NXT Review 3/29/17: Drift Away


Johnny Gargano vs. Dash Wilder vs. Akam
This served as a preview for Takeover and that was the topic of discussion on commentary. Gargano and Wilder formed a makeshift team early on to get rid of Akam and then fought amongst themselves after Dash tried to trick Gargano into a dive and then attempted to cut him off. The Revival would end up leaving and it was left as Gargano versus Akam and they had a decent match. Rezar pulled Gargano off of a pin and Ciampa went after him. With both taken out, Akam had Gargano beat with a powerbomb, only for Dawson to reappear and grab his leg, while Dash ran in and stole the pin. Credit to The Revival, even their triple threat matches where one guy steals the pin from someone else as the finish are somewhat innovative.

Another Alestair Black promo aired, but this one included footage of Almas’s promo, to promote their match at Takeover.

Heavy Machinery vs. Jonathan Ortagun and Mike Mitchell
As is the way in NXT, the squashed will eventually become the squashers. The UCF crowd were in and out the whole taping, but they seemed to like Heavy Machinery. They’re definitely kind of fascinating to watch. It’s cool to see a new act develop in general, but Dozovic’s Rhyno-esque physique is attention grabbing. Their offence was a real smorgasbord of powerfulness and wackiness which might need some refining, but as I say, it seemed to work. They pinned Ortagun after Dozovic slammed Knight onto him.

Asuka and Ember had a very rare, outside of the ring contract signing, in Regal’s office. Ember claimed that Asuka had changed lately and let success get to her head, so I guess they really are teasing a turn of Asuka, even if it’s just for this program. Ember said it was her fate to dethrone her. Asuka said she knew who Ember was, signed the contract and said she knew Ember wasn’t ready. Ember said she’d been ready for a long time, but Asuka just laughed at her and walked off, with Regal signing the contract and wishing Ember good luck.

They aired another hype video for Roode/Nakamura. Last week’s one was very Wrestlemania esque and it just didn’t fit. This one started with footage of Roode watching his title win and while it was a more ‘regular’ video package than last week’s one, I felt it came off a lot better. It focused on the two characters and wasn’t trying to convince you that this was an epic match the way last week’s video did.

Ellering cut a promo backstage for The Authors Of Pain about Takeover. Aside from pronouncing Rezar in a rather odd way, this was a fine promo. He said DIY believed in fairy tales and welcomed them to their yellow brick road from hell, said The Revival wished they were the AOP and said their fate was in their hands.

They announced an eight man tag team match (even the graphic said “8-Man”), with Sanity against Dillinger, Strong, No Way Jose and Ruby Rose for Takeover.

Kassius Ohno vs. Elias Sampson
I’m not sure what the big rush to do this match was, not just because this had no actual build, but because you’d surely want to save Sampson’s write-off for Full Sail where this would have gotten a lot more heat. Maybe they need Drifter out of NXT before next Wednesday for one of three possible reasons? Anyway, the match itself was good. Drifter shoved Ohno into the ring post while he was on the apron, with Ohno then landing on the steps on the way down. Drifter would get a crossface in which Ohno eventually got to the ropes from. Ohno fought back with a lot of strikes, before Drifter tried to win with his feet on the ropes and got caught by the referee. Drifter would get a number of close near falls, before Ohno managed to land a desperation elbow and get the pin. Drifter got a lot here and looked solid. The clear issue with the match was the setting though. The crowd reacted to most of the big moves, but you have to think the match as a whole and in particular Drifter’s numerous nearfalls would have gotten much better reactions in Full Sail. Or, you could have done this pre-Takeover and aired it the week after.

Drifted got a half hearted goodbye song afterwards, which definitely would have been louder in Full Sail or at Takeover. Referees and then security tried to make him leave and ended up dragging him out. He managed to convince them to let him go so he could get his guitar, but Ohno stomped on it and smashed it up, leaving Drifter to be dragged away.


RECOMMENDED VIEWING: It was a decent show all told. All three matches were fun in their own right, even with the misgivings over it being the wrong crowd for the main event. The other segments on the show, the contract signing, the Nakamura/Roode video and the Ellering promo were solid too. It’s not a show that’ll sell you on Takeover if you weren’t already sold, but it wasn’t bad either.

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