NXT Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss
While she’s all Barbie Princess with her entrance, Alexa is super intense when Sasha gets in the ring. Alexa aggressively goes for pins early on, which I like as she’s more concerned with winning the match than getting paid by the hour.
NXT does a great job of progressing matches so both Alexa and Sasha are countering moves that caught them in previous encounters. I love Sasha’s attitude and her full commitment to being the unlikeable heel. Alexa shows a lot of spunk fighting back and acting like an otherwise pleasant face looking for payback against the heel that put her on the shelf.
Kevin Owens promo discussing how both he and Finn Balor have made an impact since arriving in NXT. Owens made his by beating Sami Zayn for the NXT title shortly after arriving, Balor did it … by wearing paint. ‘So bring the demon Finn, because it won’t matter.’ There’s not a lot of heels around like Owens. He makes points that are hard to argue, doesn’t pander to the fans and has a mean streak when he’s got an opponent down, but he doesn’t do anything to make himself the “cool heel.”
Emma visits Bayley in the locker room trying once again to get Bayley to tap into her aggressive side. and Emma in locker room. Emma encourages her to bring out the aggression. Bayley isn’t down with Emma’s NXT Universe bashing and gets five fingers across the face. I don’t care where this is going, but I’m digging it.
Devin interviews Tyler Breeze, who is now ready to resume his NXT title chase. Breeze may be a bit of a goofy character, but in NXT, even he is focused on the title. Hideous Itami interrupts though to remind him they both hold a victory over the other and challenges him to a 2 out of 3 falls match. NXT booking is so sensible it just makes RAW look like a bad variety show.
Devin interview Finn, who assures Owens he doesn’t need the demon to beat him. On to video packages of the combatants in the main event. This feels too big to give away on a regular non NXT special event.
Enzo, Cass and Carmela get interrupted by Blake and Murphy. They apologize for her getting knocked off the ring apron last week. The champs present Carmela with a bracelet to show their sincerity making sure to note they got it using their championship winnings. That was such a subtle (and awesome) sleazy heel move. Enzo and Cass have an equally great response calling it ‘Fugazi’ and adding ‘you should have got it at Jared bro!’ ‘That’s some middle of the mall stuff there.’ They’re a fun act and I’m enjoying their shtick more and more each week.
Owens vs Balor already? Wow, we’re actually gonna have a title match that has some time to play out! No demon paint tonight for Balor, but this guy exudes big money star and at this point, I’d easily see him moving onto RAW next Monday if he doesn’t win the title here.
Owens won’t even let the ref hold the belt, do you think he’s gonna let Finn Balor take it from him? The booking of the match is curious as Owens dominates for the first 10 minutes, but it becomes more of a story of Balor being able to withstand Owens’ onslaught long enough to start hitting his sudden impact moves that threaten to knock out Owens long enough for a Balor title win.
I don’t know how Balor doesn’t cripple everyone when he does that double stomp from the top rope to the back of his opponent’s head. Owens avoids the corner dropkick and Balor the knee he dinged on his pescado. Now it just seems like a matter of time, but Balor keeps fighting back. This match has gotten nicely competitive.
Balor goes for a top rope suplex, which Owens reverses into a sick cradle brainbuster from the top rope. Somehow Balor kicks out. This has built up to become a really enjoyable match. Owens hits two corner cannonballs — one to Balor’s injured knee — but misses a third one, which gives Balor time to hit the corner dropkick. Balor hits the coup de grâce, but the impact reinjures his knee and he can’t make the pin attempt. Such a classic Ric Flair setup here.
While Flair would sink in the figure four, Owens waits for Balor to try another aerial move and hits him with the pop up powerbomb for the win. Great match.
On a two-match show, those two better deliver and that’s what we got here. This is one definitely worth tracking down.
**Pics credit: WWE