We started WrestleMania weekend off with Friday night’s NXT Takeover: Dallas. As everyone expected, NXT delivered. The entire show was amazing and captivating from the first bell to the last.
If you have not seen it yet, please read no further (unless you want spoilers).
Let us start with the first match of the night: The Revival (Dash and Dawson) vs. American Alpha for the NXT Tag Team titles. The match was a solid back and forth, featuring a lot of near falls and great tag team work by both sides.
This was the perfect bout to start the show with as it got the crowd hyped, especially when American Alpha picked up the win, becoming the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
Next up we go to the grudge match between Baron Corbin and the debuting Austin Aries. This was all set up as Regal announced that NXT had signed free agent Austin Aries, as he was attacked from behind by a Corbin who felt he was slighted in the championship hunt.
Like the true professional he is AA said let’s settle this in the ring. The in ring debut of AA had him at a distinct size disadvantage against the much larger Corbin who was in control for most of the match, going as far as to hit a Deep Six on the floor of the arena to which AA barely made the ten count.
With Aries back in the ring he started to get a little offense of his own going, when he tried to come out of a corner though he got caught in the End Of Days to which he countered for the roll up victory. This was a solid match and a good way to debut in NXT for AA.
The next match on the card may be the single best wrestling match I have ever seen, with Sami Zayn taking on The King of Strong Style, Captain Charisma himself, Shinsuke Nakamura. In what was likely his last NXT match, Sami had the honor (if you can call it that) of being the first NXT opponent of Nakamura. The crowd reaction when Nakamura’s music hit was absolutely insane and the Dallas crowd knew they were in for a good one.
The King of Strong Style lived up to his name with a long exchange with SZ in the middle of the ring. To his credit, SZ was able to weather the storm for a lot of the match. Nakamura showed the skills and charisma that made him such a huge star in Japan. He took a Blue Thunder Bomb and kicked out at two. Eventually he was able to hit the running knee that has taken out more men than polio.
This was an absolutely fantastic match, despite having little to no build going into it. They stole the show and tore the house down.
Next up: Asuka vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship. This match was really good. They both took each other to the limit. The finish was great, too. The champ never actually tapped out but got put to sleep by the nasty submission known as the Asuka Lock.
If not for Nakamura v. Zayn, this match would have been the best of the night.
In the end, The Empress remained undefeated and walked out the new NXT Women’s Champ, clearing the way for Bayley to possibly join the main roster as soon as Monday.
Finally, we’ve reached the main event of the evening: Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor for Finn’s NXT Championship.
Joe came firing out extremely hot, as he has been obsessed since coming close to winning the title in London.
As you can see above, Samoa Joe got cut open. It happened during the opening exchange (maybe 30 seconds in), prompting the referees to check on him and allow him time to recover. The best part was it didn’t bother Joe in the slightest. All the cutman and referee involvement did was make him angry. He just kept coming and coming, focused on the highest prize NXT has to offer.
This caused the raucous crowd to break out into chants such as, “LET JOE BLEED,” and “FUCK PG,” among a few others.
Then it happened: Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch, causing Finn to counter by taking his opponent into the corner and launching himself off the turnbuckle, and into a rollup for the win (ala Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII).
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FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of WWE.com.