Rundown of last week’s show for the benefit of anyone who missed it: Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger took on Sanity only for Roode to leave Tye to get double teamed. After the match Nikki Cross and Eric Young revealed themselves to be members of the group and Sanity won to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Classic. Billie Kay beat Liv Morgan, TM61 advanced in the Dusty Classic against Toni Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Then in the main event Buddy Murphy beat Wesley Blake by DQ when Samoa Joe attacked. Shinsuke Nakamura then returned and the two brawled.
What was good?
The show opened with a recap of Samoa Joe’s attack on Shinsuke Nakamura injuring his neck, and Joe’s crusade to demolish NXT, only for Nakamura to return last week. Good way to build up to a rematch which no doubt everyone’s looking for.
Rich Swann & No Way Jose vs Nese & Gulak:
Rich Swann! Yaay! Love this guy, and so do the crowd, and they also love his partner No Way Jose. Gotta say these guys make such a good team, their gimmicks match so brilliantly. Their opponents are Tony Nese and Drew Gulak, currently working on RAW, as is Rich Swann. We get a pre-taped promo from Nese & Gulak; they say Jose and Swann can dance around like Dusty all they want but they’re premier athletes, and they’ll prove that to win the Dusty Classic.
Fans chant “Can you handle this? No way Jose!”, Swann and Gulak start off with some fast paced action. Swann somersaults over Gulak but then awkwardly falls over onto Gulak who rolls Swann up for a pin. It looked as though Gulak tried to grab Swann with his feet and pull him back but didn’t reach so Swann just fell over. Whatever the case it got boos. They make up for it with an awesome Leap Frog by Swann while Gulak rolls under then grabs Swann’s waist and rolls him up with a Sunset Flip style pin.
Swann tags out to Jose while Gulak tags to Nese. Nice Modified Snapmare onto Nese by Jose and later a Flapjack and a nice Stalling Suplex. He tags out to Rich Swann and the two hit an Assisted Splash.
They go to the outside. Nese Cartwheels off the apron, dodging an attack from Swann, and hits a Superkick on the outside. We go to an ad break and when we come back Gulak has a Headlock on Swann. Swann gets out and they hit a Clothesline on each other leading to a double knock out spot. Gulak tags out to Nese while Swann tags out to Jose who cleans house and hits a huge Lariat for a near-fall.
Nese tags to Gulak but he gets hit with a Pop-up Knock Out Punch from Jose. Finally he hits the Cobra Clutch Slam and gets the three count and the pinfall victory. Jose and Swann will now go on to face The Authors of Pain.
Great opening match, everyone looked great because, well, they are all great. Jose and Swann were the right team to go through. They’re so popular and besides, they’re going up against the Authors of Pain, so they wouldn’t have a heel team against another heel team. As for that match I’m predicting Authors of Pain will win.
After the match they get on the mic. They say Nese & Gulak couldn’t handle them, and there was no way they would get knocked out of the tournament. They say that if AOP can look past them they better think of them, and they leave singing “Can you handle this?” “No way Jose!”
Tye Dillinger Promo
We see the attack SAnitY gave Tye Dillinger when Bobby Roode left him. In a backstage promo Tye says the issue isn’t with Sanity, it’s with Bobby Roode who gave him his word and he broke it. But Regal is a man of his word and he requests a match against Roode at TakeOver: Toronto, which has been granted. Good promo. Not the best ever but I can’t remember hearing Tye talk much before.
Austin Aries Promo
Aries is backstage eating a banana. He is asked if he can say anything about his partner, he says no and he’d rather talk about the power of potassium. He brings up Hideo, who questioned his toughness and heart and who now has a sore neck, and they did an MRI and it turns out he has no spine. He says about his partner that the only person deserving of being his partner will help him win. Awesome promo, Aries has always been good on the mic and in the ring.
Bobby Roode’s entrance. His music is amazing, everyone loves it and it really matches his heel gimmick. And it’s not just the theme, everything about it is great: his robe, the lighting, the spinning plate, the posing. It’s all, well, GLORIOUS! The match itself was just okay (see what was okay section), but the post-match antics were pretty good too.
