Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: April 1, 2017
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
It’s already time for another Takeover as the time between these things is seemingly getting shorter and shorter. If nothing else it certainly feels that way and that’s not the best thing in the world. These shows need time to build up and they’re not getting as much time now. Still though, if Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura can be as good as it was before, everything should be fine. Let’s get to it.
A HHH voiceover comes on, talking about how this is Wrestlemania weekend and the eyes of the wrestling world are upon Orlando. Tonight is our night and we determine our fate and history because we are NXT and tonight we are home.
The opening video focuses on Orlando being the promotion’s home city and how it’s grown from the ground to become what it is today. The place is growing, and that brings us to tonight’s card including the main event of Roode vs. Nakamura. As usual, the other matches are included as well. It helps when you have a five match card.
Sanity vs. No Way Jose/Ruby Riot/Tye Dillinger/Roderick Strong
Hang on a second though as Jose was attacked by Sanity earlier today. The rest of the team has a replacement though.
Sanity vs. Ruby Riot/Tye Dillinger/Roderick Strong/Tye Dillinger
This is the only option as Ohno has been so prominently featured on TV as of late. Sanity all has black paint around their eyes. The good ones charge into the ring to start and the brawl is on with no bell. Sanity is cleared out save for Cross so the women get things going. This goes rather badly for Cross so it’s off to Wolfe vs. Ohno, with the former dropping everyone with a single shot to the head.
Wolfe’s hand and fingers are bent in a way other than naturally intended as Ohno starts working on the arm. Ohno gets puled into the wrong corner though and the rotating beatdowns begin. An elbow misses in short order though and it’s time for Strong to fire off the backbreakers without much effort. The numbers game catches up to him in short order, because the good guys aren’t willing to come in and help when Strong is fighting off three people at once. As usual, wrestling heroes aren’t that bright.
We settle down to Young kneeing Strong in the corner and bringing Wolfe back in for some shots to the face of his own. Young drops the top rope elbow to the back for two and goes over to knock Strong’s partners off the apron. Strong avoids a charge in the corner though and the hot tag brings in Dillinger to start swinging away. The TEN chants are on as Dillinger DDTs Wolfe and the women get in a fight of their own. A high crossbody to Wolfe into a suicide dive to Young has the fans even hotter but they’re cooled off by Dain jumping Dillinger.
Dain drives Ohno into the apron but Cross cuts off Ruby before she can do the same. It’s down to Dillinger hammering on Young in the corner and superkicking Dain for two. Ohno comes back in for a bicycle kick on Wolfe but Young is right there with a jumping neckbreaker. The Sick Kick breaks up a wheelbarrow neckbreaker on Dillinger and it’s down to Strong vs. Dain. Cue the women to jump on their backs though until Ruby tosses Cross outside. Dillinger loads up a Tyebreaker on Dain but Wolfe makes the save, setting up the Ulster Plantation (the One Winged Angel) for the pin on Dillinger at 12:22.
Rating: B. This took its time to get somewhere but once it broke down at the end, everything went nuts and it turned into a lot of fun. Dillinger losing again is a surprise but it makes more sense to save his big win for the singles match instead of an eight man tag. Sanity getting a win is an idea and whoever figures them out is going to look awesome as a result.
Edge and Beth Phoenix are here.
Andrade Cien Almas vs. Aleister Black
This is Black’s NXT in-ring debut (he already had a match at the WWE UK Championship Tournament special under his Tommy End name). He certainly makes a big entrance, rising up from a casket ala Nosferatu. A wristlock and headlock don’t get Almas very far but Black misses a big kick to the head, allowing Almas to pose in front of him on the mat. Back up and another pose on the ropes doesn’t seem to shake Black that much so he sends Almas to the floor.
The threat of a dive has Almas out of the way but it doesn’t matter as Black moonsaults off the middle rope and right back into his seated position. Back in and Black kicks him in the chest to really take over as the fans sound like they’re singing something. Almas’ running slap in the corner angers Black but he gets caught in the cross armbreaker over the top rope. A missile dropkick gets two and Almas goes for the arm (instead of the leg on a guy who mainly uses kicks).
Black kicks his way to freedom and starts striking away with a great combination of speed and power. Almas is knocked to the floor for a moonsault as Black has him reeling. Back in and Almas gets in a kick to the face of his own but the missile dropkick is countered into a powerbomb. The cover is countered into a modified Rings of Saturn to put Black in more trouble but the long legs are in the ropes in a hurry. The running knees in the corner miss Black and they trade rollups for two each.
Almas kicks him down for two more and now the running knees connect. The fans in one of the upper sections are too busy chanting their section on every near fall, causing another few sections to rather impolitely tell them to be quiet. Not being so easily distracted, Black stops Almas with a knee, kicks him in the head a few times, and takes his head off with a spinning kick to the head (Black Mass) for the pin at 9:35.
