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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (March 30, 2016): Of all sad words...

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Kind of weird when the 'go home' show for an event happening in two days took place two months ago...


Change of pace for the #1 contenders to the tag titles, as Jason Jordan is in the ring to start American Alpha's match with Corey Hollis & John Skyler. Chad Gable is quickly brought in for his usual impressive mat work. The Olympian does get caught briefly, but battles back with his partner's signature suplexes to make a tag and end the squash with their finisher after about four minutes.

We learn that the champs were watching their rivals backstage, and then we get a message from the NXT champion Finn Bálor. He's watched Samoa Joe these past few weeks, and seen that Joe's obsessed with beating him and taking the title. But Finn is also obsessed... with being the best. That's why he'll end their rivalry in two days.

In a throwback to his old squashes, Baron Corbin takes out Mike Cuellari in about a minute, and then hits him with End of Days after the bell.

Lots of Rev Pro footage of Shinsuke Nakamura in a video featuring Bálor, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Matt Bloom discussing what a unique talent he is.

  • Will anyone ever get tired of watching Gable & Jordan? Not me. Very much appreciate the little wrinkles they threw into the formula here as well.
  • Nice wall-mounted flat screen. I think the main roster still watches CRT televisions on those A/V carts. Everything's better in NXT.
  • So, I think Finn just isn't for me. This seemed like a perfectly fine promo, with a little bit of edge or fire to it... and I'm not feeling it. I recognize what I see as angry babyface mannerisms and others see as hints of a heel turn in his ringwork last week and later on this show, and they're pretty well done, and I'm just not interested. If you are, that's great. Like any art, this is subjective. But a year and a half into his WWE career, I feel like I've given him a fair shot, and he's never gonna be a favorite of mine.
  • One of the things which makes me think that is watching a guy like Corbin throughout this episode. The Lone Wolf has the same core he started with - badass who will quickly f*** you up - but he's developed or unveiled new wrinkles over time, and my appreciation and enjoyment of his work has grown.
  • And why did Corbin hit Cuellari with the post-match End of Days? Surprisingly, it wasn't that he was once upon a time kind of a thing for Ring of Honor as QT Marshall. Nope, it's because some dork at Full Sail had to run his mouth...
  • FYI - Everything those WWE and NXT stars you like say about Swagsuke is true.


No Way Jose's teaser runs again, then we head back to the ring for The Revival vs. Steve Cutler & Tucker Knight. Corey Graves introduces a quick video on the tag champs. Dash & Dawson work over Cutler, but get cocky trying a tandem move and the smaller man is able to get to his corner. The very large Knight briefly gives them all they can handle, but they bait him into a chase on the floor and he re-enters the ring to a Shatter Machine.

We see that Gable & Jordan were scouting that contest, and then a replay of Joe's attack of Bull Dempsey from last week leads us into an interview with Bull. He jokes that Samoa Joe is jealous because he's in better shape, then promises to give him a fight later on in the show.

Making quick work of Alex Riley, Apollo Crews finishs him with his new toss powerbomb finisher after only absorbing a couple of clotheslines in about a minute and a half. Afterwards, Elias Samson serenades him with a song about a "one man nation" who "loses it all". Crews invites him to the ring to settle their issues, but the Drifter leaves.

Baron Corbin is not worried about Austin Aries, or offending Virgil.

The Women's championship feud gets the big match video package, as Bayley's best friend Carmella and her fellow Four Horsewomen put over the champ's spirit, while Emma & Dana Brooke explain that Asuka will kick your face off.

