SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TAKEOVER ORLANDO REPORT
APRIL 1, 2017
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Triple H’s voice rings out in a darkened arena talking up NXT. Then a video package on Takeover: Orlando.
The opening match is Sanity facing Tye Dillinger and friends.
An “earlier today” attack by Sanity took out No Way Jose, so Dillinger has been told to find another partner or make this a handicap match. Looks like he conjured up Kassius Ohno, who is immediately defined down as being part of the jobber squad after getting a title match a couple of weeks ago.
The bell doesn’t even ring and the brawl is on.
1. TYE DILLINGER, RODERICK STRONG, KASSIUS OHNO, and RUBY RIOT vs. SANITY (ERIC YOUNG, KILLIAN DAIN, ALEXANDER WOLFE, and NIKKI CROSS) – Tag Team Match
The ref rings the bell once the brawl is down to Riot and Cross in the ring. Riot uses double knees from behind to drive Cross’ face into the turnbuckle. Cross tags to Wolfe, and Ohno comes in. Ohno takes out Wolfe and Young. Sanity looks like they are trying out for an Alice Cooper look-alike contest with blackened eyes. Ohno tries to twist Ohno’s arm off. Ohno gets tied uop with Young letting Wolfe get to the corner and Ohno is isolated. Ohno rolls under an elbow drop and tags Strong, who gets a really nice reaction from the crowd. Strong handles Young and Wolfe with ease while his “teammates” let him fend off the illegal double team by himself. Dain is in and wrecking Strong. Dropkick from Dain looks painful for both men. Young tags in to continue the attack. Cover gets two for Young. Work from Wolfe and Young is back in. Dillinger gets on Young and they glare at each other. The ref stops a brawl and Young returns to the attack. Strong and Young trade blows then Young picks Strong up and plants him in the corner. Strong ducks a dropkick and tags Dillinger. Dillinger with hot hot hot tag action to the crowd’s delight. Dillinger has the ring cleared. Riot stops Cross from jumping Dillinger. Dillinger to the top, crossbody to Wolfe, then a suicide dive to the outside. Dillinger feels the excitement outside letting Dain clobber him. Ohno and Wolfe for a moment on the outside then Dain takes out Ohno. Riot wants a suicide dive but Cross cuts her off in the ring. The brawl in the ring. Dillinger rolls Young back into the ring, who is still legal. Ten perfect punches in the corner. Dain takes a superkick after tagging in, but Wolfe breaks it up. Ohno takes out Wolfe, then Young hits Ohno with the wheelbarrow neckbreaker. Sick Kick from Strong saves Dillinger from the same. Strong (huge pop) and Dain in the ring, neither legal. Cross jumps on Strong, Riot on Dain. This ref is definitely not doing his job. This match just makes no sense. Dillinger wants Tye Breaker to Dain but gets clipped. Dain finishes Dillinger.
Winners: Sanity in 12:10. This match was fine until it broke down for multiple minutes without getting thrown out somehow. Sanity going over just completely ruins any credibility these four hand. They introduced Riot but her and Cross were barely in the ring, Ohno looks like a fool for joining Team Chump and losing, and Dillinger continues to not be able to win the big one. Is this feud finally going to end, or will the faces finally get another chance to win redemption?
Edge and Beth Phoenix are shown in the crowd.
Cool music for Aleister Black, but not too much crowd reaction for most of his entrance, but a bit of a pop after his music ends.
