Friday's NXT TakeOver: Dallas show on the WWE Network is one of the biggest the brand has produced up to this point with three big main events that sound great on paper, and should be great in execution.
If given time, the top three matches have a chance of being some of the best matches this weekend will provide:
- Reigning champion Finn Balor will defend the NXT title against Samoa Joe, a rematch from TakeOver: London event.
- Women’s champion Bayley defends against Asuka, who has a ton of momentum since debuting.
- Sami Zayn, who is making what will most likely be his last appearance on the NXT brand, will square off against a debuting Shinsuke Nakamura, who stunned the world by signing a WWE contract a few months ago after having a great run in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
- Austin Aries will take on the man who attacked him in his debut, Baron Corbin
- Apollo Crews faces off against "The Drifter" Elias Sampson
- NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival (Dash and Dawson) defend against American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan).
Join us at 10 PM EST for our coverage!
Apparently, the Apollo Crews/Drifer match was bumped to dark match status. Apollo won in what was said to not be a very good match.
In case you were wondering, no, we didn't have Triple H open this broadcast.
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (Dash and Dawson) (c) vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable)
Crowd was really hot for this. Gable worked a lot of the match, and was the one being worked on as Jordan was waiting for a tag. They worked on him forever, though there were a few clever spots like Dash going through the ring and taking out Jordan just as Gable was going for a tag. They completely messed up a spot where the Revival were going for a powerbomb/clothesline off the top rope combo but didn't get Gable up all the way and it looked really bad, and on top of that Dash went for a cover when he wasn't the legal man and they just stood there for a few seconds, lost. "Botchamania" chants after that one. It picked right back up after that as Jordan was tagged and they went for a bunch of fun near falls that the crowd ate up. Gable had a bunch of clever nearfalls, he's such a terrific athlete. They did a phantom tag as Gable had Dawson in the corner. Jordan surprised him with a spear, Gable tagged back in and hit their drop/suplex bridge finisher to win the titles. Good match despite the botch with some great heat.
Jim Ross, Michelle Beadle, Funaki and, most interestingly, Kota Ibushi were shown in the crowd. Announcers specifically mentioned the cruiserweight tournament when talking about Ibushi.
Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries
Corbin has a cool new jacket. I know Aries is on the small side anyway but Corbin absolutely dwarfed him in comparison. Aries started off hot but Corbin cut him off and got the heat on him. He's really found himself in terms of agressiveness which I think he didn't have even going back a few months ago, he continue to improve well. Aries made a comeback but Corbin laid him out with the deep six (spinning side slam) on the outside. He went for the End of Days but Aries countered with a roll up into a bridge and got the win. Right finish as it protected Corbin and Aries got the needed win in his debut. Pretty good match.
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Crowd went ballistic the minute Nakamura came out. Song, entrance, everything fit him and was instantly over. Crowd is SUPER into this, far beyond anything else on this card so far. Good back and forth between both throughout. Nakamura was extremely comfortable doing his own thing and did all of his trademark spots. He's one of the best in the world in terms of charisma and presence and it was completely represented here Zayn did the big running senton to the floor. Great back and forth sequence. Nakamura's nose was busted open. "We want strong style" chant. More back and forth until Nakamura hit the spinning clothesline, like from the G1 final from a few years ago. He transisitoned into a triangle. Zayn tried to counter but Nakamura escaped. Zayn got in the koji clutch but Nakamura countered out of it. Zayn went for the helluva kick but Nakamura escaped and hit the reverse exploder and went for the boma ye but Zayn countered. Just great back and forth and the heat was incredible. Nakamura hit the knee strike to the back of the head then pinned Zayn with a high knee strike to the face for the win. Absolutely incredible match that is a surefire match of the year candidate. I think Nakamura's going to be just fine in WWE.
Nakamura and Zayn shook hands after the match. Zayn stood in the ring as people were chanting "Ole" and "Thank You Sami". He left to his own music to a big reaction.
NXT Women's Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Asuka
Both women worked really well with one another and everything looked right on the money. A lot of back and forth. Asuka went for a kick but Bayley immediately latched on a kneebar in a cool submission. She worked on both Asuka's knees. Asuka came back with the flying armbar and went into the seated position but Bayley countered with a roll up. Asuka latched on the Asuka lock, taking her to the floor. Bayley fought and fought, but eventually passed out and Asuka got the win, becoming the new Women's champion. Crowd was stunned by this but ultimately cheered Asuka. Tough to follow the previous match but this was really good.
Bayley looked dejected after the match. Asuka left the ring, stared at Bayley, then headed up the ramp, posing with the title.
They showed Bobby Roode in the audience, so at the very least he's on the radar.
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Samoa Joe
Balor came out with a chainsaw, I guess since it's in Texas. Maybe he borrowed it from Dean Ambrose and will give it back after the match. Balor did a flying senton to the floor and Joe's eye was immediately busted open big time, blood everywhere. It was actually from a headbutt sequence at the start of the match. Joe did a sick suicide dive to the outside. They had to stop the match several times as Joe's eye was still bleeding, which the crowd didn't like, chanting "Bulls***" and "F*** PG". I don't think it's a PG issue but rather a a medical/commission issue. Some good back and forth once that was all cleared up. Balor went for the coupe de grace but Joe cut him off and hit the muscle buster for a nearfall. Balor got back up and hit the coupe de grace then tried to follow with the Bloody Sunday DDT but Joe came back with the kokina clutch. They did the Piper/Bret finish from Wrestlemania 8 where Balor used the turnbuckle as leverage and bridged himself over Joe on the floor, pinning him. Heat and intensity was there, and it wasn't bad but the constant stoppages hurt it from being really great.
Joe looked both stunned and angry after the match, and simply left with Balor celebrating in the ring as the show ended. Another great NXT Takeover event, watch the Zayn/Nakamura match above everything else but each match was good to great in it's own right.