Almost 5000 fans packed the San Jose State Event Center last night to create a frenzy around NXT’s Wrestlemania weekend show. From Jim Ross, to Wale, to Sign Guy, to Sam Roberts, the wrestling community turned out in force to see some great wrestling. There were some elements that invoked the “developmental” label- broken mics, misused spotlights, and minor in-ring errors- but the show felt more like an elite independent show than a minor league for the vast majority of the night. The hallmark of the show was the positive energy put out by the wrestlers. It was fun to see the crowd on board from start to finish.
Finn Balor def. Adrian Neville
With Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn still not medically cleared to wrestle, the show’s main event was two old rivals who have rekindled their magic in NXT. They wrestled an incredibly entertaining match that echoed the early years of the Dynamite Kid in Japan. Neville nearly won with a stiff superkick and Balor had his own near fall off of the move fka Bloody Sunday. They both repeatedly tried to get to the top rope to hit their aerial signatures, but neither could connect until Balor finally hit the Coup de Grace to get the pin. They shook hands after the match to send the fans home in a state of near euphoria.
Sasha Banks def. Charlotte to Remain NXT Women’s Champion
The clear match of the night was this semi-main event between two women who are unsurpassed in wrestling today. They have wrestled frequently over the past several months but this match was as good as any they have had on TV. Charlotte hit hear spear and Sasha responded with the double knee drop in the corner. The action spilled out to the floor and the both took some stiff shots into the barricades. As the match built toward the conclusion, both wrestlers went for the figure four. When Charlotte got it locked in, Sasha managed to reverse it. Shortly after, she locked in the Banks Statement. Charlotte repeatedly rolled through it to put Sasha’s shoulders to the mat, but Sasha kept the hold locked in until Charlotte finally tapped out.
HHH Addresses the Fans
One of the surprises of the night was HHH in the ring thanking the fans for coming along for the ride. He said that wrestlers like Seth Rollins, Cesaro, Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, and even Vince McMahon were watching the show from backstage, which got the fans into even more of a frenzy. HHH basically functioned as a cheerleader and did his job very effectively.
-Hideo Itami finally hit the GTS on Tyler Breeze to open the show on an extremely high note. They wrestled a very solid match in which Itami mocked Breeze. After he kicked out of the Supermodel Kick, he finally connected on his old finisher.
-Another highlight was the tag team match that saw hometown girl Bayley team with Alexa Bliss to beat Becky Lynch and debutante Dana Brooke. Bayley and Becky stood out as the two best workers in the match and Bayley secured the win with a Bayley-to-Becky suplex.
-It appeared that Enzo and Cass might win the Tag Team Titles in a triple threat match with the Vaudevillains and Murphy & Blake until Carmella inadvertently distracted Cass. She fell from the apron, and when he came to her aid, he was rolled up for the pin. The match was fun, but it was played mostly for comedy, so no one stood out as an in-ring performer. In the midst of a long show, it was a nice respite.
-Baron Corbin got a decent win over Rhino and Jason Jordan upset Bull Dempsey. It was interesting to see how quickly the fans have turned against Corbin since his successful debut.
-The verbal confrontation between Owens and Zayn was very effective. Zayn trumpeted how far NXT has come in his two years with the company and Owens interrupted him to say that it only started to excel when he arrived. It was a reminder that either wrestler could step into the upper part of the main roster WWE card and thrive almost immediately.