Okay, you know what? Let me start by apologizing, because last week's recap sucked. Out loud. I've had some personal biz weighing on my mind, which kind of bled into the recap. But that's my problem, not yours, and I do this thing for FUN. If it's not going to be fun, I shouldn't do it. Don't worry, I'm not quitting - I just needed to get my head in the game, which it is this week. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
Anyhoo, tonight we get the first televised appearance of our new women's champion. She's taking on Eva Marie, in what seems like it might be her last match in NXT. It's funny - she's still not really what you'd call good, but she's really improved a lot since her early matches, to the point where I now think that taking her out of NXT is kind of counterproductive. At any rate, the fact that I'm reacting to her leaving with anything other than total, naked joy really says that they've done a lot of things right with her time here. This winds up being just about the best match Eva Marie's ever had. She starts out by stalling, and then she actually gets the early advantage by working Asuka's arm. It all looks pretty good. It turns into some nice chain wrestling, of all things, and then Asuka snap mares her over and kicks her in the head. Okay then. The two of them trade a pair of shoulder tackles, and then Asuka hits what I believe to be her signature maneuver - taunting her opponent with their own mannerisms. That's really my favorite part about Asuka. A hip attack leads into an arm bar, but Eva Marie is cagey enough to roll under the bottom rope for the break. She stands up on the apron, though, which is a lot less smart as Asuka hits another flying hip attack to send her to the floor. I may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure the front row gets an eyeful at this point as Eva Marie's top comes loose. Now, Nia Jax comes out for moral support. Spoiler, it don't help much, although it does briefly give Eva Marie control. She starts hitting her signature maneuvers, and if we're being honest, they're not as good. There's a pretty neat spot in here, though, where Asuka recovers enough to go for another hip attack, but she misses and Eva Marie counters with her suplex. Actually, let me take a minute to talk about something else here. They've done a really nice job lately, introducing the idea that Asuka can't take punishment quite as well as she dishes it out. It adds a nice dimension to her matches, and she seems a lot more beatable now than when she debuted. I like it. Anyhoo, Asuka finally turns this match around with a backslide attempt. It only gets two, but it lets her set up a missile drop kick, then some forearm shots, followed by another dropkick and then some regular kicks to the chest. She goes for the KO roundhouse, but Eva Marie ducks that. She don't duck the sliding knee strike, though, and that stuns her long enough for Asuka to hit the KO for reals. Match Rating: Well, Maybe I Won't Miss Eva Marie That Much. Afterwards, Jax goes for a staredown, so Asuka takes a swing at her. Jax dodges, and continues to stink-eye her as she helps Eva Marie out of the ring.
That could be a fun match. Up next is highlights from the house show match where Joe captured the NXT championship. If you haven't heard that news by now, I have no idea what you're doing reading my recaps. In any event, I would put actually money on Finn making an appearance at Payback on Sunday. As for the match itself, it's nothing that we haven't seen before, although Finn manages to hurt himself (just a little bit) doing the knockback dropkick into the barricade, and Joe is able to hit a Muscle Buster for the win. Afterwards, when asked for comment, Joe lets us know that this win was always inevitable.
For the record, I want his first challenger to be a returning Hideo Itami. Don't forget that the night he was injured was Joe's first appearance.
The Revival are out to squash Some Job..wait, shit, no! That's Chikara's own 3.0! I saw these guys live, they're great! Well, they're not great here, actually. Dash and Dawson beat the ever-loving shit out of them. There's a really cool bit where they do a drop toehold spot into a running elbow strike, and they also pull out their asisted gutbuster, which from now on I'm calling Take a Knee, Bro, because that's what Dash yelled out when they did it at the house show I was at. Oh yeah, read my house show report. It's great! Dash and Dawson also successfully pull off their bulldog/powerbomb spot, which would be a finisher for most teams. Mostly, though, they are just punching and kicking these guys to death. They actually allow a tag to be made, then pretty much immediately hit the fresh man with the Shatter Machine for the win. Match Rating: I'm Seriously Debating Just Writing The Lyrics To The Revival's Theme Song Here. Afterwards, D&D continue the assault for a bit, then grab some mics. Dawson wants every tag team in the world (no, really, the entire world) to know that they ain't safe, because the Revival is putting everybody on notice. Then on the ramp, he grabs one of their shirts and just starts yelling "Buy the shirt! Buy the shirt!" and I'm positive that that is a very specific ECW reference.
