posted by Billy Carpenter
Big night at Full Sail tonight, as we get Sami Zayn vs Samoa Joe in a 2 out of 3 falls match to determine the number one contender to Finn Balor’s NXT title. First, William Regal comes out and discusses the attack on new NXT signee Austin Aries by ‘Big Banter’ Baron Corbin. He announces Aries vs Corbin for NXT Takeover: Dallas. We aren’t wasting time tonight though, as we head right into the Zayn vs Joe match!
Sasha Banks, Hideo Itami & Michael Hayes are ringside for this one, adding to the big fight feel. They cut to another part of the crowd to show Larry Zbysko, Mauro Ranallo & Tool’s Adam Jones also here to enjoy the show. We get the formal ring introductions and it’s time to find out who’s the man to take on Finn Balor in Dallas.
The first few minutes of this are these guys feeling each other out. Joe finally gains control of the match with a side headlock, slowing the pace down to his liking. Zayn comes back with a nice armdrag and gets La Magistral for a two count. Joe backs him up into the corner and lights up Sami with a nasty chop. Zayn is able to turn the tide by leapfrogging Joe and sending him to the floor with another arm drag. Sami fakes the dive to the outside as we go to our first commercial break…
…Samoa Joe is back in control as we return. He hits the Tenzan chops in the corner and tries to take Sami’s face off with the face wash. Joe continues the assault and Sami shows some grit by trying to fight back but it continues to be to no avail. Sami selling this beatdown wonderfully and there’s not many in the business who sell an ass kicking like Sami. Zayn comes off the ropes but gets caught in a snap overhead belly to belly. Zayn continues to fight though and takes Joe off his feet with a series of hard clothesline. He’s able to flip out of a Muscle Buster attempt by Joe but gets caught moments later with a corner enziguri. The beating continues, and Joe hits the big boot/senton combo for 2. Joe lays in another hard chop; those are staring to make MY chest hurt. Koji Clutch attempt by Zayn! Joe escapes and gets the snap powerslam for another near fall before we go to our next break…
…Sami is eating more chops as we come back. Zayn refuses to stay down and is able to low bridge an overzealous Joe, sending him to the floor. Springboard moonsault to the floor by
Sami! Back in, Sami with a cross body for 2. Blue Thunder bomb attempt reversed by Joe for a pin attempt, followed by a LARIATOOOOOOOOOOO by Joe. He goes for the Muscle Buster again but Sami blocks and goes for a Mexican armdrag. Joe stops him and hits the uranage out of the corner before connecting with the Muscle Buster and Joe picks up the first fall! Great first fall.
WINNER OF THE FIRST FALL: Samoa Joe via pinfall
Sami gets worked over in the corner to start the second fall and Joe is looking for yet another Muscle Buster! Sami fights it off, so Joe just chops him again. Zayn keeps fighting though and comes back with a missile dropkick. Joe is busted open and the ref pulls Sami off. Samoa Joe comes firing back with punches and hits a snap vertical for 2. He misses a knee drop though and gets caught in a rollup for a near fall. Joe sends Sami outside and throws him into the stairs. STO on the floor by Samoa Joe! Sami just makes it back in at 9 ½. Zayn is fired up and starts swinging. They both go for suplexes but its Sami who wins that battle. Tope to the floor by Sami! Joe avoids a cross body block but can’t avoid the Koji Clutch! Joe taps!
WINNER OF THE SECOND FALL: Sami Zayn via submission
They’re trading shots to start the third fall. Joe misses a big right and Sami hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall! He goes for the Helluva Kick but Joe rolls outside. Sami up top but Joe cuts him off and goes for a superplex. Sami blocks and hits a sunset powerbomb for 2! Samoa Joe goes back outside but gets nailed with the tornado DDT through the ringpost spot. Back inside, Joe catches the Helluva Kick and powerbombs Sami for 2. Boston crab locked in by Joe and he turns it into a crossface! Zayn almost reaches the ropes but Joe pulls back on Sami’s arm. Joe just punishes Sami with a variety of strikes, but Zayn won’t stay down. Sami pops up and locks in the Coquina Clutch! Joe fight back with another hard chop but Sami gets the exploder into the corner. Helluva Kick misses—Coquina Clutch by Joe! It’s locked on tight. Zayn reaches for the ropes but he can’t make it! Zayn is out!
WINNER OF THE THIRD & FINAL FALL: Samoa Joe via submission
Without question, the best NXT match of the year. Loved the pace here, as the deliberate nature of the first fall set up the story for the rest of the match. Such a different feel for this as opposed to most WWE 2 out of 3 falls matches, with the first fall of this lasting longer than the entirety of the company’s last 2 out of 3 falls match (Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio). Yes, the result of this was spoiled weeks ago; that, however, did not effect the quality of this or my enjoyment. Joe looks great heading to Dallas, where I assume he takes the crown from Balor. Good to see Joe in a promotion where he cares again, as being in NXT has rejuvenated him. Excellent match and coupled with last week’s show, I’d say that NXT is back in the groove.