This week’s NXT was taped at WWE Axxess over Wrestlemania weekend and featured the NXT TV debut of Shinsuke Nakamura.
Austin Aries defeated Angelo Dawkins
This was okay. Dawkins got a lot in on Aries, but didn’t really stand out all that much. I was expecting Aries to finish him off a lot quicker. Dawkins had control for a while until Aries came back with some stiff strikes, dropkicks in the corner and finished it with a rolling elbow. I’m not sure that’s the best finisher for him.
Backstage Samoa Joe said that nothing has changed and he is still a warrior. Next week he faces Apollo Crews.
Alexa Bliss defeated Tessa Blanchard
Tessa Blanchard, the daughter of the legendary Tully Blanchard made her NXT debut here. She is someone that is extremely overhyped by online wrestling fans. She was extremely average here. The crowd were pretty dead for this despite Alexa doing her best to get them into it. Blanchard got in quite a bit. Bliss won after she gave Blanchard a death stare and hit a moonsault knee drop.
Backstage Finn Balor talked about Shinsuke Nakamura. He said he was ready when Nakamura was. That will be something else when it happens. I’d imagine it will be saved for when WWE return to Japan in July.
Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano defeated The Vaudevillians.
Ciampa & Gargano have signed with NXT and this was their first proper win as a team as The Vaudevillains put them over on the way out the door. This was a pretty good match. Gargano was worked over until Ciampa got the tag. Gargano hit a big Senton off the apron on English, while Ciampa made Gotch submit to the rolling armbar. I really hope this is leading to Ciampa & Gargano vs American Alpha. Both these guys are still taking independent bookings, so this is just more of the uncharted waters that 2016 has brought.
Backstage Tye Dillinger cut a really good promo on Shinsuke Nakamura. He should be a top guy in NXT, and maybe he will be now that a few big names have been called up.
Baron Corbin defeated Tucker Knight
When Knight came out I honestly thought it was Bull Dempsey. This was a quick squash, but Knight looked good when he hit a nice dropkick, a splash in the corner and a Thesz press. Corbin won with The End of Days, which looked great on such a big guy.
American Alpha were in the empty arena after Takeover. Enzo & Cass appeared and congratulated them and said they never faced off. They will meet next week.
Bayley defeated Liv Morgan
Bayley got the biggest reaction of everyone up to this point. She let Morgan gets lots in before putting her away. Morgan looked good and hit a nice handspring into a headscissor that made Bayley smile she was so surprised. Morgan is really energetic and is very good for having such limited experience. Bayley won with the Bayley to Belly.
After the match Bayley said she was beaten by the better woman at Takeover and that she is still standing for everyone and will regain the title. Bayley is one of the best babyfaces in wrestling. This sort of promo would have seemed forced for everyone else, but you can believe Bayley when she says it.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Tye Dillinger
Nakamura got a huge pop from the crowd. This was showcase for him. He and Dillinger played off each other really well, with Nakamura mocking the ten thing. Dillinger got in a little bit, but Nakamura hit all his signature moves and finished it off with the Kinshasa. Nakamura is so over withe the crowd and his charisma translates so well to NXT. He has so many huge matches waiting for him in NXT, so it should be a fun few months.
This was an average episode of NXT. It was more of a showcase to get people back on track after Takeover. The crowd were very dead for the majority of this, probably because these matches were taped later on in the taping at Axxess.