I am just sticking to the results and some observations on the matches. Over the weekend I will be compiling my thoughts on the night overall. Sometimes you need to step back and figure out why people are the way they are and how in 2016 you can’t figure out how to get people out of a parking lot that is the size of Walmart’s.
No Way Jose defeated Riddick Moss
Yes this is accurate. No Way Jose is his actual name. After seeing the small videos on NXT each week I figured this would just be a chant he used to get the crowd behind him. Alas, this was his name and the crowd obliged him by starting a “No Way Jose” chant in the same beat as his music. Regardless of the silly name Jose is great. He is high energy and the crowd immediately was behind him. Being in the ring with Riddick Moss helped since Riddick isn’t exactly a ball of fire with the personality. This was a good showcase though for Jose who won the match with a wind up punch to the mouth. It got an “Oooh” from the crowd followed by a laugh.
Elias Samson defeated John Skyler
Big time boos for Elias as soon as the chords of his entrance music played. The crowd genuinely does not like him but in all the right ways. The strange thing here is that at takeover Samson tried singing a song and the crowd booed him loudly. At Cabarrus Arena the crowd was silent so we could hear every single word. The song sucked and the presentation was spot on as Samson insulted the crowd. Good work here even if it was obvious we were all about to get goofed on. The match was like Humperdink’s in Dallas; it was what it was.
Alex Riley defeated Blake
No Murphy and more importantly no Alexa Bliss for poor Blake. Alex Riley came out with a polite response. My favorite part of the match was explaining that Alex Riley was the same Alex Riley that used to accompany The Miz. She asked what happened to him and I had no explanation. So, what did happen with Alex Riley? I know there were some injuries but those all seemed to be recent. He seemed destined for a much brighter spot than being in developmental.
Eva Marie defeated Carmella
Yes you read that right but the end came as Eva used the ropes to pin Carmella. Eva was sans Nia Jax, which was a disappointment for me. After the match Carmella got some revenge by beating up Eva and then hitting her with her Bronco Buster. The crowd booed Eva intensely at the beginning and even tried a “You can’t wrestle” chant. It didn’t last long since Eva, actually, wasn’t terrible. She still has a lot of work ahead of her if they intend to make her a legit wrestler. She doesn’t have the facial expressions down outside of looking bitchy, which she does very well. For example she had Carmella on the mat and pulled Carmella’s arms back and placed her knee in Carmella’s back. Instead of appearing to torque Carmella’s arms she just rested on her knee behind Carmella. She needed to emote and make it appear she is trying to pull those arms out of socket. Just a small example but Eva is far from the lost cause so many fans expect.
American Alpha defeated The Revival
Great match. These two work so well together and The Revival literally do nothing to get the crowd to cheer them and the crowd obliged by booing them. Jordan and Gable are so good and they are probably ready for the main roster but right now why bother? There really isn’t room so no need to pull them out and get lost in the shuffle. Anyway, the match was classic heels work over one babyface in the corner and repeatedly cut off the tag by every means possible. One really nice touch and got a laugh as well from the crowd was Jason Jordan pulling the straps down for the fire up. The problem is that his fire up got cut short. So, at the end of the match it was time for him to fire up again and he put the straps back up then immediately removed them again. It was pretty awesome actually. Part of the theme of the night really is that there was no finisher used by either team. Gable won with a cradle on Scott Dawson.
Austin Aries defeated Manny Andrade
Manny Andrade is also known as La Sombra. He actually opened the NXT Takeover: Dallas but since we couldn’t make out what the announcer said as well as not being able to see the entrance videos we had no idea who he was. It was nice getting a name to go along with the wrestler. This was a weird match and goes back to Takeover since Aries isn’t as popular with the crowd as expected. I will stick with the idea that calling yourself “The greatest man that ever lived” makes it impossible for the crowd to cheer you. Combine that with Austin being severely cocky why would you cheer for the guy? Anyway, this all led to the crowd choosing Manny Andrae as the crowd favorite. Austin didn’t really do anything to warrant this turn from the crowd mind you but Manny used it for some fire. This turned out to be my favorite match of the night and Manny Andrae was 90% of that enjoyment. He was really fun and Aries even gave him the spotlight at the end and left many to soak up an ovation from the crowd.
After the match some guy proposed to his fiancé. The crowd chanted yes until the guy said they were naming their first kid after Roman Reigns. I am pretty sure it was Roman Reigns. I say this because he got booed so loudly for saying the name I figured he must have said Roman.
Asuka defeated Peyton Boyce
Asuka didn’t receive the ovation I expected and she was without her Women’s Championship. Before the match started Eva Marie came back out and said she has her title and she will give it back if Asuka defends it against Eva in Columbia on Friday night. I am of the mind the crowd likes her but beating Bayley has possibly tarnished her popularity slightly. Bayley is such a fan favorite that the sheen is a little dull right now. Once Bayley moves on I think Auska will benefit. The crowd did manage an “Asuka’s gonna kill you chant” but this match was far from the squash we all expected. Peyton carried a majority of the offense and Asuka made a brief but strong comeback and finished her off with the Auska lock. The crowd was sort of dead until the end. After the match Asuka called for the mic and said she will kick Eva’s ass. This received a cheer but again not as loud as expected. I get it since this crowd wanted to see Eva Marie get beat down. Who wants to cheer for something you won’t see?
Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Tye Dillinger and Baron Corbin
This was a fun match and pretty much summed up the entire evening. This show was built around being low key and delivering some old school action. There was no way they could match the intensity of Takeover: Dallas and they didn’t try. Dillinger did his usual shtick with giving his opponents a 2 whenever they did something. A fun spot in the match happened when Dillinger gave Nakamura a snap mare and then held his hands in front of Nakamura face saying that was a ten. As he repeated the gesture Nakamura bobbed his head in rhythm. Tye backed off and Nakamura came back and gave himself an 11 by using his index fingers. Tye backed off in fright and tagged out. Baron Corbin didn’t do a lot in this match and he couldn’t even be bothered to take off his t-shirt. This bugged most of the crowd as they started chanting “take your shirt off.” Corbin acknowledged the chant and held his hand up and made a money gesture with his fingers and the crowd laughed then shut up. The star of the match though was Finn Balor. After his usual entrance Finn transformed in to Ric Flair for the most part. He was constantly wooing and strutting around the ring instead of using his usual offense. Tye Dillinger played along at one point and went to the top rope allowing Finn Balor to toss him off in Flair fashion. Tye also did the face first drop after begging off of Finns chops. Finn then just went wild and wouldn’t stop wooing. It was pretty funny until he got cut off and Nakamura took over. The end of the match came when Balor reverted back to his usual offense and hit the Slingblade on both Dillinger and Corbin. He then followed up with a brainbuster on Tye for the win.
After the match Finn took the mic and thanked everyone for coming out. He said they had a long weekend in Dallas and some of them are sore, tired and homesick but the energy of the crowd is what motivates them. Nakamura then took the mic and spoke briefly thanking the crowd. Overall the show was good if not a tad mellow. Check back this weekend for the more adult review of my experience for the show. I still have plenty to say but decided to keep the personal commentary out of it for a change.
Oh and for the record, Baron Corbin never took his shirt off. -Jeremy