By Jason Powell
NXT Takeover: Orlando
Aired live on WWE Network
Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
The show opened with a spotlight on the ring and the rest of the lights out. Triple H welcomed viewers and said the world is watching because it’s WrestleMania weekend and they would show the world that “we are NXT and we are home”… A video package recapped some of the bigger NXT moments in Orlando while fans spoke about NXT being home. Hunter said if you love NXT now, you haven’t seen nothing yet…
Tom Phillips noted that the show was sold out with 14,975 fans in attendance. He was joined on commentary by Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson. Footage aired of Sanity taking out No Way Jose, who was is unable to wrestle according to the storyline…
Sanity was out first. Dillinger received loud 10 chants from the crowd. The crowd was polite to newcomer Riot. Strong received a nice ovation. The crowd popped big when Kassius Ohno’s music played…
1. Kassius Ohno, Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, and Ruby Riot vs. Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross in an eight-person tag match. The babyfaces charged the ring and the eight wrestlers brawled briefly. Cross and Riot started the match. Cross tagged Wolfe into the match, so Ohno entered. Wolfe did a crazy dance and then Ohno punched him in the face for a pop. At 3:50, Wolfe tagged in Dain, who worked over Strong. Fans chanted “shave your back” at Dain, causing poor Matt Bloom to have flashbacks backstage. Young tagged in as the heels isolated Strong.
Dillinger tagged in and hit Wolfe with a cross body block off the top rope and then performed a suicide dive onto Young. Dain attacked Dillinger from behind on the floor, but Strong caught him with a kick through the ropes. Wolfe took out strong. Ohno set up for a dive. Wolfe moved, so Ohno did a handstand onto the apron and then to the floor. Riot set up for a big dive, but Cross cut her off with a forearm shot. Riot took her down and they rolled to ringside catfight style.
Dillinger worked over Young in the corner with punches while the fans chanted 10. Dain entered the ring, but Dillinger caught him with a superkick and covered him, but Wolfe broke it up. Ohno checked in and knocked Wolfe to the floor with a forearm, but Young hit him from behind. Strong blasted Young with a Sick Kick. Strong and Dain squared off. The fans popped and chanted Roddy. Cross jumped on Strong’s back, then Riot jumped on the back of Dain. The women fought again. Riot performed a dropkick off the apron on Cross. In the ring, Dillinger hoisted up Dain on his shoulders, but Wolfe kicked him in the face. Dain performed a big power move on Dillinger and pinned him…
Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross defeated Kassius Ohno, Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, and Ruby Riot in 12:30.
Powell’s POV: A fun brawl to open the show. The crowd was hot for the babyfaces and this got the show off to a solid start. Phillips made no sense as he spoke about Sanity winning the match due to the numbers game given that the match was four-on-four.
After WWE commercials, Bobby Roode was shown looking at the NXT Championship backstage… Edge and Beth Phoenix were shown sitting in the crowd. They received a big pop from the crowd…
2. Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas. Black had a cool entrance where he started lying on his back and is pushed up from behind into a standing position. The entrance music fits his entrance really well. He sat in the ring with his legs crossed while Almas stood at ringside. At 1:55, Black sent Almas to the floor and teased a dive of some kind. Instead, Black did a springboard backflip onto his feet for a pop. He sat down and crossed his legs and motioned for Almas, who returned to the ring and tried to kick Black, who ducked it.
Black caught Almas with a nice kick to the head. Almas struck Black in the corner off a rope break. Almas teased a move in the corner and instead stopped and slapped Black across the face. Almas caught Black in a cross arm breaker over the ropes. McGuiness questioned the strategy of targeting the arm instead of taking Black’s legs out to avoid his kicks. At 5:50, Almas connected with a kick of his own. He applied the cross arm breaker over the ropes again. Almas went for a move off the top rope and Black put him down with a powerbomb that didn’t look all that great. Almas was fine and applied a submission hold. Black broke it by reaching the ropes with his foot.
Almas remained on offense and scored a near fall off a nice German suplex into a bridge. Almas charged at Black, who caught him with knee to the head. Black came back with kicks and hit the Black Mass kick for the win…
Aleister Black defeated Andrade Almas in 9:35.
Powell’s POV: Almas got plenty of offense and wasn’t buried in any way, but this was all about Black in his NXT television debut. His in-ring persona and entrance are cool. I’m really looking forward to seeing more from him on NXT television. A case can be made for Black destroying someone in his debut match, but I don’t think any harm was done from a competitive win.
