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2/3/16

The Vaudevillains Vs The Hype Bros: This is the relaunch of the Vaudevillains as heels. They pick up the win against the Hype Bros, who I think might be my least favourite act in NXT.

They do a little piece on Carmella where she talks about her friendship with Bayley and how her dad used to be a jobber. They always utilise these bits so well.

Carmella Vs Emma: I wish they didn't have to sacrifice Emma to build momentum for Carmella, but Carmella did need a credible win. They still presented it as a bit of an upset though.

Enzo and Big Cass Vs Jack Hurley and Ricky Starks: Oh shit, I didn't realise one of these jobbers was Ricky Starks. I've just become familiar with him through NWA Power. The highlight of this is Big Cass hip tossing one of the jobbers clean over the top rope to the floor into pretty much a flat back bump, which is a crazy bump to take. Enzo and Cass are coming for the tag titles.

Asuka Vs Santana Garrett: Pretty neat little 2 minute match with Garrett taking it to Asuka, before Asuka beat her with a cross armbreaker. The more her opponents step up to her, the better Asuka generally looks.

William Regal makes his official ruling on the number one contendership situation, which is, of course, to make a match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe in two weeks. Baron Corbin comes in and wants in that match, but Regal says the only non-controversial element of the triple threat match was that Corbin lost.

Finn Balor cut a promo in the back about the Joe/Sami match, and his upcoming match with Apollo Crews. Balor in NXT is a terrible promo. He's just so, so dull.

Finn Balor Vs Apollo Crews: Speaking of dull, I found this match to be just that. Mechanically fine, but neither of these guys really excite me at all. They went back and forth for a while, before Finn hit the Coup de Grace, and then followed up with a brainbuster, which was put over on commentary as a sign of Balor's respect for Crews. The two shook hands after the match. I'm not sure where Crews goes from here. Main roster, presumably.

Episode MVP: Asuka.

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2/10/16

This series of shows was taped at the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida, which gives a bit of a different feel to the show.

Baron Corbin Vs Johnny Gargano: Pretty competitive little match with Corbin getting the win. Decent.

The Hype Bros Vs Corey Hollis and John Skyler: The announce team talk about the Hype Bros trying to bounce back after their first loss as a team to the Vaudevillains last week. They pick up the win here.

Carmella and Bayley are being interviewed in the back about their title match tonight. Bayley lists everyone she's beat since being champion, and says she isn't ready to give up the belt yet. Carmella says they will still be friends after the match, but when the bell rings, let the best woman win.

Alexa Bliss Vs Cameron: Yeesh, who booked this match? This is as bad as it looks on paper. The crowd is just looking for any reason to turn on Cameron here, and she duly obliges with a couple of awful looking strikes. She gets the Eva Marie treatment thereafter, which babyfaces Alexa in the process. Alexa looks pissed to be even in this position, and continues to trash talk Cameron after picking up the win.

Enzo and Cass are cutting a promo on Dash and Dawson. Jesus, I feel like these two teams have been cutting promos on each other forever. Just have the match already. It's been, what?, 2 months now since the last match between them. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan come in to save this. They argue a little about who will be the team of 2016, then we find out they are teaming up next week to take on the champs and Blake and Murphy.

Elias Samson Vs Jesse Sorenson: Elias is super aggressive in this match, which immediately makes him much more interesting to watch. The whole 'do a move and then stand back looking moody' thing wasn't working. Here he just runs through Sorenson. 

A promo taped last week has Apollo Crews promise that next time we see him he will be a new Apollo Crews. I'm skeptical.

Bayley Vs Carmella: I was doubtful about how this match would go, since Carmella isn't that good and they're supposed to be friends, but it ended up being pretty good. Carmella won the crowd over by hitting a couple of dives in succession on Bayley, and generally performed well here. Bayley picked up the win after about 10 mins by reversing a sunset flip. The two embraced afterwards. Nice angle after the match. Nia Jax and Eva Marie attack Carmella in the aisle as she is leaving. Bayley goes to make the save but is taken out too. Jax and Eva throw Carmella into the ring and lay a beating on her until Asuka comes out to make the save. She just walks out and Eva and Nia back off. Nia looks like she wants a piece of Asuka, but Eva talks her down and they leave. Bayley thanks Asuka for the save, and Asuka just motions towards the women's championship belt. Very effectively done to put over Jax and Eva as the main heels, and introduce Asuka into the title picture.

