Episode: NXT #224
Recorded: 22 November 2016 (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Aired: 30 November 2016
Match duration: 12:36 minutes (plus two commercial breaks)
With his NXT Championship in hand that he just won back from Shinsuke Nakamura on 19 November 2016 at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, Samoa Joe still smells conspiracy from William Regal who apparently wants to see the belt back in Nakamura’s hands as soon as possible. That’s what Samoa Joe has got to say backstage on the last NXT episode in November. So, William Regal made the re-match for the title on 3 December 2016 in Osaka, Japan, but Samoa Joe said that he proved he’s the best in NXT and no-one is able to come even close.
This is where Tye Dillinger appeared and interrupted Samoa Joe’s tirade. Tye Dillinger just lost his big match against Bobby Roode, so he wanted to prove himself against the best in NXT. Initially, Samoa Joe couldn’t care less, saying that Tye Dillinger isn’t on his level either. Samoa Joe kindly also wanted to spare Tye Dillinger the humiliation to get beaten twice in his home country of Canada. And he also couldn’t think of one reason why he should grant Tye Dillinger a match against him.
On the other side, while Tye Dillinger could think of ten reasons (obviously!), but he only needed one. With that being said, he slapped Samoa Joe right onto his face, so Samoa Joe had his reason and the match was on. But before Tye Dillinger entered the ring to join Samoa Joe there, he also got something to say backstage. He wanted to show to the world that he still belongs in NXT. But if he would lose then, he probably didn’t belong there.
When the bell rang, Samoa Joe was still raging from the previous received slap and wanted to make Tye Dillinger pay for it immediately. He went for him and punched Tye Dillinger into the near corner. But Tye Dillinger hit back with elbow strikes to Samoa Joe’s head and chest which put Samoa Joe into the far corner. Samoa Joe gave the chest chops back though, so Tye Dillinger staggered back into the opposite far corner. Just to kick Samoa Joe into his body and shove him into the same corner. One chop to his chest was enough to make Samoa Joe staggering back into the opposite corner. And Tye Dillinger slightly gained the upper hand with hitting Samoa Joe into his chest and another elbow strike to his head.
But an elbow strike to the backside of Samoa Joe’s head was enough reason for Samoa Joe to turn things around. First, he gave back the punch and the elbow strike, then he pushed Tye Dillinger into the opposite near corner. But just to grab the man by his neck and pushed him against the opposite ropes to gain momentum for a more vicious attack. But Tye Dillinger was able to reverse into a kick and a following dropkick to Samoa Joe’s head. Samoa Joe though used the dropkick to roll out of the ring. And with that we went to the first commercial break.
After the break, Tye Dillinger was in control, shoving Samoa Joe into the opposite near corner to stand on top of him to make nine punches rain down on Samoa Joe’s head. The tenth only came after a counter by Samoa Joe and Tye Dillinger even got a cover but only a one-count. Both men went up again and Tye Dillinger thought he still got the upper hand. But he didn’t. Instead, he got grabbed by Samoa Joe and got thrown out of the ring.
Samoa Joe wanted to continue the onslaught but Tye Dillinger was faster and brought down Samoa Joe on the mat, so Tye Dillinger was able to hit his opponent with a splash from the apron. But the following cover was too close to the ropes. Then, Tye Dillinger was about to get Samoa Joe up on his shoulders, maybe thinking of the Tye Breaker. But instead it was Samoa Joe who countered, got Tye Dillinger up to hit him with a knee breaker.
While Tye Dillinger was now holding his knee down on the mat, Samoa Joe was walking around and looking at his pray, occasionally kicking Tye Dillinger’s back or knees. This attack culminated into a knee bar but Tye Dillinger was just able to grab the ropes to break the hold.
Samoa Joe now took his time to grab Tye Dillinger by his hair to take in the crowd’s reaction. But he liked to play a little too much. Because Tye Dillinger hit back again and after a chop to Samoa Joe’s chest, Tye Dillinger wanted to land an even more powerful move by using the ropes. But he only ran into the well prepared arms of Samoa Joe. And Tye Dillinger’s momentum was gone.
A nice and smoothly done combination of back kick, chest kick and elbow drop by Samoa Joe earned the man another cover on Tye Dillinger. But he kicked out. And again, Samoa Joe took his time to consider further punishment, not just to win this match but also to make Tye Dillinger suffer as punishment for the earlier slap. So, Samoa Joe went back to Tye Dillinger’s knees. He pressed his foot on the right one, followed by a kick hitting the left one.
Maybe to get some more breathing, Tye Dillinger crawled into the far corner. But Samoa Joe only used this position for well placed punches that brought Tye Dillinger back down to the mat. A little smack talk followed by Samoa Joe when he told Tye Dillinger that this was exactly what he wanted. Then he dragged him in the middle of the ring to give him the slap back. But Tye Dillinger slapped back. A couple more times now. But when he went for momentum again, he just ran into a powerful powerslam by Samoa Joe and another cover that he kicked out of.
