NXT WWW Review Archive (December 2015-July 2017)

NXT TakeOver: Dallas Review

You know how the saying goes: Everything is bigger in Texas. NXT is certainly no exception to this old adage. Just when you thought that TakeOver: London established the echelon for NXT and it’s power and reputation as a brand, WWE ups the ante just one more time. Sporting easily the most stacked card in NXT, and arguably WWE history, it’s going to be an exciting night of wrestling.

NXT Tag Team Championship - American Alpha vs. The Revival (c)****

Oh my brothers, it’s time! TakeOver: Dallas is kicking it off hot and heavy with Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, who in my opinion, are one of the most impressive tag teams in the recent history of NXT, challenging Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Gable and Dawson start the match off, with Dawson getting a little cheeky in the corner with Gable over the crowd’s admiration for him. Some amateur horseplay in the middle of the ring leads to a series of roll ups, with Gable scoring a near fall and playing cheeky with Dawson himself. Dawson and Gable have a very smooth exchange, with Gable tagging in his running mate for a huge and impactful dropkick. The Revival attempts to employ some double team, but are quickly thwarted by American Alpha as Chad Gable gains control and leverage over Wilder. Chad Gable starts heating up, but misses a dropkick and is almost double teamed by The Revival again. Not so fast, Dash and Dawson! Gable and Jordan connect with dual dropkicks AND dual german suplexes. Just an absolutely beautiful sequence and show of teamwork so far by American Alpha. Gable gets beheaded on the outside by Wilder, giving The Revival a chance to slow the pace down. Gable tries to fight off the isolation offense of The Revival, but Dash and Dawson hold on with pitbull like tenacity. Gable is able to escape from a Gory Special, but is cut off by double team offense again from Dash and Dawson. The Revival attempt a top-rope move but clearly do not connect with whatever they were attempting, as can be noted by the crowd wildly chanting “Botchamania”. Chad Gable tries AGAIN to capitalize on a big miss from Wilder, but is stopped by Dawson. Gable finally gets the always electrifying hot tag off to Jason Jordan who clears house immediately with suplexes, spears, and more. Dash and Dawson try once more to cheat their way to a victory, but keep coming up short. Jordan almost gets pinned off some more dirty work by the champions until Gable runs in for the save. Jordan misses the spear in the corner, but Gable tags himself in and exchanges roll-ups with Dawson in the center of the ring. Jordan gets the tag out of nowhere, hits the spear, and GRAND AMPLITUDE! We have NEW NXT Tag Team Champions!

What a way to start TakeOver: Dallas! Jason Jordan and Chad Gable notch another impressive victory, this time getting the NXT Tag Team Championship. Dash and Dawson looked excellent in this match too, aside from the botch. Hats off to everyone, and congratulations to American Alpha, y’all deserve it! Oh…and minor details, Kota Ibushi just happens to be in the crowd next to Funaki. No big deal or anything…right?

Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries***1/2

Austin Aries, the self-proclaimed Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, makes his in-ring debut for NXT. Aside from the impending debut of one Shinsuke Nakamura, I don’t recall myself being this excited for a debut in a while. This match is interesting to me in more ways than one. Will Corbin finally end his string of luck of being pushed up only to be thrown back down? On the opposite side, will Aries lose in his debut? I think I know the answer to both those questions, but time shall tell. Aries wastes no breath, firing right off at Corbin, and the crowd is split right down the middle for these two as the brawl in the early going. Aries tries to keep the big man off his feet, and knocks him outside with a rolling elbow, following it up with a leaping elbow to the outside. Aries has been ALL over Corbin, not giving Corbin a chance to breathe. Corbin knocks Aries to the ground with a sickening forearm to the back of the skull. Corbin is dissecting Aries, using his size and brute strength to his advantage, keeping Aries just where he wants him. Aries is being straight ragdolled around right now by Corbin. Aries finally fights back, hitting some sickening chops to the chest of Corbin and connecting with a leaping forearm. Aries opens up a window of opportunity after laying heat on Baron Corbin and flies through the middle rope, sending him crashing into the barricade. Corbin thunders back with a Deep Six on the outside area. Corbin goes for End of Days, but Aries is able to roll Corbin up for the pinfall victory? Uh, ok then.

