NXT TAKEOVER ORLANDO
SANITY VS. DILLINGER, STRONG, OHNO AND RIOT. I’ve got no issue with No Way Jose, but all the same it was nice to see Ohno. This feud has gotten immeasurably better with the six man from two weeks ago and this eight person where they’ve just been allowed to have fast paced, energetic matches. Strong in particular looked awesome here when he came in, which was the case in the six man as well. This turned out to be a great opener and if the feud is continuing, which considering Sanity won is a possibility, I’m now all for more multi man/person matches involving this crew, not to mention some interesting singles pairings they could do now Ohno is in the mix and Cross has Riot to face.
ALEISTER BLACK VS. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS. This was good, but not a show stealer. It was pretty much the standard NXT showcase match formula. Black got to show what he could do, sold for a while and then pulled out the win. I spent a lot of it distracted by how much Black looks like Heath Slater, if he’d traded in country rock for something a bit more goth. Almas got plenty of offence in even at the end of the match, which I guess isn’t uncommon, Apollo Crews matches definitely went that way when he debuted. The thing which really hurt the match was the crowd getting distracted amongst themselves for the finish for who knows what reason.
THE AUTHORS OF PAIN VS. DIY VS. THE REVIVAL. Really good match and like with all Revival matches, really smartly worked. It seemed to lose a little steam right at the end when it was down to AOP and Revival, a couple of missed camera cuts weren’t ideal either. But overall this was about as good as you could have expected this to be. AOP kept up with things for the majority and them winning is probably the right call, but I’m not sure where they go from here. I’d enjoy AOP versus Heavy Machinery, but I doubt that’d go down well with the majority.
ASUKA VS. EMBER MOON. It’s a shame Ember hadn’t been built up a little bit better coming into this. The action itself was great though. I’d argue these are the two best women on the roster so it’s hard to complain about getting to see the match, even if it wasn’t presented as a dream match kind of deal. The finish is certainly interesting as Asuka drifts more and more towards the heel side of things with the cheap victory, which would suggest a rematch and that Ember will eventually be the one to win the title. All of which works on a lot of levels.
BOBBY ROODE VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA. This was a bit of a slow builder. But it did build and by the end, this ended up being a solid main event. Roode is working a different style from pretty much anyone in NXT and that’s going to be divisive. The results have been hit and miss, I wasn’t a fan of the Ohno match, but so long as it’s working for the crowd he should be fine. And the Ohno match didn’t have the hot crowd, which may have been a factor. Who he faces next will be interesting, with Nakamura and Dillinger moving up. You’d imagine a certain Drew McIntyre would be coming in with a lot of momentum and I’d be interested in that pairing.
NXT APRIL 5TH 2017
Recap of Takeover to open.
Peyton Royce w/Billie Kay vs. Aliyah
New theme music for Aliyah. Pretty basic match, they’ve given Aliyah some more opportunities recently but this was a routine Peyton win. Aliyah got a bit of a fightback going towards the end but Peyton hit a fisherman’s suplex for the pin. Aliyah looked a little off but Peyton held things together and she’s looking like a valuable part of the division going forward.
Clips from Sanity’s match at Takeover, as well as Asuka versus Ember. Asuka was interviewed backstage by Kayla afterwards, asking who was left and laughing about still being champion.
Black versus Almas was recapped. They showed an Instagram post of Almas partying after the show, with commentary questioning if he was too concerned with his life outside the ring and not enough on his recent record in it.
Heavy Machinery vs. The Bollywood Boyz
I think the Bollywood Boyz may have got new theme music, but the big change here was they’ve apparently turned heel. Heavy Machinery are still rather wacky, but I’m okay with that. This was largely the Bollywood Boyz bumping around for the big guys. Heavy Machinery’s finisher this week was Dozovic picking Harv up for a slam and Knight jumping on his back, so that both guys landed on Harv. I hope that one sticks because it got a pop from me. I don’t know if you can really expect to do AOP versus Heavy Machinery as a Takeover match any time soon, but I’m in on Heavy Machinery as a thing in NXT.
Kayla interviewed Lorcan, who said he didn’t know who his opponent was tonight, but he was there to compete, do his job and win.
Recap of the triple threat Tag Title match from Takeover. Kayla interviewed Ellering with the AOP afterwards, with Ellering saying it was vindication and a confirmation of the evolution of the Authors Of Pain. He said they proved themselves, the WWE were trying to slow them down but they couldn’t stop destiny and they were going to be a dynasty.
Roode versus Nakamura was then covered in a highlights package, with highlights of the entrances, of the match itself and of the send-off they gave Nakamura after the match, ending with highlights of Nakamura’s run on NXT. They then showed Roode being interviewed by Kayla after the match. Roode said he told everyone he was going to beat Nakamura and that’s exactly what he did. He claimed he’d taken NXT to new levels and it’d continue for days, weeks and months to come.
They showed Drew McIntyre’s appearance at Takeover and confirmed he was signed with NXT. McIntyre was interviewed post show saying he’d been around the world, won every title there was to win and grown brands, so the next logical step was coming to NXT and he wanted the NXT Championship.
Oney Lorcan vs. El Vagabundo
El Vagabundo is, of course, a not in any way well disguised Elias Sampson, wearing his exact same Drifter gear and a white lucha mask which doesn’t cover his beard or his eyes and thus makes him completely recognisable. Before the match, he did his usual promo, except he asked who wanted to walk with El Vagabundo. The crowd responded with “Si” chants. He sung his song, which involved telling the crowd to shut up twice. And yet, when Lorcan stopped him from singing, the crowd booed. Yes, people now like The Drifter. Lorcan accused him of being The Drifter and when he said that the crowd knew he was The Drifter too, the crowd responded by chanting “no”. They then booed when Lorcan told him to drift away. So they managed to accidentally turn The Drifter face.
Vagabundo jumped Lorcan and the match got underway, with the crowd chanting “Vagabundo”. They also chanted “Olé” at one point. Boos for Lorcan’s comeback, which was repeated running elbows in the corner and cheers when Vagabundo stopped him from hitting one more. Lorcan would end up taking Vagabundo’s mask off as he escaped a powerslam to reveal, gasp, The Drifter, hitting a flipping neckbreaker to win the match… and more boos. This was entertaining, but I’m sure this wasn’t the reaction they were expecting.
Post match, The Drifter was asked to leave by a female security guard and when he ignored her, she grabbed him by the hair and dragged him out. I’m going to pretend that this was the same woman who apprehended Gronk at Wrestlemania, because it makes the whole thing better.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Mostly recaps, the two things that stood out were Heavy Machinery’s squash match and the El Vagabundo segment. Neither are exactly what I’d describe as must watch, but they’re both amusing in their own ways. The Nakamura/Roode recap was well done but there’s nothing much new to it if you saw Takeover.
NXT WEEK: A Drew McIntyre appearance of some description.