Being NXT’s largest event ever, this show extra special. Even the preshow had me pumped. Speaking of the preshow, I found it was done much better than what they’ve done in the past. The video packages were perfect, and so were the backstage interviews. Whether the show was going to be good, bad, or mediocre, it was going to send most fans home happy.
I won’t lie, that opening with Hunter gave me goosebumps.
Tyler Breeze vs Jushin Thunder Liger
Breeze’s entrance was spectacular. The use of the models made it feel much more grand, and it was done better than his last Takeover entrance. Also, this was the perfect curtain jerker for the show. By taking their time they found how to harness the energy of the crowd and control it. Early on they gave me the spot of the match right away, as Liger used Breeze’s signature pose to mock him. Jushin isn’t a young man anymore, so I expected Tyler to carry most of this contest, and he did a phenomenal job at doing so. They used a slow but steady pace with bursts of big moves, and it made the match entertaining. I was fully expecting Breeze to pick up the win, but it also makes sense that Liger would win his first ever WWE match. Overall, it was good match and was useful for getting the crowd excited.
The Vaudevillians vs Blake & Murphy
I was just glad they placed this contest early on in the night. If it failed to entertain, there would still be much more to look forward to. If they managed to work a great match, it would just add to the night. Essentially, my expectations were extremely low. While I wasn’t expecting Blue Pants to make an appearance, her entrance put a smile on my face. The opening wrestling was quite fun because of the quick grappling and proper use of double team moves. The Vaudevillians in particular were the standouts in this contest. I felt they showcased more team chemistry than the tag champs. In all fairness to the champs, they were good at isolating English. Since my expectations were low, I was highly impressed with the finishing sequence. The nearfall after Aiden’s swanton was easily the spot of the match. It’s fair to say the right team won, and it was evident by the crowd reaction. Overall, it turned out to be light years better than their previous match, and I was satisfied.
Tye Dillinger vs Apollo Crews
I was tame with my initial criticism over Dillinger’s new gimmick, but now I can’t even stand him. It’s as if he has half a character, because not much has really changed. Although, this match wasn’t about Dillinger, it was about Crews’ debut. I actually thought this would be a squash match, and it went much longer than I anticipated. To be brutally honest, this contest felt incredibly boring. It probably wasn’t because of the competitors, but more of the past two matches including some sort of story line and this one was just put together. While it wasn’t the most exciting match, Crews still impressed me with his wrestling ability. Not many men his size can be that agile and athletic, but he’s the exception.
Samoa Joe vs Baron Corbin
The video package was amazing, and it truly captured the importance of this feud. In a kayfabe sense, this contest is huge deal considering how strong the two men are .It was extremely smart of them to turn Corbin into a heel before this show, because this crowd was ready to eat him alive. Corbin leaving the ring during the start really sold Joe’s strength, and proved that the lone wolf was scared of him. Since Baron lacks a vast moveset, I was expecting this to be full of hard strikes and some chaos, and that’s exactly what they delivered. There moments of sloppiness, but that was something I also anticipated. While Joe carried most of the match, I’ll give credit to Corbin and his ability to sell. In that sense, he made all of Joe’s move looking painful. It was the right call for Samoa Joe to win this contest, it only makes sense. Corbin needs something else other than just being undefeated, and a loss to Joe should help him.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley
Stephanie really didn’t need to be out there. She hasn’t been attached the NXT brand in the past, I didn’t feel she had to do it at this show. If you thought the Corbin-Joe video package was good, the one for this feud was even better.
It was at this point I noticed for every match the babyface came out on top. This had me thinking whether the title would switch. The Escalade and bodyguards was a sweet touch for Sasha. It was simple yet it suited her character. Everything about the champ just screamed “stardom”. Even the commentators sold this as a grudge match, and it really did add to the mood. Bayley’s aggressive start was brilliant, because it showed us a side of her that we rarely see. I’m glad the rest of the match wasn’t just a technical masterpiece, but instead a wrestling match that told a story. With both women being extra aggressive, they continued to sell the feud. The spot of this match was undoubtedly Banks’ double knee from the top rope. By her doing that it showed she was desperate to take out her opponent. These two took it to the next level as Sasha attempted to break the hand of Bayley, because it made everything feel much more personal. When Bayley locked the Bank Statement on Sasha my jaw dropped, because I genuinely thought the title was about to change hands. I’m not sure if that hurricarana was meant to be botched, but the commentators did a spectacular job at covering it up. Although in fairness to the competitors , it didn’t ruin the match for me. The finishing sequence was absolutely perfect, and so the entire match. These two showed everybody that women can steal the show, and we should consider ourselves lucky that Sasha and Bayley are the future of pro wrestling. The previous Takeover matches for women have been brilliant but this one had much more emotion attached to it. In my opinion, the best part of the night was when Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley, and Becky celebrating at the end of the match. They could have easily main evented.
Finn Balor vs Kevin Owens
Similar to the previous match, this one carried the feeling of a big game. The only thing I wasn’t fond of was how they went over the 2 hour limit, because I was running late for a family function. I loved how Balor just grabbed Owens when he tried to leave the ring. It’s a classic Owens move, but it showed Finn came prepared. Like their match at Beast in the East, the size advantage was showcased well between both men. Yes, Balor is probably my favorite on the NXT roster, but wouldn’t make sense for his smaller size to not be a factor against larger opponents. Considering that the last match an emotional masterpiece, this needed to be a full out brawl, and it was. I was happy to see the two properly use the outside of the ring and utilize the ladders before getting back into the ring. The table spot was very impressive and Finn sold that toss as if he was shot. Did anybody else feel the first two ladders they used to climb were too short? Maybe I had trouble seeing, but it was rather amusing. Owens used that ladder the way someone would use it in a video game, and I mean that in a good way. I legitimately cringed when Owens was dropped on the open ladder, because it actually looked like it hurt him. The spot of the match and the show was Balor’s coup de grace from the top of the ladder. Going into this match I was fully expecting it, but it looked much better than I had imagined. Overall, this was an awesome main event. I had all right ingredients for a perfect ladder match, and it was worthy of closing out this show.
Honestly, that was better than NXT Takeover R-Evolution. Most of the matches contained a high amount of emotion along with skill, and more importantly everything was entertaining. There wasn’t truly a time where I stopped watching. Also, the larger crowd and the atmosphere added to last night’s excellent show. The low point was Crews vs Dillinger while the high point was Sasha Banks vs Bayley. This show receives my highest rating yet, 9/10.