Notes In Observance – WWE NXT 3/23/16: The Empress Strikes Back

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 3/23/16)

The Empress Strikes Back

– Nothing will kill a crowd like “The Drifter” Elias Samson, especially to open the show, albeit against Johnny Gargano. We were severely hoping that Gargano wouldn’t be the latest Samson squash victim. The action didn’t last long and we were actually shocked to see that Gargano would pull out a surprise roll-up pin to win, meaning that Samson’s unspectacular undefeated streak also ended. The post-match angle gave Samson some decent heat before Apollo Crews came to save the day. Who knew the one thing that we needed Samson to do was actually lose? Crews-Samson doesn’t exactly have us jumping out of our seats, but maybe Crews can pull out a good match from him.

– With NXT Champion Finn Balor set to defend his Title against Samoa Joe at TakeOver: Dallas as he approaches the record for longest NXT Champion, it made sense to keep him hot with a squash win over Rich Swann. To Swann’s credit, he’s got a funkalicious theme song and strong crowd support, so he’ll eventually become a featured talent, which we hope because his moves are spectacular when he gets to show them off. Even when he jobs, he doesn’t give off that “jobber” vibe.

– The Emma/Dana Brooke backstage promo hyped up the Emma-Asuka main event, giving the mean girls a chance to gloat. Emma mentioned that ever since she lost at TakeOver: London, she’d been waiting to face Asuka again and changed her game plan, while Brooke revealed that she was injured due to Asuka back at TakeOver: Respect and helped train Emma in the process. We could believe in this.

– A Shinsuke Nakamura hype video makes us feel very warm inside.

– Alexa Bliss carries a dirty demeanor with two male sidekicks, but she still does enough to keep things interesting in the ring. Granted, her match with Sarah Dobson was average at best, but it covered the fact that Bliss had Blake/Murphy in her back pocket, using them to help her win via outside interference. Dobson had a couple moments to shine with some decent near-falls, but this was all about Bliss.

– Just like Balor was made to look strong, Joe also had enough camera time to speak his peace without many words, but a lot of action. He didn’t answer any questions in a backstage promo segment and instead ambushed both Bull Dempsey and Danny Burch before they could have a match nobody probably wanted to see. Granted, it was their way of having Joe not attack anybody noteworthy to have to start a feud, but why these two guys? That said, we loved how he annihilated the two of them with his Coquina Clutch and screamed into the camera that he was coming for Balor. That’s a man you should probably run from, Finn.

– Our favorite part of the show was the well-done American Alpha hype video. When NXT gets it right, man, they get it right. They looked at wrestling’s hottest tag team behind a lens where we could hear about their amateur upbringings and how each Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were good enough separately to reach the national level, but both had failed in big matches. Basically, their story is that they came together as separate failures to find success together. They made it clear their goal at hand was to take the NXT Tag Team Championships from Champions, The Revival at TakeOver. Everything you could want to know got answered here and we got a reason to further love AA. Superb stuff.

– The “No Way Jose” stuff is too vague to call at the moment, but it’s giving us bad memories of Fandango.

– The Asuka-Emma main event didn’t feature the raging crowd or paced urgency from their TakeOver: London encounter, but did fine serving as a TV main event. There were a few dull moments, but these two had tight chemistry and kept the action flowing throughout. Emma might’ve had her best outing of the year here despite the inevitable loss, since Asuka is being built up to face NXT Women’s Champion Bayley at TakeOver. We hope Emmalution 2.0 gets to see the main roster. She remains a bright fixture of NXT’s transitioning women’s division, but it’d be nice to see her grace Raw and SmackDown like this.






Quick Results

  • Johnny Gargano def. Elias Samson via pinfall
  • Finn Balor def. Rich Swann via pinfall
  • Alexa Bliss (w/Blake, Murphy) def. Sarah Dobson via pinfall
  • Asuka def. Emma (w/Dana Brooke) via submission

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 March 31, 2016, in NXT, WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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