Last year’s WrestleMania TakeOver was an incredible show. Not only did you have that outstanding Zayn vs. Nakamura match but we also got Asuka vs. Bayley, American Alpha vs. The Revival and Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor. It was a perfect night of wrestling and lived longer in the memory than WrestleMania 32. Despite that, NXT TakeOver: Orlando seemed a bit of an afterthought. It’s been an average year down in WWE’s developmental and they are looking to regain the buzz they’ve lost. Did they manage? Well, here’s what we were thinking.
I have a total man-crush on Kassius Ohno and his long-flowing locks. Not only is the former Chris Hero a total beast in the ring but his presence meant I didn’t have to put up with No Way Jose’s. In all seriousness, Ohno is the best signing WWE have made since they snapped up a certain AJ Styles and if NXT treats him right, he’ll go on to be a star.
Crap Chants Ruin Black’s Day
Aleister Black’s debut win against Andrade Almas was a solid match. It gave you an insight into what makes Black such a sought after competitor but kept enough back to have you tune in next week. It’s a shame then that the smarky NXT crowd ruined the finish as they were more interested in chanting at each other. From what I’ve heard said chant was aimed at a section of the crowd who thought it would be more amusing to shout their section number than pay attention to the match. If you were in that section, kindly fuck off; you’re everything that is wrong with modern wrestling fans, and I hate you.
The Revival And DIY Do It Again
Pointing out that the Revival and DIY had a good match seems a bit pointless. In other news, the sun is hot, and Hulk Hogan is a racist old man. However, this was all the more impressive as it also saw them drag the big men, Authors of Pain, to their best match too. The in-ring storytelling for this encounter was spot on, and everyone in it came out looking like a star. If WWE doesn’t get these two together with American Alpha at some point to create beautiful little tag-team babies, I’ll be kicking off.
Main Events Fall Flat
Neither Asuka vs. Ember Moon or Bobby Roode vs. Nakamura were bad matches; they just weren’t special. You have three world class wrestlers – and one who shows a lot of potential – and you can’t help but think they failed to live up to that billing. This has been a recurring problem in NXT recently, and they need to find a way to get the best out of these incredible wrestlers, or they’re going to be looking at one hell of missed opportunity.
NXT Is In A Good Place
Despite that, NXT is in a good place at this time. As we move out of their transitional year, they have a packed roster that feels ready to take the next step. Even if they lose a few top guys over the next couple of weeks, you can safely assume that Ohno, Strong, Almas, Black, Roode, Riot, Moon and more will be essential parts of their programming in the next year. It’s going to take a bit of work to get back the buzz they had at this time last year, but if any roster can do it, it’s that one.