The Superstars of NXT brought their A game to their home turf of Orlando on Saturday night. Read on to find out what we thought of NXT Takeover: Orlando!
Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno, and Ruby Riot vs. Sanity (Eric Young, Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe, and Nikki Cross)
The most interesting part of the lead up to the match between Sanity and Dillinger’s team was the attack at WrestleMania access that rendered No Way José unable to compete. This opened up a spot for Kassius Ohno to be added to the match. The fans loved that and I did as well. I feel like it was a great idea to get Ohno on the card and it’ll open up opportunities for José to get his revenge on Sanity down the road.
This match was much better than I anticipated it being. I suppose I should have had higher expectations with the talent involved, but they really surprised me. It was a fantastic match to get the crowd involved and ready for the rest of the night. I was pleasantly surprised with the Ruby Riot’s first WWE match, she had everyone behind her and definitely took the spotlight at different times in the match. I’m interested to see how she fares in here first singles match whenever that may be.
I got this prediction wrong as I picked Dillinger’s team to win which was not the case. The match was a pretty back and forth affair with each star getting a few moments to be showcased. Ultimately, Killian Dain was the difference as he so often has been as he got the pinfall on Dillinger. It’s amazing how dominant Sanity has continued to be and I would say that they are starting to rival The Wyatt Family in terms of that natural aura around them. If some of the biggest stars in NXT can’t stop them, who will? It sets up an intriguing next few months.
Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
I am amazed at how big NXT makes a debuting talent feel. From Bobby Roode to Ember Moon to now Aleister Black, it never ceases to astound me. Aleister Black debuted at Takeover and was instantly a star. The former Tommy End had a fantastic theme song to go with his silent, brooding persona. By the time he got to the ring, I was already invested in his character. This is what NXT does, it builds stars bigger than they could ever have been on their own. Everyone now has a real character that they play that is an extension of themselves. It makes all the difference.
If the presence of Black wasn’t enough, he showed off his incredible athletic ability and really put together an impressive performance. It really speaks to how good Andrade Almas is that they put him with every new talent that comes to the brand as well. I’m very interested to see what’s in store for Aleister Black in the near-future. I really think his calm demeanor would lend well to helping in the fight against Sanity. He’d be the perfect opposite to them in my opinion. Intense is a good word to describe the newcomer and I predicted his victory correctly.
Triple Threat Match for the NXT Tag Team Championship: The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) (C) vs. DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)
The Tag Team Divsion in NXT continues to push the limits of what to expect in tag team wrestling. NXT Takeover: Orlando proved no different as these three teams put on one of the best and most unique tag team matches I’ve ever seen. The story was the best part of the match. It started off with all the teams battling each other, but as the match went on, DIY and The Revival knew they’d start having to work together to defeat AOP. The result was some of the most entertaining in-ring action I’ve ever seen.
The Revival and DIY inter-changed partners to perform Meeting in the Middle (Dawson and Gargano) and Shatter Machine (Ciampa and Wilder). All 4 men even managed to put Rezar through a table in addition to Gargano and Dawson applying a dual-submission to Akam. All this action wouldn’t matter as Rezar would tag himself in, floor Dawson and hit The Last Chapter on Ciampa to eliminate DIY and then the Super Collider on The Revival to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship. That’s 1-2 on my predictions.
It’s hard to create a story in the ring and these 6 men did just that in such convincing fashion. The Authors seemed like an unbeatable force, in the end, they were. It was what DIY and The Revival did throughout the match that gave the match that amazing feeling, though. It was an incredible thing to see and was my favourite match this year thus far. It’s definitely equal to or better than any of the classic tag team matches that NXT had in 2016. Watch this one!
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (C) vs. Ember Moon
This match has been 8 months in the making ever since Ember Moon first stepped foot into NXT. These two were destined to battle each other and it finally happened on Saturday night. The encounter wasn’t quite what I expected if I’m being completely honest. The match was a pretty short match, I thought it would go at least 5-7 minutes longer than it did. That could be because the tag match was quite long. I don’t know the reasoning, but it frustrated me.
Asuka did retain her title making me 1-3 on my predictions. She pushed the referee into the ropes knocking Ember off. She then kicked Ember in the head for a 3-count. Really, that was it. If this is their way of making Asuka a full-blown heel, I don’t think it’s going to work very well. I also think that if we have to wait another 3 months for her to drop the title that this act is going to get a bit old. I already feel like Asuka has been just spinning tires in 2017. She belongs on the main roster and having matches like this aren’t helping her much. I just don’t see the value in turning her arrogant like she has been lately. This was the most disappointing match of the night for me.
NXT Championship: Bobby Roode (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura put on a great match in Orlando and it’s going to be really sad to see Nakamura leave that behind if it is indeed his last match. I think that these guys really did everything they possibly could to put on the best possible match and there’s really not much more you can say about it than that. Bobby Roode is better than he’s ever been and he’s really starting to own this great character that he has created.
Roode retained the NXT Championship putting me at 2-3 on the night as far as predictions go.
The Final Word
The whole card for Takeover: Orlando was really good with the women’s match being the weak point which is unusual. The new belts introduced for all the champions are sleek looking and far more uniform than the old ones. It was miles ahead of the quality of San Antonio and with the addition of Drew McIntyre to the roster, NXT looks primed to have another exciting few months!