NXT Review – Major Heel Turn Follows Tremendous Title Match

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11/4/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Finn Balor and Apollo Crews wrestled to a No Contest; Balor retains the NXT Championship

Finn and Apollo stood face to face under a single overhead spotlight while they were introduced, which was a cool touch. An impressive mat-based display started the match, with Apollo showing off some serious acrobatics. Apollo nailed Finn with a dropkick, which Finn answered with one of his own.

Apollo hit a delayed vertical suplex, but came up empty on an elbow drop. Finn landed a big kick to the face, rolled through a sunset flip, and hit a basement dropkick for two. Apollo mirrored Finn’s offense, with a roll-through basement dropkick.

Finn fought back with a step-up enziguiri, knocking Apollo off the top rope. Finn followed up with a plancha over the top rope, then planted Apollo with a clothesline back in the ring. Apollo landed a fallaway slam for a near-fall, following up with an enziguiri.

Finn immediately answered with a Sling Blade, but Apollo hit a leaping clothesline. Apollo hit the gorilla press, but Finn got his knees up when Apollo went for the standing moonsault. Finn hit Bloody Sunday, but Apollo kicked out.

Finn kept the offense coming with a corner dropkick, but came up empty on Coup de Grace. Apollo landed a big boot, but Finn immediately responded with a Pele kick. Baron Corbin suddenly entered and attacked both Apollo and Finn.

Corbin took Apollo outside the ring and repeatedly assaulted him. Corbin got back in the ring and started taking Finn apart, until Samoa Joe entered to clear Corbin from the ring. Corbin retreated to the entrance ramp, with a sick smile on his face.

Finn and Joe were left alone in the ring, and Joe hit Finn with a clothesline. Joe hit Finn with several stiff strikes, then hit him with a Musclebuster, leaving Finn lying in the middle of the ring. Joe posed over Finn with the NXT Championship, then draped it over him and exited.

Scott’s Thoughts: There’s a lot to digest here. Let’s start with the match itself, which was wonderful. The pacing escalated in steady fashion, as each man consistently found answers for each other’s offense. The frantic workrate of the last couple minutes before Corbin’s interference was ROH-esque.

Now, on to the ramifications. It would seem this is leading to one of two scenarios. One is a four-way title match at Takeover: London featuring Finn vs. Crews vs. Joe vs. Corbin. Another option is Finn vs. Joe and Crews vs. Corbin. The latter seems more likely, although I can’t say I’m an expert on NXT title match rematch clauses for challengers in a No Contest bout.

Either way, this worked in many ways. First, Corbin got himself even more heat than he already had by stopping a tremendous championship match between two beloved babyface wrestlers. Secondly, although predictable, Joe’s turn has seemingly been a necessity for some time, to facilitate a true face/heel program between himself and Finn.

As for my personal preference? I think it’s fair for Crews to get another shot, and Corbin has earned a spot in the match simply for the significant development he’s displayed in the ring of late. Despite seeing his solid match with Rhyno at NXT San Jose earlier this year, I had soured on Corbin until his excellent program with Rhyno on recent NXT TV. Give me a fatal four-way. Why not.

Asuka def. Cameron by submission

Asuka showed off an amazing maneuver early on, transitioning a Cameron slap into a cross-armbreaker, but Cameron quickly reached the ropes. Cameron hit a suplex, but Asuka answered with a heel kick. Asuka hit two Rear Views — mocking Cameron’s former partner Naomi — followed by a spinning heel kick and a running knee strike. Asuka secured the Asuka Lock to earn the submission.

Scott’s Thoughts: I had nearly forgotten that Cameron exists, not like that’s any major loss. Asuka’s cross-armbreaker transition was tremendous, and her potential remains sky-high across the board. I’m looking forward to her match with Emma.

Bull Dempsey def. Angelo Dawkins (w/ Sawyer Fulton) by pinfall

Bull grounded Dawkins and hit a seated senton from atop the turnbuckle for the squash victory. Fulton angrily walked out on Dawkins.

Scott’s Thoughts: I’m not sure what the point is of a breakup angle between two guys who have only ever been jobbers.

Eva Marie def. Marley by pinfall

Marley hit a falcon arrow early on, but Eva answered with a suplex. Marley responded with an enziguiri and two dropkicks. Eva tried for some sort of roll-through, but landed directly on the top of her head. Eva then horribly botched a big boot before hitting some sort of awkward finisher.

Scott’s Thoughts: Eva Marie is a goddamn trainwreck of a wrestler. She’s going to hurt someone — possibly herself — if they keep letting her get in the ring.

Other Notes:

  • Carmella told Tom Phillips that Colin Cassady has a sprained MCL and will be out for a while. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson interrupted, saying that they had reserved hospital beds for Cass and Enzo Amore. After Carmella left, Dawson said that they will receive a shot at The Vaudevillains’ titles next week, giving Phillips a wheelchair to give The Vaudevillains as a “parting gift.” Smooth segment. With the way NXT treats their tag titles — for example, the Blake/Murphy title run — it honestly wouldn’t shock me to see Dash and Dawson win.
  • Jason Jordan bemoaned the fact that they weren’t getting a title match, but Chad Gable reminded him that they’re still on an upward trajectory. Jordan suggested they challenge the best tag team in NXT history, to which Gable said, “We can’t challenge ourselves.” Jordan told Gable that they should take a shot at The Ascension, and Gable agreed. It’s been a real treat seeing these two come into their own. They’re a very fun team, both in the ring and on the mic.
  • Bayley revealed that she has enlisted Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley as partners for her six-person intergender tag match next week against Alexa Bliss, Blake and Murphy.

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