clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (Mar. 2, 2016): Collide together

After a lackluster show seven days ago, I really wasn't expecting much from the last hour from Orlando - even though I knew it had a big moment in store.

Goes to show you something about expectations, I guess.


Our opening affair is part of the continuing effort to re-establish the Vaudevillains as heels. They face off with Hugo Knox & Tucker Knight, and despite a couple of spots and commentary selling the larger men, Aiden English & Simon Gotch win in under four minutes.

Alex Reyes has the misfortune of interviewing Emma & Dana Brooke, who continue their delusionally one-sided beef with Asuka and promise to make short work of Emma's opponent tonight before Dana gives the man with the microphone some head pats. We're then warmed up for tonight's main event with a video package about Finn Bálor.

The parking lot assault of Enzo Amore plays again, to set-up promos from the teams involved. Colin Cassady calls the champs gutless and vows to take their titles. Dash Wilder is selling an arm injury he says the Realest Guys gave him, and Scott Dawson says jumping Zo was payback for the times he & Cass attacked the Revival. We then learn they'll face off for the belts at Roadblock.

Independent star Santana Garrett makes her second NXT appearance to take on Emma. The UCF crowd is behind her, but Dana Brooke uses excellent heel managerial strategy to help her friend and cheer the Aussie on to victory in a little more than five minutes.

  • It's early, but I am impressed with the re-packaging of the Vaudevillains as, well, villains. English has always worked better that way - he still has a more traditionally heel moveset, and stands out for vocally turning their "manly" schtick from chivalrous to chauvinist. But as we see in their match (and definitely later) Gotch shows real promise as a creepy bastard.
  • Knox is former English football keeper Stuart Tomlinson, while Knight is a collegiate wrestler from Arizona State named Levi Cooper. Neither got a chance to show much here (neither showed any flashes of charisma which lead me to expect a whole lot, either) but they were treated well by Corey Graves and Tom Phillips in your latest reminder that NXT announcers never bury anyone.
  • Here's hoping Emma & Dana talk shit about Asuka forever, even - and maybe especially - if she never responds. Mocking Deonna Purrazzo for suffering the same fate they have at the hands and feet of the Empress of Tomorrow was great stuff. The countdown to emasculation should be a recurring bit, too.
  • You know Zo's serious when he lets Cass do all the talking. The Revival are sneaky smooth on the stick, and love the irony of "catchphrase kings" turning into a catchphrase.
  • But... how does this Roadblock thing go? Would a win here mean the Realest Guys aren't getting the call-up they've seemingly been being groomed for for about the last nine months? Aren't TakeOver: Dallas plans already set?
  • Because and in-spite of those questions, I'm a big fan of putting this match on the Mar. 12 card. NXT title matches should be a staple of these Network exclusive shows. You'll get a smarkier main roster (live and TV) audience with lots who will be familiar with the characters, but more who can be introduced to them while watching a show with names they already know well.
  • #SignSantana
  • On second thought regarding the Emma & Dana vs. Asuka thing, keep these two strong for when Asuka gets the title so they can have a long feud for the belt. Everything about these ladies deserves to be spotlighted in a main event program - especially Brooke telling the referee Emma's opponent said "yes" while in rest holds and screaming that her partners "knows the rules" when told to break.


Called to the General Manager's office, Eva Marie and Nia Jax are pleased to hear William Regal call them stars, but less thrilled to find out their next match is against Bayley & Asuka.

Regal heads to the ring, where he introduces his newest signee. Unfortunately, he doesn't even have a chance to say the free agent's name before Austin Aries is assaulted by Baron Corbin. The Lone Wolf throws A-Double off the apron and hits End of Days on the floor before throwing Aries shirt at Regal and telling him this was revenge for being taken out of the hunt for the NXT title.

Multiple strikes give Elias Sampson another quick win, this time over Steve Cutler. Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder discuss their loss to the Vaudevillians being a wake-up call, and vow to take care of the silent team. After the Hype Bros walk off set, Gotch & English emerge and smile eerily at the camera.

