It’s always about Nakamura. Even when everything else on the card lives up to expectations and in some case exceeds them, it’s still Nakamura. His match was everything and it gave existing fans reason to scream “TOLD YOU SO!” at their ill-informed friends, while their friends nod and say “You were right” before going out to buy every single piece of Nakamura merchandise in existence. Titles were decided. For me it was the best instalment yet of these always excellent NXT Takeover shows, but even with all that being said, nothing compares to what Nakamura was at this show, and what he will be in WWE going forward.
The Revival vs American Alpha – NXT Tag Title Match
This kind of match is the reason WWE are pretty much scrapping their current tag division (New Day aside) and starting again . Gone are the days of two main eventers being shoehorned together to win the tag belts for the sake of a shite storyline, and in its place we have this. The future. Two of the best tag teams in the world right now, who carved out their own niche at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. American Alpha as the flashy, technically inch perfect, energy fiends and The Revival as a couple of car mechanic Da’s (DAsh and DAwson…co-incidence? nah mate) who focus on fundamentals. Those fundamentals being the ability to stomp the living fuck out of anyone and everyone who crosses their path. Half their offence is just stomping on cunts mercilessly and that’s why I love them.
The subtle wee things are what made this match. Like The Revival trying their usual underhand tactics but American Alpha overcoming them at every turn. The effectiveness of their wily tactics has punctuated their run with the belts, so them trying and failing to be cheating bastards told a story all on its own. That American Alpha were wise to it and unwilling to allow it. Jason Jordan must love Chad Gable though eh. Imagine being as boring as he was, cutting about for years making absolutely no impact on the audience despite having all the talent in the world. How frustrating that must have been, then this 5 foot 8 ball of wrestling sunshine swoops in and changes it all. His charisma connects with the audience and ignited you just because you’re paired with him and all of a sudden it all falls into place. This is no longer a Jason Jordan doing what he’s told and trying to make the best of it, this is a Jason Jordan in his element and the stereo German Suplexes they hit on the Da Club proves beyond any doubt that this is a team completely in sync and ready to take over. Not just the NXT tag division, I mean the fuckin world.
Gable’s charisma sucks you in every time. American Alpha on top, crowd going mental and all of a sudden Dash has floored Gable with a clothesline on the outside and The Revival are all over Gable. Wearing him down with fundamentals. Chinlocks, headlocks, anything with a lock on it. The fans get drawn in, urging him to make that comeback and that’s where Jordan comes in. On that apron, powering up. Ready for a tag so hot it could melt your face clean off if you happen to be within 100 feet of it. Gable reached out and was caught mid-air by The Mechanics, but he turned it into a double DDT and there was the opening for the tag. Jordan shuffling his feet on the apron, ready to dropkick the living fuck out some cunts, only for Dash to emerge from under the ring to pull him off the apron. The first bit of cheating that worked to its full effect. There was a wee fuckup as they went for their double team finisher and missed it a belter but it detracted nothing from the match and the way they responded to the “You fucked up!” and “Botchamania” chants says it all about what they are. Mistakes happen in wrestling but it’s about not allowing them to de-rail the rest of the match and if anything this fuck up improved it because for a wee minute Dash and Dawson turned into a pair of cheeky smiley chappies as they allowed the crowd to get it all out their system, and that was a nice change of pace from their usual bulldog chewing a wasp demeanour. The happy smiley chappies disappeared soon after because Jordan finally got THE WORLDS HOTTEST TAG, and proceeded to straight up kill The Revival with all sorts of dropkicks and big “fling this cunt over yer heid” suplexes. Big man had the straps down and he was rollin. Near fall after near fall. Fans on their feet every time. It was coming.
They beat them at their own game and that’s storytelling. A team who have held on to their tag titles through blind tags, eye pokes and feet on the ropes got done with a blind tag. Jordan tagging in while Gable keeps Dawson occupied in the corner, as Jordan enters the ring at the other side undetected and LAUNCHES himself at Dawson with a shoulder in the corner, before they hit Grand Amplitude (their mad double team suplex thing) to become the brand new tag team champions.
