10 Thoughts on NXT Takeover Orlando – Nakamura, Roode, Asuka, Black

1. It’s Wrestlemania weekend and that means it’s time for NXT Takeover Orlando featuring Bobby Roode taking on Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT title and Asuka facing Ember Moon. I’ve just noticed that this is a two and a half hour event, and with only half a dozen matches that either means a lot of sweet in-ring action or a bunch of video packages and filler.

2. So apparently Sanity jumped No Way Jose at Wrestlemania Access, which is what happens when you mess with crazy people. This means Jose is out of the match, while Dillinger and Strong have to find a new partner – which turns out to be Kassius Ohno, who seems like a better fit for this team either way. Sanity are all wearing matching eye makeup so they look like the most terrifying animal in the world… the panda. Big brawl to start, then things slow down a bit with Roddy playing the face in peril as Sanity make frequent tags to wear him down. Dillinger finally gets the tag and hits the ring like a house on fire, and the crowd sure love this guy.

3. The ref loses control as both Cross and Riot attack the boys, the match degenerates into a brawl again, and Sanity are a lot better at cheating than the good guys. Eventually Killian Dane hits his finisher, which might be called The Art of Plantation, but probably not. Decent match with Dane showing some big man skills and Dillinger eating the pin once again. Because everyone loves a loser, right?

4. Now it’s time for the highly anticipated debut of Aleister Black, and the man formerly known as Tommy End is facing Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas in his dapper white suit. Cool intro for Black (if a little long) followed by more chain wrestling than we’ve seen in the WWE for a while. Almas works hard and keeps things interesting but when Black starts striking it’s obvious why they hired the man. After a reversal miscommunication gives Almas the longest two count ever things sort of break down for a while, then Black hits a series of stiff kicks ending with the Black Mass spin kick for the pinfall victory. Solid debut for Aleister Black marred by a couple of mis-timed spots.

5. Our next match is the three way tag elimination match as the Authors of Pain face DIY and the Revival for the NXT tag belts. As predicted the match is great when DIY or the Revival are in the ring and barely watchable when the Authors are involved, but everyone seems to be working their asses off which deserves credit. After a long setup DIY and The Revival put Rezar through a table and team up on Akam, which somehow doesn’t result in AOP being eliminated. The sequence with Dash & Dawson teaming up with Gargano and Ciampa is a lot of fun, and everyone is really putting their bodies on the line to make this the match of the night.

6. And then all of a sudden Ciampa gets hit with the Last Chapter and DIY are eliminated, earning a ‘bullshit’ chant from both the crowd and this reviewer. The Revival make DIY look like monsters for a few more minutes, then take the Super Collider for the AOP win. Meh.

7. Asuka vs Ember Moon for the Women’s Championship is up next, and Moon looks like a legitimate contender from the start. Somewhere along the way it strikes me that a lot of choreography may have gone into this match to make Moon look good, but if so then it worked. In the end Asuka plays the heel and shoves the ref into Moon on the top turnbuckle, hitting a stiff kick to the head for the three count. Good match with Ember Moon poised to take the title at a future bout.

8. Our main event of the night is the rematch between Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode for the NXT world title. After entrances that take longer than many regular NXT matches, it’s finally on, and both men immediately shift into high gear. Nakamura takes control for a while until Roode out-muscles him, both men showing exactly why they deserve to be in the biggest wrestling company in the world.

9. It’s somewhat mind boggling to consider the level of wrestling talent (not to mention stamina and mobility) on display here compared to the big matches at Wrestlemania, but that’s what the casual fan likes, right Vince? Surprise appearances, jacked-yet-pretty men and a couple of old guys who are one botched move away from a wheelchair. Back to Takeover and Nak and Roode are leaving it all in the ring, keeping the Orlando crowd on the edge of their seats. After a hard fought match and a bunch of reversals and near falls Bobby Roode picks up the win with the a spinning Glorious DDT from the second turnbuckle. Nice work, boys.

10. Despite the depleted NXT roster this was another great Takeover, with a couple of four-to-five star matches. DIY and The Revival proved once again that they are company men, risking life and limb to make the Authors look good, while Aleister Black made a promising debut. Killian Dane showed that fat blokes can be great in the ring (in your face Pat) and Asuka made Ember Moon look like a star. The Glorious era of NXT continues…

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