I just want to say, NXT is the best wrestling show in my opinion. The cool thing about it is that there are always new faces showing up, and things don’t get as stagnant. On top of that, when was the last time that you saw an NXT Takeover and thought, man, this was a serious let down? Quarter past never? Exactly. Let me get going with this review.
I loved the opening package, where the wrestlers talked about where they were a year ago. It’s awesome to see how many have evolved or gotten a chance to shine.
No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries
Jose has a great little conga line for his entrance. I can’t tell if this guy will get over or not on the main roster. Dancing gimmicks tend to fail. This guy is a unique size though, and he has some great intensity when he needs it, has good charisma, and an adequate move set. I think with another year of seasoning, he has a chance. Austin got a great pop from Brooklyn, and he deserves it. I am so irritated that nobody is talking about how good Aries is. This isn’t like my Baron Corbin stuff. Aries is a legit talent. Jose was able to showcase his talents better in this match than at any point so far in his career. I give credit to both men. The match ends with a sunset powerbomb into Last Chancery. I have no idea if that is how you spell that.
I’d give this match a 6.7. It didn’t have enough time to get to the 7 range, nor is Jose quite there yet, but if I had told you that Jose would be in a 6.7 rated match 6 months ago, I would have laughed at you. Austin continues the beat down with another Last Chancery and then Hideo Itami’s music hits, and Austin is incensed. Austin goes after him, but Hideo turns shit around. The fans are chanting for GTS, which is Go To Sleep, the move that CM Punk stole from him. Hideo has teased fans with it, but to see him hit it, it was awesome and the fans were super pumped. I can’t wait for these guys to go at it, hopefully in a 15-20 minute match.
Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon
I don’t know what it is about Billy, but I love her ring attire. It’s just different enough, yet sexy. Well, except for that cape, but it still works for her. Also, the music is really good for her. I think in about 6-12 months, she’s going to be a real star that was unexpected. Ember has decent music. I know nothing about her, but she is well hyped and I liked her slide into the ring. Her music works, she has the red contacts. I appreciate that she is not rail thin, not that she is fat or thick, but reminds me of Mickie James, which I find sexier than skin and bones. Anyway, this match was fun and showcased both girl’s talents. I really like Billie’s aggression. She sets herself apart from most of the girls. She reminds me a bit of Emma when she turned heel and got more aggressive. Both are Aussie’s so that makes sense. I love the Widow’s Peak type submission used. It looks painful as hell. Billie has a lot of good, unique moves that you don’t see in WWE’s women’s division. Ember is no slouch either. She’s athletic as fuck. She got got a few moves in, but that finish of her’s is a thing of utter beauty. She is on the top rope, does a twist and lands a stunner. This match I think will be remembered for Ember, BUT I think it showed that Billie is a legit talent. I’d give that a solid 6.2. It was enjoyable and for the time it had, it was good.
Andrade Cien Almas vs. Bobby Roode
Go online and look up Gargano and Ciampa with Bobby Roode, and you will laugh a lot. It’s on YouTube. Bobby Roode is a legit star. His song is amazing and the crowd is singing. The lights go down, and he is stand on this blue podium, 30 feet in the air. This truly is a glorious entrance. It’s so good. I love the old school robe. He has a bit of Rick Rude in him, and it has nothing to do with the last name. Poor Cien, he got boo’d by virtue of not being Bobby Roode. This guy is really good and talented. This was actually a very fun match. The outcome was expected, BUT the execution was very fun. My only gripe with this match was that Bobby’s finisher is a shitty pump handle slam. I hate that move as my boy Test used to do it and it just never hits. It’s too easily reversible. He needs something better.As for the match, it was a solid 6.5. Cien looked really good in this match.
The Revival vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano
I am going to refer to the challengers as DIY since that is their new thing and so much simpler to type. I have been saying for months that these guys have a ton of potential if they can just get some spotlight shined on them. I prefer Ciampa, but Gargano may actually be a better wrestler. Gargano is a mix of Punk and a couple of other dudes. Ciampa is Feel just has a bit more aggression and a better look. Say yeah! I have a feeling that The Revival will get buried on the main roster. These guys are so fucking good and talented. They have a chance as they are a much better team than The Ascension, but tag teams are beyond tough to predict as far as success. You typically can’t predict a team being more than like 2 time champs anymore before they get split up. You have brother or family situations which may last longer, but it’s nothing like it used to be. The Revival are every bit as good as American Alpha, actually technically better, but they aren’t flashy, and not the most athletic guys. They are a mix of The Brainbusters, The APA, and I’d say the New Age Outlaws as far as how they seem to have good timing to save one another. I wish I could see The Revival against the Dudley Boys from 15 years ago. It would be an amazing sight to behold.
