Because of how late this is – I am so sorry, life just said ‘Fuck you’ this week – most of the matches only have the final move and winner in the bulletpoints. I will do much better next week, I promise.
In our main event tonight, the man who does not get hyped looks to instead get murdered by Samoa Joe tonight – erm. I mean, Mojo Rawley is apparently looking for “revenge”. Yeah, that’s gonna work out in his favor. Has he cleared this with Zack? Considering Emma’s out injured, I don’t think Zack’s a fan of Mojo getting injured either.
Our first segment is a “Moments ago” backstage segment with Bobby Roode and William Regal coming out of Regal’s office. They were apparently talking about something – most likely about TakeOver: Brooklyn – and now Regal has to go to the contract signing between Bayley and Asuka.
Once Regal has left the area, Bobby Roode rubs his hands together and grins, saying “This is gonna be great!” Yep. It definitely has something to do with TakeOver: Brooklyn and I am definitely very concerned. What is he up to?
And now it’s time for the contract signing! Regal is already in the middle of the ring – his hair looks off. I don’t know why, but it looks different than normal. Maybe it’s poofier? Perhaps it’s – my apologies, Mr. Regal – a bit paler? He sets up the contract signing and then asks for Bayley to come out.
Bayley comes out and she’s not dressed in ring gear. I feel like they’re slightly less likely to start a brawl in the ring if the wrestlers are wearing their own clothes (presumably. It’s unlikely for Bayley to have borrowed a plaid button up tank top from anyone else backstage). Tom gives us a quick recap of last week’s shenanigans, while Corey talks about Bayley making history last year at the first TakeOver: Brooklyn.
Bayley enters the ring and shakes Regal’s hand, before he calls out Asuka. She’s still undefeated, which I approve of. She comes out and she’s also not wearing ring gear. She’s also looking very, very good, in a sparkly black top and black pencil skirt. Asuka’s also wearing some very large heels, presumably so she can be at roughly the same height as Bayley.
Regal asks Bayley to sign the contract. Before she signs, Bayley picks up her microphone and starts talking. She’s competed against some of NXT’s greatest female success stories – Sasha, Paige, Becky – and she was the underdog each time. This changed at Brooklyn – the underdog became the champion.
At Brooklyn, her dream came true. The NXT Women’s Championship was hers. “And if Brooklyn was my dream, Dallas was my nightmare.” Bayley continues on to state that she wasn’t ready for her match with Asuka, but that she is ready for the rematch at Brooklyn. “Asuka, you are the toughest woman I have ever been in the ring with. But for me? The Asuka mystic is gone.”
Bayley is going to go back to Brooklyn and “do something no one has ever been able to do:” Beat Asuka and become the first ever two time NXT Women’s Champion. That’s technically two things, Bayley. You’re planning to do (effectively) the impossible twice in one night. But anyway. Bayley puts down her microphone and signs the contract.
Asuka picks up her microphone after a few seconds. “Bayley, you don’t have what it takes.” She continues on – “I will end your dreams where they came true.” After a few seconds, Asuka finishes on “I respect you.” Asuka offers her hand for a handshake.
Instead, Bayley picks up a microphone. “And I respect you, Asuka.” She brings up Asuka’s last contract signing, which resulted in Asuka being knocked onto the mat. “And if you don’t want history to repeat itself, I suggest you take your hand, you sign that contract and you get ready for the biggest fight of your life at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn!”
I should mention that Asuka’s starting to look a liiiiittle bit pissed over being disrespected. Bayley drops the microphone and Asuka starts saying, “Okaaay! Okaaay!” She signs the contract, then stares at Bayley for awhile. In the background, Regal is quickly scribbling down his own signature. Presumably as a ‘I witnessed this insanity, please let me out of here before the brawl begins’ sort of thing.
Regal closes the contract, then grabs his own microphone. “It’s official. At NXT TakeOver, on August the 20th, Bayley will face Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship.”
Bayley says “That’s coming home to me”, while Asuka extends her hand again. Instead of shaking it, Bayley slaps it away. Asuka turns to attack her – I assume – but stumbles over something (presumably the three or four inch heels required to have her be at the same height as Bayley). Bayley climbs out of the ring, then we get a zoom in on Asuka’s face.
Remember Asuka’s smile after being disrespected by Dana Brooke and Emma? Well. She’s doing it again. I really don’t think Bayley did herself any favors right there – Asuka usually comes back harder and fiercer after she’s been disrespected. Watch her match against Dana Brooke or her match against Cameron for proof. Asuka does not like being disrespected.
