NXT TakeOver: San Antonio
January 28, 2017

Eric Young w/Sanity vs Tye Dillinger
A feud built around Young trying to lure Tye into joining Sanity with Dillinger refusing to turn to the darkside. The story of the match helped carry it all. Throughout the match, Wolfe and Dain kept interfering, whether itís actually getting involved, providing a moment of distraction, or helping Young remain in the match. Even though Tye does take some moves from Sanity, he also dishes it right back at them as well including a dive to the outside. I liked all of the interference for the sake of the story, although I could have done without the spot where Wolfe and Dain actually climbed into the ring with Wolfe taking a Tye Breaker right in plain sight of the referee. Although it would have been a lame excuse for a DQ, itís going too far with the interference. Do that shit behind the refís back. After getting in many nearfalls and countering Youngís Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker, Tye ends up being defeated after taking out Sanity, but skinning the cat right into a second, and successful, attempt of the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker by Young. Lesson learned? Tyeís going to need some friends if he stands any chance against Sanity. As it turns out, that nicely plays directly into the opening match of the next TakeOver event. A good opener with both sides looking strong and setting up more to come in the feud. ***

Roderick Strong vs Andrade Almas
According to color commentator, Percy Watson, this match came about when Strong eliminated Almas in a Fatal Four-Way #1 Contenderís match. At least you tried, Percy. Iíve never been a fan of Almas, but I will admit that his new heel persona is a massive upgrade over his original babyface gimmick in NXT. Rather than coming across as some geek, he seems like a completely normal wrestler. With that being said, I still find him to be really dull. That seemed to be the one hindrance of the match. The pace never picked up much and at times felt as if they were just casually going about a series of spots, then taking a quick breather and starting in more spots. I did like that while Almas tended to focus some on the arm, although not nearly enough, Strongís strategy was to just hit Almas with a million different backbreakers including one dropping Almas on the top rope for a nearfall. Generally speaking, the action went back and forth enough that I was unsure of who was going to win. Being that I much prefer Strong, I was pleased to see him win after managing to take Almasí head off with a Sick Kick. Strong looked good and I liked the hard hitting moves, but something was just lacking with this. ***

DIY © vs The Authors of Pain w/Paul Ellering - NXT Tag Titles
Itís time for the biggest feel good story of 2016 to become the nightmare of 2017. I actually really enjoyed this one. Moreso than the beloved title switch between Revival/DIY. This ended up being an important match to me in that I havenít seen much of AoP and they hadnít seemed too impressive to me thus far. Like in the Brooklyn match against Sanity, theyíre able to get in a good match while making me think that they can be a really fun team to watch destroy bitches. The entire match is just built around making AoP look great. They dominated Gargano for the majority of the first half and even when Ciampa gets the hot tag and cleans house, one of the members of the AoP took every chop Ciampa had to offer and demanded more. The impressiveness continued as we get a repeat of Toronto as DIY has AoP in dual armbar/Gargano Escape, but this time, the AoP member in Garganoís submission manages to get on his feet and slams Gargano on top of Ciampa, to break the armbar as well. The onslaught continued as AoP countered Meeting in the Middle with their badass Super Collider tag move. That then leaves Ciampa alone in the ring to be destroyed with the Last Chapter to win the match and become the NEW NXT Tag Champions. AoP has it backwards. The Super Collider should really be their finisher over the far tamer looking Last Chapter. AOP were presented wonderfully as the new dominant monsters of NXT and DIY suffered the heartbreaking title loss so soon after winning the titles. Itís a shame American Alpha left NXT just as AoP were coming in. A feud between the two teams appeals to me more than a DIY/AoP program. *** ĺ

