NXT Review – Ciampa and Samoa Joe Bring Strong Style to NXT

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12/2/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Samoa Joe def. Tommaso Ciampa by submission

In a backstage interview, Ciampa said that he’s known Joe for many years, and that Joe’s always been a loner, but that something’s changed in his eyes recently. Ciampa added that he knows no one in the arena thinks he can beat Joe, but that everything will change once he pins Joe. Solid, aggressive babyface promo from Ciampa.

Ciampa challenged Joe early in the match, asking him “Do you think this is a game?” Joe bridged a simple wrist wrench into a suplex, and both men exchanged stiff strikes. Ciampa targeted Joe’s left arm repeatedly, then hit a big enziguiri.

Ciampa locked in a Kimura, but Joe drove Ciampa into the turnbuckle and planted him with a very stiff enziguiri, which appeared to catch Ciampa flush on the side of the head. Joe hit a snap scoopslam and a lifting side slam, then hit a Musclebuster and locked in a Coquina Clutch, forcing Ciampa to tap out.

Scott’s Thoughts: It was pretty cool to see Ciampa main-event a show under the WWE banner. The stiffness of the strikes in the match gave it a strong-style feel which is rarely seen on WWE shows, and made for a refreshing main event. I thoroughly enjoyed this match.

Jason Jordan and Chad Gable def. The Vaudevillains by pinfall

In a backstage promo, Gable channeled Shooter McGavin from “Happy Gilmore,” saying that “Every time I come to Full Sail, it gets harder to leave. I think they put something in the water.” I’m always down for a good “Happy Gilmore” reference.

For as over as The Vaudevillains are at Full Sail, it’s undeniable that Jordan and Gable’s entrance got a much bigger pop. Not surprisingly, the match started with mat-based exchanges between all four men, who are all more than capable of quality chain wrestling. English finally gained the advantage for The Vaudevillains by tossing Gable onto the floor outside the ring.

Jordan hit dropkicks on both English and Gotch, then hit a fantastic half-Northern suplex on Gotch. Jordan and Gable hit their bridging sideslam finisher to earn the pin on Gotch. After the match, Jordan and Gable offered The Vaudevillains a handshake, which English and Gotch declined, instead walking away up the ramp.

Scott’s Thoughts: For much of NXT’s history, the tag division was an afterthought. For a long stretch of The Ascension’s title reign, they were literally the only full-time tag team in NXT. Now, there’s at least four tag teams that are over with NXT fans. The development of the tag division has been impressive of late.

This was a well-worked match, with some excellent displays of technical wrestling. I do wonder if turning The Vaudevillains back heel is going to work though. Perhaps this was just a tweener tease. We’ll see.

James Storm def. Adam Rose by pinfall

Rose kept Storm on the mat early, but Storm fought back with an inverted atomic drop and an enziguiri. Storm followed up with a running neckbreaker and the Last Call to polish off the squash.

Scott’s Thoughts: I can’t say that I expected this to be quite as squashy as it was. Rose landed very little meaningful offense, which is a shame because these two could have put on an entertaining match if given the time.

Nia Jax def. Blue Pants by pinfall

Blue Pants has new theme music, which is still mostly just a guy singing nonsense, so it was fine by me. Jax tossed Pants around the ring like a rag doll, then hit a gorilla press gutbuster and repeated elbow drops. Jax laid out Pants with a Samoan drop and a leg drop for the pin.

Scott’s Thoughts: NXT is doing a decent job of building up Jax as a monster heel character, but I still question whether Nia possesses the conditioning necessary to go more than a couple minutes in the ring. I’m more than willing to be proven wrong at any time, of course.

Emma def. Liv Morgan by submission

Emma locked in a rope-hung Boston crab, following up with an Emma Sandwich. Morgan answered with a dropkick, earning a two-count which Emma bridged out of, hitting a double-underhook suplex. Emma applied the Emma Lock to earn the submission.

Scott’s Thoughts: I like that new double-underhook suplex from Emma. Pretty sure we’ve never seen that from her before. Keeping Emma relevant is a good idea, because she’s been underutilized for quite some time now. Her match with Asuka in London should be quite good.

Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger by pinfall

Corbin hit a spinning side slam very early on, followed by a T-bone slam. Dillinger fought back with a Thesz press and a superkick for a near-fall. Corbin transitioned Dillinger’s second-rope crossbody into the End of Days to earn the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: Decent, brief match, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

  • A promo package hyping Sami Zayn’s impending return aired, and I realized how much I’ve missed his presence in NXT. His return to the show will be most welcome.
  • In a backstage interview with Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson, Tom Phillips announced that the tag champs will defend their titles against Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady at Takeover: London. That sounds like a good time to take the titles off of the fairly obviously transitional champs Dash/Dawson.
  • Elias Sampson played another short song on acoustic guitar, but I was unable to decipher what the lyrics meant this time, as opposed to last week’s NXT Championship history song. I’m sure someone out there has figured it out by now! I’m liking the early development cycle of The Drifter.