Bobby Roode vs Shinsuke Nakamura
April 1, 2017
Amway Center in Orlando, FL
NXT Takeover: Orlando
NXT Heavyweight Championship
This was Shinsuke Nakamura’s final televised NXT match, making it a full year of his career he wasted in NXT before they finally brought him up. In 2016 he wrestled what many felt was the best WWE match of the year with Sami Zayn, and this year he wrestled a completely different match with Bobby Roode.
Whereas the Sami match was more action packed and all about the high spots, this was more traditional with the selling of the knee by Nakamura (and he did a great job of doing that). The match was worked very well and I enjoyed it, however the crowd seemed restless for much of it and didn’t buy into the slow, long build. Why? Because the Mania crowd is there to party and have a good time. When you have a crowd like that, they’re not in the mood for slow builds. So much of the match fell flat.
Fortunately it built well and they were into it towards the end as Nakamura made his comebacks and they had near falls. Everyone was secretly hoping Nakamura would lose because that would mean he was headed to the main roster, which is in fact exactly what happened. And it’s about damn time.
This match is only available on the WWE Network, but here are highlights: