No list of Best NXT Matches is complete without a match between Oney Lorcan and Andrade “Cien” Almas. So, here is the one from 2017. It’s always great for me to see those two go against each other, have a great match and tell a superb story. Of course, I’ve got a few words to say about the most recent of their encounters. Find them under the cut, together with the video. Enjoy!
Episode: NXT #240
Recorded: 22 February 2017
Aired: 22 March 2017
Match duration: 10:39 minutes (plus one commercial break)
This match took place because after his easy win over Ho Ho Lu, Andrade “Cien” Almas disrespected the Chinese backstage when Oney Lorcan came to the aid of Ho Ho Lu. Now, one week later, Oney and Andrade revived their on-off feud with this match because Oney doesn’t like bullies.
As always, Oney Lorcan started the match in fighting stance, both fists up to wait for the first physical confrontation by his opponent. But Andrade “Cien” Almas continued with Oney Lorcan what he started with Ho Ho Lu: showing disrespect at the highest level. First he took his time to get his hat off. Then he avoided any first contact and finally posed in the centre of the ring with his trademark lying positioning. Twice. And when we almost saw Oney Lorcan getting his hands on Andrade “Cien” Almas, he went out of the ring. With Oney Lorcan following him around it. Hilarious!
After exactly one minute of avoiding any contact, Oney Lorcan finally got Andrade “Cien” Almas with a chop to the chest. And from here he dominated Andrade “Cien” Almas for quite some time. Then his opponent hit back but had to leave the ring at some point when Oney Lorcan countered. With Andrade “Cien” Almas outside the ring, Oney Lorcan went for a blockbuster from the apron but Andrade “Cien” Almas blocked this move and that was the moment for the commercial break.
After the break, it was all Andrade “Cien” Almas wearing Oney Lorcan down until the latter got his chance for the running blockbuster. One of my favourite moves ever. And it was beautiful. Four European uppercuts sent Andrade “Cien” Almas outside the ring again. And Oney Lorcan went for another high flying move onto his opponent. This time he connected like he wished for with a flying centon.
Back inside the ring, Oney Lorcan tried to wear Andrade “Cien” Almas down with three and two running uppercuts, using the full diagonal of the ring. The third from the second set he used for a half-and-half and got the cover. But Andrade “Cien” Almas kicked out.
Both men needed a bit of time now but when they continued we saw a breathtaking finish with counters and near-falls and finally Andrade “Cien” Almas hitting his finisher, the hammerlock DDT, on Oney Lorcan for the win.
Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas
We’ve already got a couple of matches between Oney Lorcan and Andrade “Cien” Almas and basically every single one of them has been an instant classic so far. Most notable their encounter from Osaka, Japan, on 3 December 2016. This match is part of my Best 32 NXT Matches from 2016 and I have to add the most recent one to my special list for this year.
I love to watch both guys and it possibly was for the best to turn Andrade “Cien” Almas heel. Because slowly but surely, the NXT crowd seems to appreciate his work. It sounds a little racist but as a heel, Andrade doesn’t need to speak English. For a deeper storyline it would be appropriate, sure, but just watch this match and it still works, also without much words spoken. Saying that, I like the way NXT allowed their foreign wrestlers or simply those who aren’t fluent in English to speak in their home language. I always enjoy Asuka going off in Japanese. And the same I can say for Andrade Almas being confident in Spanish. It adds an international touch and in the (as of today) four wasted years of the Trump presidency, it’s great to add those facets to make NXT appear less one-dimensional and racist.
Apart from that, I still hope for a great storyline for Oney Lorcan. I don’t feel that his time has come so far. Now is not the time yet (to use an already unpopular line from Theresa “The Brexitesse” May) but Oney Lorcan is already very popular. The second his music starts playing, the crowds erupt in high expectation and rightly so. The man always entertains, not just because of his facial expressions but also because he connects with the audience and has got a sense for great storytelling inside the squared circle. Hopefully, Oney Lorcan will have a role to play at NXT TakeOver: Orlando. We also didn’t have a Battle Royal for the number one contender for the NXT Championship for quite a while. Would love to see Oney Lorcan win such a match.