While RAW goes on for three hours, and Smackdown Live burns down compounds, here on NXT we’ve got the focus fully on the wrestling and boy did we have some good matches. Two title matches – one for the women’s championship and the other for the tag team titles. We may also get an update on Eric Young on him totally being over Tye not joining Sanity. He’s totally over it. Definitely not crying into his pillow every night. Let’s not waste any more time and let’s get right into the episode.
First up was the return of Patrick Clark who faced off against Sean Maluta. Clark immediately made an impression by refusing to shake hands in order to pose with his hands held high. Maluta got off to a good start who managed to control Clark with multiple grapples. However, Clark started to beat and club his way into the match. Maluta tried to gain momentum but the sharp and thudding blows by Clark showed that his comeback was not something to take lightly. Clark then used what looked like Seth Rollin’s Curb Stomp to win the match. Welcome back Partick, I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they might be doing with his character as you always needs a bit of variety in life.
We cut to Sanity hanging out by a fire, with Eric Young sending a statement to Tye Dillinger
“What kind of a man…knows that he’s walking to his end, and he invited his friends”
This was in reference to No Way Jose and Rodrick Strong who came to Dillinger’s aid after an attack from Sanity. Young called Dillinger a disease that must be eradicated and challenged him to a one on one fight. Nikki Cross then added that if he doesn’t accept, they are going to burn the world. So, basically Young has finally accepted he’ll never get to be with his beloved Dillinger and wants to meet up as just friends for totes reals.
The second match of the night was for the NXT Women’s Championship with Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay vs Asuka. “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chants could be heard clear as day. Peyton tried to hold Asuka down but Peyton soon learned that it would have to take a lot more than that to beat Asuka. We got an impressive number of sequences that had back and forth counters which caused them to stare down at each other. You could tell in the eyes of both women that they had no just mutual respect for the other’s ability but also astonishment at their speed.
As soon as Asuka got the hip attack she was soon looking in control. This was cut short as Peyton knocked Asuka into the ring post but only getting a 2 count on the pin. Peyton was frustrated with Asuka’s resiliency. The match carried on with both women feeling worn down; they dragged themselves back up and just kept striking each other. Peyton almost got the win with a spinning heel kick but again Asuka would refuse to stay down. It all finally culminated in Asuka securing her Submission move and made Peyton Royce tap out.
Asuka won and is still the NXT Women’s Champion. Suddenly, Billie Kay tackled Asuka while her back was turned, then Peyton joined in and started to try and break Asuka’s injured arm that she had been nursing throughout the fight. Luckily for Asuka, Ember Moon unexpectedly came down to help. She took out both Billie and Peyton, leaving them to run away with their tails between their legs. Asuka smirked at Ember, Ember smiled right back, but there was a look in both of their eyes that said: “You seem like a worthy challenge”. Asuka raised the title belt above her head to remind Ember that she is indeed the champion. An Ember vs Asuka match? soon? Please? Someone pinch me, please don’t let this be a dream.
The episode recapped last week’s events with Kassius Ohno’s return. Apparently, he was also there when Nakamura hurt his leg in San Antonio. Did this change anything? Not really. Just a little fact. This was then followed by an announcement by William Regal, on the 15th of March, Kassius Ohno will take on Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship. Oh Yes! Oh yes! (Sorry)
A video package for Wolfgang played hyping him up as the king of Scotland, although no match has been announced? Could be possible that this is all in the buildup for a British wrestling show on the network or that these guys are going to be NXT regulars. Either way, these wrestlers always put on an amazing show so whatever they decide to do, you can bet I’ll be paying attention. It was also announced that Shinsuke Nakamura will return to NXT next week. Maybe he’ll interfere in the NXT title match next week?
It’s main event time, and it’s DIY vs Authors of pain for the NXT Tag Team Titles. A sequence of events that defined how the match was going to go saw Johnny Gargano get off to a good start with a spear through the ropes. After being tagged in, Ciampa jumped from the apron but Rezar caught him and slammed him into the ring post. It felt like DIY had to work twice as hard to make an impact against AOP who could take a lot of damage but then fire it right back at them.
The crowd tried to get Ciampa pumped up and he was able to fight back but was side slammed back down. Ciampa tried to strike his way back into the fight but again was brought down by the AOP. The momentum slid into DIY’s favour after Ciampa tagged Gargano in. Gargano leapt right into the lead by taking out both Akem and Rezar with suicide dives and almost won with a DDT but only got a 2 count. Akem was put into a Fujiwara armbar by Ciampa but was broken up by Rezar.
A notable highlight was when Rezar was on the top rope and was power bombed by Ciampa and Gargano. An awesome spot which highlighted the effective teamwork DIY has. The match seemed to be over as they went for their finisher, but was broken down by interference and Rezar hit Gargano with a spine buster. DIY looked like they were going to reclaim their titles as they locked both members of the AOP in a submission. Their hopes were then decimated by The Revival who interfered and caused a DQ, leaving the AOP to retain their titles. The Revival even added insult to injury by getting a shatter machine on DIY and the Authors of Pain.
A decent opening match combined with entertaining title matches made this episode great to watch. The episode was also successful in teasing possible matches down the line like Ember Moon vs Asuka and The Revival vs The Authors of Pain. Could DIY try to reclaim their titles again? What’s next for them? Anyway, an enjoyable episode that was worth a watch as who doesn’t want to see Asuka kick ass and DIY put in 110%.