This is always the one we look forward to. This is where we get the ring work we love along with storylines that have been elegantly built with plenty of information put into each one. To be frank, I was really only excited for one match – the Velveteen Dream/Kassius Ohno match. However, I knew I would enjoy this PPV. What I didn’t know was how much I would enjoy this. Prepare for a cavalcade of 5-star ratings. Come with me now as I continue to bask in the white heat of “The Afterglow”.
The Undisputed Era vs. The Authors of Pain
I wondered how they’d tell this story and they decided to go the “work a limb until the person is destroyed. The limb belongs to Rezar and Fish and O’Reilly had a field day with it. It told a great “old school” story that I really enjoyed from start to finish. They really all put it out there. The right team won too. I’m thinking we may see them tomorrow night in the Rumble. As there’s not a thing left for them in NXT, it makes the most sense.
Velveteen Dream vs. Kassius Ohno
I was sure this was going to be an instant classic. It wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean it was bad at all. Kassius and Velveteen Dream brought it for sure. One of the best parts of Velveteen Dream is his ring psychology. The Rocky Balboa knock-out thing at the beginning was a riot and both really sold it well. Both of them worked hard but the whole thing didn’t really add up to the great match both are more than capable of giving us.
Shayna Baszler vs. Ember Moon
This was all about showing Shayna’s unrelenting viciousness. Ember sold it like a champ too – really making Shayna look heartless and cruel. Shayna was quite solid in there and she sold Ember’s damage well too. Even when Ember was making Baszler pay, Ember never forgot about the damage to the arm she’d been suffering through. They told an absolutely fantastic story here. It left me absolutely breathless. In the end, the story is that Shayna’s insatiable thirst for Ember’s pain cost her the match she sought to win. She then lost it and went after Ember again but Ember refused to just lie there on the floor and suffer. Beautifully done all the way around.
Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black
Aleister is one of the most unique talents in NXT right now (the other is Velveteen Dream). He’s the guy who gets the better of you simply by psyching you out. Cole is the guy who will take any shortcut within range to win. In the very early moments of the match, Cole cut his hand fairly badly and had to deal with it throughout the match. Both of them shortened their lives with this match. Of course, because of the nature of the match, it devolved into complete chaos as both SAniTY and Fish & O’Reilly were able to get involved. It was but a small part of the match, though. Most of it was centered right where it should have been. Sensational story told here. Everyone in “Dignified Discussion” loved it and I did too. This was the “Match of the Night” we were sure “TakeOver” really should have ended there. But…
Andrade Cien Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) vs. Johnny Gargano
No one though that last match could be topped.
But they did it. It simply defied traditional grade.
Johnny Gargano will always give it everything he’s got. Andrade killed it here too. Throughout, Zelina stayed involved. Both told a very good story and the match was everything it needed to be. This absolutely had to end strong and it really did. Those two put in WORK!! Even Candace LaRae (Gargano’s wife and recent WWE signee) got involved. It is not physically possible to do any more than everyone involved did. I know I haven’t said much here. Sometimes, a match is so good that it defies words. It just…is. Go watch it and you try to come up with superlatives. :). I’ve honestly got nothing else. It was that good.
It never fails that the NXT gang manages to outdo whatever WWE’s main PPV is. This will be no different. No, really. I know we haven’t even see Royal Rumble yet but this was so good, it is not physically possible for anything to be better than what we got here. It just can’t be done. This was stellar through and through. Let’s see what WWE does tomorrow night. For those of us who saw this spectacular show tonight, they are truly faced with an impossible task.