WWE NXT Takeover: Dallas
April 1, 2016
by Samoa Rowe
-From Dallas, TX. Wrestlemania weekend kicks off in a big way with a stacked NXT card that is top-to-bottom more appealing than the Wrestlemania 32 line-up. Our hosts are Corey Graves and Tom Phillips.
NXT Tag Team Championship:
Putting Gable and Jordan over would be an easy way to please the crowd early and set an exciting tone for the event. Dawson backs Gable into the corner and patronizingly slaps his face. The fans came to get themselves over and chant "Which one's Dawson, which one's Dash." Gable returns the mocking slap to the face, almost sparking a brawl. Gable surprisingly sprints into a hip toss but manages to set Dawson up for a perfect Jordan drop-kick. Jordan gets a crowd chant that would make Roman Reigns envious. Dawson rakes the eyes but America Alpha avoid isolation with stereo backdrops. Gable goes off with a series of arm drag, Jordan saves him from a double team and American Alpha pop the crowd with stereo German suplexes! Gable blocks several spots that normally lead to a babyface isolation before finally succumbing to a clothesline ambush at ringside. The fans chant "Save the Gable" in New Day rhythm, aren't they adorable? Gable counters with a double DDT and as smarky as the fans are, I'll be damned if they aren't legitimately into the story of this match. Wilder crawls under the ring to stop a Gable tag, but the Revival botch a double team move and get a Botchamania chant. The building explodes for a Jordan hot tag. Jordan is apparently a resident of Suplex City. Dash grabs Dawson's leg to prevent Jordan's superplex and holds Jordan down to almost steal a pinfall. The a series of believable false finishes comes at rapid fashion. Jordan makes a blind tag setting up the Grand Amplitude for the win at 15:06! Fantastic opener that gave the fans exactly what they wanted. That one really ugly botch drags this down from the four stars zone, but this was a major league effort from everyone involved, ***3/4.
The Revival © (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable)
Winners and new NXT Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
-Jim Ross and Michelle Beadle give the match a standing ovation. So is Kota Ibushi and Sho Funaki!
-Earlier today, Bayley was super-nice to some kids. Meanwhile, Asuka practiced her ass kicking skills.
Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries
Man, am I glad that I don't have to watch TNA anymore to see Austin Aries. This is a guy who almost retired in 2011 after not making Tough Enough and here he is. Aries goes right after the legs of Corbin, but gets caught in a snapmare. Discus forearm by Aries sets up a flying ax handle to the floor. Corbin hangs Austin on the ropes to take control. Just as I'm starting to be impressed with Corbin's beat down, he goes and applies a nerve hold. The life is sucked out of the building as Corbin seems to be running out of things to do. Aries punches his way out of a knuckle lock and throws open hand chops. Aries mounts a nice comeback, drop-kicking Corbin to ringside for a suicide dive! Corbin pops up for Deep Six on the floor! Aries avoids a comeback and challenges Corbin for more fight. Aries blocks End of Days and scores a roll-up for the win at 10:36. Aries looked really good here, picking his spots well and working intelligently. I've been more impressed with Corbin lately, but he still looks lost at times. It evens out to a solid bout for it's place on the card, **1/4.
Winner: Austin Aries
-Earlier today, Finn Balor arrives at the arena, sporting a pretty cool Star Wars: The Force Awakens t-shirt.
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE's signing of Nakamura seems to have sent shockwaves through Japan, as suddenly New Japan is locking their talent into multi-year contracts as opposed to their traditional one year deals. This is the closest thing to a promotion war that WWE will likely ever participate in again. Nakamura makes his entrance for the first time and I'm digging his remixed orchestra theme song. Nakamura struts his way to the ring as only he can and it's enough to spark a "holy sh!t" chant.
Bell rings and there's a big time dueling chant. Nakamura winks as a "YES!" chant breaks out. The feeling out process almost turns deadly as Sami dodges violent stomps and kicks. Zayn retaliates with a series of arm drags and dares Nakamura to respond. Nakamura is happy to oblige and starts picking Sami apart. Reverse suplex keeps Zayn in the fight. Shinsuke retaliates by repeatedly kicking Sami in the head. A running knee to the gut nearly ends this. Zayn lands on his feet in a suplex and dumps Nakamura for running dive! Nakamura kicks out of a high crossbody. Nakamura comes back with violent MMA-style knee strikes. Zayn answers with a Michinoku Driver. Each man gets "Yay!" chants for their dueling forearms sequence, bloodying Nakamura's nose in the process. Shinsuke wins the exchange and just goes nuts on a kicking spree. Zayn steps up to deliver a hard clothesline, but he gets rolled into an armbar! The armbar just can't quite connect, so Shinsuke transitions into a triangle choke, but Sami stomps his way out of it! Sami is playing by Nakamura's rules as he stomps him into the ropes. DDT into Koji Clutch by Zayn is reversed into a close 2 count. An enziguri leaves Zayn in a daze as the fans chant "Fight forever." Sami misses the Helluva kick and Nakamura nails an inverted exploder suplex! Blue Thunder Bomb by Sami only gets 2, but earns a standing ovation. Shinsuke blocks the DDT through the buckles with a stiff head kick. Nakamura blocks everything Sami's got, striking the head at every turn. A running roundhouse kick to the head finishes Sami at 20:01. What. A. Match. This might be the greatest debut match in WWE history, as Nakamura just showed a new audience what he's all about, not just in terms of his strong work-rate, but his natural charisma. I see no reason whatsoever why this isn't a ***** classic.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
-Nakamura offers a handshake while the fans chant "Thank you, Sami." Zayn accepts the shake and embraces Nakamura. Maybe it's because I haven't watched much wrestling lately, but this gave me goosebumps. This might be Zayn's final hurrah in NXT and the fans know it, giving him another "Ole" chant and standing ovation.