2. ALEISTER BLACK vs. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS
Black gets a quick jab in. Almas wrenches the wrist. They go to some quick mat work. Almas lounges on the mat to taunt Black. More rapid wrestling, then Almas lays in the ropes. Backdrop sends Almas through the ropes, Almas moves out of the way before Black can dive to the outside so Black bounches off the ropes and lands in a crosslegged sitting position. Cute. Percy Watson wants us to believe a year for Black to get a big tattoo on his back. Almas with his fake out slap in the corner. Black blocks a suplex, but then Almas gets an armbar through the ropes. Big dropkick off the top gets Almas two, then he transitions to an armbar. Black catches a punch then unloads on Almas. Stiff kick sends Almas outside, then a springboard moonsault plants Almas on the outside mats. Quick action sees Almas pinned for a moment, then he ducks the Black Mass spinning heel kick. Almas with another armbar through the ropes. Black tries to counter a missile dropkick with a powerbomb, but something goes wrong and Almas just kind of bounces off and lands on the mat hard. Almas looks for double knees in the corner, Black rolls away and covers for two, Almas rolls up Black for a nearfall. They knock each other down for a double count and a match reset. Knee to Almas’ head, but he comes back with some sort of leaping backflip kicks to the head. Double knees to Black in the corner. Black counters the hammerlock DDT, but Almas slips away and lands a German suplex, cover for two. Jumping knee cuts off a vharge from Almas, then kicks bring him down. Black Mass ends it.
Winner: Aleister Black in 9:37. there were some good moments as I’d expect from any match with Andrade Almas, but there were a few clunky sequences and the match did not seem to have smooth flow to me. Almas continues to not be able to win an important match and simply does not feel like any kind of real threat. Black has some cool factor though, and that’s a good thing.
Ember Moon is shown backstage.
Video package on the Tag Team scene. Never mind that NXT really only has three established tag teams at this point, and it is likely that at least one of them (I’d pick The Revival) should be heading to the main roster after tonight.
3. NXT Tag Team Champions THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (AKAM and REZAR w/Paul Ellering) vs. #DIY (JOHNNY GARGANO and TOMMASO CIAMPA) vs. THE REVIVAL (SCOTT DAWSON and DASH WILDER) – NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Elimination Tag Team Match
The Revival and #DIY both have new ring gear. Regal takes possession of the titles pre-match and hands new belts to the referee to hold up. The referee shows them to all three teams. Uneasy tension, then The Revival and #DIY seem to stand together against AOP. They are able to take Akam and Rezar out. #DIY gets a table out, since the Triple Threat format means No DQ. Akam drives Gargano and Ciampa into the barricade and into the fans, but #DIY recover and beat Akam into the ring steps. The Revival have Rezar down, and decide to meet #DIY in the ring. #DIY take Dawson out of the ring then gang up on Wilder. But now both Dawson and Ciampa are on the outside holding ropes like they require a tag. This match makes zero sense. It is now Rezar and Ciampa in the ring and Ciampa gets double teamed. The Revival ambush Akam behind the ref’s back then lie Ciampa on him hoping to see SOP eliminated. Kickout, so Dawson tags in. Dawson has Akam grounded, then a big right off the mat stuns Dawson. #DIY hop off the apron so Dawson can’t tag them. Blind tag from Gargano to Akam, Akam gets sent outside, spear through the ropes to Dawson. Gargano does his thing to Dawson and fends off Rezar with help from Ciampa. Gargano jumps onto Akam too, then the slingshot DDT to Dawson for a nearfall. Gargano soaks in the cheers letting Dawson slip outside, only to be eaten by AOP. #DIY want to attack AOP but take punishment for their troubles. Rezar forces a tag from Dawson, then starts working on Gargano. Akam tags in to continue the work. Gargano takes a nap while laying across Akam’s shoulders for an extended period of time. Why doesn’t he just punch Akam in the face? He tries to roll down Akam, then an enziguri, but Gargano gets held up again. Interference from Dawson lets Gargano tag Ciampa, who takes the fight to AOP. German suplex sends Akam down, followed by strikes and a second German suplex. Running knee and Akam kicks out at two.
