One of the biggest nights of the year for our precious Yellow Brand is now upon us! Code Orange plays “Bleeding In The Blur on the stage and then we get our official opening and we are off!
Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/ Zelina Vega)
The crowd was ready for this. Lots of signs in the crowd with Gargano’s logo. Johnny soaking it all in. Almas has a little extended entrance as well. Vega is a true vision, but hey, we’re here for wrestling! This one starts off fast and furious, with no let up in sight. The first few minutes contain a ton of back and forth and Johnny Wrestling starts to assert himself after hitting a slingshot DDT for a 2 count. Almas gets in a nice DDT of his own as well when he hits one of an inverted tornado variety for a 2 count of his own. Very solid match. The pace gets hot again with alot of back and forth, but Johnny nails 2 superkicks and retreats to a corner and looks ready to take out the downed Almas. Vega quickly gets Johnny’s attention and throws him a DIY t-shirt, which gives Almas a chance to rebound. He rushes Gargano with a dropkick and ends this one with the La Sombra DDT.
My Take: Great opening match. The crowd was really into it from bell to bell and Almas & Gargano really told a fluid story inside the ring. If this is supposed to set the tone for the rest of the night, then we are in for a hell of a show.
After the match, we see Raw GM Kurt Angle and Smackdown Live GM Daniel Bryan watching from a skybox, along with various other NXT stars that are not on the card. It looks like the GMs are scouting tonight. The NXT stars seem to know it too as they all attempt to gain the GMs’ attention. Returning to the arena, the ring announcer then tells us that we have a special guest commentator tonight: Corey Graves! Huge ovation, and well deserved. A video package then sets up the tag title match.
NXT Tag Team Title Match: Authors of Pain (c) (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Sanity (w/ Eric Young & Nikki Cross)
This one starts in a hurry as AOP (who came out with some amazing alien masks) rush the ring and attack the challengers Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe. The action is everywhere for a couple of minutes and once it returns to the ring, the ref calls for the opening bell. Wolfe goes for a tag, but Young hops on the apron and calls Dain off, then takes the tag. Apparently it is legal since Dain was never officially tagged in. The match finally settles down and the champions work over Young and keep him isolated. Pure power overwhelming the challengers early on. Sanity gradually kicked up the interference and separation tactics and it all led to Nikki Cross getting smashed between Dain and 1 Author who went through a table, and E.Y. and Wolfe finishing off the other Author inside the ring to win the titles. During their celebration, ReDragon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) ran down to the ring and destroyed everyone. We also got to see them hit Chasing The Dragon on WWE TV in 2017. What a time to be a Yellow Brand fan.
My Take: This match was a lot better than I thought it would be. I honestly didn’t think that these combined elements could produce something so thrilling. I think the Dain/Young swap really helped create what the match ended up being. Moving the titles here didn’t make a lot of sense to me UNTIL the world renowned Fish and O’Reilly appeared together. Clearly them vs. Sanity is more of a believable scenario, and I am looking forward to it. If you’ve never seen ReDragon, start doing your research.
Shots of Neville, Kalisto, and Shinsuke Nakamura in the crowd start off the next segment, and then Jim Ross is then announced as a guest on the call for the next match.
Hideo Itami vs. Aleister Black
Huge highlight here during Black’s entrance as the band Code Orange is back and does his theme live on the ramp. Amazing atmosphere at the halfway point of the show. These two are all business as we get underway. Black gets a leg up early on and knocks Itami to the outside. Pretty quick reversal of fortunes though as Itami gets rolling on offense. He seems to be focused on keeping Black grounded. Lots of taunting by Itami as well. Black is bleeding from the nose and we see a clear shot of it while Itami has him in a chinlock. A vicious kick/sweep combination brings Black briefly back into the match but Itami fights off a Black Mass attempt and is rolling again on offense. This one is a war. Black fights out of a GTS attempt but is knocked back down by Itami, who starts yelling at everyone and saying they need to show him respect. Black retreats into a corner and as Itami rushes him, he ducks and hits Black Mass cleanly to end this showcase.
