SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT LIVE EVENT
OCTOBER 30, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
REPORT BY DAN FROM LOS ANGELES, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Twenty-five years after attending my first and only WWF live event at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, the siren’s song of NXT brought me to the Hollywood Palladium on Sunday night. I am a lapsed WWE fan that has watched perhaps 30 minutes of main roster television over the last year, instead following the product through Torch content and the Torch Staff list on Twitter, but the glowing reviews for the Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn match at Takeover prompted me to use the Network trial offer and I ended up binging most of NXT.
Having attended dozens of concerts at the Palladium, the atmosphere lining up for the show was very much like a rock concert. Nakamura shirts outnumbered those of every other wrestler by about a 5:1 ratio, with Samoa Joe, Finn Balor/Bullet Club, and Asuka the next-most popular. Crowd was receptive and enthusiastic without even going too far.
There were about 1,600 assigned seats on the floor, with 600-700 general admission patrons in the balcony and on the wings of the floor (If you’ve seen the final concert scene in “The Blues Brothers, that’s the Palladium). Very intimate setup with a great energy, though signs were confiscated at the door for some unknown reason. The two semifinal matches of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were taped, and there was one other match I could definitely see being featured on television at a later date.
(1) Roderick Strong defeated No Way Jose in 13:00. Solid opener using face vs. face approach to give fans the leeway to cheer Strong, a local favorite from his work in PWG. There were some PWG chants during this match and the tag-team match featuring Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano.
(2) TM61 vs. Sanity – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinal match (results below).
(3) Daria Berenato defeated Mandy Rosein 8:00. Adequate for what it was, though it reflects the relative decline in the overall quality of the NXT Women’s division.
(4) Tye Dillinger defeated Buddy Murphy in 14:00. Man, the “10” gimmick is over in a huge way. It infiltrated the rest of the show, with the crowd chanting “10” anytime the referee started a 10 count outside the ring. Credit to these two for working in genuinely entertaining moments of humor that never devalued the overall match.
(5) Asuka & Ember Moon defeated Peyton Royce & Billie Kay. Ember Moon was over, but Asuka got a superstar reaction. I’d love to see a Asuka/Ember program on NXT TV, pitting Ember’s athleticism against Asuka’s strong style. The top-rope twisting stunner finisher was unbelievable in-person. Peyton and Billie were surprisingly effective heels.
(6) Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs. Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinal match (results below)
(7) Bobby Roode defeated Kota Ibushi in 17:00. This crowd was into the whole “Glorious” bit hook, line and sinker, but respect for Ibushi meant the match was able to maintain a face/heel reaction. These two worked great together, and Ibushi is just effortless in the ring. Mix of “Please come back” and “Thank you Kota” chants afterwards. If this ends up on television, fans will eat it up.
(8) NXT champion Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Eric Young and Samoa Joe in a triple-threat title match in 15:00. The match card sold at the venue had Austin Aries in this match, but his injury earlier in the California tour obviously scuttled that. Having Young step in was a fantastic call, allowing Joe to get in some early offense in as a face for an enthusiastic hometown crowd. Hardly breaking news at this point, but Nakamura is so charismatic in the ring it’s ridiculous. A decent amount of 1-on-1 between Nakamura and Joe to build anticipation for Takeover.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The final five matches were outstanding and worth far more than what I paid for my ticket. Seeing Ibushi and Nakamura on the same card was a thrill. I’m glad to see Roode and Joe getting a chance to shine and hopefully they will be on the big stage soon. NXT definitely won me over, to the point where I will be looking into tickets for their Las Vegas show in December as soon as I send this in. If this is what WWE’s main brand television offered on a weekly basis, I’d be all-in again.
SPOILER: TM61 defeated Sanity in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinal match. Sanity attacked TM61 before the bell, setting the ‘faces in peril’ storyline. Decent, though a bit sloppy in spots.
SPOILER: Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering) defeated Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic semifinal match. Strong match with AoP using their power and cunning against Ciampa and Gargano’s fighting spirit. The Revival interfered when Ciampa and Gargano were in control, costing them the match and likely setting up a final showdown for the titles.
NOW CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS NXT LIVE EVENT REPORT: 10/28 NXT in San Jose, Calif.: Second Detailed report including Roderick Strong vs. Shane Thorn, Asuka vs. Beranato, Authors of Pain vs. Swann & Jose
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