Nia Jax got to win a squash match and calmly confront Bayley backstage. 'The Hugster' got to show she was intimidated by her new challenger (always important for a fightin' babyface) and officially accept the unspoken challenge. Then she was thrown through a door, which got over Nia's power and made her ruthlessness clear while putting Bayley at an even larger disadvantage than she was before. Because she's now not just facing a larger opponent, she's doing so after being thrown through some specially constructed collapsible furniture.
The tag title competitors didn't get as much air time but chances are they'll get spotlighted next week. Here we were shown champs Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson bragging about having already injured Big Cass's leg, a nice change of pace from the kind of heels presented on the main WWE roster. It's a basic thing but not something anyone on the more high profile WWE shows would get to do. What's more, Dash and Dawson are good at it. It plays to their strengths.
The more interesting news from the tag division came after the Vaudevillains versus Jason Jordan and Chad Gable match. English and Gotch lost and were offered a handshake. Despite having shaken backstage beforehand they refused. The bad sportsmen shtick signals a heel turn for the pair which, while not exactly needed because they're so popular, is still welcome because the pair were in danger of becoming stale, having faced most teams available to them and having been champs. It'll be interesting to see how bad guy hipsters are portrayed in NXT.
While NXT champion Finn Bálor remained unseen his next opponent, Samoa Joe, got to headline the show. He had a stiff (or, as Steve Austin would likely say, snug) match with Tommaso Ciampa. It was wonderfully hossy and a credit to both men. Joe won with the Coquina clutch, a move that's been built up as inescapable and a sure-fire match-ender for months. Were he heading into a match with John Cena we'd obviously get a spot where Cena powers out of the hold. In NXT against Bálor that's not going to happen, but the champion could escape the hold.
As things stand now I'm expecting a Joe victory at Takeover: London. A Bálor promotion to the main roster seems like it could happen on any given Monday night. There's no more obvious candidate to replace him than Samoa Joe. He could work with Apollo Crews before turning face and doing something with Baron Corbin, should he be in NXT for long enough.
There's also the Sami Zayn return to factor in. He could come back and challenge Bálor. They'd have very good matches but it doesn't quite feel like the direction in which NXT would go. What seems far likelier (to me at least) is a Joe win over Bálor at Takeover, only to be confronted by a returning Zayn as the show closes. For now, that's what I think we're going to get.
Tweet 1: It's NXTime. I've done that one before and I don't care.Tweet 2: James Storm shown in the still for this episode. It's already quite the show.
Tweet 3: To be clear, I do not rate Jim Storm. Can't even enjoy him ironically.
Baron Corbin v Tye Dillinger
Tweet 4: But someone I CAN enjoy ironically is 'The Big Wolf' Barry Corbin.Tweet 5: Had Barry been around in the early 90s he definitely would have gotten work in Smoky Mountain.
Tweet 6: I want a pre-match promo from Barry in which he claims to eat tens for breakfast.
Tweet 7: Wish Jim Ross was still alive to gush about Barry's football background and stud-like appearance.
Tweet 8: Sadly Jim Ross of NXT 1610 died in a company-wide crossover event.
Tweet 9: If Dillinger had a finisher to hit he probably could have won that.
|The state of this move.|
Tweet 10: Still think the End of Days is a daft-looking move. Good name though.
Apollo Crews interviewed backstage
Tweet 11: Apollo Crews is concerned for Barry Corbin's safety. He's even laughing about how concerned he is.
Tommaso Ciampa interviewed backstage
Tweet 12: Tommaso Ciampa looking decidedly like a hipster here.Tweet 13: Ciampa is convinced he's winning. His loss will trigger a breakdown which leads to the return of the Tommy Penmanship character.
Nia Jax v Blue Pants
Tweet 14: Surprising lack of heat for Nia Jax considering she attacked Top Girl Bayley last week.Tweet 15: Book Nia like 911 and use her to destroy jobbers making their last appearance.
|Blue Pants: the natural first opponent for a new heel in NXT.|
Tweet 16: Nia working "snug" here...
