As usual, my thanks to cmigbear over on CSS for the format. Go read his stuff!
From Winter Park, FL.
Johnny Gargano v Dash Wilder v Akam JOHNNY and DASH: Hey we're small and he's big so let's team up. AKAM: Doesn't seem very fair. DASH: Double-cross! JOHNNY: Double-double-cross! DASH: Fine, bye! DASH leaves. AKAM: Die, puny insect. AKAM beats up on JOHNNY. JOHNNY: All the offense! AKAM: Still standing. JOHNNY: Damn. AKAM: Powerbomb? JOHNNY: Nah, have a stiff kick instead. REZAR: Not so quick. TOMMASO: Stay out of this! Chaos reigns. JOHNNY: DDT? AKAM: Powerbomb! JOHNNY: Ow. REVIVAL: Hello again. SCOTT distracts AKAM, DASH pins JOHNNY. AOP and DIY: Well damn.
Vignette ALEISTER BLACK: *Vague nonsense* The *END* is coming for Andrade Almas. Get it? Okay.
Heavy Machinery vs Two Jobbers JOBBER #1: Welp, time to get ragdolled. JOBBER #1 gets ragdolled. DOZOVIC: BOOM SHAKA LOO JOBBER #2: What does that even mean? DOZOVIC: BOOM SHAKA LOO UNIVERSE: Ummkay. KNIGHT: I'mma slam Dozovic on this poor jobber. DOZOVIC: BOOM SHAKA LOO KNIGHT and DOZOVIC win BOOM SHAKA LOO
Backstage REGAL: This is a contract signing between Asuka and her Challenger Ember --- ASUKA: *giggle giggle* EMBER: Success has changed you, your fate was to be the greatest NXT Women's Champ, but my fate is to dethrone you. ASUKA: You're not ready. EMBER: I was born ready. ASUKA: *giggle giggle*
Vignette ROODE: NXT was an underground promotion before I took over and now it's glorious, and also I spend an inordinate amount of time re-watching my title win over Shinsuke while sipping on this wine in the most douchenozzle way possible so bite me. NAK: NXT belongs to the people, not Bobby-san, and I've been rehabbing my injury to come back stronger than ever and at TakeOver the King of Strong Style will reign once more.
Backstage PAUL ELLERING: DIY think they know struggle but they're on a path to destruction, Revival want to be by my side but they're going to get crushed, all my Authors have to do is read the book I've already written. UNIVERSE: At least he didn't mix his algorithm and book metaphors this week.
Loser Leaves NXT: Elias Samson v Kassius Ohno OHNO: Still gonna tuck the jersey into the trunks. TOM, NIGEL, PERCY: If only Graves was here. UNIVERSE: If only. SAMSON: Quick pin? OHNO: Nah, quick pin? SAMSON: Nah, didn't I just do that? OHNO: Yeah but mine was better. SAMSON: Kassius, post, post, Kassius. OHNO: Ow. SAMSON: My choice of resthold is a crossface. OHNO: That's not a particularly restful choice. SAMSON: Strikes and pin? OHNO: Dude that's my gimmick. SAMSON: Fine, can I #Cheat2Win? REF: Nope. SAMSON: Swinging Neckbreaker! OHNO: Kickout! UNIVERSE: Wait wasn't that your finisher? SAMSON: Welp. OHNO: Death By Elbow! SAMSON: ded. OHNO wins. GHOST OF GRAVES: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA FUCK YEAH UNIVERSE: Hey Samson, good luck on Raw. GHOST OF GRAVES: Oh shit. OHNO: Especially fuck this guitar. OHNO destroys guitar. UNIVERSE: Preach.
1. A slight drop in quality from the last couple of weeks, but nothing offensive. NXT is still a super breezy show that keeps me coming back for more.
2. The opener triple threat was fantastic in its characterizations of the three teams - DIY as the plucky guys with no quit, AOP as the dominant brutes, and Revival as the sneaky bastards. I really think the Revival could be the next incarnation of the Los Guerreros faces-who-cheat-to-win dynamic. The tag-title triple threat is the match I'm most looking forward to for TakeOver, and maybe all of WM weekend.