This match easily stole the show. Yes, in a night with all of these stars, this match out shined them all. The close falls, the drama, the final 8 minutes or so was just ridiculous. The crowd was great for this. All 4 guys worked incredibly well. I honestly believe that this is on the same level, or possibly higher than the Revival vs. American Alpha, and I don’t say that lightly. For smaller guys, Dash and Dawson are hard hitting dudes. When tag team wrestling is done right, and you have guys who are cohesive, you can have some amazing matches. This wasn’t a spot fest. The psychology is there as well. It’s funny, tag team matches are perhaps the most limiting type of normal match because you build up to the hot tag almost every match, and yet, it’s this evolving game of cat and mouse. How do they ensure the fresh guy doesn’t make the tag? I always love when the heels cause the ref to miss the legal tag. This match, Dash “accidentally” fell into the ring, and it was silly, but worked. I really loved the intensity of Ciampa having the submission hold applied and Dash struggled to make the save thanks to Gargano. The near falls in this are great. The intensity just kept dialing up to a fever pitch. Then the 3 count, but Dawson got Dash’s leg on the bottom rope. The fans are going crazy. They can taste it. Dash and Dawson unleashed the move that they used to injure Big Cass. Dawson unleashes the reverse figure four and get the tap out. The fans are silent. I see Becky and Sasha standing and applauding. This is in the Match of the Year discussion, and easily the best tag match of the year so far. That’s not over reaction, that’s fact.
I give this match an 8.8 for a tag match, especially in 2016. So fucking good. I hope that we get another match as I give zero fucks about TM61 or whatever the hell their name is. The crowd gives Ciampa and Gargano and standing ovation, and for a second, I questioned if Ciampa was going to lay out Gargano given the Cruiserweight Classic and how this ended, but they stay together, and that’s the right call.
Nobody cares about your self serving Women’s wrestling special. The women’s wrestling revolution has been laughable as fuck. Take away NXt and just look at the main roster. How’s that evolution working out so far? Yeah, still not taking it seriously. It has improved in all fairness, so that is a positive direction at the very least. The biggest issue is that aside from the big PPV matches, the week to week matches tend to underwhelm by and large unfortunately. And as of late, you can’t blame it on the amount of time given. The excuses are no longer valid. This revolution is a mixed bag, and to think otherwise is to be incredibly biased one way or the other.
Asuka vs. Bayley
Bayley is getting a great entrance with even more of the props than normal, and we have Hugger Section signs. Bayley has evolved, and is one of the best things that I have witnessed. To see how she was when I first saw her in NXT to see where she is at now, it’s incredible, and she deserved the praise. Asuka comes out jamming to her music while having this giant streamer follow her. I love how they updated her mask by the way. I still would like to see a feature on Asuka in regards to who designed her outfit. It’s beyond garish, but captivating. I love the Asuka’s going to kill you chant. This crowd is pumped and both girls have a huge following. Bayley knows that this is a big match for her, you can already tell that something important is happening if you pay attention to her face especially. I like both girls appearance wise as they aren’t your typical WWE Diva. Asuka hit an awesome knee on a jumping Bayley. It’s a great big move early on to set the tone.
Asuka’s hip attack at first seemed silly to me, but it’s something I really enjoy now. Asuka is very vicious early on. I dig it. The announcers are doing a great job adding to the big match feel of this one. Like, some matches you know you are watching history in the making. Asuka with some more ridiculous hits, including something similar to Roman Reigns drive by, but way more vicious. I’d take Asuka over Roman in a fight. Both ladies have a great flow to their offense. It makes sense. Logic is clutch. Bayley early on seems to have good counters, well scouted out game plan. Although Asuka is the better striker, more aggressive, Bayley is the cerebral one. Almost a bit of female HHH in that sense. Bayley actually does some interesting strike work herself, which is not her strong suit, but can never seem to get the upper hand with strikes, but grappling, she gets it. Asuka counters with submission moves, which is a thing of beauty. Asuka Lock is in effect in the middle of the ring, but Bayley fight out of it, then hits a Belly to Bayley, or is it Bayley to Belly? It’s Bayley to Belly Suplex per Wikipedia. Another Asuka lock, but Bayley fights through, and Bayley gets psyched up, won’t take defeat. Bayley almost pins her. Big kick to the head, Bayley is up, lays in a huge slap. Asuka with 2 huge head kicks and gets the pin. Sasha and Bayley look sad. What a match though! It isn’t as good as last year’s Bayley and Sasha, but go dammit, was really close, and a different style, and I loved it. The first time I saw it, I was exhausted and falling asleep, and didn’t appreciate half of the nuances involved. The second time around, really fucking good.
