NXT Takeover: Toronto [Review]

You know one of the main reasons I love NXT Takeovers? They happen on Saturday nights meaning I can stay up late and watch them live. Wrestling is always better live.

Overall I thought NXT Takeover: Toronto was a good show but nowhere near the heights that previous Takeovers have reached. With 5 matches on the main card, everything gets a decent amount of time and the chance to tell a story. So matches did that better than others, but I appreciate the opportunities given.

What I do have to say is that I love NXT’s choices for music for their events. They really do well setting the tone of the event and get me suitably hyped for the matches. The video packages are once again awesome too.

Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger

The show opens up perfectly (no pun intended) with a choir singing Bobby Roodes theme. It’s a huge sing-song moment for the crowd, amazing. Both Roode and Dillinger gets good reactions from the crowd who are really up for this. It’s incredibly loud for this opener. Early on we get “This is glorious/Perfect 10!” chants. Brilliant.

I very much enjoy how both of these wrestlers gimmicks allow for the Mr Perfect-esque jokes about all of their moves. “That wasn’t a super-plex Tom, that was a glorious-plex!”. It’s just really fun. Roode and Dillinger are having fun, the crowd are having fun. This is wrestling at its best.

001_nxt_11192016rf_0232-c25b12ca671a3a4a01fcac732deee256Dillinger gets a massive cheer for locking Roode in a sharpshooter, oh Canada. You’re silly. Personally I’m glad they referenced the move (and then ultimately the Montreal screw job nice and early) it means the rest of the show could focus on other things rather than, well pandering I guess.

Roode throws dillinger into the ‘steel’ ring post as described by Tom Phillips. How can it be steel when it’s quite clearly a plastic surround holding in the new fancy LED lighting set up? He follows it up with a big time DDT for the victory. I loved Bobby telling the referee to wait until the right moment in his theme song to raise his hand so he could pose. Hilarious, it’s the little things.

Tye looked devestated afterwards and could be seen mouthing “I’m sorry” to the crowd, who responded by chanting “10! 10! 10!” back for him. Dillinger could be something huge for NXT, hopefully he will get a chance to progress from this and not drop back down into enhancement talent.

The Authors of Pain vs. TM-61

Well, talk about a difference in crowd responses. The Torono crowd didn’t care about either of these teams. I understand why, both of them are rather bland in their own ways. I really want to like TM-61, but I just can’t.

I still can’t get over the fact that we had a ‘manager hanging above the ring in a shark cage’ gimmick again. It’s 2016! I did chortle when the cage had its own music when being lowered like Hell In A Cell does. Pretty ridiculous. Tell you what though, I feel sorry for the people in the seats behind the massive crane structure holding that cage in place.

 

This match might be the quietest I’ve ever heard a takeover crowd despite it being the finals to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

I’m honestly surprised about how much offence TM-61 got in on the Authors of Pain, they actually held their own. Nice one. The jump from Shane Thorne (orange trunks) from the rigging is the highlight of the match, although Nick Miller (blue trunks) hits a lovely moonsault as well.

015_nxt_11192016jg_0517-23f7d9110fa79ba4360cf9abab16be2eEllering drops a chain down from the cage to help his team and the match gets wrapped up very quickly. It’s almost as if they knew the match wasn’t going to be that good, so just kept it as short as possible. Triple H, William Regal and Goldust come down to present the trophy.

Overall this match and tournament was incredibly disappointing. Last year the finals to the Dusty Classic were a huge deal, this year they were hidden away in the middle of the show. As for the match itself, whats the point in having such an outrageous gimmick if its barely going to be involved? If you’re doing something daft, at least go all out. Otherwise, he might as well just have been banned from ringside.

NXT Tag Team Titles: The Revival (c) vs. DIY

This was the match I was the most excited for, a 2 out of 3 falls match for the NXT Tag Team Titles. If you saw their match at Takeover: Brooklyn then you would know why. That was a classic, was this one able to live up to the hype? You bet it was! Match of the night right here!

Dash and Dawson are so good to watch, yet I still feel that they’re underrated. Yet they consistently put on clinics with ereryone they wrestle. DIY, Enzo and Cass, American Alpha. All great matches. The best thing about The Revival is that they don’t all out cheat, they just play a little dirty and bend the rules. Subtly is the name of the game with their use of old school tag team Psychology is second to none. There is a reason they’re called The Revival.

