Okay, okay, let's get this out of the way first. The big news is over here (The W). You can find my thoughts on it over there as well, but the upshot is that 2016 really is going to be a big, big year for NXT.
Not to start, though. If you thought there wasn't much meat last week, well I've got some Bad News for you. This one's even leaner, more or less completely failing to justify doing this over the span of two weeks. They don't even announce the winners of their "best of" awards, which was maybe the one thing you'd look forward to on this show. I'm really only doing this write-up out of a sense of completion-ism. If you want to head out of this recap now, I'm not going to blame you.
Still here? Okay. Alright then. Here we go. We start with a spotlight on Beast in the East, which I get zero points for predicting last week. It was really the only major event that they didn't cover last week. The setup for this was pretty good, even if they kind of had to do a last minute replacement of Hideo Itami. This was the one that really got over The Demon as an integral component of Finn Balor, although I'll agree that he does need to mix up his moveset a bit, or at least use a different finisher. The match was pretty dang solid, but they really only show the end of it here. In all fairness, they don't really have to show any of the matches since you can watch them all in their entirety on the Network whenever you want. You should totally do it, then watch the build to Brooklyn and their ladder match there. They did a tremendous program together. Anyhoo, this one ends with a second Coup de Grace and Finn Balor capturing the NXT title in his adopted home away from home of Tokyo. Highlight Rating: This Is Where I Realize That The Title Only Changed Hands Twice In 2015.
Next up we've got an unaired match between Apollo Crews and Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger. It's evidently from Dallas, when the WrestleMania tickets went on sale. That's a pretty nice value-add for the folks who showed up to buy tickets, but for you and me, well, let me put it like this. If you've ever seen either of these guys wrestle before, let alone that one time they wrestled each other, then you've seen them do better work. Highlights are a superkick from P10 (now that Breeze is gone, I think he probably has the best superkick in NXT) and the Crews Combo from Crews to pick up the win. Match Rating: Not, Uh, Not Great.
Next up is the Bayley champion highlight package that they've shown a couple of times before, followed by a package highlighting all the individual members of the NXT women's division. Honestly, this is probably the single best new thing that the Year in Review's given us, and really the only thing worth watching on this episode. It spotlights, in order, Carmella, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Emma, Dana Brooke, and Asuka. The transitions are really cool, because it uses footage of whenever the previous woman and the next one are in a segment together, either as enemies or as allies. The whole thing's pretty great. Highlight Rating: Pretty Great
There's a new package celebrating the life and career of the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, which I think makes three total. Still not really complaining. This, obviously, 8is a segue into the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which was fun and I hope they do wind up doing it every year. They run down who won every match by rounds, and in general remind us that this wound up turning out quite a few good matches. Highlight Rating: Aw, They Made Me Sad About Dusty Again.
The next package spotlights the guys who got callups to RAW this year. Hey, I called it! That makes me two for three, which ain't great, honestly. We get a look at (Adrian) Neville, The Ascension, Tyler Breeze, Becky Lynch (hey, the women get individual bits. Nice.), Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks, the Lucha Dragons (almost forgot these guys got called up last year), and finally, Charlotte, the only one of them who is currently a champion on RAW. Highlight Ratings: I Miss A Lot Of These Guys.
Next is the 8-man tag from the Brooklyn preshow, featuring Enzo and Cass and the Hype Bros versus Jordan, Gable, Dash, and Dawson. It's an okay match, I guess, but I'm not sure I would have put it on my highlight reel for the year. Highlight Rating: Notable, As It Reminds Us Of The Incredibly Brief Period Of Time Where Jordan And Gable Were Heels.
The final bit of the evening is the runup and the match between Samoa Joe and Finn Balor from just a few weeks ago in London. I don't really have anything new to add to this that I didn't say like three weeks ago, and I kind of skipped over it when I was watching this episode. Highlight Rating: I Know It's The Entire Year In Review, But This Just Happened.
That's it! I skipped over the announcer banter that set up each of the bits, which was kind of entertaining but not really what anybody watches the show for. If you read this whole thing, thanks, and hopefully we'll pick it up again next week with a real, actual show.