Sasha Banks def. Charlotte by pinfall to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
Sasha continuously avoided Charlotte to begin the match. Charlotte taunted her, asking “You gonna fight me tonight or what?” Sasha tried to walk out, but Charlotte caught her and drove her spine-first into the apron. Charlotte tossed Sasha back into the ring, locking Sasha in a figure-four.
Sasha reached the bottom rope to break the hold, then used a beautiful modified La Mistica to transition into a crossface. Sasha tried to repeat the finish from the fatal four-way match, rolling Charlotte into a crucifix for a near-fall.
Charlotte fought back and came up empty on a moonsault. Charlotte tried to follow up with a standing front-flip senton, but Sasha got her knees up. Sasha hung Charlotte on the second rope and hit her signature top-rope double knee for a two-count.
Sasha hit a brutal lungblower, transitioning immediately into another crossface, while repeatedly driving her knees into Charlotte’s lower back. Charlotte summoned the energy to roll Sasha up in a schoolboy for two, but Sasha quickly responded with a dropkick for another near-fall of her own.
Sasha hit the Bank Statement, but Charlotte rolled through the crossface. Sasha refused to loosen her grip, rolling Charlotte back over into the full crossface. Charlotte reached the bottom rope, having sustained tremendous damage to her neck and lower back.
Sasha ran at Charlotte, but Charlotte dodged to the side, and Sasha dove to the floor. This gave Charlotte a chance to recover, and when Sasha re-entered the ring, Charlotte hit her with a neckbreaker and a fantastic spear for a near-fall.
Charlotte tried for a wheelbarrow facebuster, but Sasha rolled through into a reverse sunset flip for another two-count. Charlotte locked in a figure-four, using the ring post as leverage, holding it until the four-count.
Charlotte climbed up top and went for a top-rope Natural Selection, but Sasha held onto the ropes, avoiding the impact. Sasha covered Charlotte, using the ropes as leverage to earn the pinfall without the referee’s knowledge.
Scott’s Thoughts: This was a PPV-quality match, and the heelish victory fits Sasha’s character perfectly. This match absolutely deserved a main-event slot, and it says a whole lot that WWE did indeed dedicate that spot on the card for one of its weekly programs to a women’s match. Sasha and Charlotte are two wonderful examples of why #GiveDivasAChance trended worldwide for nearly 24 hours.
Kevin Owens’ feud with Alex Riley boils over
Riley asked William Regal to book him a match against Kevin Owens, so Riley could get revenge for Owens assaulting him last week on commentary. Regal told him he could either be a commentator or a competitor, to which Riley said that Regal had been both at the same time.
Regal asked Riley to consider what happened to him, when he had stepped from behind the commentary table to wrestle Cesaro. Regal reminded Riley that he hadn’t stepped in the ring since that match, but Riley retorted that he is still in the prime of his career.
Regal told Riley that he could have a match with Owens, but he had to make a choice: Whether he wanted to be a competitor or a commentator. Regal said that he would not allow him to do both roles, and Riley remained pretty noncommittal.
Later in the night, Baron Corbin faced Tony Briggs in a squash match, with Owens appearing behind Riley at the commentary desk. After the match, Owens took Riley’s water bottle and drank some of it, before dumping the rest on Riley’s head. Jason Albert held Riley back, but Riley refused to back down from Owens.
Shortly thereafter, Riley stormed into Regal’s office, as Regal was meeting with CJ Parker. Riley screamed that Owens was running roughshod over NXT, and told Regal that he was done as a commentator. Riley demanded his match with Owens, and Regal told him he would grant him the match when he felt he was ready.
Parker laughed and said that the only one to ever hurt Owens was him, and to just check out the scar on Owens’ nose. Riley said that he would start his path to Owens with Parker, on next week’s episode.
Scott’s Thoughts: Riley is an underrated talker, and Regal/Owens are two of the best, so this all worked quite well as a transitional episode leading to Riley’s return to the ring. He’s a rather clever choice for Owens to feud with while he waits for Zayn to get his rematch, or Finn to cash in his title shot. Riley was the focus of the show’s entire first half-hour, which went a long way toward making his rivalry with Owens feel personal — and also to legitimize the long-since irrelevant Riley.
As for Baron, his reaction gets quieter and quieter every week, as it becomes more and more clear that he can’t really wrestle. When his match is just the backdrop of furthering the Owens/Riley feud, I think it’s pretty indicative of the direction Baron’s currently trending.
Bayley faces temptation, Emma teases heel turn
Before the Sasha/Charlotte match, Bayley cut a locker-room promo with Charlotte, wishing the former champ luck. Charlotte was rather dismissive of Bayley, saying Sasha would need the luck, and walked away. Emma entered and Bayley asked her if she wanted to play with the bubble machine, like old times.
Emma belittled Bayley for having the same passive, excessively friendly that she herself had when she got called up to the main roster. Emma said that being nice to everyone only got her sent back to NXT.
Scott’s Thoughts: As I’ve said before, the shades of grey are what makes the NXT women’s division so great. Now we’ve had heel-turn teases from both Bayley and Emma, proving that no one is safe.
Solomon Crowe def. Bull Dempsey by pinfall
Crowe tried to lift Bull into a gorilla press, but Bull countered into a crossbody for a near-fall. Crowe fought back and hit a gorilla press slam, but Bull knocked him down and tried a top-rope headbutt. Bull came up empty, and Crowe hit a springboard headbutt to the gut for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: Wow, that finisher sucks. Crowe’s in-ring debut wasn’t much more than a squash, so it’s hard to really say much about his performance, outside of my opinion that he needs a different finisher ASAP.
It’s kind of funny to see Bull turn from a guy who was getting a moderate push into a total jobber, just like Mojo Rawley and CJ Parker before him.
Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake def. Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton by pinfall
Fulton opened up with two belly-to-back suplexes on Murphy, and Dawkins followed up with a clothesline and a series of punches. Murphy hit a single-leg dropkick, tagging in Blake as he hit a running vertical suplex. Blake hit a top-rope splash for the pinfall victory.
Scott’s Thoughts: Blake’s frog splash was pretty impressive, as he covered quite a bit of distance. Still, Shoot Nation’s debut just feels like there’s another jobber tag team to feed to the jobber-esque tag team champions. The Dubstep Cowboys still have god-awful music, a terrible entrance video and hideous ring gear. They are still being presented like enhancement talent, so it’s hard for me to think of them as more than that.
Tyler Breeze def. Adam Rose by pinfall
Rose opened up the match with an inverted atomic drop and repeated shoulder tackles. Rose followed with a gorilla press slam and a lariat into the corner. Breeze suddenly hit the Beauty Shot to squash Rose.
Scott’s Thoughts: My goodness, Rose is a pure jobber even in NXT now. I was expecting Breeze to go over in a back-and-forth match of decent length, but what I got was a barely glorified squash.
– Sami Zayn sent in a video from his hometown of Quebec. Zayn said that, for the first time in his 13-year career, he didn’t feel mentally able to compete. He said that’s why he was roaming the streets of Quebec, trying to clear his head and get some perspective.
– A promo package for Rhyno aired, showing many of his WWE career highlights. Clearly, Rhyno is here to stay. I love this new trend of bringing back former mid-carders to put over NXT talent.