WWE NXT Location: Orlando, FL Date: February 3, 2016
After the controversial ending to last week’s NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match, NXT General Manager William Regal made a ruling that sent shockwaves through NXT. Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe will square off, with a future championship showdown with Finn Bálor hanging in the balance, a decision that left Baron Corbin furious. Meanwhile, the NXT Champion found himself facing another tough test in non-title action against Apollo Crews, who was looking to prove himself as worthy of hanging with NXT’s top Superstars.
The Vaudevillains def. The Hype Bros
Aiden English & Simon Gotch have been warning the NXT Universe that they’re turning over a new leaf, through a series of silent films. The Vaudevillains finally got a chance to show off their more aggressive side when they took on The Hype Bros. Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley used their size and strength advantage to take control, but English & Gotch were not afraid to resort to dirty tactics to gain the upper hand.
The Vaudevillains focused on Ryder, wearing Long Island Iced-Z down in their half of the ring. Ryder slipped out of their clutches and tagged in Mojo. Despite a brief burst of offense from Rawley, The Vaudevillains took advantage of a missed Broski Boot and clobbered Ryder with the Whirling Dervish to earn the victory. Now that they’ve shown how fierce they can be, will The Vaudevillains be able to channel that and reclaim the NXT Tag Team Championship?
After last week’s tag team battle, Emma was out to prove that she is still the Diva to beat, despite Carmella’s status as No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Title. Throughout the bout, Emma and Dana Brooke did not appear to be taking The Princess of Staten Island seriously, mocking Carmella on several occasions.
Carmella’s resilience led to Emma’s mean streak coming out, stepping on her rival’s hair and locking on several torturous submissions. However, the No. 1 contender refused to give in. In the midst of Emma’s vicious offense, The Princess of Staten Island slipped out of her opponent’s grasp and pinned Emma with a backslide to win the battle!
Though they were voted Tag Team of the Year in 2015 by the NXT Universe, Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady are not going to rest on their laurels. The Realest Guys in the Room made it clear that in 2016, they won’t stop until they become the NXT Tag Team Champions. They backed up their all-business attitude with a dominant victory on WWE Network. After Big Cass hurled one half of their opposition over the ropes to the arena floor, he tossed Enzo onto the other half for the three-count.
Independent scene standout Santana Garrett showed no fear in the face of Asuka, walking right up to The Empress of Tomorrow and striking her repeatedly. However, her flurry had no effect on Asuka, who retaliated with a devastating hip attack. Santana impressed by hanging hold-for-hold with Asuka, until The Empress of Tomorrow emerged from a tussle on the canvas in the perfect position to cinch in the Asuka Lock and force Santana to submit. Asuka is looking more dangerous than ever. Will anyone be able to stop her?
NXT Champion Finn Bálor def. Apollo Crews (Non-Title Match)
Apollo Crews asked for this match with Finn Bálor, seeking to prove to himself that he could hang with NXT’s best after his last battle with the NXT Champion ended due to outside interference. The two Superstars seemed to be evenly matched at the outset of their battle, neither man able to gain the upper hand.
Bálor soon grabbed hold of a headlock and slowed the bout down to a methodical pace, working over his opponent. Crews finally slipped out and sent the NXT Champion reeling with a dropkick before taking control with a headlock of his own. Bálor bounced back and started to unleash on Crews with a hard kick and a series of chops. Still, Crews could not be deterred, as he fought back and used his power to stagger the NXT Champion.
However, a flashy moonsault to the outside of the ring may have been his undoing, as it gave Bálor time to recover and slide back in the ring to dive back out onto Crews. Realizing that it would take more than usual to put away his resilient opponent, the NXT Champion crushed Crews with the Coup de Grace, then followed up with a devastating high-angle DDT to win the battle. Though Crews may not have won the battle, he earned Bálor’s respect and the right to count himself among NXT’s elite.