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WWE NXT Takeover: San Antonio
by Samoa Rowe
January 28, 2017
From San Antonio, TX. Our hosts are Corey Graves, Percy Watson, and Tom Phillips.
Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young (with SAnity)
Maybe it's the Eric Young factor, co-ed status, and already shifting roster, but SAnity feels like a stable right out of TNA in their post-Spike TV era. Dillinger is crazy over here, despite having a one-note gimmick and perennially positioned as a lower card guy. Dillinger gains the upper hand early with chops and pops the crowd by dropping Young to the floor. Killian Dane distracts long enough for Young to hit a crossbody and cool looking flying elbow. Dillinger absorbs a perfectly acceptable beatdown and keeps the fans on his side with his selling. Dillinger saves himself with a drop-kick counter to a flying Young. Eric wins a slugfest but Tye grabs him by the BEARD and mounts a comeback. Dillinger's top rope suplex sets up a great near fall. Dillinger fights off SAnity interference and counters Young's wheelbarrow suplex for a roll-up. The Tye-Breaker connects, but Alexander Wolfe puts Eric's foot on the ropes. Dillinger wipes SAnity out with a flying crossbody. Young counters a second crossbody and nails his wheelbarrow suplex for the win at 10:55. Solid opening contest that got the crowd going and solidifies SAnity as a dangerous faction, **1/2.
Winner: Eric Young
-NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura warms up backstage.
Andrade Almas vs. Roderick Strong
It's a little weird seeing Strong enter without his Misery Signals theme, but his new music maintains the machine gun drum beat, with a nice added piano opening. These guys maintain a blistering pace from the opening bell, clearly looking to steal the show, which is good as NXT badly needs some fresh star power. They throw some stiff shots and Almas fakes Strong out with a charge but slaps him in the face instead. Almas hangs Strong over the ropes to hyperextend the arm, maybe to take Strong's chopping out of the equation. Roderick counters with a slam and chops with his good arm. Strong goes on a kicking spree, with a face buster thrown in for good measure. The match transitions into a strong style slugfest that leaves both men exhausted. After having his previous backbreakers blocked, Strong drops Almas back-first onto the top turnbuckle! Almas hip tosses Roderick into the corner and looks poised for victory, but Strong slams him into place for a Sick Kick and the win at 11:40! Great work-rate driven match that makes a statement about the state of NXT going forward, ***3/4.
Winner: Roderick Strong
-The glorious Bobby Roode is lost in thought backstage.
NXT Tag Team Championship:
DIY © (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar, with Paul Ellering)
DIY are such a great example of why NXT works: two guys who were not expected to make it in the WWE cast as underdogs who have to scratch and claw for everything they get, and in the fans get behind them on a personal level because of the blending in of the real life strugge of the wrestlers themselves. This situation has allowed DIY to reach the five star level in their previous feud with The Revival and why there is a nervous energy in the building over this title defense against the Authors of Pain (two guys who more closely fit the mold for what WWE looks for in their developmental talent). This is good stuff all around.
DIY are at a huge size disadvantage and work extra hard to showcase their speed and experience. Still, Gargano gets swatted away with a spear through the ropes and his punches have little effect on Rezar. DIY manage to clear the ring and Gargano hits consecutive suicide dives while Ciampa delivers a flying knee off the apron. Gargano gets knocked off the apron into the guard rail and unceremoniously dumped into the ring for the heat sequence. Ciampa eventually gets a hot tag and cleans house as best he can against two much bigger men, catching them both with consecutive German suplexes! Akom reacts defiantly to Ciampa's still offense and flips him with a clothesline. One Author gets tossed while the other eats a double DIY spear. Akom escapes a double team and the Authors hits a neckbreaker/powerbomb combo on Ciampa for a well-earned false finish. Gargano saves Ciampa from The Last Chapter with a superkick and DIY both lock on submission holds to recreate the finish to their championship victory over The Revival. Rezar breaks out and slams Gargano onto Ciampa to break the submission! DIY are in survivla mode and throw shots on their knees and but the Authors counter their slams with a Super Collider! Ciampa suffers The Last Chapter for and the Authors win the championships at 14:30! That finish just sucked the life out of the building, but I would argue in a good way, as beloved babyface champions have been dethroned. This was an outstanding big guys vs. little guys match, and it would be too easy to say that DIY carried the Authors, because the big men played their parts to perfection and were in all the right places at all the right times and executed their power moves very well. Great match that delivered an emotional punch, ****.
