This week's WWE NXT episode opened with an A.J. and Hornswoggle in-ring promo. Hornswoggle proposed to A.J., getting down on one knee and giving her a candy ring, but they never said the word "marriage" or "married." Then, Derrick Bateman interrupted and jawed with Titus O'Neil. Horny and Titus chased Bateman to the back, leaving A.J. alone in the ring.
Maxine, another blast from Season 3's past, jumped A.J. from behind and laid her out in the ring. Todd Grisham wondered what her motivations were for jumping A.J. Maxine left the ring as A.J. sold in the ring to conclude the opening segment. Grisham and William Regal said they'll try to get answers during the show.
In-ring: JTG's music hit to set up the opening match of the show. Grisham and Regal were shown on-camera to discuss Regal's prediction last week that Punk would leave Summerslam as WWE champion, which did not happen thanks to Alberto Del Rio. Out next was Tyson Kidd...as JTG's partner? Nope, opponent. Heel vs. Heel match to give the crowd no rooting interest.
1 -- JTG vs. TYSON KIDD
Kidd taunted JTG early on to establish JTG as the default face for this match-up. Meanwhile, the announcers discussed Yoshi Tatsu's whereabouts after Kidd took him out a few weeks ago. JTG did not play much of a valiant face, as he tapped out to a half-Boston Crab after three minutes.
WINNER: Kidd via submission at 3:02. NXT has officially run out of wrestlers.
Post-match: A cryptic symbol flashed on the screen, suggesting Yoshi Tatsu's presence in the arena. Kidd looked around the arena searching for answers, but none were coming. They cut to the announcers to discuss Matt Striker returning to the ring the last two weeks on NXT. Grisham sent it backstage for a promo from Striker, who said he wants a re-match with Darren Young tonight because he wasn't prepared to face him last week. He said he's not making excuses, then went on to talk about excuses for a minute. Striker sternly told Young he is not ready for what Matt Striker will bring to him. It's next.
In-ring: Matt Striker was out first for the second match of the show. Striker was back to his generic ring gear from two weeks ago. Striker paced the ring as Young cockily made his way to the ring.
2 -- MATT STRIKER vs. DARREN YOUNG
Striker lit up D-Young early on with multiple strikes in the corner. Young tried to recover on the floor, so Striker stomped his fingers into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Striker worked over Young's left arm/shoulder with a deep wrenching armbar Young was bleeding from the mouth this week after Striker bled heavily from the nose last week. The intense battle moved to the ring apron, where D-Young suplexed Striker across the edge of the ring. Young then went to work on Striker with mat-based offense. Young tried to follow with a slingshot move from the apron, but Striker intercepted with a nice spinning facebuster. Striker made a cover, but Young got his foot on the rope and Triple H wasn't the ref here, so the match continued.
Striker followed up with a backstabber, but Young kicked out in time. Striker then screamed toward the crowd, which responded, and tried an inside cradle for the pin, but Young - looking like John Cena - rolled right into a Roderick Strong-style fallaway gutbuster across his knees. It was good for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Young at 5:05. That was a heck of a five-minute match. D-Young has finally found an opponent to draw something out of him and Striker has developed a nice connection with the audience. Well done.
In-ring: Derrick Bateman came to the ring with Maxine, who Bateman described as his girlfriend and love of her life. Maxine took the mic and told Hornswoggle he can't handle a real woman like her. So, Swoggle settled for something less: A.J. Bateman's in action next.
3 -- DERRICK BATEMAN (w/Maxine) vs. TITUS O'NEIL
Titus was not accompanied by Hornswoggle, who the announcer surmised was checking on A.J. backstage. Titus took out his frustration on Bateman early on, beating him from pillar to post. Regal said he can't figure out Bateman quite yet as he continued to take a beating from Titus. Grisham noted Bateman's Pro, Daniel Bryan, disassociated from Bateman because of his odd behavior this season. Bateman came back with a snap dropkick for a two count, then pounded away on Titus. Regal said it gets his adrenaline going to see hard strikes like the two men were exchanging. Nice close-up on Titus selling intensity as he tried to make a comeback before Bateman cut him off with a neckbreaker. Regal began talking about a tortoise as Bateman ran over Titus with a shoulder tackle for a nearfall.
Bateman actually generated a reaction for his heel work as he continued to wear down the Redemption leader. Regal said perhaps Maxine is bringing out something from Bateman to get him away from being a goofball and more serious in the ring. Titus then shot on Bateman with a double-leg take down for a nearfall. Someone in the crowd shouted, "Finish him!" before Titus ran over Bateman with a clothesline.
Titus delivered a shoulderbreaker, but Bateman kicked out again. Titus followed with an overhead slam that sent Bateman rolling to the outside. Maxine checked on Bateman as Titus followed to the outside looking for more offense. As Bateman returned to the ring, Maxine grabbed Titus's foot when Bateman occupied the ref. Titus took his eye off the ball, allowing Bateman to roll him up from behind. It was good for the quick pin and the win. Post-match: Maxine and Bateman made out on the outside as Titus complained to the ref about the interference.
WINNER: Bateman at 6:18. Another nice in-ring showing here. Titus upped his game a notch and Bateman had his first solid in-ring showing since returning to NXT as a heel. Although not the best talker, Maxine's presence adds a new dimension to Bateman's character to firmly establish him as a heel, which had been missing on Season 5.
Raw Replay: Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Title. It was a six-minute version of their 13-minute match. They showed the post-match attack by Del Rio on Rey, then John Cena making the save and cutting a show-closing promo on Del Rio. There goes that mouse! After Cena declared Del Rio is not a real champion, NXT signed off after the first above-average showing for NXT in weeks. Still no word on the next elimination, though.
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