After he gets on the mic and says that in five weeks the brightest star in NXT, himself, goes international and he’ll take over Toronto. He brings up Tye Dillinger which gets cheers and chants of “Ten!” and says that Tye has been complaining on social media, but he can’t understand why. He lies and says Tye got on his knees and begged Roode to team with him, and being the good man he is he agreed, trying to bring him to his glorious level. He calls Tye a loser, and the fans pick up when Tye runs out. Corey says Tye couldn’t wait until Toronto to get beaten up.
Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic vs Austin Aries & Mystery Opponent:
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match. Otis & Tucker get an entrance. I’ve seen Tucker Knight before but who the hell is this other guy? Well his real name is Niko Bogojevic, but he’s also known as Dozer. He was one of the most decorated Amateur wrestlers in Wisconsin (so I like him already). He wrestled in Ultra Championship Wrestling-Zero and NRW Pro Wrestling. And now he’s in WWE, training in the performance center and wrestling as Otis Dozovic, which I assume is a play on his former name Dozer.
They get a promo, they say they’re ready to run through Aries and whoever he brings, they’re the biggest and baddest team in the tournament, and they’re hungry. Presumably for blood, not grilled cheese sandwiches, but I could believe either.
Aries comes out and after so does his partner, the debutant Roderick Strong. I mentioned last week that Strong had debuted in NXT, and now here he is.
Otis and Aries start off, Otis slaps himself like a big man often does and Aries imitates him. Otis is a big guy and catches Aries when he goes for a Crossbody. He tags to Tucker who runs into Otis, sandwiching Aries between them and Aries tags to Strong. Tucker and Strong trade shots and Tucker hits a massive Dropkick, amazing for the 300+ pounds man.
He tags back out to Otis and the two use their bellies to take out Strong and hit Aries with some Headbutts. Nice big man offense, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks.
Strong gets the upper hand after Otis falls off the middle rope and takes him down with a Dropkick. Aries and Strong use frequent tags to tire out the big man. When Strong goes for a Sunset Flip Otis grabs the top rope to block it. Aries tags in, Elbows Otis who falls down onto Strong’s knees and Aries jumps over the top rope and hits a nice Elbow onto Otis. They go for a Double Vertical Suplex but Otis Suplexes them instead and tags out to Tucker.
Tucker is on fire with Shoulder Blocks, a Hip Toss, and an Arm Trap Overhead Belly to Belly Suplex before a Running Splash into the corner to both opponents. He goes to the well too often however and is sent to the outside where he’s hit with a Suicide Dive from Aries. See, he never lands on his head like everyone else in WWE.
Strong somehow manages to get Tucker up onto his shoulders in a Fireman’s Carry. Aries hits an Elbow onto Tucker and Strong drops Tucker onto his knees before taking him out with a Sick Kick for the three count victory.
Great match, it’s great to see Roderick Strong in NXT and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. As for Tucker and Otis, they’re really good, Otis is a big powerful guy and while he’s pretty good I know he can get better. Tucker Knight is pretty damn amazing, and as a tag team the two are perfect for each other. Hopefully we see more of these two together in the future. Aries and Strong will fight TM61 in the second round.
Cedric Alexander and Andrade Almas
We get another recap of The Revival beating Cedric Alexander and Andrade Almas, as well as Andrade’s attack on Cedric. Then we have an interview with Almas, yes another one, but this time he has an interpreter so we can understand it this time. He says to be a part of NXT he had to take off his mask, a huge sign of respect, but sadly the NXT fans haven’t been as respectful. He has worked a lifetime to earn the respect he deserves but he hasn’t got it yet. But he says he doesn’t care about respect anymore, he only cares about himself. Way better than his last promo which you could hardly understand due to his subpar English skills, and the fact he was knackered after a match.
Shinsuke Nakamura is out now and he’s as awesome as he always is. He’s here to address Samoa Joe. He says he’s not done with him, and that if he wants the NXT Championship at TakeOver, “Come and get it.” He says he can cheat and use dirty tricks, he doesn’t care, because he’ll just beat him with no mercy. Then some music plays. Huh? Oh it’s Patrick Clark, in his awesome Prince gear.
He walks to the ring and hypes up TakeOver: Toronto, where Samoa Joe and Shinsuke will face off “For the very first time.” Then he corrects himself “Excuse me, I got that wrong.” Man he must be shitting himself right now, his first big promo and he fluffs his line. Never mind though, it happens, but the guy in the Balor shirt in this picture perfectly demonstrates my reaction.
