I did a preview last night which can be found here: NXT TakeOver: Dallas Preview. I was much more in depth than I will be here. I don’t feel like watching the event a second time within 24 hours, so I will be utilizing my very limited memory for review purposes.
American Alpha vs. The Revival for the Tag Team Championship
This match was a hell of a great tag team match. This may have been better than The Revival vs. Enzo and Cass match at Roadblock, and that was a very well done match. I think the reasons why this came off better were pretty obvious. 1. The crowd was crazed, like they were extremely pumped, and you could see these 4 guys feeding off of it, especially Jason Jordan who looked like he may have done a line of coke beforehand. 2. The Revival kicked it up a notch in their subtle heel tactics. I know everybody compares them to the Brainbusters and other great heel teams from 20-30 years ago, and damnit, they have come damn close to perfecting their craft. It’s incredibly impressive. My only fear with these guys is that they need a mouthpiece to put them over. I know it’s become the cliched thing due to the lack of active managers, but can you imagine how over these guys could be under Pual Heyman, even as back up for Brock? There are other people who could easily manage them, like Flair, Arn Anderson, James Mitchell, and realistically a bunch of former wrestlers who had a penchant for the mic. That is the missing piece to the puzzle.
As for this match, it was probably tag match of the year thus far. The energy was high the whole match, and believe it or not, the right team won to ride the wave of excitement. There was a scary move involving Gable and Dawson, it looked like Dawson didn’t get flipped enough and pretty much landed on his head. A botch is a botch, but that was a scary looking one. One bad botch aside, it kept me riveted the whole way, and I found it odd that Dawson was in the last 4-7 minutes. Dash would intervene, but it was Dawson in the ring.
Winners: American Alpha
Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries
Unfortunately for Austin, he never was going to get the spotlight as Shinsuke was also debuting, and with a better loved opponent. Here’s the thing, Baron is a legit future star. He needs a few tweaks here and there, but for as inexperienced as he is, given his look and size, he can absolutely go places. He hit a couple of truly high impact moves on Aries, the one outside the ring was a monster move. Most importantly, Baron is aggressive when he needs to be, then milks the crowd a bit for heat so as not to wear himself out too much. He doesn’t have Roman’s boyish good looks, but I feel that he is better than Roman was at this point in his career. I know that doesn’t say much, but you can see with Roman and Erik Rowan, the bigger guys need more time to develop. Austin flipped out of End of Days and got a quick pin. I want to see more out of Austin, and I know that he will have to get used to fighting with guys much bigger than him if he is to stay in WWE, but this match left me wanting more from each guy, and that’s a good thing. I’m guessing the feud continues, which I am all for. They can each benefit from this match up.
Winner: Austin Aries
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn
Right from the very beginning, you can see this look on Sami’s face, he’s soaking it in. This is most likely his last NXT match, so he is trying to enjoy it. He has been the RVD/Tommy Dreamer of NXT. He got a great guy to ride into the sunset with. I loved Shinsuke’s entrance, minus the strobe lighting, but the colors and music were really great. I loved the violin used in his music. There was a big match feel to this one. The crowd was really amped again. They knew that they were on the verge of seeing something special.
What we were treated to may have been the match of the year so far, It’s on teh short list at the very least, at least in the WWE/NXT world. Shinsuke brings a different style and feel to a match, and Sami was a perfect opponent. There was a little blood, which was nice. This match had a lot of strikes, reversals, great nearfalls. My only gripe, and I know some of you people like this, but I hate too many quick pin attempts. Why? Because logically, unless you have great size, what’s the point? If you couldn’t pin him the first time, 5 more attempts in quick succession isn’t going to get the win. The guy getting pinned is able to lay down and catch their breath. The way to fix this nonsense is to hit any kind of move in between pin attempts. It doesn’t even have to be big, a quick elbow or leg drop, just something. At least then you have inflicted damage to possibly weaken your opponent in hopes of sneaking in a win. Think about it, when has that 4th or 5th pin attempt in the same minutes yielded a victory? Never, so why do something that never has success? It’s like, why did Ric Flair ever go to the top rope? He always got flung off. Same principle. With that being said, some people get off on that shit, and I’m not writing this to appeal to you, so go away. At the end, Shinsuke hit some sweet kick that is incredibly fast and got the pin. This match stole the show and should have main evented.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Bayley vs. Asuka
This was a great showcase for both ladies. As much as I love Emma, these 2 ladies are clearly the top 2 in NXT at the moment. Bayley never strikes me as great early on, and I start questioning why she is so good, and then she hangs in there and then she gets some sweet reversals, and then hits a sweet move or 2, and before you know it, you are totally enthralled in the match. That’s teh magic of Bayley. She’s going to not be as good on the main roster as she won’t get the time rarely to showcase these talents sadly. Asuka on the other hand will succeed because she doesn’t need too much time to get over. Her mask for the entrance was incredible.