Bayley charges back into the ring and gets right in Asuka’s face. While they’re basically nose-to-nose, Asuka slides the NXT Women’s Championship off her shoulder and holds it high, without breaking eye contact.
MATCH: Authors of Pain vs. Adrian Nails and Rob Reisen
The next shot is of Paul Ellering talking to his brutes. Do we have names for them yet? Please? Pretty please? I can’t just keep calling them “The Tattooed One” and “The Other One”. Anyway, Paul Ellering plays that supervillain-esque role well. He dresses for it, even.
Anyway. This is a lead of up to the Authors of Pain beating the shit out of some poor jobbers and – oh. Damnit. I like these two. It’s Adrian Nails and Rob Reisen. (According to the close captioning, that’s how it’s spelled. I never would’ve guessed that in a million years, but that’s what subtitles are for)
Also, I think the Authors of Pain have a new entrance? I didn’t actually recognize it as their entrance as first, so either my brain’s gone elsewhere or their original entrance has been fiddled with. They’re also apparently a combined weight of 615 pounds – 615 pounds, they’re fucking ginormous. Reisen and Nails will be obliterated.
- The Other One and Nails are the legal men to start off. They lock up for about .02 seconds, before The Other One tosses Nails into the Authors of Pain’s corner.
- He beats on Nails for a bit, then tags in The Tattooed One. While The Tattooed One climbs into the ring, The Other One yanks Nails into a hard clothesline.
- While Nails is lying limp on the mat, the Authors of Pain alternate elbow drops to his back.
- Nails’ feet are twitching. That is literally all the movement I can see from him.
- The Tattooed One hauls Nails up and kicks him across the ring. Nails falls into his corner and I can’t tell if that was a deliberate movement or not, but Nails managed to connect with poor Reisen and it’s a tag.
- Rob Reisen looks absolutely terrified. I do not blame him. He really does not want to get in this ring, but the referee is telling him to.
- He doesn’t even really make it into the ring, before he takes a brutal knee to this face from The Tattooed One.
- Reisen crawls to the corner, which only set him up for taking a stinger splash off of both members of the Authors of Pain. You poor darling. I am so sorry.
- The Other One grabs Reisen, while The Tattooed One grabs Nails. They flip the poor jobbers onto their shoulders, then run at each other. Reisen and Nails get rammed into each other – I am so sorry – then powerbombed.
- The Authors of Pain haul Reisen up, then deliver their finisher. It’s that sidewalk slam/clothesline thing of theirs.
- The Other One covers Reisen for the pin.
- The Authors of Pain win by pinfall.
Poor Adrian Nails and Rob Reisen. I like them, damn it.
And it’s about to get worse. The Tattooed One stomps over to Nails and hauls him up to his feet. I’m not sure what they’re setting up for – The Tattooed One is saying something to Nails, but I can’t hear it nor read his lips.
But then music starts and – ahh. It’s everyone’s favorite Generic White Boys from Australia. They don’t even have bloody merch. They’re both wearing that ‘We are NXT’ t-shirt from the shop. Nick Miller and Shane Thorne charge down the ramp and into the ring and boys. Boys. The Authors of Pain are goddamn juggernauts. You’re…Not. Not even bloody close.
Corey says we should give TM61 all the “credit in the world” for either having the bravery or “lack of brain cells” to do this. I’m so happy he’s on Raw, he’s bloody amazing.
Nick Miller climbed up onto the turnbuckle to beat on The Tattooed One and, yep. Yep. That was a brilliant idea, mate. The Tattooed One just picked Miller up onto his shoulders and then delivered a brutal powerbomb. Well done there, Miller. Well done.
Shane Thorne runs towards The Other One, who’s in the other corner, and instead got caught into a cradle-esque hold. I actually had to stop and giggle when he started hitting The Other One in the shoulder in an attempt to escape. Thorne looked over, because The Tattooed One was heading to the ropes, and his hits got weaker in result and shit. Fine. Shane Thorne amuses me. I’ll give him that.
Thorne also took a brutal boot to the head off of The Tattooed One. Ouch. Sorry, mate.
Thorne is lying limp on the mat while the Authors of Pain stomp around, yelling. Neither I nor my sister (the non-wrestling fan who watches with me every week because she is long suffering indeed) are really sure what language they’re speaking, but The Other One is Dutch-Albanian, so it could either be Dutch or Albanian. Or perhaps even another language. The Tattooed One’s legit last name is Dhinsa, which I believe is an Indian surname.
There are a lot of bodies strewn about ringside as that segment comes to a close.
Shinsuke! Shinsuke is backstage, being interviewed by – one second, let me go check my cheat sheet – Andrea D’Marco. Andrea mentions that Shinsuke has clearly angered Samoa Joe – and the little smile there from Shinsuke was adorable – and she asks if he’s concerned about Joe’s threats to make sure Shinsuke doesn’t make it to Brooklyn.
