Hey, everybody! Finn Balor's back! I mean, probably not for long, but let's all enjoy it while we can. He enters to chants of "Thank you, Finn," but unlike when I saw him live, he opts not to get thrown off his game this time around. Instead, he addresses the elephant in the room - Samoa Joe. Number one, that's not the real elephant in the room. Number two, he just called Joe an elephant. Just wanted to make sure that didn't escape anyone's notice. Anyhoo, Finn finally does what I've been begging him to do, and points out that in two out of three of their matches, Finn, you know, beat Samoa Joe, clean in the middle of the ring. So, you know, he feels like maybe he should get his mandatory rematch. You know who doesn't agree? Drifter Elias Samson! Didn't see that one coming. Samson plays his way into the ring, singing a song that shit-talks Finn. There's a really cool bit where Samson's right behind Finn, and the camera framing is just perfect. Samson wraps up his song, and Finn (who's been making this perfect "fuck this guy" face the whole time) responds with a textbook pele kick. For the record, AJ Styles's pele is okay, if you've never seen Finn do his. Samson takes a powder, and Finn *throws* the guitar at him as he retreats up the ramp! Hey man, that's a real guitar! It costs like $500. Be careful! Samson actually catches it, cradling it as one would a small child. These two are evidently tonight's main event.
Effective opening segment. Got a lot across, and I think Samson's really been working his way up. He's a good "project" guy, I think. Probably a better starting point than Corbin was, although we'll have to see where he ends up.
Eric Young is backstage, talking to their absolutely terrible backstage announcer. Young wants us to know that the best are here in the WWE, and getting here to test himself is a lifelong goal. He wants us to know that he's world-class, and he's here for world-class competition.
Finn's walking backstage. He'll have more to say after he gets done kicking the shit out of Elias Samson.
Match time! American Alpha's up against cut-rate Dash & Dawson. Their real names were up in chyron, but I'm not going to bother learning them. Gable starts, and he delivers some very nice chain wrestling combinations, working in a judo throw and a couple of roll-ups, before settling on an armbar. He tags in Jordan, who's got a dropkick before he goes into some pretty cool power stuff. You know, I think Jordan is almost Cesaro-level deceptively strong. Like, I know he's a big guy, but he just seems a lot stronger than he looks. He tags Gable back in, and now they're working the arm a bit, before hitting a bunch of tandem offense. They wishbone one jobber, before hitting a pair of running elbows to the man on the apron, followed by a double hip-toss to the guy in the ring, and then a double dropkick when his partner tries to run back in. Fun stuff. The jobbers are finally able to push Gable into their corner so he can work his "in peril" bit for a minute or two, but he's never in real trouble, because these jobbers aren't very good. Anyhoo, "in peril" is just the setup for Jordan's Hot Tag and his familiar Hot Tag offense. We all know the drill by now: flapjack, T-bone, belly to belly, straps down, and...oh, wait. The Revival is out on the ramp. We get a staredown, but all that really happens is Jordan puts his straps back up, then resets by pulling the straps back down, and it's Grand Amplitude time. Match Rating: Take That, Jobbers Who Vaguely Resemble The Revival!
Nakamura is backstage. The announcer mentions that Riley "will rage," and Nakamura just says "shaking with rage" and shakes his way off screen. Who doesn't love this guy?
Nakamura and Riley are up next, and by now I think everybody knows that this is Riley's last match with the company. Honestly, I never thought he was very good in the ring, but I've missed him on commentary. I thought he was very good at that, and probably had more of a future there than in the ring. Oh well. Riley gets some offense in to start. He dodges a knee, then hits some big chops and a dropkick, but Nakamura doesn't stay on defense for long, and once he gets going, He Don't Stop. Knees, kicks, and stomps put Riley firmly down. Nakamura pulls him up, but only so he can hit literally the biggest forearm shot I've ever seen. Ouch. That will just about do it. Turnbuckle knee, inverted exploder, and then a Kinshasa where Riley takes the full brunt of the knee right to his temple. Match Rating: The Canon Explanation For Riley's Absence Is That Nakamura Killed Him In The Ring.
Austin Aries is in GM Regal's office. He wants a chance to shine, but they get interrupted by Blake and Murphy, who are also feeling like they're getting lost in the shuffle here. Fortunately, they are quickly joined by Alexa Bliss, easing my fears of a break-up, for the moment at least. They all get to bickering, and so Regal does as any General Manager, and makes a tag match for next week, where Aries will name a partner of his choice.
It's going to be Bobby Roode, right? Last TNA guy - promise me, NXT!
