This show had a lot to live up to, considering how strong Takeover: Brooklyn was las year. Well, I think it’s safe to say they didn’t disappoint.
No Way Jose vs Austin Aries
The konga line Jose formed was a great way to make his normal entrance special. It didn’t need any extra gimmicks, just extra people.
Wrestling wise, I wasn’t too sure how good the match would be, but once it started I was having a blast. The two didn’t work anything complicated, but they their simple use of punches and slaps were effective. In fact, hard hits seemed to be the theme of this match, and it worked well.
For a match that was worked at a slow pace, that suicide dive from Aries caught me off guard. A few minutes before and directly after that spot, these two did a great job at toying with the crowd. There were at least four moments where I believed the match was coming to an end. The actual finish was well done. Once it was over, Jose didn’t look weak in defeat (he still dominated the match), but Aries was still able to stand tall as clever veteran.
I don’t think anybody foresaw Hideo Itami saving Jose during the post match beat down. It was probably the most pleasant surprise on this show. Along with that, I’m sure made every fan at home mark out right when he hit the GTS on Aries.
Billie Kay vs Ember Moon
Did they change Kay’s entrance theme? I actually much preferred her older one than what they played on this show. Ember Moon’s entrance was like something I’ve never seen before. The lighting and the tron were done perfectly. Also, her scarf and eyes gave her one of the most badass looks in the women’s division.
After the entrances were done, I can’t say I was drawn into the match. It had some great moments, but without a strong story matches like this can lose the viewer. I won’t lie, there were moments where I zoned out. At least Ember was still able to showcase her strengths during this match. Her finisher is absolutely magnificent, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of that.
Bobby Roode vs Andrade Almas
Similar to the last match, this one was lacking a strong story. However, this had a lot more going for it because it was Roode’s debut. In fact, Roode’s debut was such a big deal that in the early part of this match, Almas felt like an after thought. I’m glad that was only in the first few minutes, because Cien found a way to make himself noticeable by mocking Bobby and showcasing his great talent.
The pacing to this match wasn’t fast, although it was quite smooth and crisp. Cien’s acrobatic style perfectly matched Roode’s technical/powerhouse style. The highlight of the match wasn’t a move, but a reversal, and it was Andrade’s moonsault counter on the top rope. My jaw dropped, because something like that couldn’t have been easy to do.
Unlike other big matches, I’m glad these two didn’t over use near falls, as that made every move feel much more significant. I was under the assumption that Roode would cheat to win, but I’m glad he didn’t. His clean win over Almas makes him look like the threat he should be.
Tomasso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs The Revival
The heel-babyface dynamic in this match was amazing, as each team played their roles well. Gargano and Ciampa especially did a great job at playing up this crowd. The two know how over they currently are, so why not take advantage of it while they can? I’m not sure if anybody else noticed, but this didn’t follow the typical tag team match formula. When Ciampa was being cornered, it didn’t feel as generic as most tag matches do. He was actually able to put up a fight during the two on one situations.
The last few minutes of this match were extremely intense, and the two teams truly milked the close pins. Going into the match, I was so confident that we’d see new champs, but towards the end I began to doubt myself. For a match that was so strong, I can’t say that the finish was. Out of all the title matches on this show, this was truly the one that deserved a title switch. Seeing the Revival retain just unnatural and anticlimactic. Story wise, this finish didn’t work.
Asuka vs Bayley
I mentioned in my predictions that this was the most predictable match of the weekend, but once it started, the two managed to pull me in. The story between in this feud is quite unique, and it’s not something we normally see.
Asuka’s early dominance over Bayley impressive, because she looked like a monster, even though she’s smaller. She was able to toy with Bayley like no one else has before. The first half of the match was quite formulaic (it was too easy to tell when momentum was changing), but thankfully they switched that in the second half. In fact, the last half of the contest made reconsider my predictions. I guess good wrestlers will always find a way to make a predictable match not so predictable.
The two did put on a great match, but I think they went with the right finish for this match. In the grand picture, this was more of a send off for Bayley to the main roster. Watching her hug friends and family was pretty emotional, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe
The only thing different about Shinsuke’s entrance was the violin, and it was awesome. It was such a small change, yet it added so much to his signature entrance. Initially, I was going for Joe, but after seeing Nakamura make his way out, I felt conflicted.
Apart from the go home show, these two have done such a good job at creating tension between each other that once they stood face to face I began marking out. Even though they started off slow, the two knew how to make their hatred apparent. They took that slow maniacal pace, and turned it into a hard hitting affair. The transitions in this were seamless. Both men are known for delivering stiff hits, and it was great to see them deliver on that. For me, watching these two wreslte a “strong style” is what I was looking forward to the most. There were many knees delivered in this match, but Joe’s knee to a sitting Nakamura was definitely the highlight. That spot looked too real, and it blew my mind.
They could have easily had Joe dominate the entire match, but he didn’t, in fact the momentum was quite back and forth. I truly believe that showed how equal both men were. This type of pacing made the result completely unpredictable. I was pretty certain that Joe would go over, but I was happy to see Nakamura stand tall. The finish was natural and cathartic.
This may have been the most well balanced Takeover I’ve ever seen. Just about all matches were equally as strong, and that type of consistency made the show flow well. The low point of the show was Kay vs Moon, while the high point was Joe vs Nakamura. Overall, I give this show a solid 8/10.