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I Can't Odd

ICO's NXT Special Event Reviews

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Recently I've found myself wanting to more familiarize myself with NXT and it's history. Now, I could watch every single episode from the start but I do not care enough to do that so instead I decided that I would watch all of the NXT specials and give my useless opinions as I go. Now the very first live event was NXT: ArRival, so that's where this will start. 

 

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1. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro

The opening match, and also the best match of the event, was Sami Zayn vs Cesaro. It was a fantastic match with amazing storytelling and some great spots, though it felt a bit too one sided and slow for my tastes. Especially in the context of their rivalry at the time, I think it would have made more sense to have a more back and forth match to really sell the idea of these two being equals despite Sami losing again. At the end of the match, Cesaro finally shows Sami respect and it's a nice little moment.

3.75/5 (I am fully aware of the critical acclaim this match received but I feel that this match is overrated)

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2. Mojo Rawley vs CJ Parker

Mojo Rawley easily squashes CJ Parker (Juice Robinson). Pretty sad.

1/5

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3. The Ascension (c) vs Too Cool

The Ascension defended and retained the tag team championships against Too Cool here. Kinda strange seeing them as dominant champions giving what the sadly became on the main roster but oh well. The match itself was a bit meh but it was too cool to see Too Cool in NXT. Gimme a slammy for that.

2/5

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4. Paige vs Emma

Paige and Emma squared off with the NXT women's championship on the line. It was a great match, especially for a women's match, and shows us a glimpse of how good the NXT women's division was becoming. Paige retained here, and of course she would go on to having her big Divas championship win after this.

3.5/5

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Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze were scheduled for a match but Rusev came in and destroyed them both. Rusev used to be this dominant force in WWE and now look at him.

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5. Ladder Match - Bo Dallas (c) vs Neville

Now finally, we get to the main event. Bo Dallas defends the NXT championship against Neville in NXT's first ever ladder match. Shawn Michaels actually came out before it and talked about NXT and the match, which was really cool. Regarding the match itself though, it was pretty disappointing. It was acceptable, but for being the first ever ladder match in NXT, it was pretty underwhelming. I feel like both men were talented enough to have done more in their match but it was pretty unremarkable. I was expecting some big spots like a Red Arrow from the top of a ladder or something but nothing that big occurred. If I'm being honest, the only thing that makes the match stick out is that it's the first ladder match in NXT and that Neville won the NXT championship. It might sound like a bad match from that description but it was good. Just good.

3/5

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The commentary was great throughout the event and the pacing of the card was good. Though half the card was meh, the good is good enough to make up for that. All in all a decent start to NXT's specials.

 

NXT Arrival: 2.75/5

 

The next special will be the first ever NXT: Takeover event that "started the takeover" or something cheesy like that. 

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I've finally gotten around to getting the NXT: Takeover review up. The last match held me up because something came up every time I tried to watch it but I got through it now. This event would go on to set up all the future takeovers and is obviously important being the first.


 NxT_Takeover.jpg

 

▪Adam Rose vs Camacho opens the show. It's only about 3 or 4 minutes, sort of a warm up for the crowd. Braun Strowman was also part of the exotic express exit, which I thought was funny. *3/4

▪Tag title match: The Ascension defended their tag team championships against Kalisto and El Local. The Ascension dominated most of the match, with Kalisto getting smacked around until he managed to make a hot tag to El Local. Not long after that El Local took the pin after the Fall of Man. The Ascension were untouchable during their historic title reign. **

▪NOC Match: Tyler Breeze and Sami Zayn had a number one contender's match and it was my kinda match. It was highly competitive and had a great pace. There were some great spots in there with the match really kicking up every time Sami Zayn got in control. Breeze wins off what seems like a sort of unintentional low blow leading him to the win and protecting Zayn. ****

▪There was a segment where Rusev and Lana came out and it was just typical foreign heel crap. Mojo Rawley came out to defend America or whatever and got crushed by Rusev. Kinda weird how Rusev was still making appearances on NXT and the main roster.

▪Women's Championship match: After Paige won the Diva's title she was forced to vacate the NXT women's championship, leading to a tournament for the title. The finals would end up coming down to Charlotte and Natalya. Before the match itself, Paige came out and talked the division and title up or whatever. The match was kind of built around the idea of Hart vs Flair, and even had Bret and Ric in the women's corners. This was a fantastic match and really showed how good the women in NXT actually were. It was just proper wrestling plain and simple, and both women looked great. Ric looked really into the match at ringside which added to it, but unfortunately Bret looked disinterested to me which was annoying. The finish wad Charlotte hitting the Natural Selection instead of one of the legendary submissions, but hey. After the match everyone came in and hugged, nice little moment. ***1/2

▪Adrian Neville (c) vs Tyson Kidd: thought that Zayn vs Breeze would easily be match of the night but my god did this match deliver far more than I expected. Both men are extremely talented men and put on an absolutely fantastic match. Plenty of back and forth action with a couple nice spots mixed in. This match really showed the best of both competitors. It's a shame what happened to Tyson and that Neville refuses to wrestle now but at least we can go back to see these kinds of matches. Neville ultimately retains and Tyson refuses to shake hands. ****

The event was great and the only thing that I think could be considered actually bad is the opening match because it felt like it didn't belong at all compared to the rest of the card. Definitely a step up from the previous NXT event with some great matches and such.

NXT Takeover: ***

The next event will be NXT Takeover Fatal 4Way, where Adrian Neville defends the NXT championship against Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and Tyson Kidd

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NXT Takeover Fatal 4Way

NXT_Fatal_4-Way_Poster.jpg

▪The event was opened with the longest reigning tag team champions in NXT The Ascension defending against the Lucha Dragons. It was a fun, well paced tag match with the Lucha Dragons getting the upset to dethrone The Ascension. Sin Cara turned out to be a better partner for Kalisto than El Local was. ***

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▪Baron Corbin vs CJ Parker: There was another CJ Parker squash at this takeover. The match was like half a minute and was purely to build Corbin. Thank God Robinson has made it in Japan. *

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▪Enzo Amore vs Sylvester LeFort: This was a hair vs hair match and Enzo deserved to lose for his God awful haircut. The match was short and boring, ending with Enzo rolling up his opponent, but the match itself was never all that important compared to the stipulation. Sylvester gets saved by his buddy and repays him by running off and letting him get covered in Enzo&Cass' special hair loss goop. Later in the night they find him and expose his now bald head. Pretty funny moment, Enzo and Cass were a good pair. *1/2

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▪Hideo Itami debuted as NXT's newest signee and The Ascension came out, starting the feud Itami would have with them. He was such a big deal and those injuries really threw off what was gonna be a great run in NXT.

