By Anthony Zevoteck
Most of us have learned the hard way that too much partying can be bad.
Those of us familiar with NXT from 2012 to 2014 will fondly remember a deadly superstar named Leo Kruger. Many wins and some excellent feuds led the South African to become one of NXT’s brightest stars and a keen fan favorite.
In May 2014, WWE fans were overcome by a storm of flamboyancy when a repackaged and renamed Adam Rose debuted. The partying prophet racked up mid-card wins aplenty and put together an impressive streak that led people to believe that he was on the brink of breaking through to the scene of midcard championship contenders.
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Every Man For Themselves
– Actually liked the idea of the Bray Wyatt fog promo taking over the opening theme montage. Makes even a taped show like Smackdown still have that slight feeling of unpredictability. Sadly – his promo towards Ryback hyping their Payback match wasn’t all that, besides giving fair warning to the big guy that an attack was imminent.
Kevin Owens Is Not Impressed
– The opening video looked back at last week’s Kevin Owens-Alex Riley rematch, as Owens owned Riley yet again, doing everything except the Apron Powerbomb as Sami Zayn saved Riley, as the two rivals brawled, going back to interview sound bites from the two guys. This made Zayn-Owens feel like the big deal it is.
One Less Lonely Champ
– The opening video focused on the sudden return of the King of the Ring tournament. This was good for the show because it promised quality wrestling as a way to fill gaps of time, even leading to a special on the WWE Network the following night.
An All-Champions Affair
– Starting the show off with John Cena again? Are we watching a Raw repeat? Do we even want a repeat of Raw? His promo did its job as it explained the rules of the Russian chain match (much-needed) and addressed the energy of the crowd. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro came out for some cheap heat, cutting down the people and Cena, all for Daniel Bryan to come out and the place to go bonkers. Read the rest of this entry
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
– Daniel Bryan’s promo was good in that it provided a “reality shot in the arm” for him headed to WrestleMania and before the thought of him having no plans could come about, he more or less got inserted into the Intercontinental Championship picture once Bad News Barrett came out. This isn’t bad though. You can’t say it is a demotion by any means, because look at John Cena. He’s not in the main event of WrestleMania either and has been in the United States Championship picture. The brawl with Barrett and Dean Ambrose was also decent.
– The Ambrose-Miz match was solid. The dynamic of Ambrose having the IC Title to get at Barrett and Barrett’s numerous failed attempts to get it back are entertaining, but it’s the fact that Ambrose isn’t Champion and shouldn’t argue for “honor and prestige,” exactly what Byron Saxton said on commentary. Byron Saxton should never be the voice of reason. Barrett got the Title back but you had the feeling Ambrose would get it again. Ambrose also got the win not surprisingly, as he keeps his momentum going.
– Barrett’s backstage promo had him call out Bryan and Ambrose and put himself over as Champion more or less. Decent.
– The Naomi (w/The Usos)-Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd/Cesaro) match was better than expected, but still way too short to be anything special. The two did have good in-ring chemistry and the two tag teams got their hands on each other and Natalya played possum to outsmart Naomi. Good progress.
– The Rusev/Lana promo was more insulting America and John Cena. We Google translated Vladimir Putin’s “letter” and the translation was correct more or less (look slightly right). Jack Swagger coming out was different but this wasn’t a new feud. He was over in this segment though before he got clobbered. If anything, this is probably a minor feud before Rusev turns back to Cena. Hopefully, they allow Swagger to get some revenge again.
– The Barrett-Bryan match was made more entertaining with R-Truth on commentary. Him mistaking Saxton for Jonathan Coachman was funny. Truth stealing the belt was also entertaining. Now with Barrett’s loss to Bryan adding to his “defeated by” list, he has to be the worst IC Champion ever. It’s hard to make a belt look good when its own Champion seemingly can’t beat anybody or hold on to said Title.
– The Roman Reigns sit-down interview with Saxton had Reigns excel in his best promo environment. They were smart to play up this side of him. His demeanor was great here. Strong point of the show.
– The backstage interaction between Ambrose and Truth was funny because of Truth, but for someone who went to the trouble of also stealing the belt to give it back so easily made Truth look weak, somewhat stumping his momentum.
– The Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes)-Curtis Axel match had more of the same complaining by Axel – albeit the #AxelMania stuff is funny with the added clock and the new wrestling tights. Fandango picked up a useless win. Can Axel look any more like a joke headed into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale?