After a commercial, Ember Moon was shown backstage. She pulled her hood over her head and face… A video package set up the Triple Threat for the NXT Tag Titles…
3. The Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering) vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder in an elimination match for the NXT Tag Titles. William Regal stood in the ring with ring announcer Mike Rome during the entrances. Rome called AOP “the NXT Champions” and then corrected himself by saying tag team champions. Oops. The referee handed off the titles, then Regal handed the new tag titles to the referee, who held them up to cheers.
The Revival and DIY stared at one another, then they came together and turned and faced AOP. Ciampa and Gargano worked over Akam, while the Revival teamed up on Rezar. Once the AOP were down, the Revival and DIY squared off briefly. Akam returned to the ring and broke that up quickly. Later, the Revival worked over Akam and scored a near fall. Later, Dawson went for a tag with DIY, but they dropped off the apron and smiled at him.
At 9:00, Akam put Gargano in a Torture Rack. The fans broke out in their second “Johnny Wrestling” chant of the night. Gargano slipped out of the hold. He eventually tagged Ciampa, who hit a clothesline on Akam and then kicked Rezar off the apron. When Rezar got back to the apron, Ciampa caught him with another shot and then performed two German suplexes on Akam. Ciampa performed a running knee to the head of Akam for a two count.
Ciampa went for a powerbomb on Rezar off the apron. Rezar held on to the ropes to avoid being powerbombed through a table. Gargano tried to help, but he still held on. The Revival ran over and punched Rezar, so DIY were able to slam him through a table on the floor for a big pop. Fans popped big as the Revival and IY surrounded Akam in the ring. He quickly shoved the Revival down and then set up for a powerbomb on Gargano, who tagged Dawson.
Wilder clipped the knee of Akam. Dawson applied a heel hook. Gargano teased breaking it up and then stopped. Gargano applied a crossface on Akam. Rezar returned to the ring, Ciampa and WIlder tried to block him, but Rezar shoved them into the other wrestlers to break up the double submission hold. Fans chanted this is awesome.
The fans popped huge when Dawson joined Gargano in performing the DIY finisher, then Gargano and Wilder performed the Revival finisher, which took out both members of AOP. The Revival were about to sneak attack DIY, but they saw them coming and the two teams squared off and traded punches. Gargano and Wilder performed suicide dives onto AOP on the floor. Ellering showed frustration and concern. Ciampa went up top and Dawson cut him off. Dawson suplexed Ciampa onto the other wrestlers on the floor.
Dawson rolled Ciampa back inside the ring, One of the AOP members tagged Dawson and clotheslined him to ringside. AOP hit their finisher and Ciampa and pinned him to eliminate DIY from the match at 18:55. Fans booed and chanted bullshit.
The Revival and AOP were the two remaining teams. AOP set up for a Demolition style move on Wilder, but Dawson broke it up. The Revival ended up hitting a double team move that resulted in Dawson suplexing one of the AOP members into a bridge for a two count. The fans booed when AOP regained offensive control. At 22:50, one of the AOP members set up Dawson for a move, but he fell limp to the ground. Dawson ended up catching him in an inside cradle for a two count. Dawson took a power move into the corner by Akam. The AOP members hit their double powerbomb and Dawson was pinned…
The Authors of Pain defeated The Revival and Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in 23:50 to retain the NXT Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: This was a blast. There was some terrific action and fun storytelling in terms of DIY and The Revival working together, yet never being able to trust each other. The fans obviously wanted to see a title change, but I’m dig the powerhouse team that AOP have become. It’s such a fun mix with DIY was the traditional babyfaces, the Revival as the throwback heels, and AOP playing the badass power team. I’m not sure how much longer we will get that dynamic, though, as there is plenty of speculation that the Revival could be main roster bound. By the way, thumbs up for the new NXT Tag Titles. Let’s hope the other new titles look at least that good.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the NXT Women’s Championship match…
4. Asuka vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship. Rome delivered in-ring introductions for the title match and then Regal unveiled the new women’s championship. The women jawed at one another and then ran the ropes. Asuka slammed her backside into moon, who came right back with a dropkick and then taunted Asuka. A short time later, Asuka connected with another old school Iceman Parsons Butt-Butt that knocked Moon off the apron to the floor.
Asuka threw a spinning back fist and a kick. Moon caught and Asuka kick and flailed her down. Asuka went for the Asuka Lock, but Moon avoided and then smacked Asuka with a wicked forearm shot. Moon ran to the corner, jumped onto the second rope, and then springboarded over the top rope and onto Asuka on the floor.
Back inside the ring, Asuka came back with a shining wizard for a two count. Later, Asuka caught Moon on the ropes and performed a nice suplex. They stood up and traded shots. Moon knocked Asuka down. Asuka got up and threw a kick. Moon blocked the kick and then suplexed Asuka for two.
