In the fall out of Blake and Murphy‘s break up last week, Buddy Murphy took to singles action for the first time in my memory. He took on the perfect ten, Tye Dillinger. For the opening match of the night, this was a very solid start: a slow, technical bout. Dillinger took victory in nice style, hitting Murphy with his modified Neckbreaker. I assume Murphy will now take a series of losses before confronting his former partner, inciting a feud.
To build hype towards the main event of TakeOver: The End, Corey Graves hosted an interview segment with both men involved in the cage match, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. The segment was a lot calmer than I anticipated with both men remaining calm in the opening exchanges. However, when the NXT champ and former champion addressed each other, the exchange felt a little clunky. Finn seems to be playing the victim a little to much for my liking, considering he is a bonefide challenger. Despite this, the intrigue surrounding the title bout in a week’s time has not diminished in the slightest.
The second bout saw Elias Samson take on “the greatest man who ever lived”, Austin Aries. Elias has been on something of a downward curve since his opening few matches, possibly due to the nonacceptance from the NXT faithful. AA took full control of the match, laying Samson out with a stiff elbow before submitting him to the Last Chancery. Aries’ momentum continues into his match against Shinsuke Nakamura next week, whilst Samson is left needing to invigorate his character.
A week before their title rematch at TakeOver: The End, The Revival were challenged to a match by Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. Both teams put in a monumental effort to make this the match of the night, forcing a back and forth encounter in which either team could have walked away with the victory. Scott Dawson looked to end the match with a Superplex on Gargano, but the experienced “Johnny Wrestling” was quick to tie up Dawson into a Small Package for the three count. This derails all the momentum Dawson and Dash had going into next week, but I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference – American Alpha will remain champions for a while to come.
This week’s show closed out with the contract signing for the NXT Women’s championship match between Asuka and Nia Jaxx. Nia took to the mic, confident in her ability to dethrone the reigning champion, exclaiming she would break her like she broke Bayley. Asuka retorted by uncharacteristically raising her voice and laying the challenge down before putting in some of her trademark strikes. However, the bigger woman saw a head strike coming and reversed it into a big Powerbomb, leaving the Empress of Tomorrow motionless on the mat. This encounter made Nia Jaxx look like a genuine threat to the belt when the two come face to face, but I cannot see past Asuka to rise above and retain.