Last night at #NXTBelair, I had the pleasure of attending my first ever NXT Live event. As a long time wrestling fan I have attended countless events. 2 Pay-Per-View’s, Monday Night Raw, WWE Live Holiday Tour, several MCW events, many meet and greets. But after attending NXT Bel Air, I can now say that NXT has risen the bar in sports entertainment.
The match line-up for the event was stacked. The night would kick off with Heavy Machinery vs Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. A somewhat lackluster opening contest, but allowed fans to get to know Heavy Machinery just a little bit better. For they are becoming quite popular in the NXT Tag Team Division, and may grab for the Tag Team Championships sooner rather than later. Heavy Machinery would get the victory for a satisfying opening match.
Enter Nikki Cross and Ember Moon, the second match of the evening. As a strong Ember fan I was thrilled to see her in person. I was also surprised to see her in action due to the fact she has been recently sidelined with a shoulder and arm injury. But, nevertheless, the show did go on with a very impressive showing from both Moon and Cross. Moon would hit the Eclipse on Cross and gain the pinfall. Check out the video below of the awesome match finish!
The next match of the night started off with the hometown boy, Patrick Clark, entering the ring. He held about a 3 minute promo on how terrible he thought Baltimore was before his opponent entered the ring. Out comes Aleister Black, and the match was underway. As expected Black would pick up the win. But it was an overly impressive showing for the Velveteen Dream. The Hometown boy held his own against the international superstar and was able to put on a grand performance for the hometown crowd.
Next the NXT Tag Team Championships were defended. It was the Authors of Pain vs SAnitY. A very short contest between the two teams, but entertaining overall. Of course AOP retained the Titles, but it was a very impressive performance for the soon-to-be tag team champs in SAnitY.
As a longtime NXT fan, I was excited to see Andrade “Cien” Almas. I have thoroughly enjoyed his recent heel turn and what he has done for the mid-card scene in NXT. But, as soon as the bagpipes were heard in the arena, all the NXT fans knew they were in for a treat. The former WWE Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion Drew McIntyre would enter the arena. It was probably one of the loudest pops I’ve ever heard for a SuperStar live. The crowd went absolutely nuts for the recently returned McIntyre. He would face “Cien” Almas in an instant classic match. Both competitors are extremely talented on their own, but something about the pair in the same ring together created magic. They both had incredible energy and landed some ridiculous spots within the match. McIntyre would reign supreme over Cien, but it was an extremely entertaining and thrilling match for the both of them. An instant classic indeed. Check out my clip below of the match!
Right before the main event fans were treated to two more matches. The first was Kassius Ohno vs an up and comer from the NXT locker room (Is it terrible that I can’t remember his name??) The best part of that match-up was Ohno before and after the match. He made sure to greet every person on his way to the ring, as well as staying after his win to take photos with all the kids. Overall a stand-up performer and human being. After that it was time for more action from the NXT Women’s Division. It was a tag team match set for Onefall! Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville (formerly Daria) vs Ruby Riot and the NXT Women’s Champion Asuka! To continue on with her undefeated streak, Asuka would get the pin on Mandy. But, tensions rose high after the match. For Ruby still has her sights set on Asuka’s title. The two shared a stressed moment inside the ring. Grabbing hands and staring each other down. Both realizing they have found formidable competition in one another. They both disappeared backstage but fans know, Ruby is coming for the NXT Women’s Championship yet again.
Now it was time for our main event!! I was more excited than ever to see the NXT Champion, and one of my all time favorites, Bobby Roode! He would defend his title against Roderick Strong. One strange thing I noticed was that Roode wasn’t carrying the new NXT title belt. He was still holding on to the older, iconic, X belt that he held for months earlier. I can’t give a clear answer on why this happened, but I find it interesting that the old belt is still being used while the two other new belts (Women’s and Tag Team Championships) are being used. Maybe we will be seeing a return of the older belt?
Nevertheless, this was easily one of the greatest matches I’ve witnessed live. Roddy does have a long road ahead of him before he comes close to winning the NXT Championship, but wow is he talented inside the ring. He matched the 15+ year veteran in Roode every step of the way. He was charismatic, thrilling and easily one of the most gifted individuals in NXT. Roode, as usual, was a shining star in the match. His “Too Cool” attitude and epic in-ring abilities have made him a very dominant NXT Champion. That was no different tonight. Yes, Roode did defeat Strong to retain the NXT title, but Strong wasn’t going to let Roode go without a fight. The two brawled slightly after the match, with Strong holding the Title high in the air at the end. Could we be seeing Roderick Strong as NXT Champion sooner rather than later?
NXT Live was an event to remember! I definitely recommend checking one out if you ever get the chance! For this review I give #NXTBelair a 8/10. Overall a fantastic event slammed with talent and epic match-ups. NXT is the brand to watch at the moment in all of sports entertainment!