10/7/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters
Bayley def. Sasha Banks 3-2 in a 30-minute Ironman Match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Match Grade: B
Rich Brennan announced that this is just the tenth Ironman Match in WWE history, as the opening bell rang. Sasha tried for several quick pinning maneuvers, but Bayley denied her each time. They continued repeatedly kicking out of each other’s covers for the first five minutes, before Sasha hit a dropkick.
Bayley responded with two arm drags, but Sasha hit a hurricanrana. Sasha tried for a Bank Statement, but Bayley held onto the ropes. Bayley tried a Bayley-to-Belly, but Sasha squirmed her way out.
Bayley extended her arm to help Sasha up, then pulled her in for a hug. Sasha took advantage of Bayley’s misplaced trust by slamming her to the mat for a near-fall. Bayley fought back with a dropkick, sending Sasha from the ring.
Bayley hit Sasha with two between-the-ropes dropkicks, then escorted her back into the ring for a running bulldog. Sasha tried for a leverage pin, but the referee saw her feet on the ropes. Sasha placed herself between the referee and Bayley, poking Bayley’s eyes and pinning her. Sasha 1, Bayley 0.
Sasha sent Bayley face-first into the second turnbuckle, then set her up for her double-knees to the gut. Bayley caught her and dropped her onto the top turnbuckle, then hit a Bayley-to-Belly to earn a pinfall. Bayley 1, Sasha 1.
Sasha rolled outside and Bayley tried another apron dropkick, but Sasha caught her and flung her into the ring steps three times. Sasha taunted Bayley’s parents at ringside, before tossing Bayley back into the ring for a near-fall. Sasha dragged Bayley up the entrance ramp and slammed her into the LED board.
Sasha ran back to the ring and got Bayley counted out. Sasha 2, Bayley 1. Sasha taunted Bayley’s young fan — Izzy — stealing her headband and throwing it away, making the little girl cry. Bayley barely got back to the ring at the nine-count, but Sasha locked her into a Boston crab.
Bayley broke the hold, but Sasha stomped on her hand and head repeatedly. Bayley managed to roll Sasha up for a very lucky pinfall. Bayley 2, Sasha 2. Sasha set Bayley up in the corner, but missed her double-knee maneuver again.
Bayley hit a second-rope elbow drop and suplexed Sasha into the tree of woe, hitting a springboard knee drop for a near-fall. Sasha responded by finally hitting a double-knee, but Bayley regained the advantage outside the ring, slamming Sasha’s arm into the ring steps several times.
Bayley continued to work over Sasha’s left arm and hit a clothesline from the top of the ring steps. Sasha drove Bayley into the steps again and tried for a dive between the ropes, but Bayley caught her and hit a Bayley-to-Belly on the floor. Bayley tossed Sasha back in the ring, but Sasha managed to kick out.
Bayley took Sasha up top and hit a Bayley-to-Belly from the second rope, but Sasha got her foot on the rope to avoid the pinfall. This was a very silly-looking spot, because it required Bayley to roll Sasha fully half the way across the ring so that she could get her foot on a rope.
Bayley took Sasha up top again and hit a top-rope reverse hurricanrana, but Sasha no-sold it and hit a belly-t0-belly. Bayley kicked out, but Sasha locked in a Bank Statement. Bayley bent Sasha’s hand back and worked her way out of the hold with 30 seconds left.
Sasha hit another Bank Statement, but Bayley reversed it into an armbar. Sasha apparently tapped out with two seconds left, but the camera didn’t catch it at a very good angle. Bayley 3, Sasha 2.
After the match, Sasha and Bayley both got a good cry in, as Triple H and Steph gave them bouquets of flowers. Triple H held up Bayley’s hand as the show went off the air.
Scott’s Thoughts: The crowd is actively chanting down the last five seconds, and Sasha’s just like “Can’t hold out another two seconds, should probably tap out now.” What?! I rolled my eyes very hard at the way they booked that finish.
On the whole, both women put on a great show, but their previous matches were a bit better than this one, which suffered from several awkward booking decisions. Bayley rolling Sasha all the way across the ring so she could grab the ropes, Sasha no-selling the top-rope reverse hurricanrana, there were several little moments like this that forced some serious suspension of disbelief.
Furthermore, I’m not usually one to pay much attention to crowds, but good lord this one was obnoxious. They refused to shut up and stop putting themselves over, and detracted from the match more than they thought they were adding to it.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe def. Rhyno and Baron Corbin by pinfall to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Match Grade: B
Finn started first, as if to prove his knee was healthy. Finn took down Corbin with a dropkick, and Joe added a knee drop. Corbin answered with a spinebuster, and Rhyno planted Joe with a belly-to-belly suplex.
Corbin tagged back in and hit a big boot, further punishing Joe. Joe finally answered with an enziguiri, tagging in Finn, who took out Rhyno with a dropkick. Corbin hit him with a big boot, but Finn immediately responded with a step-up enziguiri.
As the official went to check on Corbin, Rhyno took advantage of the momentary distraction to take out Finn at the knee. Corbin repeatedly rammed Finn’s knee into the ring post, adding several elbow drops to the knee. Corbin hit a spinning side slam, earning a close near-fall.
Finn answered with a desperation Sling Blade, reaching Joe for the tag as Rhyno came in for his team. Joe hit an inverted atomic drop, a big boot and a running senton, following up with a lifting side slam. Joe took out Corbin as well, but turned right around into a Gore.
Finn broke up the pinfall and hit a DDT on Corbin, but Rhyno blasted Finn off the apron. Joe countered a Gore with a big boot, tagging Finn back in. Joe hit a Musclebuster, Finn hit a Coup de Grace, and Rhyno was down for the count.
