From the NXT Arena at Full Sail University. Your commentators are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton.
Kyle Edwards opens the show with a Dusty Tag Classic update. We get clips of NXT’s Greatest Tag Team beating The Hype Bros this weekend to advance to Takeover to face Baron Corbin and Rhyno. We also recap Dash and Dawson beating The Vaudevillains in Texas. They will face the winners of tonight’s opening match, the final second round bout.
Enzo and BIG CASS (w/Carmella) vs. Samoa Joe and Finn Balor (Dusty Classic 2nd Round match
Corey points out what we’ve all been thinking: Enzo says “7 foot tall” when he really should say “7 feet tall” when talking about Cass. Though I guess either way is acceptable. Finn seems to be sticking with the leather jacket as his “non-demon” entrance and I’m warming up to it. The Balor Club tron is awesome and I need to order that shirt already.
This match is criminally short as after Cass and Joe trade moves to start it breaks down into a brawl on the outside and Finn and Enzo decide to dive out onto their respective opponents as we take a break.
Coming back, it seems we skip immediately to the finish of the match as Enzo hits Finn with a DDT and tags Cass who splashes Joe in the corner, but Finn cracks him with a kick on the apron allowing Joe to hit the STO for 2. Cass makes them both eat boot and Empire Elbow gets 2 on Joe. He hits a spinning sideslam and tags Enzo for Air Enzo, but Joe rolls through the pin and Finn wipes Cass out with a dropkick before the Muscle Buster/Coup de Grace combo finishes Enzo. I REALLY would have liked to see the complete match here. I guess they had a lot to fit in an hour this week so this match was a casualty.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa talk about their disappointment in their performance so far in NXT and their expectations. Johnny talks about his match with Apollo Crews tonight with both men calling him a friend. Tyler Breeze interrupts and decides a friend of Apollo’s is an enemy of his and is going to GM Regal for a match with Ciampa tonight.
We get a video of Asuka killing poor Japanese women wrestlers. I love how they’ve built this badass aura around her.
Apollo Crews vs. Johnny Gargano
A quick start as they trade moves and Gargano wraps Apollo in an octopus stretch in the corner, but Apollo ducks the rolling kick and BLASTS Johnny with a gorgeous dropkick. They tease diving onto each other on the outside but Johnny instead goes through the ropes back into the ring with a spear on a charging Crews. He wraps Crews in an abdominal stretch while holding a wristlock for more leverage but Crews hiptosses him off so Johnny hits him with a rolling kick. He grounds Crews with a headlock but Crews rolls him over and effortlessly picks him up in a vertical suplex from the mat to escape which is just ridiculous athleticism. Crews goes through his finishing sequence and the gorilla press/standing moonsault gets the win. Crews gets more impressive by the week and I have loved what I’ve seen from Gargano so far.
GM Regal has Emma and Dana Brooke in his office and reminds them how they RUDELY interrupted him introducing Asuka last week. He decides to make Dana Brooke vs. Asuka for Takeover. Dana blows off Asuka as a “hi-heena” and is her usual cocky self….until Regal shows her a video of Asuka training. Thus is born the Dana Brooke “Oh My God I’m Gonna Die” Face. Emma decides that she has more cooking shows to film and leaves Dana to it. “Good luck with that.” Man, Regal doesn’t abuse his powers that often, but when he does it this great and so passive-aggressively, it is awesome. You do NOT besmirch William Regal’s important announcements, dammit!
Nia Jax is coming this decade. I hope.
We see the video Regal showed Dana and it is Asuka working the heavy bag before looking to the camera and smiling and I think I just peed myself.
Dana Brooke and Emma vs. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
How Dana hasn’t thrown her bags in her car and sped off to Canada during commercial I’ll never know. Billie and Peyton seem to have raided the Bella’s closets and taken their outfits circa 5 years ago. Peyton tries some rollups to start before tagging in Billie for tandem kicking (oh Dana, that’s just the beginning). Emma tags in and Kay gets her in a nice delayed vertical suplex, but Emma provides the distraction to allow Emma to take over. They work her over while calling her a “Billie goat” which is top notch heel tactics. Unfortunately, this slows the match WAY down and goes a bit too long until Billie fights them off and tags Royce. Royce gives Dana more if a kicking before going up and trying a crossbody, but she slips on the rope or something (the camera covers the botch a little bit) and she barely grazes Dana who covers her and takes over until Royce hits a dropkick. Emma gets involved and trips Royce allowing Dana to hit her unnamed slam for the pin.