Episode MVP: Carmella.

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2/17/16

Enzo and Big Cass and American Alpha Vs Dash and Dawson and Blake and Murphy: This is what you'd expect it to be. Pretty fun. Enzo pins Dawson after the rocket launcher. What was more interesting to me was Graves calling Dash and Dawson the Revival for the first time. Phillips says they're leading the tag team revival, and Graves responds that they're not leading the revival, they are the revival. 

Deonna Purrazzo is the back being interviewed. She says that Asuka knocking her out was a learning experience. Emma and Dana come in and call her a loser and say Asuka got lucky when she beat them. I guess Purrazzo is facing Asuka again tonight.

Asuka Vs Deonna Purrazzo: This is another fun Asuka match. She's gaining steam. Purrazzo was a bit more competitive this time, but Asuka won after the roundhouse kick.

Tye Dillinger Vs Alex Riley: Ha, Riley is just a jobber again, two matches into his comeback. Tye beat him with a roll-up. Graves was burying Riley on commentary too. I don't know what's going on with Riley, but he can't be sticking around for much longer.

Sami Zayn Vs Samoa Joe: Oh, they can fuck right off with this finish. Like they said 'oh, you hated the finish of the triple threat match? Well, try this on for size'. So, after a competitive match, Zayn hits the Helluva kick, falls on top of Joe and pins him. Only Zayn's shoulders were down too, and Joe had an arm draped over him, so now it's a double pin. William Regal marches out, and the only saving grace I have for this is that at least the referee was very clear that the match was a draw, and wasn't doing the whole 'duh, I don't know what to do now' bullshit. And Joe and Sami were both acting like real people too. But no, this finish is fucking stupid. What's wrong with a double countout if you want to extend things for whatever reason?

Episode MVP: Asuka.

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2/24/16

American Alpha Vs Blake and Murphy: Okay, I love Chad Gable, and enjoy Blake and Murphy, but I never need to see these two teams wrestle again. This was fine, like all the other matches they've had. It's time to give Blake and Murphy a win, or at least develop them somewhat.

William Regal announces that Samoa Joe will face Sami Zayn in a 2/3 falls match in two weeks, to finally determine the number one contender. That should be good.

Apollo Crews Vs Christopher Girard: Girard is Oney Lorcan. He has some really stupid facials, but hits hard. Decent short match won by Crews. The new Apollo Crews is exactly the same as the old one, by the way.

We see security cam footage of Dash and Dawson jumping Enzo in the Full Sail parking lot. This dastardly attack really just constituted the three men circling each other until they finally took Enzo down and then Big Cass appeared to make the save. This feud sucks. Can we move on to American Alpha please?

Tommaso Ciampa Vs Bull Dempsey: Ciampa is playing it a bit heelish in this one. He gets the submission win with his armbar, and then mocks Bulls jumping jacks.

Eva Marie and Nia Jax Vs Bayley and Carmella: Man, Eva and Nia both look terrible in this match. I honestly don't know whose offense looks worse. Carmella plays a pretty good face in peril though. In the end, Jax hits three legdrops on 'Mella, and Eva tags herself in to get the pinfall. 

We end with Regal in the back with Finn Balor. Balor cuts another snooze-inducing promo about the number one contenders match, and then Regal tells him that next week he will face Neville in the main event.

Episode MVP: Carmella.

 

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3/2/16

The Vaudevillains Vs Hugo Knox and Tucker Knight: Hugo Knox is the English former goalie they signed. Didn't they have a German ex-goalie at one point too? Natural feud right there. He's chiseled to fuck. I see why they signed him. Not much to this. Just a competitive squash win for the Vaudevillains.

We get promos from Enzo and Cass, and then Dash and Dawson. We finally find out this match is happening at Roadblock.

