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By John Moore
NXT Live Event
San Jose, California at San Jose State University
Report by Dot Net staffer John Moore
This was my first ever NXT event that I’ve attended, which is logical given that they rarely run in California compared to the main roster. I have to say it was an awesome house show with some really good matches.
NXT had their A-Team set up with all of their TV regulars. They also had cameras running with a hard camera setup since they had matches for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic happening and being recorded. William Regal kicked off the show by thanking the fans. Before I get into the show, I like to give props to the host of the show Mike Rome, who is a really good and interactive MC. He did a good job speaking and controlling the crowd. Mike was great.
1. Oney Lorcan defeated Patrick Clark via submission. Oney Lorcan got a great crowd reaction due to him simply being a good wrestler. He was using a striking offense while also selling well for Clark. Patrick got a surprisingly great reaction even though I think he was meant to be the heel here. The positive reaction started off with people really digging his music that sounded like it came from the 1980s which is a given due to his current Prince gimmick. The crowd got so behind Patrick at several points that they were constantly bringing up loud “Purple Rain!” chants. People really dug Patrick hitting a really good Clothesline from Hell mostly due to Oney’s selling. Lorcan was the better technical wrestler of course but Patrick does have something at least with the Prince gimmick. Oney won by locking in the half Boston crab and converting it into either a half Liontamer or a Tequila Sunrise (I couldn’t see if he hooked the arm).
2. Shane Thorne (w/Nick Miller) defeated Roderick Strong (w/Austin Aries) via pinfall to advance TM61 in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The match was supposed to be TM-61 vs. Roderick Strong and Austin Aries. Aries was out in a dress suit and slacks due to a legit eye injury he suffered. Austin Aries cut a promo pre-match and said it would be best if TM61 would forfeit. William Regal came out and verified Aries’ injury. Regal gave TM61 an alternate option which they accepted which was to have one of them face Strong in a singles match. Shane Thorne took Regal up on that challenge. It was a good match and people were into the buildup to Strong’s backbreaker. Thorne got a good reaction to and even got some “si!” chants when he performed Del Rio’s corner double footstomp. Aries and Nick Miller did provide outside commotion. Strong dropkicked Miller and was distracted which allowed Thorne to roll him up for the victory. So TM-61 advances while Roddy and Aries are eliminated.
3. Wesley “The Beautiful Body” Blake defeated Buddy Murphy via pinfall. I had no idea what that “beautiful body” quote meant and neither did the crowd. Murphy cut a decent promo before the match but after that is where everything went downhill. It’s a Blake vs. Murphy match. It was technically decent but it bored the hell out of the crowd. Blake did get random pops when he threw streamers in the air but the match had a lot of rest holds. The crowd used this to either phone out or go to the concessions stand to buy beer and nachos. There were a lot of “delete!” chants. There was a sarcastic “fight forever” chant that I actually chuckled at. This match lost the crowd’s interest fast so the crowd just decided to entertain themselves or take a bathroom break. Blake won after hitting the frogsplash following shooting streamers in the air. I’m pretty sure they tried to make Blake the babyface since Murphy called the fans “puppets”.
4. Asuka defeated Daria Berenato via submission to retain the NXT Womens Championship. This woke up the crowd really quickly. Asuka is over, super over. People were really buying up her merchandise at the stands too. Daria was really good as well and really won the respect of the crowd by the end of the match. I think WWE might actually have something good on their hands as Daria has a good look and gimmick with the MMA gimmick. If I could take something away, it would be for Daria to not do the rapid shadow boxing before her matches since it’s a bit to overt. People already understand she’s an MMA fighter with her look and you do have to drive the nail in any further. Daria’s in-ring weakness was when she would miss strikes she would miss by a clear mile, where she looks like she is honestly afraid of potatoing her opponent. Other than that she has a good look, she wrestled with strikes and takedowns which works with the MMA style. I feel like if they did push her to primetime, that she could be WWE’s Awesome Kong where she just destroys opponents with superior power and technique. Asuka’s charisma on the other side is just off the charts. At one point some of the fans called for her to do Rikishi’s Stinkface on Daria and she listened and obliged, even integrating the mannerisms that Rikishi would do. Asuka also did her usual kawaii Japanese girl things which were super over with the crowd. One of the best sequences from the match was Asuka catching Daria’s Superman Punch and turning it into a Fujiwara armbar. Asuka turned it into the Cross Armbreaker. Daria reversed it into her own Cross Armbreaker. Asuka ultimately won with the Asuka Lock. After the match Asuka and Daria shook hands and gained the cheers from the crowd. This was a cool match and WWE really has a lot of potential in Daria.
