Getting right to it this week, as Elias Samson is out to take on Johnny Gargano. Samson has more bandannas on his wrists than Ricky Morton in ’85. Also, he’s got some pretty fancy jeans for a “drifter”. Samson starts out the aggressor, working over Gargano. Gargano uses his quickness to gain an advantage but eats a flying knee diving back through the ropes. Samson goes for another jumping knee but Johnny Wrestling gets a roll-up and picks up a very quick win! Thank God.
WINNER: Johnny Gargano via pinfall
‘The Drifter’ attacks after the match, beating Johnny up outside the ring. He drills Gargano with a flying knee and goes to drag Johnny up the ramp until Apollo Crews makes the save. They stare each other down until Samson decides to flee & fight another day.
Rich Swann is here! His NXT theme is perfect, by the way. His opponent this week; the reigning NXT champion Finn Balor. The fans sing “ALL NIGHT LONG” before the lockup, fantastic. Finn grounds Swann at every opportunity, trying to negate the speed & agility. He works a headlock for a few monutes but Swann gets a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Finn stops the momentum by going back to the arm but Swann again escapes. Swann hits a beautiful dropkick and follows up with a superkick. Leaping hurricanrana off the second rope by Swann! He tosses Balor out and goes for a dive but Finn rushes back in and runs through Rich. He tosses Swann back out and hits a running kick off the apron. Back in, Finn hits the shotgun dropkick in the corner and follows up with the Coup de Grace. Bloody Sunday by Balor and that’s enough for the win! Fun little 5 minute match; Balor showing a more aggressive side heading to Dallas.
WINNER: Finn Balor via pinfall
Emma & Dana Brooke are backstage and promise that Emma’s match with Asuka later tonight will go much different than it did in London.
Hype package for Shinsuke Nakamura…as if you needed a video to get hyped about his debut. April 1st can’t come soon enough.
Alexa Bliss is out next as she goes one-on-one with Sarah Dobson. Match is mostly Alexa dominating until Sarah flips out of the corner on an Irish whip and hits a hanging knee in the ropes. She goes for a crossbody and knees Alexa in the face, ouch. Bliss fires back with a forearm but gets caught with a drop toehold in the ropes. Blake & Murphy provide the distraction as Dobson goes for a cartwheel thing (?). Seriously, I have no idea what in the fresh hell that was supposed to be. Bliss hits her back flip knee drop before finishing things with the Sparkle Splash. Yep.
WINNER: Alexa Bliss via pinfall
Rich Brennan tries to get a word with Samoa Joe backstage, but Joe ain’t havin’ it. This ties into the next segment as Bull Dempsey was set to take on Danny Burch but Joe storms out and lays them both to waste, sending a message to Finn Balor before Takeover:
Great American Alpha video package. They talk about how they shared a similar path to wrestling and also discuss their defining losses in the amateur ranks. They tie it into needing to come out victorious in their quest to win the NXT tag titles at Takeover.
Main event time, as Emma tries to avenge her loss against Asuka from Takeover:London. Asuka tries a spin kick to the head that Emma avoids. They trade headlocks before Asuka ducks a clothesline and gives us a little dance. Emma charges but gets caught in the rolling armbar! She makes the ropes and gets to the apron but a hip attack sends Emma to the floor and sends us to commercial break…
…Asuka blocks a suplex and looks for a Fujiwara armbar as we come back. She instead clamps on the hammerlock. Emma elbows her way out so Asuka gets a knee bar and transitions into an ankle lock. Emma is able to kick herself free and send Asuka to the floor. She trips Asuka on the apron and takes over with stomps & kicks. Emma in firm control for a stretch, countering comeback attempts from Asuka and getting a pin attempt or two. Emma hangs up Asuka in the ol’ tree of woe and kicks her in the back several times. Dana manages to get a hair pull behind the refs back before Emma hits her corner cross body for 2. Asuka eventually fights back and gets another hip attack before unleashing some kicks. Emma actually gets a strong forearm shot in before yet another hip attack send Emma down for a near fall. Emma goes for a pin but gets caught with her feet in the ropes. Ankle lock/release German by Asuka and the AsukaLock soon follows for the tapout! Good match again between these two.
WINNER: Asuka via submission
Nothing bad on the show but it really lacked a spark. This was very much ‘just a show’ to hold us over as we get ready for what’s probably the biggest NXT show to date in Dallas. Emma & Asuka put on another solid match but outside of that, this was just filler. Kind of bland to be honest,especially when compared to Lucha Underground’s offering this week.