Devin talks to NXT’s Greatest Tag Team. Jason wants to be called “JJ”. She asks them how they will overcome the odds against Rhyno and Corbin and that upsets Gable. Man, I hadn’t noticed until now, but he even SOUNDS like Kurt Angle when he started in the WWF. They aren’t overcoming anything because they are going to win it all. Dash and Dawson interrupt before Jason can say Gable’s name and both teams break into a shouting match as Devin, in the best thing nobody will notice this week, smiles, shrugs at the camera and walks off like “Well my job is done here. At least they aren’t patting my head”.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tyler Breeze
They trade rollups to start and Tyler rides Ciampa who turns it into a horsey ride. He hits a running knee on Tyler in the corner. Tyler grabs him on a backdrop attempt and hits a neckbreaker to take over. He slows things down with a headlock but Ciampa fights him off and hits strikes as Breeze kind of comically oversells before hitting a faceslam for 2. He tries a powerbomb but Breeze escapes and runs into a running palm strike and more comical overselling as Ciampa hits a discus clothesline for 2. This is starting to get a little goofy. Ciampa goes up and fights Breeze off, but Breeze knocks him out of the air with a beautiful dropkick before hitting the Unprettier (!) for the pin. Well, if there’s one finishing move he should have had from the start on it’s name alone. Things got a little silly for me with all the overselling and it didn’t seem like they were meshing well together in the ring.
Baron Corbin and Rhyno cut a promo saying the tournament is already over and they are the winners.
We run down the Takeover: Respect card:
Baron Corbin & Rhyno vs. NXT’s Greatest Tag Team (Dusty Classic Semifinal #1)
Samoa Joe & Finn Balor vs. Dash and Dawson (Dusty Classic Semifinal #2)
Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Finals (Semi #1 winners vs. Semi #2 winners)
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke
Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze
MAIN EVENT: Bayley (C) vs. Sasha Banks (30-Minute Iron (Wo)man Match for the NXT Women’s Championship)
This may not have the storyline development that Brooklyn had, but this is a HELL of an in-ring card on paper. All signs point to a Finn/Joe vs. Jordan/Gable final which should be awesome, Crews has been impressive and Breeze always brings it in these specials, Asuka murdering Dana will be fun and of course we all know what the main eventers have done.
If you haven’t, here’s the close of the show which is an AWESOME hype video for Sasha vs. Bayley II. We look back at the Brooklyn match with some backstage footage before and after the match and the reactions from Bayley’s mom and the other Horsewomen during and after the match. The slow-mo shot of that reverse rana is just incredible (and cuts before we see Sasha land on her head). We then move on to the promo that set up the match a few weeks ago. Finally, we have both women talking about their preparations for the match and get training footage. Bayley is going to earn everyone’s respect and make everyone respect women’s wrestling.
If you aren’t hyped as hell for this match after watching this, cancel your Network subscription and stop watching wrestling right the hell now. The *sigh* “Diva’s Revolution” may be all but dead on RAW, but THANK GOD Sasha has been kept away from that bullshit so she and Bayley can just sit in the corner and laugh at everyone else putting on that disaster.
OVERALL: Once again, Wednesday night restores my faith in WWE-branded wrestling. It has been repeated to death, but the absolute gap between the product on NXT and the product on RAW is bigger than the Grand Canyon at this point. One would think that WWE would be hyping the absolute hell out of Bayley vs. Sasha as the historic match it is on the other shows, but I don’t remember even one mention of it on RAW since it was announced. Which shouldn’t be a surprise but is still incredibly sad and frustrating. It really seems like Vince and Co. are Nero fiddling as their RAW Rome burns while HHH and Co. are building a new empire that I wish would Takeover (heh) yesterday.
See you next week for Takeover: Respect!
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