Emma Vs Santana Garrett: Garrett looks pretty good again here, but this is Emma's world and we just live in it. Santana did get the crowd behind her though, and looks to have something.

Good segment next as William Regal comes out to announce NXT's newest acquisition, which he puts over as one of their biggest yet. I was kind of expecting Shinsuke from the build-up, but it was Austin Aries. Kinda weird in retrospect to hear Aries be put over so much. Corey Graves marking out on commentary was maybe a bit much. I'll tell you what though, I know he's a dick and all that, but the guy's a great wrestler, probably better than 90% of the people they have under contract now. I don't excuse shitty behaviour, but I think wrestling needs more guys who act like the company is lucky to have them, and less guys who think they're lucky just to be there. So, as Aries is making his way out, Baron Corbin attacks him from behind and lays a big beatdown on him, finishing with an End of Days on the outside. Corbin had vowed revenge on Regal of leaving him out of the number one contenders match. The capper on this was Corbin ripping off Aries's shit and throwing it at Regal, hitting him right in the face. Good stuff.

Elias Samson Vs Steve Cutler: Elias keeps up with his new aggressive attitude and puts Cutler away quickly.

The Hype Bros are talking in the back. Mojo admits he's been partying a bit too much lately, but now it's time to get back on track. They say they're here to be the best. They leave, and we see the Vaudevillains had been listening in nearby. I don't need another Hype Bros/Vaudevillains match.

Finn Balor Vs Neville: Decent enough match from these two, but, like most of Finn's matches, it's pretty soulless. Balor wins with the coup de grace followed by the Bloody Sunday. They mention that he's closing in on Neville's reign in terms of length. It's been nowhere near as enjoyable though. They shake hands after the match. We're back in Full Sail next week for the 2/3 falls match.

Episode MVP: Baron Corbin. Strong performance in the Aries angle.

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3/9/16

The show started with William Regal coming out to address what happened with Corbin and Aries last week. He said that Aries asked him not to suspend Corbin, which he agreed to, and made a match between the two at Takeover:Dallas the day before WrestleMania.

Samoa Joe Vs Sami Zayn: 2/3 falls number one contenders match. My thoughts here quickly went from 'oh, cool, they're starting with this match', to 'wait, is this match gonna go the whole show?' Well, it did, and it was really cool. I love it when the format gets kinda torn up like this. It was pretty telegraphed with how methodical they started out. We have some luminaries in the crowd this week too. Sasha Banks, Hideo Itami and Michael Hayes are shown sitting together, and then Larry Zbyszko, Mauro Ranallo and the guitarist from Tool are shown together. Like I said, methodical pace to start, but quite hard-hitting. Joe takes the first fall after 20 mins with the Muscle Buster. It's all Joe now, and Sami is doing a great sell-job here, until he pulls out the second fall with the koji clutch. Joe is dominating but can't put Sami away until he finally locks on the Kokina Clutch and Sami passes out. The whole match ended up going about 45 mins, and I really enjoyed it. I was surprised actually that Joe could still go that long, and didn't look to me like he was struggling at all at the end. I'm looking forward to Joe finally unseating Balor as champ.

Episode MVP: Sami Zayn.

3 1/2 star match: Samoa Joe Vs Sami Zayn.

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Oh wow. I completely forgot about:

1) Sami vs. Samoa, 2 out of 3 falls. I really want to rewatch that.

2) Austin Aries in NXT at all. That dude was such a snooze. 

3) I also really want to rewatch all the Champ Bayley carry jobs she did. I remember loving the hell out of that match versus Carmella. 

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Aries is such a great fucking wrestler and such a dick.

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I watched Roadblock, since it had the NXT tag title match. The show started with Big E and Kofi Kingston putting the tag titles on the line against Sheamus and Wade Barrett. I was hoping for The Bar when Sheamus came out, but then realised we are deep in League of Nations country here, and the Bar didn't come until later. I always think they've been around longer, since they very quickly, in my mind, became one of the best WWE tag teams ever. Match was fine with the New Day retaining. I think New Day were fresh off their babyface turn here, and reveal the Booty-O's cereal before the match. Next, the Inner Circle exploded in the most boring way possible as Chris Jericho faced Jack Swagger. This was shortly after Jericho turned heel on Styles. He won with the Walls.

