NXT Review – Thrilling Battle Royal Crowns New No. 1 Contender

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10/14/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Apollo Crews last eliminated Baron Corbin to win the NXT Championship No. 1 Contender Battle Royal

Backstage, Samoa Joe told Finn Balor that he wants a shot at the title. Finn accepted, but William Regal said that everyone should have a chance, announcing a battle royal for the No. 1 Contendership. Joe asked Regal what more he has to prove in NXT, and Regal said he would have a spot to prove himself in the battle royal.

Rhyno, Baron Corbin and Joe got full entrances, and the battle royal got underway. Corbin, Rhyno, Dash and Dawson all teamed up on Joe, nearly eliminating him first. Apollo Crews scored the first several eliminations, getting rid of Steve Cutler, Danny Burch and Elias Sampson in quick succession. Crews picked up Johnny Gargano and threw him onto Cutler, Burch and Sampson outside the ring.

Colin Cassady eliminated with a jobber big boot, but Dash and Dawson dumped Big Cass over the top as well. Enzo immediately got revenge, eliminating both Dash and Dawson. Tye Dillinger got rid of Enzo, but Bull Dempsey sent Tye packing shortly thereafter. Bull tried to go after Corbin, but Rhyno made the save and eliminated Bull.

Corbin tossed Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder out of the ring, then suddenly turned on Rhyno and eliminated him as well. Joe hit a lifting side slam on Tommaso Ciampa, which sent him over the top rope, onto the apron and down to the floor. Joe then eliminated both Blake and Murphy, setting up a final four of himself, Tyler Breeze, Corbin and Crews.

Breeze hit a Supermodel Kick on Joe, but Joe blocked a second attempt and hit a lifting side slam, eliminating Breeze with a clothesline. Joe hit an enziguiri on Crews, then hit one on Corbin from the apron. Breeze came out of nowhere and pulled Joe off the apron, eliminating him.

Corbin and Crews exchanged stiff shots in the middle of the ring, until Corbin hit a spinebuster. Corbin nearly eliminated Crews twice, but Crews managed to skin the cat both times. A frustrated Corbin ran into a series of clotheslines from Crews, but Corbin got his knees up to counter a standing moonsault.

Corbin tried for End of Days, but Crews hit three successive enziguiris and clotheslined Corbin from the ring to capture the No. 1 Contendership.

Scott’s Thoughts: I love good battle royals, and this was a great one. The match was booked with a very steady pace, and the storytelling was nuanced and effective. In this one match, NXT created three separate high-profile feuds: Finn vs. Crews, Rhyno vs. Corbin and Breeze vs. Joe. Well done, NXT. Well done.

Alexa Bliss steps up to Bayley

Bayley entered and the crowd needlessly chanted “Match of the year.” Bayley tried to cut a promo about how Dusty Rhodes helped her and Sasha Banks get to the main event, but the crowd repeatedly interrupted her to put themselves over. Suddenly, Alexa Bliss entered with Blake and Murphy.

Alexa credited Bayley for her performance at Takeover, saying that no one else deserves to be champion. Alexa said that the future of women’s wrestling in NXT has no limits, then raised Beyley’s hand and took away her championship belt. Alexa said that people like Bayley aren’t meant to be champions and threw the title back to her.

Scott’s Thoughts: Of all the people to put in a title program with Bayley, I certainly didn’t expect Alexa. That said, I like this. Alexa has been forgotten a bit as an actual wrestler, seeing as she’s been teaming with Blake and Murphy for months now. She’s a much better wrestler than the rumored challengers — Dana Brooke and Eva Marie — and this is also a way to keep Blake and Murphy relevant.

The Vaudevillains def. Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins by pinfall

Fulton and Dawkins dominated early, wearing down English. Dawkins hit a gorilla press slam, which Fulton followed with a second-rope elbow drop. Corey Graves dropped a gem on commentary, saying “Angelo Dawkins is wearing two headbands at the same time. Now that is manly.”

English made the hot tag to Gotch, who hit a T-bone suplex on Dawkins. Rich Brennan pointed out that one of Dawkins’ headbands flew off, to which Graves responded “He’s still got one, there’s still hope.” The Vaudevillains hit The Whirling Dervish (Graves: “Okay, there goes the hope.”) for the pinfall victory.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was just a throw-away tag match, but was an excellent example of good commentary elevating the action in the ring. Graves is quickly becoming one of the best commentators in modern wrestling, and his ability to make a random three-minute match interesting is a big part of that.

Nia Jax def. Evie by pinfall

Jax used her power to prevent Evie from landing any meaningful offense. Jax hit a deadlift spinebuster to polish off the squash match.

Scott’s Thoughts: Nia Jax is HUGE. It’s clear they’re trying to present her as a Kharma/Awesome Kong type of physical threat, but Jax looks very soft compared to her (or Havok, for that matter). There was a time in wrestling history when fat=power, but that doesn’t really work as well in today’s wrestling landscape. Jax is rather chubby, but I expect that WWE’s training regimen will slim her down to be a more legitimate physical threat. To be fair, I also don’t think the onesie she was wearing does her figure any favors whatsoever.