3. Asuka is COLD. Ember is... okay.
4. While the videos for Roode/Nakamura II have been great, I think I'd have liked at least one face-to-face confrontation. Plus it would have added some much-needed star power to the proceedings.
5. Paul Ellering needs to learn the names of his wards. "Reezar?" Yikes.
6. Samson looked okay in the main event, as did Ohno. I tried hard to get past Ohno's appearance and concentrate on his work, but boy he makes it hard. As for the match, it didn't have a great story - there's no reason Samson should have been presented as an equal to Ohno, because he's never been presented as anything more than an annoying gnat. Meanwhile commentary harped on about how Ohno was part of the "Elite" class that originally put NXT on the map, and there was nothing about this match that made him look Elite. Yeah his offense looks pretty neat, but he played neither the dominant force nor the underdog in this match. I'm not sure it did him any favors.
(edited by used2bcool on 30.3.17 1001) In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours!
Tag me in bro, I'm ready to recap again! Especially on a go-home show, indisputably my favorite episodes of NXT. This week we go straight to the opening graphics, and I can't help but notice a strange proliferation of double-clotheslines. It's an odd choice to be so heavily represented, and it just jumps right out at you.
No time for that, though! We go right to the ring for a triple threat match featuring a member of each of the teams competing for the tag straps this Saturday. DIY puts up Gargano, and you can tell that the Revival isn't taking this seriously, because they put up Dash instead of Dawson. AoP puts up...does it really matter? It doesn't. One of them. Ah, that's not fair - it's Akem, the one whose name Paul Ellering can pronounce. I assume he just pick him every time to avoid embarrassment. Anyhoo, this one starts off hot, with Akem wailing on both guys until they get smart enough to double-team him. The send him outside, and Dash holds open the ropes for a Gargano dive, which is, of course, a trick. Dash immediately double-crosses Johnny Wrestling, but Johnny's not stupid, and he readily counters with his roll-through kick. While they're messing around, though, Akem has plenty of time to recover, and gets back in the ring to kill Johnny dead with a clothesline. Dash and Dawson put their heads together and decide "Nuts to this," and the Revival takes a powder. We're down to a one-on-one match now, and it does not favor Mr. Gargano. Akem hoists him up into an Argentine backbreaker, and just kind of walks around with him like that for a while, but Gargano is eventually able to elbow his way out. He goes up top for a crossbody block, but Akem catches him, only for Gargano to wriggle free. Johnny's sticking and moving here, trying to use his superior speed to keep Akem on the ropes. He nails a battering ram, and while Akem tries to regain control with a big boot, it's not enough, and instead, Gargano murders him with a trio of superkicks. That should be enough for the pin, but Rezar makes the save. Instead of tossing him, the ref lets it slide, and Ciampa gets involved, and now this thing's just a clusterfuck. Eventually, the extracurriculars settle down, and Gargano hits an enzuigiri, only to have Akem bounce right back and hit a snake eyes, which is enough to set up a powerbomb. That'll do it...wait, no, Dash and Dawson are back! Dawson runs interference while Dash steals the pinfall, and the Revival take this one. Match Rating: Who Could Have Possibly Seen That Coming?!
Everyone. Everyone saw that coming. I don't mind the booking, actually, but it was a little by the numbers.
Oooh, Heavy Machinery! OOOOOOOH, Alaister Black! Black fights Almas this weekend, in what will probably be the best match on the card, but Heavy Machinery is up right now. The big news? Their entrance graphic uses the Heavy Metal font (payload153.cargocollective.com) for their team name. These two are so delightfully throwback, I don't know how anyone doesn't love them. They're squaring off with Some Jobbers, so the match doesn't really matter, but they do have some fun tandem power stuff - a bearhug toss to the other guy, a double football tackle, a double spinny-headbutt thing. Their finisher is when Otis holds the guy in a body slam position and Tucker runs straight into him, then the guy gets slammed, then Otis picks up Tucker and slams him onto the jobber. Yeah, I think that'll do it. Match Rating: Beep Beep Beep!
Seriously, how does Otis not have "Wide Load" on the back of his trunks?