My Take: This one was pretty much what you’d think it was once you seen it on paper. It went a tad longer than I thought it would, and I think that hurt it a bit because there wasn’t much technical wrestling so it was just an extended war of strikes. Still solid though.
After a Summerslam commercial, we get a shot of Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch at ringside. Perfect lead-in for a video package to set up the Women’s title match.
NXT Women’s Title Match: Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon
Great entrances from both women tonight. The Streak is really being played up. The reign is at 504 days. Does it reach 505? Not if Moon has her way, as she goes right at Asuka. The brawl a bit outside and Asuka manages to use some strikes to take control. The champion working over Moon’s arms early. Moon fights out but the damage is clearly done so she uses her feet and hits a step-up enziguri to gain a 2 count. Ember ends up putting an Asuka Lock on the champion but it is quickly reversed into a Backpack Asuka Lock by the Empress. Both women are down after Moon fights out and we reset. It’s all Ember here as she is opening up the entire playbook and racking up a lot of near falls. She ends up hitting a massive Eclipse for a very close 2 count. The crowd is on fire. Ember goes up for a 2nd one and Asuka grabs the ref but Ember dives over him for a crossbody but the champ rolls through and grabs the tights. The ref notices and stops the count. As they argue, Moon lays Asuka out with a huge superkick but still only gets a 2 count. Moon takes way too much time to follow up and is frustrated. She goes to pick her up and Asuka rolls her into a cross armbreaker. Moon fights out and rolls Asuka into a pin attempt but then the champ shows why she’s the longest reigning women’s champ of the modern WWE era and transitions it into an Asuka Lock. The challenge is officially turned back once Moon taps, and there indeed will be a Day 505. The thrill of victory is on the face of the champion, and the agony of defeat is on the face of the challenger.
My Take: Beautiful. All around. The physicality, storytelling, psychology, the crowd, all of it was just beautiful. I think the ending went as well as it could too, with Asuka’s toughest opponent coming up short yet again. No one can possibly stop her now. Just move her up and have her vacate the NXT belt, or have her take it with her and vacate it once she wins a main roster title.
More crowd shots with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe this time, and then we head into a video package for our main event.
NXT Title Match: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
Amazing entrance from the challenger, as the NYPD Emerald Society band plays a short bagpipes and drums focused tune, and it leads into his theme and he comes out. The champion has the digital piano playing on the ramp again, and out he comes in a GLORIOUS red robe with gold trim. Prolonged walk to the ring for Roode, lots of strutting. After official introductions, we are off. Roode is the much smaller man here. As such, he is trying to use speed and psychology to get a leg up. All Drew early on. That is until Roode gets crafty and starts to work over McIntyre. Pretty slow, deliberate pace here. The first signature move comes out as the challenger counters Roode into a Future Shock DDT, but only for 2. The champion gets a near fall of his own with a power bomb, and then McIntyre hits a Claymore a tad bit later and Roode uses his ring awareness to escape the count. Lots of back and forth until a beautiful Glorious DDT out of a McIntyre tilt-a-whirl gives us a dramatic near fall. Roode hits a 2nd one, then rolls through to hit a 3rd one but McIntyre blocks it, hits a headbutt, then follows with a Claymore to end the Glorious Era and win the NXT title. During his emotional celebration, ReDragon appears on the apron and as the new champ walks toward them Adam Cole BAY-BAY jumps him from behind. The former ROH tag team aces join in the attack and Cole leaves his mark with a superkick on Drew and we end the night with a shot of the ROH Invaders standing tall.
My Take: I can’t say I was really a fan of the match, but the spectacular ending slightly made up for it. The pace just dragged too much in spots, but I will say it could be that it just looked like that after the sensational women’s title match. Maybe the women should have gone on last. As far as the ending, it was great BAY-BAY! I like the direction they seem to be going with the ROH guys teaming up, but I pray they don’t choose to FOCUS on them all being from ROH. Keep the references loose and don’t add a ton of people to the stable. I’m really excited for this.
Really good show. I was engaged throughout and really impressed with the way it all came together. I don’t really want to go into what *I* thought, my takes are all above. I want to hear from YOU guys tonight so tweet me (@dom_scurlock) and let me know how you rated the show!