This card was extremely stacked, and I think it’s fair to say it lived up to the expectations. Nothing was over booked, as the WWE gave us exactly what we wanted.
American Alpha vs The Revival
Never before have we seen so much personality from the Revival. The champs were having fun in this match, and it showed. Usually they lack personality in the ring, but they brought some for their biggest match. The two knew how much the crowd loved American Alpha, so they played to that reaction. Their heel antics were definitely turned up a notch. The spot of the match was undoubtedly the german suplexes from Gable and Jordan. It was a simple spot, yet effective in terms of making the crowd go wild. Chad was excellent in his role as he sold those near tags very well. In my opinion, he was the standout. Apart from the “botchamania” spot, I don’t think there was a single thing wrong with this opening match. The finish was highly emotional, meaning this contest was a success. American Alpha deserved to win.
Baron Corbin vs Austin Aries
I absolutely loved how this match started off. They could have taken their time, but instead they showcased how much they despised each other. I’m glad Aries didn’t have the upper hand in the first half. There’s a distinct size difference between the two, and it needed to be shown that Corbin had the advantage. Aries’ offense didn’t come easy, as he had to be crafty. That showed how well orchestrated the tempo was. The spot of the match was Corbin landing the Deep 6 outside of the ring. I believe the roll up pin was the right way to end this match. Aries needed to win, but Corbin couldn’t be pinned flat out clean. It simply made Austin look like a veteran that knew how to win without any finesse.
Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Honestly, I got goosebumps during Nakamura’s entrance. I was worried that they couldn’t create a theme as good as Subconscious, but they did. In fact, I thought it was comparable. It was surreal to see him approach a WWE ring. I wish I was there live, as this crowd was in for a treat. At that point I knew the Dallas audience also followed through with the appropriate chants. I found that the announce team helped narrate the story these two competitors told. This match went long, but at no point did it fall flat. Shinsuke and Sami brought their A game for Dallas. Nakamura is known as the King of Strong Style, and he lived up to that moniker. While Nakamura’s style was present, Zayn also deserves some credit for keeping up with his opponent. I can’t recall Sami wrestling such a stiff style. The spot of the match was Nakamura’s counter on Zayn’s DDT. It came as a shock to me, because Sami always lands that move. I thought the last five minutes were absolutely beautiful. This match was everything I wanted and more. The rest of the WWE will have a tough time topping this.
Bayley vs Asuka
For some reason, the video package for this feud was very UFC-esque. It was definitely the best one for Mania weekend.
These two women were given a difficult task of following Nakamura vs Zayn. However, I had full confidence that this match would still stand out. The two were wise to keep a fast tempo. From the beginning, Bayley was made out to be he underdog, and that was the way to go. Even though she pushed Asuka to the limit, she never had full control. The match did become sloppy after both failed with their drop kick attempts. However, within seconds, the two recovered from that. I loved that this match didn’t follow a predictable pattern. The finish to this contest was well executed. Asuka left looking stronger than ever, while Bayley remained as the babyface that won’t quit. The women’s division needs a shakeup, so the right person won this match.
Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe
I never thought Balor could top his Jack the Ripper entrance, but he did. With the use of a chainsaw, he stole the show in terms of entrances.
These two wrestled a true grudge match. They showed the fans that they had no remorse for each other. The constant stoppages did get annoying, but they were done for the safety of Joe, so I understood. Joe’s ability to continue made him look like a beast. Corey Graves was excellent during those breaks, as he was able to rationalize them. Graves also did well by building Joe to be the biggest threat to Finn. Not only did Joe go on, but he dominated Balor for most of the match. As a fan, I lost it when Finn kicked out of the Muscle Buster. Even though I predicted the champion to retain, I thought it was over at that point. I didn’t agree with the finish. Balor should have won after executing his finisher. Joe’s injury must have been bad enough for them to finish it like this. Either, I still enjoyed what the match.
I’m convinced that this was the best Takeover we’ve ever seen. Every match had purpose, and felt important. Also, each contest conveyed a great amount of emotion, which isn’t common for most wrestling events. If you haven’t seen this show yet, go watch it now. There was no low point, but the high point was Nakamura vs Zayn. Overall, this show receives a 9/10.