Wow, after the fever dream that was Monday’s Raw, it was nice to watch a semi-sane wrestling show again. Though, I do have to wonder if WWE Human Resources Ashley also works for NXT or if there is a developmental layer of Human Resources to deal with issues that arise in that workplace. But, I digress…
We’re getting down to the wire in the sometimes broadcast Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament and this is the “go home” NXT episode before next week’s Takeover: Respect event so there is a lot to cover in the NXT 9/30/15 recap – so let’s get to it.
As always, if you have the WWE Network you can watch this week’s episode here.
NXT 9/30/15 Recap
Things open up from the NXT control room where we learn the result of the Hype Bros. / Jason Jordan & Chad Gable match. Thankfully, Jordan and Gable pulled out the victory. I’ll shut up about not getting to see the match because I’ve gone over that enough at this point. Besides, these segments are starting to win me over a bit. I’m reminded of the Saturday morning WWF shows when I was kid that would have a segment from the control room so nostalgia is winning out and I’ll give this a pass. Though, I still think not having the entirety of this thing on the Network or on a limited Blu-Ray is a missed opportunity. Just sayin’.
Match #1: Enzo & Cass vs. Finn Balor & Samoa Joe (Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 2 match)
I had a feeling where this one was going to go and it went there. It seems almost a given that Finn and Joe will either win the tournament or something will happen to cause them to lose in the finals and create the Balor / Joe feud for the NXT title. Enzo & Cass, unfortunately, are just a stepping stone for us to get there.
Balor is out with a black leather jacket, that he opens occasionally to flash the NXT title at the fans like a creepy flasher. I’m assuming this is the new look when he’s not the Demon Balor. The match was standard fare for the tournament at this point. There was a cool spot towards the beginning of the match where Enzo and then Finn both fly through the ropes one after another and hit their opponents outside the ring. Cass got in a few stiff looking kicks on both Finn and Joe, but the writing was really on the wall with this one. After Cass uses Enzo as a projectile, Joe picks up out out of the pinfall and we get a Muscle Buster into a Coup de Grace to cement the Semi-Final bracket of the tournament.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A solid match that allowed Enzo and Cass to get their offense in but allowed the Finn / Joe storyline to continue. Sort of frustrating to see Enzo & Cass eliminated since, like Tyler Breeze, they are good workers that are clearly over with the crowd but seem to be languishing here in NXT not really doing anything of major importance.
Meanwhile backstage, Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa are giving a promo about how they’re disappointed in their time at NXT so far. Gargano mentions he has a match with Apollo Crews tonight and mentions they’re friends that go way back. Tyler Breeze enters, considers any friend of Crews his “enemy” and challenges Ciampa to a match.
During the break we get a full Asuka debut promo featuring footage of her in ring and I cannot wait for her debut.
Match #2: Johnny Gargano vs. Apollo Crews
Not quite as one-sided of a match as Crews has had on NXT so far, but this clearly a showcase for him going into Takeover: Respect. Gargano gets a really cool looking spear through the ropes spot in, but Apollo goes over clean and strong here. Apollo has incredible talent so it will be interesting to see him build up over the coming weeks and months here at NXT.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Another strong, clean win for Crews which is needed if they’re going to propel him into the next tier of NXT. I’m sure him having what will likely be an amazing match with Breeze next week will work wonders as well.
Hey, it’s William Regal in his office with a laptop, Dana Brooke, and Emma. I like where this is going before he even vocalizes it. Because of their interruption during Asuka’s debut we get to see Dana Brooke vs. Asuka. YAY! Dana no sells this and talks about how Asuka left smiling like a “hy heena”, and then emphasizes she meant to say “hy heena” and Dana is quickly becoming one of my favorite heels. While she and Emma chuckle about what a piece of cake the match will be, Regal wants to show them something. Through the magic of the NXT brand laptop, Dana and Emma are shown some sort of sizzle reel of Asuka doing something that has them reacting like Regal is showing them 2 Girls 1 Cup. Emma has seen enough and bails, while telling Dana good luck with her match next week.
