On commentary tonight, at Full Sail University, are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
It’s the return of Finn Balor to Full Sail and the crowd is fully supportive of him, chanting “Bullet Club” and “Thank You Finn” before he can speak. Balor says he should thank the audience. He and Samoa Joe have been at war for a long time. He recounts Takeover: London and Takeover: Dallas, times where he won. In Lowell, that match could’ve went either way.
Suddenly, it’s the strumming on an acoustic guitar of one Elias Samson and there he is, wandering out on to the ramp. Crowd is booing ferociously. Samson wrote a song for Balor. It’s hard to hear what he’s singing thanks to the crowd. Balor won’t look at Samson as he finishes his song, not until Samson says you’re nothing without the title. Bicycle kick from Balor and he picks up the guitar and strums once before chucking it directly to Samson. He catches it and stumbles backwards. I’m happy the guitar didn’t get bent or broken cause it’s a legitimate one, not a Jeff Jarrett one!
So, our main event tonight will be Balor vs. Samson.
Recap: We see social media posts from last week’s surprise debut of Eric Young. Andrea D’Marco interviewed EY for WWE.COM after his match. EY says the best are in nXt and that’s why he’s here to prove that he belongs. The cream always rises to the top. EY’s a world class professional and a world class maniac. He’ll prove that time and time again.
Up Next: nXt Tag Team Champions American Alpha will be in action.
Andrea D’Marco catches up with Balor following the ordeal with Samson. She asks about that truncated message to Samoa Joe. Balor says he’s gonna kick his ass.
Non-Title Tag Team Match: American Alpha (c) vs. John Skyler & Corey Hollis
Gable and Skyler are out to start this match and Gable immediately takes Skyler to the mat. Skyler bridges up and fights his way to his feet. Test of strength is followed by some very quick twisting and turning by Gable who is able to flip not only Skyler but the insurgent Hollis on to their backs. Gable traps Skyler in an arm lock for a few moments until Skyler gets back to his feet. He tries to tag in his partner but it’s Gable who is able to tag in Jordan. Hollis tags in and gets slammed on to his face by Jordan. Jordan pins Hollis down face first on the mat. Tags in Gable. Fireman’s carry on to the mat by Jordan. That’s followed up with another takedown by Gable. They’re having their way with Hollis.
Jordan’s back in as the crowd chants “Alpha”. Big right hand by Hollis. Can’t tag in Skyler. Jordan tags in Gable. Double front roll to knock out Skyler. Double arm drag by Alpha on Hollis. They both take out Skyler who tries to defend his team’s honour. Gable gets caught in a bad spot though, trying to punch Skyler again and Hollis seizes the opportunity to keep Gable punished in their corner with some double team work, punching, chopping and leg dropping their opponent. Pin attempt for a 2 count. Skyler’s wearing Gable down with a headlock. Gable breaks free with a belly to belly suplex and tags in Jordan. Jordan t-bone suplexes Skyler. Huge overhead belly to belly suplex on Hollis. Jordan’s about to spear Hollis when he notices Dash & Dawson walking towards the ring. The two teams stare each other down and jaw at one another.
Jordan refocuses on Hollis, spearing him in the corner. Tags in Gable for them to complete their double team finish and that’s the end of the match. They hold their titles high, facing the former champions and motion for them to come in to the ring. Dash & Dawson jaw back at them and saunter closer to the ring, but, ultimately, they decide not to enter.
Winner: American Alpha via pinfall in 5 minutes
One cool point for American Alpha and the way they absolutely manhandled their opponents tonight. They are such a talented team and the way they each suplex…it’s quite impressive. Jordan gets quite a bit of height on his overhead throws and I’m glad I’m not Skyler or Hollis after that match. Bound to feel a little roughed up.
Backstage, it’s Cathy Kelley with Shinsuke Nakamura. She asks him what Riley meant, in his interview last week, about the rage. Nakamura says something about shaking with rage and shakes his head around before leaving. That match is up next!
Singles Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Alex Riley
Crowd is hype for Nakamura and his entrance. The dude certainly has a mystique around him. The bell rings and it’s Riley pushing Nakamura around in the corner. The two lock up on the ropes and the referee tells them to break it up. Riley charges Nakamura and he gets thrown through the ropes. Nakamura beckons Riley to continue and Riley charges him only to get a knee to the gut. Nakamura misses the jumping knee and it’s Riley with slaps to the chest. Off the ropes, big dropkick by Riley. That brings the crowd to boos.
Riley slaps the back of Nakamura’s head repeatedly. He pauses to beckon Nakamura towards him but that just makes Nakamura angry. He brings hard knees and forearms to Riley, forcing him on to the bottom rope, and stomping him down.
Another strong forearm, followed by a hard left knee to Riley. Nakamura lifts Riley on to the turnbuckle for a running knee to the midsection. Inverted exploder suplex! Nakamura charges up in the corner for KINSHASA! 1-2-3! It’s over.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall in 3 minutes
One cool point for the excitement that Nakamura brings with him to each match he’s wrestled thus far in his nXt career. Every match he wrestles is a big deal, thanks to his legend, his charisma and in-ring abilities. Riley didn’t get much opportunity to show rage and Nakamura wasn’t about to let him either. Excited to see who is going to challenge this guy over the summer months.