Well, that was a little bit sudden. Not exactly the finish I expected or finish that I would want for that match, personally. Seems a little bit…fraudulent to have a new talent go over by a roll up. The match itself wasn’t bad, as Aries looked pretty good, and Corbin played the dominating heel exceptionally well.

Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura*****

I’m going to die out of hype. Tell my friends and family I love them and get the oxygen ready, stat. I can’t believe that I’m about to see Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn, in the year 2016, wrestle in the middle of a WWE ring. I’m not ready for this. First off I have to say…holy balls. What an entrance. That theme, the lights, just the everything. The fact that they somehow kept the mystique that surrounds Nakamura in tact absolutely amazes me. Sami Zayn is just sitting in the corner of the ring, silently contemplating his life decisions, knowing that he’s about to die a hero’s death in the middle of that ring to Nakamura. I have legit chills right now watching Nakamura just play the crowd and Zayn like a fiddle. Zayn is able to rattle Nakamura just a little bit with a series of armdrags and some showboating of his own. Nakamura and Zayn, thus far, are exchanging in a game of one-upmanship, with Zayn especially being timid of going after Nakamura. Nakamura connects with a hard knee, both to the bridge of the nose and to the back of the head on the ring apron. Swagsuke, as he’s been deemed by Corey Graves, connects with a vicious knee strike in the corner to the midsection of Zayn. Zayn back-peddles Nakamura to the outside, and Zayn hits an explosive outside dive on The King of Strong Style, following it up with a crossbody. Nakamura tries to hit the ropes and attack Zayn, but is scooped up for a Michinoku Driver. Exchanging lefts and rights now in the ring are Zayn and Nakamura, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. Nakamura is sporting a crimson mask, as Zayn manages to actually break the nose of Swagsuke. Nakamura pummels the crap out of Zayn, eliciting a King of Strong Style chant from the sold-out crowd, only to be turned inside out by Zayn and a massive clothesline. Nakamura attempts for an armbar, but opts for a triangle choke instead, which is then reversed by Zayn. Zayn slaps on a Koji Clutch, looking to submit Nakamura, but to no avail, as he’s hit with a step-up enzuigiri. Zayn tries to explode for the Heluva Kick, but is instead set up with an inverted exploder suplex, and almost falls victim to the Boma Ye! Zayn counters with a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! What a sequence! After being unable to put Nakamura away, Zayn goes to the well one more time and tries for his signature DDT through the ring post, but has his head kicked right off of his body by Nakamura. Holy crap guys, I think Zayn might actually be dead. Back in the ring, Zayn tries to hit the exploder suplex, but Nakamura fights out, hits a stiff kick to the back of the head, and connects with a Boma Ye!

Shinsuke Nakamura, broken nose and all, wins an incredible debut match at TakeOver: Dallas. Holy shit, guys. This match was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you’re not familiar with Shinsuke Nakamura at all, this match tells you everything you’ll want or need to know about the King of Strong Style and what you can expect from him during his run in WWE and NXT. Post match, Nakamura goes to a fallen Zayn and extends his hand, giving Zayn an absolutely emotional send-off in front of the packed Dallas crowd. Zayn does one better, showing his respect for Nakamura. Absolutely incredible match, incredible atmosphere, and everything I’d expect from a dream match. You need to see this match, period.

NXT Women's Championship - Asuka vs. Bayley (c)****

As incredible as Asuka and Bayley are, holy fuck would I hate to have to follow that match. If there’s any two competitors who can though, Asuka and Bayley are those two. Bayley tries to keep Asuka on the mat in the early going, throwing everything in her repertoire to keep the Empress of Tomorrow from firing on all cylinders. Very sound strategy, because it’s either that or she’ll have her head kicked off. I’m not trying to tell Bayley how to live her life, but I wouldn’t want my head kicked off, either. Bayley continues her dominance, locking in a guillotine choke on Asuka, who reverses it into an ankle lock. Bayley dumps Asuka to the outside, and flies through the middle rope, connecting with a huge hurricanrana. Asuka bellows out her signature primal yell, unloading on Bayley and landing a single running knee to the temple, coming up with a near fall. Asuka and Bayley miss dropkicks, trade punches, and Bayley catches Asuka in mid-air with a knee bar into an ankle lock. Bayley tries to charge at Asuka, but is caught in an armbar in the center of the ring. Excellent sequences between Bayley and Asuka in this match. Asuka attempts to lock in the Asuka Lock, but Bayley counters with a suplex and a clothesline, driving Asuka to the mat, and locking on a submission of her own. Bayley charges with a head of steam, looking for the Bayley to Belly, but takes a huge roundhouse kick from Asuka, followed by a suplex into an armbar. Asuka tries to keep the armbar cinched in and transition into the Asuka Lock, and finally gets it locked in. Bayley attempts to restore a vertical basis and escape the Asuka Lock, but to no avail. Bayley passes out in the Asuka Lock in the center of the ring.