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▪Mojo Rawley vs Bull Dempsey: Ughhh, two squash matches on one card. Dempsey beat Mojo in a minute, great. *

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▪Charlotte (c) vs Bayley: This was a decent match, not the best they can do, but still enjoyable. Charlotte worked Bayley over most the match but Bayley got a couple spots in, most notably a top rope hurricanrana. Charlotte won with the Natural Selection, continuing her reign. Sasha came out to beat a downed Bayley but Charlotte ran her off. ***

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▪Adrian Neville (c) vs Sami Zayn vs Tyson Kidd vs Tyler Breeze:

This was the first fatal fourway in NXT, hence the event name, and it delivered. All 4 men looked good and got their moments in the match. An instant classic and definitely sets the bar for fourway matches. The big story of the match is Zayn having the match won before Neville pulls the ref out and hits a Red Arrow on the already downed Kidd for the win. This was another chapter in Zayn's long road to the title and I loved it. ****1/4

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This really wasn't a great event overall, with all the matches but the main event simply being good or below. We went from a step up to a step down, but it's worth it for the NXT classic of a main event. 

 

NXT Takeover Fatal 4Way: **1/2

 

I'm really excited for the next event, NXT Takeover R Evolution, which was headlined by another NXT classic in Zayn vs Neville. 

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NXT Takeover R Evolution

NXT Takeover: R Evolution Poster

 

The very first match of the night is Kevin Owens' NXT debut against CJ Parker in yet another squash. Parker doesn't go down quite as fast and actually hit an open palm strike that cuts Owens, giving him a little visual flair in the form of blood. Owens of course wins fairly easily though.

*1/2

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The next match was the Lucha Dragons vs The Vaude Villains for the NXT Tag Team Championships. It isn't more than a standard tag team match where they retain off another Salida Del Sol outta nowhere. Kalisto just carrying. **1/2

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Another squash match on the card between Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger. Corbin was on a squash match win streak at this point and Tye would be another victim of his within a minute. Afterwards, he has a staredown with Bull Dempsey whom was on a similar streak. 

*

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Hideo Itami and Finn Balor get their revenge on The Ascension in a match at Takeover. Balor and Itami were big signings for NXT and it shows since they beat the most dominant tag team in NXT history. Good showcase match that ends with stereo double foot stomps. Also the demon debut. ***

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Sasha Banks challenged Charlotte for the Women's Championship and it was a pretty good match. I think the match showed how good Sasha can be. Sasha was a great heel in NXT and could absolutely be the face of the Women's division if allowed to be. ***1/2

Image result for nxt takeover r evolution

 

The main event of the show sees Sami Zayn put his NXT Career on the line for one last shot at Adrian Neville's NXT Championship. This was easily the best NXT match ever up to this point. There was so much emotion and the stakes were high, completely drawing you in. Both men put it all on the line, with Zayn's morality nearly costing him a couple times in the match. This match is the culmination of Sami Zayn's hard work over the year as he finally reaches the mountain top and becomes NXT Champion. Sami gets a big celebration as the locker room empties out and hoists him into the air. Neville even hugs it out with Zayn. Of course Kevin Owens' infamous betrayal happens at the very end when the celebration is over, shocking the NXT Universe. An NXT classic for sure. *****

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Overall the event was decent but there is still too much squashing going on and the tags aren't anything special which degrades the quality of the show. The crowd also chanted "holy shit" at least once for each match except Corbin's which was really annoying. The main event is truly great though and is a match everyone should watch.

 

NXT Takeover R Evolution: 2.75

 

Hopefully NXT Takeover Rival's whole show holds up because while there are a couple good matches I'm not sure about the rest and it looks like a questionable card.

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NXT Takeover Rival

NXT Takeover: Rival Poster

(cute how they call back to Arrival with the logo, right?)

 

Right away we go right into a singles match between Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze. Tyler brings out the selfie stick with him and a "fan" jumps on him during his entrance. Absolute stud that man is. This is a rematch from the Quarterfinals of the #1 Contender tournament. Tyler works a leg most the match to stop Hideo's kicks, it doesn't work out, Hideo wins. Honestly a bit boring for me, nothing to see here really. 

2.5/5

Image result for nxt takeover rival hideo

 

Next is another rematch from the Quarterfinals of the #1 contender tournament, Baron Corbin vs Bull Dempsey. And it's no disqualification!!! This match was just as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe even worse to be honest. They didn't even use weapons or anything and it was basically a short match to further put over Corbin. They botched a clothesline to the outside which got Botchamania chants and Corbin did the worst End of Days I've ever seen for the finish on that big man. 

1.5/5

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The Lucha Dragons get their rematch for the Tag Team Championships against Blake and Murphy here and the match sucked. Lucha Dragons were made to look like idiots and the commentators kept pointing it out, talking about how they were hesitating throughout the match. The couple botches didn't help either. Blake and Murphy retain.

1.5/5

Matthew Adams, Jorge Arias, Emanuel Rodriguez, and Cory Weston in NXT Takeover: Rival (2015)

 

The finals of the #1 contender tournament are next, with former NXT Champion Adrian Neville squaring off against Finn Balor. I did not like this match nearly as much as everyone else seemed to. It starts slow and heats up a little at a time until Balor ultimately wins via Coup de Grace. A good wrestling match but definitely not one of the best NXT matches ever, or even on the card.

3.25/5

Fergal Devitt and Ben Satterly in NXT Takeover: Rival (2015)

 

The semi main event is once again the women's title match. This time it's all four horsewomen in a fatal four way. This was my match of the night, with fun action typical of a 4 way. Sasha wins the belt with a crucifix after having had Charlotte in the Banks Statement for awhile, trying to protect her by avoiding a tap out which was annoying. Dumb hug after as well but whatever. Recommended for viewing.

