Date: March 29, 2017
Location: University Area CDC Gymnasium, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness, Tom Phillips
It’s the final show before Takeover: Orlando and that means most of the card is set, though you can probably guarantee one more match that we’ll get to later. The show has been starting to look better in recent weeks though I’m not entirely sold yet. Tonight we’ll have a Loser Leaves NXT match between Kassius Ohno and Elias Samson so let’s get to it.
Akam vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Dash Wilder
Preview for Saturday’s triple threat for the Tag Team Titles. Akam goes after Wilder so Johnny jumps on the big man’s back, because that’s always worked so well over the years. Double teaming works a bit better though as Dawson dropkicks him to the floor before turning on Gargano almost immediately. Akam gets back in but he has to snarl at Scott Dawson for some attempted interference as we take a break.
Back with the Revival nowhere to be seen (apparently they just left instead of merely backing away before the break), leaving Akam to put Gargano in a torture rack. Johnny escapes and slugs away to limited avail before the slingshot spear is good for two. Unfortunately he decides to look away for a second and turns back into a boot to the face.
Johnny comes right back with three straight superkicks but Ra’zar pulls Gargano out at two. That earns Ciampa a beating on the floor and Johnny’s slingshot DDT is caught in mid-air. One heck of a powerbomb plants Gargano but here’s Dawson to grab Akam’s leg. Naturally that means Wilder can slide back in and steal the pin on Gargano at 10:11.
Rating: C. The wrestling wasn’t anything spectacular here but I love the booking. The Revival is smart enough to not try and go head to head with the Authors, as well as knowing better than to stay out there and waste energy before the title match. I can always go with smart wrestling and it worked very well here.
Video on Aleister Black vs. Andrade Cien Almas.
Heavy Machinery vs. Jonathan Ordegen/Mike Marshall
That would be Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight as your standard big guy tag team, though they’re not huge enough to make them immobile blobs. Tucker and I think Jonathan start things off and we’re already in a bearhug. Otis tags himself in so Tucker throws Ordegen into another bearhug for a cool spot. Now it’s Marshall being pulled in for a double shoulder and a double chest bump to send the jobbers outside.
Ordegen offers a distraction so Marshall can get in a shot from behind on Knight, which pretty much wraps up the team’s offense. Otis comes back in and cleans house with clotheslines and elbows, including one to put Jonathan back outside. Dozovic picks up Marshall for a slam but doesn’t put him down, allowing Tucker to crash into Mike’s back. Otis picks Knight up and slams him down onto Marshall for the pin at 3:37.
Rating: C+. I had a lot of fun with this one and Heavy Machinery worked well together out there. I’m not sure how far they can go but they’re certainly good for stuff like this. They fought the Authors of Pain at a house show in January and it was rather entertaining so they can definitely hang with the bigger names.
We go to William Regal’s office for the contract signing between Asuka and Ember Moon. Asuka snickers at Ember’s name but Ember says Asuka has let the success go to her head. Ember signs and Asuka does the same with Moon saying she’s been ready for a long time. Regal says good luck and we’re done in maybe two minutes.
Long video on Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. The video presents a battle for the future of NXT with Roode being out for himself while Nakamura does what the fans want. That’s about as basic of a heel vs. face feud as you’re going to get and that’s just fine.
Paul Ellering and the Authors of Pain think DIY’s fairy tale ends soon and the Revival just wants to be them.
Sanity vs. Ruby Riot/No Way Jose/Tye Dillinger/Roderick Strong is confirmed for Takeover.
Kassius Ohno vs. Elias Samson
Loser leaves NXT. They trade rollups to start before taking turns on the arm. Ohno gets the better of it, though sadly that means we have to look at his rather disturbing looking thighs. A backsplash gets two on Samson but they head to the apron where Ohno is sent into the post for a big crash onto the steps.
Back from a break with Samson working on the injured back with some kicks and knees. He switches gears with a Crossface though and Ohno has to roll over three times before making the ropes. Ohno blasts him in the jaw with some hard strikes, including a jumping knee to the face. A big boot gets two but a neckbreaker is countered into a backslide for two. Samson’s swinging neckbreaker gets the same, only to have Ohno blast him with the discus forearm to get rid of Samson at 12:47.
Rating: C. The only word I can think of is eh. Ohno has never really done it for me in NXT and that continues here. The match was fine but absolutely nothing I’ll remember in about an hour. It doesn’t help that the story felt slapped together for the sake of getting Samson on to the main roster (I have no idea why as it’s not like he’s been a huge deal in NXT) and giving Ohno a win. That being said, while it accomplished those goals, it certainly wasn’t exciting in the least.
Samson is dragged away by security but agrees to go quietly if he’s given his guitar back. Ohno offers to hand it back before stomping on it instead. So to recap: Samson is a drifter who FINALLY found a home in NXT and is being forced to leave. On top of that, his most prized possession is destroyed in front of his eyes by the person who forced him out of NXT. Why am I supposed to boo him again?
One last Takeover promo wraps up the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This is a good example of a shot where the wrestling wasn’t the point. Tonight helped build towards Takeover: Orlando with every match getting some focus and another match added to the card. It’s a perfectly fine show and it accomplished everything it needed to do. This was fine for a go home show, though the main event still felt forced in, which isn’t a good thing.
Dash Wilder b. Johnny Gargano and Akam – Powerbomb to Gargano
Heavy Machinery b. Jonathan Ordegen/Mike Marshall – Dozovic slammed Knight onto Marshall
Kassius Ohno b. Elias Samson – Discus forearm
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