The Revival Vs Enzo and Big Cass: The Revival are billed as such for the first time. This is probably the best Enzo and Cass match I've ever seen. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and thought both Enzo and Cass looked good. The crowd was really into them too. Basic tag team structure, done well. The Revival retain with a big Shatter Machine on Enzo. They'll move on to new challengers now, and I think Enzo and Cass are about to get the call to the main roster.

The show continued with Charlotte defending the divas title against Natalya. This didn't reach the levels of their NXT match, but the two have pretty decent chemistry. I didn't like the finish. Natalya has Charlotte in the sharpshooter, but just lets it go when Ric Flair reaches his hands in the ring and Charlotte grabs them. Charlotte ends up hitting Natural Selection for the win. Brock Lesnar beat Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper in a match that Bray didn't even get involved in. Harper was good in this, and it could have been a very good match if Brock wasn't just doing his Suplex City shtick. Sami Zayn and Stardust had a bit of a snoozer. Amazing seeing Cody as Stardust here, given his current standing and reputation. Sami wins. Main event between Triple H and Dean Ambrose is a lot of fun. Hunter shows a lot of ass for Dean. Ambrose gets a visual pin with the Dirty Deeds. Not just a visual pin- an actual pin. But the ref sees that his feet (Ambrose's) were under the ropes and quickly waves it off. Hunter wins with a pedigree. I hated Triple H being champ at this point, and his feud with Roman, but have to admit that this is a fun match.

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3/16/16

The results for this show have Billie Kay being seconded by Sylvester Lefort in a dark match. I hope that pairing makes it to TV.

The show starts with Sami Zayn cutting a promo about the 2/3 falls match, saying it could have gone either way and he's still predicting big things for himself in NXT. William Regal comes out and agrees, and says he's found him a huge opponent for Takeover. A video plays on the big screen showing Shinsuke Nakamura telling Sami he'll see him in Dallas. The crowd pops big and Regal makes the match official. I've heard really good things about this match, so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

The Hype Bros Vs Angelo Dawkins and Kenneth Crawford: Oh shit, it's the Street Profits teaming for the first time on TV. Wasn't expecting that. Remember when Sawyer Fulton walked out on Dawkins? The Hype Bros pick up the win.

Emma Vs Deonna Purrazzo: The two had a backstage altercation with Emma and Dana making fun of Purrazzo for her losing efforts against Asuka. Purrazzo said she was going to end the Emmalution. She doesn't. Emma pretty much squashed her, and looked good doing it.

Tommaso Ciampa Vs Jesse Sorenson: I'm bored with Ciampa now. He had a great performance against Joe and looked good following up on it, but now I've had enough of his super-intense serious wrestler persona. Sorenson looks to have bulked up a lot. Ciampa gets the win with the armbar.

Bayley and Asuka Vs Nia Jax and Eva Marie: This is much better than the Bayley/Carmella tag from a couple of weeks back. Probably because it was shorter, with less Jax and Eva on offense. Bayley pinned Eva with the Bayley-to-Belly. Afterwards, Regal came out and announced that Asuka is the new number one contender to the womens title, and made the match for Takeover. This Takeover card is looking stacked.

Austin Aries cut a promo from his home I think it was, and basically said that Corbin should be asking for his advice, since he's been a champion everywhere he's gone. He's still using the 'Greatest Man That Ever Lived' gimmick. Standard stuff.

American Alpha Vs The Vaudevillains: This is for a shot at The Revival's tag team titles. Good match. Started off pretty basic (not that there's anything wrong with that) and was looking like the typical formula AA match (Gable gets shine, then plays babyface-in-peil, hot tag to Jordan, go home), but they put together an exciting finishing stretch with a couple of good nearfalls, before the assisted German sealed the deal. I'm really looking forward to AA Vs The Revival, maybe more than any other match at Takeover.