Ciampa tries to chop Akam down, but Rezar tries to stumble into the ring. ciampa tries a sunset flip powerbomb to the outside, Rezar holds the ropes, Gargano gets underneath to assist, then The Revival nail a double clothesline to creak Rezar off the ropes and Rezar lands through the table set up outside. Akam is isolated in the ring with The Revival and #DIY. Akam boots The Revival out of the ring, fends off Gargano and it is just Ciampa and Akam. Dawson tags in, ankle lock on Akam. Gargano thinks about breaking it up then Dawson convinces him not to… so Gargano adds a crossface on Akam. Ciampa and Wilder try to stop Rezar, but Rezar overpowers them and breaks up the hold. I do not understand the rules of this match in the slightest. Does it actually matter who is legal? To what end? the Revival try to take out Rezar, superkick from Gargano takes him down, then double kicks from The Revival. The Revival and #DIY are able to get AOP out of the ring.
The Revival and #DIY face off in the ring. Then they start the brawl with taunting from Ellering. Gargano and Gargano make a quick truce to hit stereo suicide dives to AOP. Since when does Wilder leave his feet at high speed? Ciampa to the top but Dawson stuns him with a right then superplexes him onto the crowd outside. Ellering is unable to believe what he is seeing. Dawson rolls Ciampa in, but Rezar tags Dawson. The Last Chapter elimiantes #DIY.
#DIY eliminated at 18:57
The crowd is dumping over the elimination. Wilder gets double teamed for two. Hopefully the match will follow some semblance of normal rules now. Wilder tags to powerbomb Akam, tag, looks like a Hart Attack. European Uppercuts from Wilder lets Dawson German suplex Akam twice for a nearfall. Dawson holds Rezar down, but Rezar recovers, chokeslam to Dawson. Akam tags in, The Last Chapter but Wilder takes one for the team, cover by Dawson doesn’t quite end it. Double powerbombs by AOP. The crowd is really angry. Wilder gets sent outside and Dawson just collapses out of a ppwerbomb. Akam wants the powerbomb again and Dawson just collapses again. Dawson surprises Akam with a cover. Dawson gets smashed into the corner. Super Collider and the crowd is booing before it even hits.
Winners: The Authors of Pain at 23:37. Lots of outstanding action here, but the rules format made positively zero sense with the tag requirements but no penalty for having everyone in the ring. NXT has gotten so sloppy with this it is unbelievable, quite literally. There was never any moment where it looked like there was any chance of AOP not winning this.
Video package on Ember Moon challenging Asuka for the NXT women’s Championship. The same package as Wednesday.
Ember Moon has pale blue eyes tonight. It’s coming up on two years since Asuka got to NXT and she has not lost a match yet.
Formal ring introduces with the darkened arena and supervision from William Regal. Light pop and scattered boos for Moon. Same for Asuka. The crowd seems worn out from the tag team championship match. Regal has a new title belt for the match, no more purple, all gold and silver. Nice.
4. NXT Women’s Champion ASUKA vs. EMBER MOON – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Rapid back and forth action here. Dropkick from each both whiff. Asuka wants a handshake, then pulls it back, tries a kick but Moon ducks. Huracarana and Asuka acknowledges it. Moon blocks and arm drag and has one of her own. the both try shoulder blocks twice and they bounce off. Asuka challengers for a third, tricks Moon and hits a hip attack to take Moon down. Moon with strikes to send Asuka outside, then slides outside, Asuka dodges, Hip Attack knocks Moon off the apron and into the barricade. Asuka lets Moon come into the ring then knocks her down with lazy kicks, over and over. Asuka looking overconfident. Back fist and again and again and a kick. Moon catches a kick from the mat and puts Asuka on the mat. Hip Attack drops Moon again, followed by stiff kicks again the ropes. Asuka wants a German suplex, but Moon fights, so Asuka tries to transition to the Asuka Lock. They tumble to the mat, and a wild forearm from Moon forces Asuka through the ropes. Huge crossbody off the tops flattens Asuka on the outside. Moon rolls her in, goes to the top, Asuka runs under the Eclipse so Moon lands on her feet, Shining Wizard draws a two count for Asuka. Yes! kicks from Asuka break Moon back down to the mat. Asuka tries the Asuka Lock mid ring, flips Moon over and reapplies the hold on the mat. Moon gets to her feet, Asuka jumps on Moon’s back with the Asuka Lock on tight. Moon sinks to the mat, then stands up and tries to get to the ropes. Moon fading out then to her knees. Moon back to her feet, then a backpack slam breaks Asuka free. Moon is choking and gasping for air. Moon dodges a Hip Attack and nails a kick to Asuka’s midsection, bit Moon is too weary to follow up.
