NXT Takeover: Orlando Review

SAnitY (Eric Young, Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe & Nikki Cross) vs. Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno & Ruby Riot

We start the show with a video from Axxess showing No Way Jose getting taken out by SAnitY. Kassius Ohno will be his replacement. This was a really fun match to kick off the show with. It was frantic and it was messy but I actually think that it added something to the feel of the match, especially with SAnitY involved. There were some nice spots in this, including a great dropkick off the apron from Ruby Riot. It didn't outstay it's welcome and it set the tone for the show very nicely. ***3/4

Aleister Black vs. Andrade 'Cien' Almas

Black has a tremendous entrance. He rises up from a coffin type deal and his theme song fits him perfectly. He looks a million bucks. The match itself was good but in an ideal world Black would have faced someone that he could have been more dominant over. Knowing a lot about Black's independent work I know that he has a hell of a lot of upside. I really like Almas too but they don't seem to know what they want to do with him at the moment. Black picking up Almas by putting his foot under his chin was a nice visual. ***

NXT Tag Team Titles, Elimination Match - Authors of Pain vs. The Revival vs. #DIY

I had very high expectations for this going in and somehow they still surpassed them. The main story in this match was The Revival and #DIY reluctantly teaming up to take out the greater threat. It was so well done too. There are some brilliant team spots in this. Gargano and Dawson do #DIY's running knee finisher and Ciampa and Wilder pull out the Shatter Machine, both of which got great pops from a very appreciative crowd. There is a crazy superplex to the outside and a powerbomb from the apron through a table but these moments are not what made the match, they were just parts of a much greater whole. I know some people didn't really like the last 5 minutes but I thought it was very well done, it got real heel heat on Authors of Pain and that is something that can be hard to get. This had everything you could want from a wrestling match, great ring work, superb story telling, memorable high spots, a fully invested crowd and it generated nuclear heat for AoP. A masterfully booked match. This will be a very strong contender for WWE MOTY. *****

NXT Women's Title - Asuka vs. Ember Moon

The story of this match was Asuka not taking Ember seriously and in turn getting the hardest challenge of her NXT career so far. This was quicker and more hard hitting than recent NXT Women's Title matches, and that isn't a knock on Billie Kay, Peyton Royce or any of the other female challengers on NXT, it's just that Ember Moon is further along in her development and wrestled more extensively on the indie circuit before arriving in NXT. They built really well towards Ember trying to hit the Eclipse and Asuka pushing the referee in to the ropes to prevent it, thus cheating to win and setting up a return match between the two. ****

Prior to the main event the camera shows Drew McIntyre in the front row, which gets a nice pop. He has been doing some fantastic work on the independent circuit in the 3 years he's been away so it's good to see him get another shot on the big stage.

NXT Title - Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

This was always likely to be Nakamura's last match in NXT so the outcome was never really in doubt. The hope was therefore that he would go out with a truly great match but it didn't quite happen. Roode is yet to have that defining match in NXT. His entrance truly is glorious and he is absolutely money in his look and presentation but he is not a spectacular in ring performer. That has been the case throughout his career too. He has had some great matches but not consistently. That's not to say that I thought this match was bad, it just didn't wow me. It was reminiscent of an old school main event. There was a lot of rest holds and Roode even used a nerve hold like it was 1985. The finishing stretch was really well done though and the clean finish was refreshing to see. ***1/2

Overall Grade - A

Whilst it isn't the strongest overall Takeover it was still a great show and it featured a must see match, a couple of other really fun encounters and never even came close to being below par.