Episode MVP: Chad Gable.

3 star match: American Alpha Vs The Vaudevillains.

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On 11/13/2019 at 9:16 PM, JonnyLaw said:

I’m looking forward to your take on Zayn/Nakamura.

Ditto.

NXT TakeOver: Dallas is still one of my favourite NXT TakeOver shows.

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On 11/13/2019 at 10:59 AM, Yo-Yo's Roomie said:

The Revival Vs Enzo and Big Cass: The Revival are billed as such for the first time. This is probably the best Enzo and Cass match I've ever seen

Between this and the London match, it's kind of amazing how much Dash and Dawson were able to get out of them. Great to see Cass and Enzo's mega-popularity at the time put to good use. 

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3/23/16

Johnny Gargano Vs Elias Samson: The Full Sail crowd are not fans of The Drifter, giving him 'drift away' chants. Surprisingly, Gargano gets the win here with a roll up. Elias attacks him after the match and is relentless, until Apollo Crews makes the save. Where was Ciampa? I guess they've dropped those two as a team for now, but you'd still think he would save his buddy. They have established the Gargano/Crews relationship before though, so that makes sense. I was fine with this. Gargano and Samson are both guys who had nothing really going on except losing and winning matches respectively, so it's nice that they got a little angle.

Finn Balor Vs Rich Swann: This is a nice little match; a real good showcase for Swann, who looks great here and gets over, and a solid win for Balor leading into Takeover. I was always ambivalent on Swann, but I think I like him now. Balor kind of plays de facto heel a little bit here and even gets some heat.

Emma and Dana get interviewed in the back. Emma is facing Asuka again tonight. Dana says she's been injured since her match with Asuka two Takeovers ago. Is that right? Has she really not competed since then? She's better as a second really anyway. 

We get a little video on Sinsuke Nakamura. The only footage they have of him is competing for some British indie. It looks like Killian Dain is his opponent.

Alexa Bliss Vs Sarah Dobson: As was pointed out to me before, Dobson is Sarah Logan. She looks a lot different to me. I'm not sure about giving Bliss squash matches. I half expected Dobson to win actually. 

Bull Dempsey Vs Danny Burch: Match doesn't happen. Joe attacks Bull as he's making his way out and puts him in the kokina clutch. He then hits the ring and lays Burch out for good measure, before yelling into the camera that he's coming for Balor and the NXT title. Good stuff here.

A really good video package on American Alpha airs next. They both talk about their amateur accomplishments, but state that they both ultimately fell short of their goals (Gable in the Olympics, Jordan in the NCAAs). They also talk about how becoming a team changed their perspective on wrestling from seeing it as an individual sport to being something where they can lean on each other. Really good way to provide some background on these guys and give them some character and motivation.

A vignette for No Way Jose. I think I'm going to hate this gimmick (but I've thought that before about NXT gimmicks and been wrong, so we'll see).

Asuka Vs Emma: This is awesome. Up there with the Takeover match. Dana is running interference early on, which is what I wanted out of the Takeover match. Emma somehow turned into the best squash match worker in NXT, and brings that newfound aggression into this match, which is right up Asuka's alley. They unleash some bombs, and Asuka finally makes Emma tap to the Asuka lock. This might be my favourite current in-ring rivalry in NXT. I hope Emma gets a shot at the belt once Asuka wins it.

Episode MVP: Some pretty good stuff on this episode. I'm gonna give it to Emma.

3 1/4 star match: Asuka Vs Emma.

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3/30/16

American Alpha Vs John Skyler and Corey Hollis: Standard AA squash match. Skyler and Hollis do get a bit of offence in. The Revival are watching in the back.

Finn has a sit down interview in the back. Finn's promos are a cure for insomnia.

Baron Corbin Vs Mike Cuellari: Cuellari is QT Marshall, who is now jobbing in AEW. Quick squash win for Corbin.

The Revival Vs Steve Cutler and Tucker Knight: The Revival get a squash of their own as AA watch from the back.

