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NXT Recap & Reactions (Apr. 5, 2017): It is what it is


NXT returned with their TakeOver fallout episode last night (Apr. 5). Typically, these are rather thin episodes with some matches taped prior to TakeOver and fallout videos you may have always seen. But it doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay) def. Aliyah

Billie Kay helped her bestie early on by grabbing onto her when Aliyah seemed to have early control. However, after that, Peyton did it all on her own, pinning Aliyah with a Fisherman’s Suplex.

I was at TakeOver, but I missed this match and by the sound of the crowd compared to the later match, I wasn’t the only one still filing in.

This was a fine match for a pre-show bout. Aliyah had disappeared for a bit after it looked like she’d be featured more often. It’s good to see her back because this division needs more women. Peyton looked good in the win. While both of the besties are fun, I’m more of a fan of Peyton, partially because of moves like this:

While Peyton’s win is good, it didn’t feel like a big deal. It could just be because this was a TakeOver pre-show match, but it also feels like as long as Asuka is on top of the division, the women can only advance so much. While the Empress is great, I start to wonder if she’s becoming a hinderance to the growth of the rest of the division.

Not that they can’t build someone up by using a feud with Asuka or tell other significant stories. But they haven’t done that, leaving the division to be” Asuka and the rest.”

But that’s just me spitballing. This was a quick match and Peyton got to show off. Though while I’m spitballing, I do need to note that now that she doesn’t sniff a flower, she still brings her hand to her nose, which just seems weird.

They play a fallout video, this one with Asuka. The champion is asked now that she’s won, who is next. The Empress just responds with, “Who’s left? I’m still champion” and then laughs and leaves.

Despite my criticisms of the fact this is a one (maybe two with Ember) woman division, I absolutely love arrogant Asuka. It doesn’t matter who’s next because she’s knocked down all who’s come before her. Her evolving attitude makes her more of a pleasure to watch than she was just kicking heads in. (And I greatly enjoyed that Asuka too.)

This fallout video is like most videos on this show: Some pretty good character work, but short with little substance.

They recapped Andrade “Cien” Almas loss to Aleister Black. Then they showed a picture from Almas’ Instagram showing him partying the night of TakeOver. The announcers questioned his commitment to NXT, given the partying and the losses.

A divertirse se a dicho!!! Esta noche no se duerme!!!! #elidoloandradecienalmas #thepresentandthefuture #tranquilo

A post shared by Andrade" Cien" Almas (@andradealmas) on

This is interesting. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing for Almas. On one hand, it’s a story surrounding his losses instead of just losing a bunch. On the other hand, he’s losing enough that they had to make a story about it.

I don’t know how a story about Almas partying too much will translate to an in-ring story. Nor do I know how it’ll end up translating into actual wins for El Idolo.

The first thing I thought of with this was when the NY (football) Giants wide receivers took a catamaran trip before losing in the playoffs. Whatever this ends up being, it can’t be more overbearing than that story.

Heavy Machinery def. the Bollywood Boyz

The Boyz got minimal offense in and this was pretty much a squash.

Even on a show that serves as filler between TakeOver and the next set of tapings, it was difficult to muster any enthusiasm for this match. These are two teams that we have seen very little of and have no reason to give a hoot about them... yet at least.

I echo my colleague and the man who is usually recapping this for you, Sean Rueter, when I say that while Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight look like they could be fun, I’m not buying into it yet. It hasn’t been enough to grab me. But that’s what developmental is for, isn’t it? Taking time and finding what works.

This was also taped way before much of the crowd got there (to the point that I originally thought this was from a different taping) so the lack of crowd response didn’t do these guys any favors.

Also, is it a requirement that any tag team that has the plural of “boy” be spelled with a “z.” It’s OK to call yourself the Bollywood Boys.

Paul Ellering is interviewed with the Authors of Pain. He says that they’ve proven to be the team of Destiny he has claimed them to be.

