Greetings, assorted rasslin’ people. I am Survive’s sister, Casriath. Because Survive is a)sick and b)facing a pile of homework and tests the approximate size of Samoa Joe’s capacity for violence, I am filling in for her today. She will be back for next week’s recap. This is a good thing, because my understanding of wrestling is limited to what I pick up from watching NXT once a week with my sister, and it’s tough to learn a ton when you’re busy critiquing the WWE costuming department and coming up with snarky nicknames for various people.
The announcers do their usual sort of introduction over shots of the crowd at Full Sail University. “The Era of Strong Style has begun.” Hm, don’t know anyone who might object to that. I’m sure there’s no angry former champions who also incidentally employ strong style hanging around planning some kind of heel-like activity tonight. Nope.
Samoa Joe (“Mr. I’M THE CHAMP” for those of us who don’t know a ton about this stuff) arrives immediately to his brassy, bombastic entrance, and it’s clear that the former champion has something on his mind. The announcers remind us of Joe’s statements the previous week, where he stated that he “respects” Nakamura as the new NXT champion. Setup for a possible face turn? We shall see. A commentator reminds us of Joe’s rematch clause, which, should he invoke it, will entitle the dethroned Joe to another shot against Nakamura.
Microphone in hand, Joe begins his speech and is immediately booed. The former champ explains that “sometimes a loss makes you look in the mirror and reevaluate what you’ve turned into.” Apparently, losing the belt has somehow caused Joe to suddenly care about all the people he beat into a pulp to get to the top. He says he has something to say to Shinsuke Nakamura (“Japanese Michael Jackson”) face to face, and he won’t leave until he shows up. Luckily for him and whoever is in charge of making sure we get to see more tonight than just an angry Samoa Joe pacing in the ring, Nakamura is available. He arrives in his typical style, plus one championship belt, minus one mouthguard.
With the two of them in the ring, Joe explains that he needed Nakamura out here because he has something he needs to say directly to him. As a fighter, he’s said some stuff on social media and in interviews about Nakamura to hype up their previous fight, and he needs to set the record straight. He meant all of it. Especially the part about Nakamura being an undeserving competitor for the belt which is currently conspicuously slung over Nakamura’s shoulder. But! With his belt-deprived change of heart, he’s come to realize that Nakamura was a worthy contender, and is a worthy champion. And as a worthy champion, he needs to get ready to defend his title, because as soon as Joe is cleared medically, he’s invoking that rematch clause. Nakamura considers and accepts the challenge, and Joe exits, but not before a tense handshake. An impressive show of sportsmanship from Mr. I’M THE CHAMP.
BUT NO! Because while Nakamura was taking a bow on his way out, Samoa Joe comes barreling in from the wings, and it’s not for a handshake this time. Grabbing a temporarily stunned Nakamura by the hair, Joe drags him back ringside and proceeds to put an unholy beatdown on the champ. Shinsuke attempts to fight back, but a couple slams into the stairs later and he’s a limp pile on the ground, with an enraged former champ screaming in his face “I DID THIS TO YOU”. This is apparently what happens when you forget to wear a mouthguard.
Joe exits to the crowd screaming “Why, Joe, Why?” as Nakamura is neckbraced, backboarded and hauled out on a stretcher, belt considerately draped across his knees by a passing medic. William Regal (“British Manager Man”, one of the lamest of superheroes) arrives to survey the situation and leaves in pursuit of a murderous former champ. Hope he’s got some brass knuckles in one of those suit pockets.
After the commercial break, an announcer grimly informs us that Nakamura has been carted away by the medics after the brutal attack, and that they’ll keep us informed if they learn more. Cutting to a handheld camera chasing Regal, we see him run out into the parking lot looking for Joe. The former champ flies past, leaning out the passenger window of a black SUV. With a shout of “get better security” he’s gone, like a strange, violent PSA-fairy.
Match: Liv Morgan vs. Rachael Fazio
But worrying about the NXT champ is gonna have to wait, because we have our first match of the night. Liv Morgan (“Jersey Shore”) bounds out in her usual irrepressible way. Her opponent is Rachel Fazio. Personally, I’ve never seen Ms. Fazio before, and she enters to the generic NXT screens and theme, so I suspect she’s a relative newcomer to NXT. (Survive: Fun fact, Rachael Fazio is Paul Ellering’s daughter)
- As the commentators discuss last week’s interview with NXT women’s champion Asuka, the two ladies get down to it. After a bit of standing grappling for position, Liv quickly gets Fazio into an attempted pin, but the newcomer kicks out on a two-count.
- Fazio takes advantage of her grip on Morgan’s legs to roll her around the ring, but Morgan attempts a second pin. A kickout on two and they’re back on their feet.