We throw backstage to GM Regal's temporary office for a pretaped contract signing between Ember Moon and Asuka. Pretape? What is this horseshit? Contract signings are NXT go-homes' bread and butter, and RAW and SDL both stole this bit earlier in the week. NXT's going come in with this weak sauce, instead of doing it out in the ring? Hmm, maybe we'll get an explanation in the segment. It opens up with Asuka snickering at Ember Moon, who does not take kindly to that. She picks up a mic and...promptly reveals why we did this in pretape, instead of live. Wow, she is still such a bad promo. I don't get it. She was so great and natural doing live commentary at the last Takeover, but you ask her to do a segment, and it's like it's her first encounter with speaking to another person. Woof. Anyhoo, the upshot of this segment is that Ember Moon believes that it is her destiny to defeat the overconfident Asuka, while Asuka believes that she is going to eat Ember Moon's lunch, as she has done with every other competitor for the last year.
Next up is a highlight package for Roode and Nakamura. A different one than they did just last week, no less, although it does reuse some footage. It's pretty solid, but they've done better hype packages.
Hey, let's check in Paul Ellering and the Authors of Pain. We didn't get to hear from them last week, after all. What do ya got, Paul? "Two behemoths...natural law...eat or be eaten...yellow brick road from hell...algorithm for greatness...your fate will be in our hands." Good talk, Paul!
Just announced for Takeover, SAnitY will take on Dillinger's faction in an 8-person tag. That's right, person, as Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot will be getting in on this one as well. Should be fun.
That puts our match count at 5. The 8-person, Almas/Black, and then the three title matches. That's a little light. I wonder if there's a surprise in the wings, or if they're just going to really let the matches go this year.
Finally, we have our main event. Kassius Ohno takes on the Drifter, and the loser MUST LEAVE NXT FOREVER! With stakes this dire, it's only right that we start the match with...a headlock. Okey-doke then. Ohno breaks the headlock with a shoulder tackle, and then both men go outside. The Drifter is able to take the advantage here, posting Ohno on the way back in, and locking on a crossface maneuver. Ohno makes it to the ropes for a break, but the Drifter stays on him with punches and kicks, but Ohno fires up and they start trading blows. Samson seems to get the upper hand with a clothesline, but it's only for a moment until Ohno nails a bicycle knee to the face and a cyclone boot. Samson seems like he's in trouble, until he scores a surprise roll up with some assistance from the ropes, but the ref catches him and calls off the count. That lets Ohno come back with some more strikes, but the Drifter turns one into a backslide for two, followed by...uh, sure, let's call that a "neckbreaker" for another two count. Woof, yet again. Samson's showing his desperation here, and wants another "neckbreaker," or possibly even a neckbreaker. We'll never know, though, because Ohno pops up with a Rolling Elbow, and that's three. Match Rating: Charitably? How About, Not As Good As Ohno's Match With Roode?
Less charitably? Pretty fucking bad. I'm not going to give Kassius Ohno a hard time about his appearance, but he needs to work on his cardio, because he was gassed by the end of that match. And I get that he's at the end of like a four hour taping, but so was everyone else. Dude needs to hit the Performance Center. And buy better tights.
Anyhoo, we're not done yet, as the ref now insists that Elias Samson MUST LEAVE NXT FOREVER! and Samson is like, "nah." So they send out security to drag him out of the building. They muscle him up the ramp, but Samson has an epiphany, and he decides that he'll leave peaceably, if they just give him his guitar. But Ohno has his guitar! Ohno makes like he's going to be a good sport and give it to him, but instead he just smashes it. Dick move, KO!
It's not Bo Dallas being banned from Full Sail, but it wasn't bad.
All told, this was kind of a weak go-home show for NXT. Takeover looks like it should have plenty of steak, but there's not a lot of sizzle. I'm not super-pumped like I usually am, but it is WrestleMania weekend, and anything can happen, so let's see how the show goes.
I was bothered recently by the camera cutting away from Steiner's ringside muscle pose to show us Shannon Moore doffing his coat instead. It could only be defended by Steiner possibly cursing on camera. But I've seen wonky camera cuts often.