He manages to hide it well saying we’ve seen THAT story already, and last time Joe almost ended Shinsuke’s career “So how about we see something different tonight?” He wants a fight against Shinsuke, making him more stupid then Liv challenging Asuka.
Shinsuke just gives Clark a couple of brutal Kicks, taking him down. That’s when Joe comes out just in time to see Shinsuke give Clark a Kinshasa.
What was bad?
Commentators address Hideo Itami’s injury and announce he will not be competing in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. I wrote about this last week so I won’t go into detail here, but it’s a shame we won’t be seeing Hideo again.
What was okay?
Bobby Roode vs Sean Maluta:
Roode has a lot of charisma and can get the fans into any match, even a Bobby Roode match. Sean Maluta gets booed for Dropkicking Roode, despite being a face. Nice Flying Headscissors by Maluta and Roode hits a nice Back Suplex to get out of a Standing Side Headlock.
Massive Chops onto Maluta echo through the building. Kicks and punches from Roode, basic Roode stuff. He hits a beautiful Spinebuster and a nice Lifting DDT, or Glorious Drop, onto Maluta for the three count and the win.
Good match for Bobby Roode. I’ve never thought of him as a great wrestler. He’s a basic kick/punch brawler with a few big moves, so shorter matches like this are better for him. Although in saying that what Roode may lack in moves he more than makes up for in charisma. You never get tired of seeing him and the fans love him. I predict big things for him in NXT and in WWE in general.
Royce and Kay beat up Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan is backstage. We see a recap of last week when Liv lost to Billie Kay after a distraction from Peyton Royce. Liv says she doesn’t need to run her mouth like Royce and Kay, but before she can go on she’s attacked by Royce and Kay who drag her out onto the stage and knock her out.
Billie gets on the mic and says Liv was about to complain about getting beaten up, but she got beaten up again. Royce says they’re putting the women of NXT on notice, and that includes Asuka, and that the division belongs to them.
Decent segment but all I want to know is what’s happening with them and Liv Morgan? Will there be a tag team match at Toronto? Maybe a handicap match, or maybe Royce or Billie will be banned from ringside? Are they doing anything at all with Liv? Are they just gonna focus on Billie & Royce and Liv is just there to get beaten up by them? Only time will tell I guess.
Nikki Cross vs Danielle Kamela
Nikki Cross is out with SAnitY. Cross starts off with a big Forearm and works Danielle over in the corner. Cross hits a nice Neckbreaker and proceeds to bite and slap herself. She hits a Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker for the three count and the pinfall victory.
After the match Nikki is encouraged to continue her attack on Kamela by Young, and she does just that with some weak looking Punches. I think the reaction of the guy in the front row is enough to let you know how bad these Punches were.
Young pulls Cross off of Kamela but instead she gives him a Forearm, which doesn’t seem to bother him much. She goes back to her attack, which causes the referee to reverse the decision and give the victory to Kamela. Cut to some fans not caring and checking their phones instead.
I liked it. The match wasn’t much, in fact it was nothing, but it wasn’t here to be a good match. It was here to get Cross and SAnitY over.
I have to say, this was the best episode of NXT I’ve seen for a while. There wasn’t anything bad and everything happened for a clear and obvious reason. Nikki Cross got her gimmick over, even if the match wasn’t much and the fans weren’t too interested. But they had just seen Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic, which in my opinion stole the show along with the opening match between No Way Jose and Rich Swann against Tony Nese and Drew Gulak.
Liv getting attacked wasn’t much but it wasn’t bad either. They’re clearly building up to something but what that something is I don’t know. Bobby Roode was on top form with his promo and his charisma but his matches never do it for me. However I am looking forward to seeing him take on Tye Dillinger. Speaking of Tye, he had a good promo, getting over his rivalry with Roode and their upcoming match at Toronto.
And staying on the subject of promos, there were a bunch of good ones on this show. Andrade’s promo was really good, and having someone to translate helped. Shinsuke’s promo to close the show was pretty good too, but in my opinion they were overshadowed by Austin Aries eating a banana. He got over him being in the Dusty Rhodes Classic, and even mentioned Hideo Itami, keeping that feud going until Hideo can come back.
The show was pretty damn good. It got over all the rivalries, it got over the Dusty Classic, and now we’re on the way to TakeOver: Toronto in November.