Hello folks, welcome back to Squaring The Circle Wrestling, and our recap and rundown of NXT Takeover: Orlando.
5 matches were on the card tonight (or today if you live in Australia, like me), so let’s break down what happened and what it all means!
Takeover kicked off with the 8-person Tag Team match, pitting the foursome of SAnitY vs Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Ruby Riot and, replacing No Way Jose, who was taken out at Wrestlemania Axxess by SAnitY, Kassius Ohno. What followed, among other things were some crazy elbows and forearms by Ohno, some intense fighting between Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross, and ultimately the sheer size and cohesive-ness of SAnitY, that proved to be too much for the Perfect 10 and his team.
This was a great way to open up the show, Eric Young is amazing as always, and he and the other members of SAnitY just keep getting more and more dominant as the weeks go by. Tye continues his losing streak, which leaves me scratching my head. Dillinger is arguably more popular than anyone not in the main event picture on NXT, yet, he is seemingly not being given any opportunity to progress up the ladder. Maybe that will change in the coming months, and I hope that it does, because if anyone deserves it, it’s Tye.
Ruby Riot was great in her debut match, I personally hadn’t seen her before and thought she was a good addition to the team, and the NXT roster. I would love to see a little more from Nikki Cross than just the “I am crazy and unpredictable and look at me bite things”, but again, time will tell.
Roderick Strong needs character depth. He’s great, but for people who haven’t followed the indies, all we’re seeing is someone who can throw knees.
Overall, a really fun way to start the show.
(Almas) Always Bet on Black
Next up, the debut of Aleister Black vs Andrade “Cien” Almas.
There’s been a lot of hype leading up to Black (formerly known as Tommy End)’s debut, and to be honest, my only knowledge of him was the match he had at the UK Championship tournament. I was really impressed and I was expecting to see more of the same. And we did. But, something fell a bit short for me.
Don’t get me wrong. Aleister Black has great potential as a character. The entrance alone was worth it. Great offensive moves as well. But something about this match just didn’t click. Whether it was a case of two guys just not having great chemistry in the ring, or the crowd being distracted by something and taking their attention away from the match, something just didn’t work as well as you’d expect a big debut like this to work. And, to me, there wasn’t enough of a story told to really separate Black from all the other indy guys who throw kicks and elbows. The moves were great. Let’s just get something a little more behind it.
Andrade was good as well, but in the same way, his character just lacks something, and I find myself losing interest. I liked the way the match started, with Andrade being hesitant to lock up, but I just felt disconnected from this match. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with it, it just didn’t live up to the hype.
Winner: Aleister Black
DIY! GET THE TABLE!
The Triple Threat Elimination Tag Team Title Match (that’s a lot of T’s) was up next. The Revival vs DIY vs The Authors of Pain.
Firstly, I may have just missed this, but I don’t remember the “elimination” part of this match being mentioned on previous episodes of NXT. Am I wrong? Let me know in a comment or a tweet (@_STCWrestling_) but it definitely added an extra element of excitement and intrigue. My initial worry seeing that it wasn’t a traditional triple threat match (3 wrestlers in the ring at a time) was eased very early on into the match as well.
What followed was a strong contender for match of the night, depending on how you felt about the finish.
The story these 3 teams told was incredible, intricate and supremely interesting. We saw The Revival and DIY, two teams that despise each other, team up in order to try and eliminate the monsters that are the Authors of Pain. We saw Gargano and Dawson team up to hit DIY’s finisher, and then Ciampa and Wilder hit a Shatter Machine. We saw combination submission moves. We saw all 4 men work together to put Rezar through a table. Unfortunately for all 4 men, none of that was enough to keep the Authors of Pain down.
Here’s where opinions will get divided. DIY was the first elimination from the match, after the AOP hit The Last Chapter on Ciampa. The crowd, that 10 seconds earlier had been deafening with roars of approval, got even louder, this time with boos. Chants of “bullsh*t” and “no-one likes you” could be heard. I found myself a lot less interested, but then I’d convinced myself the Authors of Pain would be eliminated first, and we’d get one more go round with The Revival vs DIY. Alas, it was not to be, and after a few more minutes, Akam and Rezar hit their Super Collider, and pinned The Revival to retain their titles.