Bull Dempsey has a promo in the back. He's facing Samoa Joe tonight. He calls himself the last of a dying breed, indicating that he's going back to his pre-Bull Fit roots tonight. But then he says that 'fit happens', which is a terrible catchphrase.

Apollo Crews Vs Alex Riley: Man, Crews squashes Riley in under 2 minutes, while Graves bags on his (Riley's) look on commentary. The dude is toast. Elias Samson comes out singing a song, but backs away when Crews invites him into the ring.

Sami Zayn gives his thoughts in the back on his match with Sinsuke Nakamura. As always, Sami comes off very naturalistic and intelligent, and says the things you'd expect a real person in his situation to say. He talks about this being Nak's only chance to make a good first impression, and brings up his own debut in 2013 when he beat Cesaro (not actually his debut match, but his first night in NXT). He says people call him the heart and soul of NXT, which he appreciates, and says he won't let Nak make a name off his back.

Samoa Joe Vs Bull Dempsey: Dempsey gets an early flurry in, but then gets squashed by Joe. Joe refuses to break the kokina clutch, and we get a good example of why WWE speak is so terrible as a couple of NXT jobbers come out to help and get referred to by Tom Phillips as NXT superstars. The jobbers (I can't even remember who it was) get destroyed by Joe, and finally Balor comes out for the save. Joe and Balor have a decent pull-apart to end the show and send us to Dallas.

On paper, the card for Takeover looks awesome, and I can't wait for it, but the build has been kinda weird. You have AA Vs Revival, in which neither of those teams have interacted with one another or even cut promos about one another (they really should have had the Revival attack AA tonight or something). Zayn Vs Nakamura is just a 'dream match', and Nak has never even appeared in Full Sail. Aries and Corbin at least have a beef, but Aries has only appeared in Full Sail once. Bayley and Asuka have barely interacted. Balor and Joe is really the only match you could really say has any legit heat behind it. Just weird that it worked out this way.

Episode MVP: This show was super light on actual wrestling, and I'm struggling to remember anything anyone did to really stand out.  I guess Zayn gets this for his talking segment.

 

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On 11/17/2019 at 10:05 PM, West Newbury Bad Boy said:

Between this and the London match, it's kind of amazing how much Dash and Dawson were able to get out of them. Great to see Cass and Enzo's mega-popularity at the time put to good use. 

Testament to the Revival's talents.

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The Revival NXT run might legitimately be the best tag team run in WWE history.

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8 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

The Revival NXT run might legitimately be the best tag team run in WWE history.

I'd go with that.

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NXT Takover: Dallas

American Alpha Vs The Revival: No Triple H promo to welcome us to the show/bask in the fans' adulation this time. Straight to action with the tag titles on the line. The crowd is super hot, as is always the case with Takeovers. Very pro-AA, of course. This is a very good tag match. Off the top of my head, maybe the best tag match in NXT history to this point. I feel like they have even more in the locker though. This did feature one of the best 'denying the hot tag' spots I've ever seen though. Gable delivers a double DDT to the Revival and crawls over to Jordan for the tag. But Dash Wilder rolls to the outside and crawls under the ring to pull Jordan off the apron. Quality stuff. Some good nearfalls towards the end of this, and then AA finally snag the win and the belts with the assisted-German on Dawson. Crowd goes wild. Jordan is actually sobbing.

We see Kota Ibushi in the crowd. We must be coming up on the cruiserweight classic.

Austin Aries Vs Baron Corbin: This is a solid David Vs Goliath-type battle. Aries shows off some of his offence, but is mostly selling for Corbin and fighting from underneath. Corbin goes for the End of Days but Aries counters into a roll-up for the pin. Since Corbin wins the Andre battle royal the following night, I'm hoping that's it for him in NXT. His run has been fine, and I don't hate him or anything, but there's nothing more for him to do now. I'm looking forward to seeing what Aries will do though.