Winners and new NXT Tag Team Champions: The Authors of Pain
-Seth Rollins crashes the party and calls out Triple H. Rollins looks unhinged and the fans eat up the surprise. Triple H has Seth thrown out by security, though Seth does an admirable job fighting them for a while. Cool little moment.
NXT Women's Championship:
Asuka © vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross
This match feels like a stop-gate chapter in the story of Asuka's title reign in that she has chased off every credible challenger and now a fresh crop of faces are stepping up to dethrone her (and Ember Moon hasn't been heated up enough yet. The evil Aussies try to pick their spots but Asuka takes them both down with a bulldog/DDT combo and has a stand-off with Cross. The Aussies return for a double team but Asuka German suplexes them both at once. Cross takes a German for a near fall but answers with a straight jacket neckbreaker. Cross puts Asuka to sleep with a spinning DDT off the apron. Cross wipes out the Aussies with a flying crossbody and they take the fight over to the stage. Kay and Royce suplex Cross off the announce table through a second table and sprint back to the ring to finish off Asuka. In a rare display of teamwork, the Aussies take turns trying to pin Asuka without stopping each other. Asuka goes nuts with tornado kicks and pins Royce at 9:55. This was a far cry from the classic NXT women's matches, but considering the circumstances, they pulled out enough stunts and creativity for a memorable little stunt show. Good enough for a stop-gap match that maintains Asuka's status as a dominant champion, **1/2.
Winner and still NXT Women's Champion: Asuka
-Bobby Roode gets an extra special entrance with a flock of ladies. Somewhere, Ric Flair is jealous.
Shinsuke Nakamura © vs. Bobby Roode
The very nature of the NXT format is that the roster will constantly turn over, so it's pretty impressive to me that they can still have a big fight main event on a Takeover special in 2017. They pace themselves for a long battle, with a feeling out process and taunting. As you know, Roode works like an old-school heel, and wrestles like he's trying to win a fight and not pop the crowd. Without his fan-favorite entrance, he might get shrugged off by a fanbase that prefers flashier in-ring work, but he's winning the fans over as a villain worth getting invested in. The fans love Nakamura and pop for his flashes of showmanship while exchanging holds. Roode puts himself in the driver's seat by knocking Nakamura off the top rope in sickening fashion and repeatedly smashing him into the ring steps. Roode looks appropriately arrogant and ruthless while dishing out a beatdown, but Nakamura inevitably makes a comeback with repeated kicks and knees to the head. Shinsuke misses a running knee and Roode snaps his neck onto the top rope. Shinsuke tries again successfully and nails an exploder suplex! Roode plays dead to sucker Nakamura in for a rollup and hits the Backstabber for a near fall. Nakamura slams Roode off the top rope and sets him up for Kinshasa, but Roode counters and nearly pins him with his feet on the ropes. Nakamura absorbs chops but dangles his arms to play mind games and mounts a strong comeback, rolling into a cross armbreaker/triangle choke. Roode powers out, takes a Kinshasa, but kicks out! Shinsuke injures his own knee delivering a flying kick onto the apron. Nakamura limps into a Kinshasa, but writhes in pain on the canvas instead of making a cover. The medical team checks on Shinsuke and it looks as if they might call off the match, but Nakamura insists on returning to the ring, only for Roode to power into a Glorious DDT, but NAKAMURA KICKS OUT! Roode takes a moment ot recollect his emotions and locks Nakamura's hurt leg into a half-crab. Shinsuke frees himself, but a second Glorious DDT finishes it at 27:15. A lot of fans are bummed out by that finish, but you know what, you're SUPPOSED to feel sad when a heel defeats a babyface! Also, a lot of fans are happy with the finish, as Roode got a lot of cheers during the match. For some reason, I was so much more into this match on my second viewing, fully knowing the outcome and all, it told a complete story from bell to bell, and was a great way to position Bobby Roode was the lead heel champion, ****.
Winner and new NXT Champion: Bobby Roode
Final Thoughts: This was another great Takeover special that a lot of fans have been sleeping on. I severely underrated it on my live viewing and am glad I took the time to give it a formal review. If you felt the same way I did initially, you might be well-served to give it a second chance. Big Thumb's Up!
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