Episode: NXT #228
Recorded: 03 December 2016 (Osaka, Japan)
Aired: 28 December 2016
Match duration: 10:06 minutes

Match analysis

Right after the bell rang, Oney Lorcan offered Andrade “Cien” Almas his hand but the man didn’t take it but kicked it away. They circle each other and finally locked horns with their respective opponent. Andrade “Cien” Almas pushed Oney Lorcan against the ropes and when he had to break up the physical contact, he slapped him on the head. Andrade “Cien” Almas really likes to play the cocky heel and he’s pretty good at it.

They lock up again and finally get some mat wrestling done. Slam from Andrade “Cien” Almas; slam from Oney Lorcan. And both men got up again for a stand-off to the applause from the Japanese crowd in Osaka.

And both men connected in the centre of the ring for a third time to try and bring the other man down to the mat. Andrade “Cien” Almas appeared as the more powerful and vicious man here. And when Oney Lorcan had been able to free himself again, Andrade “Cien” Almas mocked him with his trademark relaxing within the ropes pose. Oney Lorcan though acknowledging that as good wrestling and offered his hand a second time. But Andrade “Cien” Almas didn’t want to have it again.

Both men circle each other again. And when they connected, Oney Lorcan instantly put Andrade “Cien” Almas into a head lock. Andrade “Cien” Almas wasn’t able to get out of it by his own strength, so he shoved Oney Lorcan against the ropes where he had to break the lock. And instantly, Andrade “Cien” Almas reversed by putting Oney Lorcan into a head lock. But Oney Lorcan reversed in the centre of the ring and brought Andrade “Cien” Almas down to the mat, just showing everybody that he is the far better grappler in this match. Good auld English styled wrestling up to this point!

Still locked in, Andrade “Cien” Almas hit a suplex on Oney Lorcan. But afterwards, Oney Lorcan still had his opponent in the head lock, now probably even nastier and closer. So, Andrade “Cien” Almas had to use the same strategy to free himself by shoving Oney Lorcan against the ropes. He had to break the hold and Andrade “Cien” Almas put Oney Lorcan into a head lock again. But not for very long this time. Because Oney Lorcan pushed Andrade “Cien” Almas against the ropes, then ducked away and let his opponent run, jumped over him and wanted to duck away again. But this time, Andrade “Cien” Almas hit Oney Lorcan with a two feet low dropkick right into his back. And he celebrated with himself by posing in the centre of the ring.

Oney Lorcan stumbled into the far right corner and Andrade “Cien” Almas used his momentum by throwing himself into his opponent, positioned him for another low dropkick right to his head and the first cover of the match. Oney Lorcan kicked out though.

Now, Oney Lorcan stumbled into the near left corner. There he got slapped on the chest by Andrade “Cien” Almas, put down on the mat and got stamped onto his shoulders until the referee broke it up. Andrade “Cien” Almas receded into the far right corner and teased a running attack. But right before Oney Lorcan he stopped his run yelled at and slapped his opponent instead.

Then Andrade “Cien” Almas put Oney Lorcan into another head lock. And because of the earlier punishment, Oney Lorcan had to suffer this time and didn’t have the strength to free himself instantly. But he somehow got up with the help of a few punches to Andrade “Cien” Almas’ mid section. But the man hit back with knee strikes and probably went for a neck breaker when Oney Lorcan countered into a cover but Andrade “Cien” Almas kicked out at one.

Immediately after, Oney Lorcan hit his opponent with two vicious chest slaps, an uppercut and after being shoved against the ropes, he used the momentum for shoving Andrade “Cien” Almas down to the mat. A lariat into the far left corner was followed by a countered elbow to the oncoming Andrade “Cien” Almas. Oney Lorcan climbed onto the turnbuckle but had to change minds when Andrade “Cien” Almas came for him. Jumping off the corner, he used the momentum from the opposite corner to hit a beautiful flying neck breaker (?). But from the following cover Andrade “Cien” Almas kicked out.

Oney Lorcan got Andrade “Cien” Almas back up and countered an attack by his opponent into a hard slap. That resulted into a great back and forth game of hitting something great on their respective opponent. And finally it had been Andrade “Cien” Almas who brought Oney Lorcan down with a great move. But Oney Lorcan kicked out of the cover.

After that, Andrade “Cien” Almas put down Oney Lorcan again but not for a cover but to demonstrate his strength by getting his opponent up. But Oney Lorcan fought back with elbow strikes, so Andrade “Cien” Almas had to put Oney Lorcan down to the mat again.

Quite a nice fist fight followed in the centre of the ring with the better and stronger ending for Andrade “Cien” Almas. But the man was taken away from the outcome a little bit, so Oney Lorcan used the little self-made distraction for a high boot right into Andrade “Cien” Almas face, followed by a fabulous inverted exploder by Oney Lorcan. And the man appeared to be rather possessed now, firing up himself and the people in the crowd. He run himself twice into Andrade “Cien” Almas into the near left corner. But – as always in wrestling – he wasn’t lucky thrice. Because on his third run, Oney Lorcan was crashed right into the corner himself. And in this position, Oney Lorcan was hit by Andrade “Cien” Almas’ trademark move, the double knees to the head. But from the following cover he kicked out. Worth noticing here is that the Osaka crowd reacted immediately to Andrade “Cien” Almas’ invitation to clap. Something the NXT crowd for some reason only they know refuses to do.

Now, Andrade “Cien” Almas wanted to finish off Oney Lorcan and teased for his finisher when he was shoved against the far right corner twice by his opponent. But another attack by Oney Lorcan was met halfway by Andrade “Cien” Almas’ boot which brought Oney Lorcan down. Andrade “Cien” Almas climbed onto the turnbuckle but Oney Lorcan recovered in time to bring his opponent to sit on it. Then, he climbed after him for a stunning exploder suplex from the top rope. And that move brought the win.

Winner: Oney Lorcan

If you haven’t already noticed via any of my other piece of writing: I like Oney Lorcan. And that not just because he seems to be good pals with Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. He’s got something straightforward to him that I like. I still find his name ridiculous but that maybe just adds to the whole package. Because when you haven’t heard or seen anything about Oney Lorcan, you then notice and instantly ask yourself: Who the hell is called Oney? Then you pay special notice and you will know.

For this very match, right from the start I already had a perfect ending in mind: Andrade “Cien” Almas finally offering his hand and Oney Lorcan taking it after he’d won the match. Because Oney Lorcan offered his hand twice in the match and Andrade “Cien” Almas refused to take it. Also possible: Oney Lorcan offering his hand for the third time after he’d won the match. And this time Andrade “Cien” Almas taking it. What a shame, NXT officials didn’t do it. That would have been an all around perfect match with a great storytelling. So, we just got a loose ending with our own imagination having to do the work.

But apart from that, the match itself was great to watch. Two styles bringing the best out of each other. Grappler vs High Flyer. And finally, the grappler won with something that could be a move for both styles. Hopefully, both wrestlers’ popularity with NXT audiences further grows and their standing within the roster hierarchy moves up. Then both of them could have a great 2017 ahead of them.

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