Shinsuke Nakamura Vs Sami Zayn: Okay, yeah, this is awesome. Worth mentioning first of all how good Nakamura's music is. I haven't heard that old jam in forever. Really fits his character. Crowd is super into this from the get-go and it has a real big fight/event feel. It's a happening, as Gorilla would say. They get about 20 mins, and the match just keeps getting better and better and the fans get hotter and hotter. The 'fight forever' chant is deserved in this instance. There's some awesome striking in this. It's definitely more of a Nakamura match that a Zayn match, but Zayn goes toe-to-toe with Nak, and actually busts him open hardway. This is just super stiff and physical all the way. Nakamura finally puts Zayn away with the kinshasa. They shook hands and embraced after the match, and an emotional Zayn took in the applause from the crowd in what looks to be his NXT swansong. What a way to go out, and what a way for Nakamura to come in.

Asuka Vs Bayley: This is so scrappy and awkward, and I say that as a compliment. Their styles didn't mesh in such a perfect way. Crowd is very pro-Bayley for this one, but Asuka is too respected by the crowd to be booed. Lots of struggling for the advantage, struggling to lock in submissions, and Bayley just fighting for survival. This is kind of a version of what the Bayley/Nia match tried and failed to be, with the underdog champ struggling to hang in against the dominant challenger. Asuka finally locks in the Asuka Lock and Bayley passes out, bringing to an end her title reign. The crowd responds with shock. They obviously weren't ready for Bayley's run to come to an end. And what a run it was. I don't know if it's the best women's title reign in NXT, but it's definitely up there, and made more impressive by what she had to work with. The likes of Alexa, Eva Marie and Nia is a big step down from Sasha getting to work with the other horsewomen. 

Bobby Roode is shown in the crowd and gets a nuclear pop and chants. Took me by surprised how over he was here.

Finn Balor Vs Samoa Joe: I'll come right out and say it; Balor winning this was bullshit, and was the only thing I'd point to on this whole show as being a definite flaw. Balor finding new ways to look like an idiot with his entrance, this time coming out with a chainsaw. What a prat. Match is good though. The story of the match is Joe getting busted open hardway after a clash of heads in the first few seconds. He looks such a badass with blood streaming down his face, pushing away the referee who is trying to treat the wound. That got him over as a big-time babyface with this crowd too, who didn't outright turn on Balor but were definitely more behind Joe. It turns out that the most relentless force in NXT is the medical team though, because they just wouldn't stop lurking around like Repo Man and jumping in at any opportunity to check on Joe. That definitely took some of the momentum out of the match. But Joe is good enough to roll with the punches and make the most of the situation. As I said, he definitely should have taken the belt here. He's just better in every way than Balor. They did the Bret/Piper finish with Balor kicking back off the turnbuckle while in the kokina clutch to get the win. It was kind of presented as a stroke of luck, but that's twice now that Finn has beaten Joe clean, and I wonder how they're going to get Joe back in the title scene.

Show rating: So, this is probably my favourite Takeover to date. Hell, this is one of my favourite wrestling shows period. I was happy with every match and I was happy with most of the finishes. We got a match of the year contender and lots of other good stuff. Crowd was great. Not much in the way of angle advancement/setting up future angles, but it did have a sense of being a show that was ending one chapter and setting things up for the start of a new chapter. I'm definitely excited about where we go from here. 4 1/2 stars.

Show MVP: Shinsuke Nakamura. Stepped up to the plate in a big way in his debut.

4 1/4 star match: Sami Zayn Vs Shinsuke Nakamura.

3 1/2 star match: American Alpha Vs The Revival.

3 1/4 star matches: Bayley Vs Asuka; Samoa Joe Vs Finn Balor.

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Looked forward to reading your take on NXT TakeOver: Dallas 2016. Thank you for it. 

NXT TakeOver: Dallas 2016 continues to be one of the best TakeOver's from the opening Revival vs. American Alpha tag team match to the main event pitting Finn Balor against Samoa Joe. Austin Aries/Baron Corbin was alright. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn is still one of the best matches in the history of NXT. A fitting final match for Zayn's time in NXT. Bayley/Asuka got slept on because they unfortunately had to follow Nak/Zayn. In the thread for the show, people including myself said how the match was better a second time round. You're right that Samoa Joe losing to Finn Balor was bullshit, this was Joe's time to become NXT Champion. 

