For the first time since his championship victory over Shinsuke Nakamura in San Antonio, Bobby Roode put his coveted NXT title on the line Wednesday night on NXT. His challenger, the recently returned Kassius Ohno, pushed Roode to the limit in a main event that had the kind of big match feel that NXT desperately needed at this moment with just two weeks to go until TakeOver: Orlando.
In the span of two months, we've witnessed NXT shift in tone along with the change in its top champion. Roode has connected with fans to such an extent that he's unfortunately overshadowed certain opponents and other parts of the show, making the timing of both Wednesday's match and NXT TakeOver: Orlando, when Nakamura is set for his rematch, so important in putting legitimate roadblocks in the champion's way.
Since making his NXT return, Ohno made Roode his prime target as part of his primary goal of righting some of the wrongs of his first run under the WWE banner. In his first televised match back on NXT, he already managed something he'd never had in fighting for the NXT championship, but Ohno fell short of winning the title this time around.
Ohno's performance in his first match back was top notch, which should come as no surprise considering the reputation he's built on the independent scene and in other promotions including Ring of Honor, EVOLVE, Pro Wrestling Guerilla and Combat Zone Wrestling, among many others.
Nakamura and his promised title shot lingered over this match in more ways than one as the two-time champion was shown watching the monitor backstage waiting to find out who his TakeOver opponent would be.
Ohno was in control for long stretches of this match and hit two of his signature rolling elbows, the second of which knocked Roode out of the ring to prevent a pinfall attempt. That inability to pin Roode ended up being the turning point in the match as Roode soon nailed his elevated "Glorious" DDT for the win.
For two men whose paths had never crossed despite all of their years in wrestling, there was an instant chemistry and both men stepped up to the challenge. With Roode's win, the main event for TakeOver: Orlando is set -- and with Nakamura "healed up" it should be quite a rematch.
The best of all worlds with triple threat tag team title match set for Orlando
Last week, the Ealy Brothers were set to take on The Revival, but before they could get to the ring, they were ambushed by NXT Tag Team Champions the Authors of Pain. This week, they attempted to seek revenge but were thoroughly unsuccessfully as their match with Rezar and Akam was short and to the point.
The real story came after the match. The brains of the Authors of Pain operation, Paul Ellering, took to the microphone to boast of his pedigree as the maker of legendary tag team champions, declaring his two monsters ready to create a dynasty in NXT. Ellering addressed The Revival, but it was #DIY who interrupted the WWE Hall of Fame manager instead.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa insisted that they would have beaten the seemingly indestructible Authors of Pain if it hadn't been for The Revival getting involved and, right on cue, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson made their way to the ring
The Revival, who weren't a part of the last TakeOver event in San Antonio made that a sticking point as Wilder claimed, "There's three things you do not do in sports: You do not bench Tom Brady, you do not pull Michael Jordan in the fourth, and The Revival does not watch the division that we created from the sidelines."
The third interruption of the segment was a welcomed one as general manager William Regal came out to shed some light on the NXT tag team championship situation as it pertains to TakeOver: Orlando. The puzzle had been coming together over the past few weeks and now it's official; a potentially epic triple threat elimination encounter between the Authors of Pain, #DIY and The Revival is now locked in for WrestleMania weekend.
The tag team bar is already sky high, especially at TakeOver events, and there's no reason to believe these six men can't reach or even exceed expectations as they try to the steal the show once again.
SAnitY continues to punish NXT
Nikki Cross was in action this week against Macey Estrella, who was making her NXT TV debut. Cross' undeniable intensity was on full display in the one-sided bout as she hit her swinging fisherman's neck breaker six (yes, six) times before finally recording the pinfall victory.
After the match, Tye Dillinger and No Way Jose rushed the ring attempting to catch SAnitY off guard and make them pay for beating down their comrade Roderick Strong last week. The attempt was futile as the numbers were on SAnitY's side, as has been the case throughout this rivalry. They tore through Dillinger and Jose as the onslaught culminated with Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain forcing Dillinger to watch Eric Young hit his wheelbarrow neck breaker on Jose. Young shouted, "You did it Dillinger. Their blood is on your hands," to a motionless Dillinger.
Dillinger, Strong and Jose will seek revenge next week in a six-man tag team against SAnitY.
Following a brief altercation in a backstage scene shot at the WWE Performance Center, Oney Lorcan will take on Andrade "Cien" Almas. These two put together a couple quality matches late last year on NXT TV as they traded victories, and this helps settle the score
Also on the horizon is a match that developed shortly after Ohno's loss in a WWE.com exclusive. "The Drifter" Elias Samson approached Ohno mid interview playing a guitar melody and singing about how Ohno didn't belong in NXT. This set up an upcoming "loser leaves NXT" bout between the two.