By John Moore
NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped in February in Orlando, Florida at the University of Central Florida
Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson check in on commentary from the Universal of Central Florida arena. Phillips hyped tonight’s loser leaves town match and pointed out how Corey Graves would have loved to see the Drifter go away Team DIY come out first for their preview triple threat…
1. Johnny Gargano (w/ Tommaso Ciampa) vs. Dash Wilder (w/ Scott Dawson) vs. Akam (w/ Paul Ellering and Rezar). Akam went right at Wilder which Gargano tried to utilize to his advantage. Wilder and Gargano managed to get the upper hand over Akam. Wilder dropkicked Akam to the outside. Wilder teased helping Gargano with a tope, but Gargano caught the deception and managed to ground Wilder to hit him with his basement roundhouse. Gargano went for a corner forearm but Akam ran through him with a clothesline.[C]
Akam dominated Johnny Gargano one-on-one with the Revival retreating backstage. Akam had Gargano in the torture rack as the crowd tried to rally Johnny back in the game with “Johnny Wrestling” chants. Gargano escaped and hit an uppercut to stagger Akam. Akam caught Gargano midair off a crossbody. Gargano fought out and hit some punches on Akam. Gargano shook up Akam with some punches but Akam stood tall. Gargano took down Akam with a reverse tope to the gut leading to a pin attempt.
Gargano worked on Akam in the corner with punches and chops. Akam recovered and gave Gargano a boot to the face. Gargano escaped a powerbomb and gave Akam consecutive superkicks including the signature kneeled superkick. Rezar broke up the nearfall causing Ciampa to come to Gargano’s aid. Phillips pointed out how triple threats are no disqualification. Gargano went for a DDT on Akam in the ring but it was blocked and Akam hit snake eyes on Gargano followed up by a power bomb. Akam went for the pin but Scott Dawson ran in and held Akam’s leg in the corner allowing Dash Wilder to steal the pinfall win over Johnny Gargano.
Dash Wilder defeated Akam and Johnny Gargano via pinfall in 6:26.
Tom Phillips hyped an Asuka vs. Ember Moon contract signing for later on today. A Heavy Machinery vignette aired where they talked about eating. And Alistair Black gothic vignette aired during the commercial which included him responding to Andrade Cien Almas. The former Tommy End talked about the end coming and how it was time to fade to black… [C]
John’s Thoughts: The tag team triple threat elimination match continues to be the best storyline in NXT at the moment. The triple threat served its purpose in offering the viewers a taste without really giving away anything. The cheap Dash Wilder win plays in the Revival’s characters so well and it also is great that their characters care about winning matches.
Percy Watson gave credit to the band providing music for Takeover: Orlando. Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight, Heavy Machinery, came out for their assumed squash match against Mike Marshall and Jonathan Ortagan.
2. Heavy Machinery vs. Mike Marshall and Jonathan Ortagan. Heavy Machinery had generic wrestler music and wore singlets to the ring. Knight gave one of the jobbers a hip toss to start the match. Knight followed up with a bear hug on Jonathan. Knight tagged in Dozovic to give him a chance to hug Ortagan. Marshall tagged in and Heavy Machinery continued to dominate. Machinery did bro moves and even said boom-shaka-laka.
Nigel commentated on their size by saying “Where’s the Beef”. The enhancement guys managed to team up and take down knight. Otis ran through the guys while yelling shaka-laka. Otis gave Ortagan a belly to belly suplex. Marshall broke up the pin Otis caught Ortagan and Body Slammed his partner on him when he was on the ground.
Heavy Machinery defeated Mike Marshall and Jonathan Ortagan via pinfall 3:38.
Phillips called Heavy Machinery the future of the Tag Team Division as he transitioned to the contract signing between Ember Moon and Asuka which happened in Regal’s office…
Asuka laughed at Ember Moon on her side of the table. Ember Moon said this war was inevitable. She said success was starting to get to Asuka’s head. Moon said while Asuka’s fate was to become the greatest NXT Women’s champion of all time, Moon’s was to dethrone her. Asuka said she knows who Moon is and she knows Moon wasn’t ready. Moon said she’s been ready for a long time. Asuka chuckled and walked away with her belt as William Regal finalized his signature. Regal wished Ember Moon good luck… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A standard squash for Heavy Machinery. Tucker Knight seems to be the better one at working a match while Dozovic has a lot of fun energy and athleticism for his size. Otis seems to be the one with the charisma of the two so it looks like they can help each other grow as rookies. As for the contract signing, it was simple and sweet; but I almost feel as if they should find a way to stretch out this feud because it feels like it barely started.
Back from the break, they cut to a video package involving Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura. The video started off with Bobby Roode watching his NXT Championship win over again while drinking champagne. Roode talked about the Bobby Roode changing the way NXT is seen. They showed clips of Bobby Roode calming to make NXT more favorable to corporate America while also showing Roode in his posh lifestyle. Roode talked about changing NXT in his glorious image as they showed him buying expensive stuff.
