Welcome to the first ever NXT-Off here on Squaring The Circle Wrestling! This is the place to be for all your NXT recaps, opinions and speculation.
With just one episode left before NXT Takeover, things are hotting up, as we get closer and closer to the culmination of some massive storylines.
This week, we were treated to 3 matches. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Oney Lorcan, NXT Women’s Champion Asuka vs Priscilla Zuniga, and a 6-man Tag Team Match pitting No Way Jose, Tye Dillinger and Roderick Strong against the deranged Sanity.
We also saw DIY, and The Revival deliver promos hyping their Triple Threat match at NXT: Takeover with the Authors of Pain, and a video package recapping Bobby Roode & Shinsuke Nakamura’s excellent first meeting, and hyping up their rematch.
I “Almas” Believe
Let’s start from the top. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Oney Lorcan. I tweeted out the following in the first stages of the match:
I’ve tried to get behind Almas. He came in with all the hype in the world, but, in my personal opinion, to this point he’s fallen short of the hype. This match though, the opening match on an NXT card 2 weeks out from a Takeover, has just about changed my mind. What an incredible match it was! Oney Lorcan was impressive, the false finishes were great (and a nice surprise), and Almas knocked it out of the park. Excellent work by both competitors.
Winner: Andrade “Cien”Almas
We were then treated, and I mean treated, to a fantastic promo by Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa. They talked about DIY being a state of mind, which brought to mind the Arn Anderson Four Horsemen promo, “It’s a state of mind, it’s a state of being”. They talked about their struggles to make it, how they finally succeeded, and how they will get their moment.
I love DIY. They’re everything that’s great about NXT. And they’re everything that WWE’s main shows are not. Their matches are legitimately some of the best I’ve ever seen. Look at their battles with The Revival alone, and you’ll see why they’re so popular. I’m not sure if their future lies on the main roster shows, or in NXT for a while yet, but wherever it is, I’ll be watching.
Asuka’s gonna kick you. Repeatedly. In The Face.
Asuka. Asuka is another big part of why I love NXT. This week she faced Priscilla Zuniga, who I think maybe had two, possibly three offensive moves. The rest of the match involved Asuka kicking, kneeing and suplexing poor Priscilla’s head off, and then finished her off (after a ‘lifting your opponents head up’ 2 count to continue kicking her head off) with the Asuka lock, which needs a new name.
She then grabbed a microphone and delivered a promo in Japanese, but finished with “no eclipse”, referencing her upcoming match with Ember Moon at Takeover.
Here’s what I love. If Asuka had delivered that promo on Raw or Smackdown, she would be booed. She’d be the “foreigner who doesn’t speak our language” heel (think of Rusev, think of Jinder Mahal just to name a few from the last few years), but in NXT, she is cheered. Never change Asuka. You are incredible, and completely terrifying.
In a sort of reply to DIY’s earlier promo, we see The Revival. They talk about what their name means, how they’re better than Tully and Arn, better than the Midnight Express, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation. They talk about how they’re there to make money and how no one has struggled and clawed their way to the top more than them. It was solid, but DIY won the battle this week.
Dash Wilder’s beard is amazing however.
We also found out that Aleister Black will be debuting at NXT Takeover, against Andrade Almas. I’m not too familiar with the man’s work, but the match he had on night 2 of the UK Tournament was fairly spectacular. Very interested to see where this goes. The vignettes have been great.
Sanity Takes a Hit
The main event ended in a double DQ, and then a giant brawl. I have to admit, this is the one part of the night where i felt my attention waning a little. That is until our mystery woman came out and FINALLY levelled out the playing field. Sanity are awesome, but it’s going to be nice to see them actually have a bit of a challenge, if the plan for Takeover is an 8 person mixed tag (please say it is!).
I was chatting to a buddy of mine who is as mad about wrestling as I am, and as he was watching this match he said to me, “Roderick’s ring work is so good but someone give him a personality”. And I tend to agree. We haven’t seen a lot from him other than him being a stand up guy who stands up for bullied people and for what’s right. Still, that knee in the corner.
As usual, NXT delivered a great show, and also continued the hype for Takeover, not to mention next week’s Loser Leaves NXT match between Kassius Ohno and Elias Sampson.
So that’s all for the first ever NXT-off! Let me know what you think, follow me on twitter at @_STCWrestling_ and stay tuned for more! Next week is going to be a big one folks, lots of predictions and hopes and fears for the Wrestlemania weekend!