SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO REVIEW
NOVEMBER 19, 2016
LIVE FROM TORONTO, CANADA
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Introduction package summarizes WWE’s history in Toronto. Then to the NXT present.
A full choir has a rendition of Bobby Roode’s entrance music for us. Roode emerges shrouded in fog and sequins. Of course, Corey Graves goes nuts for Roode. Dillenger has a vest with a cowl on it, and gets a really nice pop. Really slick, clean presentation with grey mats and barricade covers outside, makes it look like a concrete bowl.
1. TYE DILLINGER vs. BOBBY ROODE
They just pace and stare for about a minute to wear out “this is awesome!” from the crowd. Roode wants to do his Glorious pose so Dillinger clocks him, and the brawl is on. Dillinger sends Roode over the top, then again. They have some back-and-forth on the outside. Big back drop from Dillinger sends the crowd into a frenzy. Roode begs from his knees in the ring, but Dillinger puts boots to him and flashes the 10’s. Ten perfect punches in the corner. Roode suddenly back drops Dillinger over the ropes. Roode drops Dillenger onto the barricade. Roode delivers offense to Dillinger from outside the ring. Dillenger finally makes a comeback with a backslide for two, continues to roll on, but a neckbreaker from Roode draws a two count and ends the offensive flurry. Dillinger makes a full comeback to the crowd’s delight. Dillinger preps the Tyebreaker, but Roode runs away. Back in the ring, Roode surprises Dillinger with a spinebuster. Roode with a huge superplex for two and a half. Roode acts like he will hit the Tyebreaker, Dillinger evades, superkick, Roode catches it, covers with his feet on the ropes, the ref sees it. Schoolboy from Dillinger for a very tight nearfall and the crowd is going nuts. They reset and trade bombs. Dillinger unloads forearms, wants the Tyebreaker, Roode reverses into the DDT, Dillinger reverses into the Sharpshooter close to the ropes, and Roode finally makes it. Dillinger walks into an inside cradle, then turns it around with one of his own. Dillinger gets posted, lands his DDT for the win.
Winner: Bobby Roode in 16:28. That was a really strong match, and a surprise to see it go on that long. Tye Dillinger has just been elevated very highly despite losing, between the outstanding packages and build to the match and a strong performance against Roode. I expected Roode to win, but thought it would be a 5 – 7 minute match, not 16 minutes.
Video package recalls the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Closeup of the Dusty Rhodes trophy shows that it has a plaque on it showing the history of Finn Balor and Samoa Joe winning it last year. Looks like the shark cage will be suspended directly over the ring. This seems like a potentially screwy match. TM61 gets virtually no reaction at all. They play some dramatic music as they lower the shark cage for Ellering. Hmm, no padlock on the door, just a simple catch. But Ellering rattles the bars as if he cannot get out.
2. TM61 (NICK MILLER and SHANE THORNE) vs. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (AKUM and RAZZAR) – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Final Round – Paul Ellering suspended in a shark cage
Miller immediately gets battered by Akum. Double team sends Akum out of the ring, then Razzar when he tries to interfere. Dive from Miller to Akum, but Razzar and Miller are legal on the outside. Razzar climbs halfway up the device holding the cage with Thorne on his shoulders, then drops off. Thorne dives off onto Akum and Razzar in a bizarre spot. Confusion after the brawl over who is the legal man lets The Authors of Pain get some cheap shots in on Thorne before returning him to the ring. Thorne is isolated. Thorne dodges a charge in the corner, but Razzar gets the tag and cuts off the tag. Thorne rolls between his legs to bring in Miller. Miller bodyslams Akum, and manages suplexes to Razzar. Sliding elbows to both authors, moonsault to Razzar for two. Akum tries to interfere, but Miller comes in, hey try ten punches but the Author try their smashing powerbombs, TM61 transitions into head scissors. Thunder Valley but the cover is broken up. the action just falls apart outside. Ellering drops the chain from the cage ono the mat, Akum wraps it on his fist, tries a punch but misses and the chain goes flying. Cover from Thorne for two. Thorne eats The Last Chapter.
Winners: The Authors of Pain in 8:20. TM61 is plenty exciting, but this match had too many moving parts: Ellering in the obviously compromised cage, too many people in the ring (or outside of the ring) for too long, the weird contraption holding the cage… it really felt like they wanted to give TM61 lots of chances to show off their moveset while giving them an out for the loss.
