The show kicks off with a video package reviewing the feud between Joe and Nakamura thus far. We get Joe laying out Nakamura for “6 to 12 weeks,” and then the brawl that ended last week’s episode. NXT baby!
Match 1: Drew Gulak and Tony Nese vs. No Way Jose and Rich Swann
This is a first round match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic pitting three dudes from the Cruiserweight Classic and No Way Jose against each other. I dig the team of Jose and Swann. Gulak and Nese get an WWF Wrestling Challenge style insert promo as they come to the ring in which Nese says that he and Gulak are premiere athletes. Corey Graves says it must be true because only a real tough dude could wear what Drew Gulak is wearing to the ring (a Civil War reenactment coat).
Swann and Gulak start off as if this is a random Raw cruiserweight bout. There’s a flurry of offense in the opening exchange until Swann and Gulak collide with shoulder blocks. Swann tries to flip over Gulak but gets caught in a rollup for a near fall.
Swann hits a big kick and makes the tag. Jose comes in looking like fucking Andre the Giant compared to everyone else in the ring. It’s crazy how huge he looks. Jose works a wristlock. Nese gets tagged in but gets with a snapmare. Jose goes for a slam, but Nese avoids it. Nese then goes for a move of his own, but Jose avoids it and then proceeds to dance.
Jose hits a flapjack for a near fall and then throws Nese to the corner. Jose charges the corner and eats a boot to the face. Nese avoids a right and then takes Jose down to the mat with a series of slaps and kicks. Nese goes for a suplex, but Jose counters and hits Nese with a stalling suplex of his own. Jose hits a bodyslam and then tags in Swann.
Jose assists Swann on a splash that earns a two count. Nese pulls Swann into the second rope throat first. They go to the outside. Swann levels Gulak but Nese does some cartwheel off the apron and hits Swann with a superkick. Tape machines are rolling!
After the break Gulak has a chinlock applied on Swann. They do a double clothesline spot and both men are down. Who will get the hot tag? DOUBLE HOT TAGS!! The hot tag to Jose is apparently hotter though because he avoids a corner splash from Nese and then causes him to flip like 800 times with a clothesline. Jose goes for the pin but only gets a two count.
Nese gets sent out of the and Gulak comes in and starts beating Jose down. Jose pops him up into a straight right and goes for another pin, but Nese breaks it up. Nese then levels Swann and goes for a charge but misses and tumbles out of the ring. Swann goes after him and hits a corkscrew plancha off the second rope. Meanwhile in the ring Jose hits Gulak with a uranage for the victory.
Post match Swann and Jose cut a promo on the Authors of Pain, saying there’s no way they’re going to run through them. Swann then says he has one question, “CAN YOU HANDLE IT?!” “NO WAY JOSE!”
Winners: No Way Jose and Rich Swann
This was a pretty fun match and I think Jose and Swann could make a decent addition to the NXT tag team division. Sort of like the Hype Bros. only with 100% less Mojo Rawley. It was weird to see Jose as a giant in this match he’s never really been portrayed as a big man or even super strong. I guess that when you’re the only guy in a match that isn’t a cruiserweight you automatically get to be the big man.
Hideo Itami Can’t Lose Win
The commentary team tells us that Hideo Itami got injured and will be replaced in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic by TJ Perkins. Fuck! I hate that guy!
This Is The Recap To “Ignition…”
There’s a quick recap of Bobby Roode abandoning Tye Dillinger last week allowing Sanity to advance in the tournament.
Meanwhile Earlier Today…
Tye Dillinger is backstage getting check out by a doctor and icing up his shoulder while getting interviewed. He says that he’ll deal with Sanity after he deals with Bobby Roode. Dillinger’s furious that Roode gave his word that he’d be Tye’s partner in the Tag Team Classic but then he backed out. Tye then challenges Roode to a match at TakeOver: Toronto.
