NXT TakeOver: Respect
October 7, 2015
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs Dash and Dawson - Semi-Finals
First time seeing Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson team together. I vaguely remember Dawson being in a random tag team that was managed by The French Stallion back in 2013 though. Love the team of Dash and Dawson though. They have the feel of an old NWA team and at least in this match, everything they did made sense. They were there to tell a story, not get over a series of mindless spots. The story was built entirely around Balors knee getting worked over to the point where Balor struggled to stand on both feet. Plenty of solid tag chemistry were shown between Dash and Dawson. Once Joe was tagged in, they were doomed though. In the end, the dream team won after Balor convinced Joe to tag him in so he could connect with the Coup de Grâce following a Joe Muscle Buster to win. That nicely sets up the fact that Balor is going into the finals with a bad injury to throw doubt into the outcome of the tournament. Dash and Dawson may have lost, but its a win in my book for how good they looked. Thus far, this would be the best tag match at a TakeOver special. *** ½
Baron Corbin and Rhyno vs American Alpha - Semi-Finals
So apparently Gable and Jordans first round opponents were Solomon Crowe and Neville. Screw Rhyno/Corbin, I want to see that match. First time seeing Gable, but Ive seen a few nothing performances from Jordan. After hearing a lot of positive things about Gable, I was glad to see he wasnt a disappointment. For a guy who had only completed his first year in the business back in September, he looked awesome in this. Loved all of his crazy quick holds that he can slap on at any moment. Jordan isnt bad either, although he didnt stand out as much as Gable. For the enjoyment of the match, I dug the opening minutes when it was just AA on offense, but it became a bit of a bore when the heels took over with a Gable face-in-peril sequence. Luckily, the final few minutes pick up for the finish. Corbin connects with a beautiful looking End of Days on Gable for a near fall. Corbin connects with a second one for the victory after Jordan is Gored out of the ring. Best Corbin match Ive seen thus far, but I would have preferred seeing American Alpha go over. I understand why they didnt go that route though. Good tag match. ***
Asuka vs Dana Brooke w/Emma
Asuka is making her NXT debut and all I can say is that shes beyond awesome. Shes able to throw this switch between being a cute fun loving girl to a complete fucking psycho. I have zero doubt that if you were ever dating her and you cheated on Asuka, shed end up killing you with a giant smile on her face. Im thrilled that theres finally another Japanese woman wrestler in the WWE. Its been what...20 year with Aja Kong? Its a shame too because most of my favorite WWE women acts were the bad ass Japanese wrestlers like Bull Nakano, Aja Kong, and of course the Jumping Bomb Angels. Anyways, this was a short match with Asuka never looking as if she was putting in her full effort. Almost as if shes enjoying seeing what Brooke can come up with and then quickly kill it. Her facial expressions are just as good as her brutal strikes. Asuka wins with the crossface chicken wing. Best NXT TakeOver debut yet. ** ¾
After the match, Danas stupid enough to try something again. Asuka quickly drops her with a single kick. As much as I loved the match, the best is the final visual with Emma chickening out and not even having the guts to look Asuka in the eyes. All while Asuka is looking at her with a crazed smile. Every single episode of NXT should have an Asuka squash.
Tyler Breeze vs Apollo Crews
Its a shame Breeze has been stuck on the main roster for a year. There was a time when it seemed as if he was the best male wrestler on NXT that wasnt just an indie darling. Since coming up to the main roster, has he been able to show any talent? Luckily, hes not on the main roster at the time of this show, so Breeze gets in another strong TakeOver performance. It was all about working over the back of Crews following a great back bump into the side of the ring with that awful LED board. Seriously, whats the deal with all of the LEDs now on WWE television? Did McMahon go to Costco and accidentally bought a few truckloads when all he wanted was a few? For the most part, Apollos selling of the back was really good. I particularly liked the spot where he flipped into the ring, but hurt his back more, allowing Breeze to get in a near fall after a Supermodel Kick. My only gripe, and its a minor one, is that I wish Crews would have sold the back in the finishing stretch rather than briefly ignoring it before selling it again after the victory with his power bomb variation. Its just a little difference between good selling and great selling. A rather good undercard match. *** ¼
Baron Corbin and Rhyno vs Samoa Joe and Finn Balor - Finals
Since I started this review nearly a year ago before coming back to it now, it seemed even odder that Rhyno and Corbin made it to the finals. Joe/Balor vs American Alpha just sounds so incredibly good on paper that Im now annoyed that we didnt get to see it. Even though the match was good, I found the story to be pretty darn great. Going into the match, the big question was, How will Balors injury affect the match? This became even more interesting as the commentators made a big deal about Finn starting the match. This didnt really lead into anything, but I appreciate the mention. Then when Joe was tagged in, the big concern becomes whether or not Balor can be counted on to save the day when Joe is having to work a large portion of the match. Once Balor was tagged back in, everything appears to be okay until he jams his knee. The heels worked it over before we went into the finishing stretch. Up until this point, the match was just okay. Not bad, but not entirely special. However, the finishing stretch was such a hot sequence with nearfalls, fans being completely invested, and a great finish of the Muscle Buster/Coup de Grâce combo that it ended the match on such a high note. Even though I still think it was a mistake allowing a couple of guys like Corbin and Rhyno into the finals, they worked a good little match against the top two stars of NXT. *** ¼
After the match, the Rhodes family comes out and we have a classy little segment paying respect to Dusty Rhodes and Samoa Joe/Finn Balor being presented with the trophy.
