I was fortunate enough to attend the WWE NXT Live Event in Concord, NC on Saturday evening. The venue was around 90% full, holding around 3,000 fans. Our host and ring announcer for the evening was Kayla Braxton. In a somewhat odd note, all the titles used at the event were the old versions. None of the new title belts or graphics were used for this show.
Fun opener as Reeves, who has improved both in-ring and as a character, did some nice heel crowd work to get us on Ohno's side. Elbows galore from Ohno, whose performance was also highlighted by a great looking running neck breaker and kip-up. Death by Elbow gets the win.
- After the match, Reeves wants another shot at Ohno or another opponent. Enter the relatively new big man, Dan Matha. Crowd chanted "Goldberg" at Matha, who came in, hit a vicious looking half Nelson back breaker, and waltzed right back out. Not a bad night at the office for Matha.
You could tell fairly easily who has been in the business for a while and who were still relatively green. The crowd wanted to like Daria, who has a unique look and presence. Ruby Riot has quickly gotten over with the crowd. Although this wasn't the cleanest match, it did have some fun spots, one including a leapfrog by Mandy Rose that led Riot to a spear from Beranato. Riot hit her single leg kick for the victory.
- Backstage segment teasing The Revival teaming with Bobby Roode later in the night.
- Aleister Black def. Andrade "Cien" Almas
Aleister Black just feels like a different kind of superstar. The combination of look, theme, entrance, mannerisms, and move set make him feel special. He has an all-around move set that could please almost any type of fan. Almas, as per usual, did some great heel work. This was a hard hitting affair with lots of stiff strikes. Nice back and forth the whole way, but Black Mass gets the win for Black.
- Hideo Itami def. Patrick Clark
This was a surprisingly fantastic comedy match with a fairly serious ending. Clark's new Prince/Hendrix gimmick is something to behold, but his mannerisms and comedic timing are great on top of his already known athleticism. At one point, we even got to see Clark attempt some Kung Fu and a Sumo match broke out. After several minutes of fun exchanges, Itami hit the GTS and celebrated with Clark's multi-colored scarf.
- Authors of Pain def. #DIY (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
Nice response for the challengers. Crowd never got behind the slow, grinding, heel work of AOP, who was without Paul Ellering. Ciampa was busted open at one point, but doctors were called off. A couple hope spots for DIY had you second guessing somewhat, but AOP hits the Last Chapter on Ciampa for the win.
Asuka dominated most of the match, with flashes of athletic brilliance from Ember Moon. Bit of a slower pace than I expected, but had a nice flow. Moon goes for the Eclipse, Asuka shoves the referee in the line of fire, and Moon as to alter to a cross body. Asuka rolls through and gets a roll-up pin as the official re-entered for the three count.
This was nothing short of an entertainment spectacle. You could tell it was the end of a tour and the end of their stints with the brand, as everyone involved was having tons of fun, and it was infectious. Being in the Charlotte, NC area, there were a handful of Ric Flair spots. At one point, hugs were being given out to everyone, including the referee. Another fun spot was a dual "good vibrations" from Nakamura and Dillinger. In the end, the Kinshasa sealed the deal one last time for Nakamura.
- After the match, the rest of the travelling roster came to the ramp in support of the four stars moving up.
- Each called-up talent got a bit of mic time to say thank you to the NXT Universe.
- Scott Dawson led us in song to Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places" and landed a couple Stunners to Roode, who sold them like a champ.
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