3/11/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn
Joe and Zayn could have won Match of the Week, but their #1 Contender, two-out-of-three falls match on NXT was more than just a regular match. They wrestled for about 40 minutes and took up the entire telecast. They were the NXT show this week, so comparing it to other matches is apples and oranges. Joe and Zayn have wrestled a few times over the last several weeks to determine an NXT #1 Contender. This match was billed as a way to get some closure in their rivalry and it did so marvelously. The first fall didn’t come for over 20 minutes and the pacing was perfect. Zayn sold like crazy for his dangerous opponent and built up enough time so that his big spots felt earned and cathartic. Joe showed that his athleticism and endurance for his size are the qualities that make him truly unique. Joe got the third fall when Zayn passed out to the rear naked choke, and it was the best moment he has had in NXT. While both are in NXT, Joe and Zayn are ring veterans who understand pacing and psychology like few in the world and it made for a highly entertaining episode of NXT.
Match of the Week – Mil Muertes def. Pentagon Jr and Prince Puma
As I explained in the WOTY segment, it’s hard to compare a match that got the entire episode to several other matches that were part of larger shows. Additionally, the LU main event deserves credit in its own right. LU has been solid so far in season two, but the booking has held back on giving full time or clean resolutions to big matches. That changed over the last two weeks, first with Fenix’s Gift of the Gods win and now with Mil’s first LU Title defense. Mil, Pentagon, and Puma are three of the top stars in the company and they showed why this week. They worked a creative, hard-hitting brawl all over the Temple. Several times, it looked like Pentagon and Puma had put Mil down so they could have it out between the two of them. Each time, he stoically made it back to his feet and continued to deliver punishment. He finally speared both opponents and hit them with a double Flatliner to firmly establish himself at the top of the pecking order. An exciting challenge from Fenix now awaits.
Must See Wrestling
- Angle Exits TNA
TNA built up Kurt Angle’s farewell match with Bobby Lashley over several weeks, so it was odd that the match was just over 10 minutes long and did not main event the show. Nonetheless, Angle and Lashley showed the same strong chemistry that helped them put on a solid series of matches last year. Angle adhered to the age old wrestling adage to go out on his back when Lashley broke an Ankle Lock and got a spear for the win. I still hope to see Angle wrestle a farewell match in WWE, because this match was not sufficient to cap off the spectacular career he had.
- Y2AJ Disintegrates
It was clear from the moment Chris Jericho and AJ Styles partnered that the duo was set up to implode and extend the exciting feud that they two started. Even with that foreknowledge, Jericho executed the turn beautifully. He gave Styles three Codebreakers after the team failed to beat New Day for the Tag Team Titles, and then burned a Y2AJ shirt in the ring on Smackdown. Jericho knows how to tell a story, and he has set this one up perfectly to elevate Styles at Wrestlemania.
- Ambrose Readies for HHH
A week after HHH left Ambrose bruised atop the announce table, Ambrose was able to get a measure of revenge. HHH tried to give him another whooping, but Ambrose hit him with Dirty Deeds and posed with the WWE Title. I don’t think anyone expected the build for a glorified house show to outdo the build for the Wrestlemania main event, but that’s where we are now.