NXT Review – Samoa Joe Confronts an Old Foe

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5/4/16 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Eric Young debuts and sets his sights on Samoa Joe’s NXT Championship
Samoa Joe def. Eric Young by submission

Joe entered to address the crowd to kick off the show, referring to himself as a man of his word. He said that despite Finn Balor’s best efforts, winning the title was as predictable as death or taxes. Joe put the world on notice, saying that if anyone had a problem, they could take it up with him.

Eric Young entered and stared Joe down, saying “You know me, and I know you.” EY told Joe that the only actual guarantee in life is change, reminding Joe that he collects championships, and that things would change for him just as they had for Joe. Joe exited the ring, saying that EY doesn’t belong to stand in a ring with him.

In the show’s main event, EY took Joe down with an early dropkick, following up with a spinning neckbreaker. Joe responded by tossing EY from the ring, and hitting him with a flying elbow between the ropes. Joe hit an enziguiri back in the ring, followed by an atomic drop, a big boot and a running senton.

Joe continued relentlessly with a back bodydrop, but EY finally fought back with a suplex. EY climbed up top and hit a diving elbow for a near-fall. EY tried for a piledriver, but Joe reversed it, hitting a uranage. Joe took EY back up top and hit a Musclebuster, transitioning into a Coquina Clutch, forcing EY to tap out.

Scott’s Thoughts: It’s crazy to think back on attending TNA Slammiversary XII, in which EY and Austin Aries main-evented with Bobby Lashley, and Joe was also on the show, facing Lashley in a main-event qualifying match. Now those three men were all on the same episode of NXT, less than two years later.

Considering the history between EY and Joe, it makes perfect sense to have them work together in NXT. The opening segment also thoroughly legitimized EY in NXT immediately, by placing him into the title picture from the word ‘go.’

The match itself was a fluid affair, with the easy chemistry one would expect from two guys who both spent so much time wrestling in TNA. It will be interesting to see where EY goes from here, although it’s clear from his debut episode that he will be no afterthought.

Austin Aries def. Tye Dillinger by pinfall

Dillinger hit a backbreaker and continued to target Aries’ back. Aries fought back with a springboard senton and a corkscrew to the outside. Aries hit a second-rope neckbreaker, but ran straight into a big boot.

Dillinger hit a fireman’s carry neckbreaker over his knee, earning a very close near-fall. Aries fought back with a discus elbow and a corner dropkick. Aries climbed up top and hit a 450 splash to earn the pinfall victory.

After the match, Aries said in a backstage interview that he feels like he’s flying under the radar, and that it might take some extra initiative to get ahead.

Scott’s Thoughts: A strong match that even gave Dillinger a hope spot, before Aries inevitably put him away. Aries is an extremely well-rounded worker, and Dillinger is a seasoned vet more than capable of putting on a quality mid-length TV match. Aries’ post-match interview was definitely heelish, and I’ve always preferred him as a heel, so that would be a welcome development.

The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) def. The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley) by pinfall

The Revival beat down on Ryder for a couple minutes, until Ryder made the hot tag to Mojo. Mojo missed a blind tag to Dawson, and Dash assisted Dawson with a Shatter Machine to earn the easy pin.

Scott’s Thoughts: It’s odd to see Ryder as a recent Intercontinental Champion on the main roster — and even more recently, the runner-up to the No. 1 contendership for the United States Championship — while also jobbing out with Mojo in three-minute matches on NXT.

Nia Jax def. Tessa Blanchard by pinfall

Nia beat Tessa down, landing a Samoan drop and a leg drop to quickly squash her.

Scott’s Thoughts: Without Eva Marie by her side, Jax has little appeal left. Also, what the hell was with that ring gear? Even worse than usual.

No Way Jose def. Noah Kekoa by pinfall

Jose hit a bulldog and a full-nelson slam to immediately defeat Noah.

Scott’s Thoughts: This No Way Jose gimmick is just plain awful, but he’s clearly a charismatic individual. I’m sure NXT will eventually find a way to work him in, but probably not as No Way Jose.

  • Alex Riley discussed his match next week with Shinsuke Nakamura, saying that he doesn’t know what strong style is, and that “a man half my size is going to try to strong me?” Riley said that a raging lunatic would hit him back. For as much as most people hate Riley, I think he’s been a reliably entertaining mid-card heel in NXT. This was a funny promo.