Tonight should be a great episode as Johnny Gargano takes on Samoa Joe in the Main Event. It is great to see Gargano receiving a high profile singles match as his first NXT match of 2016. We start off the show with a bang as Sami Zayn makes his in-ring return to Full Sail.
Sami Zayn vs. Adam Rose
I’m still bummed that WWE didn’t really do anything with Adam Rose after his amazing ESPN profile. He does get a good response from the Full Sail crowd as he spent quite a lot of time here. Zayn and Rose start off by exchanging wristlocks. Rose resorts to a choke to get out of the hold but Zayn comes right back with an armdrag . We get some chain wrestling and Zayn drops Rose with a dropkick to the head. Rose goes back on offense, hitting Zayn with a barrage of punches and then taunts the crowd. He hits a knee drop and a clothesline followed by a flying knee drop for a two count. He continues working Zayn over. Zayn shows some fire and tries to mount a comeback out of the corner but Rose shuts it down. Rose hits a flying headbutt for another two count. Rose is looking good and showing some aggression we don’t normally see from him on the main roster. Zayn seems to be biding his time and reverses a Rose clothesline into the Koji Clutch. Rose taps out and Zayn gets the win. This was a decent match and we are reminded that next week we will see Zayn vs. Joe vs. Corbin for the #1 Contender spot.
Rich is backstage with Johnny Gargano and asks Johnny if he’s ready for tonight’s match. Johnny gives a great promo saying Joe is a bully and the best way to deal with a bully is to walk up to him and punch him in the nose. He uses the Johnny Wrestling moniker and shows a lot of confidence. Nicely done, Johnny.
Chad Gable and Jason Jordan give a promo expressing their disappointment in not even being nominated for the Tag Team of the Year award. They challenge Blake & Murphy, who were nominated, to a match next week. These guys are great. Jordan has finally found his niche in teaming with Gable. They announce their new team name, The American Alpha. I can dig it.
Tye Dillinger vs. Apollo Crews
It’s pretty amazing that the “Perfect 10” gimmick is super over even though Tye loses almost all his matches. Apollo is on a whole different level, though. He continues to build momentum and his fanbase. They lock up and neither wrestler gains control as Drake breaks them up in the corner. Tye gains control with a wristlock and maintains control through some chain grapples. He gets the crowd going with his 10 taunts on Crews. Crews hits his huge suspended suplex. Awesome move. Dilling ends up on the outside and hits Crews on the apron. Crews falls outside and Dillinger hits a nice looking dive. He tosses Crews back in the ring and hits his knee smash finisher but Crews kicks out at two. Apollo comes back out of the corner with a big spear and then hits an enziguri to the back of the neck. He follows this up with his sit-out powerbomb finisher and gets the pin. Both of these guys looked good here.
Apollo gets on the mic and says he wants to finish what he started with Finn Balor. He knows he hasn’t earned a title match but he wants a one-on-one match with Finn. Balor and Apollo had a great match a couple months ago that ended in a DQ due to interference from Baron Corbin. What we got was great and this could be even better.
Blake, Murphy, and Alexa get interviewed. Alexa says she is not happy after their performance in London. I’m not a huge Blake and Murphy fan but I think they’ve shown an insane amount of improvement since their start at the bottom of the roster. Alexa says she’ll be teaming up with Emma against Bayley and Carmella tonight.
During the break there is a trailer for The Condemned 2 with Randy Orton and then a short teaser promo for The Vaudevillains indicating perhaps a more serious turn for the duo. We then see photos from NXT’s live show in Milwaukee this past weekend where Kevin Owens showed up to face off with Sami Zayn. That must have been pretty cool.
