NXT comes to us from the University of Central Florida in Orlando for the last time in this set of tapings and the last time before TakeOver: Orlando this Saturday. As always, Tom Phillips, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness are back on commentary. Advertised tonight is the Loser Leaves NXT match between Kassius Ohno and The Drifter Elias Samson. Also, Asuka and Ember Moon will have a contract signing.
You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show.
Match #1: Triple Threat: Johnny Gargano (w/ Tammaso Ciampa) v. Dash Wilder (w/ Scott Dawson) v. Akam (w/ Rezar & Paul Ellering)
Akam goes right for Wilder at the bell, but Gargano jumps onto his back. Akam easily flips him off, though. Wilder tries to go toe-to-toe, but gets shoved down. The same goes for Gargano. Wilder and Gargano finally team up effectively and tee off on Akam. A kick by Gargano and a dropkick by Wilder send the big man to ringside. Wilder holds the ropes open for Gargano to do a dive spot, but tries to double cross him. Gargano isn’t fooled and ends up taking Wilder out with the roll-up into a head kick combo. Gargano goes for a move in the corner, but Akam meets him halfway with a clothesline. Dawson pulls Wilder to ringside and out of harm’s way. Dash and Dawson say they’re done and are headed to the back as NXT cuts to break.
Back from break, Akam is beating up Gargano and, sure enough, The Revival is AWOL. Akam picks up Gargano in a torture rack as the crowd urges on Johnny Wrestling. Gargano breaks the hold and counters Akam’s attempts at offense. Gargano hits several strikes on Akam while ducking out of the way of his attempts. Gargano scores with two running cross-body blocks, but Akam won’t go down. Gargano gets flipped onto the ring apron and meets a charging Akam with a spear through the ropes, but can only get a 2-count.
Gargano delivers a flurry of strikes to Akam in the corner, but then runs right into a boot to the face. Gargano slips out of a powerbomb attempt and hits two super kicks. Gargano fires up in the corner and KO’s Akam with a third super kick. Rezar pulls Gargano out of the ring right before the 3-count, though. Of course, there aren’t count outs or disqualifications in a Triple Threat, so the match continues. Ciampa attacks Rezar, but gets blindsided by Akam. Gargano hits a standing enzuigiri on Akam and tries to slingshot over the top and into a DDT. Akam catches him and turns it into a Snake Eyes into the corner.
Akam delivers a devastating powerbomb to Gargano and he is out cold. Before Akam can make the cover, Scott Dawson shows up at ringside and holds Akam’s ankle. Wilder slides into the ring and steals the cover to pick up the win.
Winner: Dash Wilder via pinfall on Johnny Gargano
Thoughts: This was a decent match. It served its purpose of making the Authors look dominant, #DIY as always having a fighting chance, and Revival as the cowardly heels. I usually think it’s a little cliché and tired when a tag team championship match build-up always includes some one-on-one matches where wins are traded. At least this tried to be a little different with the Triple Threat stipulation. Gargano, Ciampa, and Revival are ready for SmackDown today if the call was made. The Authors need some more time in NXT, I think. That’s fine since the longer they hold the belts, the bigger it will be when someone beats them. I don’t expect that time to be this weekend at TakeOver, though.
Promo: Heavy Machinery is real, real hungry and they are up next.
Promo: The most revealing Aleister Black promo yet is shown and it focuses on his match with Almas this weekend. Nigel says it could be a show stealer and I’m inclined to agree.
Match#2: Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic) v. Mike Marshall and Jonathan Ortagun
Knight quickly takes Ortagun down at the bell and hits a huge hip toss. Yes, a huge hip toss. Ortagun tries to springboard out of the corner, but Knight catches him in a bear hug. Otis gets the tag and Knight tosses Ortagun into another bear hug. Ortagun squirms out and attempts a sunset flip. Dozovic just picks him up and tosses him into the corner where Marshall tags in. Dozovic doesn’t wait and flips Marshall into the ring, though. Heavy Machinery both line up in a 3-point stance and deliver a double charging shoulder block to Marshall.
Heavy Machinery do a double-team spot where they yell out ‘Boom Shaka’ or something. Groan. Ortagun is back in and Heavy Machinery starts to slap their bellies before sandwiching Ortagun in between them. They then celebrate with a chest bump. Marshall attacks Knight from behind and briefly mounts some offense before Otis comes back in and steam rolls them. He just screams ‘Shaka’ all the time. Dozovic avalanches Ortagun in the corner and delivers an overhead release belly-to-belly suplex. Mike Marshall breaks up the pin attempt, though.
