Review: NXT Takeover Orlando

"No man is ever completely good..."
Let’s go through this one match by match. There really wasn’t a bad one on the card, no surprise for an NXT Takeover show I know, but this one came off particularly solid and cohesive.

SAnitY (Eric Young, Nikki Cross, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe) vs. Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Ruby “Heidi Lovelace” Riot and (surprise!) Kassius Ohno.
Having beaten No Way Jose into a fine paste at WWE Axxess earlier in the day, SAnitY’s opponents found themselves a new ally in Kassius Ohno, who joined the fray against NXT(hell, all of WWE, really)’s awesome new-ish faction that they haven’t ruined (yet) du jour, looking extra mean with big, blacked out eyes (I won’t hold the fact that this was a tie-in to Motionless In White against them).

The biggest story here was the televised in-ring debut of Ruby Riot, formerly Chikara standout Heidi Lovelace, looking absolutely brutal even compared to SAnitY’s resident female badass Nikki Cross. A feud between these two to be number one contender to Asuka’s throne? Yes please.

In the end it was the big beast of Belfast Killian Dain who scored the W with his modified One Winged Angel finisher on Dillinger. This match dig a great job of continuing to make SAnitY look unstoppable while taking absolutely nothing from their opposition. Great, great stuff.

Winners: SAnitY.

As much as we obviously love Heidi, and stuff with the word “Riot” in it, Ruby Riot sounds a little too close to Ruby Rhod for my tastes.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Aleister Black
The other big debut here was of Aleister Black. Formerly Tommy End in various U.K. Promotions, Black is taking the Rollins/Corbin random black clad metal dude gimmick and turning it to 11, with all kinds of occult imagery (rising from a coffin at the entrance, shades of The Brood) and an absolute banger of an entrance theme from NYHC giants Incendiary to go with it.
Almas was looking better here than in recent memory, seeming more comfortable with his boastful heel persona and incorporating “tranquilo” taunts from his time in Mexico an an Ingobernable, but this was Black’s coming out party and putting him over was the absolute right decision, ending the contest in a flurry of lightning quick kicks, including his finisher, the “Black Mass”, to put Almas is his coffin.
Winner: Always bet on Black.
Authors of Pain vs. DIY (Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano) vs. The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) for the NXT Tag Team Titles.
Match of the night? Match of the night. Possible match of the year candidate but I know it’s still early days. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s a bit towards the end where DIY and D&D split up and pair off against the Authors, Gargano and Dawson performing DIY’s Meeting in the Middle double superkick finisher while Ciampa and Wilder hit the Shatter Machine. It was the coolest fucking thing I’ve seen in a while. Yeah, yeah AOP looked strong as hell and went over, but they’re being booked intelligently enough that it doesn’t require any Roman Reigns style cognitive dissonance to buy it, and besides, both DIY and D&D are well overdue for a main roster debut anyway.
Winners: Authors of Pain.

Each of the night’s title match winners were presented with excellent looking new championship belts. No red licorice strap here.
Asuka vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship.
If there was a low point in the night it was this one. No offense to Ember Moon, who has a great look and a decent persona so far, but she was simply to green to keep up with a ring general like the former Kana, resulting in a lot of sloppy transitions and awkward moments, and ensuring that Asuka(whose newfound dickish heel antics are a delight)’s incredible year long title reign would continue. Nothing wrong with giving Moon a chance, there’s definitely amazing things in her future, but it was absolutely the right call not to give her the belt.
Winner: Asuka.

The King of Pants Style. Nakamura received a standing ovation after last night’s performance, presumably his last in NXT.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship
This one was telegraphed from pretty far away by the deluge of rumors that Nakamura will be appearing on SmackDown this Tuesday. Still, the Glorious one and the King put on a goddamned clinic that was much more fast paced than their previous, submission heavy encounter, with false finishes and finishers aplenty. See you on Tuesday, Shin.
Winner: Bobby Roode.
Tonight! More Wrestling! Read our massive Wrestlemania 33 Previewto get up to speed on the main roster’s 6 hour marathon of doom!

Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.

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