March 30, 2016

Watch: WWE Network

Every match on WWE NXT is predictable tonight. The card is set, there’s nothing left to build too. This is the last chance to put guys over leading into Takeover: Dallas.

This is going to be a short review tonight, y’all (I’m getting my vocabulary ready for a weekend of Texas wrestling). There just isn’t a ton of wrestling to talk about, and the entirety of the Takeover story has been told.

American Alpha def. John Skyler and Corey Hollis

Jason Jordan and Chad Gable look like they already won the titles in this match. As Tom Phillips said, there wasn’t even a reason for Jordan to drop the straps on his singlet. Jordan and Gable are hit the most dangerous looking Grand Amplitude I’ve ever seen when Jordan tossed Corey Hollis about two Chad Gables high before the actual Gable was able to catch him in the back suplex for the pin.

Baron Corbin def. Mike Kilari(?)

It took longer to try to figure out who Baron Corbin was wrestling in this match than it did for Corbin to end it. It actually reminded me of the old Counting Corbin days. Still, Corbin’s Deep Six side slam is a way better finisher than the End of Days, but I doubt he’s ever going to switch them around. The announce team did a nice job of putting Corbin’s indy killer persona over for the few seconds the match lasted.

I still don’t know if I spelled Mike Kilari’s name right, but that’s phonetic.

After Corbin’s demolition of enhancement talent, we got out second Shinsuke Nakamura featurette in as many weeks. This video included a ton of Revolution Pro footage, including multiple clips of Nakamura’s match with Marty Scurll from last year…hmmmm.

The Revival def. Steve Cutler and Tucker Knight

Tucker Knight and Steve Cutler fared slightly better than Skyler and Hollis, but only slightly. Cutler got one move in to open the match, and that was about it for him. Knight got a nice hot tag segment in, but fell to the Shatter Machine after being outfoxed by The Revival.

Apollo Crews def. Alex Riley

The crowd went depressingly mild when Apollo Crews came to the ring. I don’t know whether the company has cooled on Crews, but the crowd definitely has. Crews simply hasn’t lived up to the hype. Alex Riley, on the other hand, had a kind of oddly high number of fangirl screams. Is there an A-Ry tumblr out there that I don’t know about? I’ll have to ask Rob McCarron.

Riley, as always, came out swinging before getting tossed by Crews into a powerbomb. It’s hard to blame Crews for wrestling his general formulaic match tonight, though, as the entire match was about three minutes.

As Crews celebrates, out comes Elias Samson who…oh my god…is playing Chekhov’s Guitar! And singing! For anyone wondering, apparently “The Drifter” gimmick means a shitty singer-songwriter country musician. Samson sings a little tune for Crews on the way to the ring, but backs off – and back up the aisle – when Crews invites him into the ring.

This was kind of a funny spot for Riley who is arguably a better candidate for the Drifter gimmick than the actual Drifter.

Not all is lost on this pre-Takeover show as Corbin cut what is easily the best promo of his career. Corbin told Austin Aries that he can bring all the Fighting Spirit he wants to their match on Friday, but he’s going to end his career “in an arena” and Aries can go back to his small time career and sit at the table “next to Virgil.” Dayum, Baron. This was hot fire.

Samoa Joe def. Bull Dempsey

Fare thee well, Bull Dempsey, we hardly knew ye.

Samoa Joe looked mean tonight. Far meaner than he has in a long time and definitely meaner than he did in the 2 out of 3 falls match against Sami Zayn. See?

Dempsey charged Joe to start the match, but Joe beat the piss out of Dempsey and did it quickly. Joe hit his enziguri and STO before locking in the Coquina Clutch to end the match. Joe refused to let go of the hold, however, and William Regal sent a couple of refs and enhancement talent out to stop Joe. Joe let go and dispatched both wrestlers before locking the Clutch back in. Finally Finn Balor hit the ring and the pair brawled around ringside.

The brawl was pretty spectacular for what it was, and included some wild spots.

Balor dropkicked Joe through the baracade, Joe threw Balor over the announce table and Balor jumped from the announce table onto Joe and a bunch of event staff. The pair were finally separated as the episode closed. Next stop: Takeover.