Special Sunday Edition!
Show Results & Observations
Agora Theatre & Ballroom Cleveland, OH. (3/4/16) Attendance: SOLD OUT
Asuka v. Emma:
“Asuka’s gonna kill you!” chant to open the night. And she did.
Asuka was on the offense early. She is incredibly fluid and intense. After momentum changes, Asuka is caught in the “Tree of Woe.” Emma delivered a litany of brutal kicks to the head and neck. Later, the crowd pops huge for a near-count out win for Emma. Asuka rallied and launched a pair of vicious leg strikes to the face and throat that snap Emma’s head off the bottom rope. The ref jumped in, checked Emma, threw up an “X,” and called the bout for Asuka by KO. Brutal finish.
Observations: After early success in NXT as a lovable babyface, Emma followed up with an uninspired main roster run. However, she came back to NXT and is way over as an arrogant heel.
The Vaudevillains v. Jason Jordan/Chad Gable:
Chain wrestling early between Gable and Simon Gotch. Later, Jordan and Gable fired off some gorgeous double dropkicks on their opponents.
As with most tag team matches, Gable was eventually in peril. Jordan got the “hot tag,” scored a near-fall on Aiden English. Jordan hit a “toro” spear on English. Gable pinned English.
Observations: Gable is clearly a blue chipper. He has a big future ahead of him.
Nia Jax/Eva Marie v. Mandy Rose/Billie Kay:
Simple, but effective, match. Dueling “Let’s go Eva”/”Eva sucks” chants. Jax easily manhandled both her smaller opponents. Eva captured a pin with a roll-up.
“Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger v. Sami Zayn:
Dillinger did a gag early in which each time the referee would take away one of his “10” signs that he was holding up, he pulled another smaller one out from somewhere in his outfit. After the third time, Zayn shocked him with a flash pin for the victory just seconds into the bout. Claiming that he wasn’t prepared, Dillinger begged for Zayn to agree to a restart if he was a “real man.” Zayn said he would if Dillinger would get on his knees and “say the magic word.” Dillinger begrudgingly complied.
A ten-minute match followed. Zayn hit an “exploder” into the turnbuckle., followed by a boot to the face, and pinfall.
Observations: Though it needs refining, Dillinger is on to something with the “Perfect 10” gimmick. Entertaining match.
NXT General Manager, William Regal came out to address the fans and thank them for supporting the brand.
NXT Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss v. Bayley(c):
The crowd is on fire for Bayley’s entrance. Competitive, well-constructed match. The champ retained with her “Bayley-to-Belly” suplex finisher.
Observations: Bayley has a truly special connection with the fans. She doesn’t just appeal to tweens or females. She gets a warm response from everyone in the building. She has an infectious, joyful charisma. That is a very rare commodity.
Alexa Bliss has grown into her heel persona. Her progress, perhaps more than anyone else on the current roster, has surprised me. Keep an eye on her.
NXT Tag Team Championship
Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa v. The Revival (Dash Wilder/Scott Dawson)(c):
Gargano, being from Cleveland, got a goose-bump inducing “Johnny Wrestling” chant from the hometown audience.
Gargano and Dawson start the match.
At one point, a chant for area super indy promotion, Absolute Intense Wrestling, filled the building.
The match was competitive and hard-hitting. Wilder pinned Ciampa after a gnarly “Shatter Machine.” Ciampa was down for several minutes after the conclusion of the bout. He was, however, able to return to the back under his own power.
Observations: Being from the area, I’ve been seeing Johnny Gargano wrestle since the earliest days of his career. It was a special moment seeing him get a hero’s welcome in a WWE ring.
“Fatal 4-Way Match”
Baron Corbin v. Apollo Crews v. Samoa Joe v. Finn Balor(c):
Million cool spots in this one. All four men are at the top of their game. The finish was ridiculously cool. Joe had Corbin in the “Kokina Clutch.” Crews did a standing backflip press onto the pair. Before he could move, Balor hit a double foot stomp off the top rope on the trio of bodies. He pinned Corbin to retain the championship.
Observations: If I were a decision-maker in the Fed, I’d be ear-marking Crews as a future WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Killer look. A workhorse in the ring. Charisma to spare. He has it all…and then some. I hope that he is protected and treated like the prospect that he is.
I like Baron Corbin more and more each time I see him. he has a presence and physicality that are going to propel him a long way. I don’t think that he is far from a call-up to the main roster.
-Zep the Bear