Bayley © vs Sasha Banks - Iron Man Match - NXT Womens Title
It would not be a NXT TakeOver review unless Jim severely underrates a highly regarded match. Heres the thing - Iron Man Matches are stupid. If youve seen one, youve seen them all. Why is that? Because literally since the very first televised one at Beach Blast 1992, theyve followed the same formula! Without knowing anything about this match beyond the fact that Baylie won, I assumed the final fall took place in the final moments of the match. Surprise, surprise, Baylie scored a submission to take the lead with four seconds to go. In the history of Iron Man Matches, there has never been a match where the final score was not a tie or someone winning by only one fall. Iron Man Matches desperately need someone like Brock Lesnar to come around and squash his opponent by five falls or something just to condition the fans into realizing that these matches do not need to be so repetitive. Its not to say this match isnt without its merits, but even my favorite parts had something negative attached to it. For example, Sashas AMAZING heel tactic of stealing Izzys bow. Thats without question, one of the best heel tactics Ive seen in my lifetime. Yet, what did it really accomplish? Bayley was hurt on the outside and didnt see it, so we didnt get an enraged Bayley kicking the shit out of Banks for having the temerity to do that to her #1 fan. Since the moronic fans were too busy chanting for women wrestling, its not as if this got Sasha crazy heel heat either. Ultimately, the spot meant nothing and that annoys me to no end because its a fucking awesome idea. The commentators also let me down with the fantastic ending by completely glossing over the story of it. Sasha couldnt force Bayley to submit to the Bank Statement because she couldnt get a proper grasp due to her previously injured hand. The commentators briefly mentioned the lack of a proper grasp, but they didnt elaborate. Due to the failure of a proper grasp, Bayley was able to escape and lock in an arm submission to score the submission. Not arm based ending not only played into earlier events of the match when Bayley worked over the hand of Sasha, but it plays into their TakeOver Brooklyn match when Sasha did something similar to Bayley. Even after the match, the commentators couldnt be bothered to explain what we had just witnessed. Both women are talented and they put in plenty of hard work, but theyre limited by the restrictions of the gimmick of the match and other aspects such as the commentating. I loved seeing Bayley add some aggression, Sasha stealing Izzys bow (Even if it didnt mean anything), and some of the excitement, but this falls far short of being a MOTC like some make it out to be. This match would have been so much better had it just been a standard match that went thirty minutes. *** ¼
Oh, and since were just days away from Roadblock: END OF THE LINE(~!), using my amazing prophecy talents, I foresee Charlotte/Sasha ending with the final fall taking place in the final ten seconds with the final count of the winner having only one fall more than the loser. Bank on it (See what I did there?)
NXT TakeOver: Respect is about as close to a B WWE Network as NXT is going to give their fans. Luckily, even if this is a B show, its still an entertaining show. The problem is it just doesnt feel too entirely important. The NXT Title isnt defended, the NXT Tag Champions arent even wrestling, and while they did try to make it seem like a big deal, the NXT Womens Title match was entirely predictable as Sasha Banks had already debuted on the main roster. Looking at my ratings, there wasnt a single bad match. The Worst match was a squash for a debuting talent and I LOVED it. In this one match alone, Asuka became my favorite NXT womens wrestler. I have mixed feelings on how the Dusty Rhodes tournament was handled. On one hand, it became less about tag team wrestling as the two final teams were just makeshift teams comprised of guys in the NXT Title hunt. It would have been nice to have a regular tag team make it to the finals. Still, all three matches were good (Even if Joe/Balor vs The Revival was clearly the best) and we got to see a rare classy post-match segment. I dont know how the quality of the matches of the Dusty Rhodes tournament 2 compares to this first one, but I prefer how the tag teams rightfully dominated the 2016 tournament. I would assume most people would view Bayley/Sasha as the best match and one of the better matches of the year. Id strongly disagree, but if that match makes this show a must watch, then so be it. This TakeOver doesnt have the heights that the previous ones had, but it also doesnt have the lows. As far as B special events go, this is the type you want to see. Just good wrestling up and down the card. A good placeholder until the next TakeOver where we can get back to things mattering.