This wasn’t the best Takeover, but by no means was it bad. Since it was happening in my hometown, I was hoping that the WWE was able to put out a good show. For the most part, the entertainment never died out for this Takeover.
Bobby Roode vs Tye Dillinger
How awesome was Roode’s entrance? Apart from anything related to Finn Balor, this may very well be the best entrance we’ve seen in NXT.
I stated in my predictions that this may be the weakest match of the five, but they proved me wrong from the start. These two have a heated feud which is personal, and it was conveyed well. This wasn’t about putting together a technical masterpiece, but instead they worked on telling their story. That aspect allows for the most simple of moves to look devastating. Along with that, even the slow moments were intense.
For some reason, the superplex that Roode executed looked more devasting than other ones I’ve seen recently. It’s can easily be attributed to the fact they didn’t work many “big spots”.
The last few minutes of this match were a thing of beauty. The calls were so close, that is was difficult to tell who was going to come out as the winner. They didn’t even spam near falls. All of that factored into a strong finish. It was only right that Roode won the match, but Dillinger certainly didn’t look bad in defeat.
Authors of Pain vs TM61
They managed to set a good tone at the start with the early swanton from Thorne. That spot was a lot more than I expected from anything on this show. Well, not to long after that, the pacing of this match had become extremely slow. There were moments that just didn’t feel meaningful. That’s strange, because I thought this had the potential to work as an all out brawl.
I mentioned in my predictions how the Authors winning was basically pointless. They wouldn’t look weak in defeat, and the bookers of NXT missed an opportunity at pushing another team.
The Revival vs DIY
Since this was best 2 of out 3 falls, it only made sense for the match to start slow. They were going to put forth a lot of action, so it was wise for them to slowly build momentum.
I thought it was great how the Revival picked up the first fall. At the end of the day, they’re still the champs and it works better if the challengers are the ones chasing the match. After that they kept Gargano in the ring for a long time, and I applaud them for not making his beat down boring. If anything, it only put the crowd on edge for when he’d make that tag to Ciampa.
Not only did they milk the hot tag, they perfectly milked the first pin for DIY. Every time they came close, they just couldn’t get it. However that allowed for their first fall to feel like a big deal.
The last few minutes of this match were the most intense minutes of this entire show. Like most fans, I was heavily cheering for DIY, and at moments it didn’t look like they’d win. However, once they did, I’m sure everybody in the ACC had goosebumps. I just couldn’t help but smile when they were handed the titles. Overall, this set the bar pretty high for the rest of the show.
Asuka vs Mickie James
Even though this match had the least amount of build up, I was pretty pumped to see Mickie James back in the WWE. Her theme song was a serious rush of nostalgia.
Due to the lack of build up, I truly applaud how both Graves and Phillips made James sound like a legitimate threat. Along with that, James herself did an awesome job at establishing her character. This allowed for her to actually build character chemistry with the enigmatic Asuka. From what I remember about Mickie’s WWE character, she was supposed to be crazy, so that came across as natural fit with the champ.
Once their characters clicked, their in ring chemistry also started to click. The wrestled a simple, yet smooth match. At one point, I actually thought James might pull out the upset win, simply because of how close it was. Overall, this turned out to be a solid match for the NXT women’s division.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe
Were the violinist actually playing Nakamura’s theme song? It sounded a lot more like his normal theme we hear week to week on NXT. Either way, I thought that feature was completely unnecessary and felt forced. Unless your name is Finn Balor, there’s no need for a special entrance at every PPV/special event.
Most of this match was pretty fluid. If I had one complain, it would be the lack of Nakamura’s offence. For the most part, he was on the receiving end of a Joe beat down. Both men wrestle a stiff style, so it’s great when they both go as hard as they can. Along with that, we got an awesome German suplex from Shinsuke. For the most part, it was pretty fluid, but it just felt formulaic at times.
I’ll be honest with my readers, originally I had typed out an entire rant on how predictable this match felt. I stated how I just didn’t see Joe coming out as the victor. Well, I was just as shocked as the fans in attendance were. My jaw dropped when the ref counted to three for Joe to win. Everything I thought I knew just vanished, and I’m starting to question my own reality. Does that mean Joe stays in NXT? Will Shinsuke move to the main roster? Overall, I loved the swerve, and I loved how there were so many questions left to be answered.
From start to finish, this proved to be a consistent Takeover. Most of the matches delivered, and the narrative flowed well throughout the two hours. I’m also proud to say that Toronto came across as a great live crowd. The low point was TM61 vs Authors of Pain, while the high point was the tag title match. Overall, I give this show a solid 7.5/10.