Saturday, November 19th, 2016
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
After a stellar video package chronicling the history of WWF/WWE in Toronto, including the Maple Leaf Gardens and Sky Dome shows, Tom Phillips & Corey Graves introduce the show.
Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger
A choir of young people (I’m officially old enough to refer to kids as such) sang Roode’s theme song before he made his entrance. It was dare I say…Glorious. Really good hometown (or home country) pop for Dillinger. This was a solid, well worked, safe, traditional match. I dug it, and it worked! Great finishing sequence leading to Roode getting the win after hitting his DDT. Roode’s roll continues. Call up Dillinger already. ***
The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) vs. TM-61 (Nick Miller and Shane Thorne)
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament final with Paul Ellering suspended above the ring inside a cage
Man, I feel bad for the fans sitting behind that cage rig on the left side of the ring. It’s a bit obtrusive to say the least. It actually makes me wonder what the NWA used to hold up the manager shark cage in the 80’s? That contraption obviously wasn’t used. I bet there were just like four jobbers on the opposite side in a dark corner, just holding it up with a chain. It was probably the same saps who had to carry out the Macho King & Queen Sherri to the ring. These are the big, important questions, folks.
Oh, AOP win and earn the trophy this year. No surprise there. I do like how AOP attempted to cheat, even though they don’t have to. I mean, why not try? Solid match between two big guys and two athletic dudes. **1/2
Triple H, William Regal and Dusty Rhodes present the trophy and pose for photos.
The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) (c) vs. #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa)
Two-out-of-three falls match for the NXT Tag Team Championship
Ok, I’m gonna cut to the chase. This. Match. Was. Beautiful. Just perfect in every way. I totally bought into everything. The crowd was going nuts. I was going nuts (much to my dog’s bewilderment). The third fall truly provided a sudden death feel. The third fall goes to Ciampa and Gargano, as they finally dethrone the Revival to capture the tag team belts. I will be sad when this feud is over. *****
Asuka (c) vs. Mickie James
for the NXT Women’s Championship
The outfits in this match were overwhelming. Mickie had neon blue bell bottoms that Jan Brady in space would be jealous of. Asuka is something along the lines of David Bowie mating with a Pikachu. Anyway, I liked the psychology of this match. Mickie the veteran, one step ahead, but the vicious Asuka just never letting her guard down. Asuka wins and retains with a chokehold after Mickie taps. Mickie gets emotional after the fans demonstrate a show of respect for her. *** 1/2
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship
Once you thought Nakamura’s entrance couldn’t get more grand, they find a way. An extended entrance complete with multiple violinists surrounding Nakamura is just awe inspiring. As for Joe…he was just different tonight, man. There was a vibe he was given off that was having me almost telegraphing the ending. I really liked this match more than Brooklyn, and was shocked over the outcome. Joe takes the title back, becoming the only two time NXT Champion. ****
Let the speculation begin. Does Nak get called up now? If so, which brand? When? Whom does he feud with? If and when called up, will WWE get it right? There are a lot of uncertainties with what the next step is for a talent like Nakamura. Vince McMahon’s track record with broken english speaking minorities speaks for itself. We have reason to be cautious and anxious about Nakamura’s pending roster call up, but just like that graduating child leaving home, you have to let them spread their wings, and try to make it on their own. Nakamura can’t flounder in NXT for long. He has only so many bumps on his bump card left, and a call up now seems more appropriate now than ever. Just in time for Wrestlemania season.