The opening video package starts by focusing on Nakamura and Roode. Roode wants to change NXT but Nakamura resists. Change makes Tye Dillinger question his place. It can breed chaos (women’s match hype), and it can be painful (Tag Title hype).
Eric Young w/ SAnitY vs. Tye Dillinger
Tye get a massive pop. If he isn’t number ten in the Rumble, people will be disappointed. No Nikki Cross with SAnitY. Eric Young actually trained Tye Dillinger. EY gives Tye one more chance to join SAnitY by throwing the jacket at him. Tye picks it up, tosses it at Eric and lights him up with strikes. He hits a big clothesline that causes Young to regroup outside. Inside, Tye hits more chops but Young kicks him and dumps him outside. SAnitY tries to sandwich Tye but he slides back in and takes down Young. More chops into the corner and an Irish whip that would eliminate Young if this was a Royal Rumble. Tye goes for ten corner punches but Young rakes the eyes and Tye falls outside. Killian Dane murders Tye with a running cross body. EY slides Tye inside and nails a big elbow to the back. He clubs away at Tye and does the hanging choke in the corner. Young stays in control and tries the choke again. Tye is prepared and fights him off. They trade shots up top where an EY headbutt sends Tye to the mat. Young leaps into a dropkick from Tye. They trade blows in the center of the ring to alternating TEN/BOO chants. Young hits a huge right that drops Tye. Tye grabs the beard and delivers a big headbutt. He hits a flying forearm and back body drop. He runs in with a chop and sends Young to the corner. Young hops over and climbs the opposite turnbuckle, but Tye climbs up and hits a huge belly to belly suplex for a near fall. “Ten” stomps in the corner and the KNEE PAD IS DOWN! Wolfe gets on the apron and eats a Tye Breaker. Young charges in and almost gets hit with one. Dane runs in but eats a superkick. Young hits him from behind. He tries the wheelbarrow finish but Tye counters into a pin for two. Tye Breaker connects but but Wolfe puts Young’s foot on the bottom rope. Way to sell that finisher. Tye takes out Wolfe and Dane with a plancha. Inside, Tye comes off the top with a cross body but Eric rolls through into a pin for two. Tye basbeall slides Dane and tries to skin the cat back in. Young catches him on the way back in with the wheelbarrow neckbreaker, which is enough to send Tye to 0-5 on TakeOvers.
Winner: Eric Young in 10:51
Solid opener that teased Tye finally winning at TakeOver the right amount of times. They didn’t overdo anything and had a hot crowd, which is all I want from an opener. (***)
Samoa Joe is shown sitting in the crowd. He gets loud “Joe” chants.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Roderick Strong
Almas has new attire. They go to the mat quickly and Almas has to scramble to the ropes. Strong shoves him into the ropes, where Almas latches on. TRANQUILO! In the corner, Almas hits a knee, Strong leaps over him and nails a jumping kick for one. Strong nails a big strike but Almas comes back with a boot and chop in the corner. Strong hits a chop of his own but gets downed in the corner before hitting a big kick. They fight by the apron where Almas applies a rope assisted armbar. He points to his head to remind us that he’s smart. He sends Roddy into the corner but has a back elbow caught. Roddy tries a move but Almas elbows out and hits a kick for two. He goes to an armbar but Strong rolls free. Almas hits a body slam with Strong’s arm taking the brunt of the fall. Almas tries the moonsault knees but Roddy rolls away to avoid it and hits a backbreaker. Chops and forearms from Strong lead to a kick and clothesline. Gordbuster connects, as does a high knee in the corner. Strong nails a pretty dropkick and continues to sell the arm. Almas gets a boot up on a charging Strong. His next kick is caught and Strong pulls him into a great backbreaker for two. Almas slips free of Strong’s grasp and hits a straightjacket suplex for two. Almas does the school boy powerbomb lift spot for another near fall. They trade chops nad forearms and some of them look brutal. Almas hits a stiff kick and calls for the double knees. Strong pops up and catches him with a leaping knee. Both men are up and trading strikes again. Almas fires up but almost gets caught in a backbreaker. He blocks it with a knee and rolls Strong into a sick looking rings of Saturn like submission. Strong reaches the ropes with his feet. Elbow strikes on the downed Strong. Almas goes up but gets shoved and crotched. Strong follows up and drops Almas with a backbreaker onto the top turnbuckle for a close near fall. Strong fights out of the hammerlock DDT but charges into a hip toss into the turnbuckles. Almas misses the double knees but turns Roddy inside out with a clothesline. Double knees connect in the corner. Hammerlock DDT is countred and Strong hits a knee and facebuster of sorts. Sick Kick hits and that’s all.
Winner: Roderick Strong in 11:43
I suspected this had potential to steal the show despite the lackluster build. They worked a great match that got better as time went on. Pleasant surprise. (***3/4)
They recap Shawn Michaels winning the Royal Rumble in 1995.
Michael Hayes is shown in the audience.
NXT Tag Team Championship: #DIY (c) vs. The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering
Big ovation for the champions. Razar and Ciampa start. Razar goes after Gargano instead before taking Ciampa to the corner. He talks trash while clubbing away. Ciampa gets in a back elbow and tries a suplex but fails. He tries getting Razar to the mat for an armbar but can’t. Razar tries a powerbomb but Ciampa blocks only to get clubbed hard to the mat. He gets Ciampa up but Ciampa slips free and tags out. Gargano tries the slingshot spear but Razar had it scouted and avoids it. Gargano desperately fights him off but ends in the challenger’s corner. He rolls away but the tag is made. Ciampa comes in to help and they get beat up in the corner. Gargano manages a superkick and Ciampa gets in a high knee, sending the challengers to regroup. Ciampa greets one with tope suicida and Gargano does the same on the other side. Ciampa isn’t done, coming off the apron with a knee strike as well. Gargano hits an enziguri and kicks the other member but gets knocked off the apron into the guardrail. Akam gets tagged and carries Gargano up the steps and tosses him in the ring. Gargano takes a beating in the Authors’ corner. They take turns with quick tags to wear him down. Razar uses a backbreaker rack for a while. Gargano finally gets an opening when Akam goes shoulder first into the guardrail. Gargano crawls across the ring but Akam tries to cut off the pin. Ciampa ducks his shot and Gargano rolls away from him. Hot tag and Ciampa comes off the top with a clothesline. He hits Razar as well. A knee for Akam and an elbow for Razar. Ciampa ipresses with German suplexes for each opponent! The crowd loves it Maggle. He delivers a big sliding knee for a near fall. Ciampa chops Akam a bunch but the big man fires up and screams. He does so again after two boots. Ciampa decides to just slap the taste out of his mouth multiple times. He runs into a clothesline for two though. It looks like we might get heat on Ciampa but he wriggles free and knocks Razar outside. Tag to Gargano and they do a double slingshot spear on Akam for two. Gargano lights up Akam in the corner before tagging out. They try a double team move but Gargano is knocked off the apron and Ciampa is taken down. Tag to Razar and they hit a powerbomb/neckbreaker for the closest near fall of the night. Ellering is fuming. They go for the Last Chapter but Gargano cuts it off with a superkick. Ciampa folls up Akam for two and goes right into the arm bar. Razar slides in for the save but Gargano stops him with the Gargano Escape! It’s a callback to Toronto! Razar powers out and slams Gargano onto Ciampa! Commentary sells that as DIY’s best shot. The teams trade shots in the middle of the ring. For every three or four DIY shots, one from AOP send them back. DIY duck clotheslines and hit hihg knees. AOP are down in the middle of the ring and DIY go for their finish. AOP catches them with stereo powerbombs instead. Tag to Razar and it’s Last Chapter time! New champs.
Winners: The Authors of Pain in 14:26
#DIY just nail tag team wrestling. This was, far and away, the best AOP performance ever. It started hot and stayed that way, while having the crowd completely engaged. I loved the touches of playing back to when DIY won the titles and the close calls down the stretch. (****)
Commentary gets interrupted by the sound of someone on a microphone. SETH ROLLINS IS HERE! He’s in the ring and demanding that Triple H come out. He isn’t leaving the ring until Triple H makes him leave. Triple H steps out to the stage and Seth takes off his shirt. HHH stops and sends security out instead. He leaves to the back and Seth beats up security. He follows backstage but is finally taken down by more security. The fans chant “bullshit” as he’s taken away.
NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Billie Kay vs. Nikki Cross vs. Peyton Royce
Peyton and Billie came out together holding hands. They stick together and run to avoid their tougher opponents. Asuka rolls to avoid Nikki twice and the Aussies slide in with cheap shots. Asuka turns it around on them with kicks and a bulldog/clothesline combo. Now Nikki is left alone with her. They pull each other’s hair before the Aussies return. Asuka tries to German Peyton but she holds the ropes. Billie gets behind Asuka, who swings around and German suplexes both. Nikki and Asuka finally go at it with forearm strikes. Asuka wins out until Nikki headbutts her. Asuka hits a sick snap German for two. The Aussies try to get back in but Asuka hip attacks them out. Nikki ducks a spin kick and hits a straightjacket neckbreaker. It looked awesome. She follows with a reverse DDT for two. Nikki slides outside and hangs Asuka on the apron, hitting a spinning suplex. Nikki sees Billie and Peyton and climbs up top. She leaps off with a cross body to take them both out. Billie nad Peyton throw Nikki into the guardrail a few times. They kick her all the way up the aisle, which is not where I expected this match to go. Nikki fights them off and climbs to the commentary section. She hops on the table for a dive but gets tripped up by Billie. They get on the table with Nikki and double suplex her through a nearby table. Back to the ring, the Aussies have Asuka alone. They hit a double team move and both pin for two. They can’t believe it. They go for their signature double team but Asuka kicks Billie. Peyton ducks a kick from Asuka nad hits a pin kick of her own. She busts out Victoria’s old Widow’s Peak for a very close near fall. Peyton talks smack and hits her but takes a huge kick. Billie returns to get kicked too. Asuka delivers one final kick to Peyton to end it.
Winner: Asuka in 9:50
A fun sprint. They teased Nikki/Asuka and gave us just enough of that to want more. Billie and Peyton knew they were outmatched, so they worked together. The suplex spot was cool and protected Nikki. (***1/2)
Tyler Bate is shown in the crowd. I’m pretty sure I saw Matt Riddle behind him.
NXT Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Bobby Roode
Roode had a bunch of women escort him to the ring, while Nakamura came out of a moving platform. Dueling chants to start. They take a while to actually lock up. Nakamura starts with a kick to the inside of Bobby’s leg. Nakamura works a wristlock but Roode take shim down to a headlock. Head scissors but Shins blocks him from escaping. They go to the ropes where Nakamura gives his version of a clean break and gets shoved. He demands Bobby bring it but Roode does his glorious taunt.. Nakamura shrugs it off. We get another break on the ropes but Roode elbows him. Roode works the arm and Nakamura gets free but gets put right into a head scissors. Nakamura gets slips out and tries a kick but Roode ducks it. Roode goes to taunt again but Nakamura levels him and hits a knee drop. Nakamura has a kick caught but succeeds with an enziguri. Roode takes a breather outside. Inside, Nakamura hits knees in the corner but charges in only to get caught. Roode puts him up top and catches another kick attempt, before flipping Nakamura over and outside. It’s a nasty spill. Roode beats him up outside. Back inside, Roode hits a double axe handle and works on Nakamura’s neck. He stomps on Shins and delivers some knee drops for two. He continues to pound away and taunts to a big pop. Shins turns it around and hits a pair off knee strikes on the apron. We get a combination of strikes and kicks inside by Nakamura, capped with an enziguri. Good vibrations by Shinsuke. He misses the knee in the corner and hits the turnbuckle. Bobby misses something off the top and lands on his feet. He fights off the inverted exploder and has the champion well scouted. He charges into a knee to the gut and Nakamura hits the high knee in the corner this time. Inverted exploder connects and he’s feeling Kinshasa. Roode is not moving though, so Shinsuke gets impatient. Roode was playing possum and rolls up the angry Nakamura for two. He ducks a kick and gets two on a backstabber. Nakamura hits another knee but runs into a spinebuster for two. The crowd is behind Bobby. He sets Nakamura up top and goes for a superplex. Shinsuke fights him off and sends him to the mat. He comes off the middle rope with a knee and goes for Kinshasa. Roode gets his feet up to stop it and nearly wins with his feet on the ropes for leverage. Eyebrows ref catches him in the act though. Nakamura plays some mind games and smiles at Bobby’s offense. He tells him to “COME ON” and lights him up with kicks. He hits a sick sounding knee and Roode goes to the ropes for safety but it doesn’t help. Nakamura catches a charging Roode with his an armbar but Roode hods his hands to block it. It becomes a triangle choke and Roode powers out with a powerbomb attempt. Nakamura rolls into a pin but is quickly up and hits Kinshasa. Roode gets the shoulder up. Nakamura goes for a middle rope knee again but Roode rolls to the apron. HHe gets up but is met with a leaping knee anyway. Nakamura holds his leg in pain as it did damage to him too. He rolls Roode inside and hits Kinshasa. he can’t cover though because his knee is hurt. Roode is out but Shinsuke can’t capitalize. A doctor comes in to check on Nakamura and Roode gets up. Nakamura wants to keep fighting and enters but Roode greets him with the implant DDT. Nakamura somehow kicks out and Roode is in shock. Roode slaps on a half crab with torque. Nakamura is in agony and NXT trainer Jason Albert is out here. Nakamura manages to counter but his triangle choke fails. Roode hits another implant DDT and takes the title.
Winner: Bobby Roode in 27:04
This one is hard to rate. The early portions were largely very dull and a lot of this match wasn’t clicking for me. However, the storytelling was on point. Roode had everything scouted perfectly and Nakamura had to try something to new to beat him. That knee to the apron hurt him and not being able to win with the Kinshasa due to the injury was great. The false finishes in the end were fantastic. They could have told the same story in 15-20 minutes and it would have been better in my opinion. (***1/4)