Notes In Observance – WWE NXT 2/3/16: Proving Ground

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 2/3/16)

Proving Ground

– This was one of those “in-between” episodes that focused on particular talent while setting things up for future episodes amid squash matches. The show’s key contest was the non-Title rematch between NXT Champion Finn Balor and Apollo Crews, which looked to continue where the first one left off before getting unceremoniously interrupted by Baron Corbin.

– When we saw the recent hype videos for The Vaudevillains hinting a heel turn, it was received better than their first match back with this new “attitude,” that screams close to what they were before. Nothing about them has changed. Their entrance was the same, they did the same “manly” schtick. It was sold on commentary during their match against The Hype Bros. that they were more “aggressive with a new attitude,” but we didn’t see any attempts to get heat with the crowd. On that note, Corey Graves’ constant jabs on Mojo Rawley were hilarious, as he likened him to Alf among other colorful comparisons. Vaudevillains won with the Whirling Dervish and that was that.

– This was a good time to start establishing Carmella both in the ring and out, as we heard a one-on-one interview segment that revealed her thoughts on winning the #1 Contender’s Battle Royale and how good it felt, hoping to live up to her father Paul Vandale’s footsteps as she looked to take on NXT Women’s Champion Bayley next week for the Title. She gave sincere thoughts that the match wouldn’t deter their great friendship. She also hyped the later match against Emma, saying that it was step one on proving why she was #1 Contender in the first place. We all know Carmella can be “Carmella” with the volume turned way up if you’ve seen her entrance, but this was a cool, kind of “stripped down to basics” look at her, which came off more relatable.

– The backstage promo segment with NXT Tag Team Champions Dash Wilder/Scott Dawson stayed true to their old-school nature, dismissing Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady as nothing more than tough talkers who couldn’t win whereas they themselves were always winners. Liked the “clinking” Titles bit at the end too.

– “Evil” Emma has got her badass entrance down-pat, that’s no doubt. Her and Dana Brooke make a decent “mean girls” duo, but besides the opening minute, not much was done to help Carmella get over. She won the match sure, but it was kind of in a “blink and you miss it” fashion. Granted, it does keep her strong for the match with Bayley, but Emma didn’t get to look as strong in this match as past weeks, and that hurt this match here.

– We were confused that given how last week’s show ended on a “cliffhanger” with an unclear winner that we didn’t get any progress on this until midway through this show, but it was finally addressed, well, sort of. We had reactions from both Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe. Zayn left it up to General Manager William Regal and whatever he decided would be best since either him or Joe could lay claim to victory, but he had faith for the best. Joe, in true Joe fashion, sneered at the camera and ignored the interviewer.

– American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) will leave you red, white, black and blue all over with suplexes and amateur takedowns. It’s just the way it goes. Their hype video described them to the tee. This team is going to be something big.

– Amore/Cassady had moments to shine, with an “aggressive” win over two unnamed jobbers and dropping words in the ring beforehand, basically being groomed up for another Title showdown with Dash/Dawson. It may be now or never for ‘Zo n’ Cass.

– With everything to prove, Crews did good in his backstage promo that expressed that he was eager to show the world his capabilities and basically needed to beat Balor for self-worth after all this uncertainty following their previous encounter. After all, if you can beat the current Champ, what else can stop you?

– We saw Regal deciding a rematch with Joe and Zayn coming from a mile away, but at least Corbin wasn’t totally slighted, since he shared his two cents with Regal in his office and dismissed it as a joke. Corbin literally has no argument since you could say he definitely lost. The rematch takes place in two weeks, so color us excited.

– As much as straight-on Asuka ass-kickings amuse us, Santana Garrett wasn’t made to be utter squash material. She broke out a mean streak that we’re intrigued to see develop down the road. She had some local notoriety and it helped her come across as more of a threat than usual. Some of Garrett’s submission moves were downright unique and impressive-looking. Of course, the story goes back to Asuka kicking heads in and it wasn’t long before she locked in her Asuka Lock. Also, with all the talk of Asuka getting eliminated during the Battle Royale by Eva Marie and the emphasis on her killer grin afterwards, maybe seeds are being planted for an Asuka-Eva match. Wonder who everyone will be rooting for there.

– We liked Balor’s backstage promo that gave his thoughts on Regal’s decision, saying that everything should be settled in the ring when it comes to NXT and was all for it, then dropping some nice lines that Crews was out to prove something, but even though he respected him, he’d find out why he was Champion and would know it the hard way.

– The Crews-Balor main event stayed true to the hype, giving us a stronger effort than their last match, with a nice mix of technical and high-flying moves. With some convincing near-falls, we saw that Crews took Balor to his limit and then some, but just didn’t have enough to put him away, as the Champ always had a counter. This was the right way to book this since it keeps Balor strong and allows Crews to excel in defeat. The handshake exchange at the end was the icing on the cake.






Quick Results

  • The Vaudevillains def. The Hype Bros. via pinfall
  • Carmella def. Emma (w/Dana Brooke) via pinfall
  • Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady def. Two Unnamed Jobbers via pinfall
  • Asuka def. Santana Garrett via submission
  • Finn Balor def. Apollo Crews via pinfall

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 February 9, 2016, in NXT, WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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