5. The Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering) defeated Rich Swann and No Way Jose via pinfall to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. I forget which Author is which but one of them is slightly thicker than the other. Back to the match. Swann and Jose were super-duper over with everyone. Those guys just have so much charisma. If Swann weren’t already on Raw, I would like to see Swann and Jose on Smackdown to be Smackdown’s analog to Enzo and Cass. Swann sold for most of the match which was expected. Jose was great in waiting for the hot tag. Throughout the night he was just hopping and energetic on the turnbuckles keeping the crowd interested. He has the energy of Mojo Rawley but just sans the annoying parts of Mojo. Jose is also good in the ring which usually gets overshadowed by his flashy character. The Authors of Pain weren’t bad but it still seems like they are finding themselves. One of my favorite internet wrestling memes are how the Authors are being called “The Legion of Giant Ass D’Lo Browns”. The Authors drew a “Let’s go D’Lo’s” and “D’Lo Brown” chant which was funny. They do have good aggression in the ring so they aren’t as bad as Konnor and Viktor. The problem right now is their actual size. When they are against someone like Swann they’re fine, but they look small when in there with Jose and a bunch of average sized wrestlers. They suffer the same problem as Lucha Underground Champion, Matanza Cueto/Jeff Cobb where he’s more wide than tall. NXT just needs to find a way to make aggression their focal point as opposed to size since they aren’t the tallest of dudes. They are just wide. The Authors won with their double team finisher on Jose if I remember correctly. Swann did hit this cool corkscrew senton which woke the crowd up after an Authors isolation sequence.
6. Ember Moon defeated Billie Kay (w/Peyton Royce). The crowd really crapped on this match early on because they really didn’t respect Billie Kay at first. They almost gave her a Blake and Murphy reaction, which she totally didn’t deserve. I give Billie Kay a lot of credit, she did convert a lot of the early go away heat into genuine heel heat. At one point a D-bag fan in the crowd yelled at her that she was racist for putting Ember Moon in a submission and while holding her in the submission Billie gave that fan the middle finger which drew heat from the crowd. That guy kinda deserved it. Ember had a lot of people rooting for her particularly the high amount of female fans in the crowd. I noticed the NXT crowd is more diverse and more my generation, but more on that later. Another cool moment was the finish. Moon built up to her corkscrew stunner which caused the entire crowd to slowly rise. It was Red Arrow levels of intrigue which was pretty cool. Ember Moon quickly won after hitting her finisher, she already kicked Royce off the apron. A lot of fans were singing “Fighting Evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight… She is the one named [Ember] Moon!”.
7. Shinsuke Nakamura and Tye Dillinger defeated Bobby Roode and Samoa Joe via pinfall. It makes sense for Roode to take the pin here since Joe should be protected wherever he goes until Takeover. This was a really fun match that had a lot of character and good wrestling. Roode was a complete babyface during his entrance even leading the crowd in a “Glorious” chant in a similar fashion that he would lead “Beer!!! Money!!!” chants back in the day. He also did played mirror-mime to Tye Dillinger when he did his “Ten!” chants. After getting all of the comedy out of the way, Roode went to being his usual tag team specialist self which meant we got good wrestling from him. Joe was all business of course. Nakamura was Nakamura. People were singing his song and into everything he did. Nothing new. Tye Dillinger got an equal reaction to Nakamura which was cool as well. People were chanting “Ten!” throughout the match and throughout the night after the show was over outside in downtown San Jose. People were also into Dillinger’s wrestling. He wasn’t boring one bit. A small pocket of fans tried to chant “TNA!” but they were overtaken by boos to shut them up. One fun sequence consisted of Joe countering the Bomaye with the powerslam. Joe had his Kinniku Buster reversed by Tye into a victory roll which was fun. Joe then hit Tye with the Uranage which drew heat. Ultimately Shinsuke won over Roode with the Bomaye. After the match, Nakamura cut a cool “yeaoh” promo to leave the crowd going home happy. The crowd also left happy with their “Ten!” chants as well. All four of these guys deserve to be on the main roster, but that goes without saying.
Additional Notes: Overall this was a fun experience! I would definitely recommend attending an NXT show when they roll into your town. One interesting thing I noticed was that NXT draws a different demographic. They draw my type of demographic! More so, it draws the millennial age group, which is pretty cool. Another unique demographic is it draws the female millennial demographic into all of the action, but particularly into the good women matches. The female crowd members were buying Asuka shirts and masks off of the merch stands like crazy. Of course, the younger girls bought Bayley merch. It’s interesting we didn’t get Bayley since her hometown is billed as San Jose.
The crowd really tried their best to seize the opportunity and try to mimic the Full Sail crowd by going into business for themselves. They tried but mostly to no avail because specific sections of fans would chant one thing but the other pockets don’t understand what they were trying to chant. They did pick up on the Sailor Moon chants though. There was this one pocket of lame fans who were lame because they wanted to draw attention. Luckily, the crowd picked up on that and just covered their pocket of chants with more appropriate chants. Of course, one of the most over people was Broken Matt Hardy and he’s in TNA! The Broken Matt bug has bit the bay area. “Delete!” and “Obsolete!” ravaged Raw and No Mercy a few weeks ago and they were in full force tonight. It also helped that Broken Matt Hardy wrestled a few weeks ago in Daly City for APW. I heard Vanguard 1 did not fly into the building that week.
They did section off the areas for the stage but they did sell out like they mentioned. There were two pockets of empty seats on the hard camera side but that was to make a makeshift hard camera studio within the regular university stands. Usually at main roster shows, WWE sets up this entire console studio, it’s almost like a space ship cockpit as to how they make the hard camera studio. Tonight it was just some guys with some equipment in chairs, but there was a hard camera due to actual storyline matches taking place tonight with the Dusty Classic. Hopefully WWE sees that there is a lot of interest in NXT in California and bring a Takeover out here soon. I wouldn’t mind getting SummerSlam back and having a Takeover Los Angeles or even a Takeover San Francisco, but a Bay Area Takeover probably won’t draw as much as Hollywood.