he only needs one shot at Roode to win the championship. Will he get it?

Vignette: A Sonya Deville promo video is shown with a focus on her MMA background and wrestling style. She’s in action next week.

Match #3: Raul Mendoza v. Velveteen Dream

If Mendoza looks familiar to fans, it’s because he made an appearance in the Cruiserweight Classic. Also, I guess it’s just the Velveteen Dream now and not Patrick Clark. The Dream starts with some showy offense and a shoulder block, but Mendoza nips up. They outmaneuver each other before Mendoza catches the Dream with sort of a flying Shining Wizard kick to the face off the ropes. Mendoza springboards right into a big boot, though. The Dream goes to work with a huge chop and kicks in the corner.

The Dream hits a big back suplex before clubbing Mendoza and kicking the back of his head. The Dream lashes at Mendoza with his headband and goes for another back suplex, but Mendoza back flips out of it. Mendoza hits a standing kick right in the face. Dream counters Mendoza off the ropes and launches him straight up and Mendoza comes down on his face. The Dream then hits sort of a cartwheel Death Valley Driver and then comes off the top rope with the big elbow for the win.

Winner: Velveteen Dream via pinfall

Thoughts: The Velveteen Dream is almost too athletic. He overdoes it sometimes. That said it wasn’t a terrible match. I’m not sure if the gimmick is getting over at all, but we’ll see. Mendoza was impressive, so I’m sure we will see him fade to anonymity on 205 Live soon.

Recap/Backstage: A recap of the Kassius Ohno / Hideo Itami incident last week was shown. Kassius is backstage and says he spoke to William Regal and says he’s getting a match against Aleister Black next week. Is he insane?!

Match #4: NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat Elimination Match: Asuka © v. Nikki Cross v. Ruby Riot

Can we just call this what it is: a Three-Way Dance? Nikki Cross is already crawling around the ring with no music, so that’s unique. Or not, I don’t know. Tom Phillips acknowledges Asuka’s undefeated streak and being champion for 438 days and counting.

This will likely be chaotic at times, so I’ll try to keep up. Early on, everyone is throwing forearms and kicks. Cross hits a second rope drop kick on Riot and then Asuka his Cross with one of her own and the champion stands tall. Asuka challenges them both to bring it and they do by dumping her to ringside. Riot rolls up Cross for a 1-count. Riot gets in some offense on Cross with Asuka out of the ring. Cross gets knocked to ringside and Riot stands tall as NXT cuts to break.

Back from break and Riot is trying to block an Asuka German suplex attempt. She is successful, but gets a basement hip attack for her troubles. Riot gets a boot up in the corner and hits a hurricanrana off the second rope, which sends Asuka back to the floor. Cross jumps on Riot’s back with a sleeper, but Riot counters and hits the arm wringer Pele kick on Cross. Riot goes for the pin as Asuka goes for the knockout kick like in Chicago. Riot catches the kick this time and unloads with about ten chops.

Asuka reverses the Irish whip and just knees/kicks Riot in the face, but it’s only good for a 2-count. Cross pulls Asuka out of the ring and then Riot comes off the ring apron with a flat-back drop kick. That was a stiff landing for her, ouch. I’m not sure why the referee is counting here, either. All three women are down. Cross and Riot are back in the ring first. Riot goes to the top rope, but Asuka knocks her to ringside. Asuka then comes off the top to drop kick Cross, but misses and lands on her face.

Cross hits Asuka with her spinning fisherman’s neckbreaker finisher, but Asuka rolls out of the ring to the floor to avoid the pin attempt. Riot uses the opportunity to hit Cross with a backdrop driver. Asuka is back in the ring and gets kicked in the face by Riot. Cross ends up catching Riot with a spinning neckbreaker from being propped up in the corner and hooks both legs for the pin. Ruby Riot is eliminated. NXT heads to break while Riot is cleared from the ring.

Back from break and Cross is inexplicably slapping Asuka in the head to piss her off. Asuka fires up and they trade forearm shots. Asuka blocks one and hits two spinning back fists followed by a big spinning heel kick. Asuka dead lifts Cross for a bridging German, but only gets a 2-count. Asuka unloads with kicks to the body until the referee tries to break them up (Why if there is no DQ?). Cross uses the opportunity to rake the eyes and take over. Cross goes for the same corner neck breaker that eliminated Riot, but Asuka gets out.

Now on the ring apron, Cross eats several more kicks and then a flying hip attack from the ring apron to the floor. Asuka and Cross are now brawling at ringside. Asuka throws Cross into the stage and then the guard rail. They brawl backstage and the referee calls for a no contest. Why? There are no count outs, either. There are some Ref, You Suck chants from the crowd.

Asuka and Cross are now brawling near the loading docks. Asuka throws Cross into a vinyl privacy fence, but then Cross throws her into the metal dock door. Asuka repeatedly slams Cross’s head into the door. Asuka gets her head dunked in an ice water cooler. They are working their way back into the arena near the announce table now. Next, they’re fighting up into the tech/lighting area. Cross tackles Asuka off the top of the tech area and down through two tables and both women are down and out. They are both receiving medical attention as NXT goes off the air.

Winner: No Contest

Thoughts: This was a fun match. I feel like the referee should have waited to throw the match out until after the table spot where neither woman could continue or get back to the ring. The table spot was excellent, by the way. If there was any foam or padding under it like WWE tends to do with spots like that, you couldn’t see it. I was thinking Ember Moon was a shoe-in for #1 Contender, but it seems clear that Asuka and Cross has some mileage in it. I’m OK with this development.   


  • Drew McIntyre beat Rob Ryzin
  • Authors of Pain beat Anthony Dominguez & Wilmer Freyday
  • The Velveteen Dream beat Raul Mendoza
  • Women’s Championship ended in a No Contest

Advertised for Next Week

  • Ember Moon v. Peyton Royce
  • Sonya Deville in Action
  • Kassius Ohno v. Aleister Black
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