Apparently this NXT Takeover isn’t just The End, it’s The End of the Beginning. That’s what they called it at the start of the show, anyway. Inconsistent name aside, I’ve been looking forward to this one more than any Takeover since the one with the Bayley versus Sasha Banks Iron Man Match..
The first match of the night was Tye Dillinger versus the debuting Andrade “Cien” Almas. Dillinger had some really silly looking entrance attire. Almas was apparently well known in the indies but I didn’t know anything about him. They said he was a masked luchador before now, which is cool. Overall, neither of these performers meant much to me going in.
Very technical match early on and fun to watch. There was a lot of showing off from Almas. Possibly too much. I don’t think it worked for the live audience any more than it did for me.
Almas got the pin, which led to a partial standing ovation and a lot of boos. This was a great first showing for Almas and, while we still don’t know much about him, I think we can look forward to some great matches from him in the future.
Up next was the NXT Tag Team Championship match between the challengers The Revival and the defending champions, American Alpha. American Alpha won the titles from The Revival at the last Takeover, so this has been brewing for a while. The audience was all for American Alpha.
Right from the start, they played up the wrestlers against brawlers aspects of their characters. Fantastic match. This is what tag team wrestling should be. After a lot of back and forth, The Revival scored a pin making them the firs-ever two-time NXT Tag Team Champions. I did not expect that.
After the match, two big guys dressed in all black came out and attacked American Alpha. Paul Ellering, WWE Hall of Famer, then joined them on the ramp. This is going to be big.
The next match was Shinsuke Nakamura versus Austin Aries. I couldn’t call this one. Both are very over with the audience, though I think Aries has the potential to be a great heel.
The audience seemed mostly behind Nakamura, and even continued his entrance music after it stopped playing. It didn’t take long for me to realize I overestimated support for Aries.
After the best match I’ve seen from either of them yet, Nakamura scored the pin for the win. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this continue between these two, assuming neither move up to the main roster with the WWE brand expansion.
Following Nakamura versus Aries was the NXT Women’s Championship match between Asuka and Nia Jax. This was probably the match a lot of people were really looking forward to. I think these two performers are the future of the NXT women’s division going forward, with all the others who have been called up to the main roster over the past year (and I don’t think it’s long before Bayley and maybe some others join them.)
Asuka is always fun to watch in the ring and I believe Nia Jax is going to be the best women’s heel the WWE has ever had someday. She’s not there yet, but it’s coming.
The match started just about how you’d expect with their very mismatched sites. Asuka went in with a game plan which didn’t go how she’d like and Jax just tried to be overpowering (which usually works well for her.) As the match progressed, we saw Asuka focusing on submission maneuvers and Nia Jax targeting Asuka’s back.
The match was surprisingly short before Asuka scored a pin to retain the title.
Finally, we came to the main event of the night: Samoa Joe defending the NXT Championship against Finn Balor (who Joe took the title from not all that long ago) in NXT’s first-ever steel cage match.
Oddly enough, that was the match I got least into of the night. I wouldn’t call it bad, it was just far less exciting than I would have liked after how high the bar had been set going into it. The match was back and forth all the way through before Samoa Joe finally captured the victory over Finn Balor. You may recall that’s the outcome I predicted after the previous episode of NXT.
I read after Takeover went off the air and Finn Balor got up to go interact with fans some, the audience began chanting, “thank you, Balor,” and “see you Monday.” Obviously, a good portion of the audience is expecting the same thing I am: Finn Balor getting called up to the main WWE roster sooner than later. He’ll be a welcome addition there. I expect he’ll join up with former Bullet Club stable mates in The Club. After all, if they’re going to be feuding with John Cena and The New Day, they’re a man short.
Andrade “Cien” Almas (NXT debut match) defeated Tye Dillinger.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival defeated American Alpha to become the first-ever two-time NXT Tag Team Champions.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Austin Aries.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuke defeated Nia Jax to retain the title.
NXT Championship Steel Cage Match: Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor to retain the title.
Not much to say here, really. Obviously, American Alpha is about to go into a feud with whoever this new team Paul Ellering brought in is. I wouldn’t be surprised if that concluded at the next Takeover and we see American Alpha drafted up to the main roster during the brand expansion before the end of it.
I expect Nia Jax will go on to feud with someone new, possibly Carmella or Alexa Bliss, while Bayley returns to chasing Asuka for the Women’s Championship. I do expect that will be short lived, however, as Bayley is almost sure to be getting called up to the main roster very soon. Maybe she’ll even start chasing the title there right away. That could lead to friction between her and Sasha Banks and give us a couple more great matches from them before Sasha claims the WWE Women’s Championship at Summer Slam, as I hear is the plan.
I’m unsure what other women will get called up during the brand expansion, but the main roster will definitely need to pad their women’s roster if it’s going to be split in two. Carmella seems like an obvious choice, since Enzo and Big Cass are already there, but I’m not sure if she’s ready. The coming expansion could also be part of why Alexa Bliss split from Blake and Murphy. I’d love to see her on the main roster and being more active all around.
I expect Finn Balor is now done with NXT. A lot of people seem to expect him to show up at RAW tonight. I don’t. I think he’ll get a little time off and show up to aid The Club at Money In The Bank (though I don’t think we’ll see any titles change hands on that front.)
As Bobby Roode (I hear they may be going with Rude?) is now with NXT, I wouldn’t be surprised if we say him enter into a feud with Austin Aries, since I’m told they were two of TNA’s best before jumping ship.
Nakamura is going to go on being an entertaining crazy person. This isn’t so much a prediction as it is a wish list item, but I’d really like to see him have at least one good match with Tye Dillinger, who I think I am becoming a fan of. I read Hideo Itami may be coming back to NXT before long, being nearly recovered from whatever the injury that took him out was. If that’s true, I would not be at all surprised to see him feud with Nakamura at some point, maybe frame it as a rivalry between Japanese wrestling styles or something. Or maybe I’m way off base on that one, as I know next to nothing about Itami.
I’m really not sure what’s next for Samoa Joe.
And that’s all for now. Sorry this one got up so late but it was a lot more to write and I got busy. I still made sure to get this up before this week’s NXT so I can try to keep this a regular thing. I will continue to give my thoughts on matches, but I’m going to try to focus more heavily on the story and how they go about crafting a narrative in the serialized format.
Check my About Me page at the top for all the places you can find me online. I’ll pretty much always be glad to talk about wrestling or probably just about anything else. You can join in the global conversation by using the hashtag #WWENXT or just #NXT on social media. You’ll find me tweeting there when I watch NXT and usually the other WWE shows, though the main roster pay per views are usually the only things I watch live, due to my real life schedule (and that may be changing if the rumor of two pay per views per month after the brand expansion is true.)