  • Not as much fun as the American Alpha squash, but I do quite enjoy watching the tag champs work for entirely different reasons.
  • Don't have much of a scouting report on Knight, but I'd advise him to go with something other than a polka dot diaper held up with a duct tape belt for future outings.
  • Would have been interesting to see if the effort they put into reminding us of Bull's less-comedic past for tonight's main event would have worked if we didn't know he'd been released shortly after this was filmed.
  • Amazingly, A-Ry got a 50/50 crowd reaction from Full Sail. And he even f***ed that up (and stole Corbin's schtick) by yelling at an "internet mark" in the audience. Why are we giving this guy time again?
  • At least they didn't give him much, but I remain confused on the rationale for when they use different guys and gals for these squashes. For instance, why did one tag team get journeymen while the other got contracted, Performance Center regulars? The role of "handled without even making Apollo sweat" could have been played by anyone - why Riley?
  • Reserving judgement on Samson (see my thoughts elsewhere in this post on Corbin), but it dawned on me tonight... he's basically doing the rock version of Aiden English's old gimmick.
  • Don't have much to add regarding the Lone Wolf's promo. It was fantastic, and you should click that link above to watch it. I think we still need to see him deliver something of this caliber in front of an audience - there's a measured pace here that reveals how practiced it is - but that's the final barrier between this and a main event spot for BC.
  • The almost complete lack of face-to-face stuff or any opportunity to see a progression of Bayley's response to the situation leaves me disappointed by the women's title build, but I'll be damned if they didn't nail this video. It concisely yet emotionally got across the indomitable spirit against inflicter of pain theme. Would have been great to get this along with a few promos from the Hugster, or a backstage interaction or two, though.


Speaking to us from the main roster, Sami Zayn discusses his call-up and assures us he can chase Kevin Owens and prepare for Nakamura at the same time. Also, he  appreciates being called the heart & soul of NXT, and is honored to be welcoming Shinsuke to the company, but warns his opponent not to overlook him, or think he's going to make a big first impression by taking out the former NXT champ.

Dempsey comes to the ring in a serious mood, but after a few seconds on the attack, takes most of Joe's offense in quick succession and then taps to a Coquina Clutch.

When the Samoan Submission Machine won't release the hold, General Manager William Regal appears with a couple guys from the locker room to stop him. The veteran fights them off and reapplies the choke, which prompts a run-in from the champ.

They fight to the floor and Finn soccer kicks his rival from the apron and puts him through the barricade. Joe returns fire by launching Bálor over the announce table into Graves. This angers the Irishman, who dives from the table onto Joe and the officials holding him back. The TakeOver main eventers continue to try and brawl through the crew of men trying to keep them apart as the show ends.

  • Will always be a sucker for a Sami speech, and I'm beyond psyched for his battle with the master of the Bomaye, but... see above regarding Bayley vs. Asuka. This interview provided a hook we should have gotten a couple weeks back. It helps, but doesn't change that their TakeOver match feels like an indy supercard bout. Again, not slamming that as a bad thing, but think it could have been something more.
  • Just as I wonder if, in a vacuum, Bull's arc tonight wouldn't have worked better, I wonder if the closing angle wouldn't have had more of an impact if it weren't the third pull-apart-brawl-where-the-babyface-jumps-off-something-onto-the-heel I'd seen this week.
  • That said, and despite my earlier statements on the champ, the NXT title program is probably the best put together story on the card for Friday night. There are a lot of great matches set for Dallas, but this is the only one that feels like the culmination of big rivalry between two wrestlers with a lot of history.
  • Almost everything else is built on a few video packages and a real sports-esque "who's the best?" foundation. Which is a perfectly acceptable way to set-up a pro graps fight, and should lead to some phenomenal matches... but it helps me appreciate the added levels of personal animosity in Joe vs. Finn.
  • Which is really the one match that, as a sequel, needs that.
  • Think I just talked myself back into liking the build to TakeOver: Dallas after most of this show made me question it.

It would have been nice to go out with something more than two or three weeks of shows where you knew the outcome of every match before it started, but I really think the holes in NXT's ship this past month are a result of the big gap between TakeOvers and the decision/necessity of filming almost four months worth of shows in January.

Considering that, it's amazing what they've pulled off. But it's hard to not think how it could have been better.

Oh, this show?

Grade: C+

Get ready for lots of NXT talk over the next three days by giving us your thoughts on the Mar. 30 episode below, Cagesiders.

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