Rating: B. The fans really took something out of the ending here as it became about them instead of the finish but my goodness Black can kick the heck out of people. That alone will get him anywhere he needs to go and Black looked great in his first outing. Almas has gotten much better too and with a few more tweaks could be a big deal in NXT in a very short amount of time. Good debut, with an awesome finisher.
Black glares up at the section that was chanting about themselves before sitting down in the middle of the ring.
We recap the Tag Team Title triple threat. The Authors of Pain won the titles back in January and are ready to run everyone over. Both the Revival and DIY want the titles back but they both might be outmatched by the size and power of the champs. Tonight it’s an elimination match for the titles.
Tag Team Titles: Authors of Pain vs. DIY vs. Revival
The Authors are defending and it’s elimination rules. Hang on a second though as General Manager William Regal unveils new titles, which will be the case for the Women’s Title and NXT Title as well. The four challengers stare down the champs and it’s DIY on Rezar while the Revival beats on Akam. It’s the smart move to take, just like DIY pulling out a table. Rezar gets sent into the steps and Revival drops Akam, giving the fans something big to cheer for. Stereo dropkicks put Revival down and Johnny adds another to the back of Wilder’s head for two.
We settle down to Gargano working on Wilder’s arm as this turns into a more traditional tag match. Akam tags himself in though and runs DIY over with a double clothesline. Ciampa kicks him away but Revival bails away from the offer of a tag. With the referee distracted though, Revival comes in to help Ciampa with a DDT getting two on Rezar. Now it’s Revival beating up on Akam, including Wilder dropping Dawson into a legdrop for two more. DIY drops to the floor to avoid a tag as well and it’s a low bridge to put Akam on the floor.
Gargano starts in with the kicks to Revival and another one nails Rezar. Not to be outdone, Ciampa dives onto Akam, followed by Gargano doing the same to Rezar. The slingshot DDT gets two on Dawson so Johnny tries a slingshot dive onto the Authors, who catch him in midair. Ciampa loads up a dive so the Authors throw Gargano at him for a stop. It’s never a good sign when they can throw PEOPLE at you. Back in and Rezar stomps on Gargano as we settle down again. The side slam/middle rope stomp gets two on Gargano and Akam grabs a torture rack for a good while.
Johnny finally slips out and sends Akam into a shot from Dawson, which is enough for the hot tag to Ciampa. The pace speeds up again with Ciampa firing off the strikes and managing a pair of German suplexes on Akam. With Akam down, DIY tries to powerbomb Rezar off the apron through a table. That goes nowhere so Revival comes over and knocks Rezar off and through the table for a huge crash. Akam is left alone so he comes out swinging but Revival goes with their bread and butter by taking out his knee.
The reverse Figure Four goes on and Gargano adds a Gargano Escape at the same time. Rezar is somehow back up and shoves Ciampa and Wilder onto the other three for the break. You can hear the fans lose some steam as they were completely buying the finish. Rezar gets the tag but everyone else goes after him again. In a twist, Gargano and Dawson hit Meet in the Middle, followed by Ciampa and Wilder giving Akam a Shatter Machine, freaking the crowd out all over again.
The Authors head outside though and that means it’s time to renew the rivalry one more time. Wilder and Gargano are left alone but stop to dive onto the Authors, who were just starting to get back up. We’re not done yet though as Dawson superplexes Ciampa onto the other four guys and everyone is down in a heap. Not that it matters as the Authors pop up and hit the Last Chapter for the pin on Ciampa at 18:54.
So we’re down to Revival vs. the Authors and the fans immediately know where this is going, meaning they’re not pleased. They even start a swearing chant, which you NEVER hear around here. The powerbomb/top rope clothesline combination drops Rezar and back to back German suplex/middle rope elbow combinations give Wilder two.
Now a DIY chant starts up but Rezar spinebusting Dawson cuts them off again. Wilder breaks up the Last Chapter but a big boot drops Dawson. Double powerbombs draw a NO ONE LIKES YOU chant and Dawson gets driven into the corner while Wilder is sent into the barricade. The Super Collider is good for the pin on 23:49.
Rating: B-. Man alive you don’t see this from NXT too often and it’s really strange to watch. NXT knows how to give the fans what they want and right here, they wanted DIY vs. Revival for the titles. Instead though, we get the Authors being indestructible again. When you throw that much at them, there’s no reason to keep going. They booked themselves into a corner here as the fans wanted to see one of the challengers win but didn’t want to beat the Authors.
The other problem here is the match REALLY should have stopped about eight minutes earlier, when the crowd was rocking and there was a ton of energy. After that it was a bunch of Authors beating the other four down and killing the crowd more and more with every shot. The match is more good than bad, but this was a rough sit, despite some great action in the first half.