Post-match, William Regal and Triple H and Dustin Rhodes (no makeup) come out the congratulate The Authors of Pain.
3. #DIY (JOHNNY GARGANO and TOMMASO CIAMPA) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions THE REVIVAL (SCOTT DAWSON and DASH WILDER) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match – Two Out of Three Falls Match
Dawson and Gargano start. Rapid takedowns between the two, backslide almost pins Dawson. Dawson with his brute force in the corner. Tag to Ciampa, Wilder tries to interfere but gets sent out, dropkick and cover on Dawson. Distraction from Wilder lets Dawson take a shortcut with hands to the face. Wilder squares off with Ciampa. Ciampa is in trouble as rapid tags take him down. Double tags and Gargano takes on Dawson and Wilder by himself. Neckbreaker gets two. Shatter Machine out of nowhere catches Gargano by surprise for the first fall of the match.
First Fall: The Revival at 5:11.
Rollup from Gargano almost gets a pinfall for #DIY as soon as the match restarts. Suplex off the top rope gets a nearfall for Dawson. Gargano desperately needs a tag, after taking The Shatter Machine and not getting to leave the match. Gargano somehow works The Revival against each other, but Wilder tries to take Ciampa off the apron. Gargano tags, but the ref was dealing with Wilder, and as he deals with Ciampa, Dawson and Wilder gang up on Gargano. Hart Attack for a very close nearfall (The Revival are wearing black and pink tonight). Gargano turns a superplex attempt into a crossbody, nearfall, struggle in the ring, tag to Ciampa.
Ciampa delivers high impact offense all around. Knees and elbows, leaping leg drop to the back of Dawson’s head for a close count. Trio of suplexes, running knee to the face but it isn’t enough to pin Dawson. Ciampa wills Gargano onto the apron, but Dawson uses it to recover. The action breaks down a bit, crossbody from Ciampa doesn’t quite end it. Stereo kicks to Dawson finally get the three.
Second Fall: #DIY at 13:37.
The ref allows a reset, and it is Ciampa and Wiler. Super hot crowd. Wild forearms go back and forth. Ciampa suddenly lets loose with knees to get the edge. Dawson tags, wants a DDT but Ciampa gets out. They trade covers. Tag to Gargano, and things fall apart. Slingshot DDT almost gives Gargano the win. Gargano gets creamed with a uppercut into a suplex and Ciampa breaks up the nearfall. Dawson posts Ciampa and ducks out. Wilder tags Dawson, and Dawson stalks Gargano. Gargano fights out of the corner, taking out both men. Wild action and Gargano nearly wins it. Wilder grabs a belt, Ciampa clears him. Dawson uses the belt as a shield to block a kick from Gargano and Gargano sells the leg. Dawson with an inverted figure four mid ring. Gargano is desperate. Gargano crawls and finally makes it to the ropes. Gargano can’t stand. Ciampa is nowhere to be seen. Tag to Wilder, they call for the #DIY stereo kicks, Gargano ducks and they kick each other, Ciampa shows up, and #DIY hits Shatter Machine for a nearfall. Dawson is bleeding from his head. Dawson suddenly covers Gargano but the ref sees Dawson with a handful of tights. Insane chop block from Wilder to Gargano, but Gargano with a cover, then Wilder, back and forth. Double submissions mid ring on The Revival… and a double tap out.
Winners: #DIY in 22:18. Insanely good match, that suffered from the recent NXT tag team problem of “too many people in the ring for too long, too often” culminating in a double submission. But the drama and excitement of this match easily rank in NXT’s top tier matches.
Jim Ross is shown in the front row. Interesting.
Video package on Asuka. Lots of sound bites from former NXT Superstars. Narration from Asuka in Japanese. Clips from Mickie James’ past in WWE.
Lots of respect for Mickie James in the crowd.
