Oney Lorcan vs Andrade Almas
Taped 02/22/2017, aired 03/22/2017
The Venue at UCF, Orlando, Florida, United States
(reviewed 03/27/2017) I heard that this oddly ruled, so I’m giving it a watch. Well, I say “oddly”, because while Biff Busick vs La Sombra sounds wonderful on paper, the overall application and output of both these men in NXT leaves something to be desired. There’s fun character work early on, with Oney putting up his dukes as Almas saunters around the ring and does the Tranquilo pose. When he’s able to catch Almas, Oney lays into him with some great strikes, and while Almas fires back with a good chop of his own, he can’t match the Boston boy for firepower, having to resort to speed and misdirection. Back from commercial, he connects with a good leg lariat and slaps on a chinlock, really cranking on it. Oney turns things around with his signature strength and a blockbuster earns him a two count. He does a very smart thing here, as his weight isn’t totally centered on Almas as he’s leaning back for the pin, so he balances himself with one hand and bridges back as opposed to lazily sitting in the pin attempt even when he clearly wouldn’t be forcing his opponent’s shoulders down. It’s a small touch, but it’s very much appreciated. He follows it up with a series of wild Euros, the last of which sends Almas flying out of the ring. Uncharacteristically, he tops it all off with a somersault dive off the corner post, leading to a wonderfully Biff moment of him rising to his feet and bristling up like a goddamn cougar. Back in the ring, he strings together a series of Stinger back splashes(?) in the corner and his half and half suplex for a big nearfall. Almas flips through a back suplex attempt and sits Oney up top for a superplex attempt, which Oney avoids. Almas likewise avoids a blockbuster off the top, connecting with a Satomura cartwheel knee drop. They start just CRASHING into each other with a series of big strikes now, firing Almas up to hit the double knee strike in the corner and a hammerlock DDT for the win. Wow, this was a ton of fun. Generally, WWE TV matches are bland and uninspired, but this was two dudes who have a ton of skill going out there and working their asses off with a high-effort match. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of the Styles/Omega vs Nakamura/YOSHI-HASHI match from 2016’s New Year Dash. It’s not a blowaway match like that one was, but it’s chock full of effort and energy, which is so lacking in 90% of WWE programming. None of these strikes are light. No one is stuck in second gear. It’s just high quality smashmouth wrestling that makes viewers happy.