Nakamura said at Takeover, Shinsuke Nakamura will rise again. Nakamura said NXT doesn’t need Roode since it belongs to the fans. They showed clips of the fans loving Nakamura. Nakamura said there was nothing glorious about Bobby Roode and he only cares about himself. Nakamura said fate brought them together and fate will decide the fate of NXT. After the video, Tom Phillips hyped that the fate of NXT was in the balance at Takeover.
John’s Thoughts: More or less, this was the same video package for Roode and Nakamura just re-edited and without Nakamura surfing on the beach. That said, I don’t care if they show this video package edited several times because it’s a damn good one. TNA and NXT had the problem with Roode’s rich gimmick because they say he’s rich yet they never show you him in the day of his life (TNA got that right with Ethan Carter III later on). These video packages are doing an extremely good job giving Roode character outside of just being that good wrestler from Beer Money or they guy with a catchy entrance theme.
Paul Ellering cut a promo with the Authors in a dark backstage area. He called the Authors merchants of destruction. He said they come from natural law and they were going to take the Revival to the Yellow Brick Road of hell. Ellering said the Revival dream of standing by Ellering’s side because he created the algorithm for greatness in tag team wrestling. Ellering said all the Authors do is read that book and the Revival’s fate is in the hands of the Authors… [C]
Percy Watson hyped that Sanity will be facing Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, No Way Jose, and newcomer Ruby Riot in a 8-person-tag match at takeover. After that Kassius Ohno came to the ring for his loser leaves NXT match. He wore his Ohno jersey in the form of the Team USA Basketball team logo. Samson came to the ring with a guitar as usual…
3. Kassius Ohno vs. “The Drifter” Elias Samson in a Loser leaves NXT match. The crowd chanted “Drift away” to start the match off. Samson tried to end the match quickly with a rollup and Ohno returned the favor. Phillips pointed out that Ohno wearing the Dream Team attire is a good reference to how he was one of the originals from the early NXT. Ohno dominated Samson with a wristlock and continued to stay on top of Samson with lateral presses. Ohno gave Samson a running senton which made Samson decide to retreat outside.
Ohno slid outside to hit Samson. Samson gained a little breathing room by sending Ohno into the ringpost. Cut to commercial. [C]
Samson had the upper hand back from the break where he worked on Ohno in the corner. Samson gave Ohno a body slam to lead to a two count. Ohno tried to fight out of a wristlock but Samson managed to convert the wristlock into a crossface. Elias Samson rolled Ohno away from the ropes to keep the crossface locked in . Ohno managed to make it to the card camera side ropes with the help of his knees. Samson maintained a methodical offense. Ohno came back with strong elbows on Samson.
Samson ran back at Ohno with a running clothesline to stop Ohno’s spurt of momentum. Ohno fought back with a Jumping Knee strike and came back with a spinning roundhouse leading to a good nearfall on Ohno’s end. Samson tried to steal a win with his feet on the ropes but the referee caught it. Ohno recovered and pummeled Samson with strikes. Samson came back with a backslide attempt and grounded Ohno with a jumping knee. Samson slipped up a bit on his finisher and got a nearfall.
Samson attempted several pin attempts. Ohno blocked Samson’s neckbreaker finisher and hit his knockout elbow to pick up the victory on Elias Samson to send him packing from NXT.
Kassius Ohno defeated Elias Samson via pinfall in 9:13 to force Elias Samson to leave NXT.
Per wrestling tradition, the crowd started a “na na na na goodbye” song. The referee called several referees to try to escort Samson outside. Suddenly “security” appeared. The security guys pulled Elias Samson out kicking and screaming. He said he’ll leave as long as he gets his guitar. Kassius Ohno returned and had Samson’s guitar in the middle of the ring. Ohno teased giving Samson the guitar peacefully and then destroyed the guitar with a stomp to send Samson out in tears. Ohno gave the guitar a knee and a boot on the way out… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A decent loser leaves town match that felt like it shouldn’t have been the go-home segment to Takeover. A lot of NXT these days seems taped out of order. As for where they are going with Ohno, this was a good showcase for him. I do agree with Phillips on how it was missing Corey Graves, who treats Samson just like JBL use to treat Miz as a guilty pleasure. I can see this as either they want to start fresh with Samson on the main roster or they want to have this be Ohno’s first extended feud by having him come back under a hood or something, as the end of the match could imply both. Maybe Samson can come back as “The Midnight Drifter” in honor of Dusty Rhodes. As a side note for the night, this episode and the last one, the crowd has been much better which makes me think the last two shows were done on a different day. That said, unlike the other two WWE main shows this week, NXT didn’t do a great job in hyping WrestleMania weekend. I’ll have more to say in my member exclusive audio review of this show where I will spend some time on predictions for this weekend’s Takeover show.
Feedback is always appreciated and feel free to contact me via twitter @liljohnm to tweet and discuss NXT. You can also comment and discuss WWE topics directly with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.