Notes In Observance – WWE NXT 7/13/16: Balor Vs. Nakamura
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Balor Vs. Nakamura
– Ever since the moment we were introduced to “The Challenge” and the idea of Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura in a match together became a reality, we knew we were in for something special. They had faced each other in Japan, but now on an NXT platform, this was a “dream match” of epic proportions. This was rightfully hyped to the moon, given a two-week period of nothing but great video packages that explained the depth of their longtime friendship and what it meant for both their careers. For Balor, he needed to distract himself from an uncertain future in NXT since he had done everything one could do so far. For Nakamura, it was about how he needed to get past a challenge to beat one of NXT’s top guys to prove himself to be a Championship contender down the road. The opening video reminded us of all of that, even with a Mauro Ranallo voice-over, so they really went in on this.
– Hyped for his first NXT appearance since he defeated Balor at NXT TakeOver: The End, NXT Champion Samoa Joe didn’t let us down, as he unleashed an ominous promo that set the tone for his era in NXT and what it meant. He spoke his mind in heel logic in that he dismissed speculation that the Balor-Nakamura winner would automatically earn themselves a shot at his Title. He even went ahead to call it “disrespectful.” He heeled it up some more as he insulted fans who chanted his name. Liked his points that he held edges over both men, since he “played the demon” and introduced Strong Style to the United States long before Nakamura, as he christened himself “The Emperor.” Bold words. They followed this up with an interruption from Rhyno, who returned the week prior to annihilate tag team wrestlers. Simple as that, a challenge was made by Rhyno, as he was eager to get through Joe to “get to the top.” Joe was great as he smugly looked Rhyno up and down before he accepted, but on his own terms. All in all, a great segment that set up a headline-worthy match for both guys but one that was ultimately designed for Joe to go over.
– We figured perhaps they’d squeeze in Joe-Rhyno here, but we were shocked when other matches like that one and Bayley-Nia Jax and The Authors Of Pain-American Alpha were hyped for next week. That meant only one thing – Balor/Nakamura would get the rest of the show. Sweetness.
– The Balor-Nakamura main event match actually lived up to the hype in retrospect. Seemed like a difficult task, but these guys settled down the pace when needed to climate bigger spots. It had its moments of technical genius and basically mixed that with high urgency and smart wrestling. The fans were actually split down the middle and their enthusiasm also helped the match be even more fun. Balor’s “too sweet” in Nakamura’s face was what began Nakamura’s more stiffer style. Balor came off intelligent in that he targeted Nakamura’s knee throughout in an attempt to ground his opponent’s game. Nakamura turned it around as he used that injured knee to continue to attack Balor. It was about as even as it could get and we liked that this was the first time that Nakamura looked vulnerable in the ring. Once the near-falls kicked in, this reached a second gear matched only by few. Even liked that Balor became the first person to kick out of the Kinshasa. Balor’s standing double knee stomp also provided an excellent near-fall that looked too close for comfort for some. This led to the finish, where Balor attempted the Coup De Grace and missed, which was answered with the second Kinshasa to end the match. That was great. The sportsmanship to end the show was also classy. This lived up to what was hyped and then some. As predicted, Nakamura won this to further propel himself into NXT prominence, while this might’ve been Balor’s NXT swan song. Check out this match if you haven’t already.
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. Finn Balor via pinfall