Pre-credits package on tonight’s match between Finn Balor and Shinksuke Nakamura. “Earlier today” shot of Balor in the locker room. And Nakamura warming up on a punching bag.

NXT champion Samoa Joe started the show. He is dressed to wrestle. Looking at the crowd, I suspect that a new Tye Dillinger shirt was just released. Some cheers and a few boos for Joe. He’s cutting a promo. He says he is here to see the big match. He knows that a lot of us are watching for that match.

Joe says that this match is disrespectful and an insult to him because they feel like it is a #1 contender match, and he is going to clear that myth up. Balor won’t win, face Joe, and redeem himself. Some of the fans cheering for Joe are hypocrites, and think that Nakamura will win and carry the momentum through to capture the NXT championship.

Joe brought strong style to the U.S., and if Nakamura is the king, he is the emperor. Joe was super fired up, then Rhyno’s music suddenly cut Joe off. Rhyno says he will go through Joe if that is what he needs to do to go to the top. Rhyno drops the mic, Joe stares him down, then walks off. Joe gives the “on my time” routine from the ramp. “He’s scared!” shouts a little kid from the crowd.

Tonight, Bayley faces Nia Jax, and American Alpha will fight the Authors of Pain. Samoa Joe will meet Rhyno, also next week. That’s a packed show.

Video package on Balor – Nakamura. Same as last week.

[Q2] Nakamura is walking down the hall, and that match is next. There’s Balor. No demon tonight. Balor looks very much like “last match at FSU” on his way out.

Break before the entrances, break after the entrances. They are gearing up for a long, long match.

The crowd is blowing up even before the intros. They get the darkened arena and spotlight treatment usually reserved for championship matches.


The match starts 27 minutes into the episode. We could go over 30 minutes here. They look for a test of strength. Nakamura wants a kick, but Balor makes it clear that the kick won’t land. They go to wrestling. Pure mat work now. Rope break and Nakamura does the head thing, so Balor Too Sweet’s his head. That gets him a knee to the middle, match picks up the pace. Low dropkick gets Balor a one count.

[Q3] Enziguri knocks Balor hard on the apron, followed by the vibration kick in the corner. Then again. Stiff knee to Balor’s head on the apron, then a knee drop to the back of Balor’s head takes him to the outside.

[ Break ]

Nakamura is in control out the break. Knee drop for two. Balor selling the back of his head but Nakamura doesn’t give him a moment. Balor suddenly hits a dropkick to Nakamura’s knee. Balor starts to work the leg. Balor looks for a back body drop, takes a sunset flip, rolls through, and nails a dropkick for two.

Balor returns to the knee. Balor chops Nakamura across the ring. Nakamura gets a leg up, Balor catches it and destroys the knee. Balors tries a surfboard, Nakamura won’t give him the arms so Balor stops the knees, cover for two. Heel hook on Nakamura. Nakamura has been howling in pain non-stop for a few minutes now.

Rope break. Nakamura slaps him knee, and fights his way off the mat. Balor runs into strikes, ducks a kick and takes a second to the head. Double count ends at five.

Nakamura is fired up. Huge kick puts Balor in the corner and Nakamura gives him no quarter. Running knee to Balor across the corner for a neafall. Nakamura to top, but an enziguri knocks him down and a dropkick sends him back outside, running kick from the apron, and Nakamura is face-down outside the ring.

[ Break ]

Balor with a double stomp to the back of the head for a two count right after the break. Balor wants 1916, Nakamura evades but Balor has Nakamura in another leg hold. Nakamura crawls to the ropes, Balor grapevines but Nakamura makes it anyways. Balor holds a leg and elbows it, enziguri.

Sudden jumping armbar catches Balor, transition to a triangle mid-ring. Balor goes limp, suddenly comes to life and gets his toes on the ropes. Nakamura slams his knees into Balor’s head on the mat. Front suplex. Balor dodges in the corner, Nakamura jams his knee on the turnbuckle. Reverse 1916 gets a nearfall.


It’s 18 minutes in the match as they reset after the nearfall. Slingblade. Hesitation dropkick, but Nakamura hits a dropkick. Kinshase, slow cover, and kickout. Nakamura charges, Balor jumps up with a double stomp, then covers for a near-neafall. Balor can’t believe it, and Nakamura looks like he is in trouble.

1916 attempt, but Nakamura blocks, then lands knees. They trade bombs. Kick from Balor, then to the back of the knee, Nakamura with a kick, Slingblade. Hesistation dropkick sends Nakamura into the turnbuckle, Balor up to the top. Coup de Grace, Nakamura dodges, second rope knee, calls for Kinshase and lands it. Cover… three count.

WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura in 21:10. That was an outstanding match. Every kind of wrestling was shown in full excellence.

Post-match, Nakamura can barely stand and Balor is slow to recover. Nakamura offers him a hand, Balor takes it, and they embrace. Balor breaks down in tears. They bow deeply. Fist bump. Balor on his knees while Nakamura stands. Exit Balor. Balor points to Nakamura from the ramp.

5.0 / 5
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