NXT Thoughts- On The Brink of (in)Sanity
Inching ever closer to NXT Takeover: Orlando. We're still at the University of Central Florida, and even though the Full Sail crowd takes a lot of criticism on different forums, I'll take some self-indulgent chants over complete indifference any day of the week. Let's see if the NXT roster can win these miserable bastards over as they continue the build to their version of Wrestlemania.
-We start things off with a match that has been a proven winner on several occasions now, Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Oney Lorcan. Cien has proven himself so much as a heel, he seems so natural and seems to relish in his own cockiness. Lorcan, especially with Almas as a dance partner, has really shown some skill in the ring that is starting to get me to look past his terrible ring name (see Ziggler, Dolph). They impressively mix a strong style approach with some high spots, and holy hell, the UCF crowd has finally woken up for these guys! Surprising that they didn't give Nakamura vs. TJP (which was just a shade better than this) the same respect, but Almas and Lorcan definitely deserved the hot reaction they got. Cien claimed the clean win with the hammerlock DDT, and I'm hopeful that he receives a main event spotlight post-Takeover. He's so good in every other aspect that his deficiencies in speaking English doesn't matter, at least as far as I'm concerned.
-Good passion from DIY in their backstage promo. Given the near miracle they produced in San Antonio with AOP, I'm hopeful they can pull off something truly special at Takeover Orlando with the Revival involved as well.
-Asuka says "Ember, this is your-" something? Sounds like hate or head, but anyway, she kicks the head of a jobber and then refuses to release the Asuka Lock right away. So, looks like she'll be the heel at Takeover. On the mic again- "no Eclipse". No mistaking what she said that time.
-The Revival, so good and confident on the mic. Especially Scott Dawson. Next week, an intriguing triple threat match. NXT doesn't have many of those at all, I believe the last one was Joe vs. Zayn vs. Corbin. Next week's offering hypes the tag title match, it'll be Wilder vs. Gargano vs. Akam. Interesting...
-Cool video package highlighting Bobby Roode's high class lifestyle, juxtaposed with the storied wrestling career of Shinsuke in Japan and NXT. Lots of soundbytes from both men referencing each other's "fate", so maybe that's what Asuka meant to say earlier. Feels like a central theme.
-Dillinger, Strong, and Jose seem confident about their chances in the main event against Sanity. I haven't enjoyed this feud at all, hoping it ends soon. It's all paint by numbers. Sanity have been pretty unclear about their mission statement- what do they want to do in NXT? Why did they want Dillinger in their group? Why were they so angry about Tye's refusal? That last question is the most simple, but I don't get the purpose of Sanity. They're like an anarchist group, but anarchists typically want to take down the oppressive system. Do they want to take down NXT? Destroy it? Take over it? Who knows...
-Kassius Ohno is interrupted backstage by the Drifter, which leads to the challenge of a Loser Leaves NXT match. Ohno just got here! Guess Samson is taking a hike- but I really hope he's not going to the main roster. He has zero talent, and gets "go away heat", so I'm hoping WWE have given up on him and are using that heat to get Ohno more over as a face.
-Alistair Black (the former Tommy End, who faced Neville during the UK Tournament) is facing Andrade 'Cien" Almas at Takeover. Very cool. Would love to see them try something different and having someone lose their debut, but unfortunately Cien will just be there to make Black look good, most likely.
-Very standard tag main event too. Six men and no one gets much of a chance to stand out, and it devolves into a no contest fairly quickly. I can't blame UCF for not caring this time. With the numbers of men even, Nikki Cross gets involved and tries to choke Tye Dillinger. A mystery women (Heidi Lovelace/Ruby Riot) enters to even the odds. Babyfaces stand tall to end the show.
-I like Ruby Riot's look, and I hope her introduction injects some life into this feud. The entire thing screams, "we have nothing for these guys to do". Sanity needs a key promo to explain what they're all about, rather than speaking with empty phrases. Bray Wyatt had a similar problem for a long time. Dillinger and Jose are over on the babyface side, but I still need a reason to like Roderick Strong.
The highlights on this show were the Almas vs. Lorcan opening match and the very polished video package for Roode and Nakamura. The rest was just kinda there this week.
Next week, I'll be travelling to America for Wrestlemania and arriving Wednesday night. So in lieu of my usual "Thoughts" posts, I'll be doing a "Wrestlemania Diary" chronicling my adventures.
Until next time, take care,