WWE NXT! (3/29/17)
-Triple Threat: Johnny Gargano w/ Tommaso Ciampa VS Dash Wilder w/ Scott Dawson VS Akam w/ Rezar & Paul Ellering; Dash wins.
-Heavy Machinery VS Jonathan Ortagun & Mike Marshall; Heavy Machinery wins.
-Loser Leaves NXT Match: Kassius Ohno VS Elias Samson; Ohno wins, forcing Samson to leave NXT.
PLAY BY PLAY
Triple Threat Match
Johnny Gargano w/ Tommaso Ciampa VS Dash Wilder w/ Scott Dawson VS Akam w/ Rezar & Paul Ellering!
In preparation for the NXT Tag Team Title Triple Threat Elimination Match at TakeOver: Orlando, one member from each team faces of here tonight. Akam goes after Dash first, so Johnny jumps on his back. Akam throws him off, so in comes Dash, only to be shoved to the corner. Johnny tries again, gets shoved away, Dash returns, it’s 2v1 on the bigger man as they unload strike after strike, an enziguri and dropkick send Akam out of the ring. Dash says Johnny should fly to take advantage, but he is the one trying to get an edge on Johnny Wrestling. However, Johnny saw it coming, he catches Dash’s boot and replies with lariats and the schoolboy kick! Johnny whips Dash corner to corner, but Akam returns to run Johnny over. Dawson saves Dash, The Revival regroups off to one side to stay safe before we go to an ad break.
When we return, it appears The Revival have completely disappeared. Akam clubs Johnny in the chest and stands over him. Johnny responds with an open hand chop, Akam doesn’t feel it, he just flattens Johnny with an elbow drop. Akam puts Johnny in the standing torture rack submission, bending that spine sideways. The fans rally for “Johnny Wrestling!” but Akam keeps bending until Johnny punches his way out. Johnny gives a back elbow, then a boot from the corner, second rope crossbody is caught. Johnny slips off Akam’s shoulders, bobs ‘n’ weaves, but his running forearms are not enough to topple Akam over. Akam does stagger to a corner and puts Johnny on the apron, Akam gains speed and runs into Johnny’s slingshot spear! TWO! Johnny gets Akam in a corner and unloads with southpaw jabs and chops! Johnny’s all fired up, but Akam’s boot puts Johnny down. Akam drags Johnny up, Johnny slips out of the crucifix powerbomb to SUPERKICK Akam, TWICE. Akam is on one knee, a third SUPERKICK, Rezar drags Johnny off the pin! So Ciampa takes the fight to Rezar! Rezar shoves Ciampa back, Ciampa side steps to let Rezar hit steel steps. Ciampa then hurries to the apron, but Akam knocks him down. Akam goes to Johnny, who is on the apron, and takes a swing kick. Johnny then slingshots over, but Akam uses power and size to deny the DDT. He lifts Johnny up, Snake Eyes before a standing powerbomb. That’s when the Revival returns! Dash for the pin, he steals the win like no one before! The Revival runs off with big grins, will they get away with such a win at TakeOver?
Another message from the man in the shadows, Aleister Black. “This is the dawning of individualism.” The “old idols”, such as El Idolo, Andrade “Cien” Almas, are “obsolete.” “The end has come, let the ashes of this corporeal world blind you, and fade to Black.” TakeOver: Orlando will see the clash of these two rising stars, who will come out as NXT’s true icon?
Heavy Machinery VS Jonathan Ortagun & Mike Marshall!
While the truly massive team of Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic didn’t make it out of the first round of the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, their size and strength are still impressive enough to justify some concern in the NXT Tag Team division, and certainly in their comparatively smaller opponents. Knight starts against Ortagun (aka Johnny Vandal), Knight barrels him over with a double-leg takedown, Ortagun gets a ropebreak. Knight keeps on rolling as he whips and hip tosses Ortagun down high and hard. Then he goes corner to corner, Ortagun jumps up but is caught into a bearhug. Knight squeezes and he jumps around, then brings him over to tag Otis. Knight tosses and Otis catches Ortagun to keep that bearhug going! Ortagun slips down to a sunset flip, Otis is too bulky, he picks Ortagun up and throws him. Ortagun takes Marshall, but Marshall doesn’t want to come in, so Otis makes him! Otis tags Knight, both men get into three point stances, football tackles bulldoze Marshall over. Then together, it’s a “Click BOOM Shaka Loo!” double headbutt drop. Ortagun runs in, gets a gut punch, then gets two guts to his head! Heavy Machinery belly bump to celebrate a bit. Ortagun distracts Knight, Marshall pounces and swings on Knight, tag to Ortagun. Ortagun and Marshall whip but get run over by Knight, tag to Otis. Otis runs Marshall over, jab jab jab to Ortagun before gaining speed and running him over. Otis rallies before giving Ortagun a heavy elbow drop. Corner to corner steamroller squash in the corner, overhead belly2belly suplex on Ortagun, Marshall breaks the pin. Otis clubs and clotheslines him out, then Knight gets a blind tag before Otis catches Ortagun and the two crush him between each other. Otis tops it off by scoop slamming Knight onto Ortagun, Knight takes the cover, Heavy Machinery wins! These two big behemoths roll on, the tag team champions better take notice.
NXT General Manager, William Regal, is in his office back at Full Sail University to preside over the contract signing for the NXT Women’s Championship.
Ember Moon and Asuka are already in his office and seated at the table. This match is highly anticipated as it has both an undefeated champion and an undefeated challenger. But right away, Asuka is stifling a laugh towards Ember Moon. Ember knows Asuka is a great champion, and ever since arriving in NXT, The Prophecy of Flame knew she would one day face the Empress of Tomorrow. But lately, Asuka’s changed. She’s let her success inflate her ego. Asuka may be destined to go down as the greatest NXT champion of all, but Ember is confident she’s destined to be the one to dethrone that greatest champion. Ember signs and passes the contract to Asuka. Asuka’s response to Ember is that Asuka also knows who Ember is, and that Ember is not ready. Asuka signs the contract, and things are official. Ember assures Asuka she’s been ready for a long time, to which Asuka laughs again. Will Asuka still be laughing at Ember after TakeOver: Orlando?
From an undisclosed location in UCF Arena, Paul Ellering speaks on behalf of his Authors of Pain. The current NXT Tag Team Champions, his “merchants of destruction”, will show DIY that they do not know struggle. The AoP comes from “natural law, survival of the fittest”, not “fairy tale endings.” This is the “Yellow Brick Road from HELL”! As for The Revival, Dash & Dawson are “dreamers”, wishing they could be what Akam & Rezar are, wishing they could stand by Ellering, the man who created the “Algorithm of Greatness in Tag Team Wrestling”! Both team’s fates are in the Authors’ hands.
Loser Leaves NXT
Kassius Ohno VS Elias Samson!
The Returning Hero fell short of becoming NXT Champion, and already The Drifter says Ohno doesn’t belong. Ohno decided to make Samson put up or shut up, as only man will get to stay in NXT after this. The two stare down as the fans fire up. They tie up and are even in strength, so Samson rolls Ohno up. Ohno kicks out, Samson says he almost had him, so Ohno rolls Samson up to say the same. Ohno and Samson tie up again, Samson gets a headlock but Ohno powers out to give Samson an arm wrench. Samson tries to use clubbing forearms but Ohno won’t let go, so Samson whips out, Ohno runs him over with a shoulder. Ohno keeps shouldering him down, back senton squashes him, TWO! Samson rolls to the outside, Ohno gains speed but Samson moves before Ohno can fly. Ohno sees where he’s headed, so he rocks The Drifter with a wrecking ball dropkick. Ohno chops Samson against the apron before putting him back in the ring. Samson springs up quickly, and from the apron, Samson shoves Ohno into a ring post, Ohno tumbles down the steel steps to the floor. Ohno is down while Samson catches his breath, we go to break.
We return to see Samson mugging Ohno in a corner, the referee has to back him off. Samson then picks Ohno up and slams him, TWO. The Drifter tells Ohno that he’ll be leaving soon, but the fans rally for the NXT original. Ohno tries to roll Samson up, Samson blocks it and takes that arm to be part of the crossface! Ohno endures the submission hold, crawls his way forward, then rolls Samson over, but Samson rolls it back again. Ohno shifts again, Samson still holds on, Ohno powers himself and with one big lurch, gets the ropebreak! Samson holds on during the referee’s warning, and lets go before Five. Samson is frustrated with Ohno and the ref, he stands Ohno up and rocks him with a straight right. He drags Ohno up again, and gives him a back chop, Ohno immediately gives a right elbow! Samson fires back with a forearm, Ohno just gives another elbow. Samson tries to brawl with Ohno but in a losing effort as Ohno backs him up against the ropes. Ohno gets running, Samson runs him over with a lariat, TWO! Samson puts Ohno in a corner to stomp away, but Ohno catches the second time and then knee lifts Samson hard. Samson staggered, discus boot from Ohno, TWO! Ohno is shocked, he and Samson slowly get up as the crowd fires up again. Samson trips Ohno and uses ropes, the ref sees that and stops his count. Samson is furious, HARD open hand strike from Ohno followed by many more hard rights! Ohno then brings Samson in, Samson turns the neckbreaker into a backslide, TWO, Discus– rising knee! TWO! Samson doesn’t stop, he reels Ohno in for the spinning neckbreaker! TWO!! Samson still doesn’t stop, he drags Ohno up with an inverted headlock. Ohno drops down to try and victory roll but Samson sits on it, TWO! Samson goes for whatever inverted headlock move again, but Ohno pops out for the Roaring Elbow!! Ohno wins!
As such, Samson must, once and for all, #DriftAway from NXT. He begs the referee to let him stay, but he accepted the match and then lost. The fans serenade with the classic “Nana na na, nana na na, hey hey hey~, goodbye~!” as Samson refuses to even leave the ring. Another referee comes out to tell Samson to go, but he refuses. It gets to the point where security is called in. Samson makes a run for it, but that only gets him caught by security right away. They drag him up the ramp, he pleads with them. He says he’ll leave, so long as they let him keep his guitar. But Ohno has it! Samson pleads with Ohno to give it back. Ohno carefully puts the guitar down near the apron, only to SMASH it!
Samson is dragged away, mourning the death and destruction of his instrument, which is beneficial to him because then he won’t have to watch as Ohno smashes it up even more. Where will this victory take Ohno this close to TakeOver?
Even in a week of go-home shows for the WWE, NXT continues to give the main roster a run for their money. The opening triple threat to build up the triple threat tag match was great, because all three teams got to showcase their best attributes: Akam was the physically dominant one; Johnny was the fast and scrappy one; Dash was the cunning, underhanded one, and being underhanded won out. Given it is an elimination match, and given who is ready to be called up to Raw and SmackDown, it is highly likely that the Authors of Pain will retain, and perhaps it will be because The Revival uses an underhanded tactic to screw Team #DIY out of winning, in a “if we can’t have them, you can’t have them, either” play.
Meanwhile, Heavy Machinery gave new meaning to the phrase “squash match”. As plain as day as it was that they were going to win, given the video packages hyping their return and how they were facing an unfamiliar team of unfamiliar wrestlers, it was still greatly entertaining to see these two use their standard hoss bodies and move sets coupled with their surprising speed and charismatic chemistry to just manhandle Ortagun and Marshall. Whatever “Shaka Loo” means in Otis’ mind, it’s working to get fans on his side. Assuming the Authors of Pain retain, just imagine the titanic tag team match between these two heavy-hitting hoss duos can have down the line.
There there’s something rarely ever seen on a go-home show on any level: something that will directly affect the status quo. The “Loser Leaves NXT” match was really just a veiled “goodbye match” as Samson is among those slated for the next round of main roster call-ups, but holy hell that was a great match. Fans may give Samson heat on a level beyond X-Pac or Roman Reigns, but he is no slouch in the ring, and he showed everyone that against Hero/Ohno tonight. He’ll make a good addition to SmackDown as they desperately need more mid-card wrestlers, but it’d be hilarious for him to go to Raw solely for Corey Graves to rip into his gimmick again.
My Score: 8/10