ORLANDO, Fla. — Heading into this week’s show, the NXT Universe was looking for the answer to one question – Who is the No. 1 Contender to the NXT Championship? However, after a hard-fought battle between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe, there were more questions left to be asked as controversy left Finn Bálor without a top challenger once again.
American Alpha, Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady def. Blake & Murphy and Dash & Dawson
NXT kicked off in major fashion, as four of NXT’s best teams collided in a huge Eight-Man Tag Team Match. Scott Dawson tried to match mat wrestling ability with former Olympian Chad Gable, but found himself scrambling for the ropes. The NXT Tag Team Champions and Blake & Murphy then attemped to beat Gable down 4-on 1, but ended up engaging all four of their opponents in a brawl inside the ring.
Dash & Dawson distracted Gable to regain control of the bout for their team. The four ruthless competitors wore Gable down, making quick tags to keep a fresh man in the ring and keep the Olympian from reaching his partners. A nasty collision between Dash Wilder and Gable led to the American Alpha member finally getting to his corner and tagging in Jason Jordan. Jordan and Colin Cassady, the powerhouses of their respective teams, bulldozed over their opponents in a fury.
American Alpha nearly had the bout won after hitting Grand Amplitude on Dawson, only for their pin attempt to be broken up by Wilder. Fortunately, Enzo & Big Cass were ready to follow up with the Rocket Launcher to pick up the victory.
Asuka def. Deonna Purrazzo
After sending a message to NXT Women’s Champion Bayley last week, Asuka set out to continue her dominant run through the division. Deonna Purrazzo, on the other hand, was out to prove that she could hang with The Empress of Tomorrow, after her last run-in with Asuka ended with Purrazzo getting knocked out cold from a roundhouse kick. Purrazzo was, perhaps, a little too eager and slapped The Empress of Tomorrow in the face, leading Asuka to unleash her rampage. Asuka staggered Purrazzo with a flurry of spinning backfists, then connected with a devastating roundhouse kick to the head, earning the win. If Asuka is coming after the NXT Women’s Championship, will Bayley be able to counter her wrath?
Tye Dillinger def. Alex Riley
After his victory over Bull Dempsey in his return to the ring, Alex Riley promised that he would show the NXT Universe what a real Superstar is. A-Ry seemed t overconfident as he took on “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger, but soon felt a little embarrassment after Dillinger took him to the mat. Riley’s inner rage came out as he pummeled Dillinger, eventually stunning him with a straight right hand. However, Dillinger caught Riley off-guard and rolled him up for the three-count, as the NXT Universe chanted their approval, giving the victor a Perfect 10!
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe in a draw (NXT Championship No. 1 Contender’s Match)
After the No. 1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match ended in controversy when Zayn and Joe both had submission holds on Baron Corbin as The Lone Wolf tapped out, both men believed they should be next to challenge NXT Champion Finn Bálor. NXT General Manager William Regal decided the only fair way to settle the dispute was a one-on-one match between the two.
Both men took their time feeling each other out. Though the crowd at the University of Central Florida was firmly in Zayn’s corner, Samoa Joe used his size and strength advantage to gain the upper hand. However, Zayn was never close to giving in, using momentum to his advantage and sending Joe to the floor to get himself a reprieve. But for every offensive maneuver Zayn landed, Joe was ready with a brutal counter of his own.
It looked as though Samoa Joe had Zayn on the ropes after pummeling him with a series of strikes. But the resilient Zayn refused to give in, fighting back and landing the Blue Thunder Bomb on the 280-pounder. With a massive opportunity at stake, neither of the worn-down competitors was willing to budge. Joe went back to strikes, and Zayn answered with a flurry of his own. The former NXT Champion was saved by the ropes when Joe locked on the Coquina Clutch, and he then slipped out of the Muscle Buster before connecting with the Helluva Kick.
As this grueling battle reached its apex, both Superstars were fatigued. Joe collapsed after Zayn’s boot connected with his jaw, and an exhausted Zayn fell right on top of him after. Both men’s shoulders were on the canvas as the referee counted three. Despite the protests of both competitors, the official felt he had no other option but to rule the match a draw, leaving Regal with a major conundrum on his hands.