Unlike Sean, I still dig the feel that Ellering brings to the Authors and I don’t mind his interviews. That said, this didn’t say much at all. But that was a theme for all of the fallout videos.

The question now is who is next for the Authors? It has to be another DIY match, right? There aren’t any other teams that seem anywhere near their league waiting in the wings.

They play a fancy recap of the NXT title match. It transitions into a recap of the year of Nakamura in NXT now that he’s moved on.

The video package of the title match was well done, which shouldn’t be surprising given WWE’s production quality. This also served as a goodbye to Nakamura now that he’s danced his way onto the blue brand. The video served as a nice recap to Shinsuke’s year, a subtle “farewell” to a man who anchored the brand last year.

While there were some lulls in Nakamura’s year (mainly how his feud with Joe fizzled out), there’s no doubt this was his year. From his awesome match with Zayn, to winning the title from Joe, to his feud with Roode. The King of Strong Style was the focus of the brand most of this year.

Bobby Roode is interviewed backstage and says that he’s already done so much for NXT but he’s just getting started.

Bobby Roode taking credit for everything NXT has accomplished is superb. He’s the perfect douchebag heel.

Unlike the other divisions, I’m excited to think about who may be facing him next. There’s plenty of options: A returning Hideo Itami, a rematch with Kassius Ohno, Drew McIntyre, and hopefully eventually someone like Oney Lorcan or Aleister Black.

Drew McIntyre is interviewed in the backstage of the Amway Center. He says that he’s become somewhat of a franchise player, traveling the globe and winning titles. Now he’s got his sight set on the NXT title.

I’m extremely pumped for Drew’s return. I’ve always been a big fan and while I’ve been able to watch him in TNA since he’s left, I’m excited to see him in NXT. What I’m not excited about is the word that he’s not using the Broken Dreams music. In fact that makes me unreasonably upset. How do you have this awesome theme and not use it? C’mon now!

Oney Lorcan is set to face a mysterious opponent who turns out to be the unknown El Vagabundo, who walks to the ring wearing a scarf and carrying a guitar over the shoulder. He plays a song for the crowd prior to the match.

Oney Lorcan defeats El Vagabundo who (gasp!) really is Elias Samson when he unmasks the Drifter and then hits a running blockbuster for the win.

After the match, the Drifter is forcefully escorted out by a single security guard.

This was a match I was present for and it was a blast. As could easily be heard, the crowd LOVED El Vagabundo. It was to the point that Lorcan, who would usually be receiving cheers in front of that crowd, was getting boos for telling Vagabundo he was really the Drifter.

While this is a re-tread of the Mr. NXT bit that Bo Dallas did years ago, that doesn’t mean it’s not friggin’ hilarious. Samson walks out the exact same way he always does but instead wearing a lucha mask that has the mouth open so you can see his beard! Nigel McGuinness played it up insisting that the Drifter and Vagabundo wasn’t the same person until he was unmasked and then he knew it the entire time. Classic announcer heeling. When the female security guard came to remove him from the building, he laughed her off until she forced him to the back.

With rumor that maybe they don’t want to call Samson up to the main roster like originally planned, it raises the question what are they going to do with the Drifter if that’s the case? They went ahead and wrote him off the NXT brand. Is he going to run this gimmick from here on out? Not that I’d hate it. It was hilarious. But it doesn’t have a long life span.

Lorcan continues to impress and hopefully the next set of tapings sees the former Biff Busick getting more time and direction. His offense is gritty and nasty and enjoyable to watch.

This was your typical post TakeOver episode of NXT, with nothing you’d need to go back and watch if you missed it. The Vagabundo bit was really fun and it’s good to see Peyton pick up a win, but that’s about all this episode had to offer. Even the fallout clips, which many probably have seen already, weren’t that exciting. The one with DIY distraught after their loss and the silly one of Aleister Black vanishing were better than the very short ones that made the cut tonight.

NXT will be back in full swing next week and Sean will be back to recap it for you.

Grade: C+

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