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NXT Live Event
Toronto, Ontario at Mattamy Athletic Centre
Report by Dot Net reader Sean Boulton
205 Live play-by-play man Vic Joseph did the ring announcing and timekeeping. Before the show, he had the camera scanning the crowd pointing out fans in NXT shirts and then found a fan with a “Will You Marry Me Mandy” sign. They had a fan hashtag vote for which classic NXT match we wanted to see, after which they showed clips of the Neville/Zayn match where Sami won the NXT title.
1. Ty Dillinger over Kona Reeves. A lot of comedy spots. The crowd chanted “One” for every corner punch by Reeves and every referee count against Dillinger, as a counterpoint to the “Ten” chant that started for Dillinger at Takeover Toronto.
2. Aliyah and Ember Moon over Mandy Rose and Vanessa Borne. Haven’t seen Mandy in a long time, but she is absolutely jacked. Before the match, she went over to the fan with the sign and took it from him, feigning being flattered before ripping it up. Aliyah hugged a couple of young girls at ringside who looked like they could have been her younger sisters or cousins. Hometown girl Aliyah got the pin.
3. Johnny Gargano over Killian Dain. Johnny looks like he spent every moment of his time off after the split with Tommaso Ciampa doing crunches. Very traditional big man/little man match.
4. Aleister Black over Hideo Itami. Black was wearing tights, which caused the biggest buzz of the night for the crowd around me. Itami had most of the offense.
5. Bobby Roode over The Velveteen Dream. Dream asked to be introduced as “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be”. He mimicked Bret Hart’s mannerisms and then jumped out of the ring to give his sunglasses to a kid at ringside, only to snatch them away with a waggle of his finger. Dream grabbed the mic during the match to point out Roode’s wife sitting at ringside and went to slam him on the barrier in front of her, only to have it turned around on him.
6. Sanity (Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe) over Tino Sabatelli and Riddick Moss to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. Moss cut a promo before the match talking very slowly, until Sabatelli pointed out to him that they were in Toronto not Montreal, and so we all spoke English. Wolfe got the pin.
7. Nikki Cross over Lacey Evans. Evans and her American flag were the heel here in Toronto.
8. Drew McIntyre over Andrade “Cien” Almas to retain the NXT Championship. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen an Almas match where he didn’t do the Tranquilo pose between the ropes at some point. Like with the Black/Itami match, Almas had most of the offense here.
After the match, Drew started to thank the crowd, but then said he wasn’t the right guy to do that, and called Bobby Roode back out. Roode talked about the fact that tonight was his final NXT live event and how gratifying the last year-and-a-half had been. He thanked the fans and all the wrestlers in the back, and pointed out that his parents were at ringside. When he was done, the locker room came out on the ramp to clap goodbye to him.
I felt a little unsettled after the show and didn’t figure out why until later on – it’s weird to watch a wrestling card and have the faces go over in every match. Other than that, this felt just like going to a WWF house show thirty years ago at the old Maple Leaf Gardens (Mattamy is part of that old building), except I wasn’t ruining Hulk Hogan matches for the kids around me by calling every move in his finishing sequence before he did it.