Okay, sorry again about last week. I've had some stuff going on at work that's been bleeding into my "free" time. Not your problem, but I had to take a 2 hour phone call last Saturday that meant I could either do the NXT write-up or actually grade my students' papers, but not do both. This week's not a lot better, but I'm not phoning this in twice.
What's that you say? You don't give a shit and you want me to talk about wrestling? Ah, I see.
So, we're closing in on Takeover (and also WrestleMania, I guess, if that's your thing), but we've got one more week to go, and at least one minor match to set up. So we get straight to the action, with The Drifter Elias Samson taking on Johnny Wrestling. JW hasn't been getting the love that his partner with the awful name has been getting, but the truth is, if I'm not going to be getting them as a team, he's the one I like better as a singles wrestler. The Drifter starts out by locking in an armbar and pushing Johnny into the corner. That forces the break, but Samson nails a big clothesline as a follow-up. Johnny manages to get in a little offense with some punches and a big boot, but a rollup only gets 2. He goes for his springboard battering ram, but eats a knee strike. Samson's pretty pleased with that, so he decides another jumping knee strike is in order, but Johnny Wrestling's seen this move before, and he counters with another quick rollup, but this one gets 3 and hands The Drifter his first "official" loss. Match Rating: Nothing Much Here. Afterwards, though, Samson is not thrilled. He jumps JW from behind and goes to town on him. He hits the swinging neckbreaker, then sends him outside and posts him. He finally hits that jumping knee strike, drags him up the ramp, and shushes the crowd in preparation for...something, but I guess we'll never know, because Apollo Crews is out to run Samson off.
I think this is a good choice. AC needs a win after his loss to Corbin, and Samson's not in a position right now where a loss particularly means anything to him.
Next up, Finn Balor takes on Rich Swann in what is a particularly nice surprise. We saw Swann take on Corbin a few weeks ago, and I was pretty impressed with what we saw then. Swann comes out first, to a cool retro-80s dance jam, and he's bustin' moves all over the place. Now, quite some time ago Angelo Dawkins was taking shit for having a gimmick that was, basically, "Dancing Black Man." My response to that (which I can't remember if I actually wrote here on the board or not) was that a guy could only get away with that if he was 2 Cold Scorpio, or, and this is the important part, as good as 2 Cold Scorpio. Turns out that Swann hits one of those criteria. Anyhoo, this match starts out with some solid mat work. Finn does a great job keeping Swann grounded with an armbar into a wristlock. Swann keeps trying to escape, but Finn won't let him. Swann hits a monkeyflip, but can't get loose, and Finn switches things into a headlock. Then, Swann counters that with an inverted head scissors, and Finn once again goes back to the headlock. This is turning into a great example of some of the stuff Finn's been doing lately as far as working a slower, less flashy style. In fact, Finn is definitely working as a heel in this match, so this might be a sign of things to come when he moves up to RAW after WrestleMania. Uh, spoiler, I guess? Anyhoo, Swann finally breaks free with a front flip and goes for an enzuigiri, but Finn dodges it. Finn doesn't dodge the superkick that follows it up, though. He staggers back to the corner and tries to go upstairs, but Swann leaps from the canvas to the top turnbuckle to hurricanrana Finn. Holy shit, you gotta see that one. Swann dropkicks Finn out of the ring and into the Danger Zone, but his attempt at a dive is aborted when Finn rushes back into the ring. He gives Swann a reciept by dropkicking him out of the ring on the other side, and then follows him out to deliver a big running kick off the apron. Back inside we go, and it's a knockback dropkick, the Coup de Grace, and the Bloody Sunday. That's it for this fun little contest. Match Rating: Finn's Finisher Is Three Moves Now.
Emma and Dana are backstage. Emma been training to take on Asuka again tonight, and feels like she's ready this time. "Asuka may be the Empress of Tomorrow, but she's not going to make it past today." Nice.
We get a quick package on Shinsuke Nakamura (whose name I never spell correctly on the first try) and his signing with WWE. No match footage, I think because they don't have the rights to any, but this was still kind of neat. I always love the way guys get selfies of themselves in front of the big WWE logo when they show up. It must be such a thrill for them to realize how far up they've traveled.