3.75/5

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Now for the main event: Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship. WWE was high on The Prizefighter when he first arrived, leading to an NXT Championship match just two months after debuting. While it's nice to see how well Kevin was treated it's a bit of a shame that Sami's title run was so short after the journey he went on. Kevin dominates the match, with Corey at one point comparing it to Cena v Lesnar at Summerslam. Sami has a hopeful comeback that gets crushed and he shows some heart by kicking out of the Pop up Powerbomb and such. The match ends by stoppage when Kevin brutalizes Sami with Powerbomb after Powerbomb until the ref makes the decision to call it off for Sami's sake. This makes Kevin Owens the new NXT Champion after two months and in dominant fashion to boot. This is the Kevin we deserve. 

3/5

Rami Sebei and Kevin Steen in NXT Takeover: Rival (2015)

 

Maybe I am being too harsh but I feel this event is largely mediocre. There's some bad matches with no real stand outs that are MUST SEE or anything. I hesitate to call it bad but it was just kinda meh. 

 

NXT Takeover Rival: 2.5/5

 

Sami Zayn gets his rematch at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable.

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NXT Takeover Unstoppable 

NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Poster

 

 

#1 Contender's Match: Hideo Itami vs Tyler Breeze vs Finn Balor:

This match ends up being a singles between Tyler and Finn because Hideo is attacked before the show in the parking lot in an angle that went nowhere. This was the first injury to derail Hideo and prevent him from being the megastar he should have been. Balor and Breeze put on a good match with both men getting support from the crowd. Tyler Breeze is consistently cheered at these events. There were some good spots like Balor jumping off this thing on the outside and a sequence I liked where they countered big moves though the match felt a bit short. Finn Balor gets the win to become #1 Contender again. Balor gets his title match at Beast in the East, which I might review here. After the match they show Stephanie McMahon next to some big dude I didn't recognize at all. 

3.25/5

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2. Charlotte & Bayley vs Dana Brooke & Emma:

This was really just some sort of filler match. Emma is bad now and Dana is Dana. The finish seemed to be mildly botched because of a timing issue but whatever. Why was Charlotte still in NXT at this point? She seems to have outgrown developmental by this point. Bayley and Charlotte had a cute celebration where they hug and do each other's things. After this they show a group of new signees including the IIConics and Apollo Crews. Apollo got a small Uhaa chant when shown.

2/5

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3. Rhyno vs Baron Corbin:

This was when Rhyno first returned to WWE in NXT. This match was soley a veteran putting over an up and coming star in Corbin. Corbin has had a track record of boring squashes but this match I actually liked. This match wasn't a technical masterpiece and it didn't have to be. It was simply an all out brawl between two powerhouses. Baron of course wins in his first Takeover match to go over 5 minutes, yay. Definitely his most important one so far.

2.5/5

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4. Blake and Murphy (c) vs Enzo and Big Cass:

I'll start by saying Blake and Murphy's entrance nearly gave me a seizure like holy hell it's cool but hard to look at. The match starts with Enzo mostly being battered until Cass is tagged in and he's treated like a real threat. Blake and Murphy backed into the corner out of fear which was funny. Cass takes some chops but they do nothing and Cass looks like a proper giant. Enzo gets back in but ends up getting destroyed. Enzo manages to hit a flying DDT that leads to a hot tag where Cass goes on an absolute tear. Cass tags out for the assisted splash finisher but Alexa Bliss attacks Carmella distracting Cass who gets taken out. While the ref is distracted with that, Bliss shoves Enzo off the top, costing them. This was a good match and I was really impressed with Enzo and Cass, especially Enzo. The two of them should never have split, but of course they thought a big dude had to be a future superstar. Good stuff here though.

2.75/5

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5. Sasha Banks (c) vs Becky Lynch

At Takeover Rival, Becky broke out from being Sasha's sidekick and is now challenging her for the women's championship. I just want to start by saying this is easily the best women's match in NXT at this point. I freaking loved every bit of it from start to finish and is MOTN. The Four Horsewomen are easily some of the best women's wrestlers I've ever seen so all the Takeover matches they've had together have been well but for me this stands out as a favorite. Sasha Banks is such a good heel and you can't help but root for Becky unless you're a smark who doesn't get worked. It starts off technical and has some fun pinning sequences. Becky is getting in some good offense until Sasha counters her and she crashes into the apron. Sasha slows things down with a backstabber into a straight jacket submission and eventually starts working an arm over with various submissions until Becky powers out by lifting Sasha and hitting a suplex. This leads into a comeback and then the two women are back and forth again till Becky takes control and works an arm to set up for her arm bar that Sasha escapes from by getting to the ropes. Theres 's a bit of a botch where Sasha dives through the ropes and Becky "catches" her but still sorta falls. Becky then does a very weak looking slam thing into the steps. I can overlook this because it's just one moment. The finish sees Becky taken off the tope rope into the Banks Statement that quickly gets the submission. Becky gets a show of respect by being left in the ring alone for an ovation from the crowd before walking back to her music. I would use this match to try to get someone into wrestling.

4.0/5

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6. Kevin Owens (c) vs Sami Zayn:

Sami Zayn was injured and in need of surgery while Kevin Owens was lined up for a PPV match with John Cena. No way Sami was winning ever. In order to keep the rematch fresh, Sami Zayn is extremely aggressive this time around and has a counter for everything. He hits some of his biggest moves save the Helluva Kick and is just on fire. It was very fun to watch until the finish which I disliked very much. Sami has Kevin lined up on the outside and charges forward into a Pop Up Powerbomb into the apron that just instantly kills Sami. Referees and trainers try to check on Sami while Kevin keeps trying to hit him and such. Kevin drags Sami into the ring and gets ready to demolish Sami. Regal himself comes out to try to stop Kevin but gets dropped. Kevin grabs a chair and hits Sami once. All this time I never heard the bell ring so I was extremely confused onwhether the match was over or not. Kevin doesn't get a chance to do more as Samoa Joe debuted and had a face to face to close the show. Sami going off was awesome but the finish killed it for me since the match just sort of ended.

3/5

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This was a step back up for Takeover and I think has the overall best card so far, with no real stinkers and an awesome women's title match. Becky vs Sasha is going down as a favorite for sure.

 

NXT Takeover Unstoppable: 3/5

 

The very first Takeover Brooklyn is next so that's hype. 

