In the midst of all this main roster/brand split chaos, NXT has been flying under the radar. With that being said, I saw this as a show that would take my mind off everything else. I can confidently say it was solid show that delivered.
Tye Dilinger vs Andrade “Cien” Almas
The new stage for this event looked amazing. There was quite a few changes from the normal set. Since we don’t see many new changes to the main roster sets, this felt refreshing.
I’m happy that this match started off the show. Had it followed any of the other matches, it would have simply been an afterthought. Almas had to impress the NXT fans, and that’s exactly what he did. He’s clearly full of flashy moves, and he did a great job at showcasing them. His double moonsault was easily the spot of the match. This was a strong debut for Cien, and I’m looking forward to what he has to offer.
The Revival vs American Alpha
There was a plethora of great spots in this match, and they were perfect to get this crowd going. Out of all the spots, the double ankle lock had me marking out. Considering how both of them have been compared to Kurt Angle, that spot felt right. American Alpha looked amazing here, and at one point I really started to wonder why they haven’t been called up to the main roster yet. They are beyond ready to make that move. The two know how control the crowd almost as well as the New Day.
I’m sure this loss wasn’t an indication of American Alpha moving to the main roster, because there’s clearly another feud planned for them. What also made no sense was the unknown tag team attacking Jordan & Gable. Why wouldn’t they just ambush the champs? Wouldn’t that be more impactful? Unfortunately, a good match was butchered with a questionable finish. This was too overbooked for my liking. With that being said, I’m excited to see Paul Ellering manage this new team.
Austin Aries vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Before this match could even start, I had chills down my spine. I loved how the Full Sail crowd sang Nakamura’s theme, it was simply a great pro wrestling moment.
Both Nakamura and Aries did a brilliant job at letting their personalities show in this match. It wasn’t simply two wrestlers putting on a show, but more like two character competing to advance their spot on the roster. This Full Sail crowd was not having any bit of Aries, and he played to that perfectly. They didn’t want to see him succeed, so he perfectly worked against that, and gave them a reason to boo him. I guess what I’m trying to say is that their in ring psychology was excellent.
The spot of this match was the suicide dive from Aries. In a time where suicide dives are so common, it’s difficult for one to look impressive. However this one had the perfect amount of build up along with a wicked sell from Nakamura. Also, I love how these two didn’t abuse near falls, which made every big move seem more devastating. Austin deserves a ton of credit for his second suicide dive, where he just ate the barricade. I can’t imagine that being an easy bump. After this match was said and done, these two raised the bar quite high for the rest of the show.
Nia Jax vs Bayley
Compared to the previous matches, I thought this one moved rather slowly. The slow pace was needed for this, because it added to the story that was being told. I’m glad that this wasn’t a duplicate of Nia’s match at Takeover:London. In fact, Asuka was able to get much more creative than Bayley did. She still had to sell most of Nia’s offense, but it was refreshing to see her counter with many different moves. Also, the only advantage Nia had was size, and that was showcased well.
I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering how this could possibly end as both women were working hard for the win. I was worried about a loss affecting Jax’s character, but I don’t think it did. This particular match wasn’t overly one sided and I believe that helped.
Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe
Just when I thought Balor’s entrances couldn’t get more bad ass, he manages to prove me wrong. The black and white paint was a nice change.
Going into this match, the only thing I hoped for was that they’d get rid of the cage door as an escape option. That’s a small complaint, and I didn’t let it bother me. This was a grudge match, and it was essential that it felt like one. Not only did the two wrestle as if they hated each other, the commentary team was excellent in selling the feud.
I found it amazing that neither of them had to take a big bump in the first half of match, yet still made every move feel important. I know Joe’s competed in many cage matches, but I believe Finn hasn’t. Considering that Balor is slightly inexperienced in cage matches, he did a superb job at using the structure. I was quite happy that Finn didn’t attempt his finisher off the top of the cage, as it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Actually, I’ve always hated those types of spots. The highlight of the match and the show was Joe’s muscle buster which led to the finish. Overall, solid match and great way to close out this long feud.
For the most part, I highly enjoyed this edition of Takeover. The show was well done, it’s left me wondering what’s next for NXT. While it felt like it was the end of the Joe-Balor feud, it didn’t seem like anything else came to an end. If they mentioned something that I missed, please feel free to let me know. The low point of the show was the finish to the tag match, while the high point was Nakamura vs Aries. Overall, I give this show a well earned 7.5/10.