I said in my predictions that this was the first NXT Takeover that I wasn’t really looking forward too. Yet the second I turned it on and the hype package stared rolling I couldn’t help it I got excited. NXT is its own world and I love it, even if it’s not firing on all cylinders at the moment.
Overall I do think that the show was a little flat, but it had some big moments. The NXT Championship match is a no brainer and the surprise appearance of Seth Rollins was awesome. The NXT Tag Team Championship match was good too but predictable. Meanwhile Strong versus Almas was alright but uninspired but the Women’s Championship match was worse.
This is the first time I’ve listened to the new 3 man commentary booth. I don’t have anything necessarily against Percy Watson (even if at times he did remind me of Otunga) but I did enjoy the fact that NXT still used the more traditional 2 man booth. It was just another little thing that made it different from the main roster. plus Tom Phillips and Corey Graves work really well together. Also, I tend to find that at least one of the commentators always ends up taking a back seat and inputs less anyway. All the while unsettling the natural back and forth a two-man team can have. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as this was Graves’ last show. He’s being replaced by Nigel McGuiness and moving to the main roster permanently.
Tye Dillinger Vs Eric Young
Tye Dillinger has got his ridiculous big collared light up 10 jacket on again and the crowd were as hot as ever for the Perfect 10. Expect ’10’ chants to be a constant throughout the entirety of the Royal Rumble weekend. Eric Young comes out with Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe as Graves continues to insult Dillinger for his terrible decision making.
This match is all about the impending numbers game from Sanity with Dillinger having to constantly watch his back and avoid attacks. Tye puts in a very good showing against Eric Young here, at one point even having him down for a 3 count but Wolfe moved his foot onto the bottom rope.
Towards the end of the match Dillinger has to constantly stave off interference and attacks from the outside. He hits Wolfe with a Tye Breaker and Dain with a Superkick. Just as it looks like Young will take advantage Dillinger gets a surprise roll up, I thought that was it if I’m honest.
Eventually the numbers game is too much though and Young wins. It was a solid match and a good opener to start the show. Dillinger loses again, but fear not he’s still as over as ever. There is no dishonour in defeat either and surely a rematch is imminent? No matter what, this story is all leading somewhere and eventually he’ll start picking up the big wins. I honestly believe he’ll have an NXT Title run later this year.
More immediately though, will we see him at the Royal Rumble tonight?
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas Vs Roderick Strong
This is a match very much like how Corey Graves. It’s too very talented guys trying to prove they are the best. Not just to each other in story, but to the NXT crowds as well. It’s fair to say that neither, through one way or another, have had the best starts to their NXT careers. Strong has just existed while Almas’ initial face run was a flop. He’s doing better since his heel turn though.
The crowd was noticeably quieter for the start of this match but both men worked well to try to win them over. I swear I heard a very faint ‘This is awesome’ chant for a second, I’m not sure about that. It didn’t catch on to be fair.
Overall it was a solid match that made both men look good, but was unremarkable. Almas probably got slightly more offense in on Strong, but it’s Strong who picks up the win after a huge running bit boot. Roderick also had the move of the match with a top rope back breaker onto the turnbuckle, I though Graves and Watson did well to put that move over as well.
Side note: I’m really not a fan of the nickname ‘Rody’ from the commentators for Strong, makes him seem like a child.
#DIY Vs The Authors of Pain
Let’s be honest it was never going to be as previous NXT tag team matches was it? In the early stages of the match we had the inevitable, slow-paced big men versus little men beat down. Making the Authors of Pain look incredibly dominant. It was exactly what I expected and I even understand the logic of doing it. But it just wasn’t very interesting or fun and was a little bit boring in parts.
I’m sure I actually heard some ‘boring’ chants very briefly but they got drowned out y ‘Johnny Wrestling’ chants instead. Good for you crowd, don’t be negative. Cheer for the good guys! The crowd so far have been a little odd tonight, they’ve been quite quiet for sections but then suddenly start chanting ‘this is awesome’ (the 2nd worst chant in history) seemingly out of nowhere.
The crowd finally get into this match when Ciampa hits two massive German suplexs as #DIY look to build momentum. It’s from this point though that the match picks up and the crowd really started getting involved. Out of nowhere we get the dull submissions spot from Takeover Toronto. The crowd, by this point, were going crazy now, standing room only, but the Authors of Pain break out of them.
In the end though, as predicted, the Authors of Pain do win and quiet convincingly too. However, it turned out to be a much better match than I thought it would be and it got better the longer it lasted.
Seth Rollins Takes Over!
Holy hell! I didn’t actually expect this to happen! Seth Rollins interrupts the show and calls out Triple H. Triple H comes down the ramp, but brings security with him. The crowd was not happy but it’s all within the kayfabe of the moment. It was really cool.
An awesome cross-platform storyline and finally, finally! Seth Rollins shows some fire and passion. For months now he has been forever forgetting that he was feuding with Triple H. Coming out one week to call him out and then not mentioning it at all the next.
I still think that waiting this long to pull the trigger was a mistake. We’ve all known that they wanted to have Triple H versus Seth Rollins for sometime, but the stop start nature of the feud hasn’t helped it. However, it looks like we’re finally getting started properly so things are looking up.
NXT Women’s Championship
Other than an incredibly contrived double german suplex and table spot, I can’t remember anything much about this match. It was short and Asuka won, obviously, but spent most of the match on the outside.
Nikki Cross looked good and was protected from the finish by being put through a conveniently placed table next to the announce table. It was hard to get into this though, it wasn’t bad per se. It was just nothing. After all, the undefeated Askua was never going to lose her first match in a fatal 4-way full of jobbers. When you think about it, is Asuka’s title run that impressive? It’s not hard to be Champion when you’re the only fish in the pond.
Basically it was short, uninspiring and most importantly once again exposes a real lack of depth in the NXT Women’s division at the moment. I can’t say I’m disappointed though, because I didn’t expect anything.
This was a really good match and the crowd were hot from the outset. Bobby Roode’s entrance was of course fantastic as was Nakamura’s, although I think it gave me epilepsy. Roughly 5 minutes go by after the bell rings and we’ve only had a few lock ups because the crowd keep singing and chanting.
One of the reasons I wasn’t really feeling this Takeover was because I thought it was predictable that Nakamura would retain. Boy was I wrong! We’ve got a new Champion again! NXT you’ve done it again, just when I think I’ve got all figured out you switch it up. I love it. I don’t know why I ever doubted you.
The final stages of the match see Nakamura with a (kayfabe) knee injury. He insist he can continue and then the commentators, mostly Watson, give Bobby Roode grief for focusing on the injured knee. Which is madness, of course you would do that! Two big DDTs later and we’ve got a new champion, in a completely clean win. Despite what the commentary team try to tell you.
Good match, really interested to see what happens with Nakamura now. Is he moving up to the main roster tonight or will he come back for the title once more? It’s interesting though that he isn’t untouchable in the same way that Asuka is. He looked strong while losing yes, but he did also lose again. He’s human after all.