After the match, Cody and Dustin Rhodes presented Joe and Finn with their trophy. Cody cut a touching promo about how much the tournament would have meant to Dusty, saying that “tonight, we are all Rhodes.”
Scott’s Thoughts: This was good, but nothing particularly special. I think I enjoyed both of the semi-final matches more than the finals, which isn’t ideal. Also, the finish was awfully anti-climactic. This felt more like a house-show crowd pleaser of a tag match than a meaningful PPV match.
Furthermore, Finn is already the NXT Champion, does he really need this accolade too? At any rate, let’s not overlook the fact that we just saw Baron Corbin pull double duty and wrestle well both times.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe def. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson by pinfall in the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Match Grade: B
Finn’s new entrance keeps getting cooler, as now the leather jacket is accompanied by a new on-stage fog and light show. Dash and Dawson teamed up on Joe early, until Joe fought back with an enziguiri on Dash, making the tag to Finn. Finn hit enziguiris on both Dash and Dawson, then dropkicked both men from the ring.
Finn hit a somersault plancha on Dash and Dawson, tossing Dawson back into the ring for a corner dropkick. Dawson fought back by taking out Finn’s knee, and Dash helped him continue to work over the left knee. Dawson locked in a half-crab, and Finn finally reached the bottom rope to break the hold.
Finn managed to dump Dawson from the ring, but Dash pulled Joe off the apron. Dawson hit an elbow drop from the top, earning a very close near-fall on Finn. Finn finally hit the hot tag to Joe, who hit a reverse atomic drop, a big boot and a running senton on Dash.
Joe followed up with a scoopslam and lifting side slam. Finn tagged in as Joe hit a Musclebuster, hitting Coup de Grace to polish Dash off.
Scott’s Thoughts: I liked the tease of tension between Finn and Joe at the end of the match, as Finn demanded to be tagged in for the finish, despite his knee being injured.
Baron Corbin and Rhyno def. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable by pinfall in the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Match Grade: B+
Jordan started off with two belly-to-back suplexes on Corbin. Rhyno tagged in and took a fisherman’s facebuster from Jordan, as Gable and Jordan started working over Rhyno’s left arm. Gable bridged a double Northern lights suplex with Jordan into a pinning maneuver on Rhyno for two.
Rhyno tossed Gable outside, where Corbin drove him into the ring apron repeatedly. Back inside, Corbin hit him with a big boot, but a Jordan distraction prevented the referee from making the count in time. Rhyno hit a gorilla press slam on Gable, then climbed up top, coming up empty on a diving headbutt.
Both men made hot tags, and Jordan hit dropkicks on both Corbin and Rhyno. Jordan hit a side suplex on Corbin, followed by a spear into the corner, tagging in Gable. Corbin knocked down Jordan with a clothesline, then hit a spinning variant of End of Days on Gable, forcing Jordan to make the save,
Rhyno took care of Jordan with a belly-to-belly suplex, but Gable spun out of another End of Days, hitting a stunning deadlift German suplex and bridging it for two. Rhyno Gored Jordan when he tried to help Gable, and Corbin hit another tilt-a-whirl End of Days to finish Gable.
Scott’s Thoughts: The crowd desperately wanted Jordan and Gable to win, but Rhyno and Corbin going over was the right call in my mind. They provide a purely heel team to challenge Finn and Joe, and they’re also generally higher on the card than Jordan and Gable. The time will come for JJ and Gable.
Apollo Crews def. Tyler Breeze by pinfall
Match Grade: B+
Crews hit a dropkick and a delayed vertical suplex to open the match. Breeze fought back, dumping Crews from the ring and driving him forcefully into the apron. Breeze hit a backstabber back in the ring, then climbed up top.
Crews caught him and tried for a military press, but Breeze countered into a sharpshooter. Crews reached the ropes and tried for a powerbomb, but Breeze reversed it into a Frankensteiner. Crews responded with a kick to the back of the head, but Breeze hit a Supermodel Kick for a close near-fall.
Breeze followed up with a Disaster Kick and tried for a diving crossbody, but Crews countered into a powerslam. Crews hit a military press, but Breeze got his feet up to block the standing moonsault. Breeze earned a near-fall with a schoolboy, but Crews responded with a big boot and a massive spinning powerbomb to earn the three-count.
Scott’s Thoughts: An expectedly enjoyable match. It makes sense to keep the Crews push going — seeing as he’s got future mega-star written all over him — but can Tyler Breeze get a damn win already? The guy loses every single meaningful match he’s booked in, and it’s starting to affect his perception as a legitimate threat.
Asuka def. Dana Brooke (w/ Emma) by submission
Match Grade: B-
Dana slapped Asuka, and Asuka smiled creepily, licking her lips. Asuka attacked with a furious series of strikes, then mocked Dana’s entrance pose. Asuka caught Dana in an armbar off an irish whip, but Dana reached the bottom rope.
Emma took advantage of a distracted referee to catch Asuka in the apron cover, allowing Dana to get back in the match. Asuka reversed a bodyscissor into a kneebar, then an ankle lock, transitioning into a German suplex. Asuka followed up with a fantastic leaping armbar, then stiffly kicked Dana right in the chin.
Asuka hit a running knee strike, catching Dana in a crossface/bodyscissor combo known as the Asuka Lock, forcing Dana to tap out. After the match, Dana tried to attack Asuka, who hit a spinning heel kick. Asuka got in Emma’s face and stared her down before slowly exiting.
Scott’s Thoughts: Asuka’s entrance music is fantastically badass. Her athleticism is absolutely off the charts, and Dana struggled at times to keep up with her fast pace. Asuka is a game-changer, and there really aren’t any women in the entirety of WWE who maintain the type of energy and workrate that she has. I’m very excited to see her square off against better talents than Dana.