Notes In Observance – WWE NXT 1/13/16: Fabulously Over-The-Top

WWE NXTBy Nicholas Jason Lopez


“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.






(Aired 1/13/16)

Fabulously Over-The-Top

– 2015 was the year where NXT officially broke into mainstream as wrestling’s hottest promotion/brand and it has been a “back-to-basics” style of booking mixed with Triple H’s resilient ways of scouting the indies and bringing in popular talent that has done the job. 2015 saw plenty of this and it’s paying off in 2016.

– The opening in-ring segment with General Manager William Regal, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin was well-done in having each man establish their own case of being #1 Contender for the NXT Championship. Zayn opened things up by embracing the fans’ thunderous applause and soaked it all in, putting over that as good as it was to return in London, there was no home like Full Sail University. His proclamation to become the first two-time NXT Champion fit the norm for his character, as he always aims for the top and should be looking to get back where he was before his injury. We also loved Joe’s performance here, being tough and intimidating and we got to see a slick exchange between Zayn and Joe. Joe’s line about having to save Zayn’s life when he first debuted rang true and even though he lost most recently to NXT Champion Finn Balor in London, his case was still solid for a rematch right up against Balor and Corbin. Corbin might not be looked at as a top contender per se, but he recently defeated Apollo Crews and is riding momentum, putting over that he hadn’t lost to Balor or been sidelined with injury yet and should be considered the contender. All of these were simple, solid arguments and it was only a matter of time before it ended in fists, as Joe dismissed Corbin in the conversation and threatened Zayn to know his place in “his ring,” before walking away. It fit Corbin’s character to attack from behind, for Zayn to overcome that and for Joe to try to sneak in an ambush attack and retreat when it failed. All three guys come out of this elevated. To no surprise, Regal later booked a #1 Contender’s match between the three to take place two weeks later. We like the two-week gap since it allows for other storylines to blossom in the meantime.

– NXT Women’s Champion Bayley was eager to find out her next #1 Contender as we saw an Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royale would main event the show and she put over being nearly destroyed by Nia Jax in London, but she survived and explained in her own way that the Battle Royale winner would earn a hug. She’s so nice.

– Tommaso Ciampa actually getting an NXT push? We’re all for it. He works an aggressive style, reliant on stiff strikes and kicks and the fans eat it all up. His short, but deadly arsenal was on full display in his match against Danny Burch. At the same time, Burch wasn’t a pure pushover and even got in a great near-fall tease that seemed to take everyone by surprise. However, Ciampa was the story of the match and we dug his new armbar submission finisher. Who knows what 2016 will look like for him, but if this is an indication, it could be a breakout one.

– Give Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady a microphone and they can tell a descriptive and vivacious story. They have that “it factor” and they were all about getting their hands on NXT Tag Team Champions Dash Wilder/Scott Dawson, who were deemed as cowards for hiding behind a woman and claimed they had unfinished business. Their line about “Not going to London for tea and crumpets” pained the right picture. This was obviously good since it allowed the feud to continue and perhaps Enzo/Cass will get a run with the belts before an imminent main roster call-up.

– The main roster would do a Divas Battle Royale and send everyone out there without an ounce of relevance, maybe a couple of pre-taped promos while the ladies make their entrances, but on NXT, we actually get to hear from all of the competitors throughout the episode, making the match feel more important. Sure, we thought up our favorites as the night progressed, but this was still necessary. Billie Kay came off like a gothic Australian with her dark hair and makeup, Deonna Purrazzo (second Battle Royale appearance this year) was loud and Italian, Emma was pure evil (our early favorite since she’d been built up as a legitimate contender), Carmella branded the year as a new start, Peyton Royce was understandably angry about her lack of opportunity and called herself a venus fly trap while holding a flower (such metaphorical tendencies), Alexa Bliss was angry and wanting another shot (another possible favorite), Cameron was eager to show she was actually relevant, though using the word “Funkadactyl” in 2016 makes us wonder, Aliyah was hyped to make her debut, Liv Morgan was tomboyish and finally, Asuka was excited to kick some heads in with a chance to fight for the Title. Easily, Asuka was looked at as the favorite, but you couldn’t dismiss other heels like Emma or Bliss.

– Dash/Dawson had a good platform to further establish themselves as dominant heel Champs, by beating NXT fan favorites The Ascension in tag team battle. It’s amazing how The Ascension works as faces in NXT, yet flop on the main roster as afterthought heels. The idea was that Dash/Dawson would maul their opponents, let the momentum slip to the other end, before grabbing it back in a rage to seal the deal and get the win. No flips, just fists, We got all of that and it appears Enzo/Cass have their work cut out for them. Also always nice to see Ascension in NXT.

– The backstage segment in the medical trainer’s room with Regal, Nia Jax and Eva Marie centered around showing that Jax wasn’t medically cleared to compete to her severe disappointment and Eva assuring her “we had this.” This was meant to show Eva as a sleeper contender, casting doubts in the fans’ minds.

– So, “The Drifter” Elias Samson comes out with his black t-shirt, black jeans and black-and-white scarf, looking like a cross between Seth Rollins, Randy Savage and Johnny Cash. We’re still not sure what his character’s motivations are and while commentary tried to put him over as a calm, cool and collective silent individual, his in-ring style isn’t flashy enough to buy all that. It’s immensely average and doesn’t intrigue fans in the least. Maybe this is all a way to set something big up, but his squash victory over Corey Hollis didn’t leave us gasping for our breaths, only sighing with them. Now his finisher is a neckbreaker? Thought it was a flying elbow drop. We get the whole “slow unraveling” thing, but his “What this place needs is what I am” post-match line didn’t serve relevance.

– Balor’s backstage promo also provide this perspective on the potential contenders, complimenting each of the guys, essentially putting over that Joe was his toughest opponent yet, but it was his job as Champion to never rest and whoever would be contender wouldn’t matter because the belt was staying right on his shoulder. Balor’s getting better on the mic, as we can see the improvements.

– The NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royale featured some nice moments where favorites shined, but everyone was portrayed as equal. We loved the initial exchange between Eva and Asuka on the ramp, as Eva was purposely bumped into by Asuka on the way to the ring, which will draw extraordinary applause from anybody. There were cases of smart strategy and a brief powerbomb botch involving Cameron, but there was a better recovery. Asuka lasted to the end, and Emma also put in a memorable performance. We liked how they teased the “heel fades away and then reemerges to eliminate the remaining babyface” finish but then gave it a twist. Seeds were planted for an Eva-Asuka feud and at the same time, Carmella eliminated Eva to win the match, which showed her getting a potential breakthrough moment. Certainly, nobody bought Carmella as a choice to win, but we can applaud this since it allows for good storytelling between Bayley and Carmella. Showmanship was displayed between the two to close things out and the next few weeks of NXT TV should be great. The smiling look Asuka gave Carmella should also be telling.






Quick Results

  • Tommaso Ciampa def. Danny Burch via pinfall
  • Dash Wilder/Scott Dawson def. The Ascension via pinfall
  • Elias Samson def. Corey Hollis via pinfall
  • NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royale – Carmella def. Asuka, Eva Marie, Peyton Royce, Emma, Cameron, Alexa Bliss, Deonna Purrazzo, Aliyah, Liv Morgan and Billie Kay

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on January 23, 2016, in NXT, WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: