3/23/16 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters
Asuka def. Emma (w/ Dana Brooke) by submission
Asuka locked in an armbar very early on, but Emma reached the ropes. Asuka switched to an ankle lock, and Emma countered with a legsweep on the apron. Emma hit an Emma Sandwich corner crossbody, and the two exchanged stiff strikes in the middle of the ring.
Emma dropkicked Asuka into the ropes, but Asuka used the momentum from the ropes to launch herself into a hip strike. Emma tried for a leverage pin on the ropes, but the referee caught her before counting the pinfall. Asuka transitioned an ankle lock into a German suplex, following up with a shining wizard. Asuka caught Emma in the Asuka Lock, forcing her to tap out.
Scott’s Thoughts: Emma’s improvement in NXT makes her wholly worthy of her recall to the main roster, and ensuing WrestleMania match. She and Asuka showed fantastic chemistry, with frequent counters and reversals for each other’s offense. Asuka continues to be a force in NXT, and carries a great deal of momentum into her title match with Bayley.
Finn Balor def. Rich Swann by pinfall
Swann hit a hurricanrana to earn a near-fall, but Finn continuously worked over Swann’s left wrist. Swann hit a dropkick and a superkick, followed by a second-rope hurricanrana. Finn responded by dropkicking Swann into the corner and hitting Coup de Grace. Finn finished Swann off with Bloody Sunday for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: A strong showing from Swann, who got in his fair share of offense. His athleticism makes him an interesting player to watch on the NXT landscape. I like the transition of the Coup de Grace from a finisher to a signature, because Bloody Sunday is a much better option to end matches.
Johnny Gargano def. Elias Samson by pinfall
Gargano hit a roll-through kick, then rolled Samson up for the quick victory. After the match, Samson hit Gargano with a spinning neckbreaker, then continued to beat him down outside the ring. Finally, Apollo Crews entered to make the save.
Scott’s Thoughts: Samson’s meaningless undefeated streak needed ending, and Gargano was as good a choice as any to drop it to. The post-match beatdown was clearly meant to put some heat on The Drifter, but it didn’t work. As for Crews, this was a bit of an odd appearance for him that doesn’t lead anywhere especially clear at this time.
Alexa Bliss def. Sarah Dobson by pinfall
Dobson hit an early dropkick and a somewhat botched diving crossbody, but Murphy took advantage of a distracted ref to take a cheap shot. Alexa hit the Sparkle Splash for the pinfall.
Scott’s Thoughts: Nothing more than an effort to keep Alexa relevant. Dobson (AKA Crazy Mary Dobson, known for her deathmatches) looked okay, but overshot the diving crossbody pretty badly, which was less than ideal.
- Bull Dempsey was entering for a match, when Samoa Joe jumped him and put him in a Coquina Clutch. Joe then put Bull’s intended opponent, Danny Burch, into a Coquina Clutch as well. Joe warned Sami Zayn this was a preview of what will happen to him in Dallas.
- A nice promo package aired, highlighting the amateur accomplishments of American Alpha. The most interesting aspect was how the package focused on how both men failed on their biggest stage of amateur wrestling; Gable in the Olympics, Jordan in the NCAA Championships. They discussed how they’ve learned from their previous failures in order to not repeat them. Good stuff.