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WWE NXT -July 20, 2016

by Scrooge McSuck

- The Road to Takeover: Return to Brooklyn Begins...well, when it comes to me recapping the weekly NXT product. Last week, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Finn Balor in a 4+ star match to unofficially earn the spot of the #1 contender, so naturally I start doing the recaps the week after there being a match REALLY worth giving a damn.

- Tom Phillips and Corey Graves are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Hopefully the increased workload for both on the main roster doesn't mean replacements going forward.

Rhyno vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Champion):

Non-Title Match. Last week, Rhyno returned to take out the Hype Bros. and Blake (or Murphy), then issued a challenge to Samoa Joe. Joe is making his first in-ring appearance since retaining the title at Takeover: The End. Lockup and neither man with the advantage. Crowd chants "Vote for Rhyno" because they're smart and read the internet. They do a shoulder tackle spot that just leads to Joe talking trash. Rhyno ducks under a clothesline and finally puts Joe down on the third attempt. Joe with a flurry of chops. Whip to the corner, Joe charges in with an avalanche, followed by an enziguri. Rhyno teases a comeback, but gets laid out with an elbow for a two count. Joe reverses a whip to the corner, with extra gusto on it. Joe with a snap mare, chop to the back, and kick to the chest. Elbow drop gets two. Rhyno escapes a nerve hold with elbows. Joe with an inverted atomic drop, but a running senton misses. They trade blows with Rhyno getting the upper hand. Rhyno with a belly-to-belly suplex, but the Gore is countered. Joe with a uranage, and the Kokina Clutch finishes at 6:17. *1/2 Just an extended squash match for Joe, which says a lot for how they feel about Rawley, Ryder, Blake, and Murphy.

- Asuka Interview. They're clearing setting her up for a subtle heel for the inevitable rematch with Bayley.

- This week on the WWE Brand Extension Draft, NXT Superstars Finn Balor, American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable), Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Mojo Rawley, and Carmella were moved to the main roster. Can you believe there was consideration to just bring up Jordan and NOT Gable?

American Alpha vs. The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering):

Finally, after several beat-downs, the American Alpha finally look to get some revenge in the ring against the two monsters who continue to go unnamed (Gzim Selmani and Sunny Dhinsa). It's funny how one week they are advertised under their real names, then suddenly at the next show, they're just "Authors of Pain" and have no names. The AOP attack Gable and Jordan during their ring entrance, and it seems like the match might not happen...but Gable and Jordan are here for a fight, and the match is on! All four men brawl, with Gable dumping Dhinsa and Jordan dumping Selmani over the top rope. Jordan takes Dhinsa over with an arm drag and Alpha take turns driving shoulders to the midsection. Double northern lights suplex only gets a one count. Selmani tags in, catches Gable in a leap frog, and Dhinsa comes off the ropes to squash Gable between them. They take turns driving knees to the midsection. Dhinsa ("the tattooed one") controls with a bear-hug. Jordan with the hot tag and a takedown on Dhinsa. He takes Selmani over with a T-Bone Suplex and THE STRAPS ARE DOWN. Twisting back suplex on Dhinsa gets a one count. Jordan gets hung across the top rope. Gable tags in, takes down Dhinsa, and connects with an overhead T-Bone Suplex for a two count. Dhinsa catches him off the ropes, but Jordan pulls Selmani to the floor. Gable counters Dhinsa with the Ankle Lock, but Selmani makes the save. Jordan comes back in and nails a suicide dive, leaping over Gable in the process. Gable goes for a baseball slide, but Dhinsa catches it and swings him head-first into the LED board on the side of the ring. Jordan charges and gets thrown face-first into the steps. Back in the ring, and the clothesline/leg sweep combo finishes Gable at 6:33. ** Fun, short match that put over the AOP destructive style and the heart of American Alpha. Hopefully American Alpha gets one more crack at them at Takeover, unless the call-up is indeed the end for them on NXT.

- The Revival (Dash and Dawson) Interview. They brag about being unbeatable, so here's Johnny Gargano and Tomaso Ciampa to remind them that they did beat the Revival...in a Non-Title Match.

- Hideo Itami returns in 2 weeks. He has been out of action for roughly 16-months and only recently returned to action at live events, mostly featured in the main events.

Austin Aries vs. Patrick Clark:

It's the Greatest Man That Ever Livedô vs. a Tough Enough guy wearing goofy "patriotic" themed tights that Graves thankfully makes fun of. Last month, Aries took his frustrations out on No Way Jose, a feud that might be a bit below Aries' standards. Lockup and Aries quickly goes to work on the left arm. Clark with a fireman's carry counter, into an arm-bar. Aries forces a break in the corner and lands a cheap boot to the midsection. Aries with a running dropkick into the corner. Clark springs in from the apron and gets laid out with a clothesline. Aries with an atomic drop, backward slam, and the Last Chancery finishes at 1:56. Squash match. No Way Jose comes out to seek revenge, running Aries off before things can get too out of hand.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax:

If you'll remember, it was about two months ago that Nia Jax was credited with "injuring" Bayley, halting her momentum and her chance to cash her in rematch clause with Asuka (Bayley, of course, worked a regular house show schedule the entire time they sold her injury, so lying on TV to the same audience who goes to live shows was just pointless. Just take her off the road to allow people to buy the situation). Jax tries to corner Bayley, unsuccessfully. Bayley goes for the arm, but Jax shrugs her off. Bayley with mounted punches in the corner. Jax catches her in mid-air and connects with snake eyes. She tosses Bayley to the floor, catching her on the middle rope in what could've been an ugly repeat of what happened to Enzo Amore a couple of months ago. Jax continues putting the boots to Bayley and drops a pair of elbows. Bayley rolls away from a third, but gets squashed in the corner. Bayley comes back, ramming Jax repeatedly to the turnbuckle pad. Jax quickly turns it around, throwing Bayley like a rag doll and kicking her out of the ring. We return from commercial with Jax still in control. Jax with a slam and modified cobra clutch. Bayley with elbows to escape, followed by a pair of boots. She hits a jumping clothesline into the corner, but a cross body is countered by Nia with a back breaker. Bayley dumps Jax to the floor and comes off the apron with a clothesline. Jax misses a charge, ramming herself into the ring steps. Bayley with a flurry of rights and a running dropkick. Bayley with a pair of shoulders to the midsection, but the elbow is countered with a knee to the back. Jax misses another charge, this time meeting the post. Bayley to the top with a flying body press for two. Nia blocks the Bayley-to-Belly. Bayley counters a Powerbomb with a victory roll for two. Jax clobbers Bayley against the ropes, Vader style, and takes her over with the Jackhammer for a near fall. Jax teases a leg drop, but stops in her tracks and decides to go to the top floor. Bayley recovers, takes her down with a Super Bayley-to-Belly, and covers for the three count at 13:00. **1/2 Good "Bayley vs. Goliath" match, although a bit below what they did at Takeover: London. I liked the story of Nia Jax wanting to keep Bayley on the floor, as far from her as possible. A nice nod to their Takeover match where Bayley survived close combat and choked her out with a Dragon Sleeper.

Final Thoughts: After weeks of building matches up and focusing on new talent, we were treated to a triple-header of quality matches, with a solid main event, an energetic tag team match, and proper use of a veteran to make the NXT Champion look good. Sandwiched in between were segments to build on, with the tag titles looking to be fought over between the Revival and Ciampa/Gargano, No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries, and Asuka's subtle heel behavior setting up the Women's Match for Takeover: Return to Brooklyn. Should be fun to see what the direction will be with all the latest call ups.

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