The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: San Antonio
Live from San Antonio, TX (duh)
Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Corey Graves & Percy Watson
Ty Dillinger v. Eric Young
Insane reaction for Ty, as he’s managed to get a NUMBER over. Ty rejects one last generous offer to join Sanity and chases Young from the ring to start, and they slug it out back inside. “Killian Dane” might be one of the worst names I’ve heard from the Developmental Name Generator, by the way. Is he a Bond henchman? A minor character in a young adult vampire novel? Some shenanigans from Sanity turns the tide and Young pounds away in the corner to take over. Young with a guillotine in the corner and he gets two off that, and a neckbreaker gets two. Ty fights out of another choke in the corner, and Young tries something off the top and lands on a dropkick. They slug it out and Young wins that one, but Ty grabs him by the BEARD and makes the comeback. Why don’t people try that with Luke Harper? It’s RIGHT THERE. Young with a Flair Flip, but Ty catches him coming in with a superplex for two. The Sanity goons run in and Ty disposes of them, but Young hits him from behind and tries the wheelbarrow suplex, which Ty reverses for two. TyBreaker, but the henchman puts the foot on the ropes, so Ty again gets distracted and hits them with a dive. Back in, Ty goes up with a flying bodypress, which Young rolls through for two. Wheelbarrow neckbreaker finishes at 10:56. Man, they just beat this poor guy CONSTANTLY. I’d classify this as Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling with a flat finish, but the ending was pretty hot. **½ That was way too much interference for a nothing opener like this, though. When you’ve got two other guys running rampant for the whole match, it doesn’t put heat on the heel, it just makes you annoyed with the company.
Andrade Cien Almas v. Roderick Strong
Strong gets a backbreaker to start, but Almas slugs away in the corner to take over. Hanging armbar on the ropes as Percy Watson makes stupid comments and poor Tom Phillips has to keep feeding him softball questions to get him to talk. And then Corey hilariously cuts him off immediately like a dick and makes fun of him. Almas works the arm, but Strong catches him with a slam and one of his numerous backbreakers for two. Almas comes back with a german suplex for two and a rollup for two, into a slam for two. They trade some hard chops as Almas has much better facials and reactions as a heel, and Strong puts him down with a high knee and makes the comeback. Almas takes him down and hooks the arms in a submission, but Strong makes the ropes. They slug it out on the top rope and Strong uses a unique backbreaker right onto the turnbuckle for two. DAMN. Almas hiptosses him into the corner, and follows with a lariat and double knees in the corner, but Strong counters the hammerlock DDT into a slam and a Sick Kick to finish at 11:43. Hard hitting match with Almas finally looking like a star, but the finish wasn’t very STRONG. Get it? Anyway, the running boot feels like more of a setup move, is what I’m saying there. ***½
‘Member the Rumble? You know, when Shawn Michaels became the only guy in history to enter at #1 and win? THE ONLY GUY.
NXT Tag team titles: DIY v. The Authors of Pain
Akam and Rezar are kind enough to spell their stupid names on patches on their outfits, for those like myself who would never be able to Mastermind together those particular combinations of letters before the match is over. Rezar attacks them both to start and overpowers both guys, but DIY manages to clear the ring while the Authors stumble around. Gargano tries a swinging DDT on Akam, but he gets tossed into the railing instead as these poor bastards are gonna have to bump for 15 guys to get something out of AOP. The Authors beat on Johnny Wrestling in the corner and Akam gets a body vice. Percy Watson of course has something stupid to say about that. Gargano gets dragged back to the corner again and double-teamed some more, but Ciampa gets the hot tag and runs wild on the Authors, who are just TERRIBLE when asked to sell anything. Ciampa with german suplexes and a running knee on Akam for two. Ciampa slugs away and Akam continues no-selling and comes back with a lariat for two. DIY manages to catch Akam with a double spear and Gargano gets two off that, but Akam cuts them off AGAIN and they hit Ciampa with a double team powerbomb for two. Gargano cuts off their finisher with a superkick and Ciampa gets the armbar on Akam to set up the double submissions, but they even no-sell THAT and Rezar slams Gargano on Ciampa to break it up. This draws a “This is awesome” chant from the crowd. NO IT’S NOT. It’s one team literally doing all the work and having to bounce off these two lunks. They hit AOP with stereo knees, but walk into the double powerbomb and they finish Ciampa with the Last Chapter to win the titles at 14:29. I’d say I can’t believe they put the belts on these two, but of COURSE I can. Vince is probably chomping at the bit to call them up already. That one completely sucked the life out of the crowd and induced more groans than boos. **½
For some reason they have a promo for the WWE Champions mobile game showing CGI versions of Randy Savage and the Rock cutting promos, which I assure you does not happen in the game. It’s a fun jewel-match RPG type thing with serious balancing issues and a lot of bugs, but that’s it.