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NXT Takeover Brooklyn

nxt-takeover-brooklyn-card.jpeg

 

1. Jushin Thunder Liger vs Tyler Breeze

This is Jushin Liger's only WWE match which fascinates me to no end. It was here in NXT, against Tyler Breeze. Sounds so weird to say but it's true. Takeover Brooklyn is essentially the Mania of NXT and what a high profile match to start that. While not an all time classic it is historical and really is an interesting spectacle. This is all about seeing Liger in WWE. Decent match that sees Liger win with a Liger Bomb.

2.5/5

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2. Blake & Murphy (c) w/ Alexa Bliss vs The Vaudevillians

By this point Blake and Murphy were the second longest reigning tag champs in history, with Bliss being a big part of that. Just before the match, Alexa runs The Vaudevillians down for not finding someone to help them when lo and behold out comes Blue Pants. I think I knew she did this a long time ago and just forgot or something. The Vaudevillians was a great gimmick, shame they turned into dudes with puppets. Two good tag teams had a good match, with Blue Pants trying to even the odds at the end by keeping Alexa from bothering the referee. Blake and Murphy nearly retain while it's happening with a roll up, the Whirling Dervish is hit and there are new tag team champions.

3/5

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3. Tye Dillinger vs Apollo Crews

I was not expecting an Apollo Crews match so soon but cool. This was really just a showcase match for Apollo and he looks good. Apollo of course wins with his signature stand moonsault. Good for a short debut. Apollo is awesome because he has power but is also extremely athletic.

2/5

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4. Baron Corbin vs Samoa Joe

This was a good match between two powerhouses with a lot of striking, but including some nice submission work mostly from Joe. Samoa Joe gives Baron Corbin his first Takeover loss by reversing a pin into the Coquina Clutch and choking him out. Fun stuff here, Corbin's best match yet but that's to be expected with such an opponent.

3.25/5

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5. Sasha Banks (c) vs Bayley

I was not expecting Sasha vs Becky to be surpassed so soon but here it is, the best women's match yet. I won't break it down so much but there was a better story, bigger spots, just a fantastic match all around. This could have main evented. Bayley was such a good underdog and I've already said how Sasha is an awesome heel. Bayley finally wins the women's championship with an awesome reverse frankensteiner from the top and then and Bayley to Belly and it is so emotional, almost Sami Zayn levels. All 4 Horsewomen celebrate in the ring. Just wish Sasha would stop hugging people after brutalizing them. Please watch this if you haven't already. One of the best matches in NXT ever.

4.5/5

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6. Finn Balor (c) vs Kevin Owens - Ladder Match

This is the rematch from Beast in the East but now with the ladder match stipulation, only the 2nd in NXT history. Kevin Owens has of course had some famous ladder matches in his career and was the one to request the match type. This match far exceeded the first ladder match and is another one I would list as a classic. The two took full advantage of the rules, using the ladders for all sorts of awesome moments like a senton on a ladder or being powerbombed off one. Finn Balor retains after a Coup de Grace from the ladder which was awesome. This is what a ladder match should be.

4.5/5

Finn-Balor-NXT-TakeOver-Brooklyn.jpg

 

This is without a doubt the best Takeover yet. A fairly solid card with two amazing matches that I really loved. There's nothing negative I can really say about the event, just hoping the lower card starts to pick up too.

 

NXT Takeover Brooklyn: 3.25/5

 

Up next is Takeover Respect which has the Ironwoman match!

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NXT Takeover Respect

WWENXTRESPECTposter.jpg

(BiC was right about this card lol)

 

1. Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal: Samoa Joe & Finn Balor vs The Revival

So you've got two big singles stars teaming against one of the best tag teams in the world. Of course the singles guys go over the specialist. I know this was a memorial tournament so they wanted their biggest names in the finals, but it's still a tag team tournament. The Revival even beat the tag champs to get here, so what better way to establish the challengers than have them win the tournament? The start is intense with Joe going off until the team work of The Revival proves too much. Balor gets a hot tag and his sequence ends when he suffers a chop block. From there The Revival work the left leg until Balor can get a hot tag out, leading to a Muscle Buster/Coup de Grace combo for the win. Boooo. Balor's leg is now injured and he will be competing in the finals with it.

2.25/5

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2. Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal: Rhyno & Baron Corbin vs American Alpha

Again, another singles pairing only heel this time. You can guess who unfortunately goes over. At. This match was at least better than the previous one. At first Jordan and Gable are outwrestling the powerhouses but eventually Gable is picked apary by Baron and Rhyno. There's a hot tag when Rhyno misses a top rope dive and things pick up, with signature moves being broken up. AA almost win but Rhyno gores Jordan, leaving Gable alone to have amove be reversed into the End of Days in beautiful fashion. Now we have our 4 big singles men in the finals of the tag tournament. I get why I guess but still.

3.25/5

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3. Asuka vs Dana Brooke w/ Emma

I was surprised to Asuka make her Takeover debut when she was in the crowd at the previous one like Apollo did but they're big deals so. Asuka is dominant until Emma interferes while the ref isn't looking but she is back on top quickly. Emma gets spinning backfisted off the apron at one point. Asuka shows off both her strking ability and submission game, ultimately forcing Dana to tap to the Asuka Lock. Dana is disrespectful after and gets KO'd by a kick.

1.5/5

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4. Tyler Breeze vs Apollo Crews

Tyler has consistently been on these Takeovers alongside Baron, my goodness. This was a good back and forth match, with Breeze hitting a modified backstabber early on that caused Crews problems throughout the match. Apollo looked good by winning an actually competitive match, though surely Tyler Breeze moves up after this because he has nothing else to do down here. 

3.25/5

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5. Dusty Rhodes Classic Finals: Samoa Joe & Finn Balor vs Baron Corbin & Rhyno

It would have made a million times more sense for this to have come down to The Revival and American Alpha. Two actual tag teams that would go on to feud over the tag titles and whatnot. But no, we get this match. It was an alright match but somehow I suspect Revival vs AA would have been more fun but whatever. Balor is hurting but he has heart, pressing on despite the opponents trying to take advantage of his injury. Joe and Balor use the same combo as before which is a pretty sweet deal. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe win the first ever Dusty Rhodes Classic. The post match stuff was touching, with the Rhodes family entering the ring and Cody saying some heartfelt words. 