They return to their feet and both miss kicks. Asuka catches a kick but Moon transitions to a head scissors. Dropkick drops Asuka, then stiff kicks stun her. Fallaway slam. Backflip into Asuka in the corner. Asuka manages a German suplex, cover for a nearfall. Asuka grabs the hair while slapping Moob, big rolling forearm drops Asuka, she recovers, exploder suplex from Moon, cover, Asuka barely rolls the cover. Asuka looks like she is in trouble. Moon to the top for the Eclipse, Asuka meets her there, thinking superplex. Moon retailiates with a Gordbuster from the top, preps the Eclipse, Asuka shoves the ref into Moon. No DQ called. Roundhouse to Moon ends the match.
Winner: Asuka in 12:14. Another match with good action here, but the ending felt lame to me. It feels like Asuka is slowly turning full heel with her behavior in the match and taking a shortcut at the end.
Shawn Michaels is advertised as being in Facebook Live post-Takeover.
Drew McIntyre gets a very big pop as he is shown in the audience. He soaks it up, clearly happy to be there.
No special entrance for Nakamura. Nakamura has added black stripes to his ring gear and jacket. There is also a new NXT Championship belt, courtesy of Regal, it looms like a larger version of the new women;s Championship, much more traditional. A pair of ladies playing piano on a foggy ramp introduce NXT Champion Bobby Roode. It’s a shame that this is the only special entrance of the night, on what should be the biggest event of the year.
5. NXT Champion BOBBY ROODE vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – NXT Championship Match
Pacing around then kicks to the shins. Roode tries to pick a leg but Nakamura forces him to the mat. Roode wears Nakamura down with a headlock. Nakamura gets Roode to the ropes, then does the head on the stomach taunt followed by his “bring it on” taunt. Roode just laughs at him and eggs him on. Roode with the Glorious taunt, but gets a boot to the chest. Then another. Now Roode is upset. Nakamura tells him to bring it on. Roode steamrolls Nakamura, blocks an arm drag, but Nakamura’s speed catches up and lets Nakamura drive Roode to the corner. The crowd is split 50/50. Roode pushes off the corner from the Good Vibrations, but takes a kick in the head. Good Vibrations. Roode rolls to the outside to catch a break, but Nakamura follows him. Nakamura stuns Roode then tries to suplex him to the outside from the apron, but Roode blocks. Dropkick to Nakamura who collapses om the apron, and a running back elbow sends Nakamura flying. Nakamura sells an arm injury. Roode follows outside then rolls Nakamura into the ring to deliver more punishment. Roode grinds Nakamura’s head and throat on the ropes.
Roode with a flurry of boots in the corner, risking a DQ at the five count. roode looks confident. Chops to Nakamura in the corner. Roode just looks dominant in this match so far. Roode hits a neckbreaker midring. Roode with a nerve hold of all things. Nakamura returns to his feet but runs into additional offense from Roode resulting in a two count. Roode cranks Nakamura’s neck, then covers for two. Roode returns to the neck crank. Nakamura pucnhes out, then runs into a sleeper hold, escapes, but Roode puts him down on the mat. Nakamura’s offense has winded Roode a bit. The crowd is trying to rally Nakamura. Strikes send Roode to the mat over and over and over again. Nakamura hits his running knee to Roode as he is draped over the ropes. Running knee to Roode’s head as he lays over the apron, followed by a knee drop to the back of the head. Nakamura looks fired up and rolls Roode into the ring. Cover for two.