Next up are the Hype Bros, who evidently taped at least one more match together. They're fighting Blake and Murphy, sans Bliss, and I'm terrified of them braking up. Those three are the best; never break up. Blake starts against Mojo, but Mojo wants us to know that neither Blake nor Murphy are hype. Murphy is fucking outraged at this - nobody says he ain't hype! Mojo responds with a double facebuster, and Blake and Murphy head outside, where Ryder greets them by sliding through the middle rope and kicking both of them in the face. Blake takes the advantage back by chop blocking Ryder on the apron, and they work over his knee pretty good for a while. Ryder almost gets loose, but they cut him off and apply a modified Indian deathlock which looks legit painful. Eventually, though, Ryder does escape, and a hot tag brings in Mojo, who cleans house. One Hyper Ryder later, and the team that doesn't exist any more somehow picks up the win. Match Rating: That Ain't Hype. Afterwards, as they are celebrating their win, the Revival jump the Hype Bros and hand them their asses. Well, to be fair they did put everyone on notice.
We keep rolling, though, as our next match is Carmella vs. Aliyah. You may remember Aliyah as absolutely awful when we last saw her in the battle royal back in January. She's improved, a bit. She needs a new, decent gimmick though, because she's trying to work heel with this one and it's kind of ridiculous. Anyhoo, the match itself don't have much to recommend it. Aliyah does have a pretty nice sitting full nelson, and Carmella's added a superkick to her arsenal. Shit, why not? Everybody does superkicks now. Finish comes when Carmell hits an inverted side Russian legsweep into her leg-choke submission. Match Rating: I Think Carmella Should Have A Strike Finisher. I Think Aliyah Should Be Unemployed.
We talk to the Drifter, who's talking tough here, but who's chances in the main event don't look real good.
Austin Aries in action next week. Against who? Great question!
Our main event is the Drifter, Elias Samson, vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. I actually saw them do a version of this match at the Poughkeepsie house show, and I mentioned something there that maybe needs clarified here. Dr. Unlikely was right, and I was wrong. I'll put that in writing if he can provide his own notary. Seeing Nakamura live changed my opinion. This guy is pure electricity, and the television captures like, a tenth of it. Think about that. How great he is on TV, and it's a fraction. I don't think he *could* get lost in the shuffle on RAW. For the record, though, I'm not changing my position vis-a-vis which show I want him on - I don't write RAW recaps, do I? And I think maybe it might help him out some to have a stable base down in Florida while he gets his shit together, since he did just move to a new country. But if they put him on RAW tomorrow, I think he'd do just fine. So, to recap, Dr. Unlikely right; me wrong.
Okay, so next week we'll...
Oh, shit, the match! It ain't bad at all. They jockey for position a bit before the Drifter kicks Nakamura in the gut, which Nakamura responds to with a snap mare and a knee drop. He sends Samson to the corner for his signature boot to the face, but Samson comes back strong with a big clothesline, followed by a bodyslam. Now firmly on offense, Samson nails some chops (woo!) followed by a kind of not great suplex. He slaps on a headlock, but not for long before Nakamura forces a break with the ropes. Samson won't ease up, though. He throws some punches and some more chops (more woo!), until Nakamura gets tired of this and decides a knee to the gut is the appropriate response. This stuns Samson long enough for his double spinning heel kick spot. Now that Nakamura's got this one sown up, he plants Samson on the top turnbuckle for a running knee to the gut, followed by the inverted exploder suplex. As always, that sets up the Kinshasa. Uno, dos, tres. Match Rating: Actually, Samson Has Surprisingly Good Presence In Person As Well, But Nobody Came Here For Me To Talk About Him.
Okay, for real now, next week we have Austin Aries...and that's all I know. Probably other guys! One would assume! Let's see if Finn Balor's at Payback! Alright!