Monday, April 4, 2016

NXT Takeover: Dallas stole the show before the weekend began

I watched four different wrestling pay-per-views over the weekend and this week I am going to give my thoughts on them from best to worst, day by day. Which means the best place to start is pretty obvious.

Takeover: Dallas debuted Friday night and made the rest of the weekend look bad in comparison.

These two could wrestle ninety minutes and I think we would all still
love it. Image credit:
The booking team knew how to start the show out hot as The Revival defended their tag titles against American Alpha. Someone backstage understands the draw of Chad Gable and Jason Jordan, and this match was booked to all of their strengths. That's not to say that Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder didn't also look great, because both teams truly brought it in a fifteen minute classic. Jordan and Gable ultimately picked up the win with the always awesome Assistplex and began what is hopefully a long reign as NXT Tag Team Champions.

Austin Aries and Baron Corbin had a daunting task following that opener, but they tried their best as they worked a solid David and Goliath match up. Corbin took most of the offense as Aries seemed more out to survive than win. But the wily independent veteran versus disrespectful development talent angle played out once again in a Corbin match as Aries reversed the End of Days into a roll up for the win. This was easily Corbin's best match of his career so far, but sadly it was vastly overshadowed by the match that came before it and the three stellar contests that followed.

Shinsuke Nakamura made a huge debut against Sami Zayn. In the longest match of the night, the Japanese icon and the heart of soul of NXT wrestled an instant five star classic. They each threw everything they got at the other in an utterly brutal encounter which at twelve minutes or so encouraged the crowd to literally chant "Fight forever" at the two men. Ultimately this match was about debuting a future megastar though. When Nakamura landed the Boma Ye (now renamed the Kinshasa), it was all over and he walked away with his first NXT win.

I went into Asuka versus Bayley expected Asuka to take the win. I suspect Bayley's time on the developmental roster grows short, and Asuka is in for a long reign herself as Women's Champion. But the company faced the dilemma of how to take the title off the beloved Bayley without turning Asuka heel. It started by Bayley bringing the fight to Asuka like no woman has before in NXT. Asuka took more offense by leaps and bounds at Takeover: Dallas, and more consistently stayed out of control of the match. But it was all about submissions for the women and ultimately the Asuka Lock would prove far too much for Bayley. Still, the fiery champion wouldn't submit and ultimately the referee stopped the match as Bayley had passed out. Asuka celebrated her clean win and Bayley saved face even in defeat. The deflated crowd will have to be built back to cheering Asuka however, something a feud with Nia Jax and Eva Marie should easily set up.

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While I again personally though the Women's title match should have went on last over the NXT title rematch, Samoa Joe and Texas Chainsaw Demon Finn Balor battled it out at the end of the night. Many fans online thought the battle was hampered due to regular slowdowns to check a gusher on the side of Samoa Joe's head. Personally, I think it adds an air of realism as most combat sports try to slow the flow of blood mid-match. WWE no longer needs to present itself as brutal and bloody to put on a good match.

Ultimately the match came down to developing the demon personality of Finn Balor a bit more. About two-thirds of the way into the match he started to shrug off brutal hits from Samoa Joe, but even then he still didn't have a clear path to victory. Ultimately he reversed a Muscle Buster attempt into a pin fall to take the win once again over the Samoan Submission Specialist.

After a few weeks of programming that wasn't quite up to par with 2015's NXT television, Takeover: Dallas pushed all that negativity to the side. This was the match of the weekend and challenges this year's Wrestle Kingdom as the show of the year so far. If you have a WWE Network subscription and haven't watched this yet, get on it now. You won't be disappointed.

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