Backstage, it’s Austin Aries in the office of nXt General Manager, William Regal. He says he didn’t come to nXt just to be another guy. Regal says he didn’t ask him here for that. Aries wants to prove he’s not just good, he’s great.
Blake and Murphy interrupt the conversation to say they deserve another title match.
Aries calls them out on how they don’t have the decency to bring Alexa Bliss in with them. Bliss jumps in and the two parties resume their disagreement until Regal breaks in with a wonderful idea. A tag team match between Blake & Murphy and Aries and a partner of his choice. Blake and Murphy say Aries has no friends and leave. Aries says he has to make a phone call and leaves.
Singles Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Rachel Ellering
Ellering is the daughter of WWE Hall of Fame Manager, Paul Ellering. She received training from Lance Storm. Decent credentials.
The two ladies tie up and exchange arm twists and positioning until Bliss takes Ellering to the mat and locks up the left arm. Ellering tries to get Bliss into a side headlock but Bliss pushes her to the mat. Still, Ellering persists with a pinning attempt…and another roll-up, both only for 1 count. Bliss with a left arm twist and slam. She follows it with a pinfall attempt. Kicks to the right shoulder while Ellering lies on the mat. Left arm lock and another takedown for Bliss, pinning Ellering to the mat with her body, keeping a hold on the arm. Punches to the face and a 2 count.
Bliss continues to arm twist and it’s Ellering who reverses it with one of her own. Two big right hands are followed up with a dropkick. She picks up Bliss across the shoulders but Bliss elbows her way free. Bliss with a spike slam on Ellering. She mounts the turnbuckle for a sparkle splash! 1-2-3.
Winner: Alexa Bliss via pinfall in 3 minutes
One cool point for Bliss’ aggressiveness in the ring. Hardly a moment goes by that Bliss isn’t busy moving, attacking or trying to submit her opponent. I’m not sure if she could keep that endurance up in a longer match, but, for a shorter match, it’s a successful strategy.
Backstage, Cathy Kelley asks Bayley when she’s going to ask Asuka for a rematch for the nXt Women’s Championship. Bayley says she’s training and feeling better. Nia Jax interrupts to say when she made one mistake, she got stronger. When Bayley passed out and lost the championship, she became weaker. Bayley said Nia may have dominated their match from Takeover: London, but she won. Nia says the next time they fight, the outcome will not be the same. Bayley says she could choke her out again.
Up Next: Finn Balor vs. Elias Samson
Next Week: Austin Aries & ??? vs. Blake & Murphy and Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Singles Match: Finn Balor vs. “The Drifter” Elias Samson
Balor and Samson tie up. Samson works the left arm of Balor, who tumbles into a front roll to try and escape. He kips up, reverses the hold but Samson pins Balor for 1 count. Balor gets right back up to lock Samson in a hold of his own. Samson pushes Balor into the ropes. Sunset flip pinning attempt. Balor rolls out and lands a dropkick in Samson’s head. Samson leaves the ring to gather his thoughts as…
we go to commercial.
On the return, it’s Samson in control, forcing Balor in between the ropes and yanking on the left arm. As Balor crawls on the mat, he kicks the shoulder and then follows that up with 2 leaping elbows. 2 count pinfall attempt. Now they run the ropes and it’s a hard shoulder from Samson. Vertical suplex and a cover but Balor kicks out.
Samson continues to twist the left arm of Balor, slowing down the pace of the match. Balor retorts with right hands. He tries to run the ropes but gets a hard elbow from Samson, right in the kisser. Balor responds with a forearm of his own when Samson tries to bounce him off the ropes again. In the corner, Balor slaps Samson in the chest and drags him to opposite corners three more times for slaps. Woooo!
He throws Samson out of the ring and proceeds to connect with his through the ropes kick and then the big soccer kick on the apron, nailing Samson in the jaw. He tosses Samson into the ring for a slingblade. Running front dropkick into the corner and we’re just about done. Balor cues up his finisher, Bloody Sunday, which has been renamed “1916” (basically an elevated DDT for those who don’t know). He hits it, and then he mounts Samson for the pin and win.
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall in 5 minutes
Post-match, Balor reminds us that Samoa Joe did beat him. He wants his rematch. He’s obsessed with nXt and with being nXt champion. Now, he’s possessed, like a demon, stalking its prey. He wants what belongs to him.
This prompts Samoa Joe to make an appearance who objects to what Balor has said. The two jaw at each other but GM William Regal races down to the ring to interrupt the dispute, saying this is an nXt ring and this will not break down into chaos. So, at the June 8th nXt Takeover, the rematch is official: Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor for the nXt Championship. Joe doesn’t think Balor deserves it. He says he’s the champ. For that, Balor connects with an over the ropes flipping senton on Joe. Balor is the one who leaves on his feet and it’s Joe who is flat on his back in pain. Is this a sign of things to come?
Two cool points for Balor, for the way he ramped it up at the end of this match. After a fairly see-saw first few minutes, I wasn’t expecting such a sudden ramp up of offense from Balor on Samson. I thought Samson had earned a closer finish, but the finish was anything but close. It was all Balor to close out the match and that’s the kind of domination you want to see from the former champ. Also, of note, Samson’s been getting some high profile matches lately. Could he be seen as one of the top villains on the show? Is he #2 behind Joe? What do you think?
Looking forward to your thoughts and cool point suggestions on tonight’s episode.