I’d give this an 8.2. After the match, Asuka helps Bayley up, they have a hug, and the fans give it up to them. Both are in tears. Yup, you know this is Bayley’s swan song. Asuka walks out and leaves and gives Bayley the ring. That is something that I really love about NXT. When the stars are set to leave, they get an appropriate send off. OK, Tyler Breeze may not have gotten one, poor bastard. The crowd chants “thank you Bayley” and she goes and huge Becky and Sasha. She walks over, hugs Charlotte which gets a funny boo. She then goes over and hugs her mom. Then one last person, Izzy, who is Bayley’s number one fan, who is crying. It was a great send off. It’s a time when you are proud to be a fan of this nonsensical form of entertainment.
Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This is the match I looked forward to more than anything else this weekend. Joe comes out of his locker room, shoves a security guy and looks ready. This story line has been great. Joe had to really earn and fight his way to the top, and eventually toppled Finn Balor. Shinsuke has had a hit list, taking out Sami Zayn, Austin Aries, and Finn Balor. Both are impressive, but Joe has a valid point, and it makes this so much better. Joe has also gotten himself in better shape, which is great to see. He’s one of the best of the last decade and a half. When I first started watching TNA, I immediately became a Samoa Joe guy. The lights go down, and a dude with a violin is on the entrance way. Oh man, this is going to be phenomenal. Yes, he starts playing Shinsuke’s song, and it’s little things like this that make me love the Takeover shows. Then we get the red lighting, and then he plays along with the normal version of the song. I have to admit, this whole entrance was for my $9.99 this month. The fans are definitely into it. I think this guy may be right there with Sami Zayn for most beloved NXT superstar, and Bayley as well. Joe comes out to chants of “Joe! Joe! Joe!”. Everybody knows that he is amped for this. The bell hasn’t even rung and Joe is shoving Shinsuke. The crowd is back to humming Shinsuke’s song. This is great.
The match is very basic, sizing each other up type of stuff, see what each one can get away with. Shinsuke cannot out wrestle Joe, and Joe can’t out strike Shinsuke, yet both are proficient with their opponent’s strengths, which makes this such a great match up. I know that some people may not find these first few minutes terribly exciting, but it helps establishes that despite these guys knowing each other, they still need to see what advantages that they do have. Joe gets an advantage with some holds and mauling, and then Shinsuke gets pumped and hits some kicks and knees. It’s fun to me. It goes outside, and the crowd is back to humming. Watch this match and drink after every strike. Shinsuke has his own form of a drive by, only with a knee, but then missed a big knee drop and instead for the ring apron which leads to Joe doing a suicide dive. Joe slows it down with some submission stretches. I’m not sure that Joe gets enough credit for his speed. Joe sweeps the leg, does a powerbomb into a pin and then he pulls Shinsuke out, and now we get an STF to a cross-face. I love it. I like how Shinsuke has short bursts where he comes back and then Joe slows shit down and imposes his will. They are hitting moves, but just missing the big moves. Shinsuke charges the corner, and Joe goes to do his throw, but it got messed up, I am guessing one or both were too sweaty. The past few minutes have been some great back and forth. Shinsuke goes for an arm breaker, and then a triangle, and then Joe reverses it into a Cloverleaf. and then his Coquina Clutch move. Joe goes back to that again, but Shinsuke gets to the ropes. So evenly matched. Shinsuke nails a bad ass looking German and I am convinced that took something out of Joe. Shinsuke sets up for Kinsahsa, but Joe pulls off the Randy Orton fast powerslam. Joe going for the Musclebuster, and finally hits it after 2 failed attempts, but Shinsuke kicks out. Joe goes for another Musclebuster, but Shinsuke gets out of it and hits Kinshasa. He goes for the cover, but Joe kicks out. That broke Joe’s jaw in real life. Joe is in agony, and the ref asks if he can continue. We get the knee to the back followed by one more Kinshasa. Jesus, Joe is a fighter, I’ll give him all the props in the world. We see the ref throwing up the X Signal, and Shinsuke celebrates. Notice that he gives the 9 Deuce sign during his celebration.
Joe walks out on his own accord, and Shinsuke celebrates and the crowd is happy. I;d give this an 8.0. I was happy with how it worked out. My first time viewing it, I was falling asleep, so I failed to pick up on the nuances properly. Re-watching it, really fucking good. I’d still say it was the third best match of the night, but you could argue for second best. I felt the story behind Bayley and Asuka was better.
Final Thoughts – What a surprise, another NXT Takeover that is an absolute must see for wrestling fans. There is plenty here to like. We had 3 matches in the 6-7 range, and then an 8.0, 8.2, and 8.8. Yeah, I’d say that they fucking nailed it. Best show of the year? That is a tough one. I’d have to really re-watch all the NXT Takeovers. I know that it is up there.
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