Moon went to the ropes. Asuka cut her off, but Moon slammed Asuka face first to the mat. Moon went up top. Asuka stood up and shoved the referee into the ropes, which knocked Moon to the mat. Asuka blasted Moon with a kick and pinned her. Asuka was all smiles after the match…
Asuka defeated Ember Moon in 12:10 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: A really good match with a creative finish. I like the idea that Asuka was so desperate that she resorted to throwing the referee into Moon to knock her down. This felt like a setup for more from these two, which makes it seem unlikely that Asuka will be going to the main roster. Well, unless that’s what they want you to think. Either way, this was really good and I look forward to seeing more from these wrestlers.
After commercials, Phillips announced that Shawn Michaels would be on Facebook Live following the show… Drew McIntyre (a/k/a Drew Galloway) was shown sitting in the crowd. He smiled and laughed and played to the crowd…
Powell’s POV: What a terrific addition Galloway would be to the NXT or main roster. He has improved tremendously since his last run with the company.
A shot aired of Shinsuke Nakamura backstage… A video package set up the main event…
Shinsuke Nakamura danced behind a screen as his music played. The screen dropped and then Shinsuke danced while the crowd sang his song. Once he was at ringside, Nakamura took a lap around the ring and played to the fans. Bobby Roode had two piano players on the stage and then his usual music played and he made his entrance wearing a white robe and the NXT Championship…
Powell’s POV: Two cool entrances. It wasn’t the best Nakamura entrance (the violin solo is still my NXT favorite). Hopefully he’s saving a bigger and better one for Monday or Tuesday night.
5. Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship. Rome delivered the in-ring introductions. Regal introduced the new championship, which the referee held up before the match. There were dueling chants for the wrestlers as the match got underway. Phillips played up the sold out crowd. Roode and Nakamura each threw a kick and then circled one another. Roode went for a takedown, but Nakamura stuffed it.
A short time later, Roode did his glorious pose. Nakamura kicked him in the chest twice and then motioned for Roode to bring it. Nakamura got the better of Roode, who rolled to ringside. Nakamura rolled him back inside the ring. Roode dropkicked Nakamura, who was on the apron. Roode knocked Nakamura off the apron with a shoulder block, causing Nakamura to hit the barricade on the floor.
Roode dominated the next few minutes. Roode wrenched on the neck of Nakamura. Nakamura came back and connected with a nice spin kick. Nakamura threw punches and kicks at Roode. Nakamura continued to work over Roode and eventually covered him for two at 12:50.
Nakamura went for the Kinshasa. Roode avoided the kick and then clipped Nakamura’s knee from behind. Roode worked over the knee by wrenching it around the ring post. Roode applied the figure four at 16:30. Nakamura rolled it over and Roode grabbed the ropes to break the hold. Roode worked over the knee again.
Roode looked down at Nakamura and said, “Quit, I’m the champ” while going for the figure four again. Nakamura countered into an armbar. Roode reached the ropes to break it. Roode went back to work on the knee. Nakamura blasted Roode with kicks from his back. Nakamura got to his feet and chopped Roode down with kicks. Roode ducked one and performed a backstabber for a two count at 21:25.
Nakamura came back with more kicks. Roode kicked his knee and set up for a DDT, but Nakamura caught with a knee to the head to break it up. Nakamura caught Roode with a kick and covered him for a two count. Nakamura set up for his finisher, but Roode rolled to ringside. Nakamura rollowed and rolled him back inside the ring. Roode performed the Glorious DDT at 24:00 for a near fall.
The fans chanted for both wrestlers. Roode grabbed the ring bell. The referee pulled at it. Roode turned and ate a kick from Nakamura, who followed up with a suplex. Nakamura set up for his finisher and ended up running into a spinebuster, which resulted in another two count for Roode. The fans popped and chanted “this is awesome.”
Roode performed a shoulder block on Nakamura’s bad knee. Roode went to the ropes and spun his way around to his feet and then performed the Glorious DDT for the win…
Bobby Roode defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in 28:20 to retain the NXT Championship.
Powell’s POV: The slow parts of the match early on were more than made up for with good drama down the stretch. Rejoice, Nakamura fans. The loss likely means that his time in NXT is coming to an end. Overall, Takeover delivered again. The anticipation may not have been as high for this show, but it turned out to be a very entertaining night with every match delivering.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ODB discussing the fire that destroyed her food truck, the fundraising drive to help her buy a new truck, her appearance on the latest Impact Wrestling television show, Triple H telling her to go to TNA, and much more...