Editor's Note: Finn Balor suffered an ankle injury in doing the double foot stomp finisher against Samoa Joe. There is no update past that he left the arena on crutches.
Submitted by Lou Pickney
Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss
Asuka won by submission with the Asuka Lock. Asuka received a strong ovation, and Bliss plays the heel role really well. Bliss got most of the offense in what was a slow-paced but fun opener, though at one point Asuka slapped her hard across the face. Asuka has amazing natural charisma, connecting with the crowd without saying a word.
Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Blake/Murphy
Blake and Murphy won with the combo suplex/top rope frog splash on Gargano. The crowd cheered Gargano and Ciampa wildly and really didn't like Blake and Murphy, including the poodle braids or whatever it was in Blake's hair. Gargano and Ciampa got most of the offense before the finish. Solid match.
Nia Jax vs. Billie Kay
Nia Jax won with a leg drop in a nothing match. Kay is gorgeous and athletic, but with the lumbering, plodding Jax in there, you couldn't hope for much from this match. Luckily they at least kept it short.
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn pinned Corbin after hitting the Helluva Kick. The fans popped big-time for Zayn, who carried Corbin to an excellent match. And, to his credit, Corbin took a couple of bumps over the top rope that were impressive. After teasing a pair of planchas early, Zayn hit Corbin outside the ring off the stage area (where the entrance was) with a flip dive to the floor. Corbin had several great near falls on Zayn and played the heel role well.
Intermission -- Eden Stiles plugged the merchandise, not that she needed to as fans were crowded around it wanting to buy to an almost comical level.
NXT Tag Champions Dash Wilder/Scott Dawson vs. Chad Gable/Jason Jordan
Gable and Jordan won via DQ when one of the D&D team pulled the ref out of the ring as he was about to make a three count. Gable is as great as advertised, but I was really impressed by Jordan, who is showing considerable improvement. This ended up being the longest match of the night, and the crowd loved American Alpha and didn't need much convincing to boo Dash and Dawson. One of D&D screwed up a move early and landed ass-first on Jordan's head as he laid prone on the mat. Luckily he seemed to be okay after it, not looking groggy or whatever, but it was the lone legit scare of
the night. I would have noted which one landed on him if I hadn't immediately been more concerned with Jordan's well-being. Gable and Jordan doing the Rockers/Rock and Roll Express double dropkick is a great spot, by the way.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley vs. Emma
It's Bayley (as they actually called her in the ring introduction) won by pinfall after the Belly to Bayley. As the match began, the smarks in the section next to mine went from tolerably amusing to annoying, cheering for Emma and yelling things like "Bubbles" loud enough to distract the crowd from the match. One especially really loud guy screamed for Emma to "burst her bubble" and a bemused Bayley looked over in the crowd. I shook my head and pointed at the guy who shouted it, lest she think it was me being disrespectful. On the upside of crowd stuff, the balcony started singing "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie (a song from 1989), replacing baby with Bayley in the chorus. After the match, Bayley did her best to hug the handful of young kids at ringside.
NXT Champion Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe
Balor retained his title, pinning Joe after the Coup de Grace. Balor was doing the Too Sweet thing like crazy as he approached ringside from the stage, then did the gun hand motion that had seemingly the entire house chanting "Bullet Club" very loudly. The annoying smarks tried to start a TNA chant that was quickly booed down. Match was fine, solid execution as you would expect. After the match, Finn got on the house mic and mentioned that he had wrestled around the world, including spending "a few weeks" in Japan which was clever. He said he wasn't kissing ass, but that he's proudest of what he has done in NXT. He then did the New Age Outlaws gimmick "If you're not down with that..." and even did the DX-style crotch chop.
- Eden then plugged Raw on 2/29 one last time and wished the fans a good evening.
- Before the show, ring announcer Dasha Fuentes played a trivia game with two kids for tickets to the 2/29 Raw show in Nashville. The answers were all NXT wrestlers. Some jerk in the balcony yelled out "Chris Benoit" as an answer and got summarily booed and shouted down by the audience. One of the kids hilariously guessed Bull Dempsey on one of the questions, which popped those in the crowd who knew he had been released today. Another guessed Ultimate Warrior on a question, which amusingly led Eden to remind them that they were talking about NXT wrestlers. In the end, both kids ended up with tickets.
- Most of the audience was young males, some families and kids but not many. There were a good amount of women there too.
- Fun show, definitely got my $65 worth for my seventh row seat. That actually was my first time at the War Memorial Auditorium ever, and it's amazing that it isn't used for non-WWE TV tapings of some sort since it has an ideal capacity for a mid-major promotion, a great setup with the balcony area like the Manhattan Center in some ways, and an overall awesome vibe.