This week’s NXT promises to be a good one. Pre-announced is the rematch between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, which will take place in a steel cage (filmed in Melbourne last week), and the full first round of the number one contender’s tournament. The winners of tonight’s qualifying matches will go into the fatal four-way match for number one contendership. With five matches in an hour-long show, we’re in for a busy night.
Shinsuke Nakamura def Samoa Joe to retain the NXT Championship
Tye Dillinger def Eric Young
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas def No Way Jose
Roderick Strong def ‘The Drifter’ Elias Samson
Bobby Roode def Oney Lorcan
The show opened with a video package chronicling the most recent events in the Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe feud, leading up to the steel cage match. It was stated that this is the final match between the two. Somewhat surprisingly, this was the opening match of the show.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe – NXT Championship, steel cage, match
I can’t pretend to be sad that this feud is nearly done with. Despite the obvious talent of the participants, something about it just hasn’t clicked for me. That said, the steel cage adds an extra dimension, so I’m prepared to be impressed.
The Australian crowd were firmly behind Nakamura throughout, with his music being sung at several points. The start of the match was slow, and pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to be. Nakamura tried his theatrics, Samoa Joe tried to knock him out. Joe got the first real period of dominance, but it was very much back and forth. They did a good job of telling the story of the two veterans who know each other inside out. Anticipated moves and counters were the order of the day.
As Nakamura attempted to climb out of the cage, Joe attempted the muscle-buster from the middle rope. Nakamura reversed into a powerbomb then walked the top rope (with the help of the cage) before delivering a Kinshasa from the top rope. At this point Shinsuke Nakamura could easily have escaped the cage, but he chose not to. Instead he delivered two more Kinshasa’s, and pinned Samoa Joe in the centre of the ring to retain the NXT Championship.
A recap of the recent six-woman tag match, where Billie Kay and Peyton Royce walked out on Daria Berenato, was shown before an interview with Royce and Kay. They said they didn’t lose the match, Daria Berenato lost and they got rid of her from their future plans. Berenato appeared and said she doesn’t want to be part of their plans, she just wants to hurt one of them next week. She left them to decide which one.
Tye Dillinger vs Eric Young
Dillinger could well be facing his last chance of redemption in this match. It looked, last week, like he was questioning his place in NXT before William Regal put him in the tournament. He is also seeking revenge for SAnitY’s attack on him during the Dusty Classic first round match where Bobby Roode abandoned him.
As expected, Eric Young did not arrive alone. With Nikki Cross and Alexander Wolfe on the outside, Eric Young started strong and wild. As Dillinger fought back, and got Young in the corner, he was distracted by Wolfe on the apron. He dealt with the distraction but Nikki Cross jumped on his back and Eric Young was disqualified.
Young carried on regardless but Tye Dillinger soon cleared SAnitY from the ring. SAnitY watched from the ramp as Damo attacked Dillinger from behind. There was a long stare down between Damo and SAnitY as Damo made his way up the ramp.
Tye Dillinger progresses as a result of a disqualification.
No Way Jose vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
This match was fast and fun. With so many matches in one show, none of them were likely to be particularly long. It would be nice to see a bit of a program between these two, they’re both incredibly talented, and their styles mesh beautifully. They’re clearly very evenly matched, but Almas had the edge on aggression and that was the deciding factor. After a few minutes of exchanging control, Almas struggled out of the set up for the TKO, kicked Jose in the face and delivered his finisher.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas joins the fatal four-way.
Roderick Strong vs ‘The Drifter’ Elias Samson
Samson sang a little song as usual while the crowd made it clear they wished he wouldn’t. Despite the lack of musical ability Samson has come back to NXT with a new intensity, and that was on display in this match. He dominated Strong for the majority of the match. Strong fought back though. He delivered short barrage of offence, culminating in a gut-buster and a massive kick in the face to get the pin.
Roderick Strong advances to the fatal four-way.
It was announced that Billie Kay will be the one to take on Daria Berenato next week.
Oney Lorcan vs Bobby Roode
Final match of the night and Bobby Roode’s theme got its usual ovation. Oney Lorcan stayed out of the way while Roode pranced around in his sparkly dressing gown for a while, then they got underway. Roode threw in some arrogant, demonstration style offence, while Lorcan took a more pragmatic ‘hit hard, hit often’ approach.
Oney Lorcan looked to be trying to suplex Roode from the top rope, but Roode fought back and Lorcan appeared to catch his throat and chest across the top rope as he fell. That gave Roode enough time to recover and still regain the upper hand. There were a few decent exchanges, and for a minute it looked like Lorcan might pull off the victory. It wasn’t to be, but he definitely caught Bobby Roode with something because Roode was bleeding from the mouth by the time he delivered a DDT for the win.
Bobby Roode goes through to complete the line-up for the fatal four-way.
Once it was announced that the steel cage match was the final match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, and there would be a number one contender’s tournament, it was difficult to see anything other than a Nakamura victory. The smart money is now on Samoa Joe turning up on the main roster sooner rather than later. It makes sense, there is nothing left for him to do in NXT.
I’m intrigued by the interactions between Damo and SAnitY. It looks like he could be a replacement for Sawyer Fulton,
The line-up for next week’s number one contender’s fatal four-way match is Tye Dillinger, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, Roderick Strong and Bobby Roode. It should be a really good match. As should Daria Berenato vs Billie Kay, also scheduled for next week. I’ve been talking up Berenato since her first appearance and I’m thrilled it looks like she’s being properly integrated into the division now. Next week is looking good already.