10/21/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters
In a week that would scream "filler episode" for nearly any other promotion, NXT still managed to put on a highly entertaining show. With Finn Balor, Bayley and The Vaudevillains nowhere to be seen — and barely mentioned at all — the show featured a big debut, delivered a smashmouth main event, and put in solid work developing the midcard. Not one of the promotion's champions appeared on this week's show, but the midcard-heavy approach worked very well without them, thanks to the fact that NXT has midcard characters worth caring about.
Baron Corbin def. Rhyno by pinfall
Rhyno dominated early, landing many various strikes. Corbin rolled out of the ring to buy some time, driving Rhyno into the ring steps. Corbin rolled back in the ring and tried for a countout victory, but Rhyno got back in the ring at the count of nine.
Corbin hit a spinning powerslam for a near-fall, and the action spilled outside again. This time, Rhyno tossed Corbin into the ring steps, greeting him with a belly-to-belly suplex when he got back into the ring. Rhyno followed up with a spinebuster, again earning just a two-count.
Rhyno hit him with a Gore, but Corbin somehow managed to kick out. Rhyno set up for another Gore, but Corbin caught him and countered with End of Days to earn the pinfall.
Scott's Thoughts: A well-above average brawler vs. brawler match. The Gore had been extremely well-protected since Rhyno's arrival in NXT — I believe this was the first time anyone kicked out of it — so it made Corbin look especially powerful to kick out. Helping build younger wrestlers is what guys like Rhyno are in NXT to do, and he deserves all the credit in the world for how much Corbin has improved in his time with him.
James Storm def. Danny Burch by pinfall
Burch entered to the menu music from WWE 2K14, which really cracked me up. Storm entered, and appeared to have the exact same gimmick from TNA, right down to the bullrope. Storm started the match with an inverted atomic drop, an enziguiri and a running neckbreaker.
Storm finished Burch off with Eight Second Ride, his original TNA finisher from the America's Most Wanted days. Storm cornered Burch and shouted his trademark "Sorry 'bout your damn luck!"
Scott's Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of Storm, and am very excited to see what the future holds for him in NXT/WWE. Kudos to NXT for not altering his gimmick at all, other than switching his finisher back from the Last Call to the Eight Second Ride.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady (w/ Carmella) def. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder by pinfall
Enzo said that for Halloween, he and Cass "aren't trick-or-treatin', we're handin' out beatings." Dash and Dawson teamed up on Enzo early on, working on his left knee with leg whips, strikes and submissions. Cass saved Enzo from tapping out, and Dawson knocked Cass from the ring.
Enzo took advantage of the distracted Dash to roll him up for the victory. Dash and Dawson beat him down, then hit their flapjack/codebreaker finisher on Cass.
Scott's Thoughts: Dash and Dawson are such a throwback. They feel like they came straight from Mid-South or WCCW, and I mean that in a good way. They've become a solid midcard act. Enzo and Cass, as usual, can do no wrong.
Asuka def. Billie Kay by submission
Kay cut a pre-match promo, saying she had the advantage because she has the longest legs in NXT. True to form, Kay opened up with a big boot, followed by a delayed vertical suplex for two. Asuka fought back with a rollthrough kick off of Kay's snapmare, and the two exchanged stiff shots in the middle of the ring.
Asuka smiled coyly, licked her lips and leapt at Kay, locking her in an armbar. Kay fought out, but Asuka hit a German suplex and a running knee, cinching in the Asuka Lock and forcing Kay to tap.
Scott's Thoughts: I've mentioned before that I'm loving the work Asuka's doing so far, but Kay is also becoming a wrestler to watch. She always looks good in her matches, and did well in her first promo tonight as well.
Alexa Bliss (w/ Blake and Murphy) def. Peyton Royce by pinfall
Royce nearly pinned Alexa twice early, with a schoolboy and a snapmare rollthrough. Alexa targeted Royce's left arm, but Royce hit a spinning heel kick and a dropkick, followed by another heel kick for a near-fall. Alexa fought back with a Blitz Flip and a Sparkle Splash to finish Royce off.
After the match, Alexa grabbed a microphone and congratulated Bayley for "accomplishing so much by doing so little," staking her claim to the title.
Scott's Thoughts: One thing I appreciated about this episode of NXT is the way Kay and Royce were both presented as more legitimate threats, instead of straight-up jobbers like usual. Also, Alexa is off to a good start as Bayley's title opponent. She gets solid heel heat, and her wrestling ability is quite good.
– Tyler Breeze cut a brief backstage promo, warning Samoa Joe that he plans to "slice off a few strips of bacon" when Joe steps in the ring with him. I got a laugh out of that. Later in the show, Joe had a backstage promo of his own, blaming Tyler for ruining his chance at the No. 1 Contendership. Breeze faces Joe on next week's show, presumably as the main event.
– Apollo Crews got a promo package, in which he talked about his relationship with his mother, and his rise through the pro wrestling world. It was a good idea, but the package felt very stale and "been there, seen that" to me.