Was it the match of the night? Did the order of elimination kill it for you, or did that not matter? For me it definitely didn’t help. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Winners: The Authors of Pain
One Spark Away
Next up we had what I think WAS the match of the night, despite what the internet is apparently saying. Asuka vs Ember Moon.
Yes, it wasn’t the smoothest match in the history of wrestling. Yes, it looked like at one point Asuka was knocked silly. Yes, we didn’t get to see an Eclipse (Asuka promised we wouldn’t and she is a woman of her word it seems!). But man, what a match. Those forearms and kicks would rival anyone else on that card for viciousness. I loved the story that they told, that Asuka was genuinely afraid of Ember Moon’s finisher, so much so that she resorted to cheating to save herself from being hit with it. I loved the tests of strength, the fighting spirit, the suplexes, and Asuka slowly realising she’d never really faced an opponent like Ember Moon before, coupled with the slow burn into more heelish tactics that, as said before, culminated in her essentially cheating by pulling the referee into the ropes to knock Ember off of the top.
People are wondering what’s next for Asuka, and I think the answer is clear. Ember Moon. She has a legitimate reason for a rematch, and I see her being the next NXT Women’s champion. She may have to go through Peyton Royce and Billie Kay a couple more times, there’s a bit of a story with them trying to get the Eclipse banned, but I think by the time the next Takeover happens, we’ll be seeing Ember Moon challenge for the NXT title again.
Or she’ll be on the main roster. Either way, big things in her future.
And finally, the main event. The returning (possibly for the final time?) Shinsuke Nakamura vs The Glorious Bobby Roode.
Another extremely entertaining match. Shinsuke is incredible, charismatic and electric. Bobby Roode, who I’ve been a fan of (and hated intensely when appropriate) is the consumate professional and incredibly smooth in the ring. He is what his entrance theme suggests. They started off slow, but that gave the match a nice change of pace to most of the rest of the card. Great back and forth action, great telling of a story with Roode paying most of his attention to Shinsuke’s knee. Great continuity.
The finish was a little bit lackluster. I love Bobby as previously stated, but there’s something about that finish of his, it just doesn’t have the impact it should. I’m not sure why he’s had to find a new finish, my only guess is that the “Roode bomb” looks too much like the AA, and so he couldn’t use it coming in to the WWE. But, even his Spinebuster looks more impactful. However, that’s just one tiny blemish in an otherwise excellent match. And if a Belly To Belly (yes, Bayley, talking to you here) can be a finisher, then a DDT can too! Maybe just take a cue from Jake Roberts and snap it more.
Winner: Bobby Roode
Overall I thought this was a really good show. Maybe not as great as previous Takeovers, definitely not as good as last year’s Wrestlemania weekend show, but NXT hasn’t got quite as many big names as it did 12 months ago. We’re in the middle of a rebirth period, with a lot of newer, or less well known talent coming up the ranks. We may not have a Sami Zayn, or a Samoa Joe, or Finn Balor, but maybe in 12 months we’ll be talking about names like Bobby Roode, Tye Dillinger, Eric Young in the same light as those guys.
On the new belts, I think the designs are great. They may not stand out quite as much from each other as the old designs did, but I think a more uniformed look is better personally. And I’m a big fan of not having any pink on the Women’s title. Pink feels like a callback to the “divas” era, and these women are certainly not that.
Drew, well I guess he’s back to McIntyre made an appearance and has apparently re-signed with the WWE. The Chosen One is back! Let’s hope his time away has helped WWE see him in the light he deserves to be seen in, and not as a member of whatever the hell 3MB was meant to be.
That’s about all we have for now friends. Stay tuned to twitter for live-tweeting through Wrestlemania tomorrow, and of course all the news and reactions following the end of the show. We’ll also have coverage of Monday Night Raw, and Smackdown Live over the next few days. Our format may be changing slightly, with the Mores, Flaws and Snores becoming a weekly wrap-up of all the shows and what worked and didn’t, but we’ll talk more about that soon.
Until next time, let us know what you thought of NXT by tweeting us, or leaving a comment on our facebook page, or this blog.