Roode elbows out of exploder suplex attempts, but a boot stops Roode from attacking. Roode immediately comes back with a clothesline and Nakamura is down again. Roode delivers offense in the corner, but Nakamura gets boots up in the corner then lands a wild dropkick. Nakamura looks for the Kinshasa, Roode dodges then lands a vicious chop block. Roode continues to abuse the knee. Nakamura begs as Roode slams his knee into the ring post. Roode stomps the knee again and again. Roode slaps Nakamura then applies a Figure Four mid ring. Nakamura screams and screams in pain. Roode is screaming at Nakamura to quit, then Nakamura tries to roll over and finally does, but Roode immediately grabs the ropes. Roode starts kicking the knee again, then crushes it with his whole body. Nakamura with a surprise armbar but Roode has his hands clasped, then Nakamura gets the hands apart. Roode rolls over, Nakamura transitions to a triangle, but Rood lifts him off the mat, Nakamura transitions to the armbar midring. Roode wraps his legs around the ropes tio get a break.
Nakamura just kicking the tar out of Roode in the corner, and the ref has to pry him off. Roode is planted on the ropes, but Roode dodges the running knee and Nakamura slams his knee into the turnbuckle hard. Roode recovers on the outside selling the arm as Nakamura writhes in the ring. Roode returns to attack the leg. Nakamura kicks at Roode’s arm, then delivers more kicks to Roode. Roode dodges a kick, backstabber, cover for two. Both men are struggling to recover. They stare each other down as they try to return to their feet. roode with the first blow, they trade shots. The crowd is still torn. A kick to the knee takes Nakamura by surprise, Nakamura blocks the Glorious DDT, then lands a knee to Roode’s head for a nearfall. Nakamura is calling for the Kinshasa, but Roode falls outside the ring. The ref holds Nakamujra back for some reason, then Nakamura goes outside, rolls Roode in. Rodoe kicks to ropes to injure Nakamura leg, Glorious DDT, cover, Nakamura barely kicks out (McGuinness ruined it with “Roode retains!” bringing out his inner Michael Cole).
Roode is mulling over his next steps as the referee checks on Nakamura. Roode to the outside for some reason, pacing the ring. He heads to the time keeper’s area and grabs the bell, smacking it on the apron to ring it. The ref tries to take the bell away, then does. Nakamura with a roundhouse from behind after the argument, inverted exploder suplex. Roode counters the Kinshasa with a spinebuster for a close nearfall. Roode seems frustrated to the point of being near tears. Nakamura is down on the mat, lifeless. Roode slowly pulls Nakamura up for another Glorious DDT, but Nakamura drives Roode into the corner. Roode dives at Nakamura’s knee and takes Nakamura down again, Roode sets up the Glorious DDT from the turnbuckle, hits it, and gets the three count.
Winner: Bobby Roode in 28:07. I am fairly certain that is the longest match in NXT history, other than the 30 minute Banks – Bayley Ironman match. I liked this better than any other match I have seen with Nakamura, and perhaps more than any NXT Men’s Championship Match since Kevin Owens was NXT Champion (both the tag team and women;s divisions have had many excellent championship matches since then). Roode dominated almost the entire match, and definitively proved that he was better than Nakamura, not needing to take any shortcuts to win.
Final Reax: A weak card heading into the night and no surprise matches or drama. No upsets at all on the match results. Plenty of good action. The Tag Team championship match was really brought down by the fact that the rules were never clear so it was just a random spotfest. The women’s match suffered from the strange ending. New belts were a nice surprise. This Takeover would have been a real bust if not for the NXT Championship Match. there was nothing bad per se, but it just did not live up to the levels we have come to expect from a Takeover, and to be honest, other than the main event and the tag team match, none of the action was much better than what an NXT weekly episode’s main event would have been a few years ago. NXT desperately needs a reboot post-Mania weekend, and a refresh of talent, and a rebuilding of the tag team and women’s divisions pronto. It just cannot continue like this any longer.