By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT Hits
Asuka vs. Emma: Even when I don’t feel either lady was firing on all cylinders – a feeling I attribute to a few weird lulls – it is nice to know Emma and Asuka can still deliver a main event quality match. I hope Emma finds a way back to the main roster post Mania, as I don’t see what else she has to gain on NXT.
American Alpha video: I was so surprised when they started mentioning how both men “failed” to some extent in their amateur wrestling career. Have you ever heard them mention Mark Henry’s Olympic record? There’s a reason for that, but it was a masterstroke – both Gable and Jordan got to show their wrestling excellence, while at the same time coming off as relatable and sympathetic. Great, great work.
Finn Bálor vs. Rich Swann: As fun as it was to see Swann impress in his one or two cool moments in this match, it was so refreshing (and smart) to see Bálor wrestle such a dominant match. His efforts to always have entertaining back and forth matches are admirable, but going into his match with Joe, Bálor had to look strong, and he did.
Samoa Joe attacks Bull Dempsey and Danny Burch: First of all – damn these tapings were a long time ago if Bull was still around. That aside, this was the perfect counterpoint to Finn’s match. Joe’s intensity was pitch perfect, and though I thought it was the lesser of the two potential title matches for Takeover: Dallas, I’m now very excited to see Joe vs. Bálor 2.
WWE NXT Misses
Alexa Bliss vs. Sarah Dobson: The awkward crossbody botch and relatively inevitable ending unfortunately put this borderline match on this side of line. It did however show signs of just how great a heel Bliss has become. This win seems to indicate she’ll be the opponent for whoever comes out of NXT Takeover: Dallas with the NXT Women’s Title. I’m OK with that.
Elias Samson vs. Johnny Gargano: In the moment, I really liked Gargano picking up the surprise win in this match. Then the more I thought about it, the less I liked it. It means we essentially suffered through weeks of Samson squashes for nothing. Gargano wasn’t even the story here, Apollo Crews making the save after the match was. Why should I care about Samson vs. Crews when Samson now has a loss on this record, and to Gargano of all people? Truly a bizarre booking decision.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest James Storm, who discusses being part of NWA Powerrr, studio wrestling, past issues with Billy Corgan, his brief stay in NXT and why he hasn't returned, his eight-day title reign as the TNA/Impact Wrestling World Champion, and much more...