  • No wonder Eva supports a women's tag division... the plan to follow Nia to gold is a sound one. Wouldn't be surprised if they somehow pick up a win against future rivals Asuka and Bayley soon, too. Something has to go wrong soon to kick that feud into high gear.
  • Aries introduction is pretty much the standard by which I'll measure these things going forward. Guy I mark for? Check. Sick entrance jam? Check. Big pop? Check. Immediate program with someone who both has momentum yet needs something to do? Check. Vicious looking assault that's just shy of being oversold? Check.
  • The tie in to Regal and Corbin's issues with the General Manager was just the icing on top. In fact, the only thing I didn't like about the segment is it reminded me that we've seen the last of Regal the wrestler, which bums me out.
  • At this point, I think Sampson's roll out is designed to get Corey Graves over more than anything else. I continue to fail to be moved one way or the other by the Drifter, but the Savior of Misbehavior laying into him is priceless.The squash was full of great lines from Graves, but I particularly liked his exasperated realization that Elias was playing air guitar.
  • Don't care what you think of me, but I do kind of dig the Hype Bros. Not sure why Mojo can't get through a promo without saying something that makes him sound like a criminal. The threat to silence the Vaudevillains could have been saved until later in the feud, Rawley.
  • Seriously, y'all. Simon is creeping me out.


After a highlight package reminds us of Neville's accomplishments, our battle of champions starts slowly. Neither man can get an advantage from early lock-ups, and we take a break as they re-assess. When we return, both send their opponent to the outside, and the Brit gets a two-count following a springboard moonsault. After trading strikes, Bálor regains the advantage with a penalty kick from the apron.

The NXT champ sees that as an opening for Bloody Sunday, but Neville flips out and reverses into a German Suplex. A deadlift variation follows, but a bridging cover can't finish off the Irishman. Battling outside and on the top rope ends with Finn sent to the match by super-hurricanrana from the main roster star, but  Bálor rolls out before a Red Arrow can connect.

The finishing sequence follows, as a sling blade levels the Brit, followed by a running drop kick and Coup de Grâce. Sensing the need for something extra to put the longest reigning NXT champ away, Bálor connects with Bloody Sunday. After winning, he leads the cheers for Neville and shakes his hand.

Backstage, Rich Brennan is with the two men who will meet in a two-out-of-three falls match next week to determine the #1 contender to Bálor's title. Samoa Joe accuses Sami Zayn of being ungrateful since he debuted in NXT by protecting Zayn from Kevin Owens. Sami fires back that Joe doesn't appreciate all the work he and others did to build NXT. Getting the last word, the Samoan Submission Machine again says he'll end the Likeable One's career to get another shot at Finn.

  • Had forgotten how great it is to see Adrian Neville work for more than two minutes at a time in tag matches.
  • After a slow start, the main event really hummed. Haven't rewatched their match from last Spring in quite some time, but I don't remember liking it as much as I enjoyed this one. Some of that reaction may be nostalgia for Neville as a top guy, though.
  • The big kayfabe takeaway from what otherwise was basically a house show match is Tom Phillips openly speculating about a Bullet Club arrival, and what I perceived as a bit more of an edge from Bálor at times.
  • Which doesn't tell me anything. They could be doing that to get us ready for Bulletproof BC, or they could be doing it to throw us off the scent of more Finn as NXT's male babyface and the impending arrival of Festus & Festus-er on the main roster.
  • This Joe vs. Sami thing is taking me back to peak Sasha vs. Bayley. I am so torn, and actually feel emotional discomfort watching them tear into one another on the mic.
  • That said, another round to Joe. Be careful next week, Sam.

The only downbeat for me was Sampson's match, and even that was redeemed by Phillips & Graves.

Nice show, NXT.

Grade: A-

The last word is yours.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats