It’s that time of year again. WrestleMania week is just around the corner, and everything is working towards that. Let the build-up for TakeOver begin.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas def Ho Ho Lun
Ember Moon def Billie Kay
Shinsuke Nakamura def TJ Perkins
Tye Dillinger vs Eric Young was supposed to begin tonight’s show. It looked like it was going to start well enough. Eric Young cut the music and sent the rest of SAnitY backstage. As the crowd geared up for the match, they reappeared with a battered looking Roderick Strong. Dillinger left the ring to tend to his friend and SAnitY joined Young in the ring. No Way Jose came out to help with Strong, and Eric Young shouted, ‘You did that,’ from the ring. As Strong was helped to the back by officials, Dillinger and Jose rushed the ring to take on SAnitY. They gave it a good try, but were soon overwhelmed by the numbers.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay’s were shown trying to find somewhere to hang their breakout star of the year award. They wandered through the corridors and into the performance centre. After discussing needing a bigger trophy, they spotted Ember Moon training. They jeered at her, until she started to come after them, then ran away.
Next up was a promo for Aleister Black (better known as Tommy End). So excited to see him coming up to NXT proper. He’s a phenomenal talent.
Ho Ho Lun vs Andrade ‘Cien’Almas
Poor Ho Ho Lun. Almas is being the strong, vicious, arrogant heel these days and Lun didn’t stand a chance. This was little more than a display of how much Almas enjoys beating people. Any offence Lun attempted was quickly squashed, as was he. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas finished the match with a DDT.
Billie Kay vs Ember Moon
The Billie Kay and Peyton Royce friendship is so saccharin sweet that it must be ending soon. Such good friends will make such bitter enemies at some point.
The match was short. It started fairly evenly, then Ember Moon stepped up a gear. Peyton Royce did try to interfere to stop Moon climbing to the top turnbuckle for the Eclipse, but backed off when Moon turned to her.
Even the shouted warning from Royce couldn’t stop Ember Moon hitting Kay with the Eclipse, to finish the match.
After the match Billie Kay was tended to by NXT medics, in the ring, for damage to her neck. She eventually left the ring under her own power, slowly, holding her neck.
William Regal announced that Asuka and Ember Moon will finally meet for the title at TakeOver.
TJ Perkins was interviewed about his main event match with Shinsuke Nakamura. He revealed they have quite a history together from training in Japan.
The Revival vs the Ealy Brothers was supposed to happen next. Something was clearly a bit off when The Revival came to the ring first. The brothers didn’t even get to enter the ring. As they got to the apron they were taken out by Authors of Pain. After Dash and Dawson ran away into the crowd one of the Ealy Brothers took a Last Chapter before Authors of Pain left with Paul Ellering.
Kassius Ohno was interviewed about being back in NXT. He said it’s a little surreal but good. Challenging Bobby Roode will mean putting to rest the self doubt he felt at never getting the title last time round.
Bobby Roode’s reply simply to state that he was trying to ‘class up’ NXT when Ohno put a spanner in it. His job is to mould NXT to how he sees it, the future of NXT is in his hands and he won’t let Ohno ruin it.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs TJ Perkins
I enjoyed this main event. Perkins is very different to the opponents Nakamura has faced recently. The speed of Perkins brought a more energised style out of Nakamura than we’ve seen against Roode or Joe, and he looked like he was having fun with it.
There was a high energy feel throughout the match, even the multiple submissions attempts had a certain dynamism to them. Perkins had Nakamura’s moves scouted on several occasions, but eventually his luck ran out and the Kinshasa finished the match.
To finish the show, William Regal announced that the winner of next week’s title match, between Bobby Roode and Kassius Ohno, will face Shinsuke Nakamura at TakeOver.
Two matches that didn’t happen in one show is a bit much for me I’m afraid. It’s only an hour long, and there is a limit to the number of matches that can be accommodated, so tonight’s show felt a bit disjointed. That said, there is a TakeOver to build to, and it’s the biggest of the year, so it’s expected that normal rules cease to apply for a while.
Ember Moon vs Asuka, and Shinsuke Nakamura vs either Bobby Roode or Kassius Ohno, have already been announced. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the card shapes up.