Alexa Bliss actually has a match up next, against Rachael Ellering, who, yes, is Paul Ellering's daughter. All the old timers daughters are getting into the business now that there's actually a place for women in wrestling. Neat. Rachael's a former powerlifter, but surprisingly she doesn't work too much of a power game here. They start with some nice chain wrestling, concentrating on trading arm holds with each other. Bliss eventually gets the upper hand with a snap mare, and gets a solid keylock in. Ellering counters out with a hammerlock into headlock, but Bliss powers out and brings her down to the mat. Ellering sweeps the leg and goes for a la magistral cradle, but it only gets two. She tries again with another roll-up, but again it gets two, and this time Bliss cuts her off with a hard forearm. She follows up with what I can only describe as a spinning armdrag takedown, and then a plain ol' boot to the shoulder. She puts the keylock back in, and starts working the arm in ernest. Ellering finally reverses an armwrench and sends Bliss into the middle rope, and follws it up with some serious right hands. For real, I think she may have legit punched Bliss on the first one by accident. Bliss tries to come back, but Ellering hits a dropkick and hoists Bliss up into a fireman's carry. Not sure where she was going to go with this, though, because Bliss gets loose and nails the choke throw, which is the setup for the Sparkle Splash. That'll do it. Match Rating: Yeah, Okay, Let's Get Ellering, Blanchard, And Let's Say, Santana Garrett And Let Them Start Doing Stuff.
That was a really fun match, especially for an extended squash. Meanwhile, Bayley's backstage, and people want to know when she's going to ask for that rematch. Bayley's been training hard, but before she can give us an actual answer, Nia Jax butts in. Bayley takes a moment to remind her that Bayley beat her ass at Takeover, and then threatens to choke her out a second time. They're going to have a match next week, and I am genuinely curious as to the planned direction for the NXT women's division.
Finally, we have Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson. Finn's got a new, much less cool jacket. I assume it's to keep people at airports from trying to steal it. The Drifter starts strong with a wristlock, which Finn counters with a headlock takeover into a hammerlock. Samson cuts him off with an elbow strike, but when he shoots Finn into the ropes, Finn comes back with his roll-through dropkick spot. He locks in an armbar, but Samson powers out by pushing Finn into the ropes and forcing a break. He takes control with a cheap shot, and starts laying in elbow drops, followed by a forearm shot, a spinning elbow strike, and a snap suplex. He really liked how those forearms and elbows were working for him, so he goes for a few more. Finn's like, "oh yeah, elbows are cool," so he counters with one of his own. He's got some chops for Samson, then a big clothesline to send him outside. He delivers a dropkick through the middle ropes, and that sets up the running soccer kick on the apron. He tosses Samson back in, hits the slingblade, hits the knockback dropkick, and then foregoes the Coup de Grace in favor of the Bloody Sunday, which finally gets an official NXT name, the 1916. That's the match. Match Rating: It's The Year Of The Easter Rebellion.
Good match, especially for Samson. I really mean it - he's going to be a good project guy. As promised, Finn's got some more words for Samoa Joe. He's not making any excuses for losing to Joe in Lowell. He won't take anything away from Joe...yet. He wants that rematch, he wants his belt. He's possessed by a demon that won't rest. Joe comes out to make vaguely threatening gestures, but GM Regal won't let things get out of hand. He reminds all parties that this ring belongs to NXT, and that means he makes the rules. In four weeks there will be another Takeover from Full Sail, and the main event will be Finn Balor's rematch for the title. Joe's pretty pissed, as for some reason he does not believe that Finn should get his mandatory former champion's rematch that literally everyone always gets. He tells Finn to go to the back of the line, to which Finn has the perfect response: "The line starts with me. The line ends with me. I am the line." Great. Joe takes off, but Finn ain't done. He nails a Danger Zone dive, and ends the show by telling Joe to enjoy it while it lasts, because it won't last long.
Solid advice Finn. TO in four weeks is probably the end of Finn in NXT. And I wouldn't be real surprised if we lost Bayley sooner rather than later, too. But we should enjoy it while it lasts, because this was a great show, and we've got some big matches coming up next week.
NXT is so good when it isn't TNA Impact. And when Finn and Nakamura are kneeing and kicking everyone's least favorite wrestlers into oblivion.
Originally posted by Tenken347There's a really cool bit where Samson's right behind Finn, and the camera framing is just perfect. Samson wraps up his song, and Finn (who's been making this perfect "fuck this guy" face the whole time) responds with a textbook pele kick. For the record, AJ Styles's pele is okay, if you've never seen Finn do his. Samson takes a powder, and Finn *throws* the guitar at him as he retreats up the ramp! Hey man, that's a real guitar! It costs like $500. Be careful! Samson actually catches it, cradling it as one would a small child. These two are evidently tonight's main event.
Jeff Hardy has taken some great bumps in this feud, but that's about the only positive to come out of this. I'd really like to see Jeff Hardy spend his last few years having odd ball "Dream Matches". Matt Hardy is pretty washed up.