3/5

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6. Ironwoman Match: Bayley (c) vs Sasha Banks

Finally the women are main eventing and in an Ironman match to boot. I had never seen any of this match but the ending before and I came in with very high expectations. Unfortunately it disappointed a bit, not that this wasn't a great match but I actually enjoyed their previous bout more. Of course being the match type it is they start off slow, not even so much as tying up for the first minute. Once they do they go back and forth with leverage pin attempts. No real offense is made until Sasha hits a dropkick four minutes in. Things start moving from that point. Something I lol'd at was Bayley helping Sasha to her feet only to be dropped. C'mon Bayley, this is a fight. The first fall comes when Bayley nearly crashes into the ref in the corner and Sasha almost does it as well but Sasha stays in the corner so the ref doesn't see her poke Bayley in the eye, which leads to Sasha stealing the lead with a roll up. Bayley would tie things up when she hit a Bayley to Belly after a sequence. Sasha takes the lead back via countout after throwing Bayley into the steel steps a couple times and then an LED board. Sasha takes the headband off that Izzy girl which was hilarious as well. Sasha wears Bayley down with submissions until Bayley counters one into a roll up to tie things at 2 each. The match is now entering its final stretch. At one point Sasha dives between the ropes only to be caught and hit with a Bayley to Belly on the outside. Another big moment was Bayley hitting a top rope Bayley to Belly only for Sasha's foot to touch the ropes when she gets stacked up. The final bits see Sasha landing "on her feet" after a reverse frankensteiner from the top and stealing Bayley's finisher. When Bayley kicks out Sasha applies the Banks Statement. Bayley starts fighting out and Sasha goes for a backstabber that is countered and Bayley applies a submission on the arm/hand she attacked earlier, getting Banks to submit in the last few seconds. This was great with a lot of call backs to previous encounters but I still prefer the Brooklyn match. The whole roster comes out to give them an ovation which was lovely.

4.25/5

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Well the main event of course was great but the rest of the card wasn't anything spectacular. Still fun to watch and I know the further in I go the better the full cards should become. It was nice that the women finally got a main event though it isn't like Finn defended his belt. It's also interesting the women got a match the men hadn't but I don't think they had a feud that would have justified it anyways. 

 

NXT Takeover Respect: 3/5

 

The next Takeover is the first to take place outside of the US, Takeover London, and sees former friends Samoa Joe and Finn Balor battle it out over the NXT Championship.

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NXT Takeover London

Image result for nxt takeover london

 

1. Asuka vs Emma (w/ Dana Brooke)

Asuka and Emma are both great talents for the women's division so it was expected that they would have a good match and they did. Much more back and forth against Emma here. It starts with holds being exchanged until Asuka gets an arm bar. Emma goes to the outside after the rope break and gets hit with a hip attack from the apron. A distraction from Dana lets Emma take control. From there they have a great back and forth match until Asuka gets the Asuka Lock and they smash the ref in the corner because Emma pulled him. Dana throws a belt in and the ref sees Asuka with it. Emma rolls her up and there is a kick out into the Asuka Lock. Dana distracts the referee while Emma taps which gets Dana ejected. Asuka is seemingly distracted watching Dana so Emma spins her around only to be knocked out with a roundhouse for the 3 count. Great match, especially cuz of the heel shenanigans.

4/5

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2. The Revival (c) vs Enzo and Cass (w/ Carmella)

What a great pairing Enzo and Cass were. It's a shame they never held the tag team championships in NXT or the main roster. Enzo and Cass talk a bit before The Revival come out, talking about always getting back up and what not. There was a lot of great action in the match with Cass really looking like a man out for revenge. Enzo mostly is beatdown during the match to build to tags. The Revival of course use heel tactics throughout the match to try to stay ahead of Enzo and Cass. The finish sees Enzo hit the assisted splash but Dawson drags Wilder out. Dawson tries to use Carmella as a shield but she elbows him. Dawson dodges Cass and Cass hits the post. Enzo is taken off the top rope into a Shatter Machine for the win. Just sort of wish Enzo and Cass won.

3.75/5

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3. Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews

The homegrown NXT star vs the latest indie star to arrive. This match was good, with Corbin beating down Crews and Crews getting his spots. I was a bit surprised to see Corbin get the win over the new arrival but not a bad result. 

2.75/5

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4. Bayley (c) vs Nia Jax

The ultimate underdog of the women's division faces her complete opposite here. A great sort of monster vs underdog match. Nia absolutely batters and ragdolls Bayley and there isn't much Bayley can do. Bayley looked great here after continuing to kick out despite being hit with Nia's big moves multiple times. During the match Bayley mainly utilized the Guillotine and would ultimately manage to make Nia tap with it. 

3.75/5

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5. Finn Balor (c) vs Samoa Joe

I really do believe Hideo was supposed to get this storyline and it would have made more sense. This was a cool thing to see though and it was a great main event. Finn Balor came out with a Jack the Ripper entrance and paint job which looked good. Wish we saw the demon more on the main roster. The match was filled with aggression as they went back and forth with strikes and had some great spots in too. The match kept you engaged with all the constant action in it. Finn would retain with the Coup de Grace but it was a hard fought match that left both men looking strong. 

4.25/5

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Great matches, great crowd, simply amazing Takeover.

 

NXT Takeover London: 3.75/5

 

Next time we go to Dallas for the first Takeover of 2016 and I expect it to be great.

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NXT Takeover: Dallas

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(I thought this would be in February but it's the Mania weekend Takeover)

 

1. NXT Tag Team Championships: The Revival (c) vs American Alpha 

Two great tag teams created a great match. These two teams are the perfect rivals as you have the highly athletic pure baby faces battling the dastardly heels that have an old school style and mentality. There was only one black spot on the match when a double team maneuver was slightly botched but otherwise great. This was the perfect match to open Takeover as it was a fast paced, crowd awakening bout and saw American Alpha win the NXT Tag Team Championships to a good reaction.

4/5

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2. Baron Corbin vs Austin Aries

This was a slow and plodding match set as a cool down after the previous match. Baron Corbin dominates the match with Austin only having a couple spots before reversing the End of Days into a roll up for the win. Corbin losing was a given since he would go to the main roster when he won the ATGMBR that Sunday but you would think they would use Corbin's last Takeover to make AA look good and not like a lucky jabroni.