Next up is Alexa Bliss against...Sarah Dobson, who, yes, a quick search verifies is Crazy Mary Dobson. They're coming from all over, folks. I don't know Dobson except by rep, but this should be interesting. Well, maybe not that interesting, as it turns out it's mostly a squash. Nothing too flashy, although Bliss does this thing where she puts a keylock on a seated Dobson, then stretches her back, then grabs her ribcage, clutching while she stretches. It's a nasty-looking hold. Dobson's not particularly great here - and oddly enough, she seems to be having trouble running the ropes, which seems weird. She also botches a crossbody pretty badly here, clipping Bliss with her knees instead and making the announcers cover for her. Eventually, Blake and Murphy distract the ref and create an opening for Bliss, who nails the Sparkle Splash for the win. Match Rating: Not Quite As Good As I'd Hoped.
Backstage, Joe has nothing to say about his title match.
Next up is Bull Dempsey(?!), who I guess isn't quite gone yet. Oh, wait, no, maybe he is, as Joe comes out to destroy him, and his opponent Danny Burch. Joe decides maybe he does have something to say, as he rants and raves about coming for the title. You know what? This makes him look way scarier than the build for London did.
Next up is a video package for American Alpha. It details how they both got started in amateur wrestling as kids, and it talks about their greatest failures, each of them losing major amateur championships when they mattered the most. Then it talks about how neither of them are in it alone anymore, and how, as a team, they're finally going to win the big one. I...I legit got emotional on this one. I want these two to win *so much* in Dallas. If this package was done by the Full Sail squad, they should all pat themselves on the back, because it was every bit as good as something the RAW team would have put together.
Asuka's backstage actually shadowboxing to get ready for her match tonight.
Teaser for...No Way Jose? Did you guys see this too, or did I have a stroke?
Next week is going to bring us Apollo Crews vs. Alex Riley (I got full faith in you, A-Ri!)and Samoa Joe vs. Bull. I guess the canon explanation for Bull leaving is that Joe will actually murder him.
Finally, it's the main event. Asuka vs. Emma in a rematch. They get a good lockup out of the bell, and Asuka goes right into a flurry of strikes. Emma dodges the knockout kick, though. Emma goes for a headlock, and then hits a shoulder tackle out of it. She runs the ropes, but Asuka trips her up in a neat spot, then goes for a headlock/shoulder tackle combo herself, followed by waving her butt at Emma. Ha! Emma charges, but that was dumb, because it was a lure for the cross armbreaker. Emma gets to the ropes almost immediately, but as she gets up she eats a flying hip attack. Emma comes back with a shoulder strike and goes for a suplex. Asuka blocks it and goes for a hammerlock. Emma gets loose, eventually, and Asuka starts working the leg instead, first with a kneebar, then with an ankle lock. Emma lunges and tosses Asuka outside to break the hold, and when Asuka moves to get back into the ring, Emma sweeps her legs out from under her. Now that Emma's in control, she does her snap hair takeover and hair stand, then goes into a modified prone butterfly hold. She lets Asuka out only to go into a chinlock. This may have been an error, because Asuka escapes and goes for her trademark kicks. Emma is able to dodge one, though, and gets a rollup for 2. Emma locks in a proper seated butterfly hold, and puts some knees into Asuka's back for good measure. Emma moves Asuka over to the corner and ties her to the Tree of Woe. She lifts her up and delivers some kicks to the back, then goes outside and starts pulling her head backwards by the hair. The ref doesn't like that and insists that Asuka get out of the ropes, so Emma distracts him while Dana Brooke gets in a few cheap shots. Emma hits the corner crossbody, but that seems to finally wake Asuka up. They're trading shots now, and then they go for a really cool back and forth Irish whip reversal spot that ends in a flying hip attack. Asuka starts hitting the kicks, but Emma fires back. She dropkicks Asuka, who uses the momentum to bounce off the ropes with another flying hip attack to a seated Emma! Asuka misses a kick, and Emma manages a rollup with her feet on the ropes, but the ref catches it. He admonishes Emma, and she really shouldn't have taken her attention off of Asuka, because when she turns around, a kick almost takes her head off. Emma just dodges it, but it's not enough, because Asuka's able to get an ankle lock, which she uses to pull Emma into a German suplex. She hits a running knee on a seated Emma, then it's academic with a Crossface Chickenwing. Match Rating: Asuka's Awesome, And Emma Is The Most Underrated Performer In Professional Wrestling.
Great, great show tonight. Definitely make sure you catch the main event and that *incredible* American Alpha video package. See you next week for the Takeover go-home show.