Shinsuke’s response? “I’m not hard to find.” He goes on to add that Joe shouldn’t be worried – Shinsuke will find him when Shinsuke wants to. Hmm. Samoa Joe has a match tonight. Hmmm…
Shinsuke then looks up – I swear he’s very quietly saying “Joe?” – and he squints and raises his hand over his eyes, like he’s looking for something. I feel like Joe’s not gonna be too happy after his match with Mojo.
MATCH: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs. Angelo Dawkins
Oh, yay! It’s one of my boys! Hi, man. Glad to see you. My first recap was TakeOver: The End, which was also his debut. He remains undefeated in NXT, which makes me happy.
His opponent is…My first thought was Billie Kay, but, uhh…Billie Kay is a woman. Intergender matches aren’t a thing. Now the word ‘Dawkins’ is on the titantron, which means Andrade’s opponent is actually Angelo Dawkins. But still. Y’all need to work on that, entrances are supposed to tell you who’s coming, not confuse you beyond all belief.
Angelo Dawkins has been on screen for about three seconds as of this sentence and he’s shown more personality than TM61 did in their first three episodes. Props to him, man.
- Andrade hits his double knee in the turnbuckle move on Angelo, then drops him with a DDT.
- Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas wins by pinfall.
Andrade celebrates his win over Dawkins, but about thirty seconds into his celebration, a familiar, glorious theme song begins to play.
Number one, Bobby Roode’s entrance is blue, too. What the fuck. Are ninety percent of the LEDs broken? Can they only do blue or yellow? Is that why everyone has a fucking blue entrance? Number two, I get the feeling Bobby Roode is most certainly about to live up to his name.
And we come backstage again to Regal’s office! Austin Aries is holding an orange and talking about…Something. Regal’s paying about as much attention to whatever Austin’s saying as I am – meaning, he isn’t – and Austin Aries takes that about as well as a man who calls himself “the greatest to ever live” would.
Austin closes Regal’s laptop and tells Regal that he’s (finally) going to get to why he’s in Regal’s office. He’s upset at not being on the card for TakeOver: Brooklyn, meanwhile I’m upset about the real things, such as this cock-eyed camera angle. What the fuck, a dutch camera angle is meant to UPSET THE VIEWER. It’s meant to tell the viewer that SOMETHING IS WRONG. THIS IS NOT THE TIME NOR THE PLACE FOR A DUTCH CAMERA ANGLE, STRAIGHTEN YOUR SHIT OUT.
Anyway. “Samoa Joe’s got an opponent. Asuka’s got an opponent. Bobby Roode’s got an opponent. He’s been here like five minutes.” Austin demands an opponent and he gets one.
He gets one he’s not very happy with at all.
Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose at TakeOver: Brooklyn. This should be good – there’s no way to escape or avoid Jose now, Austin. You made your bed, now get beaten into it.
MATCH: Billie Kay vs. Liv Morgan
It’s Billie Kay! Man, I’d be so damn onboard with her gear if it wasn’t velvet. It’s such a cool design and the color looks great on her, but it’s mostly made out of velvet. You can see every seam because each patch of velvet reflects the light differently.
Oh, Liv Morgan. You poor darling. I am so sorry. One thing I noticed is that she’s in the redone NXT intro – a few episodes after the draft, they redid the intro to update it to the current NXT roster and Liv Morgan actually shows up in for a few seconds. Maybe that’s hinting at using her more? Full Sail is certainly entirely behind her.
- Liv Morgan does a cartwheel, but Billie ducks under it. Liv takes Billie’s big boot to the face and hits the mat. Billie goes for the cover
- Billie Kay wins by pinfall
I do like what they’re doing with Billie Kay. She barely featured before the draft and now they seem to be pushing her as a dominant heel. I like it.
Jack Gallagher, Rich Swann and Noam Dar are all watching from ringside. Jack Gallagher looks incredibly dapper in his three piece suit.
We cut to Corey and Tom. I’ve given up on Corey for now – which is a shame, because he’s normally so goddamn good at dressing himself – but Tom is looking his normal sharp self. He’s no Jack Gallagher – no one can be Jack Gallagher – but the grey suit and navy blue tie work well together.
A recap of Ciampa vs. Gargano on the Cruiserweight Classic last week – my heart can’t take it, guys. I just can’t take these two. When Ciampa came back after exiting the ring and sat down next to Gargano – my god. My heart can’t take it.
