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WWE NXT Takeover: Orlando
April 1, 2017

by Scrooge McSuck

NXT Takeover Orlando

- Live from the Amway Center in Orlando, FL. Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson are calling the action (some more than others), unless otherwise noted. I've become a bit of a lapsed fan since the last TakeOver (San Antonio), but I feel like I can piece together anything I might've missed.

Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Ruby Riot, and ??? vs. SAnitY:

SAnitY is currently represented by Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dane (formerly Damo), and Nikki Cross. Ruby Riot is the former Heidi Lovelace. No Way Jose was originally scheduled, but an attack earlier in the day took him out of the match. No fear, as the babyface contingent have a replacement: Kassius Ohno (formerly Chris Hero). This started as Tye refusing initiation into SAnitY, and over time, found allies against Young's hellions. 8-person brawl to start. When the dust settles, Cross and Ruby kick it off, officially. Wolfe tags in and does a goofy, Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired dance, only to get KO'ed by the original KO. Young with a distraction to take control. Strong tags in and unloads with strikes. Angle Slam to Wolfe and Full Nelson Slam into a Back Breaker on Young. Wolfe uses a distraction from Dane to take him over with a German Suplex. Crowd brings back the "shave your back" chant. Dane knocks him halfway across the ring with a dropkick. Young hangs him up in the corner and drops an elbow for two. Young with a flying elbow for another two count. Strong gets the better of a slugfest, but gets carried into the corner. Young misses a dive and Dillinger gets the hot tag. He runs wild on all three male members. Cross tries to attack, but Ruby tackles her to the floor. Dillinger with a flying body press on Wolfe and a tope suicida on Young. Strong with the wrecking ball to Dane. Ohno somersaults to the floor and KO's Wolfe, again. Dane with the blind tag, but runs into a Super-Kick for two. Young with a leaping neck breaker to Ohno. Strong knocks Young clear out of the ring to break up the wheel barrow neck breaker. Cross hops on Strong, so Ruby hops on Dane. Ruby tosses her to the floor and follows with a missile dropkick, complete with sick bump on the floor. Dillinger goes for the Tye-Breaker, but Wolfe interrupts, and Dane finishes with the Ulster Plantation (Electric Chair into a Michinoku Driver) at 12:21. *** Perfectly acceptable opener. Nothing you'll remember later, but everyone was full of energy and there was practically zero resting.

Aleister Black vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas:

It's our token "showcase for a newcomer" match, with Black, formerly Tommy End, making his in-ring debut after weeks of vignettes. Almas is playing the arrogant heel who takes his opponent too lightly. Watson even suggests he was out partying until 3:45 in the morning. Lockup and Almas goes to work on the arm. They trade side headlocks and counters until Almas decides to play arrogant heel and pose. Black sends Almas to the floor and teases a dive before somersaulting to center of the ring. Black with a series of kicks. Almas starts getting rough in the corner and opts to slap him instead of hitting the running knees. Almas with the hanging arm-bar, followed by a missile dropkick for two. Black comes back with more kicks and follows Almas out with an Asai Moonsault from the middle rope. A sequence of counters leads to a roll up for two. Almas with forearms and a boot to the face. Black with knees to the face to fight out of another hanging arm-bar. Almas comes off the top, but it's countered with the Powerbomb. Almas kicks out and hooks a modified Fujiwara arm-bar in the follow through, but Black hooks the rope. Almas with more forearms, but the running knees miss. Black with a small package for two. Almas blocks a rolling cradle for two. A pair of roundhouse kicks knocks both men down. Almas with a handspring Pele kick for two. He throws Black into the corner and hits the double knees. Black counters the hammerlock-DDT, but gets taken over with a snap German Suplex for two. Black surprises Almas with a bicycle knee strike. Black with boots and the Black Mass (roundhouse Super-Kick) finishes at 9:35. **1/2 Not an impressive debut from Black, but Almas carried it as well as anyone could when doing literally all the work, a far cry from last year when Almas couldn't get anything going as a babyface.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match:
The Authors of Pain © (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. #DIY vs. The Revival:

Elimination Rules, and all Champions through the rest of the card will receive new belts. It feels like the AOP won the belts a while ago, but it was only two months ago, in San Antonio. The basic storyline is the only hope for both challengers is to work together and eliminate the unpinned reigning Champions. #DIY and the Revival tease going at it, but join forces and each double team one member of the AOP. DIY pull out a table, but Akem fights out of the predicament. The alliance is only short lived, though. DIY with synchronized dropkicks to the Revival. Gargano with a snap mare and basement dropkick on Wilder for two. Akem forces a tag and lays out DIY with a pair of clotheslines. Rezar meets a boot in the corner, but catches Ciampa in mid-air. He slips out of a power-slam and nails another boot to the face. He goes to tag, but both Dawson and Wilder short-arm him. Whip to the ropes, Wilder trips up Ciampa and Dawson hits Akem with a DDT, rolling Ciampa on top for two. Dawson drops Wilder across Akem with a leg drop for two. Dawson reaches for a tag, and DIY return the favor. He manages to sweep the leg of Akem, but is easily kicked away. Gargano with the blind tag, and he hits Dawson with a slingshot spear for two. Gargano and Ciampa with a pair of strikes to Akem, and Gargano with a rolling senton from the apron to Rezar. Springboard DDT to Dawson gets two. The AOP bulldoze Dawson into the apron, catch Gargano on a dive, throw him into Ciampa to block a tope suicida, then throw him again, this time into Wilder.