- Morgan manages some slick maneuvering in a rebound off the ropes to some enthusiastic crowd reaction. T
- he commentators provide an update on Nakamura: he’s been taken to a medical facility in Orlando.
- Meanwhile, Fazio tosses Morgan into a turnbuckle and manages to put some hurt on her with a couple knees and fists, before getting broken up by the ref.
- Once Morgan gets out of the corner, she gets off an impressive flying kick to Fazio.
- Despite the newcomer pushing back and seemingly attempting to go for a powerbomb, Morgan keeps the upper hand and gets Fazio into a submission hold in the middle of the ring.
- Fazio taps out and the match is over in about two minutes.
After the match, the commentators discuss Morgan’s momentum in the women’s division recently, while she retrieves a microphone. She’s a little breathless from the fight with Fazio, but she’s got some stuff to say. After a quick jab at Fazio for the tapout, she explains that despite rumors that there’s no one left to challenge Asuka for the belt, she’s here, she may or may not have a deathwish, and she wants to fight Asuka. The crowd’s reaction of chanting “Asuka’s gonna kill ya” seems appropriate.
As the commentators point out that Asuka is undefeated for a reason, we go to commercial. NXT is going to Australia and New Zealand on tour in December, which may be welcome news to some Oceanians. Following that ad, there’s another showing of the mysterious “Sanity” spot, with scenes of rioting crowds and fires. Who can this be for? I’ve seen a few theories kicking around, and the big contenders seem to be someone called Tommy End and someone called Mary Dobson. Personally, I’m betting on a female wrestler, based on the couple still images of a woman in the spot, but who knows! (Presumably WWE advertising, but they’re not talking.)
Match: Drew Gulak vs. Hideo Itami
And we’re back to it with a match between Drew Gulak (“Ren Faire Coat”) versus Hideo Itami (“that guy who beat up Austin Aries in a suit”). I’ve seen Gulak before in the Cruiserweight Classic, and he’s solid, but he’s up against Itami. The commentators inform us that the current news of Nakamura is that he has feeling in all extremities, which is a good sign. Hard to do that entrance with a wheelchair, I imagine.
- The two wrestlers get right down to it. Gulak is aggressive and fast-moving, trying to corner Itami to get him into a grappling situation, but Itami makes the first move and gets Gulak down onto the mat briefly. They get into a grapple against the ropes, and as they hit a four-count, Gulak delivers a positively brutal slap in the face.
- This appears to have only the effect of making Itami angry, and he goes on an immediate counterattack, slapping, flinging and punching Gulak around the ring.
- Two brutal kicks to the grounded Gulak, and Itami rolls down a knee guard before jumping up to seemingly deliver a knee to Gulak’s head. At the last moment, he lands beside Gulak and offhandedly kicks him in the skull before delivering an “are you not entertained” Gladiator-style gesture to the cheering crowd.
- Hideo gets his knee guards back into place and just in time, as Gulak is back on the attack. They go back and forth between the turnbuckles and ropes, periodically kicking each other in the face. Gulak manages to powerbomb Itami off the ropes and gets him into a cover, but Itami kicks out on two.
- Gulak takes advantage of Itami being on the ground by using the ropes as a springboard to stomp Itami a couple times, focusing on the head and neck, before getting Itami into a painful looking position with his leg twisted through Gulak’s. Itami rolls back and forth for a while keeping his shoulders off the mat until he gets an opportunity to kick Gulak in the face and breaking free. Gulak isn’t letting up, though, and he gets Itami’s wrists and pulls his arms back behind him, trying to get him to tap out by targeting his previously injured shoulder.
- Eventually Gulak gets impatient and powerbombs Itami, but his attempt at cover afterwards is kicked out of at two.
- As Itami tries to crawl to his feet, Gulak kicks and slaps him, but this only manages to get Itami increasingly angry. Itami clotheslines Gulak and proceeds to kick and slap the daylights out of him as Gulak struggles to stand up. Once Gulak is slumped against a turnbuckle, Hideo dropkicks him into the corner to cheering.
- Delivering his ‘Go To Sleep’ finisher, Itami gets a cover on the incapacitated Gulak to finish the match at about four minutes.
As the commentators said, “Note to self: do not slap Hideo Itami.”
We cut to a quick reminder of the upcoming match with the Authors of Pain before going to commercial. Tickets have gone on sale to go backstage at the WWE Performance Center on November 14th.
Match: Authors of Pain vs. Doug Sessum & Chris Payne
Paul Ellering (“Scary Old Bald Man”) and the two members of the Authors of Pain make their way to the ring. I remember my sister was psyched to find out these two freakin’ gorillas actually have names, but I don’t remember what they are, so we’re gonna go with “Tattooed Guy” and “Other Guy”. Their hapless victims opponents are already in the ring. Never heard of either of these dudes before and they apparently didn’t get much of an entrance, but the commentators helpfully fill in that they’re Doug Sessum (“Victim One”) and Chris Payne (“Victim Two”).