Then we’re backstage in Regal’s office. It’s him and Gargano and Ciampa and he’s asking if the match is going to affect them as a team. Ciampa says so much without saying a word and I love it – he broke eye contact and ducked his head, now he’s pinching the bridge of his nose. Gargano’s just watching him and, fuck. I love it. I love them. Give me more, please.
Or even better, give me them as tag team champions.
At TakeOver, Gargano and Ciampa will be fighting The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championships. This will be bloody great, I’m really excited.
I love Ciampa. I still love Ciampa. “We went to war in the Cruiserweight Classic and I understand the question, I do. But that’s what families do. Families fight. The difference between us and family is? Families don’t get to choose. We do. And I continue today to choose Johnny Gargano as my tag team partner.”
Gargano and Ciampa are certain they’re going to win against The Revival and, damn. I fucking hope so ‘cause I wanna see those boys with those belts.
MATCH: Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Patrick Clark and Tucker Knight
I will give Patrick Clark props. He’s memorable as fuck, with those tights. I just – those tights. What are those tights? Why does he wear them? Who thought they were a good idea? It’s so patriotic, I feel the need to start vomiting red, white and blue. He has the White House on his ass. His face is also on his tights because…I dunno, reasons? Narcissism? I’m not sure.
- Gargano does a spear through the second and third ropes to Tucker Knight. It’s not a normal spear through the ropes, which goes from outside to in. He was standing on the apron, going from outside the ring to in it. I think he used the ropes for a little more force, does that make it a springboard spear from the ring apron?
- Tucker Knight is having a very, very bad night. First he catches that spear from Gargano, then he takes a high knee off of Gargano, then Ciampa gets tagged in and Tucker takes a knee off of Ciampa at the same time he gets kicked in the head by Gargano.
- Then Ciampa rolls Tucker into the middle of the ring, tags in Gargano and Gargano hits Tucker with a running superkick while Ciampa hits him with a running knee from opposite corners.
- Then Gargano covers Tucker and gets the pin.
- Tucker Knight is having a very, very bad night.
- Gargano and Ciampa win by pinfall.
Hopefully my boys are as tight as they seem. It’d be damn tragic if they fell apart before winning the titles – or even just afterwards. Give them a nice run before they implode, please.
MATCH: Mojo Rawley vs. Samoa Joe
Before we get to the inevitable mauling, there’s a backstage interview with Mojo. He’s apparently upset at having all of his matches be interrupted by large behemoths (my words, not his). Rhyno, Samoa Joe – he’s sick of it. Tonight? He brings the fight to Samoa Joe. Tonight isn’t about getting hyped.
It’s about getting even.
- Mojo Rawley taps out to the Coquina Clutch.
- Samoa Joe wins by submission.
Much to my surprise, Samoa Joe let go of the Clutch when Mojo tapped out. I truly wasn’t expecting that.
Samoa Joe picked up his belt, said “Nakamura, this will be you”, then applied the Coquina Clutch again. Two more referees climbed into the ring, trying to get Joe to let go of Mojo. Joe’s still wrapped around Mojo, screaming about…Something. Probably about being a champion.
Samoa Joe is a very eloquent man until he locks in the Coquina Clutch.
Then he turns into a two year old having a bad day.
The three referees are attempting to break up the Clutch when a familiar tune kicks in. Joe lets go of Mojo and rolls away, with the most intense expression on his face. Shinsuke walks out and then there’s a sudden flood of security guards running past him. There’s about six or seven of them surging into the ring as Shinsuke slowly ambles on down the ramp.
All of the referees and security guards are shoving Samoa Joe away from Shinsuke. I have no idea where Mojo went – hopefully outside of the ring because where he was lying is now covered in referees and guards. Shinsuke is waving off their concerns, saying he’s fine.
Then he leans in and tweaks Joe’s nose.
I’m not kidding. Shinsuke reached in, grabbed Joe’s nose and twisted his hand.
Then promptly fell over laughing because, yeah. That was hilarious. Joe’s expression is bordering on pure murder. He’s being held back by nine or ten men and he’s putting up a fucking fight, holy shit. Shinsuke is poking a pissed off, murderous, demonic bear in human form and it’s hilarious as hell. God, I am excited for Brooklyn.
Shinsuke steps back. He’s taunting Joe in the corner now, but at least he’s not in grabbing distance.
This is hilarious. I love it.
Shinsuke is now back in front of the surging hoard of security guards and referees.
He just slapped Samoa Joe in the face.
He fucking slapped a pissed off, murderous, demonic bear in human form in the face.
And lived to tell the tale.
We leave this episode of NXT on the visual of Samoa Joe fighting a huge crowd of people, while Shinsuke stands back and laughs.