With Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin all staking claims to the next NXT Championship Match, the NXT Universe was excited to finally answer the question of who the next No. 1 contender would be after tonight’s main event. However, the controversial conclusion of the Triple Threat Match only caused more questions to be asked as Finn Bálor waits in the wings, ready to defend his title.
Two of NXT’s top teams looked to start off 2016 on the right foot, as former NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy took on the red-hot team of Jason Jordan & Chad Gable, now known as American Alpha. The former champions tried to corner Jordan at the start of the match, but the agile mat wizard quickly turned the tables and took Murphy down to the canvas.
Blake & Murphy didn’t fare much better against Gable, who stunned the pair with a dizzying series of impressive arm drags. With their initial game plan failing, the former champions resorted to nefarious tactics to gain the upper hand. Murphy feigned an injury to occupy the official, while Blake distracted Gable, allowing Murphy to spring into action and take out Gable’s knee. Blake & Murphy zeroed in on the Olympian’s leg, even letting their manager, Alexa Bliss, get in on the attack.
Their time on offense didn’t last long, as Gable found his second wind and scrambled out of his foes’ grasp to tag his partner in. Jordan steamrolled through Blake & Murphy, hurling them around the ring with ease before tagging Gable back in to connect with Grand Amplitude for the win! American Alpha have now defeated three former NXT Tag Team Champions – The Ascension, The Vaudevillains, and Blake & Murphy. Will 2016 be the year they pick the titles up themselves?
After being forced out of the NXT Women’s Championship No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal two weeks ago, Nia Jax set out to prove that she’s ready for another crack at Bayley. NXT newcomer Liv Morgan went right after her much larger rival, but could not match power with the towering figure across the ring from her. Nia muscled the New Jersey native around the ring with ease before planting her into the mat and crushing her with a leg drop to get the victory.
The NXT Universe was excited to see Alex Riley return to action for the first time since April 2015, when he underwent knee surgery. A-Ry looked to be in tremendous shape as he stepped in the ring with NXT’s resident fitness freak, Bull Dempsey. The rage-fueled Superstar wasted no time in going right after Dempsey, pummeling the Bull-Fit innovator in the corner and asking “Is this what NXT’s come to?” Dempsey tried to battle back, but Riley drove the 299-pounder into the canvas with a spinebuster and clobbered him with a knee to the face to make his return to the ring a successful one.
The mysterious Elias Samson returned to action this week. While the NXT Universe still knows little about the guitar-strumming Superstar, his opponents are learning one thing – he loves to inflict pain. The Drifter aggressively attacked John Skyler with an unnerving smile on his face. Skyler tried to mount a comeback with a big right hand, but Samson silenced him with a swinging neckbreaker to pick up another victory.
All three competitors in this week’s main event felt they had the right to challenge NXT Champion Finn Bálor. Sami Zayn never got a rematch for the title after Kevin Owens brutalized him at TakeOver: Unstoppable, Samoa Joe believes he deserved another opportunity after taking Bálor to the limit in London, and Baron Corbin simply feels that he is the uncrowned NXT Champion. To settle the score, NXT General Manager William Regal set up this Triple Threat Match.
Zayn quickly found himself at a disadvantage, with his two larger foes backing him into a corner. However, Corbin’s greed got the best of him, as he decked Joe before the two titans could take Zayn out. The bout soon made its way to the arena floor, with Joe slamming Zayn head first into the steel ring steps and the unforgiving ring apron before turning his sights on Corbin. The submission specialist used his striking prowess to slow Zayn down, though Zayn refused to relent.
Just as Zayn looked to be getting another burst of energy, Corbin slid in the ring to cut him off. The Lone Wolf subjected Zayn to his vicious will. Zayn eventually regrouped and connected with the Helluva Kick on Corbin and sent Samoa Joe into the steel ring steps, before going back in the ring to put The Lone Wolf in the Sharpshooter. Zayn had Corbin on the verge of tapping out in the middle of the ring, but Samoa Joe re-entered and locked a crossface on Corbin. Trapped in two submission holds, Corbin tapped out, causing the referee to call for the bell.
Controversy reigned as Zayn and Joe each raised their arm in victory, believing their hold caused The Lone Wolf to submit. However, the official could not determine which Superstar earned the victory. Regal rushed to ringside to sort things out, telling the furious competitors that he would have to review the match footage before rendering a decision, leaving the NXT Universe wondering who the true No. 1 contender is.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- American Alpha (Chad Gable & Jason Jordan) defeated Blake & Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss) (7:23)
- Nia Jax (w/ Eva Marie) squashed Liv Morgan (2:10)
- Alex Riley defeated Bull Dempsey (2:04)
- Elias Samson defeated John Skyler (1:56)
- Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin ended in a No Contest in a #1 Contender's Triple Threat Match (12:34)