I expected a lot more from this match than I got, but it was a very good match. Don’t get me wrong, by no means was this a bad match. The timing and pacing felt off a little bit, and it was strange that it was a Bayley dominated match until the end, but nonetheless, congratulations Asuka! The match was put in an impossible spot to follow, though, so it’s to not fault of either competitor that it got the reception that it did.

NXT Championship - Finn Balor (c) vs. Samoa Joe****1/4

Hey, guess who’s at ringside for this match? Former TNA star Bobby Roode. Good for Bobby, I’d love to see him in NXT. If you’ll recall, Finn Balor decided to do a Jack the Ripper design for his demon entrance in London. Well, this time he comes out with a god-damned chainsaw and channels Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I cannot make this stuff up. Joe and Balor start this match off absolutely crazy, with Joe tossing Balor outside multiple times, only for Finn to come back with a fire under his ass. One of Balor’s strikes covers Joe with blood as he’s instantly opened up. Balor is sent skyrocketing over the barricade, but jumps right back over and pummels Joe with a strike to the cut above his eye. Drake Younger is trying to tend to the obviously wounded Samoa Joe, but he’s having absolutely none of it as he unloads furious strikes on Finn Balor. Samoa Joe takes to the skies himself, flying through the second rope and connecting with Balor on the outside so hard that it moves the barricade back a solid foot. There is no more terrifying sight than seeing a bloodied Samoa Joe, who by the way, has blood covering his entire left side of his body, flying at high speed through the second rope. Medical staff are attending to Samoa Joe and his vicious cut above his right eye, much to the dismay of Joe and the crowd. As we return to the ring, Balor charges at Joe but is slammed down with visceral force. Joe’s cut opens right back up after another shot from Balor. Joe whips Balor square into the corner and hits a step-up enzuigiri. I think Shinsuke Nakamura is going to have some competition in the strong style department tonight, as Samoa Joe’s been cut open AGAIN, and he continues to unload with explosive power on Finn Balor. Finn with a head of steam now, as he takes him around the world and connects with some knife-edge chops, sending the Samoan Submission Machine flying to the outside and connecting with a HUGE kick to the jaw. Balor charges in for the slingblade, but Joe reverses with an explosive over-the-head german suplex. Balor finally hits the slingblade and tries to follow up with the corner dropkick, but is flattened by a senton. Joe powerbombs Balor with authority, and transitions into a Boston Crab, transitioning from that to a crossface. Balor fights out and nails a double foot stomp. Joe connects with a Muscle Buster, but Balor kicks out at two! Balor and Joe trade blows again, with each man almost being down for the ten count. Suddenly, Finn rises with demonic fury, actually screaming like a Demon, and connects with the Coup De Grace and tries to follow up with Bloody Sunday. Joe reverses the attempt and locks in the Coquina Clutch. Balor climbs the ropes and goes over the head of Samoa Joe for a roll-up and the three count.

I don’t know why they ended the match in that fashion. It was on pace to be an absolutely incredible match, and was by all accounts, until that screwed up finish of rolling him up. Seems weird that you would end your biggest show of the year on a roll up, of all things, but hey, you do you WWE. Samoa Joe not winning the title here also confuses the holy crap out of me, but again, that’s WWE for you. That’ll wrap up what was unquestionably the best TakeOver yet for NXT. With so many excellent matches on the card, there’s something on this card for everyone, and I do mean everyone.

About the author

Al McMahon

Al is the Co-Owner of Wrestling With Words alongside Trask. While he's predominantly a WWE fan, Al likes to branch out and cover New Japan and NXT as well. He recently discovered independent wrestling, and is also an avid music theory advocate.


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