Tears of joy followed from both Gable and Jordan. This wrestling shit isn’t just a means to an end for them, it matters and they will strive to keep getting better at it. That’s what sets them apart and that’s why they’ll be winning any belt that says “Tag” on it for the foreseeable future.
Baron Corbin vs Austin Aries
On any other night it would have gone down as a decent match. On a night that makes “decent” look like a bag of shite, it didn’t quite cut it but Aries making his debut and Corbin being extremely believable as a cunt who likes throwing indie guys about like empty shellsuits made it at least a compelling enough match. Corbin will never be the guy for the 5 star classics but he’s not supposed to be that, he’s the opposite of that. He shakes his heid and waves his fingers at those who strive to entertain. Why give the people what they want when you can stand on pencil necked geeks instead.
Aries took a kicking for much of this match and while that meant he didn’t have the chance to show his full range of skills, it made plenty of sense. For Corbin’s shtick to work, he has to look capable of battering cunts. He also has to make mistakes that Indy guys wouldn’t make so they can be lit that “I wouldn’t have fucked up like that, I’m an Indy guy, we know better from all the Indy stuff. Ya big somehow hairy baldy cunt”
Aries dived about daft and got Corbin in a daze before the big man derailed it all by hitting Deep 6 on the floor. End of days next of course, but NUT. Because of the years of experience and hard graft he’s put in WRESTLING all over the world, Austin Aries managed to outfox someone with a fraction of that experience because storytelling is important. End Of Days reversed into a rollup for the uno, dos, tres. Aries wins on his debut.
Aries will undoubtedly have better matches during his time at NXT but this one was important because he managed to drag something watchable out of the improving Corbin, and sometimes that’s more of an achievement than having a 5 star belter with someone on the same level as you ability wise.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn
He’s something different from anything else on the wrestling spectrum and that’s why he’s here. That’s why he’ll succeed. That’s why the noise when he made his entrance was deafening. Pairing that amount of charisma with the ability to throw your knees towards folk from unspeakable and at times unnatural angles is something else. Its something that doesn’t need fluent English to get across to an English-speaking audience but his English is fine. Good enough as a basis to improve on anyway, so really the only thing standing between Nakamura and one day becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion is bullshit. That’s it. That’s the only thing that could prevent a talent this special sitting on top of the wrestling mountain one day, looking down on us all with an air of suave disdain. Suave disdain vs Sami Zayn. The debut to end all debuts. It was fuckin………FIRE.
He knee’d him, he stomped him, he tried to kick his chin off. He threw body parts, he threw them hard. Sami Zayn matched it. He kept the fuck up, because at the end of the day he’s Sami Zayn and performance wise NXT have scarcely seen anything like it. For all Baron Corbin was probably the worst opponent for Austin Aries debut and the fact that he made it work paints him in a good light, if Nakamura failed to tear the house down with a talent like Zayn on his debut it would have reflected badly on him. The problem with that is Nakamura doesn’t do failure when it comes to tearing the house down, and on this occasion he tore the whole of Dallas down. They had to cancel Wrestlemania it was that bad, only for Nakamura to look at the pile of rubble his overflow of charisma had created and wink at it, causing the whole city to rebuild itself. Only this time with 100x more sass. If you’re one of the folk who don’t “get” what he’s about, you clearly don’t have any room in your heart for sass and I feel bad for you if that’s the case. I’d rather be sassy than classy, and I’d definitely like to be sassy on Class A’s. The wrestling though.
Knees. So many knees. If a knee missed the mark? have a spinning heel kick instead. If a kick missed the mark? The next one will be taking each and every one of your front teeth. Sami was as strong style as a Canadian man could possibly be, fair fucks to him for trying to match Nakamura’s level when it came to strikes. He fell well short on most occasions but responded to a belter of a forearm by knocking Nakamura off the top rope with a beauty of his own. Taking Nakamura to the outside isn’t always a smart move though, just gives him new and innovative ways to batter fuck out of you with his knees and he landed a knee flush on Sami’s jaw as he dwelled on the apron. Fuckin eat that ya haudin the door open for grannies, flatcap funtime having skinny Seth Rogen CUNT. Honestly, nothing against Sami. No idea where that came from, but at the same time, how DARE he think he can hang with Nakamura. He can hang with him and did hang with him, but still, how DARE you pal. Canada is not Japan, and there’s no such thing as Japanada so fuckin wind yer neck in. He never listened though. The neck stayed out as he hit all sorts of flying crossbodies and big dives on Nakamura’s poor unsuspecting jaw, but Nakamura hadn’t used his knees as a weapon for well over a minute and he set out rectifying that by kneeing Sami’s nose clean aff his face before ramming it in his eye socket. STRONG STYLE.