Originally posted by Tenken347Teaser for...No Way Jose? Did you guys see this too, or did I have a stroke?
That's definitely for a guy who's been working a salsa dancing gimmick...I saw him at the NXT Orlando house show I went to last fall...he didn't wrestle, just talk/pump up the crowd. He also brought Emma out just to mock her old dancing gimmick. Looks like his name was/is Levis Valenzuela Jr.
Originally posted by Tenken347She also botches a crossbody pretty badly here, clipping Bliss with her knees instead and making the announcers cover for her.
The knees to the face via crossbody could either be a bad botch or else a really brilliant Mick Foley/Dean Ambrose level kill yourself to kill your opponent even more level move. I had heard of Crazy Mary Dobson but had never seen any of her stuff, so I watched a few matches on YouTube.
She has a lot of knee-based offense but I never actually saw her do that particular dive, so I'm still not positive if it was intentional or not, but I saw enough knee-based offense and crazy dives to convince me that it might have been intentional. (If anyone is interested in checking out more of her stuff, there's a really nicely shot match against Jessica Havok from Resistance Pro. It's more of a slow brawl than the technical classics we're used to seeing from the NXT women, but as far as random indie matches go, it's pretty decent.
Also, the gear she wore on NXT might be the best looking gear I've seen on anyone not half-dragon for awhile.
Tenken your recaps are the best. I look forward to them every week.
The only thing I have to add is that I was the one bitching about the "dancing black guy" gimmick in professional wrestling when Angelo Dawkins awkwardly shuffled out doing it years ago. At the time I'd seen too many black guys try and fail to get over when given the Mr. Soft Shoe gimmick (R-Truth/Flash funk/Ko Ko B. Ware/Chilly Willy). The thing is... I kind of dug Rich Swann doing it.
Maybe his dancing seems less forced or that his gimmick isn't that he's a dancer. He really has no gimmick other than agile wrestler who happens to like dancing if that makes any sense. Dancing is a thing he does, but it isn't his archetype. Plus I've only seen this match and the match he had with Corbin and the dude is incredible! The no hands front flip over Finn Balor, the jumping top rope hurricanrana. Swann is really good and I'd like to see more of him. Plus I think Angelo Dawkins is very not good at anything really I'd like to never see him again.
Joe is scary again, like Nation of Violence walking around with a Kukri Machete Joe before he became a background character of the Main Event Mafia scary. That's more than enough Impact Wrestling out of me for one year. I really enjoy him punking out cameramen, interviewers, and "enhancement talent". More Grumpy Joe.
No Way Jose? I can already see this doing so well on NXT, and being treated with disdain by Vince on RAW within a year.
I still think this is another NXT Special Event where the Women's title match will steal the show which isn't even surprising anymore. Asuka is the uncrowned queen of the battleground having never EVER been defeated in a one on one match since debuting in WWE. Yet she stands on the final steps to her place as the rightful ruler of the warrior women below Bayley. Saccharine Sweet and a benevolent champion who through baptism of fire, love and heartbreak is the standard bearer of a warrior woman. Who has the fortitude; The unbeaten challenger or indomitable champion? ZOMG iz can't!!11
Nakamura debuts in WWE. The realization just hit me yesterday and I just started humming his NJPW theme song while strutting like him at work. I'm sure customers thought I was really confident or high on something. Hey three Japanese wrestlers are all on NXT together. I wonder if a heel stable would be out of the question? There hasn't been one since The Wyatts and this is a rare opportunity to try something different maybe.
Cole: "Yeah, thanks to Kane. You should buy Kane a Rolex watch for what he did for you."
Rollins: "Oh don't be silly, Kane doesn't wear watches."
You for got the most important part of the awesome American Alpha video package: their squee-inducing pre-teen wrestling photos! They are so itty-bitty! And making such serious faces!
I hope we see a lot more of Rich Swann. He is so much fun to watch. And I think that's part of what makes his dancing not ick-inducing: he looks like he's enjoying himself. Also, it doesn't hurt that he is actually a good dancer. Now all we need is a re-creation of that amazing 2 Cold Scorpio video (see: http://the-w.com/t/50194 )
I am so conflicted when it come to the Women's Title. On one hand, I never want Bailey to lose, but on the other hand I want Asuka to be the champ. Can I vote they both have a good time?
I'm not sure what the deal with No Way Jose is, but with Sami leaving I'm going to need new music to dance to and upset my dog.
It's the most important meal of the day.