Dash and Dawson take control early on and hit a devastating Shatter Machine on Gargano to go 1-0 up. DIY pull it level with their brutal double kick to the head to Dawson. “This is awesome’ chants from the crowd. Yes it is Toronto, yes it is.

023_nxt_11192016jg_0921-d88e2779f7800122d6465bdfe43bddc5There’s a lovely false finish with a repeat submission spot on Gargano that won the match for Dash and Dawson last time. The Revival try and do DIY’s finishing kick combo but Dash ends up super-kicking Dawson. DIY then hit the Shatter Machine but only for a 2!

This match has everything. False finishes, an invested crowd, great wrestling. It’s awesome. Eventually the match ends with both Dash and Dawson tapping out in dual submissions to make good on their ‘last chance’.

An amazing match, match of the night without a doubt. A must watch!

 

NXT Women’s Title: Asuka (c) vs. Mickie James

029_nxt_11192016rf_1991-7d33d09ca896b668e25b1d9a028a63e6Has anyone else noticed that in comparison to the new sleek Raw and Smackdown’s Women’s Titles, the NXT Women’s belt suddenly looks a lot more like the old Divas Butterfly belt?

Mickie James gets a good reaction, but imagine if this had been Trish Stratus as originally planned. The roof would have exploded. Unfortunately she selfishly went and got pregnant like you pesky women tend to do. Also, if anyone could tell me why Asuka has a bright yellow thong on the outside of her shorts. That would be great.

Mickie starts to get the better of Asuka in the early exchange and Asuka even has to take a breather on the outside. Mickie invites her back into the ring a spot that is reversed a few minutes later. I’m Asuka is playing more of a heel than usual.

Mickie was booked a lot stronger than I expected her to be. Yet just when I started thinking about if WWE would be crazy enough to switch the title onto her. She taps out. The ending, I’ll admit was a bit lacklustre and seemed to come out of the blue. Asuka refuses to shake hands afterwards and you have to start wondering if a full heel turn is coming. It would make sense for her to be the big bad villain of NXT for the others to chase, rather than a dominate face with no challengers.

In honesty this match reminded me of how I felt watching Asuka defeat Bayley after watching Nakamura verses Zayn at Takeover: Dallas. I could recognise it was a good match, I was just a little burnt out.

 

NXT Title: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe

Joe came out looking like he was ready to murder someone. He brings an authenticity and intensity that few others do. Maybe only Brock Lesnar? Nakamura comes out to a bunch of miming violinists who look like they want to fuck him. Little weird and half of them don’t seem to know how to play a violin at all. It’s a cheap attempt to copy his entrance from Brooklyn, which was legitimately cool. Having more doesn’t make it better though. Having seen twitter though, it does appear I’m in the minority for this one.

There was an awesome moment in the match in which Joe has his Coquina Clutch submission locked in and the crowd sing Nakamura’s theme to will him back into the match.

I’m not sure if by this point I was just too tired, it was after 3am in the UK after all, to properly enjoy the match. Or, if it was actually just missing that little something. I wanted to be into it so much more than I was.

042_nxt_11192016rf_2605-1d094697b72984f49afa0fb94813d742Surprise of the night, Samoa Joe won! I did not see that coming! No one did! He’s now the first ever 2 time NXT champion. Before the match everyone assumed Joe would be moving up to the main roster, does this mean Nakamura is instead?!

The crowd are left stunned, which I’m sure some people will complain about not ‘sending the fans home happy’ but I love a good NXT swerve!

 


I wish I could say “follow that survivor series!” in my usual really smug way. However in honesty,  I was a little disappointed in 3 of the 5 matches.

Roode verses Dillinger was top quality and the Tag Team Title match was fantastic. Another match of the year tag match contender between The Revival and DIY for sure.

However the finals for the Dusty Classic left a lot to be desired. The women’s match between Asuka and Mickie James had some good moments and while I can complain that the ending seemed to come out of nowhere, it also never really properly got going.

The main event was simply good, although I admit I might simply have been too tired to enjoy it. It had a shocking ending, which I don’t think anyone saw coming. I love that. Really do enjoy Joe’s work.

This might be the first main roster show to follow its NXT counterpart that it could feasibly top. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad show by any means, I’ve just been spoiled by NXT and want it to be 10/10 all the time. Unfortunately it was just missing that little something special on too many occasions.

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