March 21, 2016 by gorillapressonline
The road to Dallas and NXT: Takeover is drawing ever shorter, with only weeks ’til Wrestlemania and what is arguably the best weekend of wrestling each year.
With NXT being pre-recorded, some of the impact of new arrivals tends to be lessened but not even dirt-sheet spoilers can take away the excitement of tonight’s newbies.
Sami Zayn kicks off this week’s show after his gruelling, MOTY-contender 40-min bout last week against Samoa Joe, and despite a move to the main roster being on the cards, Zayn leaves the NXT Universe in no doubt that the championship is still firmly on his mind.
As he mentions Takeover: Dallas, NXT GM William Regal interrupts to announce he has something special lined up for Zayn tonight, as a static screen flickers to reveal… Shinsuke Nakamura(!).
It’s difficult to even make out what the NJPW Superstar has to say over the massive reaction from the crowd – and rightly so.
If the card wasn’t already stacked for tonight, this match pushes it into the stratosphere. Could Zayn make it two for two with another MOTY contender within a few weeks, not to mention a surefire highlight of the ‘Mania weekend?
Only time will tell. But, for now, let’s look at tonight’s show:
The same can’t be said of the crowd as, aside from a brief chant for Mojo Rawley, this duo doesn’t get anywhere near as much of a reaction as American Alpha do later on in the show.
Ryder is doing his best to mentor Rawley and they do work well together as a unit, but they get swept under the radar because of the consistently high calibre of the NXT tag division.
Regardless, The Hype Bros bring plenty of energy to Full Sail and they are the perfect team to jerk the curtain and get people pumped for the action to come.
The Hype Bros make quick work of Dawkins and Crawford in a swift, fun, but forgettable bout
Emma Vs Deonna PurrazzoBefore this match begins, Dana Brooke and Emma have an altercation with Deonna Purrazzo backstage. Emma does well here, playing up her heel persona in the interview to really sell the bout. She is also rocking some Kenny Omega-style aviators as she makes her way down to the ring, which is a cool look for her.
Emma dominates from the outset, using some seriously underhanded tactics to gain the upper hand over her opponent. The crowd are firmly behind the master heel, chanting as she mercilessly attacks Purrazzo.
Surprising nobody, but delighting everyone, Emma plays up to the crowd as she applies the Emma-lock to force the newcomer to submit.
She is doing really great in this run on NXT, and could easily move into the title picture yet it doesn’t seem to be on the cards while she is aligned with Dana Brooke.
Emma wins via submission with the impenetrable Emmalock
From the moment Tomasso Ciampa walks into the ring he is focused and relentless. A huge drop-kick knocks Sorenson to the corner right off the bat, and Ciampa swamps him quickly with some brutal kicks and stomps.
He refuses to let Jesse Sorenson get a breather, wrestling almost like an MMA fighter, with quick elbows and strikes forcing Sorenson to defend every assault and keep his victim on edge.
Naturally, Ciampa ends this quickly, an innovative armbar forcing the submission. If NXT continue to book Ciampa like this he will surely make an impact at Full Sail.
Tomamaso Ciampa impresses with this brutal display
As Bayley comes to the ring, proudly brandishing the NXT women’s championship title on her shoulder, even her tag partner Asuka is eyeing the gold. Tensions are at boiling point between the two, and the latter’s behaviour here is a subtle way to set up the inevitable match between them.
Eva Marie tries to back away from Asuka and makes the unwise decision to punch the Japanese superstar. She repays the attack with some vicious kicks and a nice headlock transition, tagging in Bayley. Nia Jax gets the tag next, and proceeds to shift momentum for the heel duo.
Eva Marie takes it to Bayley, getting the upper hand for a brief time. And, as Bayley hits a Bayley-to-belly Suplex, Jax tries to break the three count with a leg drop, missing her intended target and landing on her partner Eva Marie instead, which spells the end of the match as Bayley and Asuka take the win.
Bayley and Asuka take the win in a short, but entertaining bout
Once again it falls on GM William Regal to keep the ball rolling en-route to Takeover and this announcement is a beauty, the new #1 Contender is Asuka who will face Bayley on April 1st.
Asuka has made such an impact on this division and if she were to take the title from Bayley that is a sure-fire sign that the lovable champ is set to join Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair on the main roster.
Highlights of the Baron Corbin/Austin Aries segment from two weeks ago leads into a great promo from Double A; Austin Aries handles this promo outstandingly setting up the match nicely and playing on the Lone Wolf’s immaturity which will undoubtedly ruffle Baron Corbin going into Dallas.
American Alpha Vs The Vaudevillans
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable have captivated the NXT universe over the past few months, and finally they are getting the opportunity they deserve – but first they have to dispatch NXT stalwarts The Vaudevillians to get a proper shot at the tag title.
The current champions, The Revival, will pair nicely with American Alpha and on paper it could be a master-class in technical, and old-school territory, wrestling.
Watching American Alpha makes me excited to watch tag team wrestling. Gotch and English do a great job at being heels and it was a smart decision to move them from being a baby-face team – despite the fact it cuts them out of the title picture with The Revival also being a heel duo – and allow them to wrestle with a much more heartless style, which suits their ethos much better.
Jason Jordan performs some sublime Suplexes before tagging in his partner, who isn’t one to be shown up, showcasing a beautiful high angle German Suplex of his own.
American Alpha wrap up this exciting Main Event bout with an excellent bridge Suplex pin, and rightfully earn themselves a title shot at NXT Takeover: Dallas.
American Alpha take the win, and the #1 contender spot
This episode did wonders in piecing together the main card for the Wrestlemania weekend PPV.
With more surprises sure to be lined up in the final run to Dallas, that can only enhance the already stacked card, it’s a really great time to be an NXT fan.
Catch NXT every Wednesday on the WWE Network