“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
– Very emotional opening with the onstage tribute to Dusty Rhodes, who had a very significant role in shaping the NXT talent as it is today. Triple H led the full charge here and it was rightfully so. This set of tapings was probably delivered with heavy hearts.
The Heart Of Zayn
– Well, knowing that CJ Parker is no longer with the company, he couldn’t possibly win this match with Solomon Crowe or have any say in the future of NXT. He had a unique character, but just never had enough to progress further. Crowe had a decent entrance and the crowd chanting for him was a good sign. Crowe also put on some believable moves – the dive to the outside was impressive. Parker went out of NXT doing what he did best in it – putting others over. Crowe’s submission victory finished off a much more polished victory than his “TakeOver” debut. His finisher is convincing too.
– The Baron Corbin-Steve Cutler match was more enhancement for Corbin as he decisively finished him off with End Of Days. The crowding counting the seconds of the match also put over the quickness. Who will step up to take him on next? He appears to be more of a darker Goldberg, the way his matches are being built as quick squashes. The only problem we see is that his more enhanced matches haven’t been all that. Then again, they were against Bull Dempsey and let’s face it: your Mom could probably beat Dempsey in the ring. Good stuff though, but let’s hope it doesn’t run its course anytime soon.
– Sami Zayn’s promo on Rhyno had him sound convinced and ready for the match. He had a clear story headed in, eager to show the “rust” didn’t overcome his ambition to become Champion again.
– Nobody can work a crowd like Enzo Amore/Colin Cassidy. They always know how to switch things up in their promos and you can feel their words come alive practically. Keeping things fresh, the “Jordan Of Jargon” line was particularly funny. Their match against Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton was ultimately a squash to make them look good as they chase the Tag Team Champions, Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, who continue to chase Carmella, bringing her flowers. The story here is simple, yet effective, though it can be hard to determine if Blake/Murphy seek Carmella’s management or something more, but maybe that’s by design to capture the absurdity of it all.
– Alex Riley’s promo challenging Kevin Owens to meet him on the ring next week was a good “call out” promo, as he delivered his lines quite convincingly, but you have to wonder just how he will get ahead, if at all. This just seems like more of a way to put Owens over, but hey – better to squash Riley than someone else, right?
– The Blue Pants-Dana Brooke match showed that you obviously won’t see a jobber more over than Blue Pants. Brooke on the other hand, came off as a gothic muscle stripper, if that makes sense, from her entrance. She is definitely interesting, almost eager to shed her image of the generic blonde bombshell, which sort of worked. Her in-ring skills aren’t the most polished, but her finisher was enough to get our attention. Made us want to see more. That’s what counts.
– The triple threat NXT Divas Title Number One Contender’s match between Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte for next week sounds like a good matchup and gives us something to look forward to from the fierce women.
– The Zayn-Rhyno match – what more could you say about this? Plodding pace to start off, but this was all to set up the closing minutes, which was some really good action with near-falls and dueling chants, just how you’d imagine. The story here was the heart of Zayn and that overpowered the power of the Gore, at least for this week. Rhyno looked great in defeat and lost nothing here, he’ll easily bounce back. As mentioned by commentary, the thought of an Owens-Rhyno match is quite enticing and we have to imagine that’ll happen sometime soon.
– Solomon Crowe def. CJ Parker via submission
– Baron Corbin def. Steve Cutler via pinfall
– Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) def. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton via pinfall
– Dana Brooke def. Blue Pants via pinfall
– Sami Zayn def. Rhyno via pinfall
The Boss Does It With Flair
– The opening video highlighted Kevin Owens’ looking forward to the future against Finn Balor and how he threw Alex Riley over the announce table over comments he made during the main event. This set up everything on the show excellently. Also announced was the Balor-Owens match for the NXT World Heavyweight Championship on March 25. Could only mean good things.
– The backstage segment with William Regal and Riley made sense as a follow up but Riley saying he’s in “the prime of his career” was kind of laughable. At the same time, the intrigue of Regal making Riley have to choose between commentating and announcing was a good hook for later in the show.
– Adam Rose on NXT is a groan now. He actually let the Exotic Express catch him, so he was probably playing the face with his opponent as Tyler Breeze. The two had decent chemistry and Rose was definitely over with the NXT faithful. Smart way to get Breeze back on the winning trail as he hit the Beauty Shot to win. Him using the selfie stick as a shield to get through the Rosebuds was kind of funny.
– The Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady/Carmella backstage promo was their usual charismatic stuff. This is a great act and it was clear they were out for blood to get Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. What more could you want? Simple and straight forward.
– The Alexa Bliss interview promo made it clear she wanted Sasha Banks. Good time for her return as she could add some more fire to this already raging inferno that is the NXT Women’s Division.
– The Blake/Murphy-Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton match was clearly made to enhance Blake/Murphy as they won quickly and could use a squash win. Nothing memorable.
– The backstage segment between Bayley, Charlotte and Emma was interesting in showing how Emma was developing her new “mean streak” and maybe planted seeds of doubt in Bayley to get in her head. Where will it lead? Likely a match between the two.
– The Rhyno hype video was solid and showcased his biggest career moments and they played Paul Heyman’s sound bites. Awesome.
– The Baron Corbin-Tony Briggs match continued the trend of squash matches with Corbin out on top. Having Kevin Owens appear behind Riley at the announce table taunting him and eventually pouring water on his head was also really good. They’re making Owens look like a big badass heel with his mannerisms. He barely uttered a word and garnered a strong reaction. Not many could do that.
– The Sami Zayn taped promo was strong in terms of storyline perspective, for Zayn to feel discouraged and walk the streets of Montreal on the 13th anniversary of his wrestling career. Everything here made you want to see him come back to the ring and eventually get payback on Owens.
– The segment with Regal, Riley and CJ Parker was a good way to show Riley’s confirmed return to the ring and also gave him an out to face Parker. Regal allowing Riley to face Owens when he feels he is ready also makes sense, for the logic of a manger allowing a commentator to come back to compete.
– The Bull Dempsey-Solomon Crowe match continued the streak of predictable matches, where it was almost obvious Crowe would win. Crowe has a unique look, style and gimmick to him but the dude looks like the recipient of a bad sunburn. Not the best outing, but we can only hope this leads to better things for him. How far can a “hacker” gimmick go though?
– It says a lot about the state of women’s wrestling in NXT when the ladies can main event a show and it doesn’t feel out of place. That’s something you will never see on the main roster and that’s a shame. The Charlotte-Banks match for the NXT Women’s Championship was everything it was hyped up to be. Very physical and technical match and both ladies looked good, even if Banks used the ropes to win. Charlotte particularly looked great in defeat, red in the face like a tomato and still carried on in the match. Will this be Charlotte’s official sendoff or will she stick around a little longer? Either way, Banks still has a lot of worthy opponents to go through, so there is definitely no drought in the division.
– Tyler Breeze def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Wesley Blake/Buddy Murphy def. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton via pinfall
– Baron Corbin def. Tony Briggs via pinfall
– Solomon Crowe def. Bull Dempsey via pinfall
– Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks (Champion) def. Charlotte via pinfall to retain