Written by Tommy Tracey
NXT Takeover: Dallas
-With only two days to go before the grand daddy of them all (WrestleMania), the boys and girls from NXT got the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a jam-packed arena in Dallas, Texas. While WrestleMania is always an awesome spectacle (even when it sucks), NXT Takeover is pure talent, a platform for amazing wrestling and story. So this…is NXT.
-We start with an amazing ovation for American Alpha, easily the most talented tag team in the business today. The Revival hear the boos as they arrive, which is great because it shows they’re over as heels. As expected, these four meshed really well, mixing the tag champ’s hard-hitting, throwback style with the challengers pure wrestling ability. Jordan is a suplex God, Gable is the ultimate underdog and the Revival knows how to work opponents like Arn & Ole Anderson. The crowd EXPLODED when Alpha won, cementing them as the future of the tag division and the NEW NXT Tag Team Champions.
–Baron Corbin makes his entrance, looking like a reject from The Road Warrior. He’s scheduled to take on “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” Austin Aries, in his first bout in NXT. This match was exactly what it needed to be; Corbin looked like a true monster, throwing Aries around and dominating. Aries definitely carried the match but this was to Corbin’s benefit as both men looked great. Corbin nailed Aries with a brutal Deep Six on the outside that looked like it broke Aries. The finish sadly was weak, as Aries wins with a roll-up but solid outing.
-Am I the only guy who likes Baron Corbin? [Editor’s Note: Yes]
-Up next, the match I was so hyped for it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations: Sami Zayn v. Shinsuke Nakamura. I am so happy to say it not only lived up to expectations but surpassed them in every way. From the moment both men made their entrances, the crowd was electric, splitting chants and respecting both men. The match was methodical, showing why Zayn is a future star in WWE and Nakamura’s ability to strike like no other. Zayn hit his usual spots and Nakamura showcased exactly what you can expect from him in the future. His counter of Zayn’s Thru-The-Ropes-DDT into a straight kick was epic. He took Zayn’s head off. And Zayn hit possibly the best Blue Thunder Bomb ever, with Nakamura kicking out at 2.9999999. The match finished with an epic Reverse Exploder Suplex and an absolutely brutal kick to Zayn’s head and in that moment, Nakamura was made. With the epic handshake afterwards, the crowd serenaded Sami with “Thank you, Sami” and “Ole” chants, sending him off to the main roster in style.
–Bayley and Asuka are up next and…eh. This was a solid match, don’t get me wrong. Asuka is dangerous and one of the scariest competitors ever while Bayley truly connects with the fans like no one else can but this was just fine. There was a lot to like her; for instance Asuka beating the absolute crap out of Bayley was great. Bayley hitting an amazing Crossbody off the top was also great. The two seemed a little offbeat though and maybe the expectations were just too high. I did, however, like Asuka winning via KO because it makes both women look strong. Asuka is dangerous and Bayley never gave up. It’s about time for a call up. Let’s get a Fatal-Four-Way at Payback, eh Vince (or Shane?)
-Okay, so I hated Balor v. Joe at Takeover: London. Both men were off and Joe seemed slightly lazy. But this time; holy crap! Joe and Finn were on. Their. Game. Joe got busted open BADLY at the start of the message from what everyone thought was an arrant strike from Finn. Joe was so pissed he legitimately tossed Finn over the barricade in anger, knocking out a poor, unsuspecting security guard in the process. As the medical staff made their way to the ring, the fans booed and the referee legit suggested ending the match. The fans booed more (and by booed I mean screamed obscenities) and this pissed Joe off ever more. It was obvious these two had to rework their strategy mid-match and it paid off in spades. It was a greatest hits of everything that makes these two awesome: Pele Kick’s, Musclebuster, Coup de Grace, superkicks, Sling Blades, etc. A review later shows that Joe actually busted himself wide open through his own head-butt. The finish was also great as Joe looked like the victor with a Coquina Clutch but Finn reversed it into a bride pin and regained his NXT Championship. I was sure Joe would take it, effectively sending Finn off to the main roster (Bullet Club, represent) but only time shall tell.
-What a friggin’ great event. Seriously phenomenal. I’m going to make the claim now: this was just as good as Takeover: Brooklyn, with every match showcasing why NXT is so great. New champs were crowned, new stars were made and veterans were sent off in what I consider to be a true Match of the Year candidate. My words to the main roster this Sunday: GOOD LUCK!