Baron Corbin vs. Rich Swann
YES! Rich Swann makes his TV debut! Swann is one of my favorite wrestlers and I think he has a bright future ahead. I don’t have high hopes for this match but I hope Swann at least gets some offense in. Swann’s still got his sweet wing trunks! Some big “All Night Long” chants for Swann. Awesome. Swann hits some kicks but Corbin slams him to the mat. Swann hits another kick out of the corner and then dodges Corbin with a sweet flip. He takes a crazy bump off a backdrop. Corbin whips Swann into the corner and he lands hard. He then gets Swann in a headlock and Swann flips out of it. Great headscissors by Swann and some nice looking dropkicks. Swann hits a superkick and gets a two count. Lots of great offense by Swann here and he is looking great. He goes to the top rope but Corbin gets up. Swann jumps over him but Corbin has it scouted and nails him with the End of Days and gets the pinfall. Great debut for Swann.
Rich interviews Carmella and Bayley. Carmella says that she is excited for her upcoming championship match with Bayley but tonight the focus is on their match with Emma and Alexa Bliss. They’re interrupted by Dash and Dawson who congratulate Carmella on her Battle Royale win but tell her that just like her boys Enzo and Cass, she can’t win when it counts. Carmella goes after Dash and Dawson but Bayley holds her back, telling her to take it out on Emma and Alexa tonight.
Bayley and Carmella vs. Emma and Alexa Bliss
Emma is accompanied by Dana Brooke. Alexa and Emma have some words before the match but it seems like they are going to cooperate. Bayley is probably the most over wrestler on the roster. Emma knocks Carmella out of the ring and Emma and Alexa double team Bayley before the bell even rings. Carmella gets back in and breaks it up. Bayley is selling her ribs but starts the match off. Emma and Alexa gain control quickly with quick tags and double team moves.Bayley tries to mount a comeback against Alex but Alexa continues to work over the ribs. Bayley creates some space and hits a diving attack off the top rope. Alexa gets the hot tag to Emma who takes out Carmella before Bayley can make the tag. Bayley surprises Emma with a flurry of offense but Dana Brooke distracts Bayley and Alexa nails Bayley from the apron. Alexa tags in and hits her with a series of shoulderblocks into the corner. She tags Emma in who hits a double underhook suplex for a near fall. Bayley manages to fight out of the corner and gets a hot tag to Carmella. A fired up Carmella hits a headscissors and then a Bronco Buster. Emma tries to jump in but Carmella tosses her to the outside. She then gets Alexa in her leglock submission for the tapout win. Carmella looked great here.
Rich interviews Balor regarding the challenge from Apollo Crews. Balor says he accepts Apollo’s challenge and they will find out who the better man is. Johnny Gargano vs. Samoa Joe is next and the commentators are really doing a good job building up Gargano and treating this match seriously.
Johnny Gargano vs. Samoa Joe
Great reception for Gargano and he looks like he belongs here in the Main Event. People love to crap on WWE but Hunter really is doing some amazing work in NXT. Even a year ago I probably wouldn’t have believed you if you told me we would be seeing Gargano vs. Joe in a WWE ring. The future is very bright even if only a small fraction of these guys make it big on the main roster. Joe is slow to obey the count in the corner multiple times. Johnny surprises him with some forearms but Joe tackles him to the mat. Gargano dodges a charging attack and hits him with a kick. Joe goes to the outside to take a breather. Gargano goes for an apron attack but Joe sweeps his leg to take him out. Joe throws him back in the ring and hits a barrage of punches followed by a big dropkick in the corner. Gargano tires to come back with some chops but Joe nails him with a combination of kicks and then hits a running kick to knock Gargano out of the ring. Joe hangs back and Gargano narrowly avoids a countout. Gargano hits a series of elbows and dodges a backfist from Joe to hit an enziguri. Gargano gets tossed to the apron but then hits a jumping DDT on Joe and gets a two count. Joe dodges a running attack into the corner by Gargano and nails him with a kick to the head followed by the Kokina Clutch to finish off Gargano. Joe looked very strong here but Johnny looked great as well.
This was a great episode. I enjoyed it more than last week’s as we saw matches building up to next week’s big triple threat match between Joe, Zayn, and Corbin. Rich Swann had a strong debut and Carmella looked great in the build to her match with Bayley.