Note: I want to have a somewhat comprehensive list of Mania weekend matches, so I’m going to review at least three matches from NXT and Wrestlemania weekend.
NXT has many problems, but it’s way too heel heavy. On this show alone, you had all three heel champions defend and that doesn’t even include a heel group winning in the opener. I’m fine with babyfaces chasing, but it’s hard to get excited about a show like this when the baddies look so dominant, especially given last year was the best show of the whole weekend. This isn’t to mention the age factor and problems developing the women’s division.
DIY and Revival decide to work together and work over the much bigger men. Once AOP are down on the outside, DIY and Revival restart their rivalry. Nigel McGuinness rightfully points out that they should still be working together. AOP recover and Revival allow Ciampa to remain in the ring instead of tagging in. Gargano and Ciampa return the favor. AOP just start tossing guys around at a certain point. Heat segment on Gargano. That’s certainly the right choice. Ciampa overpowers both members of the Authors of Pain. Gargano and Ciampa finally powerbomb Akam through a table with some help from the Revival. That was a nifty spot. We get Gargano applying the GargaNo Escape and Wilder applying a Trailer Hitch, but Razar comes back from the table spot and breaks up the double submission hold. We get some mixing and matching of finishing moves. It doesn’t matter because the hatred is too strong. They start fighting again. Dawson suplexes Ciampa to the outside on all four men. Razar tags himself in. AOP hit the Last Chapter and eliminate DIY. Now the Revival become the default babyfaces. If they hadn’t been called up to the main roster, this would have been a great place for a turn. Last Chapter broken up by Wilder. Dawson gets a roll-up for two. Razar tries to powerbomb Dawson. Small package gets two. Goddamn, the Revival are great. AOP take turns driving each Revival member into each other. Super Collider gets the win.
This was one of the most well constructed matches of the entire weekend. There was a clear story being told, and the crowd was into everything these six men did. It’s weird to think the champions and ultimate winner played a supporting role, but the four stars of this match were Ciampa, Gargano, Wilder, and Dawson. There’s something to be said for having guys be able to focus on one or two huge matches over the weekend as opposed to wrestling a million matches. This was one of my favorite matches of the whole weekend. A spectacular showcase for all three teams and an excellent narrative.
Winner (s)/Rating: STILL NXT Tag Team Champions- Authors of Pain/****1/2