This match played out as expected. I think Asuke legit got Bayley on the jaw early on. Whenever Asuka would get on a roll, Bayley would hit a counter and stop the momentum. Whenever Bayley attempted to build a string of offense, Asuka would hit a nice strike or go for a submission. It was a great clash of styles. In the end, Asuka applies her submission Asuka-lock and Bayley never taps out, but goes unconscious, so the ref calls for the bell. That very much reminded me a bit of Bret vs Austin at Mania 13. It’s been done other times, but Bret vs. Austin was the best one. This works because now Bayley has a legit claim for a rematch, and the fans are going to be pumped. Asuka looked so legitimately happy. She was all smiles, while Jordan and Gable were more the crying type when winning the belts. All in all, it’s easily the best woman’s match this year, and it’s not even close.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe
Joe is incredibly amped for this match. Finn comes out in an homage to Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and my inner horror fanboy got a raging clue. In the first minute, the guys accidentally headbutt each other a tad hard, and Joes gets busted open over his right eye, and if you know anything about real fighting, you know that area causes a ton of bleeding and can really mess up your vision and has stopped many real matches. The ref is trying to do his job and get Joe attended to, you can tell Joe is getting legit pissed off as it is killing the crowd and flow of the match. he gets attended to so many times in the first 5-10 minutes of the match, and the fans are getting pissed. Here’s the thing, this was a legit bad cut and the WWE made the right call to get Joe attended to. I know it isn’t popular in the heat of the moment, but it’s the right call. If you think about it properly, it actually added more drama to the match because they could have called the match at any time, so there was a heightened sense of realism.
I think Joe got a little stiff at times, probably from being frustrated. Once these guys got on a roll, it was a thing of beauty. Joe is the best heel in the company right now aside from Jericho and possibly Owens, but probably not. I really like Finn, he’s growing on me, but I don’t like how over reliant he is on a handful of moves. I am all but positive that Finn is holding back so often in NXT, but I want to see his full arsenal of moves. How many times a match do I need to see him hit that running dropkick that propels his opponent to the corner? I know that it’s nitpicking, but Finn will only ever be Jeff Hardy 2.0 unless he expands his moveset. He doesn’t have to go crazy, but like 2-3 more moves and I would hold him in that much higher esteem, and would probably have him in my top 5 guys. I want him to succeed. The ending saw Joe use his choke submission. Finn gets close to the corner, uses his feet to springboard backward, and Joe doesn’t let go, but now Finn is pinning him. Joe gets pinned as he refuses to let the choke go. This was just like the Survivor Series, 95 or 96 with Austin vs Bret, that exact same finish. Obviously, whoever booked last night have been watching Bret vs Austin lately. This match was very good, and could have been the #1 or 2 match of the night most nights. It was only #4 for me.
Winner: Finn Balor
On the plus side, I hope this brings Joe up to the main roster and put him with AJ or somebody who can give him some great matches like Dolph or Dean.
Best matches of the night from worst to best.
5. Baron vs. Austin
4. Finn vs Joe
3. American Alpha vs. The Revival
2. Asuka vs. Bayley
1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs, Sami Zayn
All in all, from a sheer wrestling standpoint, this has to be the best NXT TakeOver yet. Others have had standout matches that may be rated higher, but you can make the argument that 4 out of the 5 matches were a 7 out of 10 at least.
Also, we got to see Bobby Roode, Kota Ibushi, Scott Hall, Xpac, and Stephanie McMahon (Why was she in the crowd?) all in attendance at the show. Bobby Roode is a legit talent, and it would be nice to see Eric Young there as well, even just as a veteran to put guys over. I hope that Hall is going to work with the young guys more. They need him, Raven, Jake the Snake, DDP, HBK, and Jericho all down there to give these guys some help with promos and psychology. These guys from the indies can hit all of these moves, but often, there’s no psychology or storytelling. Finn for instance isn’t a great storyteller. Some need to learn when to play to the crowd, slow it down, and make every move look like something legit. It will allow these guys much less wear and tear on their bodies and provide their bodies with significant longevity, and less injuries means more money. Fast flurries, great chain wrestling, and awesome strikes and high flying can all still be utilized, just make the stuff count. I gotta say, Bayley is really good at selling and I wish more of the wrestlers would learn that art form. I wish Bret was healthier to pass on that knowledge, but HBK should be good at that.
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