#4 MICKIE JAMES vs. NXT Women’s Champion ASUKA – NXT Women’s Championship Match
They dance around each other a bit, they have a stiff lockup, James forces Asuka into a cover for one, the Asuaka returns it for two. They finally separate, then shake hands, bring each other in close to stare at each other. James with a few moments of control then Asuka James ducks the big roundhouse and hits a lot dropkick. Asuka heads outside for a breather. James holds the ropes open for Asuka to return to the ring. They battle for limb control in the ring. Nice chain wrestling here. Hip attack sends James through the ropes, and Asuka holds the ropes open for her. James tries to fight, and another hip attack sends her out. Asuka gets the better of James outside and heads into the ring for a countout. James returns at 6. Asuka gets a two count. Asuka mounts James and punches through to the five count. Asuka confidently wraps James in the ropes. James dodges a hip attack, but Asuka rocks her with kicks to the chest. James catches the running kick, transitions in to a single leg crab mid-ring. Asuka wants the ropes, finally gets there. Asuka’s leg is hurting her. They trade strikes mid ring. Huge slap to Asuka. Cheshire cat grin from Asuka, but James hits a neckbreaker. James is rolling strong. Asuka whiffs a crossbody from the top, then takes a flapjack. James heads up top, seated senton from the top gets a nearfall. Cross arm breaker, but James reaches the ropes. James ducks the roundhouse, James nails the Mick Kick, but Asuka gets a foot on the ropes at the last moment. James covers again for a nearfall. Asuka blocks the Mickie DDT, James blocks the Asuka locks, transitions into a cover for two. Crossface chicken wing makes James tap out.
Winner: Asuka in 13:07. Excellent match, Mickie James looked strong than any of Asuka’s opponents since Bayley, and really looked like she could have won the match at a number of points.
Post-mach, James reaches her hand out for a handshake, and Asuka raises the championship belt in her face in return. James looks humiliated. Asuka leaves, James is nearly overcome with emotion in the ring.
Pat Patterson is shown in the front row.
After a video package, Samoa Joe stomps his way out to the ring. A gaggle of violinists play Nakamura’s music as he comes out. Huge entrance.
#5 NXT Champion SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. SAMOA JOE – NXT Championship Match
Nakamura with immediate strikes out of the bell, then Joe responds. It just becomes a brawl and the ref needs to pry them apart at the ropes. Nakamura with the advantage, vibration kicks. Joe with knees and a headbutt on the outside, but Nakamura kicks him over the barricade. The brawl in the crowd. Joe with a strong whip followed by an enziguri in the corner. Knee to the middle lets Nakamura get on the attack, but he runs into Joe’s one-armed spike slam. Joe suddenly rolls Nakamura into a knee bar, but Nakamura fights out. Joe sends Nakamura to the outside and hits a suicide dive. Joe wants to put Nakamura into the ring steps but Nakamura escapes. Cover in the ring gets two for Joe. Nakamura finally gets a reset with a kick to Joe. Dropkick starts Nakamura’s rally, followed by knees to the midsection. Running knee to the middle with Joe across the ropes yields another two count. Atomic drop, senton sequence gives Joe a two count. Joe with a Boston crab, then a crossface. Nakamura rolls over to cover Joe, then an armbar, Joe turns it into a cover. Scoop slam almost wins it for Joe. Nakamura gets a boot up in the corner, but Joe responds with an enzuguri, Nakamura is hanging on the rope, connects with a kic, then a running knee to Joe’s head. Flying knee from the second rope takes Joe down but Nakamura is too rattled to follow up. Double count. Nakamura manages a German suplex on Joe. Joe wants a Muscle Buster but Nakamur escapes, Kinshase, but Joe kicks out just before three. Kinshase attempt number two, Joe dodges and locks in the Coquina Clutch mid-ring. Nakamura backs him into the corner, rallied b the crowd singing his song. Trio of suplexes to Nakamura, over, super close nearfall. Nakamura hits the Kinshase to the back of Joe’s head through the ropes, knocking him through the ropes. Nakamura is in the ring, the ref checks on Joe. Nakamura charges Joe, Joe with a low kick and the ref doesn’t see it because he was dodging. Slam onto the ring steps, then a Muscle Buster to win it. The crowd cannot believe it, they look like when Lesnar broke the streak.
Winner: Samoa Joe in 20:12. Really solid, hard-hitting match. With Joe regaining the title, is Nakamura heading to the main roster? I would have thought that Joe would be going up soon, he has been in NXT long enough.
Final Reax: A solid effort as always, and as expected. The Roode – Dillinger match delivered more than expected. All three championship matches more than met expectations, with the tag team championship being my personal favorite due to the high energy and long story behind it.