And again, Samoa Joe gave Tye Dillinger and himself a little time to recover. Then walking around his prey again, he grabbed Tye Dillinger and finally hit him with a snap suplex. Tye Dillinger tried to roll to safety but when he reached the ropes, Samoa Joe used them to add more pain to the left knee. Then, Samoa Joe teased to add insult to punishment by doing the ten gesture of Tye Dillinger. But he stopped midway and just put two thumbs down. Great and fun scene!
Meanwhile, Tye Dillinger had used the ropes to get back up. And Samoa Joe helped him to get into the opposite far corner. Here, Samoa Joe hit Tye Dillinger with a few elbow strikes. But finally, Tye Dillinger came back with some elbow strikes of his own that brought Samoa Joe into the near corner. But this momentum was cut short when Samoa Joe shoved Tye Dillinger back into the opposite far corner, just to follow himself and throw his full weight against his opponent, followed by an enzuigiri. Samoa Joe didn’t like to cover Tye Dillinger here and we went to the second commercial break.
After the break, Samoa Joe was still in control, now setting up Tye Dillinger in the centre of the ring to use him as a punching bag. Tye Dillinger stumbled against the ropes but Samoa Joe slowly went after him, setting him up again and hit him with an elbow to his neck and a knee into his mid section. And Samoa Joe waited again for the perfect position of his opponent. And it came when Tye Dillinger sat on his legs. There he received a few well placed kicks into his chest. And from a kick into his back, Tye Dillinger went down to the mat again. Samoa Joe took his time with the cover, so Tye Dillinger was still able to kick out.
Now Samoa Joe held Tye Dillinger down, trying to rearrange his head. But Tye Dillinger worked his way up this time and freed himself with elbow strikes to Samoa Joe’s chest. Samoa Joe countered by getting Tye Dillinger up and hitting him hard down onto his feet. But Tye Dillinger avoided a following offence and instead hit Samoa Joe with a huge lariat that brought both men down to the mat.
Something awoke in Tye Dillinger now and when both men were standing again, he hit Samoa Joe hard with a few slaps and punches. And with a bit of momentum, Tye Dillinger also brought Samoa Joe down to the mat for several times. And after a lariat and a stomp to Samoa Joe’s head, Tye Dillinger was feeling it even more. Samoa Joe was lying in the opposite near corner, so Tye Dillinger went for another ten count by the audience. Only this time with foot stomps to Samoa Joe’s chest.
Now it was time to expose the knee and the Tye Breaker. But Tye Dillinger couldn’t get Samoa Joe up on his shoulders. Instead, Samoa Joe hit Tye Dillinger with a German suplex. But his opponent avoided the next move by rolling into a cover. But Samoa Joe kicked out. From a following superkick to Samoa Joe’s chest, Tye Dillinger got another cover. But Samoa Joe kicked out again. And while Tye Dillinger couldn’t believe it, the crowd chanted This is awesome.
Finally, Tye Dillinger got back up and the knee-cover as well but only to pull it back down. Now, Tye Dillinger was able to get Samoa Joe up on his shoulders. But Samoa Joe somehow wiggled free into the opposite far corner and he countered Tye Dillinger again by throwing him down to the mat. Then, he hit him with a few knee strikes to the head and finally a powerbomb into a cover. Tye Dillinger kicked out but Samoa Joe immediately after turned him into a Boston crab.
But Tye Dillinger didn’t want to tap out. So, Samoa Joe changed into a crossface hold with Tye Dillinger’s left arm trapped between Samoa Joe’s legs. But when Tye Dillinger still didn’t want to tap out, Samoa Joe grabbed his head, yelling at him, Good night, Tye, and put him into the Coquina Clutch. Tye Dillinger still didn’t tap out but he passed out. So, the referee had no choice but to signal for the last gong.
Winner: Samoa Joe
With losing that match and taking his own words seriously, Tye Dillinger doesn’t belong in NXT any more. But maybe he belongs in WWE? Well, anything else than making Tye Dillinger the tenth entrant to the Royal Rumble match at the very Pay-Per-View on 29 January 2017 would he a horrible mistake and a complete waste of opportunity. But everything about Tye Dillinger’s behaviour around this match, the smiling during his otherwise serious first interview, the good bye-waving after the match to the crowd, it seems obvious that Tye Dillinger is WWE bound. He won’t leave for the Indies and he also won’t turn heel. He’s a great competitor whom the fans love and he won’t get younger. I only hope that WWE don’t ruin him like so many other great characters / wrestlers.
On the other side there is Samoa Joe. It was a big surprise to most fans that he regained his NXT Championship from Nakamura because everyone thought, he would lose this match in Toronto and then head straight to the WWE roster. But the end of the year never is an exciting moment to join the main roster. Plus, there was NXT’s live event in Osaka. WWE made Joe the first two time NXT Champion and also the first one who beat Nakamura in NXT / WWE, so Nakamura was able to win back the title in Osaka, Japan, in front of his country men and women. Now, Samoa Joe can lose his re-match and might make his first appearance in WWE in the Royal Rumble match, too.
But it wasn’t just all this backstory that made this match worthy of being on the list of best matches in NXT in 2016. It was also the back-and-forth action, the cockiness of Samoa Joe and the willingness of Tye Dillinger to put on a great performance on the mat in (maybe) his last match in NXT.