KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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WWE NXT Live Event Results
April 21, 2016
Lowell, Mass. at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Report by Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor (@MikeMcMahonPW)
The big story of the night was Samoa Joe capturing the NXT Title from Finn Balor in the main event, unexpectedly ending Balor’s title reign dating back to July 2015…
Tom Phillips was the host for the night and also the ring announcer. Phillips did an excellent job keeping the show moving and also effectively calmed the crowd down after Roman Reigns was shown on the video screen late in the show during a “Thank you” video for the fans. After Reigns’s image was shown, which was only for a matter of seconds, the entire building began chanting “Roman sucks!” to which Phillips quieted pretty quickly by thanking the crowd for their passion and attendance.
They announced a sell-out. Officially, there are about 3,000 seats in the venue, so the attendance was likely around that number, with some added floor and stage seats maybe bringing the attendance to 3,200.
If you remember, this is the same building WWE would tape Raw in for years. In fact, this was the same venue where Shawn Michaels infamously “lost his smile.” The last wrestling event at the venue was Dec. 29, 2013, when TNA taped a One Night Only “Hardcore Justice” pay-per-view in the building.
(1) Mojo Rawley beat Riddick Moss. Mojo scored the pin after a running punch. Both Mojo and Moss had some heat from a very hot crowd on their entrances, but the crowd got behind Mojo fairly quickly. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was in attendance and was going wild for Mojo’s ring entrance, along with his crew.
(2) Bayley & Carmella beat Dana Brooke & Peyton Royce. The crowd gave Dana a nice reaction on her entrance, happy to see her returning to in-ring action. But, she did a very good job of turning the crowd against her pretty quickly, mocking Bayley early in the match. Carmella was on the mic before the match and got a very good reaction from the crowd. Bayley pinned Royce after a Bayley-to-Belly suplex.
(3) Chris Girard (f/k/a Biff Busick) beat Tommaso Ciampa. This was the second-best match of the night behind the main event. The former Biff Busick won with a suplex sliding into an uppercut. The crowd was very excited for this match, with the two hometown guys wrestling in a city where they practically grew up. NXT obviously draws an older, more enthusiastic crowd, and most in attendance clearly knew Girard and Ciampa’s history on the New England independents. This match received a standing ovation in the middle of the match after a series of near-falls, and then again after Girard scored the win. It was a really great moment for many in the building that followed Ciampa and Busick throughout their early days on the independents.
— Tommaso Ciampa (@ProjectCiampa) April 22, 2016
(4) Austin Aries beat Manny Andrade. Aries picked up the win after a Last Chancery. No one knew who Manny Andrade was – he’s the former La Sombra from New Japan and Mexico – but he left to an ovation from the crowd after Aries congratulated him and shook his hand.
(5) Shinsuke Nakamura beat Elias Samson. The crowd exploded for Nakamura on his entrance and that enthusiasm never wavered. Nakamura scored the win after a Kinshasa Knee. Samson tried to sing a song about Lowell prior to the match, but you couldn’t hear a word he said over such a loud chorus of boos.
(6) NXT tag champions American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) beat The Revival (Dash & Dawson) to retain the NXT Tag Titles. Gable rolled up Dawson for the win after he countered the Shatter Machine. Good match that felt a little too long. The crowd was definitely getting burned out at this point in the show and this match just didn’t have the enthusiasm as some earlier matches. Coming right after intermission may have hurt the crowd response as well.
(7) NXT Women’s champion Asuka beat Alexa Bliss to retain the NXT Women’s Title. This wasn’t a very good match at all. Asuka won with an Asuka Lock, but this match was way too long and Asuka and Bliss didn’t click whatsoever. The pace was dragging and the crowd had almost no interest, even on the finish.
(8) Samoa Joe beat NXT champion Finn Balor to win the NXT Championship. Balor hit a running dropkick on Joe near the barricade and appeared to legitimately injure his left leg or ankle. The officials put up the “X” sign and a doctor ran from the backstage area to check on Balor while Joe rolled back into the ring. Balor was able to continue the match, but was favoring his left leg throughout the remaining 60 or so seconds. The finish came when Balor got caught on the top rope and Joe hit a Muscle Buster. The crowd exploded — in a positive way — for Joe’s title win.
After Joe celebrated with the title in the ring and at the top of the entrance ramp, Balor was again tended to by a ringside doctor and limped to the backstage area. He saluted the crowd on his way out.
Overall, this was an excellent show even without the title change at the end. With the title change, this will be a show New England wrestling fans will be remembering for a long time.
Coincidentally, this isn’t Samoa Joe’s first big title win in Lowell. Back in 2008, around the corner from the Lowell Memorial Auditorium at the Tsongas Center, Joe beat Kurt Angle at TNA’s Lockdown pay-per-view to win his first TNA World Hvt. Championship. At the time, he became TNA’s third Triple Crown champion.
It was an honor #NXTLowell
— Finn Bálor (@wwebalor) April 22, 2016
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) April 22, 2016