Match #4 for the NXT Women’s Championship: Mickie James vs. NXT Women’s Champion Asuka
Collar & elbow tie-up to start out, both ladies jockeying for position into the ropes and down to the mat, neither one gaining an advantage and we have a stalemate. They shake hands and then go face-to-face, Mickie with some words for the champion, they tie-up again and Mickie gains a side headlock. The Empress of Tomorrow pushes her away to the ropes, both go for shoulder knockdowns and nobody budges. Asuka with a quick arm drag and hooks on a wristlock, the challenger cartwheels through and escapes using an arm drag, ducks under a kick, snapmare the champion over and hits the ropes for a basement dropkick.
Asuka rolls to the outside to regroup, Mickie holds the ropes open and invites her back in, the champion accepts the invitation and they lock-up again. Mickie goes to a hammerlock, The Empress of Tomorrow counters into one of her own, Mickie attempts to roll out of it, but Asuka maintains her grip. The challenger with a fireman’s carry into an armbar of her own, Asuka with a headscissors to counter out, Mickie kips up to her feet, turns around and gets cracked by a kick. The Empress of Tomorrow shoots her to the ropes, follows in for a misdirection, connects with a hip attack, Mickie now to the outside for a breather and holds the ropes open, inviting her back in. Mickie climbs up to the apron, blows her a kiss and starts to step inside, the champion is angered, knocks her back to the floor with another running hip attack and then heads to the apron.
She looks to come off with a hip attack, Mickie avoids it, propels herself up using the apron into a hurricanrana, sets for the Mick Kick, Asuka ducks it and tosses her with a leg-capture german suplex on the floor. The champion heads back in the ring, the challenger makes it in at a count of 7, Asuka tosses her across the squared circle by the hair, then measures her for a running dropkick in the corner. The Empress of Tomorrow covers for a 2 count, lands heavy forearm shots to the head, scores with a hip attack to the back, then ties her up in the ropes with a modified octopus stretch. She builds a head of steam for another running hip attack, the challenger side-steps it, can’t capitalize and Asuka nails her with stiff kicks to the chest. She hits the ropes for one final blow, Mickie catches the foot, hooks on a single leg crab, switches into a Muta Lock, but the champion drags her way to the bottom rope to force the break.
They fight their way back to their feet, Mickie sends Asuka face-first into the top turnbuckle, The Empress of Tomorrow turns the tables on her and they continue to exchange strikes. Mickie slaps the champion across the face, Asuka gets fired up, swings wildly with a right hand, Mickie avoids it and hits a neckbreaker, then starts to build momentum with multiple clotheslines. She shoots her to the corner, Asuka hops to the 2nd rope, comes off with a dropkick that misses the mark, the challenger delivers a flapjack, kips up to her feet and heads upstairs for a Thesz press that almost puts it away. Mickie gets set for the Mickie-DT, The Empress of Tomorrow slips out, hooks on a cross armbreaker, but the challenger makes it to the bottom rope to escape.
Asuka pulls her to the center of the ring, Mickie surprises her with a boot to the jaw, clocks her with the Mick Kick, hooks the leg, but the champion reaches the bottom rope at 2. She measures the champion and goes for the Mickie-DT again, The Empress of Tomorrow, reverses out of it, hooks on the Asuka Lock, Mickie rolls through multiple times to escape, can’t break the grip and has to tap-out.
Winner and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka (Asuka Lock)
- After The Bell: Mickie offers a show of respect and a handshake to the champion, Asuka instead raises her title up in the air and then walks away.
- EA’s Take: Well, that was interesting. That match looked very crisp in spots and in others looked like “hot garbage” as The New Day would say. Both women looked good, but appeared to have worked together very little as some of the botches would indicate. It was not all bad, Mickie looked unphased by her return and Asuka’s presence is unmatched in the division. I am not sure who is next up for her as I am sure Mickie was a one-off match. Ember Moon is the most ready so that is where I would put my money.
Match #5 for the NXT Championship: Samoa Joe vs. NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
The bell rings and Shinsuke strikes right away with knees and kicks, the challenger answers with kicks and fists of his own, but The King Of Strong Style exchanges with him and the ref has to separate them at the ropes. The Submission Specialist swings wildly with a clothesline, Shinsuke taunts him, catches him with a knee to the breadbasket, snapmares him over and drops a knee across the face. Good Vibrations in the corner from the champion, Joe rolls to the outside to get a breather, surprises Nakamura stalking him with chops, looks to ram him head-first off the barricade, but Shinsuke blocks it and returns the favor.