Tweet 17: Nia should switch to Gangrel style elbow drops.
Tweet 18: Big fan of Nia almost going for her usual style of pin before remembering she'd been told to do the cocky foot on the chest routine.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder talk to Tom Philips backstage
Tweet 19: Dash and Dawson sitdown interview. Tears.Tweet 20: They're really good to be fair. Getting themselves over as a couple of lads who don't care about hurting people.
Tweet 21: "... carry-on item Enzo Amore..." - Scott Dawson
Adam Rose v James Storm
Tweet 22: Adam Rose entering wearing glasses with no music? Yes.Tweet 23: Why does Rose have to be sacrificed to 'Big' Jim Storm?
|Former TNA champ there...|
Tweet 24: These striped shin guards on Rose though.
Tweet 25: Heel Adam Rose is worthy of so much more attention from Creative™.
Tweet 26: Honestly no idea what people see in Storm. Only thing he had going for him in TNA was that he could be presented as "their" guy.
The Vaudevillains interviewed backstage, featuring Jason Jordan and Chad Gable
Tweet 27: #VaudevillainspopTweet 28: "Tonight we will win" - Simon Gotch, who's probably wrong
Sami Zayn vignette
Tweet 29: Reminder of Adrian Neville being a smug prick in his rivalry with Samuel Zayn Esq. here.Tweet 30: I remember this R: Evolution main. It was good, weren't it?
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable v The Vaudevillains
Tweet 31: Hyped for this match.Tweet 32: Looking forward to Kurt Angle suggesting he return as Gable and Jordan's manager, cementing himself as the new Ric Flair.
Tweet 33: That's if he hasn't already.
|Dlicious drop kick from Jordan there.|
Tweet 34: The Vaudevillains would probably benefit from being given a regular second that isn't Blue Pants. Someone new who fits their gimmick.
Tweet 35: Solid match that.
Tweet 36: The 'villains splitting without shaking hands and Gable loling about it is world class stuff.
Emma v Liv Morgan
Tweet 37: The point of that Emma and Dana segment? No idea beyond extending their thing with Asuka.Tweet 38: Emma wears glove because of all those flips and springboards she does.
Tweet 39: It will eventually be revealed that Liv Morgan's origin story is that she's an Alexa Bliss clone.
Tweet 40: NXT: Clone Wars, coming summer 2016.
Tweet 41: Culminates with a clean shaven Reigns clone being introduced to feud with the original Reigns.
|No, that's not Alexa Bliss.|
Tweet 42: On the women's division: either Dana and Emma or Asuka are Bayley's feud after Nia Jax.
Tweet 43: Either would be good. I'd prefer Emma and Dana. They've been around NXT longer and deserve the spot more.
Tweet 44: Then again maybe Nia will beat Bayley and then be challenged by Asuka.
Tweet 45: This is why NXT's so good. Mostly logically booked but very few things are obvious when it counts.
Tweet 46: That said Emma was always going to beat Jersey Alexa.
Bayley interviewed backstage, featuring Nia Jax
Tweet 47: Bayley doing great work as a top babyface champ here.Tweet 48: Crying at Nia throwing Bayley through a stunt door.
Tommaso Ciampa v Samoa Joe
Tweet 49: Thomas the Champ Engine versus 'Mr TNA' Samoa Joe. This'll be "snug"...Tweet 50: "Samoa Joe introduced Tomasso Ciampa to his eventual wife." I need details on this...
Tweet 51: Joe punching Ciampa into the ropes. Great stuff.
Tweet 52: That slap exchange.
Tweet 53: "Submission specialist" - This means he knows a submission hold in WWE
Tweet 54: Really enjoying this match. Hoss levels are off the charts.
Tweet 55: Yeah, that was great fun. Proof predictable outcomes don't ruin wrestling.
Tweet 56: "Báloooooor!" - Samoa Joe
Tweet 57: Great episode. Great hustle, loyalty, respect.