The announcers say that William Regal has granted Tye Dillinger’s request and he and Bobby Roode will meet in Toronto at TakeOver.
Austin Aries is getting interviewed about his mystery partner for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Aries talks about the power of potassium and eats a banana. This is clearly an interview from the “Macho Man” Randy Savage Grab a Random Thing and Somehow Incorporate it Into the Interview school of backstage interviews though it pales in comparison to “THE CREAM OF THE CROP!”
He talks shit about Hideo Itami and says that his injury comes from the fact that he has no spine and that’s why he ran away from NXT. Aries then says that his partner is the only man that is worthy of being his partner and ends the interview by saying, “Only the greatest and the strongest survive.”
Match 2: Bobby Roode vs. Sean Maluta
The crowd sings Roode’s theme song as he comes down to the ring. If they really want to make Roode a heel they need to give him less awesome music. No one is going to boo him when he’s got a theme song that kickass.
Sean Maluta is already in the ring. I liked him in the Cruiserweight Classic, so I’m glad he got to stick around, even if he’s obviously just enhancement talent here.
They lock up and Roode gets Maluta in a headlock before transitioning into a hammerlock and then a snapmare. He taunts Maluta who hits him with a dropkick and responds with a taunt of his own. He flips Roode over and rolls him up for two.
Roode fights back with a suplex and then puts the boots to Maluta. Roode talks smack as he Ric Flair chops the shit out of Maluta and then Irish whips Maluta into the corner hard. Maluta comes back with a corner forearm and a spin kick. Roode catches him with a spinebuster and then finishes him off with an implant DDT.
After the match Roode gets on the mic and says that Tye Dillinger has been whining on the internet and claims that Tye begged him to be his partner and the only reason he agreed was because he felt bad for Tye. Roode says that when you live the life that he does you have to eliminate the losers and that’s why he walked out on Tye: because he was a loser.
Right on cue, Tye Dillinger runs out. Roode opens up on him with kicks but the audience starts chanting “ten” and Dillinger gets fired up and starts blasting Roode with shots. Roode bails and heads to the back.
Winner: Bobby Roode
I don’t know why Raw doesn’t do this more often during feuds. Put guys in matches with people they aren’t feuding with and then have them talk smack about the guy they are feuding with after the match. Let them brawl if you need to. Too often they have dudes who are feuding face each other every week in the lead up to the PPV so by the time the big match comes, you don’t even give a shit. This way is a lot better.
Liv Morgan talks about how Billie Kay and Peyton Royce have been harassing her. They recap her match with Billie Kay from last week and Liv says that she makes moves not excuses. Peyton and Billie then ambush her from behind. They drag her out onto the stage and Peyton wrecks her shit with a running knee.
Billie Kay’s all like, “Liv was about to complain about getting beat up, but she got beat up again.” Peyton then says that they are putting the women of NXT on notice including Asuka, because apparently they have a deathwish. Peyton and Billie then simultaneously say that the division belongs to them.
Match 3: Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight
Austin Aries’ mystery partner is revealed to be his former longtime partner in life and Ring of Honor, Roderick Strong. The crowd seems to give zero shits, but Corey Graves is all like “AW YE YE RODDY STONG! WOOO!”
Otis and Tucker are some fucking hosses. Aries and Otis start off. Aries clubs on Otis to little effect. Otis goes for a clothesline but Aries ducks out of the way. He can’t avoid getting caught Otis. Knight gets tagged in and he and Otis sandwich Aries between them.
Aries gets out of trouble and tags in Strong. Tucker and Strong trade chops with Tucker getting the worst of it. Tucker hits a drop kick like he’s Zangief from Street Fighter II. Otis and Tucker run roughshod on Aries and Strong. This is not the way I thought this match would go, but I’m digging it.
Roderick Strong gets his head sandwiched betwixt a pair of hosses. Otis then goes up to the second rope but is stopped by Aries. This allows Strong to them him down with a kick. Roderick Strong hits a dropkick and goes for the pin getting two. He holds Otis in place and Aries drops a forearm.