Asuka © vs Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce vs Billie Kay - NXT Womenís Title
Well, this is kind of odd. Asuka is presented as a badass tweener while the other three are heels with Royce/Kay even being partners. Where are the babyfaces? Iíll be honest, I found this to easily be the weakest of the Asuka TakeOver matches that Iíve seen. This is a match that should have just been on a random episode of NXT. Right away, you know that Asuka stands zero chance at losing the belt, nor do they ever truly tease the idea that sheíll lose. There seems to be potential in Cross to be built up into being a believable TakeOver opponent for Asuka, but it feels to early. While I know that some loves the Iconic Duo, I felt they were pretty worthless here. I was begging for them to heel it up, to properly add to the story, using their numbers advantage to be a threat to the title. I wanted to see them handcuff Asuka to the steel railing or try pinning each other. In fact, at one point they delivered a double suplex to Cross through a table and with Asuka still trying to recover from a DDT on the floor by Cross, Royce and Kay opt to throw Asuka back into the ring rather than just rush back into the ring so that either Royce or Kay can pin each other. Itís not as if they ever teased dissension. In fact, at one point, the one even tried helping the other hold Asuka down in a cover. WHY DIDNíT THEY JUST TRY PINNING EACH OTHER?! It makes zero sense and itís frustrating since that was actually a legitimate way to tease the idea of Asuka losing the title without having to suspend our disbelief that sheíd be pinned herself. There was zero reason to bother to include both members of the Iconic Duo. Asuka would end up just delivering a kick to Royce to win the match. Considering the fact that NXT was clearly in a rebuilding phase with their women, I donít know why the WWE didnít just bring down a woman from Raw or Smackdown to feud with Asuka for a couple of months. What was Becky Lynch doing that was so important in early 2017? The actual action was fine, but this was seriously disappointing for a TakeOver Womenís Title match. **

Shinsuke Nakamura © vs Bobby Roode - NXT Title
Iíll be honest, I really struggled to remain focused for this match. Itís a fairly long match. In fact, other than the Bayley/Sasha Iron Man Match, itís the longest TakeOver main event thus far in TakeOver history. Since they were going a half hour, they took their time with a pretty slow pace. They did try to tell a story with Roode working over various body parts including the neck. The match goes on and on and I generally donít care. My general state of apathy does drastically change after Nak delivers a knee to the back of Roodeís head on the apron and falls to the floor below. Nakamura has now injured his knee and while his selling can generally be hit or miss typically, heís suddenly selling his ass off. A Kinshasa in the middle of the ring sees Nakamura falling to the mat, in dire pain. Itís bad enough that a doctor rushes out to check on Nakamura, teasing the idea that the match will be stopped. During all of this, Nak is begging to be allowed back into the ring so he can continue the match. Once Nak convinces everyone to let him continue, Roode immediately hits a Glorious DDT, but Nakamura kicks out. That causes Roode to snap and he goes hard at the knee of Nakamura, slapping on a half crab and punching at the knee. Nakamuraís selling is fantastic as heís howling in pain. The knee is in bad enough shape that Roode is soon able to deliver another Glorious DDT, combined with all of the early neck work, is enough to keep Nakamura down, crowning a NEW NXT Champion. The match seriously went from something I was struggling to stay awake during to a 5 star classic. Had the match began with Nak hitting the knee on the apron, perhaps during Roodeís entrance, it would have been one of the best short matches in WWE history. However, the first 20+ minutes did bore me though. Ultimately, they failed in some ways, but succeeded greatly in others. *** ľ

After the match, weíre shown a pretty incredible visual. As the Glorious theme song is playing and Roode is standing tall with his new title, Nakamura is screaming in pain, down on the mat.

Another TakeOver, another event that left me disappointed in some aspects, but was overall a good show. The tag titles match was my MOTN, the only match that I felt was in total a near great bout. Iím not nearly as high on the NXTís tag division as most, but itís pretty rewarding when I finish a NXT Tag Titles match feeling really upbeat. Quite the contrast to the sad state the division was in when the TakeOvers first started. As I went on and on about, the main event was both overly long and boring and incredibly great. For me, if I was going to watch again, Iíd just skip to the knee spot on the apron. Thatís where the real heart of the match begins. The opening match was just good, but it was a story based match that nicely set-up the need for a future match once Tye finds some buddies to combat Sanity. Strong/Almas was fine for an undercard match. The biggest weakness of the show is the clear problems in NXTís Womenís division. Asukaís a star and literally my favorite thing about NXT, but thereís no one even near her league in the division. Iíd consider this to be an example of the problems that can arise from the brand extension. With the need of having so many women on the main roster now to have a division on each brand, NXT was just left with Asuka and a bunch of new talent. These women, through no fault of their own, are forced to step into this big spot and theyíre not ready. I go back to my original idea of bringing someone from the main roster to feud with Asuka for a bit until NXT can properly prepare the new crop of NXT women wrestlers like Cross, Riot, and Ember Moon. Then again, star power isnít going to help much if your booking is going to be garbage, like it was in the womenís match. Whoever was the producer of the match, completely failed to properly utilize the Iconic Duo to try and create at least a minimal threat to Asukaís belt. With how it was booked, it should have just been Asuka vs Cross in a singles match or a triple threat with one of the members of the Iconic Duo, preferably with interference from the other member. Overall, despite the two title changes, NXT TakeOver: San Antonio felt like a filler show to help build up to the next TakeOver.