Ahead of tonight’s show William Regal announced that there will be new NXT Championship belts unveiled for the winners of the title matches at TakeOver. On pre-show, footage was shown of SAnitY attacking No Way Jose earlier in the day at axxess. Jose has been ruled out of the match, and a new partner sought. Regal confirmed that if they couldn’t find anyone, the match would become a handicap match.
SAnitY def Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Ruby Riot and Kassius Ohno
Aleister Black def Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Authors of Pain (C) def DIY and The Revival
Asuka (C) def Ember Moon
Bobby Roode (C) def Shinsuke Nakamura
SAnitY vs Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Ruby Riot and Kassius Ohno
Kassius Ohno was the mystery replacement for No Way Jose, and what an excellent choice her was. This was chaos of the best kind to get the crowd into the show as quickly as possible. From the moment the women started things off, it was go, go, go. Ruby Riot looked like she didn’t want to leave the ring when Cross tagged out, Ohno had to physically move her to take his turn.
The two women might well be the best feud to come out of this match, they’re exactly what the NXT women’s division needs at the moment.
Regular breakdowns, broken finishers and near falls, kept the tempo high and the match interesting. Although, it doesn’t feel like the definitive feud-ending match it looked like it should have been. I guess that went out of the window when Ohno had to replace Jose.
In the end, Dillinger got Killian Dain up for the Tye-Breaker, but a kick in the face from Alexander Wolfe made him drop him. The Ulster Plantation on Dillinger then secured the match for SAnitY.
Really good, high energy, high intensity start to engage the crowd for the rest of the night.
Aleister Black vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
The debut match for Aleister Black (Tommy End). Interesting entrance, with Black being raised up to standing before making his way to the ring.
As a fan of Aleister Black, I was worried about how NXT would handle his character, and his distinctive ring style. I’m glad to report, I needn’t have been. The match was great, and everything I loved about Tommy End was still present in Aleister Black.
Almas was a good choice of opponent. He was able to match the pace and intensity of Black, but he wasn’t able to beat him. The Black Mass put Almas away to get Aleister Black’s NXT career off to a fantastic start.
Authors of Pain (C) vs DIY vs The Revival – Tag team elimination match for the NXT tag team championship.
The new belts were unveiled before the match.
DIY and The Revival started the match by joining forces to square upt o Authors of Pain, and taking on of the Authors each to double team. For some reason, they just beat them down, without attempting to eliminate them, then started to fight each other.
Gargano and Ciampa brought a table into play early in the match, but it was a long time before it got put to use, with Rezar eventually being put through it by all four of AoP’s opponents. A double submission attempt on Akam, while his partner was out wasn’t enough to take out the Authors. Neither was Scott Dawson doing DIYs’ finisher with Gargano, or Tommaso Ciampa doing the Shatter machine with Dash Wilder.
Nothing the two best teams in NXT threw at Authors of Pain worked, and they threw everything at them. It was Scott Dawson’s attempt to pin Ciampa which caused the first elimination. Authors of Pain tagged in when Dawson had Ciampa prone in the ring. They delivered The Last Chapter to Ciampa and got the three count.
Down to just The Revival and Authors of Pain, and Authors became their usual dominant selves. Much to the disgust of the crowd, a Super-collider, finished The Revival to give Authors of Pain possession of the shiny new belts. Great match, disappointing result.
Asuka (C) vs Ember Moon – NXT Women’s Championship match
Ember Moon was wearing ice blue contacts instead of her usual red for this match. As with the previous match, the new title belt was unveiled before they got underway.
The battle of the undefeated got off to a slightly tentative start, with both parties testing each other out with similar moves and a wary respect.
I’d predicted that the two women would take each other to the limit, and not hold something back the way they seem to have done with other opponents. I was right about that. And the result was very entertaining. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a women’s match on NXT more than this one.
For the finish, Ember Moon climbed the ropes for the Eclipse, Asuka pushed the ref into the corner to knock her down, then Asuka kicked her in the face to get the win.
Bobby Roode (C) vs Shinsuke Nakamura – NXT Championship match
There’s no way to dress it up, this was my least favourite match on the card by a long way. After the entrances, which took a predictably long time, the new title belt was unveiled and we were off. Well, I say we were off, they listened to the duelling chants from the crowd for a while, there was some posturing, and then we were off.
The posturing was off the scale in this match, the wrestling happened in the gaps between. It wasn’t a bad match, there are obviously good reasons for Roode and Nakamura holding the positions they do within NXT. But, after a card which was characterised by its energy, this felt ponderous and drawn out. It, very sensibly, centred around Roode spending long periods of time working on Nakamura’s recently healed knee, which meant lots of submission attempts on both sides. Interesting, but an anti-climactic feel to the end of the card. And it was long, really long.
They definitely dealt out the punishment, and gave a good impression of being evenly matched to the point of being unable to find a difference maker. There were the multiple near falls and close calls you’d expect. Eventually Roode hit the Glorious DDT to put Nakamura down for the three, and retain the title.
All the usual great video packages on tonight’s show, there really isn’t anyone who does them better than NXT.
Aleister Black’s NXT career got off to a wonderful start. He could, and should, be a huge star for years to come.
It was disappointing not to see the women’s title change hands tonight, but Asuka was pushed further than she has previously been since her arrival in NXT, which can only be a good thing. This may have been the first time she showed true vulnerability.
Slightly disappointing that no titles changed hands on the show. But overall it was another top class offering from NXT.