On Saturday, Toronto native Bobby Roode competed in his last match under the World Wrestling Entertainment NXT banner, with Ryerson as the host.
NXT Live: Toronto entertained WWE fans for three hours in the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The house show saw the Babyfaces (the good guys) sweep the Heels (the bad guys) in all eight matches. Two different championship titles were put on the line and defended successfully.
The show was action-packed from beginning to end. Tye Dillinger opened up the show with a humorous win, which was followed by an entertaining women’s tag-team match.
Johnny Wrestling also took down the much larger Killian Dain in a match that told a David vs. Goliath type story.
Dain was the only member of the Sanity stable (a group of wrestlers) to lose. However, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe successfully defended their tag-team titles in a match that spilled into the crowd, and Nikki Cross picked up a victory.
Aleister Black scored a victory over Hideo Itami in what may have been the best match of the night, with both guys going back and forth, each getting near-fall after near-fall.
The main event saw Drew McIntyre successfully defend his NXT title against Andrade (Cien) Almas in a match where the latter mostly dominated the former before the tides turned in the end.
Despite Roode’s match going on before intermission, it was clear that it was the most anticipated of the night. McIntyre invited the former champ out to the ring following his main event victory so that Roode could officially move on from NXT in front of his home crowd.
“You fans helped build this brand over the last year and a half,” said an emotional Roode, whose family was in attendance.
“It was an honour to do this in front of my hometown, my home country. As I move on to SmackDown, please continue to support NXT. Thank you so much.”
Roode spent most of his speech praising the NXT team and their ability to develop wrestlers, saying that the next generation of WWE superstars was backstage and at the performance centre in Orlando, Fla.
Roode was not the only hometown hero on Saturday’s card.
Ontario natives Eric Young and Aliyah won in their respective tag-team matches with a pinfall victory.
This was the first time that the WWE hosted an event in the MAC (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) since 1995. That’s why the company’s return this weekend was so special. For one night, the MAC took a trip to the past and opened up its gates to a fan base and culture that it hadn’t seen in 22 years.
The same building that hosted matches that included the likes of Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant helped usher in the new era of professional wrestling.
Saturday night, Ryerson was host to history, in more ways than one.