WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 15
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Two years ago, Kassius Ohno left NXT for the independent scene, disenfranchised by his experience in the developmental territory.
Several classic encounters across the globe later, Ohno returned to NXT and set his sights on the brand’s world championship.
Wednesday night, he challenged Bobby Roode in the main event of the WWE Network presentation.
Rarely is the title up for grabs on a regular television broadcast, marking the significance of the contest. With the opportunity to cash their ticket to WrestleMania weekend’s TakeOver: Orlando and a date with Shinsuke Nakamura, the pressure was on both Superstars to leave the University of Central Florida with gold around their waist.
For Ohno, the match was a shot at redemption after a lackluster initial run with Vince McMahon’s company. For Roode, it was an opportunity to establish himself as the undisputed No. 1 star in NXT.
Their match, the headline bout of Wednesday’s show, was fantastic and deserving of the hype that preceded it.
Who emerged victorious, and what else did the acclaimed brand have in store for viewers?
Find out with this exclusive recap of the latest show.
The Ealy Brothers vs. the Authors of Pain
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A week after they were jumped and left lying by The Authors of Pain, The Ealy Brothers battled the NXT tag team champions in non-title action to kick off Wednesday’s broadcast.
The champions ran over the newcomers, unimpressed by them and their pre-match warning. They delivered a double powerbomb and scored the win in mere seconds with The Last Chapter.
After the match, Paul Ellering took the microphone and addressed The Revival. “Revival…you are the next name in my book of destruction,” he claimed.
DIY interrupted the promo, with Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa drawing a huge ovation from the fans inside the University of Central Florida.
“If anyone can defeat you, it’s DIY,” Gargano said. “We deserve a fair championship rematch!” Then Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder interrupted.
Wilder said The Revival will not watch the division it built from the sidelines. Dawson reiterated that he and Wilder are the greatest tag team of all time.
General manager William Regal announced a Triple Threat Elimination match for the NXT Tag Team Championships at TakeOver: Orlando.
The Authors of Pain defeated The Ealy Brothers.
The match was a backdrop for what followed and nothing more.
That promo was formulaic, but it set up a marquee match for TakeOver, a show with the potential to steal WrestleMania weekend out from underneath the main roster.
Given the quality of the DIY-Revival matches to this point, the contest could follow in the footsteps of those that preceded it and serve as a reminder to main-roster writers the power of an effective tag team division.
If The Authors of Pain can handle their end of the bargain, that is.
Macey Estrella vs. Nikki Cross
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Macey Estrella returned to NXT Wednesday night but probably wishes she had not.
Her opponent, the maniacal Nikki Cross, entered the arena flanked by SAnitY for another singles contest.
Tenacious, like a pit bull, Cross attacked Estrella from the bell. She was relentless in her attack but was momentarily slowed by a stiff punch to the throat.
She came back, delivering a cross-body block and three straight Fisherman neckbreakers.
A fourth finished Estrella off and netted Cross another impressive and dominant victory.
After the match, No Way Jose and Tye Dillinger attacked SAnitY. The massive force of nature that is Killian Dain erased the sneak attack advantage, and the heels left the babyfaces lying one more time.
Nikki Cross defeated Macey Estrella.
Nikki Cross is a loose canon and one of the most intriguing characters in NXT.
What makes her tick? Why is there so much pent-up anger in her?
These are questions that should be answered in the months to come. Regardless of the reasons, her frenetic in-ring pace and hard-hitting style helps set her apart from her peers, something that will benefit her exponentially as NXT rebuilds its women’s division.
The post-match beatdown was something fans have seen countless times before and is no longer quite as effective as it should be. It did set up a major Six-Man Tag Team match, pitting SAnitY against Roderick Strong, Jose and Dillinger, so that is a positive.
NXT Championship Match: Kassius Ohno vs. Bobby Roode
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Kassius Ohno’s return to NXT culminated Wednesday night in a title opportunity, as he challenged Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship in the main event.
Ohno kept Roode off-balance early, scoring several near-falls to the dismay of the champion. A frustrated Roode rolled to ringside to slow his opponent’s momentum. The challenger continued his onslaught, leaving his glorious opponent reeling heading into the commercial break.
A nasty lariat finally earned Roode control of the match.
Roode withstood a weak attempt at a comeback by Ohno and delivered a chinlock, hoping to keep his opponent grounded. Ohno fought out of it, but Roode Irish-whipped him over the turnbuckle and to the arena floor.
After another brief break, Roode continued to control the pace of the match. He attempted a DDT but Ohno countered into a vertical suplex that created some much-needed separation between the competitors.
Ohno attempted a senton bomb, but Roode got his knees up. The champion followed up with a Backstabber that netted him a two-count. Ohno fought back and lined him up for a big elbow, but Roode caught him with a spinebuster.
Roode tried for the Glorious DDT, but Ohno countered and blasted him with Death By Elbow. Unfortunately for the babyface, Roode tumbled to the outside, preventing the challenger from pinning him and winning the title.
Ohno followed up with another elbow attempt, but Roode countered and delivered his DDT finisher to successfully retain the gold and set up a showdown with Shinsuke Nakamura at TakeOver: Orlando.
Bobby Roode defeated Kassius Ohno.
This is an interesting case in that it never once felt like Roode was in jeopardy of losing his title but opponent Ohno is fresh off a return, so seeing him lose as cleanly and decisively as he did was a bit startling.
With that said, Ohno can use the excuse that he had Roode beaten were it not for the champion rolling to the arena floor. It is a weak defense but one that carries weight if NXT Creative opts to make it a big deal.
Roode scored a fairly significant victory and is red-hot heading into TakeOver: Orlando. His work to this point has been spectacular, and he is clearly the best choice to lead NXT.
It remains to be seen whether he can beat Nakamura in a rematch or if his reign will go the way of Samoa Joe’s and end at the hands of The King of Strong Style.