NXT Takeover Orlando
April 1 2017
We’re in Orlando, Florida. I wasn’t going to watch this live but ROH failed on their live stream. Pre-show is hosted by Charly Caruso, Nigel McGuinness and Sam Roberts. We get footage of No Way Jose getting jumped at Axxess earlier today. This means he’s out of the six-man tag and we have a mystery partner for the trios match!
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubItal) April 1, 2017
In the building the introduction is done by Triple H. “This is WrestleMania week but tonight is our night”. Following that are some video packages. Asuka sitting by a pool, like a modern day Ric Flair, is pretty awesome. Hosts are Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson.
SAnitY (Eric Young, Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe & Nikki Cross) vs. Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong & Ruby Riot
The babyfaces gain a mystery fourth person and it is…Kassius Ohno. Oh no! Great to see Hero on the ‘Mania weekend shows but he should have been working Nakamura. I think some politics have come into play. Nice to see Heidi Lovelace on the show too. The heels are all wearing matching sad panda eye makeup, which is really weird looking. Is it supposed to be scary? Strong rapidly becomes the star of the match, popping off his fiery offence like a man possessed. While Roddy’s hot tag is the best executed, the one to Tye gets the best response as he’s so over with the Perfect Ten gimmick. Then it becomes a battle of the babyfaces to see who can pop the crowd the most. Hero takes that honour by flipping out of the ring and landing on his feet. Suddenly we have a collection of hot babyfaces! And No Way Jose too. Ruby tries to join in by hitting a dropkick off the apron, which has a sickening landing. SAnitY playing the numbers game to get the win and Dain pins Tye with the Ulster Plantation.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Ringside: Edge and Beth Phoenix, both in the Hall of Fame now.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Aleister Black
It’s a impressive entrance for the former Tommy End. They set a decent tempo and End gets his dangerous kicks over in no time at all. He springboard backflip into a seated pose is suitably spectacular. The match is designed to make Black look like a superstar from our first glimpse of him. The crowd get a lively “Ally Black” chant going, a contrast to the sleepy EVOLVE crowds over the weekend. Almas does a great job of both selling for Black’s offence but also avoiding it, which is key as it shows how dangerous it ‘could’ be if it landed. In avoiding stuff he helps its effectiveness. They go full tilt boogie and it’s a load of fun. Those worried about Tommy End in NXT should worry no more. Black Mass puts Almas out for the three and completes a great debut. Looking forward to his NXT career.
Final Rating: ***3/4
NXT Tag Team Championship
The Authors of Pain (c) vs. #DIY vs. The Revival
There are brand new title belts. They’re quite shiny. AoP do what they do; dominate. Which means #DIY and Revival take one guy each and eliminate them. This gives us the Revival vs. #DIY match that everyone wanted. The last time they wrestled each other on a Takeover it was a ****3/4 classic. AoP’s presence changes things. They are capable of having fun filled short matches but they’re unproven over longer distances, where this three-way benefits them. It helps that the other two teams are both world-beaters. AoP are no slouches, throwing Gargano around and using him as a weapon to prevent a Ciampa tope. It’s clear, from their power, that AoP will need to take something huge to lose. It ends up being #DIY and Revival double teaming to put Rezar through a table. Akam gets locked in double submissions and still AoP stay alive. You’d think having two teams, the best other two teams in the company, team up on them would be enough! The #DIY/Revival alliance leads to them doubling up on their double teams, with Ciampa helping on a Shatter Machine, is excellent stuff. The match is unrelenting. It’s one ridiculously awesome moment after another.
The wheels come off proceedings with the only babyface team getting dumped with the Last Chapter, Ciampa eating the pin. The crowd go from loving the match to chanting “bullshit”. That’s quite the turnaround. It also turns the Revival face for the last section of the match and the crowd were wanting to jeer them, regardless of how good they are. “No one likes you” chant the crowd, presumably at the incumbent champions. Super Collider puts the Revival down and AoP retain. That doesn’t go over well but it at least explains why they didn’t lose after the table spot, which made logical sense. This was going fantastically well until the #DIY elimination and it went rapidly into the toilet. First fall was fucking phenomenal though.
Final Rating: ****1/4
NXT Women’s Championship
Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon
Asuka hasn’t had a legitimate challenge in NXT for ages, with the possible exception of Mickie James, and has never lost. These two have the best, and most intense, looks in NXT. The women’s title is new too and it is shiny, with no hint of pink anywhere to be seen. Both women are babyfaces so they’re both supported by the Orlando crowd, which has been peaking on Saturday. Ember taking it to Asuka is a good sign as competition is something Asuka has been sorely lacking. Ember has to push herself here and goes for a fearless dive to the floor. The story of the match is that Ember is strong enough to actually compete and sometimes Asuka looks in trouble, which is a big contrast to her usual defences. Ember matches her for strikes, keeps up with her on throws and outdoes Asuka with dives. It’s a combination of attacking styles that impresses. With Ember going for the Eclipse, Asuka throws the ref into the ropes and head kicks Ember to retain! She had to win dirty but Asuka keeps the belt.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Ringside: Drew McIntyre! Drew fucking Galloway is ringside at NXT. You know what that means. Cue up the “welcome back” chants.
Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This feels like a total waste of Nakamura. Remember a year ago when he debuted across the ring from Sami Zayn and they had a match so good the crowd started chanting “Fight Forever”. We assumed he’d put on this string of amazing matches and hit RAW or SmackDown in 6 months tops. Fast forward one year and he’s still here. Roode gets the star treatment with two pianos and a revolving platform. His music is tremendous. He’s…a guy. His wrestling is the same. It’s plodding and mediocre. Nakamura tries to get him fired up but instead gets posing and minor psychology. They coast by on atmosphere and barely break a sweat. Nakamura is the kind of guy who can coast by on personality but having Roode do the same shows the match up as inferior to the undercard effort that preceded it. In a way it’s impressive that they can do this little and get massive reactions. That’s considered to be good work. However I hold the reasoning that people will only take this shit so many times before turning on it and you should never dog a big show main event. They literally do as little as humanly possible and kill the crowd’s interest in the match. Nakamura has brief flashes of what he’s about but Roode does next to nothing. He eventually remembers Shinsuke had a bad leg, which he never ever sells so it’s pointless going after it.
I feel bad for the fans in attendance who have to get all fired up because they spent a tonne of cash on tickets and this is the main event they’ve been dealt. When god sends lemons you make lemonade, I guess. A lot of the crowd switch off after a while because there’s nothing to care about. What’s really sad is how Nakamura’s motivation has gone down the toilet in the past year. The errors in judgement continue down the stretch as Roode keeps going to the knee, which Nakamura doesn’t sell. Then he hits a running knee, which is far too similar to his finisher. It’d be like Steve Austin hitting an RKO for a near fall. Then they go into the finisher/kickout sequence for the fucking sake of it. As if that somehow works as an apology for the grind of a match beforehand. Roode takes out the knee and hits the Glorious DDT to retain. This was a miserable, boring procession of a match that somehow popped the live crowd but I can’t, for the life of me, think why.
Final Rating: **
Great undercard, highlighted by the tag titles match, but a dismal ending to the show really dragged it down for me. The tag match was where the show peaked but even that had a questionable booking decision with the face team going out first. It didn’t really make any sense. Good effort from, almost, everyone though. The likes of Aleister Black, Andrade Almas, all the guys in the tag match and the bulk of the opening match guys put in a real hard shift. Thumbs up overall but avoid the main event unless you really like Roode.