– The Damien Mizdow-Miz commercial segment was quite humorous and allowed Miz to continue his egomaniacal actor routine and him obviously ripping Mizdow’s opportunity away from him was more good stuff.
– The announcement of Barrett defending his IC Title in a ladder match against multiple opponents sounded like the road they were going down considering who has beaten him so far.
– Adam Rose’s boxed promo didn’t add anything to his act despite letting us know he’d also be in the Andre The Giant Battle Royale match. Can we take him seriously?
– The Rose (w/The Exotic Express)-Goldust match was quite short as Goldust finished Rose off quickly. How memorable. Stardust attacking Goldust disguised as a Rosebud was a decent way to progress their feud, but disguising as a Rosebud has been done before.
– The Bray Wyatt promo was more of the usual, but Wyatt is at his best when he is focused on someone in his promos and obviously, the Undertaker is a big name. When will the two finally interact? This whole feud can’t be one-sided.
– The Dolph Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback-Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security)/The Big Show/Kane six-man tag main event was good for what it was; fast-paced power moves that gave the trio their big moment.
– Dean Ambrose def. The Miz via pinfall
– Natalya (w/Cesaro, Tyson Kidd) def. Naomi (w/The Usos) via pinfall
– Daniel Bryan def. Bad News Barrett via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Curtis Axel via pinfall
– Goldust def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Six-Man Tag – Dolph Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback def. Kane/The Big Show/Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) via pinfall
Tag Team Turmoil
– The opening segment where Kane and The Big Show announced the tag team turmoil match actually provided a breath of fresh air to the show, as it’s been a long while since they’ve done one of these matches. Kane having Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan start things off sounded about right for Authority shenanigans. On that note, Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil are a team? Also, Why would The Usos need to compete if they are the Champions? So sinister.
– It’s good to see Bray Wyatt on the rise again. It’s given his character a new focus. When R-Truth came out, this kind of gave away the match result. Squash… Truth did make it more back and forth than expected, but the result was still the same. No cryptic promos here, as we guess that has moved to Raw.
– The Summer Rae-Paige match also seemed to be a giveaway of a Paige victory, being that she’s being made to look good as a number one contender to the Divas Championship. They’re trying to establish Paige as a “loose cannon” and it’s working somewhat. It was smart to have The Bellas at ringside for commentary yet again, but them acting bored of the match didn’t help this. Either way, Paige made quick work of Rae and the Paige Tap Out (PTO) is a pretty-looking submission maneuver.
– There was a fair amount of hype for the John Cena-Rusev and Sting-Triple H feud developments with slick video packages, as per usual.
– The Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express)-Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) match was a continuation from last week, instead with Rose choosing not to do the trust fall this time. Fandango won again, but it’s lost in the shuffle of Rose taking out his aggression on the Rosebuds. Will The Bunny come back to get revenge? Where is this all going? More importantly, will anybody actually care?
– It was obvious from the start that the focus of the tag team turmoil match was on Reigns and Bryan wanting to upstage one another, getting in each other’s faces. That story was fine, but was having them more or less pick apart the ever-growing tag team division the way to go with it? Granted, teams like The Ascension and The Usos were kept strong here with The Ascension getting DQ’d after beating down Bryan and Reigns a pretty good degree and The Usos understandably put up the strongest fight, and it added an interesting “family dynamic” with them being Reign’s cousins, which added fuel to the fire between him and Bryan. Miz and Damien Mizdow were also able to keep their little storyline going as well and weren’t damaged, though the same can’t be said for Los Matadores and Slater/O’Neil, which were obviously squashes. Show/Kane as the final opponents wasn’t surprising. That segment of the match was okay, but more focused on Show/Kane disagreeing eventually ending with Show knocking out Kane, though you wouldn’t call it a “turn” per se, but they’ll probably follow it up on Raw. The showing of respect at the end between Reigns and Bryan was an okay ending, but at the same time sort of contradicted everything the FastLane match buildup has been so far. Why ease their tension now, long match aside?
– Bray Wyatt def. R-Truth via pinfall
– Paige def. Summer Rae via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Tag Team Turmoil – Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns def. The Miz/Damien Mizdow, The Usos, Los Matadores (w/El Torito), Heath Slater/Titus O’Neil, The Ascension and The Big Show/Kane
MizTV Gets Cancelled
– The opening video highlighted the happenings on Raw that led to the making of the Daniel Bryan-Roman Reigns match at FastLane to decide who will fight WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania about as well as humanly possible, core-shaking announcements and all.
