NXT returned to television for the first time in 2016 after two consecutive weeks of best of matches from 2015. The end of year awards results are announced for tonight. William Regal opens the show.
Chants of “Welcome Back” ring around the arena. He wishes everyone a happy new year. He announces the main event will be a Women’s Battle Royal to determine who will challenge Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship. He then welcomes back Sami Zayn, who returns to Full Sail having returned at the last episode of NXT in London. He receives the same “Welcome Back” chant Regal got. Sami spends time playing up to the crowd, and announces he has a proclamation: he has come back to become the first ever 2 time NXT champion, a feat never done before. He is, however, cut off by Samoa Joe. Joe says Zayn doesn’t deserve his shot as the last time Zayn had a title shot, Joe had to come out and save his life. He tells Zayn to walk away, but out comes BARON CORBIN! He tells Zayn his place is at the back of the line, and says Joe lost in London while Corbin won. Corbin claims he is uncrowned NXT champion. Joe tells Corbin he doesn’t deserve to be in the conversation as Joe choked him out in Brooklyn. Joe walks out, but Corbin attacks Zayn from behind. Zayn, however, hits a kick to Corbin and sends him out of the ring.
Notes – Great segment. Pure ferocity shown by all three claiming to be number one contender. Joe was superb as he brought up both saving Zayn and beating Corbin in Brooklyn. It was also great that Zayn has found himself in an important spot on the card upon return, which was a concern for me.
NXT End of Year awards 2015 results
Tag Team of the Year – Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
Female Wrestle of the Year – Bayley
Male Wrestler of the Year – Finn Balor
TakeOver of the Year – Brooklyn
Match of the Year – Sasha Banks vs Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver Brooklyn
Overall Competitor of the Year – Finn Balor
Tomasso Ciampa vs Danny Burch
Ciampa locks in an arm submission on the mat to start the match before stomping on one of Burch’s arm. Burch, however, nails a kick to Ciamapa that immediately swings the momentum in his favour. Burch gets cocky and receives a huge slap for his arrogance. Ciampa bounces Burch off the top rope before planting him face first for a two count. An incredible right hand by Burch drew a near fall for the Englishman, before the two trade strikes. Ciamapa locks in a strong armbar and gains the submission victory.
Result – Tomasso Ciampa wins by submission
Analysis – A great hard hitting match. Two really strong strikers that looked strong in their exchange of offences. Ciamapa was, in 2015, booked as a hard hitter who put over bigger talents. Now he has won a match, one must wonder whether he is going to start a run of victories now. It would be good if he was, because he has serious potential.
William Regal is backstage and he announces a blockbuster encounter. A triple threat match to determine who will challenge Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. Sami Zayn vs Samoa Joe vs Baron Corbin.
Dash and Dawson vs the Ascension
YEAAHHHH! THE ASCENSION BACK IN NXT WHERE THEY ARE TREATED AS A BIG DEAL AND NOT JOBBERS LIKE ON THE MAIN ROSTER! AND THE CROWD CHEERED FOR THEM! THIS IS GREAT! Viktor explodes out of the traps and pummels Dash into the corner. He then hits a high knee on Dawson but it’s only a distraction as the champs take control. Viktor, having been on the receiving end for so long, plants Dash and tags in Konnor. He pumps his attacks to the gratitude of the crowd before planting Dawson face first. Dash distracts the ref before dumping Viktor over the top rope. A blind tag allows the champs to hit the Shatter Machine on Konnor to pick up the victory.
Result – Dash and Dawson win
Analysis – I absolutely love when the Ascension return to NXT. They are treated as such a big deal unlike the disgrace they are on the main roster. Sure they lost, but it was a decent match and they put on a decent match in a short time. I really would like to see them go back to NXT and build again. They could have been so much more.
Elias Samson vs Corey Hollis
The drifter is here. He begins the match locking Hollis in a headlock before hammering away in the corner. Samson flicks up off the top rope and kicks Hollis away. He sits on the top rope and laughs away before very slowly “drifting” to the cover but only gets a two count. A swinging neck-breaker does pick up a win for Samson however. Samson then tells the crowd that “what this place needs, is what I am” before exiting into the darkness.
Result – Elias Samson wins
Analysis – A short match that gave no man to really show what they can do in the ring, but I absolutely love this gimmick for Samson. A quiet, mysterious drifter who does his business in the ring. It could be made into a really intriguing gimmick if used right. I am well and truly behind it.
Women’s Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship
Eva Marie. Alexa Bliss (with a brand new theme song). Billie Kay. Carmella. Aliyah (who is debuting). Liv Morgan. Emma. Cameron. Asuka. Deonna Purrazzo. And my new favourite diva in NXT, Peyton Royce. Nia Jax was ruled out backstage by a doctor. I personally am rooting for either Emma, Asuka or Royce to win this match. Marie stops during her entrance as Asuka comes out and Asuka budges into Marie on her way down. All of the women look at Asuka acknowledging her threat. Asuka knocks Marie down with a huge kick. This is an over-the-top battle royal which is refreshing as, on the main roster, the stipulation is usually just to knock your opponent out of the ring rather than over the top. Because, you know, Vince and his views on women’s wrestling. It is worth noting already that Eva Marie isn’t in the ring but has not been eliminated. Aliyah is the first diva eliminated in her debut. Purrazzo goes over the top as Cameron dodges an attack and lowers the top rope. Liv Morgan, at the second attempt, tries to powerbomb Cameron over the top, but they both end up eliminated by Alexa Bliss. Emma hits an elbow to Bliss who was on the apron but had gone over the top, and Bliss is out. Asuka kicks Emma off the top rope, but Emma hangs on. Only momentarily however, and Asuka hits another kick to eliminate Emma. Royce and Kay try to team up and eliminate Asuka, but, as they fail, they fight between them. Asuka dumps both onto the apron and a hip attack eliminates them. Asuka is the only one remaining in the ring, but Eva Marie gets back in the ring and eliminates Asuka. She thinks she has won, and is celebrating, but Carmella gets back in the ring having never been eliminated and dumps Eva out of the ring to become the number one contender. Bayley comes out after the match and embraces Carmella, which is lovely because the two are actually really great friends. It is official though. Bayley will next defend her Women’s Title against Carmella.
Result – Carmella wins
Analysis – A very unsurprising win. I never even considered Carmella as the winner. I like the shock factor. The match itself was what any battle royal is. People trying to eliminate people. It was brilliant that they teased Eva Marie winning then had her lose to her own tactics. It is interesting to see what develops between Asuka and Eva Marie/ Nia Jax. An interesting feud there. It would also be great to see Royce and Kay begin to develop into on screen characters as they both are very talented in the ring.
Analysis – A few short matches and a battle royal limited the brilliance of actual wrestling this week. Ciampa and Burch was worth a watch for the striking of both men, but was too short to be a classic. The night served to begin feuds for 2016. We have a number one contenders match set up for the NXT Championship, we know the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, it seems Enzo and Cass are still in the hunt for the NXT Tag Team Championships after their backstage promo, and it seems we are heading towards a feud for Asuka against Eva Marie and Nia Jax, which would mean both Asuka’s feuds so far have been against women in pairs. Strange. Also, the Ascension returned to NXT this week, and that is also worth seeing as they are treated well there by the crowd.