This week's episode of NXT begins in the arena with commissioner Dusty Rhodes. After last week's main event was interrupted by The Shield, he has rescheduled the match for tonight. That means a Triple Threat match to determine the No. 1 contender for the NXT Championship, featuring Bo Dallas, Cory Graves and Conor O'Brian. He says the security has been beefed up to prevent The Shield from interfering again.
Tony Dawson and William Regal are on commentary as we head into the opening match.
Adrian Neville vs. Judas Devlin and Scott Dawson
The newly-crowned NXT Tag Team champions were scheduled to compete as a team, but as Neville explains when he gets to the ring, he doesn't know where Oliver Grey is. The match goes on as a handicap match.
Devlin and Dawson don't use as many double-team tactics, as you'd expect, and although Neville isn't in control of the match, he's keeping up with his opponents.
As the match nears its end, the Wyatt Family emerge at the top of the ramp, dragging Oliver Grey along with them. They leave Grey and his NXT Tag Team Championship belt laying on the ramp as the match continues.
Neville is clearly distracted by this and tries to escape the ring to check on his partner more than once but is stopped by his opponents. Neville is forced to focus on the match and wins using his brilliant top-rope corkscrew before rushing to the aide of Grey.
Winner: Adrian Neville (match length: 3:21)
Renee Young is backstage for an interview with Kassius Ohno, who is looking at pictures of William Regal on his smartphone. She pronounces his name "Kass-i-us" and he corrects her with the pronunciation "Kash-us."
He says he's been gone from NXT because he's suffered an illness of the subconscious, causing him to see and hear William Regal everywhere. He's disappointed that one of the villains he looked up to as a youngster is now trying to play the part of a hero. Richie Steamboat tried to be a hero, he says, and look what happened to him.
He's scheduled for a match with Derrick Bateman for next week's NXT.
Before heading to a commercial break, we get a short, pre-taped Conor O'Brian promo, complete with smoke/fog and creepy blue lighting. He simply says he'll win the match tonight and go on to take Big E. Langston's NXT Championship.
After the commercial break, we get another short, pre-taped promo, this time for Cory Graves. It appears to have been shot in a building that is still being constructed, the walls still incomplete. He says he'll take out both of his opponents this week, just like The Shield did to them last week.
Back in the arena, Regal refuses to comment on Ohno's interview from earlier.
Yoshi Tatsu vs. Leo Krueger
Yoshi is very over with the NXT crowd, but Krueger is being pushed as one of NXT's top heels, so Tatsu's odds aren't looking good for this match.
Yoshi actually gets in some offense very early on, but it doesn't last long. Krueger shows an impressive mix of his brutality and some technical wrestling skills. He gets Tatsu down on the mat and forces him to tap with a submission move applied to Tatsu's arm.
Winner: Leo Krueger (match length: 3:03)
After the bell, Krueger attempts to put the hold on Tatsu again, but it's broken up when Justin Gabriel makes his way to the ring, continuing the feud between the two South Africans. (Strange note, the save by Gabriel was shown when you watch this on NXT, but not when I watched an international version I had downloaded.)
Sasha Banks, Cameron and Naomi vs. Alicia Fox, Aksana and Audrey Marie
Next up, a six-Diva tag match in which two-thirds of the competitors are already making regular appearances on WWE programming.
Prediction: Once Cameron and Naomi are no longer used as the Funkadactyls, they'll have a brief stint as a tag team (with a relationship similar to Lay Cool) before it dissolves into a feud as Naomi climbs in the Divas rankings, leaving Cameron in the dust. If Sasha Banks ever makes it to regular WWE programming, her gimmick will be very reminiscent of Alicia Fox as a face, leaving her with little chance to truly succeed. Audrey Marie will be the second Diva from the current NXT roster to make the transition to the "big leagues," preceded by Paige.
The match was quick, so much so that Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks were never even tagged in for their respective teams. Naomi, who is quickly becoming my favorite Diva, stole the show with her impressive, athletic offense after receiving the hot tag from Cameron. She pinned Audrey Marie after landing her Nightfalls leg lariat.
Winners: Sasha Banks, Cameron and Naomi (match length: 4:24)
Question: Why doesn't Tony Dawson use the names wrestlers give to their signature moves? That seems like a pretty standard practice for any commentary team, and neither Regal nor Dawson generally tell you what someone's finisher is called, either the personalized name ("Nightfalls") or the technical term (leg lariat).
The Divas match is followed by an interview with Bo Dallas backstage, conducted by Tom Phillips. As he begins to talk about his accomplishments and dismisses the accusations that it was simply luck, Bray Wyatt interrupts. Wyatt simply criticizes Dallas for refusing to join the Wyatt family. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be an ironic moment when Dallas says to his real-life older brother, "I want nothing to do with your family." Have they acknowledged their familial ties on NXT?
They make an announcement that Alberto Del Rio will be present for next week's episode, but they don't tell us in what capacity he'll be used.
Summer Rae is backstage for an interview conducted by Renee Young. Rae still demands to be referred to as "The First Lady of NXT" and claims that she has rid NXT of Paige. She also implied that she'll be in action next week.
Before the main event, we get a trademark shaky-handheld-camera promo from The Shield. They want everyone to know that just because they're taking care of business on Raw and SmackDown, it doesn't mean that they are done with NXT. They want the NXT Championship back.
Cory Graves vs. Conor O'Brian vs. Bo Dallas - No. 1 Contender's Match for the NXT Championship
The buildup to this match gave no real indication as to who should be considered the "favorite," and the opening minutes of the match makes all three contenders look like they have a fair shot at winning. I never read spoilers and don't pay a lot of attention to "dirt sheets," so whoever wins this match will be a surprise to me.
With about four or five minutes of programming remaining and the match still anybody's game, Bray Wyatt strolls out to the ramp, meandering his way to the ring. As the match nears its ending, Dallas sends O'Brian to the outside of the ring and has Graves under his control. Dallas goes for a pin near the ropes, but Wyatt pulls Graves out of the ring before the three-count.
As Dallas begins to argue with Wyatt, O'Brian comes up behind him, hits him with a full nelson slam (which Dawson did call, but didn't mention that it was a move O'Brian had renamed the Roof Top Drop under a former persona) and becomes the new No. 1 contender to end the show.
Winner: Conor O'Brian (televised match length: 12:10)