Marshall is quickly dispatched and Knight gets a blind tag. Ortagun gets sandwiched again and then Dozovic body slams Knight onto his fallen body. That’s good for the win.
Winners: Heavy Machinery via pinfall
Thoughts: I had to think about this for a minute. I hated typing some of that play-by-play. They’ve clearly put some effort into trying to develop some offense that the crowd can play along with, but I don’t know if it will work because the gimmick is so corny. Dozovic has the body type and build of Rhyno, so he has that going for him – good or bad, you decide. I hate their gear. It’s not flattering. It’s like if the Authors of Pain wore singlets to the ring. These things can be tweaked. I’m just not feeling it right now. They’re kids though and have only being doing this for a minute. I’ll wait to see how they come along.
Backstage: William Regal is sitting backstage at a desk between Asuka and Ember Moon. Regal says Ember Moon’s name, and Asuka starts to laugh to herself. Moon paints Asuka as having become arrogant. Moon says her fate is to dethrone the greatest NXT champion of all time. She seriously has no conviction in what she says. Asuka says she knows who Ember Moon is and she knows she isn’t ready. Ember Moon stands and says she’s been ready for a long time, which causes Asuka to chuckle again and walk out after the signing. Regal wishes Ember Moon good luck.
Promo: Another special look at Bobby Roode versus Shinsuke Nakamura. More of Roode drinking champagne by himself with the framed 5×7 of himself while watching himself win the title. So wonderful.
Backstage: Paul Ellering and Authors are standing by for a promo. Ellering says #DIY believes in fairy tale endings, but welcome to our Yellow Brick Road from hell. Ellering keeps saying Rezar as ‘Reezer’, which contradicts Tom Phillips saying ‘Reyzar’. If Phillips starts saying ‘Reezer’, I will conclude that I’ve entered an alternate universe.
Match #3: Loser Leaves NXT: Kassius Ohno v. Elias Samson
I am so sad that this may be the last of Elias Samson. Literally one fan in the crowd is chanting ‘Kassius is gonna kill you’. ONE FAN. There’s a tie-up and quick roll-up attempt by Samson. Ohno goes for his own roll-up and gets a 2-count. Samson locks in a headlock, but Ohno applies an arm bar. Ohno gets a few more near falls and smashes Samson with a senton. Too many guys are using that move these days. Samson rolls out of the ring, but Ohno comes through the ropes with a kick. On the ring apron, Samson pushes Ohno into the post. Ohno bumps onto the stairs – ouch.
Back from break, Samson is in control. Samson locks in a Crippler Crossface. Samson keeps rolling Ohno over to prevent him from getting to the ropes. Ohno finally gets there and Samson uses the entire 5-count before he breaks the hold. The Drifter hits a chop, but Ohno hits a brutal elbow to the face. Ohno fires up with several more strikes to the face, but Samson cuts him off with a clothesline. Ohno comes back with a jumping knee strike and then the cyclone kick out of the corner, but he can only get a 2-count.
Samson tries a pin attempt, but the referee sees his feet on the ropes and stops the count. Ohno delivers more face strikes in the corner, but Samson reverses a neck breaker attempt into a back slide for a near fall. Samson counters a rolling elbow attempt with his own jumping knee strike, but again it’s only good for a 2-count. Samson hits a neck breaker for a near fall and another pin attempt. Out of nowhere, Ohno hits the discus elbow and Samson is out cold and out of NXT.
The crowd actually isn’t too happy about Samson leaving. There are some light chants, but I think a lot of people are like me and the guy was sort of growing on them. Security forces Samson out of the building. Kassius is back in the ring with the guitar, though. Samson wants the guitar, but Kassius smashes it. Samson is distraught.
Winner: Kassius Ohno via pinfall
Thoughts: The match started slow, but picked up toward the end. It had been a long night for the crowd, so they weren’t into it very much, so neither was I. Will Samson go to the main roster or come back to NXT in some sort of angle? Or be outright released for real?
- Dash Wilder won the Triple Threat match
- Heavy Machinery beat Mike Marshall & Jonathan Ortagun
- Asuka & Ember Moon signed their championship match contract
- Kassius Ohno beat Elias Samson in a Loser Leaves NXT match
TakeOver: Orlando Final Line-Up for Saturday, April 1:
- NXT Championship: Bobby Roode © v. Shinsuke Nakamura
- NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka © v. Ember Moon
- NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Authors of Pain © v. #DIY v. The Revival
- Aleister Black v. Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
- SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain, & Nikki Cross) v. Tye Dillinger, No Way Jose, Roderick Strong, and Ruby Riot