Okay, before I get to the meat of this week's recap, I just want to post my final thoughts on last week's Shinsuke Nakamura "controversy." For those of you who missed it, I got into a bit of an argument with some of the other folks here, an argument that essentially breaks down into "Nakamura is so awesome he should already be on RAW," vs. "Nakamura is so awesome he should stay in NXT." This tells you everything you need to know about both Nakamura himself, and also us, the people arguing about him on the internet. But as for my final thoughts, RAW is an uphill climb for anybody who doesn't already have 10 years in WWE's main event picture, and I think the only thing that saved Kevin Owens from being stuck squashing Tyler Breeze (poor guy) at the 9:40 mark on Mondays is his ability to talk. I think without that, or without being paired with somebody to do his talking for him (which in a lot of ways detracts from Nakamura's actual appeal), then Nakamura could easily find himself in a very bad spot if he goes up too quickly.
All right, that's all I've got. Although, still before we get to brass tacks, I should mention that we crowned a new champ at a recent house show. While I'm not fully sold on Joe as champ right now, I like that they did it at a house show (giving those shows some weight and the feeling that cool stuff might happen if you show up). I am sad that it happened before the Poughkeepsie show that I'm going to (expect a report), but other than that it's pretty cool. Rumors abound of a Finn call up soon - that as may be, but we'll see what actually happens on Monday, I guess.
Okay, the show for real. We've really just got a handful of matches tonight, and we start right away with Enzo and Cass fighting American Alpha. BTW, tonight is almost certainly the last appearances for Enzo, Cass, and later on, Apollo Crews. Match starts with AA working over Enzo's arm, including a pretty cool arm-wrench into a fireman's carry slam. Enzo eventually works loose, and tags in Cass, who does some damage before bringing Enzo back in. Cass launches Enzo with an assisted corner splash. AA retake control, and there's another great spot where Jordan shoots Enzo in for Gable's judo throw. Things are looking good for AA, until both Gable and Enzo land forearm shots at the same time. Enzo and Cass take control, but after a big corner splash and a legdrop, Gable looks to make the tag. He gets cut off by a bulldog from Enzo, and then Cass hoists him up into an arm-wrench press slam. It looks really painful, so he does it again. Cass gets overconfident here, which allows Gable to finally make the hot tag. Jordan does the thing he always does - flapjacks/straps/suplexes - but when he goes for the shoulder tackle in the corner, Cass cuts him off by diving in front of Enzo, taking the bullet for his partner and buying Enzo time to go up top. This was not a smart move, however, as Jordan catches him into a suplex as he comes off the ropes. One Grand Amplitude later, and the champs take home the win. Match Rating: I Think This Was A Pretty Good Sendoff.
Apollo Crews wants Joe to know that he doesn't like bullies. Good to know.
Next up is the debut of No Way Jose, who will be fighting Alexander Wolfe, a jobber with an uncomfortably Bavarian gimmick. Jose's pretty fun, dancing his way out, but in the ring, he's still kind of green. Highlights here include NWJ dancing his opponent into a headlock, a flying snapmare takeover, and an airplane spin into a rolling senton slam. Jose picks up the win with a windup baseball punch. Match Rating: See, Because He's From The Dominican Republic, And A Lot Of Baseball Players Come From...You Know What, This One's Maybe Too Much Of A Stretch.
Austin Aries is backstage, and he doesn't say too much of consequence, but at least he doesn't say "greatest man who ever lived," which I hate. Instead, he breaks out "There's a lot of A level talent here, but I'm the only A-Double level talent," which is a line I can actually get behind.
The Drifter is backstage. He's joined by GM Regal, who lets him know that he's to be Nakamura's next sacrificial lamb. I, uh, don't think that match is going to do much to bring Dr. Unlikely around to my way of thinking. Thanks a lot, show.
Nia Jax is out to squash Deonna Purrazzo(sp?). Man, I wish I'd payed more attention to how they spell her last name. I think it's different than the last time I saw it? Is that possible? Anyhoo, like I said, Squash City. Shoulder breaker, Samoan Drop, Leg Drop That's Not As Good As Her Samoan Drop. Match Rating: Skip.
Next week, Asuka takes on Eva Marie, in possibly her last match in NXT. Oh, already? That's such a shame. Bayley offers her comments, essentially just trying to sell EM as more dangerous than she looks, especially if she's got Jax with her. Fair enough.
Main event - Samoa Joe vs. Apollo Crews. Forgive me for being a little terse here. It's actually a pretty decent match, but it's mostly just these two guys punching and kicking the shit out of each other. Joe does his atomic drop/big boot/senton combo, AC does his clothesline/enzuigiri/standng moonsault combo, Joe hits the corner urinage, and then it's a Kokina Clutch to send AC to RAW. Match Rating: Better Than I Let On. I Wasn't Being Fair Here.