4/7 WWE NXT in Concord/Charlotte – Third Report on Nakamura’s debut, Balor’s Flair tribute, Asuka-Eva angle, more

Finn Balor - April 7, 2016 NXT house show (Photo credit Scott Lunn @ScottLunn)


WWE NXT Live Results
April 7, 2016
Concord (Charlotte), N.C.
Report by Grant Sawyer (@Statmark)

The first post-WrestleMania house show was held at the Cabarrus Arena, about 20 miles north of Charlotte. Cabarrus Arena has a capacity of 3,031, which looked to be about 75 percent full. This was NXT’s first stop in the Southern area, which is generally a MUCH different crowd than your typical northern or Florida stops, but the fans were were absolutely devoted NXT fans, knowing all the chants and being as raucous as you would find elsewhere.

(1) No Way Jose pinned Riddick Moss with a wind-up KO Punch. Despite not debuting on TV yet, the fans were 100 percent behind the former Levis Valenzuela Jr./Manny Garcia in his return to the Carolinas including morphing the typical “Ole Ole Ole” Sami Zayn chant into a “No Way No Way Jose” sing-a-long. It’s always hard to predict how something will translate to the main roster but if tonight was any indicator, in the NXT environment at least, the ‘No Way Jose’ character will have success.

(2) “The Drifter” Elias Samson pinned John Skyler with a snap swinging neckbreaker. The Drifter attempted his usual song/promo before being cut off by Carolina regular, John Skyler, who got a very strong babyface reaction in this setting. Skyler got much more offense in than he had been given on TV so far.

(3) Alex Riley pinned Blake. The “least over” match on the show although Riley got a decent “We Know You!” initial pop before the crowd segued into “Where’s Alexa” chants aimed at Murphy’s tag partner.

(4) Eva Marie pinned Carmella by using the ropes for leverage. The crowd boo’d the Drifter, but nothing could compare to the pure hatred Eva Marie received. #1 heel on the show BY FAR. The match was kept simple enough with Eva Marie not being put in a position to attempt anything beyond her reach.

(5) NXT tag champions American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) beat The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) when Gable pinned Dawson by blocking La Magistral Cradle. The Revival were also making their Carolina homecoming. So, between that and the general respect they’ve earned from their recent TV matches, they were more over with the fans than has been typical, but Jordan & Gable were still the crowd favorites. They went around 16 minutes in their typical excellent fashion including a sequence near the end where it looked like Jordan & Gable were going to simply win with their Grand Amplitude finisher as they did in Dallas, but Wilder cut them. This led into Dawson and Gable going into a Fish-Out-Of-Water pinning sequence that resulted in the final pinfall. Little things like that when you THINK you know where things are going since it is a house show after all and they misdirect you is one of the many things that make wrestlers like these so very special.


(6) Austin Aries pinned Manny Andrade with a roaring elbow. Fascinating match. Aries got a huge pop coming out and despite working as a babyface, Andrade was boo’d early on. As the match progressed, Andrade got more and more over with the crowd to the point that while they were not boo’ing Aries, they were solidly behind Andrade. After the finish, Manny received a huge ovation with the crowd loudly chanting his name.

(7) NXT Women’s champion Asuka submitted Peyton Royce with the Asuka Lock. Asuka came out without the title belt. Before the bell rang, Eva Marie’s music hit and she revealed that she had stolen the NXT title. She challenged Asuka to come get it the next night in Columbia, S.C. As for the match itself, Royce hung with Asuka in believable fashion to the point that it was clear that Peyton will be a figurehead in the next wave of NXT women that are showcased. After the match, Asuka answered Eva Marie’s challenge for Columbia.

(8) Shinsuke Nakamura & NXT champion Finn Balor beat Tye Dillinger & Baron Corbin. It was just surreal seeing what traditionally is a laid-back, Southern wrestling crowd go absolutely berserk for Nakamura. Much like how no one was as hated as Eva Marie, NO ONE was even close to as over as Nakamura was. The match itself was a perfect “knowing your audience” house show match as Balor wrestled the middle portion of the match as babyface Ric Flair against Tye Dillinger as the heel Ric Flair , with the two exchanging all the familiar sequences from the chops, to the figure-four teases, to Balor’s Fargo strut, to the slam off the top, to Dillinger doing the Flair Flop. The crowd ate it up and Balor’s charisma was absolutely off the charts here. After the finish, Balor grabbed a ringside sign and held it up which proclaimed “Where’s Doc & Karl?”

All in all, an excellent house show. Something for everyone on both the wrestling and entertainment sides. NXT runs Columbia, S.C. on Friday, April 8 and Charleston, S.C. on Saturday, April 9.

Grant Sawyer is the technical director for CWF Mid-Atlantic wrestling and the editor on the History of Professional Wrestling books at Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter @Statmark.

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