We recap Asuka vs. Ember Moon. This is a two part story as you have Asuka holding the title for a year now with no one being able to take her down. She needs a new challenger and Moon is the only option, but Asuka is still better than her. That’s where the second half comes in: Asuka is better overall, but there’s nothing that can top the Eclipse. This is Ember banking everything on her one unstoppable weapon that even Asuka can’t survive. That’s actually a good story and the best way to go here.
Women’s Title: Ember Moon vs. Asuka
Asuka is defending. They fight over a lockup to start and some armdrags keep things even early on. Stereo missed dropkicks give us a standoff as it’s completely even so far. A quick headscissors puts Asuka down and a wristdrag does the same. They yell at each other a lot and Asuka scores with a hip attack, only to have Ember get in a shot of her own…and make a silly face at Asuka. Well that certainly took something out of the momentum.
Another hip attack knocks Moon off the apron and into the barricade as Asuka takes over for real this time. Three straight spinning backfists have Moon in more trouble and another hip attack cuts off a comeback. It’s too early for the Asuka Lock though as one heck of a forearm puts Asuka on the floor, followed by a double springboard dive over the top to give Moon her first real offense. It’s not enough to really take over though as the Asuka Lock goes on back inside.
Ember can’t power out so she goes smart by dropping straight back for the break. Sometimes it’s just that simple. A third hip attack misses though and a superkick rocks the champ. Moon starts speeding things up with some more strikes and a fall away slam with no elevation and Asuka landing on her head. She jumps once too often though and misses a springboard, allowing Asuka to hit a hard German suplex. A capture suplex gives Moon two more and it’s time for the Eclipse but Asuka throws the referee into the ropes to break it up. One more kick to the head retains the title at 12:11.
Rating: B-. That didn’t feel like a full on heel turn for Asuka but it was a really flat way to wrap up the match. The problem here was I never bought Moon as a major threat outside of the Eclipse, which she never even got to try. It’s a good enough match, but nothing that ever came off like a big, special match. I’m sure Moon will get a rematch but this was rather disappointing, especially given the buildup.
Drew McIntyre is here, marking his return to the WWE after a long absence. There’s some serious, serious potential there.
We recap Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode. Nakamura lost the title to Roode back in January, at least partially due to a knee injury. He can’t quite figure Roode out, but tonight it’s his big chance to win the title back once and for all. Roode isn’t done changing NXT yet and says it’s not time for a new champion.
NXT Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode
Nakamura is defending and his entrance this time has him behind a semi-clear screen where you can only see his shadow. That only lasts a few seconds before it’s the regular entrance, making that part kind of a waste of a decent idea. Roode on the other hand comes out with dueling pianos playing the intro to his theme. Again, Roode’s entrance is better. They take their time getting going again until Roode goes after the injured knee.
That goes nowhere so it’s a headlock from the champ instead. Nakamura drives him into the ropes for the arm swing and COME ON, drawing an unimpressed grin from Roode. The GLORIOUS pose is kicked away and the fans are split. Roode grabs Nakamura’s foot in the corner (he’s picking up Good Vibrations) but the second attempt sends Roode out to the floor.
Back in and Roode knocks him off the apron and into the barricade which seemed to jar Nakamura’s neck. A neckbreaker gives Roode two and we hit the nerve hold/neck crank. Nakamura breaks up a sleeper and scores with the running knee. Roode is right back with a hard clothesline and hits a chop block to shift gears in a big way. The knee is wrapped around the post and we hit a not very good Figure Four (with Roode slapping Nakamura while putting it on).
The hold is broken so Roode tries it again, this time being pulled down into a cross armbreaker. Roode gets his feet in the ropes but Nakamura is all fired up again. The running knee hits buckle again though and the momentum is gone in a hurry. A Backstabber gives Roode two but the Glorious DDT is blocked with a knee to the head.
There’s the sliding knee for two on Roode but a quick Glorious DDT plants Nakamura for the same. The fans are split again and it’s time for Roode to grab the bell. That’s broken up as well and the reverse exploder looks to set up Kinshasa but Roode snaps off a spinebuster for two instead. Nakamura drives him into the corner, only to have Roode grab a DDT, spin out of the corner, and hit the Glorious DDT to retain at 28:16.
Rating: B+. This was roughly the same length as their first match but didn’t have anything close to the same level of drama or as fast of a pace. Nakamura never felt like much of a threat to win here, which was probably the big idea of the match as Roode is clearly the next big thing in NXT. Nakamura has had his day but he never needed to be in NXT that long. Odds are he’s heading to the main roster now and that’s exactly what he should be doing.
Overall Rating: B. My goodness this was a drop in quality but it was still a completely watchable show. The timing issues are starting to come into play here though as they’re going with a faster schedule and the matches aren’t being built up. This was basically a sequel to San Antonio, which wasn’t the most thrilling show in the world. Roode is a good champion but he’s not exactly interesting. At least they’re moving in a direction, and that’s all you can ask for at the moment. Good show on its own, but a disappointment on the Takeover scale.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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