– Leading things off with The MizTV segment with Bryan and Reigns seemed like it had comedic potential, as Miz can’t miss a beat lately. His back-and-forth with Mizdow was kept minimal the whole night. Reigns Superman Punching Miz out cold before they started talking seemed to be done for shock value, as Reigns has gained a little bit of his edge back, even trying to confront Bryan. We had to know it was only a matter of time before they would be interrupted. Seth Rollins was gold on the mic again being his bragging self. This set up the main event announcement that Bryan would face Rollins and J & J Security. How many decks can they stack? Sigh.
– Having Miz pissed off backstage was a necessary follow-up to the segment and him being so irate to challenge Reigns made sense, as it sounded crazy, but crazy enough to make you want to stay tuned in.
– Dolph Ziggler and Ryback could make an interesting tag team since their opposite styles work together. Seeing their opponents here were Gold & Stardust only made it seem more apparent a tag team push was par for the course in a way that would also further separate Gold & Stardust. Their match was more or less that as Stardust walked away and Ryback got the pinfall. Ziggler/Ryback doesn’t scream “long-term” but we’ll see in time.
– The Curtis Axel “don’t change the channel” promos can be hilarious as hinted by this week. His plead for the hashtag #AxelMania for a movement was sort of funny.
– The Dean Ambrose-Axel match picked up where things left off from Raw pretty much as Ambrose is being made to look strong in his pursuit of the Intercontinental Championship.
– Bad News Barrett’s “Bad News Zone” segment was hilarious if you caught the scrolling ticker, but it also seemed to distract the viewer from the message that Barrett wouldn’t give Ambrose a shot anytime soon. We know that match will likely happen at FastLane anyway.
– The Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes)-Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) match started with Rose being dropped by the Rosebuds and had him start attacking them, establishing him as a heel, making Fandango sort of the face here. This seemed more confirmed by the finish and it’ll be good to follow Rose’s recent mean streak. Fandango got the win, so perhaps a face push is on the horizon?
– The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow)-Reigns match started off good with Miz going strong on offense. It was dangerous having Miz go in the way of a “hot” Reigns, but Miz’s intensity served well here and he put in a lot of offense. Mizdow was also kept out of the picture here slightly disappointingly.
– There were definitely some piped-in cheers in Erick Rowan’s entrance.
– The Rusev (w/Lana)-Rowan match had Rowan on a lot of offense surprisingly and he looked good in the ring, but then again, he was fighting Rusev, who is being made strong against John Cena. Rusev winning by submission wasn’t a surprise. Rowan still needs something more to his gimmick to make him relatable to fans. Pictures surfaced on the internet of him with his real-life family. With his “changed persona,” why not take that and use it?
– The Paige backstage promo was pretty straightforward in setting her apart from other divas, which we already kind of knew. That spray tan lotion also has to be pretty strong to still be on her.
– The Paige-Alicia Fox match seemed to just take place to have Paige look good as she gets ready to challenge Nikki Bella for the Divas Title. Her winning by submission pretty much accomplishes that.
– The double date segment with Naomi, Jimmy Uso and Natalya had Tyson Kidd come in with Cesaro acting like a jerk and the two attacked Jimmy once he confronted them about their bullying. Natalya snapping at Jimmy and Naomi was sort of surprising. Nevertheless, besides the drama outside the ring, these two teams should provide a good match inside of it whenever it happens. We’ll guess FastLane?
– Bray Wyatt’s latest promo geared towards the Undertaker called himself a “reaper” and did Taker’s glove hand pose. At least it’s fun to try to decode these.
– The 3-on-1 handicap main event with Daniel Bryan taking on J & J Security/Seth Rollins was pretty much the usual Bryan comeback with him getting a pinfall victory on one of J & J Security. This set up the return of Kane, who attacked Bryan and brought us back to the same old beatdown again. Don’t people who get buried alive usually stay away for a while? Reigns didn’t come out to make the save this time, so the purpose might’ve been to show that, but the announcers didn’t even play that up.
– Dolph Ziggler/Ryback def. Gold & Stardust via pinfall
– Dean Ambrose def. Curtis Axel via pinfall
– Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Roman Reigns def. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) via pinfall
– Rusev (w/Lana) def. Erick Rowan via submission
– 3-On-1 Handicap Match – Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins and J & J Security via pinfall