They smashed the living shite out of each other with about 500 forearms until they could barely stand. Blood pouring from Nakamura’s nose and he gave nothing looking like, or in any way resembling a fuck. A wee burst nose was never stopping him. Bullet to the temple wouldn’t stop this cunt. He’s probably catch it, eat and shite out wee bullet shaped roses later. Jumping armbar locked in out of nowhere but Sami blocked. Sami made the mistake of playing Nakamura at his own game though. He took kicks to the face so responded with kicks to the face. He got put in submission holds so he responded with submission holds. Playing Nakamura at his own game isn’t how you beat Nakamura. He should have jumped about as much as humanly possible, thus preventing Nakamura from having a static target to aim his knees at but again. Fair fucks to him for looking like a guy who COULD play him at his own game and win. It’s just a shame for him, and the nation of Japanada that he didn’t get the job done. Kinshasa (new name for the Boma Ye, although I’m told it’s slightly different) was attempted but Sami blocked it and went for that mad DDT he does where he jumps through the wee gap between the ringpost and turnbuckles only for Nakamura to counter that with a kick to the head. Everything can be countered with a kick to the head if you want to kick people in the head as much as he does. Hogan going for that big leg drop? Spring up and kick him in the temple. Cena going for the AA? Spin off his shoulders and kick his skull in. Taker going for the Tombstone? Fart in his eyes, he drops you, land on your feet and WHAM. Kick to the fuckin skull. Every single move can and should be countered with a kick to the head.
Moves can also be countered by mad frenetic elbow to the back of the head though. That’s another effective way of doing it and the shower of elbows Nakamura used to block the exploder suplex in the corner, led to him hitting a flying knee off the second rope to knock Zayn dizzy before KINSHASA WAS UNLEASHED, and Nakamura had announced himself to a new world of fans with one of the most engaging and technically brutal wars in the history of NXT/Wrestling in general/the history of the world as we know it.
They warmly shook hands before Zayn bid farewell to NXT. Three years in something considered to be “developmental” could be painted in a negative light but truth be told he’s a big part of the reason that NXT is seen as its own seperate entity now and has more than earned his opportunity on the main roster full-time. I give it 6 months tops before Nakamura joins him there, and he knees The Usos so hard enough bits of them break off to make a third Uso.
Bayley vs Asuka – NXT Women’s Title Match
While Nakamura’s style is somewhat new territory for the Men’s division in NXT, there’s been a Japanese burd knee’ing and generally knocking fuck out the women’s division for a while now. Her name’s Asuka and as much as Bayley is rightly loved and has become a standout performer on NXT, she had to drop the belt here, because Asuka is something entirely different and far too menacing to lose wrestling matches to pretty much anyone. And as much as she probably respects Bayley more than anyone else on the roster, losing to a “hugger” when you’re perhaps the most frightening female to grace the planet earth is a bad look for Asuka, and something she would look to prevent at all costs. By battering fuck out of her opponent.
It was a similar type of story to Nakamura and Zayn. Anytime Bayley built up a bit of momentum she got floored and armbarred to fuck. Anytime she slung a few forearms at Asuka she’d get kicked in the skull. Or she’d get a flying erse to the ribcage. She locked in the Guilotine Choke that eventually choked mawbear Nia Jax the fuck out and that didn’t get the job done. Nothing would. Even diving through the middle rope before hitting a hurricanrana wasn’t making it happen. Nothing would. She was never retaining but the fact that so many wanted her to and believed she would retain is what made it so shocking when she didn’t come out victorious. Even though Asuka winning made all the sense in the world, it’s the fact that you felt Bayley’s pain that made it a moment to gasp at. A bit similar to Brock Lesnar ending the streak. Should Brock Lesnar be able to beat The Undertaker clean? Of course he should, but that doesn’t make him doing it to end a 25 year reign of excellence any less of a “oh my fuck, I just pushed ma pants” moment.