2/5

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3. Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura

This is how you put over a hot new signee. This was a hell of an introduction for Nakamura and an amazing send off for Zayn. Sami really helped shape NXT and it's kind of sad to know how his main roster run has gone considering that. Sami Zayn was given a huge ovation and hugged with Nakamura, really glad nice seeing him get that respect. The match itself was fantastic with Nakamura showing his greatness and Zayn's heart that allowed him to go toe to toe.  My favorite spot was at least a solid minute of the two trading stiff forearms in the center of the ring that made Shin's nose bleed. Definitely an NXT Classic and MOTN.

4.25/5

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4. NXT Women's Championship: Bayley (c) vs Asuka

This match saw the undefeated sensation Asuka get a championship match against the current champion Bayley. Given the caliber of these two women, I had major hope for this match but it was a let down. To me it never felt like the match got into gear and it just didn't manage to capture my interest. The finish also felt anticlamatic to me and it was really just another cool down. I really wish these two got to go all out. This started Asuka's record length reign.

3/5

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5. NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs Samoa Joe 

This rivalry continues as Samoa Joe gets a rematch here in Dallas. I was super hyped for another war between the two but honestly this wasn't quite what I wanted. Joe is busted open early off of a headbutt and bleeds a bunch throughout the match which caused the medical staff to be annoying by continuously pausing the action to attend to Joe. Despite that it was a decent match that had Joe take the Demon to its limit again. I was actually a bit surprised Joe didn't win here as he once again came up short while still looking strong, getting the Hart/Austin finish where Finn kicks off the turnbuckle to reverse the Coquina Clutch to a pinfall. Side note, I love the location themed Demon entrances. 

3.5/5

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Honestly a bit disappointed with this Takeover considering it was Mania weekend.

 

NXT Takeover Dallas: 3.25

 

The next event is NXT Takeover: The End which Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor III in a Steel Cage.

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NXT Takeover: The End

Image result for nxt takeover the end

 

1. Tye Dillinger vs Andrade Cien Almas

Short but sweet match that serves as a good introduction to Andrade. Nice way to open Takeover.

2.75/5

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2. NXT Tag Team Championships: American Alpha (c) vs The Revival

Another fantastic tag team match from these two teams. The Revival would win the match to become the first team to win the belts twice. These two teams have vastly elevated the tag titles and I know it will only get better as plenty of great teams will appear like the Authors of Pain, who debuted by attacking American Alpha after the match.

4/5

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3. Austin Aries vs Shinsuke Nakamura

The two biggest new stars that both only just debuted at the previous Takeover battle it out in what was being billed a dream match. Austin was one of the biggest names on the American independent scenes while Shinsuke was one of the biggest stars in NJPW, so it seems like a fair thing to say. This was a great match between two big names and this sets Shinsuke up for big things soon as he gets the win here.

4/5

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4. NXT Women's Championship: Asuka (c) vs Nia Jax

This match was decent, with the monstrous Nia being cut down by Asuka's striking game. I would have much rather had Bayley get her rematch here before she moves up to the main roster. Nothing much to this and Asuka continues to be undefeated.

2.75/5

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5. NXT Championship Steel Cage Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs Finn Balor 

The first ever Steel Cage match in NXT to end one of the brand's best ever feuds. Samoa Joe walked in as champion after winning it in a house show, letting the rematch happen here before Finn moves up. This was a good match but to be honest it felt like it lacked substance just a bit. The finish was an awesome middle rope Muscle Buster but there could have been some more big moves in it. I also hate the escape stipulation on Steel Cage matches.

3.75/5

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NXT Takeover The End: 3.5

 

NXT Takeover Brooklyn II is the next Takeover and I am excited not only to see NXT's big show but we are getting to when I started getting back into WWE.

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NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II

Image result for nxt takeover brooklyn 2

(I actually remember the night this was on even though I didn't watch. This was just when I was getting back into WWE and I was following them on Twitter and so I saw them tweeting about Shinsuke vs Joe. Shinsuke's entrance and theme interested me a lot but I wouldn't start to watch NXT yet)

 

1. Austin Aries vs No Way Jose

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It was a bit weird to see No Way José presented as a real threat to Austin Aries but I think I remember José getting no. 1 contender match at some point so I guess he was treated a bit better rather than just comedy jobber back then. Decent match that Aries wins with Last Chancery. It's weird Austin never won the NXT Championship knowing how well he fit the brand. Austin does a post match attack and Hideo Itami comes out to hit a GTS to a big pop. Glad he's back now.

2.75

 

2. Ember Moon vs Billie Kay

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Short debut for Ember Moon as she takes Billie Kay out with the Eclipse soon. Ember is awesome and I think she should have broken Asuka's streak. Really weird seeing Billie without Peyton as well.

1.5

 

3. Bobby Roode vs Andrade Cien Almas

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The Glorious Bobby Roode makes his debut here against the undefeated Andrade Cien Almas. Face Andrade with the hat was definitely not getting the positive responses and the crowd was all in for Roode. It was a good match though it was weird seeing the old Pump Handle Slam used by Roode. Bobby makes a big impact in his debut by giving Andrade his first loss at NXT's biggest show.

3.25

 

4. NXT Tag Team Championships: The Revival (c) vs #DIY

Image result for nxt takeover brooklyn 2 the revival

We are truly witnessing a new era for the tag team championships. This was an incredible match with the two underdogs in Johnny and Tommasso facing the top guys of the tag division. The Revival are amazing heels in all of their matches and their shenanigans will lead to this rivalry continuing. Definitely a show stealer and must see match as it is really the best match for these belts yet. When do the tag belts get a main event?!

4.5

 

5. NXT Women's Championship: Asuka (c) vs Bayley

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It was actually great this match happened here at the big show. I was disappointed with this match too if I'm honest. I just get the feeling they could do better which I guess is why I am not enjoying these matches. Hopefully the women get out of this slump. Maybe I'm just being harsh.

3.25

 

6. NXT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura

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This was the first time seeing the Nakamura entrance since I saw it on Twitter and I love it so much. Shinsuke is a charisma machine. Here the King of Strong Style goes to war with the Samoan Submission Machine. A match absolutely worthy of this main event. They hit each other with stiff strikes and trade painful submissions.. Both kickout of each others finishers. This was an exciting match from beginning to end. Shinsuke was crowned the new NXT Champion but Joe looked no worse as he went down fighting. These two have both had great runs thus far and I hope they keep putting on great matches.