Aries ends up running into an elbow and Strong goes for a sunset flip but fails badly. Otis holds onto the ropes, but Aries tags in and sends the big man down onto Roderick’s knees. Aires comes in with a splash for two. Otis makes the HOT TAG! and Tucker comes in with a full head of steam. He runs over the former Ring of Honor Tag Team Champs. Strong gets belly to belly suplexed and then Tucker goes for a splash on Aries and Strong in the corner but misses and spills out onto the floor.
Aries follows him out with a dive. Strong gets tagged in and hits a big knee while Aries knocks Otis off the ring apron with an elbow. He then hits an elbow on Tucker who was on Strong’s shoulders for a gut buster before finishing him off with a kick.
Winners: Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
This was great. I was expecting Aries and Strong to just wreck house via being indie darlings, but Dozovic & Knight got to look good in defeat. I hope they stick around as a team because I love me some hosses.
There’s a brief recap of Andrade “Cien” Almas attacking Cedric Alexander from two weeks ago before we get an interview with Almas. Almas, via interpreter, claims that he tried to do things the right way with respect. He says he took off his mask to wrestle in NXT, but that no one there showed him the same sort of respect. He finishes it off in English saying that he doesn’t care about respect anymore, he only cares about Almas.
Match 4: Nikki Cross (w/ Sanity) vs. Danielle Kamella
Nikki Cross goes after Danielle Kamella aggressively goes but it costs her as she eats the corner. Danielle hits a suplex but Cross get up quickly. She yells and hits a running knee followed by a neckbreaker. Nikki then who bites and slaps herself a bit before hitting a spinning fisherman suplex for the win.
Nikki Cross isn’t done yet, attacking Danielle after the bell. Eric Young pulls her off, but Nikki levels him with a forearm and jumps back on Kamella. Eric Young laughs and Swayer Fulton picks Nikki Cross up and carries her away. The referee reverses the decision due to unnecessary roughness and awards the match to Danielle Kamella.
Eric Young is livid and gets up in the referee’s grill while Nikki grins like a crazy person and bites the ring rope.
Winner: Danielle Kamella
This was pretty decent. NXT does a good job of going against expectations in interesting ways. Like when someone from a faction that had hype videos for months before they debut takes on someone who got a jobber entrance you expect them to win, which technically Nikki Cross did, but you don’t expect a women’s match to get overturned due to a post match beat down. So good job there NXT bookers.
#DIY take on Hoho Lun and Tian Bing. Also, Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali take on Kota Ibushi and TJ Perkins in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Meanwhile In The Ring…
Shinsuke Nakamura comes out and says that if Samoa Joe wants the NXT title he should come and get it. He gives zero fucks about Joe’s dirty tricks and promises to beat the fuck out of him all the same.
Some weird music begins to play and Patrick Clark comes strolling out dressed like The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Ieuka. That is to say he is dress kind of like Prince. He’s lisping and says that everyone is gather today to get to TakeOver where Joe and Nakamura will meet for the first time. He’s then all like, “Oh wait, no that’s a story we’ve already seen.” He continues saying that people want to see something different and challenges Nakamura to the Patrick Clark Experience. He gets in Nakamura’s face. Nakamura smirks and taks off the title and then kicks Clark’s knee before kicking his head off.
Samoa Joe comes out but stops when Nakamura turns and sees him. Joe backs up the ramp as officials help Clark back up. When they get him to his knees Nakamura blasts Clark with the Kinshasa and then stares down Samoa Joe.
With a couple decent tag team bouts and a couple well done squash matches that progressed storylines I thought this episode was pretty good. The stuff with Patrick Clark at the end was kind of pointless I thought and I worry about what they’re going to do with him since it seems like his gimmick could very easily veer into gay panic territory.