"The roar of the crowd, stomp your feet to the ground"... Where else would I stomp my feet? Well, I did call for you, NXT...
- Emma continues to troll Bayley with an overtly heel entrance, and gets a bit of comeuppance from Charlotte despite nastily working over The Nature Girl's leg.
- Bayley shows up after the Natural Selection OUT OF NOWHERE to let the dancing Aussie know what happens when you steal a girl's accessories.
- The #1 contender to the Women's title gets the Hollywood video treatment.
- Visiting NXT, the voice of the WWE proves he's braver than anyone outside of Alex Riley, but still doesn't get much more than the usual "good father who provides for his family" reasoning from the NXT champ.
- Dark Emma is the bomb. Mocking Bayley and her fans by not giving out any of the multiple headbands she wore to the ring was great, but the non-chalant sell of faking to attempt skinning the cat before simply rolling under the bottom rope was genius. Working heel also opens up a lot of interesting offense for her during the match. She's always had the Dil-Emma, so I loved the head kick through them when Charlotte tried to toss her back in from the outside. And the array of leg strikes and holds (including the homage to her trainer Lance Storm that everyone was talking about on Twitter) really let her display a viciousness we hadn't seen before.
- Also nice to see The Nature Girl sell like that, and mount a babyface comeback. Being a Flair and all, she still works best as a heel, but if she's going to be on NXT, she might as well work on it. In fact, the only gripe I had about the opener was that it should have been happening on Raw or Smackdown.
- On the subject of mean streaks, you knew B wasn't really out there to hug her tormentor, but it was still a great moment when she didn't release and hit her finisher. It feels like we missed a segment or two in this feud - what should have been epic was rushed a bit so that it's "only" very good. The important stuff will happen next. Does Bayley do back to walking into traps because she's a blind optimist, or has the bubble-less Em done what everyone going back to BFFs couldn't?
- Their quick reframing of Becky Lynch as an everywoman underdog is quite smart, right down to incorporating her early, stereotypical appearances in WWE as part of the story. Hopefully they'll continue to play her as a full-blown tecnico and not like a main roster catty chick. That she already has more motivation for an alignment shift than the Divas champ is a good sign.
- Still can't wait for Sasha to beat her pillar to post in two weeks, though.
- Props to Michael Cole for bringing his A game to the KO interview. Owens vs. Zayn is such a stellar feud it even motivates Maggle! The story for Unstoppable is that their are cracks starting to show in the champ's story, and therefore his game, because no one is buying his family man schtick as is, and because everyone keeps asking him about Sami.
- Soooo smart. And, also, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let Zayn's shoulder injury be a work.
- Rhyno keeps Gore-ing his way through the undercard with a win over Bull Dempsey, and declared his intentions to come after Dempsey's old dance partner Baron Corbin.
- The Boss reminds Becky Lynch who made her, and promises to keep her belt.
- Uhaa Nation gets the red carpet treatment from General Manager Willian Regal.
- Blake & Murphy pull their most devious trick yet when they deny Full Sail a Realest Guys entrance.
- Sami Zayn uses his chat with Michael Cole to try and get some answers from Kevin Owens.
- The Likeable One's big night in Montreal is recapped, and his injured shoulder introduced into NXT kayfabe.
- Regal can't keep the peace at the contract signing between the ladies battling for the title at TakeOver, and Banks' cheap shots lead to her tapping to an armbar from BEX.
- At this rate, we may need to downgrade Bull to last of dead breed.
- Hope the Lone Wolf's on-screen response is as good as his social media one.
- I know I'm a markety-mark-mark for Banks, because I spent Becky's video spot thinking, "that little ingrate's turnaround started when Sasha took her under her wing, and now she doesn't give Team B.A.E. any credit?" So I quietly pumped my fist when the champ mentioned it herself. I think Moolah would be proud that you're going to be the one who usurps her as greatest woman in WWE history, Boss.