-Backstage, Samoa Joe warms up to a Halestorm song that doesn't completely blow. They're heading straight to Bayley vs. Asuka, which has a tough act to follow.
-Speaking of Bayley vs. Asuka, the video package preceding it is absolute genius. It spends a few minutes highlighting just how special Bayley is in how she connects with the fanbase and represents a new type of female competitor in WWE. Then, Asuka is put over as a cunning, dangerous potential spoiler. Talking head interviews with other WWE women add to the credibility of the entire segment. It also kind of hits me that every single NXT Women's Champion has been just a little better than the one before, building on the integrity of the title each time. That's quite a feat in it's own right. Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon being singled out on the crowd almost ruins it, but I digress.
NXT Women's Championship:
There's a lot of tension in the air as Asuka could very well end Bayley's reign here. As over as Asuka is, the crowd is totally behind Bayley in the feeling out process out. They sprint to a stalemate, Bayley looks for a lock-up but eats some hard kicks. Asuka scores a hip attack and cracks her leg over Bayley's back. Bayley avoids a second hip attack and nails a flying forearm. Bayley's momentum continues with a flying crossbody, but Asuka rolls her into an armbar. Bayley places Asuka in a tree of woe and drops an elbow off the bottom rope! Top rope rana gets 2 for Bayley, so she settles for a guillotine headlock. The fans are clearly tired from Zayn/Nakamura, but are making an attempt to come alive for this. Bayley shakes Asuka off her leg, but is selling an injury. Bayley still manages a hurricanrana off the apron! A limping Bayley goes on the defensive as Asuka lights her up with stiff kicks. Desperate back suplex by Bayley, but Asuka kicks her down too. Bayley is pissed and viciously attacks both of Asuka's legs. Asuka reverses into an armbar, but Bayley answers with quick pinning predicaments. Asuka is relentless and wrenches into the Asuka-lock. After a long fight, Bayley passes out in the hold and Asuka is declared the winner at 15:12 to some loud booing! This was a labored attempt to have another MOTYC, but just didn't build to a crescendo or develop a rhythm that would allow for that. Bayley losing the title is a feel-bad moment too, even after a tough performance, ***1/2.
Bayley © vs. Asuka
Winner and new NXT Women's Champion: Asuka
-A rightfully disappointed Bayley recovers at ringside, and Asuka walks away with the belt without offering any gesture of respect. See, you don't have to turn heel to make potential rematches interesting. As sad as I am that Bayley's title reign ended on a less than spectacular note, this was probably the right call as it frees her for the main roster (where I'm really holding my breath when it comes to how she's treated).
-Bobby Roode is in the front row and is acknowledged by the commentators. As we used to say in high school, the thick plottens.
Balor shows up not just in demon make-up, but wielding a chainsaw! How can the NXT product be this awesome while Raw and Smackdown can simultaneously be so pathetic and lame? Anyways, the bell rings and they have a hot start with Balor connecting with a dive over the ropes. Joe is immediately busted open and violently tosses Balor over the barricade onto a chair! Joe refuses to have the blood cleaned off while Balor dramatically pulls himself back over the guard rail. A bloody Joe proceeds to pummel of the life out of Finn, launching into a big time suicide dive! The medic team become full blown heels as they insist that Joe get his bloody eye checked out. Balor goes after the eye, but Joe slams him out of the corner. The fans chant "F*ck PG" while the match stops again due to Joe's bleeding. Every time the match stops, Finn goes after the eye and Joe seems revitalized, so maybe the fans should settle down. Finn makes a comeback, connecting with a soccer kick on the apron. Joe blocks the Sling Blade and throws a suplex. Finn succeeds with the Sling Blade but misses a drop-kick and eats Joe's back senton. Joe delivers his powerbomb/Boston Crab sequence and locks on the crossface. Finn escapes into a double stomp! Finn looks for his finishing sequence, but Joe catches him with an enziguri and Muscle Buster! FINN KICKS OUT! Back and forth shots lead to Balor's Pele Kick and they're both down. Finn summons his demon strength and nails the Coup de Grace! Joe saves himself with the Coquina Clutch! Balor flips Joe over while trapped in the hold and pins him at 16:18! Excellent finish, and a great story with Balor overcoming a dominating Joe performance. I think the crowd let the medical staff drag this down more than it ought to have, as Joe is a human being and blood can stop the action in real sports, but otherwise this was a satisfyingly nasty fight with lots of surprises that lead to an uncertain conclusion, ****1/4.
Finn Balor © vs. Samoa Joe
Winner and still NXT Champion: Finn Balor
-Samoa Joe is beside himself but backs heads to the back without any further incident. Balor enjoys his moment in the spotlight. No debut from Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows is mildly disappointing, but what can you do?
Final Thoughts: This show completely sucked and you should avoid it at all costs. Seriously, this was worse than Heroes of Wrestling. Wrestlemania 32 will out-perform this with ease.
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