Back in the ring, Rezar continues roughing up Gargano. Double team back breaker/curb stomp from the middle rope for two. Akem with a torture rack, although not the most enthusiastic one I've ever seen. Gargano escapes and hits an enzuigiri. Ciampa with a hot tag and dives off the top with a clothesline. Boot to knock Rezar off the apron, and two more clotheslines to Akem. Knee strike to Rezar and a snap German Suplex to Akem! Ciampa with a flurry of strikes and a second German Suplex! Ciampa with a running knee strike for two! Ciampa with a snap Powerbomb attempt, but Akem blocks. Gargano comes over to help, still unsuccessful. FINALLY, The Revival arrive with a double strike, adding enough leverage for #DIY to throw Rezar from the apron, through the table! DIY and Revival rejoin forces against Akem, who does his damn best to fight off the two former Tag Team Champions. Wilder reluctantly saves Ciampa with a knee clip, and Dawson hooks a reverse figure four. Gargano teases breaking it, then decides to lock in a Crossface for what seems like the sure submission. Rezar comes back to life, but Ciampa and Wilder do everything they can to keep him back, but somehow, Akem survives the double submission and Rezar carries Ciampa and Wilder onto the pile to break the hold!

Rezar misses a charge, but knocks Ciampa off the apron. Wilder and Dawson strike from both sides. Gargano with a Super-Kick. Gargano and Dawson find themselves in the ring together, and hit the DIY double-team finisher on Rezar! Akem comes back in, and Ciampa and Wilder join up to nail him with the Shatter Machine! The AOP roll to the floor, and there might've been a blind tag I missed in the chaos. The Revival tease a cheap shot, but it turns into a fair slugfest. Gargano and Wilder fight the AOP off the apron and hit synchronized suicide dives. Ciampa climbs the ropes, as does Dawson. They fight it out, and Dawson takes Ciampa over with a suplex, onto the pile of bodies. Akem and Rezar must've found the Gatorade stash, and find themselves in the ring with Ciampa, finishing him with the Last Chapter at 18:53. Crowd is PISSED. They double team Wilder until Dawson saves. They hit a double team Powerbomb/Clothesline on Akem, and German Suplex/Uppercut combos on Rezar for a near fall. Dawson tries hooking the legs, but Rezar fights free, knocks Wilder down, and plants Dawson with a Choke-Slam. They set up for another Last Chapter, but Wilder takes the bullet, and Dawson cradles Rezar for another near fall. AOP with a pair of Powerbombs. Dawson plays dead to avoid another Powerbomb. Surprise small package gets two! Damn you, false finishes ripped off from Bret Hart! The AOP continue to chug along like tanks, and finally the Super Collider finishes at 23:41, ruining my night. ****3/4 A Completely deflating finish, only because they had me fooled into believing there would be a title change. This was phenomenal work, putting bitter rivals in a situation where they had a common enemy that required working together, only for the AOP to survive everything thrown at them and leave in dominant fashion. This is something I point to and think of when I question why I still watch professional wrestling.

NXT Women's Championship Match:
Asuka © vs. Ember Moon:

It's the Undefeated Champion vs. Undefeated Challenger, so something has got to give. Asuka won the title almost a year ago, to the day, having defeated Bayley for the belt at TakeOver: Dallas. I'm not going to lie, watching the rest of the show last night, following that Tag Title Match, was a big mistake, so watching them again was required for a fair assessment on the two matches that followed it. Lockup to the ropes for a clean break. They do a chain wrestling and counters sequence that leads to both women missing dropkicks. Asuka pulls back a handshake. Moon avoids some strikes and takes her over with a head scissors. They meet in the middle with shoulder tackles. Asuka tricks Moon running the ropes and hits the hip attack. Moon comes back with strikes, completing the sequence with a jumping roundhouse. Asuka avoids Moon on the floor and knocks her off the apron with another hip attack. Asuka with a series of vicious spinning back-fists and a third hip attack. Moon avoids the Asuka-Lock and knocks the Champion to the floor with a forearm. She runs the ropes and dives over the top with a springboard plancha. She teases the Eclipse, but Asuka rushes her off the top and hits a Shining Wizard for two. Asuka hooks the Asuka-Lock, but Moon somehow survives and escapes, slamming Asuka back down to the canvas. Moon avoids the hip attack and counters with a Super-Kick with Asuka hung up in the ropes. Moon with a head scissors, leg sweep, and basement dropkick. Asuka starts hulking up, but gets thrown on her head with a sloppy Fallaway slam. Was Asuka sandbagging her there? Moon with the handspring forearm. She tries springing off the ropes, but Asuka counters with a German Suplex for two. They trade strikes until a Discus Forearm from Moon drops the Champion. T-Bone Suplex for two! Moon goes for the Eclipse, but Asuka throws the referee into the ropes, knocking Moon off the top, and finishes with a roundhouse kick at 12:12. ***1/4 Good story of Ember Moon hanging with Asuka all the way, who for months was presented as above the rest of the competition, only for Asuka to resort to dirty tactics to remain undefeated. Shorter than I expected, but I'm sure they'll rematch at the next TakeOver.