- Uhaa on the fast track, y'all. Also, the increase in administrative villainy we've had the past few weeks has been wonderful. This show needs you, Mr. Regal.
- Things that stick out to me in the tag scene: The Mechanics (are they still calling themselves that?) acid wash sleeveless vests, and Carmella begging the champs to lay off her boys while wearing a fugazi tiara that Blake and the Australian one probably bought her from the middle of the mall.
- Cole is much less of a presence in the Zayn sit-down, as he should be when interviewing a babyface. Love Sami's explanation for his change in tactics almost as much as I'm afraid that all we're going to get in the next two weeks is a face-to-face and maybe an injury write-off.
- As for the ladies' contract signing...well, for one thing we got a contract signing for the Women's title match, which freaking rules.
- Playing up the challenger as a Rousey-esque submission specialist who can rip your arm off at any time is sweet. Casting her as an earnest underdog in the Daniel Bryan/Sami Zayn/Bayley mode is not something I'm sold on yet. I'm not sure she has the right kind of charisma to pull it off, and her in-ring style and general demeanor are more "FOCK OFF" than "gee whiz". This is the place to find out though, and she's doing okay with it - I'm just not sure it's the best character for her.
- Firing off a Reservoir Dogs-inspired taunt on Twitter should be enough for you. If there's something wrong with you that it's not...SASHA HAS A BEDAZZLED SIGNATURE STAMP SHE BRINGS TO CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH CONTRACT SIGNINGS. Wrap it up. Your argument is invalid.
- Alex Riley passive aggressively says goodbye to the NXT Universe.
- Dana Brooke doesn't like Devin Taylor's body or the fact that Charlotte was featured in WWE's TapouT commerical.
- Finn Bálor heads down to the timekeeper position to watch his opponents at the live special, Tyler Breeze and Hideo Itami, renew their rivalry.
- Itami wins the match, but loses the war...possibly creating dissension with his Irish pal with an inadvertant kick through the barricade and then finding himself and Finn on the receiving end of gorgeous kicks from Prince Pretty to end the show.
- Was A-Ry turning heel there or...what was I talking about again? See, that's why Sami was the final shot of last week's episode - because he's interesting, and you're not. Get well soon, bud.
- Barbie Killa is a better nickname than "The Total Diva", especially when the woman using it is not on the prominent show of that bears that title, but I get that probably don't want the word "kill" referenced. Brooke vs. Charlotte should be a nice test for both, as the former champ has sometimes struggled in matches where she's not with a ring general-type to lead, and that's a skill she'll need to improve before she heads to Monday nights full-time. Dana's promo was still too rehearsed, but there's definitely some natural rudo in her delivery that's worth exploring, however...
- DO NOT think you're going to appropriate my beloved Batista-inspired sign-off, missy.
- Remember when I said I could watch Hideo and Tyler feud indefinitely? Someone may have taken me up on that challenge...
- They put on a pretty good match that my attention drifted on because we've seen it so many times recently and since we knew this was set-up for when it matters at TakeOver. Breeze standing tall at the end diminishes my hopes of a Prince Pretty vs. The Likeable One title feud in June, too.
- It was not without its pleasures, though, as both men continue to develop their gimmick and/or come up with new flourishes to add to their feud. The best ones tonight were Tyler declaring that he was "not getting kicked!" and Itami fixing his hair and posing after pulling down his knee pad.
- Work or shoot, it will be very interesting to watch the news about Sami over the next thirteen days to see how it effects the whole Unstoppable card, including the possibility that the winner of this Triple Threat might wrestle twice in one night.
They're pretty much addressing the concerns we had about the mixed-up slate of March shows with another excellent run-up to the latest live show. While this week featured a stronger main event and I loved the Banks/Lynch segment, it still didn't pop quite as much as last week's episode, which I'll always remember for the eletricity in the moment with Owens, Regal and Zayn in the ring.
What did you all think?