By Scott Strandberg
The Lucha Dragons def. The Vaudevillains by pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship
Kalisto hit a springboard crossbody and a single-leg dropkick on Gotch. Sin Cara tagged in for a wheelbarrow senton with Kalisto, earning a two-count. English tagged in and hit a knee drop on Sin Cara, followed by a schoolboy through the ropes. Sin Cara landed on his feet and slammed English onto the floor. The Dragons dove through the ropes and took out The Vaudevillains near the entrance ramp.
Back in the ring, Kalisto tried for a springboard arm drag, but English grabbed his ankle and dropped him to the mat. Gotch hit a gorgeous pumphandle suplex for a near-fall, and The Vaudevillains isolated Kalisto in their corner, exchanging frequent tags. Kalisto finally fought back with a hurricanrana. Sin Cara tagged in and hit a springboard crossbody, followed by a hurricanrana of his own.
Sin Cara took English up top and hit his top-rope sunset flip powerbomb, forcing Gotch to make the save. Kalisto tagged himself in as Sin Cara set English up for his rollup powerbomb, which Kalisto transitioned into a corkscrew floatover neckbreaker for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: Holy crap, what a finisher. I’ve always been a big fan of Sin Cara’s rollup powerbomb, and this is a tremendously cool variation. This was a highly entertaining match that lent some needed legitimacy to The Dragons’ title reign.
Hideo Itami def. Curtis Axel by pinfall
Hideo gained the early advantage with a single-leg dropkick, followed by repeated kicks in the corner. Axel fought back with clubbing blows to the back of the neck. Axel hit a shoulder tackle and running high knee for a two-count. Axel continued his onslaught with an elbow drop to the spine. Hideo finally responded with a big running clothesline and a big boot, followed by his tornado DDT onto the top rope.
Hideo hit a top-rope flying clothesline for a near-fall, and hit a series of kicks. Axel tried to fight back with a Perfect-plex, but Hideo reversed it with a snapmare and hit his new roundhouse kick finisher to earn the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: This was a solid showing from both men. Axel looks like he’s slimmed down a bit, and held his own nicely with Hideo. I’m not a big fan of the roundhouse kick as a finisher, but it’s better than the double-footstomp and single-leg dropkick he’s used previously in NXT. I’m just ready for the G2S.
Sami Zayn returns, Adrian Neville receives his rematch
Zayn walked around in the stands with his title belt, celebrating with fans to open the show. Zayn struggled to get into his promo, due to the crowd chanting “You deserve it!” He said that in the hands of anyone else, the NXT Title means you’re the best. In Zayn’s hands it means more — it means that you really can forge your own path to the top. Zayn said that the title was not his, “it’s ours.”
He said that he wasn’t just a wrestler, he was a musician in the band Sami Zayn and the Zayniacs, and that everyone in the crowd played an instrument. Zayn got emotional, and the crowd gave him a quick break by chanting “Ole,” to which Zayn said “I love that song!” Zayn said that winning the title was still the best night of his life, but that Kevin Owens had ruined it. He said that Owens had hurt him, but he hadn’t ended him, and that he is willing to defend the title anytime, anywhere.
Neville entered, saying that he didn’t mean to interrupt, but that he had something he needed to say. Neville said that Zayn was the better wrestler at R[E]volution, and that he had seen a new side of Zayn that night, “Sami the champion.” Zayn said he didn’t know every rule in the book, but he was pretty sure Neville was entitled to a rematch.
William Regal entered, and as the crowd chanted his name, he said that this isn’t about him, but it’s about the two men in the ring. He said that their match at R[E]volution was one for the ages, and he was proud to have them both under the NXT banner. Regal agreed that Neville is due a rematch, setting that match for next week’s show.
Scott’s Thoughts: This segment was about the best you can do with a 10-minute promo opening the show. Zayn’s promo was heartfelt and genuine, and Neville/Regal played off of it very well.
Sasha Banks (w/Becky Lynch) def. Alexa Bliss by pinfall
Bliss hit a springboard sunset flip powerbomb for an early near-fall. Bliss tried to follow up with a hurricanrana, but Sasha countered into a backbreaker for a two-count. Bliss used a variety of pinning maneuvers to earn repeated near-falls, but Sasha hit her second-rope double footstomp. Sasha hit the Bank Statement, forcing Bliss to tap.
Scott’s Thoughts: While brief, this match was very smooth. Bliss is a talented worker, but her gimmick is pretty terrible. As usual, Sasha can do no wrong.
Tyler Breeze def. Chad Gable by pinfall
Gable hit consecutive belly-to-back suplexes, but Breeze fought back with repeated kicks. Breeze hit a leg drop for a two-count and locked in a headlock, saying “You might as well give up, Gable!” Gable hit a snapmare slam, followed by an armbar in the ropes. Breeze responded with a Beauty Shot to finish the match, which was much more competitive than expected. After the match, Corey Graves pointed out the creepy silhouette of a man peering from behind a curtain as Breeze celebrated his victory.
Scott’s Thoughts: Gable looked very good in his TV debut. He’s tiny, but he’s strong and has the amateur background. The ending was very strange, and honestly kind of creepy. I hope Prince Pretty watches his back.
– Byron Saxton interviewed Tyson Kidd and Natalya backstage, in which Natalya stood on equal footing with Tyson. When he tried to boss her around, Natalya said that he may have an important match next week, but she does as well. Natalya went to go check on “our cats,” leaving Tyson alone with Saxton. Tyson said that he would replace Sarah McLaughlin as the face of the SPCA, because he is a man of the animals, especially cats.
Scott’s Thoughts: I would love for Tyson Kidd to be the face of the SPCA. This was a very funny segment, and I appreciate Natalya standing up for herself, rather than letting Tyson walk all over her. She’s doing well in her new, more tweenery role.