By Darren Gutteridge
NXT Takeover: Orlando Hits
Authors of Pain vs. DIY vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Titles: Good God, what a match. They managed to engineer the AOP into the excellent DIY vs. Revival game plan, making them look like monsters and delivering the champion’s best match to date. If this is their send off, both the Revival and DIY can be very proud of their efforts in elevating the tag team scene in NXT.
Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Title: A marked improvement on their already good Takeover: San Antonio match. I was into everything other than the finish. They are putting dents in Nakamura’s mystique by having him lose so cleanly. Had the finish included Roode taking advantage of the knee injury, then I’d be OK with it, but Roode’s DDT finisher had nothing to do with it. That said, it still wasn’t enough to deter me from giving this otherwise very enjoyable match a Hit.
Asuka vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Title: Though this fell short of the very high expectations, it was still a solid match. They managed to make Ember Moon look more credible than any previous challenger to Asuka, and the fact Asuka had to cheat to avoid the Eclipse tells me we’re not done. We can’t be – surely we don’t have another year to build up a second credible challenger! The ending also has to mark the end of “Tweener” Asuka – make her a heel, and stick to that plan.
Aleister Black vs. Andrade Almas: The ending of the match lost momentum thanks to a few awkward exchanges and a distracted crowd, but otherwise this was an enjoyable debut for Black. The entrance was great, although I reserve judgement on the “Gangrel 2017” part, and the way he worked in his Tommy End mannerisms from the indies was effective. I have to wonder how long he can last with this gimmick as a babyface. Can you image family friendly PG-13 WWE putting a pseudo-satanist on the main roster as a babyface?
NXT Takeover: Orlando Misses
Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno and Ruby Riot vs. Sanity: This was just on the wrong side of the organized chaos line for me. It may have worked better in the arena, but it became very hard to follow near the end watching on TV, and anyone with “legal man syndrome” likely lost their mind. Sanity winning felt right, but I don’t know where they go next, unless they are just destined to face four random people until they lose.