With the only one hour of programming, NXT managed to do everything to get the fans excited for Takeover. In this hour, each feud was given an appropriate amount of screen time, which is not an easy job. I can honestly say that this show put Raw to shame.
American Alpha vs Corey Hollis & John Skylar
It was great to see American Alpha in a match that made them look overly dominant. Normally the two compete against other well known NXT tag teams, which means they can’t always win in a convincing fashion. I know many of us complain about the amount of enhancement matches in NXT, but this was a team that benefited from one.
Baron Corbin vs Local Competitor/Baron Corbin Promo
Now that Corbin has become well polished in the ring, he’s starting to do an awesome job at showing his character. This match wasn’t just about making him look strong, but it was about presenting his persona, and motives. Along with that, Corey Graves was brilliant with his comments on Baron’s attitude.
About two matches after this one, Corbin cut his best promo ever. Even though it was a backstage interview, he encapsulated his entire character with what he said. The hate for Austin Aries and he stands for was present. It felt incredibly real. After this show was over, I became more excited than I already was for their match.
The Revival vs Tucker Knight & Steve Cutler
Was this show taped before Dash & Dawson became “The Revival”? I’m guessing it was, because Graves was quick to correct the ring announcer in a very condescending tone. I have a love/hate thing going on with the NXT Tag Team champs. When they wrestle top tag teams, I get invested. However, when they wrestle squash matches, I couldn’t care less about them. They’re quite talented, but still need to work on becoming attractions without facing extremely over opponents.
Apollo Crews vs Alex Riley
Corey Graves was back it again in with the great insight. Riley hasn’t been a pivotal part of the NXT brand, but that didn’t stop Graves from making him feel like someone of importance. I actually cared more about the commentators talking about Riley than I did the brief interaction between Crews and Samson. Based on the crowd reaction that Elias received, I can’t even imagine the pop Crews will receive when he wins on Friday.
Bayley/Asuka Video Package
How come they couldn’t produce something like this on Raw? Neither woman was on the show, and they still managed to keep the fans excited. This video package was very well produced, and it created the perfect story for the match.
Samoa Joe vs Bull Dempsey
I stand corrected. This was actually Bull Dempsey’s last match on NXT television. Goes to show how much they tape at once. Considering it was Bull’s last match, I’m happy he went out like a serious character. I didn’t expect him to channel his older persona. Unfortunately, the change in character last for a few seconds. Samoa Joe looked like an absolute beast in his win. He embodied exactly what a monster heel should be. Finn’s ability to keep up with his Takeover opponent shows us how special he is. Just about nobody else can go toe-to-toe with Joe, but Balor did. This highlighted why Finn is the top dog in NXT.
There’s no denying that I have some egg on my face. I made a comment in my prediction post that the build for Takeover hasn’t been well put together, but after this show I was proven wrong. The producers of NXT did a marvelous job at making this go home show feel important. The low point of the show was the Revival’s tag team match, while the high point was everything involving Baron Corbin. Overall, I give this show an 8.7/10.