Seth Rollins joins us to call out HHH, as he’s still mad about getting bounced from the Royal Rumble, and indeed HHH is here. With security to escort Seth out of the ring. Seth goes crazy and beats on all the indy geeks, actually getting himself over better as a fired up babyface in 5 minutes than they’ve done in 5 months on RAW.
NXT Women’s title: Asuka v. Nikki Cross v. Billie Kay v. Peyton Royce
The video package doesn’t really help make much more sense out of this one, as apparently the issue is between Asuka and the Aussie Mean Girls, and Cross is somehow involved as well? Ember Moon was looking like the next big star coming off the last Takeover, and she’s apparently nowhere to be seen now after weeks of buildup. Graves has a funny bit during the introductions where he goes on a huge rant against Watson about how the Aussies are a well-oiled unit who have lived together forever and how Watson has no concept of what a force they are, and then brushes it all off with “Although be honest, I think Asuka is going to run through them all in a minute anyway.” Asuka clears the ring to start and hits the Aussies with a double german suplex, but Cross gets a neckbreaker on Asuka to take over. Inverted DDT gets two. Cross dumps Asuka and hits the other heels with a dive, but they double-team her outside and go off for a brawl at the entrance while Asuka takes a nap at ringside. They suplex Cross off the announce table and through a conspicuous table as everyone finally remembers that this is a title match and run back to the ring. Thankfully Asuka was still unconscious after about 5:00. They get a double-team for two, but Asuka kicks Kay out of the ring. Royce hits her with a Widow’s Peak for two and then stops to cry about it, and finally Asuka’s had enough of this bullshit and pins Royce with a kick at 9:50. They either to just get the belt off Asuka or find some better challengers for her, because there was no point where Asuka even felt like she was in jeopardy here. They tried a bunch of smoke and mirrors, but this was a complete nothing match. *½
NXT title match: Shinsuke Nakamura v. Bobby Roode
Roode pulls out the 1989 Flair entrance, complete with row of skanks classy ladies. Nakamura, on the other hand, goes with the epilespy inducing strobe light cart to carry him to the ring. Both good choices. They trade stuff on the mat to start and they trade video game taunts before Roode cheats to gain control. A heel demanding a clean break on the ropes before hitting him with a cheapshot is always a classic. Roode gives him one taunt too many, however, and Nakamura lays him out and hits him with a spinkick. Nak goes up and Roode sends him to the floor with a bit of a scary bump, as his head nearly bounced off the stairs. Roode sends him into the stairs, on purpose this time, and they head back in as Roode works over the neck for a while. Nakamura makes the comeback and drops the knee onto Roode’s neck on the apron, then throws knees in the corner before missing a charge and hurting his knee. He tries it again, however, and hits the inverted exploder, but Roode won’t get up for the Kinshasa, and actually suckers Nakamura in for a cradle that gets two. Backstabber gets two. Spinebuster gets two. They head up for a superplex, but Nakamura blocks and gets a kick off the middle rope to set up the Kinshasa, but this time Roode rolls him up with his feet on the ropes for two. Well can’t blame him for trying, and even the announcers agree. Roode chops him, but Nakamura just gets fired up and knees him in the head on the mat. He takes Roode down with a sweet armbar, into a triangle, but Roode powers out, so Nakamura knees him in the head for two. Really good sequence there. Nakamura back up again and Roode wisely rolls out, but he takes a knee strike on the apron instead. Nakamura hurts his knee on the way down, however. Back in, he hits the Kinshasa, but blows out his knee in the process and can’t cover. The trainer heads out to tend to him, but of course he has FIGHTING SPIRIT and wants to continue. So Roode immediately DDTs him for two while the crowd screams in horror. That was great. The knee is still hurt, so Roode puts him in the half-crab like a colossal dick and Nakamura counters into a triangle, but Roode hits the knee, and finishes with the DDT to win the title at 27:09. 100% the right decision, Roode is absolutely the guy to be carrying the belt right now. He’s a STAR and that’s what they need on the road. **** As usual Nakamura was working half-speed, but when you need someone to sell his ass off, Shinsuke’s your huckleberry. Graves was FANTASTIC on commentary for this match, by the way.
So clearly this was the weakest of the NXT Takeover specials by far, but the main event was great thanks to the drama of the finish. The rest was throwaway junk that really exposed the current lack of star power and didn’t make me want to see the next episodes at all, and dare I say I think the Rumble will be better without much effort? We’ll see I guess.
Tags: NXT Takeover San Antonio, SmarK Rants, SmarK WWE Network Rant