By David Dodgson (@DodgeeWriter)
A big night is in the works – Aleister Black v. Adam Cole!!! Will the Dutch Destroyer continue his unbeaten streak and march on the in the number contender’s tournament? Or will Adam Cole ride the wave of momentum from War Games? Also, this episode is set to be broadcast on USA Network in the States as part of ‘WWE Week’ – will that mean a bumper show to highlight the WWE Network’s weekly show? We certainly hope so.
Andrade Cien Almas v. Fabian Aichner
An intriguing non-title match to start things off. Despite landing the first blow, Almas is soon sent packing to the outside where he is on the wrong end of an unbelievable dive from Aichner. The Italian former-cruiserweight runs across the ring, jumps to the top rope and leaps onto the champ sending him crashing into the ramp. Only 30 seconds in, this is better than anything on Smackdown last night!
Aichner continues to overpower Almas in the ring, hitting him with a Tornado DDT and a huge powerbomb. Predictably, a distraction from Suzanna Vega puts Andrade in control. After sending Aichner smashing into the ring steps, he delivers the Hammerlock DDT for the win. Winner: Andrade Cien Almas
A lot was packed into a few minutes there! Almas reinforced his heel champ credentials and Aichner hit some big moves in an impressive outing. Smart booking all round.
Orney Lorcan & Danny Burch v. Authors of Pain
Lorcan and Burch (or “Team No-one Told Us This S**t Wasn’t Real” as they have been dubbed on Twitter) face tough competition this week in the extra-large shape of Akam and Rezar. They take the fight straight to the former tag champs, unloading with a flurry of chops and European uppercuts. That is until they get flattened by AoP of course. A vicious looking Death Valley Driver to the corner takes Lorcan out before the double powerbomb and Last Chapter gets a quick victory. Winners: Authors of Pain
Another short but action-packed match. I think we had all four guys in the ring for the majority of the bout. Lorcan and Burch looked tough even in a squash and AoP looked dominant. More smart booking.
Ember Moon v. Peyton Royce
I thought this was going to be a championship match, but it turns out to be a non-title affair. Royce starts off the aggressor, but Ember Moon soon takes control, showing off her agility and nailing a diver from the top rope to the outside to take out both members of the Iconic Duo. Billie Kay causes a distraction, however, as Moon tries to return to the ring and Royce ties her up in the ropes as we head into an ad break.
A stiff looking kick nets Royce a near fall as the fans exchange “Let’s go” chants for both competitors. The match ends after Peyton Royce attempts to launch Moon off the top rope. The champion counters, stomps on her opponent, and then lands the Eclipse for the pin. Post-match, Billie Kay lays her out with a big boot. The Iconic Duo beat up Moon until Nikki Cross makes the save, clearing the Aussies out of the ring to chants of “thank you Nikki!” Cross then runs around the ring like a madwoman before charging off into the crowd. Winner: Ember Moon
Not a standout match by any means but the post-match angle was intriguing. Nikki Cross making the save was a surprise and it will be interesting to see what role she plays in the title picture moving forward. After the match, a vignette for Shanya Baszler airs – despite departures to the main roster, the women’s division in NXT still looks strong.
Number 1 Contender Qualifying Match: Aleister Black v. Adam Cole
The main event is finally here, and anticipation is high for this one. Kyle O’Rielly and Bobby Fish have been barred from ringside, so Adam Cole will have to go this alone. The match begins with some mat wrestling and Adam Cole taking every opportunity to rile up the Dutch Destroyer, ruffling his hair and drawing ‘Adam Cole bay-bay!’ pops. He soon pays the price courtesy of some trademark kicks and strikes from Black, who sits calmly in the centre of the ring as we head into commercials.
Back from the break, Cole is back in control, telling Black to ‘stay down’ as he stomps him down. Another ‘Adam Cole, bay-bay!’ draws his opponent’s ire. Aleister unloads with more kicks and strikes, preparing for Black Mass more than once, but Cole is too quick. A number of near falls for both men get the crowd on their feet and the ‘NXT’ chants fill Full Sail Arena. The match ends when Black sets up Black Mass once again. Cole demands to know ‘what you got?’ He does not like the answer as he gets laid out with the most lethal finisher in NXT. Winner: Aleister Black
A strong match to close out the show. Adam Cole played the cocky heel to perfection here, showboating to get under his opponent’s skin but ultimately taking it too far and getting beat. It was a surprise to see him lose so soon after War Games and the result does suggest he can’t win without the Undisputed Era nearby. A loss to one of the most over stars on the roster is hardly a damaging defeat though.
Another very good show from NXT, outshining the main roster offerings for this week. Even the squash matches at the top of the show told a good story. Intrigue and interest was added to both the men’s and women’s title pictures and it was all done through in-ring action. No lengthy promos or visits to the General Manager’s office required and we thank NXT for it.