Notes In Observance – WWE NXT 12/14/16: Four To Play

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 12/14/16)

Four To Play 

– The opening video recapped last week’s big rematch for the NXT Championship in Osaka, Japan between Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe. “The King Of Strong Style” had a loyal home country following and after a grueling contest, he got back his gold with a Kinshasa for the history books. We saw the hype that went down, as Joe immediately sought his rematch clause, so much so, that five days later in Melbourne, Australia, we’d see them duke it out again for the Title in a Steel Cage match. We assumed this would be the main event.

– The Steel Cage match for the NXT Championship between Champion Nakamura and Joe in Melbourne, Australia was the second straight episode to have a Nakamura-Joe Title match. One could normally be exhausted of this feud, but the build has done enough for us to be mildly interested. Commentary did a good job with their history, as we were told that this was NXT’s second Steel Cage match and that Joe was victorious in the first over Finn Balor at NXT TakeOver: The End six months prior. Fans reacted huge for both men’s entrances and it had a Title match feel. A slow start as they felt each other out, but it picked up once Joe had the Coquina Clutch locked in. Nakamura showed some smarts as he placed his foot on the turnbuckle and hurled himself backwards to land on top of Joe to break the move. After some exchanged strikes, Joe attempted his top rope Muscle Buster (that finished Balor off in the first Cage match), but Nakamura countered with a sunset flip powerbomb and followed with a top rope Kinshasa. Once Nakamura attempted to leave through the door, we questioned why he’d climb the cage to escape to begin with. Luckily, as he neared the door, he locked it shut, which told us that his animosity towards Joe was too much for him to simply escape. He needed to finish him permanently. Nakamura landed another Kinshasa, which prompted Joe to get back up, probably off adrenaline alone. Nakamura unleashed another one, which got him the three-count. Good towards the end, but disappointing overall. For a better sense of what the two could do, seek out their TakeOver: Brooklyn II and TakeOver: Toronto bouts.

– The Peyton Royce/Billie Kay/Daria Berenato backstage segment followed up Toronto when The Aussie Mean Girls left Berenato for dead against Ember Moon/Liv Morgan/Aliyah. Nice act from AMG as they voided any responsibility for Toronto and blamed it on Berenato and referred to her as a “loser,” to which Berenato walked into the frame and declared she wanted to hurt one of them next week and left it up to them to decide who’d it be. It was later announced next week that it’d be Berenato-Kay. That’s enough to get by on, as perhaps we’ll see Berenato begin to form a Mixed Martial Artist babyface character to give the NXT Women’s Division some depth.

– The NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying match between Tye Dillinger and Eric Young had some decent build to it. Dillinger learned first-hand of this opportunity from NXT General Manager William Regal himself, plus he had history with Sanity, since they laid him out upon their debut. Sanity continued on without Sawyer Fulton and had a ringside presence. Dillinger got a big pop from Full Sail University on the first show after Toronto there, which was a good sign. Unfortunately, any good that could’ve come from this was undone with the lame DQ finish when Nikki Cross choked Dillinger from behind about four minutes in. This was an easy chance to have Dillinger regain momentum with a clean victory over Young. This was a shadow of what it could’ve been. We did get some followup with Damo with the post-match angle when he attacked Dillinger and walked over Sanity seated on the ramp. Still with no answer if Damo is associated with Sanity or out for himself, we’re still left to wonder. That storyline interests us at least.

– The NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying match between No Way Jose and Andrade “Cien” Almas looked delectable on paper and was a logical clash, given Jose is a free-spirited aggressive fighter and Almas is confident and vicious on his own accord. The action was nice, but the match was too short. It served its purpose though, as Almas held off Jose’s moves (which included a nice pop-up forearm strike) and delivered a Pretzel Twist DDT to get the pin. We like this move as it can only give Almas something to gain. Jose will be Jose, so we’ll keep an eye out for what could be next for him.

– The NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying match between Elias Samson and Roderick Strong also intrigued us on paper. With the well-hated “Drifter” against the smooth-yet-straightfaced Strong, the possibilities were endless. Samson “performed” before the match, which was met with loads of jeers. Strong got a pop since he came from Florida and would probably kick Samson’s ass. To Samson’s credit, this might’ve been the best he looked since his return, as he dominated early. He hung Strong in the Tree Of Woe and cranked his neck back towards the ring post from outside. Believe it or not, there was a section vocal for Samson, before boos quickly drowned them out. Strong made a comeback with a rapid strike of maneuvers and merged victorious with the combo of a Fireman’s Carry Gutbuster/Running Knee Strike. We liked this bout from when we first heard about it because a Strong win was highly likely.

– The NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying match between Oney Lorcan and Bobby Roode appeared predictable from the get-go as there’s no comparison between the two when there’s talk of the NXT Championship. This was that welcome sign that Roode will go on to the Title picture where he arguably belongs, cool entrance or not. Simultaneously, this was a nice opportunity for Lorcan to showcase his in-ring repertoire. The crowd was hot for Roode (would ya believe) and he played to them various times throughout. He made an early joke of Lorcan as he utilized some amateur-style takedowns and slapped him in the back of the head. Eventually, Lorcan was able to garner momentum with a quick attack of running strikes. He landed a spinning neckbreaker for a cool near-fall, but that was it for him. Roode executed a Spinebuster and drained Lorcan’s Title hopes with a Glorious DDT. So – that Fatal Four-Way turns out to be Strong, Almas, Dillinger and Roode. Better than we could hope.






Quick Results 

  • NXT Championship – Steel Cage – Shinsuke Nakamura (Champion) def. Samoa Joe via pinfall to retain 
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying Match – Tye Dillinger def. Eric Young (w/Nikki Cross, Alexander Wolfe) via DQ to advance 
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying Match – Andrade “Cien” Almas def. No Way Jose via pinfall to advance 
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying Match – Roderick Strong def. Elias Samson via pinfall to advance 
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender Fatal Four-Way Qualifying Match – Bobby Roode def. Oney Lorcan via pinfall to advance 

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 25, 2017, in NXT, WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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