- The Other One, possibly Rezar, immediately delivers a spinning backhand/punch to Victim One and knocks him to the mat. As the commentators freak out over the speed and ferocity, Victim One gets hoisted onto the turnbuckle as Tattooed One taps in for a two-man beatdown for their allotted 4 seconds.
- Tattooed One proceeds to drag Victim Two over the ropes and into the ring by his neck while Victim One is downed by the Other One at the edge of the ring. Hardly sporting.
- The Other One enters the ring as the ref makes an attempt to restore order, but the Authors of Pain give no fucks and powerbomb Victim Two into the mat.
- Once he limply rolls off the edge of the ring, Tattooed One returns his attentions to Victim One, who is struggling back onto his feet.
- Tagging the Other One into play officially, they deliver a two-man clothesline to Victim One, and get him into a cover.
- No kickout from the dazed victim, and the Authors of Pain are victorious after about two minutes.
We go to a backstage spot with Tye Dillinger (“That guy who can count to 10”). He admits that he’s been having a tough streak this summer, but he plans to capitalize on his momentum from Takeover: Brooklyn and last week’s NXT. He’s not planning to be a nine.
Up next: No Way Jose (no comment, that’s already a terrible name and I feel bad enough for him) versus Bobby Roode, and we go to a commercial for Connor’s Cure.
Match: No Way Jose vs. Bobby Roode
Even my black, cold, twisted heart has a soft spot for No Way Jose, despite (or perhaps because of?) his terrible name. Here’s hoping that Mr. Wears White after Labor Day can pull it off versus Bobby Roode, (“The Rudest of Canadians”).
Jose brings the party as usual, getting the crowd hyped up as he enters the ring. The lights go out for Roode’s “Glorious” entrance, and he’s wearing a stunning (*cough* absolutely horrifying *cough*) bedazzled bathrobe number with Glorious written on the back in red sequins.
- The match starts and Roode throws Jose by the neck, giving himself time to strike a pose and yell “glorious” at the lighting rig.
- Roode gets Jose into a headlock and sets up for a clothesline off the ropes, but when he tries to do it again, Jose counterattacks and gets the advantage, sending Roode into the mat several times in quick succession as Roode attempts to regain his momentum. Jose and Roode get into a series of stiff chops to the chest, but Jose keeps his upper hand and forces Roode back into the turnbuckle.
- Keeping the attack up, he tosses Roode across the ring, over a shoulder onto the mat, and even over the ropes and into the barricade. When Roode is slow to get back on his feet, Jose takes the party to him and jumps downward onto him, keeping him on the floor near the barricade.
- We go to commercial, an advertisement for the CWC finale.
- Coming back, Jose still has the upper hand, and is now beating Roode back into a turnbuckle. After a few false starts at counterattacking, Roode pulls a spinebuster against Jose. To chants of “that was Glorious” from the crowd, Roode delivers a series of stomps and kicks to Jose before grabbing him by the hair to throw him into the turnbuckle.
- As Jose tries to get to his feet, Roode delivers a couple stiff strikes before tangling Jose in the ropes and using them as leverage to dig his heels into Jose’s back until the ref calls him off.
- As Jose tries to regain his footing, Roode gets him into a back bridge, then gets him into a suplex. Leaving Jose on the mat, Roode again strikes his signature pose/shout number for the cameras.
- Jose climbs back to his feet and gets a couple good punches to the midsection in on Roode and dodges a clothesline, before getting a crossbody into a cover, but Roode kicks out on two. Roode gets another suplex and into a cover on Jose, but he kicks out on two as well.
- Roode knees Jose in the back and gets him into a chokehold in the middle of the ring. Jose tries to crawl to the ropes, but eventually gets onto his feet to break the hold with a couple punches to Roode’s midsection. But Jose is weakened by the chokehold, and Roode gets him into position for a suplex attempt.
- Jose slips out of it to counter with a string of punches to the jaw and chest, sending Roode to the mat several times, culminating in Roode hung up across Jose’s shoulders and spun before being sent to the mat in a TKO. Jose immediately gets him into a cover, but Roode gets a shoulder up on two.
- Jose and Roode both seem to be getting tired, and get into a series of quick-paced attacks and counters. Ultimately, Roode gets Jose into a hold long enough to deliver a neckbreaker and then a DDT.
- With a cover, the Roodest of Canadians wins the match in about nine and a half minutes.
Roode does his signature posing in blue lighting while the crowd sings along to his theme, and the episode is over.
And that’s what I saw on the September 14th, 2016 episode of NXT. Next week’s episode will be recapped by Survive, your regular commentator. Casriath, signing out.