4.25

 

A worthy sequel to last years Brooklyn that has some truly memorable matches.

 

NXT Takeover Brooklyn II: 3.25

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NXT Takeover: Toronto

Mickie James, Joe Seanoa, Bobby Roode, Ronnie Arniell, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kanako Urai in NXT TakeOver: Toronto (2016)

 

1. Bobby Roode vs Tye Dillinger

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I loved this match from start to finish. Both men went back and forth with some nice spots, near falls, basically it ticked all the boxes. Between now and his call up Tye was at a career peak as well with some great work done against Sanity and Bobby was a great heel before arriving to the main roster. Now that he is solo again I hope Bobby goes back to this version of himself. Epic opening contest at Toronto.

4/5

 

2. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Authors of Pain vs TM-61

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The finals of this year's Dusty Classic has two great proper teams going at it. The undefeated AOP vs the underdog team TM61. Also of note, Paul Ellering was placed in a shark cage which produced a cool spot with Shane Thorne jumping off the thing holding it. Of course despite it being there to keep Ellering out he keeps ordering them from up in the air and drops a chain down. The chain doesn't get used but AOP does still win meaning they have won the 2016 Dusty Classic. Paul and AOP should never have separated. TM-61 was quite a good team and I hope they reform in the WWE some day. 

3.25/5

 

3. NXT Tag Team Championships 2/3 Falls Match: The Revival (c) vs DIY

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What an amazing rivalry between these two teams. This is tag team wrestling at its finest with some amazing action. The match keeps you invested throughout with all the tension of whether or not DIY can fulfill the dream of winning the NXT Tag Team Championships. The Revival would take the first fall by countering Johnny's Slingshot Spear into the Shatter Machine which was shocking. From there The Revival continues to batter Johnny in the ring until he eventually manages the hot tag. DIY gets their first fall with the Knee/Superkick combo which ties them 1-1. After some intense action the match ends with Johnny putting Dash in the Crossface and Tommasso cutting Scott off with the Armbar for a beautiful double tap. I think this match topped the Brooklyn one and deserves the FIVE STAR rating because this honestly felt like a flawless match to me. Definitely could have been the main event.

5/5

 

4. NXT Women's Chanpionship: Asuka (c) vs Mickie James

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Seeing Mickie James make a return to the WWE down in NXT is a really special sight. This was a great match and the best of Asuka's reign thus far. Mickie keeps up with Asuka and she looked great. I still wish she had won the Raw Women's Championship once during Bliss' reign of terror because I felt she deserved at least one last run. I still do though I doubt it happens.

3.75/5

 

5. NXT Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Samoa Joe

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Another hard hitting affair from these two that was on par with the first. My only problem was that Samoa Joe won the title back because it always felt pointless to me. Granted Nakamura was cheated as he was hit with a low blow that led to Joe putting him away but it just felt like it didn't matter with the okay steel cage that concluded things rather than this.

4.25/5

 

This is the best overall Takeover as of the end of 2016.

 

NXT Takeover Toronto: 4/5

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12 hours ago, I Can't Odd said:

4. NXT Women's Chanpionship: Asuka (c) vs Mickie James

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Seeing Mickie James make a return to the WWE down in NXT is a really special sight. This was a great match and the best of Asuka's reign thus far. Mickie keeps up with Asuka and she looked great. I still wish she had won the Raw Women's Championship once during Bliss' reign of terror because I felt she deserved at least one last run. I still do though I doubt it happens.

"The nut job has won the title!"
Defeating Trish Stratus in your Wrestlemania debut for the Woman's Championship, one could consider Mickie James peaked early but she went on to achieve a lot in and outside of WWE, raising the bar for women's wrestling within the company even at a time where they could barely get television time. I know for this run she was brought in to be a knowledgeable veteran and a good hand but i can't help but agree that being the veteran of the division she could and should get a final run as Women's Champion though it might've been smarter to do that when she first returned to the main roster. To me, Mickie can be slotted into a Women's Championship feud anytime they want to and it wouldn't feel out of place. 
Funnily enough he chances might of been better on Raw with the state of the division at the moment.


Can't believe Shinsuke Nakamura was fighting in NXT in 2016 and here we are in 2019. Feels like only last year that he was coming into the company with all the momentum in the world. Still enjoy Nakamura on a weekly basis but he has lost some sort of drive. He pulled out a fun match with the Smackdown Tag Teams at Wrestlemania though and i hope before he bows out of WWE he can turn it around.

Really enjoy you're perspective on the NXT events, looking back in retrospect. It's fun to be able to look back on these NXT events and see where the stars are now. Something we didn't have full access to with OVW ect.

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NXT Takeover: San Antonio

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(this was actually the first Takeover that I saw live though I only saw the second half then)

 

1. Tye Dillinger vs Eric Young

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The storyline of Eric Young trying to recruit Tye Dillinger into SAnitY was a good one. Tye showing doubts in himself but then refusing to join Eric despite the attempts. SAnitY was an awesome group so it is kind of sad seeing this Takeover knowing they went unused for almost a year after getting the call up and then splitting. SAnitY was unique and could have been a real force on SD if they had ever actually been used AT ALL. It's also disappointing that after the best work in his career Tye got called up and ultimately never succeeded. While he wasn't going to be a main event player he could have had the same lower card face role he had in NXT on SD because his style and gimmick is good for losing to the heel stars. Anyway, Tye ultimately falls to Eric Young here due to the numbers game with SAnitY screwing Tye. Perhaps Tye needs some allies?

3.25/5

 

2. Andrade Cien Almas vs Roderick Strong

Image result for nxt takeover san antonio roderick strong vs andrade almas

This was a nice showcase of how talented both men are. Really loved the action in the ring itself even if there wasn't exactly an abundance of story to it. When I had started watching NXT I didn't know anything about anybody's pasts on the indies so I had no previous bias towards anyone but Roderick Strong is someone I naturally gravitated towards. Everything about Roddy, the look, moveset, etc. appealed to me from the start and then his feud with UE later that year solidified him as one of my favorites. Speaking of, I pray UE isn't really being split so soon. Andrade is still in his awkward phase at this time with the hat and all but that of course doesn't hurt his skill in the ring. There are some nice moments but standard stuff from guys of this caliber.

