The episode kicks right off with the Tag Team Champions, the Wyatt Family, but they are without their leader. The Abbadon is nowhere to be found.
Travis Tyler and Sawyer Fulton vs. the Wyatt Family
I have never seen Tyler or Fulton before. Probably does not bode well for them. Luke Harper seems to be in charge with Bray not around, as he directs the action for the Family. Stiff kick by Harper to Tyler, and a Double Arm Chop. Rowan comes in, hits a big bodyslam, but Luke tags back in and continues the damage. Tyler is able to hit a not-so-hot tag bringing in Fulton, who takes a big boot and a splash for his troubles, followed by a spinning clothesline giving the Wyatt Family the win.
A graphic promotes tonight’s 18 Man #1 Contender Battle Royal, and Stephanie McMahon’s HISTORIC ANNOUNCEMENT is next!
In a backstage vignette, Stephanie McMahon puts over the importance of the developmental system, and announces the creation of the NXT Women’s Championship. Stephanie mentions Summer Rae, Paige, and Emma will be participating as well as Divas from SmackDown and Raw.
Now it’s time for some Emmatainment! Emma’s oddly hypnotic dancing is loved by the crowd, and rightfully so. She gets distracted by bubbles on the way to the ring, and is, to a big pop, actually able to pull herself into the ring! Her opponent is Audrey Marie, who was one of the releases a couple of weeks ago.
This is a payoff to last week’s Audrey Marie promo that Emma hijacked and inadvertently poked Audrey in the eye.
Audrey Marie vs. Emma
Emma asks for her music to come back on and starts to dance again, but Marie interrupts by shoving her down. Marie takes control with an arm drag slam and a gutwrench suplex. Emma surprises with a backslide, and then locks on her version of the Tarantula, called the Dil-Emma.
Emma hits a cross body on Marie in the corner, a catapult, and locks on the Emma lock to get the submission win… which leads to more dancing. This was a really good, entertaining match. Even without Audrey Marie, who I was a fan of, the NXT Divas are working at a really high level.
Renee Young is backstage with Garrett Dylan and… somebody I don’t recognize, but the interview doesn’t get started as their manager, Sylvester Lefort, ends the interview and tells them to go make some money.
Jake Carter and Bradon Travern vs. Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylon
Garrett Dylan is carrying barbecue sauce to the ring, while Dawson has a… flashlight. I’m not sure if I get this gimmick, particularly when they’re supposed to be rednecks managed by a small Frenchman. Carter and Travern get the jobber entrance. Carter is the son of Vader, who looks like a dead ringer for the Miz. Apparently, that was going to be his WWE entrance before they changed their minds, hence the ring name Jake Carter, which was Miz’s character’s name in the Marine 3. Travern was one of the releases a few weeks back. Garrett Dylan is Kris Kristopherson’s son, and Scott Dawson… all I can find about him is he was one of the guys the Shield squashed a few weeks back.
Dawson and Dylan are apparently D-Squared. Most of the match has been D-Squared taking the advantage on Carter, before the hot tag to Traven, which lasts for about five seconds. The highlight of the match, basically the only good thing in the match was D-Squared’s finisher, which was a spinebuster by Dawson, followed by a sitting double axe handle onto Traven to get the win.
Derrick Bateman vs. Big E. Langston.
So someone who was also recently released against the NXT Champion. Welcome to squashville, population: the former Mr. USA. Tom Phillips and Brad Maddox put over Bateman’s new haircut. Bateman charges, and even hits a dropkick, but gets pressed by Big E. Langston just charges Bateman and hits a standing splash, and then the straps come down, and the Big Ending gets hit for the win. After the match, Langston, as he gets cheered on by the fans, hits another big ending, and then counts to five himself.
It looks like most of the guys are already in the ring. Among them, Curt Hawkins, Sakamoto, Sami Zayn, Yoshi Tatsu… and a bunch of people I don’t recognize, even though I watch every week. Corey Graves, Bray Wyatt, Kassius Ohno, Adrian Neville, Bo Dallas, and Mason Ryan all get entrances. Big E joins the table for commentary, and he’s pretty great, as Brad Maddox tries to get him riled up, but Langston keeps his cool. Sakamoto gets tossed by Ryan, and Briley Pierce, Curt Hawkins, and Alexander Rusev soon follow. A bunch of NXTers team up on Ryan, but he is able to power through all of them, and then also tosses Baron Corbin, Knuckles Madsen, Mojo Rawley, Yoshi Tatsu, Dante Dash, Aiden English, and Sami Zayn. Ryan has all 11 eliminations so far, and goes to powerbomb Adrian Neville, but Neville counters with a headscissors, eliminating the giant Welshman!
The final six are Graves, Wyatt, Ohno, Neville, Dallas, and Conor O’Brian. On the return from commercial, O’Brian and Wyatt are standing off, the Ascension kicks Wyatt out of the ring, but he falls through the ropes and isn’t eliminated. Ohno and Graves are able to team up to eliminate O’Brian, but Wyatt charges both from behind and is able to toss Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno. Wyatt hits the Sister Abagail on Bo Dallas, but when he goes to attack Adrian Neville, Neville counters with an enzuigiri, and then tosses the Eater of Worlds over the top rope! Dallas charges Neville, Neville ducks, but Dallas’s feet don’t touch the ground.
Dallas is able to almost eliminate his former tag partner with a headlock over the ropes, ala Chris Benoit in the 2001 Rumble, but only one foot touches the ropes. Dallas and Neville go back and forth at a really good pace, until Adrian goes for the Red Arrow, the Corkscrew Shooting Star Press, but Dallas got his kness up, and then was able to toss Neville over the top rope to get the win and become the number one contender for Big E’s NXT Title!
This was an episode of NXT unlike any they’ve done in a long time. Filled with squash matches, which were particularly telling that almost everyone who ate a pin this week has since been fired. No real long-term storylines were advanced, except for possibly Bo Dallas’s slow heel burn, and even a new odd pairing tag team debuted in D-Squared. As an hour of wrestling, it was mixed. Most of the squashes were not good, the Divas match, which was given a lot of time, relatively speaking was, and the battle royal went from entertaining chaos to just flat out entertaining by the end. Dallas and Neville’s interactions makes me really want to see them wrestle one-on-one, and I’m not a Bo Dallas fan at all, as I think he has the personality of wheat toast, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t look like a million bucks by the end of the battle royal.