Taking a look at the WWE WrestleMania 33 weekend edition of WWE NXT Takeover Orlando featuring Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT title.
MIXED TAG TEAM: TYE DILLINGER, RODERICK STRONG, KASSIUS OHNO & RUBY RIOT vs. SAnitY (ERIC YOUNG, ALEXANDER WOLFE, KILLIAN DAIN, & NIKKI CROSS)
GOOD BOOKING: SAnitY takes No Way Jose out of the equation; Kassius Ohno joins the fray.
No Way Jose has a high ceiling. His gimmick, however, is holding him back. It’s hard to see a face with a dance-related gimmick be thrusted into a serious feud like this. His absence allowed Dillinger’s alliance to find another deserving superstar. And boy did they find one in Kassius Ohno. With the addition of Ohno, the match was conceivably better. With Ohno, the match had the same things we would’ve seen without the comedy shtick from Jose. Ohno also made the most of his appearance here and displayed the reason why he may be one of the most versatile performers that WWE has on their roster.
BAD BOOKING: Ruby Riot is essentially a non-factor.
Ruby Riot made the most of her debut match. She is definitely a unique talent that the women’s division is going to need going forward. Having said that, her role in this match didn’t have much of an effect that was implied when she was obviously brought in to even the odds. The odds still eventually won out here. The bright side is we’ll get some entertaining and hard-hitting bouts between Cross and Riot.
GOOD BOOKING: SAnitY prevails; clean or dirty.
SAnitY needed the win. That was a given. Sure, Creative could have gone win the happy ending, but with Sawyer Fulton having been “kicked out”, none of the members of SAnitY could’ve afforded taking the loss. SAnitY is being groomed as the next big faction. With their motive to simply cause chaos and with each member being a wildcard as shown evident by Wolfe being the deciding factor, they have the capability and potential to succeed. Especially with Killian Dain’s addition. Sorry Sawyer Fulton, but it took Killian Dain one appearance to show that he has the intimidation factor of a big man that the faction needed.
ALEISTER BLACK vs. ANDRADE ALMAS
GOOD BOOKING: Black wins, obviously.
That was a solid debut match for Aleister Black. He sold well and was convincing as a devastating striker. Of course there were points in the match that dragged on or looked to be awkward, but that could be boiled down to nerves. Black’s biggest selling point, however, is his persona. Black’s intensity is seemingly innate; it’s not overdone nor is it lacking. And the finish was almost chilling seeing him pick up Almas with his boot to deliver his finisher. It may take a while for him to gain some traction with Creative as they may want to see what else he has to offer. They also may not know what to do with him. But WWE did just create the UK title, so there’s that. As a bonus, Black’s entrance was awesome.
TRIPLE THREAT ELIMINATION TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (c) (AKAM & REZAR) w/ PAUL ELLERING vs. #DIY (JOHNNY GARGANO & TOMMASO CIAMPA) vs. THE REVIVAL (SCOTT DAWSON & DASH WILDER)
GOOD BOOKING: AOP retains
#DIY and The Revival allowed AOP to deliver their finest performance tonight. It doesn’t matter what the crowd thought of the finish. AOP has clearly progressed from their debut against American Alpha and are deserving of the titles. Chances are, either The Revival or #DIY are heading to the main roster. There’s a good chance that both head up, which means AOP will either be champions for a lengthy run. During this time, Heavy Machinery or SAnitY will provide an interesting feud until TM-61 returns. Or, of course, #DIY remains and regains the titles and continues the feud with AOP.
BAD BOOKING: #DIY is eliminated first.
The crowd said it best. #DIY didn’t have to necessarily regain the titles, but for them to go first took the steam out of the crowd and arguably hurt the intrigue in the remainder of the match. The one time Creative should have gone formulaic by having the clear faces fighting the clear heels was ignored. And that was a mistake.
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP: ASUKA (c) vs. EMBER MOON
GOOD BOOKING: Asuka retains.
This was a tough choice to make. But ultimately, I’d have to say this was good booking. Ember Moon is insanely talented and is one of the most athletic superstars in WWE. But despite her accomplishments and talent, she was never correctly built up as a challenger. She will be champion. Just not now. But moving to Asuka, Asuka’s reign has heightened the credibility of the belt, simply because of Asuka does whatever she must to keep the belt. And with this controversial victory, Asuka has now officially held the title for one year; the longest reigning champion in NXT history. That’s a monumental mark. An intriguing option would have Asuka debuting during Smackdown! Live’s women’s title match to win the title and have to relinquish the NXT title. But that’s just fantasy…
NXT CHAMPIONSHIP: BOBBY ROODE (c) vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
GOOD BOOKING: Bobby Roode retains cleanly.
Creative made the right decision to not play hot potato with the title with Shinsuke Nakamura. Roode was absolutely cunning here by taking advantage of Nakamura’s knee injury. Whether this means that Nakamura is headed to the main roster remains to be seen, but based on the standing ovation he received off WWE programming, we’ll see him on the main roster soon. But back to NXT, Bobby Roode is the right person to be holding the title right now. His reign will allow a number of superstars to ascend to the title picture that has been dominated by Nakamura and Samoa Joe for the last six months. With the recent re-acquisition of Drew McIntyre and the debut of Aleister Black, we’re in for some new and interesting feuds for the next few months to come.