NXT Review – Dragons Clash with Joe and Finn

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9/9/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters


Finn Balor and Samoa Joe def. The Lucha Dragons by pinfall in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

This match took place at the recent Main Event/Smackdown taping in Providence, Rhode Island, and featured Tom Phillips and Jimmy Uso on commentary. Finn hit a dropkick on Sin Cara, following up with a sling blade. Finn added a step-up enziguiri, then nailed both Dragons with a plancha.

Joe hit a gorilla press slam on Sin Cara back in the ring, but Sin Cara nailed Finn with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Sin Cara followed up with a springboard senton, then leapfrogged Kalisto into a 450 splash on Finn, earning a two-count. Finn reached Joe for the hot tag, and Joe hit Sin Cara with an enziguiri, before demolishing Kalisto with a big boot and a running senton.

Sin Cara answered with a tornado DDT, forcing Finn to break up the pin. Sin Cara hit Finn with a springboard moonsault, and Kalisto tagged in blindly, hitting Joe with a reverse Frankensteiner for two. Joe responded with a lifting side slam and a Musclebuster on Kalisto. Finn tagged in and hit Coup de Grace to finish the Dragons.

Scott’s Thoughts: A fun, action-packed tag main event. I still think this Finn/Joe angle is leading to a Joe heel turn — and a challenge for Finn’s NXT Championship — and I’m enjoying the ride so far.


Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano def. Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey by pinfall in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

Gargano hit a spear through the ropes in Breeze, followed by a roll-through kick and an STO for a near-fall. Gargano then hit an enziguiri on Bull, tagging in Ciampa for a running knee. Gargano kicked Breeze off the apron, but Bull answered with a Bionic Elbow.

Bull tried to runt he ropes, but ran into Breeze climbing back onto the apron. Gargano tagged in Ciampa, using the distraction to roll Bull up. Ciampa ran in behind Gargano and bridged the rollup on Bull into a pinning maneuver of his own, earning the pinfall.

After the match, Breeze unloaded on Bull for losing the match, leaving him lying with a Supermodel Kick.

Scott’s Thoughts: Bull was pretty clearly the odd man out in the ring with three excellent workers, but this was still a fun match. I like Ciampa and Gargano going over high-profile opponents in their debut, and the post-match angle got Breeze some extra heat.


Carmella def. Peyton Royce by submission

Royce and Carmella exchanged mat-based headscissors, and Carmella used a roll-up for two. Royce responded with a backslide, and Carmella attempted one of her own. Carmella hit an atomic drop and a single-leg dropkick for another near-fall.

Royce bridged a vertical suplex into a two-count, but Carmella responded with a second-rope hurricanrana. Carmella followed up with a sitout slam, but Royce fought back with a spinning heel kick and a diving crossbody, earning a near-fall. Carmella hit a reverse STO, transitioning into a headscissor to earn the submission victory.

Scott’s Thoughts: There was a couple rest-hold moments that went on for an awkwardly long time, but this was an otherwise very solid match between two of NXT’s lower-card women.


Dana Brooke def. Billie Kay by pinfall

Before the match, Dana cut a poor promo, asserting her right to the #1 Contendership. Once the match began, Billie hit a spinning arm drag and a hurricanrana. Dana locked in a headscissor, spiking Billie into the canvas. Billie fought back with another hurricanrana and a big boot. Dana answered with an enziguiri and a fireman’s carry reverse sitout powerbomb for the victory.

Scott’s Thoughts: Billie seems to be a strong in-ring performer based on early returns. She even made Dana look okay here, which is a significant complement.


  • Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady defeated Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The action was shown in a highlight package from an NXT house show from last weekend. Also, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder eliminated Tucker Knight and Elias Sampson at another recent house show, which received a highlight package as well. I always love when house shows are incorporated into kayfabe canon, so I thought this was a fun way to get some of these lower-card matches a bit of TV time, while not taking up an entire ten-minute segment.