Asuka slapped fuck out the champ, only for Bayley to reverse it into a kneebar because she’s game. We know this by now. She’s as game as it gets. Being game doesn’t stop a wrecking machine from wrecking things though. That jumping armbar is some seriously slick wrestling. Anytime it’s applied its a buzz, but Bayley unbuzzed it and fought out. She kept on fighting and never once looked down and out before she eventually was down and out and maybe that’s what made her losing such a galling thing. She’s the underdog who made a habit of winning, so even when she looked out of it as Asuka got the Asuka Lock in, you believed she’d somehow spring to life. She never did. She was choked out by and lost her title to the best female wrestler in WWE right now and considering the standard across the board that’s quite a thing to be. Quite a thing indeed.
As for Bayley, good shit is happening on the main roster that she needs to be a part of ASAP while Asuka writes the next chapter of the rich story the women of NXT continue to tell us show by show, year by year. They’ve come to represent nothing but excellence and undoubtedly put the wheels in motion for the retirement of the “Divas” Title on the main roster and re-introduction of the “Womens” title.
Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe – NXT Title Match
Let Joe bleed guys is it? Fuck PG? Maybe Joe didn’t want to keep bleeding into his eye eh. Maybe try asking him how he feels about it before making decisions that could lead to him not being alive. When he was burst open within the first 30 seconds of this beauty of a title match, maybe he thought stopping the bloodflow early was a good idea. I will admit it does take you out of the moment slightly to see doctors tending to him during the match but we’re all adults. We know what wrestling is and I’d much rather be taken out of the moment knowing Joe was safe and healthy after the match, than to be kept in the moment while the cunt bleeds out. This wasn’t a daft wee cut either, this was Austin in the sharpshooter right before passing out at WM12 type of bleeding, and that needs tended to, so unless you’re his wife or maw I suggest you keep your “let Joe bleed” patter to yourself.
The reason he bled so much in the first place was these two clearly watching the two matches that went on before them and decided to throw absolutely everything at it. Demon Finn leathered Joe with chops at every corner, before Joe sold that punt kick off the apron beautifully. Looked like he’s been hit by a foot shaped bus, but he recovered quick to reverse the slingblade into a sickeningly wonderful overhead belly to belly. Most observers expected this to be the title that would definitely change hands on this show, but most observers of wrestling also happen to be misinformed dafties and they were WRONG as fuck. Even if Joe looked like a complete and utter beast at times. Hitting a powerbomb before transitioning straight into the most painful looking Boston Crab in the history of crabs coming to Boston. Finn spun out and hit a standing double stomp, only to find himself folded in half and muscle buster’d to fuck. BUT HE KICKED OUT. The Muscle Buster usually has the beating of mere humans, but Joe was in there with a mad Irish demon and he was about to have his soul sucked out his erse.
Finn hit the Double Stomp off the top, before going searching for the Bloody Sunday, only for Joe to flip it into the Coquina Clutch, but a sexy wee bit of mid-air maneuvering turned that usually fatal submission into a pin for Finn. STILL your NXT Champion, and arguably the strongest champion that title has ever seen. Judging on the level of opponents he has seen off , he has to be regarded as up there and for me this was his best match in the company to date. Or at least it will be until he inevitably shares that ring with a certain Japanese guy we got a bit excited about earlier in this very review. Joe really doesn’t NEED to become NXT Champion to validate him being there, all he had to do was display how good he still is in that ring and he’s more than proved that, so get him on the main roster having suplex contests with Brock asap. Nae offence to Ambrose, but judging by that Mania match Brock is clearly running out of legit contenders to work with and Samoa Joe might be someone who could get in about it with him and actually look believable in doing so.
Cracking show. It was all very Nakamura I’m sure you’ll agree. I give the show 140 knees to the face out of 140. Thanks for reading. x