Meanwhile, Nia Jax is still coming soon.
Back from break, we see Asuka in a room kicking a heavy bag and the announcers tell us this was what Regal was showing Dana and Emma on the laptop.
Match #3: Dana Brooke & Emma vs. Already In The Ring
This week the role of “already in the ring” is played by Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. This is a better tag team match that it probably needs to be. I’m assuming the point here is to get Dana a squash victory before next week’s match. Dana and Emma isolate Billie Kay for the majority of the match before Peyton gets a hot tag and gets in some offense. At one point, she appears to botch a spot off the top rope and Dana recovers it pretty quickly in a couple of pinfall attempts. I was impressed with the ring awareness by Dana in that situation. Emma ends up doing some outside interference by pulling on Peyton’s leg which gets Dana the advantage and pinfall victory.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A good tag team match that had the heels cheating to win. Can’t argue there. One of my biggest issues with Raw and SmackDown are the countouts, non-finishes, and DQs. More often that not, NXT has pinfall/submission victories, and sometimes the heels even cheat to get the win. I’m also still pining for Emma to bail on Dana, which sort of happened thanks to Asuka, and join up with Billie and Peyton and form an Australian girls faction. I mean, if you’re not going to promote Emma to the main roster to form the “disgruntled female workers” team with Paige and Natalya then why not, right? Also, WWE didn’t upload a clip of this match for inexplicable reasons – I mean I get it when they gloss over the Eva Marie matches, but this wasn’t that bad of a match.
Jason “Call Me JJ” Jordan and Chad “Say My Name” Gable are backstage with Devin Taylor. They explain how they’re both champs and have been in tournaments before and will win the Dusty Rhodes Classic. Jordan at one point throws shade at Dash and Dawson and right before Chad can try to force Jordan to say his name, Dash and Dawson appear. They reference history (!) and mention that the last time they saw Jordan and Gable they were taking the loss for their team at Takeover: Brooklyn. An argument ensues and Devin Taylor just kind of shrugs and walks off camera.
Match #4: Tomasso Ciampa vs. Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze has steadily been one of my favorite workers in NXT. He consistently puts on great matches no matter who his opponent is and no matter where he gets put on the card. His job here is to make Ciampa look like a million bucks and he does just that. On paper, you’d think this would be a quick, pseudo-squash like the Gargano / Crews match, but Ciampa gets in a considerable amount of offense here and Breeze makes him look like has a decent chance of pulling off the upset victory. Breeze eventually goes over, with a new finisher that appears to be Christian’s “Unprettier” (!) and this works oh so well. One of my problems with Breeze was that his finisher was a spinning heel kick, which always seemed kind of weird to me. Giving him a more solid finisher is probably a good idea, and the Unprettier, works perfect with his gimmick. I’m sure it’ll be called something else, but yeah, this works and I’m all for it.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Match of the night and for some reason WWE didn’t upload a highlight clip to their YouTube channel. Really looking forward to seeing the Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews match after their showcases this week.
Baron Corbin and Rhyno are backstage and cut a promo saying that they will win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
And that does it for matches this week. The announcers hype up Takeover: Respect next week and we get the final breakdown of the card. As it stands we are getting the Semi-Finals and Finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, Dana Brooke vs. Asuka, Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews, and the 30 minute Iron Woman match between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
We then get an incredible hype video for the main event. We’re shown pre-match and during the match footage of Sasha vs. Bayley at Takeover: Brooklyn, that is interspersed with interview sound bites from both of them. It covers Bayley’s homecoming to NXT and then shows Sasha and Bayley training to get ready for next week’s main event. I like that the main rosters shows have played into this a bit and Sasha Banks has more or less been written off of TV the last few weeks. It makes it that much more believable that she is “all in” for this match with Bayley and isn’t distracted with the Diva soap opera going on during Raw and Smackdown. The show closes this week with this video package.
NXT Takeover: Respect is next week and I’ll be back on Monday or Tuesday of next week with my predictions for the event.