- Drew McIntyre is in the crowd. Looks like somebody is back with WWE.

NXT Championship Match:
Bobby Roode © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura:

Rematch from TakeOver: San Antonio, where Roode won the Championship by capitalizing on an injured Nakamura. Roode gets the only "big" entrance of the night, with pianists performing live before his traditional theme music plays him out. Roode grabs a side headlock and seems peeved at Nakamura's showboating in the ropes. Nakamura with boots to the chest to cheese him off. Crisscross, Nakamura with a snap mare and jumping knee drop. Nakamura with knee strikes, but Roode avoids Good Vibrations, only to get nailed with an enzuigiri. Roode blocks a suplex from the apron and connects with a dropkick. Roode comes off the ropes, knocking Nakamura into the security rail with an elbow. Back inside, Roode with choking across the middle rope, followed by stomping in the corner. Whip to the corner, Roode follows in with a clothesline. Hangman's neck breaker gets two. Roode with an elbow and knee drop for another two count. Roode slows it down a bit more with an extended chin-lock. Nakamura counters a sleeper and stuns Roode with a spinning heel kick. Nakamura rallies with strikes. Nakamura with the running knee lift and basement dropkick, sending Roode to the floor. Nakamura with a knee to the side of the face, followed by another across the back of the head.

Back inside, Nakamura covers for two. Roode blocks the reverse slam and catches Nakamura off the ropes with a Discus Clothesline. Whip to the corner and Roode meets a boot. Nakamura hits what looked like an off-balance version of the Kinshasa. He goes for it again, but Roode side-steps and clips the knee! Roode punishes the knees with elbows and wraps the leg around the post before slapping on a Figure-Four in the middle of the ring. Nakamura manages to reverse the hold, but Roode remains in control. Nakamura counters a second attempt with a cross arm-breaker. Roode tries to power out, but resorts to getting a foot on the ropes to force a break. Nakamura with knees and kicks in the corner. Roode avoids the running knee, causing Shinsuke to ram his knee into the buckle. Nakamura struggles to his feet, throwing more kicks. Roode ducks a roundhouse and hits a Back Stabber for two. Roode goes for the Glorious DDT, but Nakamura counters with a knee to the head, gourd buster, and sliding knee to the head for two. Roode bails to avoid a Kinshasa. Nakamura throws him back in, but gets straddled in the ropes, and the Glorious DDT connects… for two! Roode grabs the ring bell, but the referee wrestles it away from him. Nakamura with a roundhouse kick and reverse slam. Roode counters the Kinshasa with a spine-buster for two. Nakamura counters the DDT, ramming Roode into the corner. Roode clips the knee for a second time, climbs the ropes, and hits a Super-Glorious DDT to retain, clean as a whistle, at 28:06. That was unexpected (the clean part). **** This took a while to get going, but it really picked up to get it to the next level. I'm not a fan of 30-minute main events for the sake of doing it, and at times, this felt like it was being padded just for the sake of getting the show to 2 ˝ hours.

Final Thoughts: Having not watched any NXT for the last few months, I wasn't sure what to expect coming into the show. The lineup seemed promising, at least as far as the three Championship matches are concerned. In my opinion, the Tag Title Three-Way OVER-delivered, with DIY and the Revival digging deep to pull off another modern classic, and somehow incorporating the underappreciated Authors of Pain into the formula that put the Champions over as strong as possible without burying their opponents. The Main Event went too long, but picked up at the halfway mark and woke the crowd up, and while Asuka/Ember Moon was a slight disappointment, it felt too soon to just have Asuka lose, and now they have someone who can make a reasonable "chase the Champion" storyline that isn't a complete stiff like Liv Morgan. The undercard (all two matches) was fine, although major kudos is owed to Andrade Almas for getting a good match out of what seemed destined to be a huge turkey. Strong Recommendation. I'm already exhausted from watching this show twice, and I have a full day of Rays opening day baseball AND a potential 7-hour WrestleMania.

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