Edited by The Natural
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Joe getting busted open and acting like a caged animal as they tried to stop the bleeding elevated that match so much. I think Cornette calls that "fortunate juice" or something to that effect.

Nak/Zayn was great, Revival/AA was great, Bayley/Auska was great, Aries/Corbin was fine. What a great show.

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I think, off the top of my head, this was the peak of NXT. That’s not to say there’s a steep decline, but after this I think you start to see more turnover, including the loss of a lot of guys who were taught by Dusty. They’ve never replaced what he brought to NXT.

I went to the first NXT road house show after this and was bummed not to see Sami or Bayley. There was this “unknown” guy named Manny Andrade who faced Austin Aries though and completely won over the crowd with his work. Also, I’ve said it before, but Tye Dillinger was in the main event and he actually looked the part.

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4/6/16

This is mostly a Takeover recap show, showing lengthy video packages with Takeover highlights, with some post-match promos sprinkled in. The lovely Cathy Kelly hosted the show from WWE headquarters. The pick of the promos was American Alpha's. Jason Jordan was still crying like a baby, which was very endearing actually. Then Chad Gable put Jordan over huge, saying he's been in NXT since day one and nobody has worked harder or deserves his success more than him. Really cool stuff from these two. Why did they split them up again?

Apollo Crews Vs Elias Samson: This was the one match on the show, taped, I assume, before Takeover. Pretty boring stuff really from two pretty boring guys. I guess if you put Apollo's in-ring ability with Elias's character work you might have something. Crews picked up the win.

Episode MVP: Jason Jordan.

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4/13/16

We're still in Dallas. They must have done a set of tapings there.

Austin Aries Vs Angelo Dawkins: What is with the stirring motion Dawkins does? Is he stirring the pot? Causing a stir? Shit-stirring? I don't get it. Angelo Dawkins is the master of gimmicks I don't get. Aries wins with the rolling elbow in a nice showcase match for him.

Samoa Joe is interviewed in the back. He said he's still going after the NXT title, and he'll start with his match against Apollo Crews next week. Finn Balor had cut basically the same promo after Dallas that he did after the last Takeover, saying that he didn't beat Joe, he just survived him. Commentary is running with that point. It makes no sense to me. Why wouldn't Finn just be like 'I've beat him twice, it's time to give someone else a chance'?

Alexa Bliss Vs Tessa Blanchard: I kind of groaned seeing Bliss come out for another squash, but then they showed her opponent was Tessa motherfucking Blanchard, and I got all excited. I love Tessa. The crowd is into her too. Sad seeing her get squashed by someone as limited as Bliss, but oh well.

Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano Vs The Vaudevillains: Ciampa and Gargano back as a team. Decent little match. I think the Vaudevillains are already on the main roster at this point. Where they really got screwed over. Simon Gotch taps to Ciampa's armbreaker.

Baron Corbin Vs Tucker Knight: I guess Baron isn't done with NXT just yet. He beats Knight, who gets his own entrance here (and has some pretty terrible gear).

American Alpha are in the empty arena where they won the tag titles, talking about what it meant to them. Enzo and Cass come in and congratulate them, and then challenge them to a match. That will be next week.

Bayley Vs Liv Morgan: They're really leaning into this 'representing New Jersey' gimmick for Liv. Not sure that's a good one for a babyface. She's awfully green in the ring too, but Bayley is solid as ever and makes this respectable. Bayley wins and then cuts a promo telling the fans not to feel sorry for her because she will be NXT women's champion again.

Shinsuke Nakamura Vs Tye Dillinger: I wonder what it did to Austin Aries's ego to have Nakamura come in right after him and steal all the spotlight and 'new guy' buzz? Honestly, Nakamura, more than anyone else I've seen, just comes across way too big of a star for this studio setting. It's really jarring. It's like if Joaquin Phoenix showed up to your local community theatre group. The crowd love him, and are chanting '11' at him as a counter to Tye's 10 chant. If anything, Dillinger gets a little too much offence in here, but Nakamura looks great again.

Episode MVP: Nakamura.

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