3.5/5

 

3. NXT Tag Team Championships: DIY (c) vs Authors of Pain

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The undefeated Authors of Pain have managed to bulldoze their way to a championship match against DIY. Obviously Johnny and Tommasso are great wrestlers so it was expected they would follow up their 2016 match of the year in Toronto with another great Takeover match which they definitely delivered on. AOP are a great monster team which goes well with the ultimate underdog team in DIY. AOP would cut DIY's reign short and win the Tag Team Championships in a great match. Seeing Authors of Pain here versus when they were on Raw is sad. The tag division here is consistently good and I am looking forward to all the title matches now. Kinda sucks that DIY dropped so soon but AOP's unstoppable rise is awesome. We need more good monsters in wrestling. 

4/5

 

Show's called Takeover, right?

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That line is one of my favorite ever. I never expected to see Seth invade NXT during his feud with HHH but he did and I was shocked. You're sitting there half paying attention to the announcers then you hear that line and you're instantly back in. This was a genius segment to further their feud and even if it is short, I loved the moment. 

 

4. NXT Women's Championship: Asuka (c) vs Nikki Cross vs Billie Kay vs Peyton Royce

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Good fatal fourway match where everyone has their moment. The Iconic Duo were the stand outs here and worked well as a team through the match. The two of them got the 2016 breakout performer award for a reason and I am glad they are the Women's Tag Champs. In the match Nikki ends up taking Asuka out before she is taken out by the Iconic Duo who in turn are ultimately dismantled by Asuka.

3.75/5

 

5. NXT Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Bobby Roode

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The biggest money match up in NXT history! These are two of the more charismatic men that we have seen battle it out for the NXT Championship and it showed. The match starts slow with both guys taking turns being in control and there are a lot of "mind games" that are played throughout the match. The match doesn't heat up until maybe halfway through but when it gets hot it gets HOT. Very fun as the two go back and forth until Shinsuke hurts his knee doing a flying knee to Bobby on the apron and falling to the floor. Shinsuke hits the Kinshasa but hurts his knee further and gets checked on by a staff member. Bobby hits a surprise Glorious DDT when Shinsuke comes back in the ring but it's kicked out of. Roode gets a submission in on the knee but Shinsuke gets to the rope. Another rapid Glorious DDT puts Nakamura away making Bobby Roode the tenth man to become NXT Champion.

4.25/5

 

NXT Takeover San Antonio: 3.75/5

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NXT Takeover: Orlando

NXT TakeOver: Orlando Poster

(Why the hell do Takeovers no longer have unique names? It's always the location now and nothing else since...The End. Funny. At least we get War Games but I think we need more things like Respect and whatnot because it just sounds cooler. We know where you are, no need to name the whole event after the location. Heck, keep numbering Brooklyn and give a neat phrase to the rest.)

 

1. SAniTY vs Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno, & Ruby Riot

Image result for nxt takeover orlando

Big 8 person intergender match opens the show that has Tye Dillinger continuing his feud against SAniTY by leading his own team NXT to battle. No Way José was originally in the team but SAniTY beat him up before the event which lead to Kassius Ohno being his surprise replacement. The teams have a big brawl before the bell and the women are the first to be legal which is the only time they are which makes their involvement feel unimportant. This was a decent match that had some fun moments but of course it's all about the story Tye has going. Tye is pinned for yet another loss in the fight versus SAniTY. This is of course his last Takeover match as he moved up to the main roster to have his career killed but not before winning the blowoff against Eric Young in a Steel Cage on the next weekly NXT. Good wind down to a great streak hot streak by Tye.

3.25/5

 

2. Andrade Cien Almas vs Aleister Black

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Aleister Black makes his NXT debut versus Andrade Cien Almas. While it was alright I wasn't really invested in this match. Black of course wins his big debut match.

3/5

 

3. NXT Tag Team Championships Elimination Match: AOP (c) vs DIY vs The Revival

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What a magical match these three teams put on. The still undefeated current tag team champs face the two previous teams to hold the gold in an elimination match. DIY and The Revival were the ultimate rivals but now they have a common foe that is seemingly unbeatable so they set their differences aside and try to take out the Authors of Pain together. Throughout the match there are some great moments where the two team up against AOP like where Dawson and Johnny hit DIY's finish on one guy and then Dash and Ciampa do the Shatter Machine on another. But of course Revival and DIY keep clashing which ultimately leads to The Revival eliminating DIY and being taken down by AOP in turn. It was actually a bit annoying that DIY lost first since no one thought an undefeated AOP is giving The Revival their third reign which left the last few minutes flat whereas if DIY was in there is still hope for redemption. Like I get the point is The Revival sort of got greedy and snaked DIY but DIY vs AOP would have kept the tension in the match. Then again that was probably the intention. 

4.5/5

 

4. NXT Women's Championship: Asuka (c) vs Ember Moon

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The Asuka/Ember rivalry is one of my all time favorite NXT feuds and is probably only second to Sasha/Bayley in terms of women's feuds. This was an awesome match between two awesome female competitors. This is a great match but the thing that really completes it is the finish where Ember goes to the top and prepares to hit the Eclipse but Asuka shoves the ref and causes Ember to fall off the top before KOing her with a kick for the win. To me, watching NXT back then, I thought they were clearly building Ember up to be the streak breaker and that it was being saved for Brooklyn 3. I truly wish that was the case as Asuka should not have been called up with her streak intact and Ember was the perfect person to end it but anyways...Ember looks amazing in this match while Asuka barely escapes with the title and her streak. 

4.5/5

 

5. NXT Championship: Bobby Roode (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura

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I seriously don't understand how these two aren't consistent main event players in WWE. Both of them have been lost in the shuffle, especially Roode. Shinsuke at least won the Rumble and had a WWE Championship feud, but Roode hasn't gotten anything memorable on the main roster. Roode could have been big in WWE if he debuted heel and they booked him properly but nope. He really fits their style I feel, as he has a good look, is a solid worker, and a better talker than a big portion of the roster. Once they made him Robert he disappeared off Raw and hasn't been seen since before MITB. He deserves better than Main Event. This was a good match and a good way to bring us into the "New Era" of NXT with Bobby Roode leading the brand forward. 

4.25/5

 

NXT Takeover Orlando: 4/5

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