He delivers a big boot that sends Joe into the crowd, the champion climbs over the wall in pursuit, the challenger meets him with lefts and rights, attempts to send him back over the barricade, but The King Of Strong Style turns the tables. He throws The Submission Specialist back into the ring, irish whip to the corner is reversed, the challenger follows in with a back elbow, Joey Headrocker clocks Nakamura with an enzuigiri, then scraps the bottom of his boot of the champ’s face. He lines Shinsuke up and charges in, The King Of Strong Style explodes up with a high knee, drives more knees into the top of the head on the canvas, then buries them into the ribs in the corner. He rushes the challenger and runs into a boot to the jaw, charges back in and Joe plants him with a uranage, picks him up and eats a couple of shots, Shinsuke hitting the ropes and meets a back elbow.
Samoa Joe follows with a kick to the chest, drops an elbow for a 2 count, tries to slow the pace down, Nakamura connects with more knee strikes, hits the ropes, Joe powering him up into a modified knee breaker. He starts to target the knee with kicks, picks the leg and hooks on a knee bar, Joe lets it go on his own accord and goes right back to leg kicks. He punishes the champion with heavy strikes and goes to a standing knee bar, The King Of Strong Style kicks his way free, rushes the challenger near the ropes and gets dumped outside. The Submission Specialist hits the ropes and takes flight with a suicide dive, pulls out the steel steps, sets for the uranage on the bottom-half of the stairs, but the champion fights it off. Joe still drops him with a big boot, tosses Shinsuke back in for a cover and a count of 2, smacks him with big forearms, irish whip to the ropes is reversed and Nakamura buys himself time with a head kick.
The King Of Strong Style pops up with a dropkick, buries knees into the abdomen, levels Joe with a roundhouse kick, gets another blocked, but scores with the other foot to the temple. He crushes the challenger in the corner with a running forearm, planks him across the top in the corner, charges back in with a running knee to the ribs, hooks the leg and gains a near fall. The champion hooks a front facelock, drives more knees into the breadbasket, The Submission Specialist powers out with a body slam, splits Shinsuke with an inverted atomic drop, hits the ropes for a big boot and follows with a running senton, nearly finishing it. He plants Nakamura with a powerbomb, stacks him up for a near fall, switches into a Boston crab, then transitions into a crossface. Nakamura counters the weight into a cover for 2, looks for a cross armbreaker, Joe is able to hold it off, pushes the champion away, surprises him with a powerslam, but still can’t put it away.
The King Of Strong Style pulls himself to his feet in the corner, catches the challenger running in with a knee, goes to the 2nd rope, but Joe knocks him over the top to the apron. He reaches out to grab the champion, Shinsuke drops down into a kick, drapes Joe across the apron and connects with a running knee, pushes him back into the ring and rolls inside. He goes to the 2nd rope and comes off with a knee to the chin, both guys double down, struggling to get back to their feet. They trade strikes, Nakamura gets the better of it, drops the challenger and hooks him for the inverted exploder suplex. The Submission Specialist fights it off, sets for a back suplex, Shinsuke slips out, tosses him with a german suplex, then readies for the Kinshasa.
Joe ducks it, rolls the champion away with a schoolboy, takes him out at the knees, then props him on the top turnbuckle for the Muscle Buster. The King Of Strong Style flips through it, lands the Kinshasa, falls into a cover, but the challenger just kicks out at 2. Shinsuke staggers to his feet, gets set for another Kinshasa, The Submission Specialist, evades it and slaps on the Coquina Clutch, bringing the champion down to the canvas. Shinsuke drives Joe into the corner and can’t break the grip, Joe switches into a german suplex, rolls into a dragon suplex, hangs on for the straight-jacket suplex, but Nakamura kicks out at 2 again.
Samoa Joe lets out a primal yell, talks some trash to the champion, swings wildly with a right hand that misses and Nakamura delivers a Kinshasa to the back of the head. The Submission Specialist spills to the outside, The King Of Strong Style goes out after him, rushes in for another Kinshasa, but runs into a low blow that the referee misses. Joe plants Shinsuke on the stairs with a uranage, sends him back in the ring, plants him with the Muscle Buster and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW NXT Champion: Samoa Joe (Muscle Buster)
- EA’s Finisher: I could watch these two fight every night. Every kick and punch is so brutal between them. I did not see Joe winning this one. I thought that his time was coming to an end in NXT and would be moving to the main roster soon, but I was apparently wrong. The match itself was great. It was well-paced and executed. The two men have worked together so much in the last year it would be hard not to have a great match at this point. I have no clue what is next for Shinsuke, but he will for sure have a rematch with Joe. Don’t be surprised if Bobby Roode also appears in the title picture after his performance tonight. After TakeOver, NXT’s future looks as bright as ever.
Top Three To Watch
1 – The Revival vs. #DIY
2 – Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
3 – TM61 vs. The Authors Of Pain