NXT Takeover: Respect was a big hit on WWE Network, here are the Pulse Wrestling staff reactions!
Sasha vs. Bayley was an incredible main event, and it was great to see Cody and Dustin Rhodes as themselves when presenting the trophy to Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Also, Asuka vs. Dana was hard-hitting, and Dana really stepped up there.
I enjoyed the Samoa Joe/Finn Balor vs The Mechanics opener. Good story told too with the Finn Balor “knee injury”. Dash and Dawson were also allowed to shine and that was to the good. Good opener for the show with an already red-hot crowd.
Jason Jordan and Chad gable vs Rhyno and Baron cCorbin entertained the hell out of me. Yes, I was entertained by a Baron Corbin match. But that had everything to do with Jason Jordan’s and, especially, Chad Gable’s performance. Jordan was excellent but Gable blew everyone out of the water, to the point that the crowd chanted his name for a long, long time. And deservedly so. I was a bit disappointed that the better team didn’t advance, especially after what they just showed, but hey, Corbin is much more bearable when there is a seasoned veteran teaming with him and besides, you can’t have everything. Finally that End of Times on Gable looked sick.
I can’t help but smugly look around and say: “I told you so” here. Asuka’s debut was exactly what it should have been, thanks in no small part to the lady’s talent. Indeed, from the get-go it was clear she was on a whole different level, with superior technique and amazing speed. She also effortlessly got the crowd on her hand. Dana was fine here, credit where credit is due. She played the bitch heel role well and convincingly sold everything Asuka trowed at her. Potential? Definitely! The little details were there too, with Dana looking out of her depth from the start, Asuka sporting that slightly psychotic smile and Emma looking positively terrified at the end. During the match, one of my cats was playing with a toy mouse. That’s perhaps the best description of this match I can give. NXT clearly has great hopes for Asuka. It’s now safe to say everybody who has seen her for the first time shares the same feeling.
For me, the star of the Tyleer Breeze/Apollo Crews match was Breeze. As predicted, he worked his ass off to make Crews look good and looked excellent in the process. I liked the fact that this was a competitive match-up, allowing Crews to show he isn’t just a one-dimensional power-house. It’s difficult to see what they will do with Breeze after this though. Despite looking very good here and despite all his hard work, he still is the guy who will loose to the “bigger” stars. Much more could be done with him, I think.
Ok, first of all, I have to eat some humble-pie, because, yes Penny, you were right, I bow to your superior wisdom. No heel turn but another competitive match-up and the top two faces won, in order to set up a moment that was all about Respect. The title of the show kinda gave it away I guess. But in this case I don’t mind being wrong as that final image with Joe and Finn, surrounded by Dusty’s finally while the crowd roared “Thank You Dusty” send chills up my spine. I thought the semi’s were better than the final, but the real story was that moment post-match so I guess I’m fine with that.
Let’s guess something out of the way first, no this wasn’t as good as their Brooklyn match and yes the stipulation had something to do with that, but, at the end, it didn’t matter. Those two performers know each-other so well, have so much chemistry together that they could have sat in the ring and read the phone-book for 30 minutes and we would still have cheered. Not that this wasn’t good, quite the opposite. While Bayley was great (again) Sasha really shined in her heel role here, which makes the way she has been booked on RAW even more incomprehensible. If Vince and Co can’t make a star out of someone with so much talent, they need to banish themselves to the north-pole and never have any contact with anything wrestle-related again. Ever. Great match, great emotion, great playing of the crowds, great characters, great in-ring psychology, great action, even more emotion post match, this is one of those outings that leaves you slightly out of breath once it ends. And feeling like you just watched something special. Which is what we all want out of wrestling, no?
Conclusion: I was entertained from the first to the last minute. need I say more? Compare that to the two shows that happened last week-end and some people should really feel ashamed of their-selves.
My viewing of this NXT Takeover Show kicked off with a comment from the lovely Penny Sautereau via Facebook chat. “The trophy is ugly, glittery, gaudy and loud. Dusty would ADORE it.” I agreed and settled into the show.
NXT Champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe v. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder: A great match with a good team on both sides. Was I clearly rooting for Balor & Joe? Yes. I winced at every shot to Balor’s left leg and was not sitting still for most of the match. It was a great match, all four men doing their part. The win going to Joe & Finn made me both happy and nervous due to the team split/ heel turn rumors. Still, I cheered.
Jason Jordan & Chad Gable v. Baron Corbin & Rhyno: I wanted JJ & Gable to win, mostly because I put a lot in stock by good tag teams. I tend to look to seasoned teams for the best show. Corbin & Rhyno winning was a great win, especially that sick looking End of Days from Corbin to Gable was nice.
Asuka v. Dana Brooke: Dana (with Emma) played her heel part perfectly, mocking Asuka and pretending like she’s never been less than perfect. Asuka’s music (not traditional) plus that awesome entrance gave me the chills. Her murderous, “I will rearrange your face” smile made me come to a realization: Asuka is simultaneously inspiring, gorgeous and terrifying. Asuka winning her match and getting an extra shot on the disrespectful Brooke as well as intimidating Emma was a great touch.
Apollo Crews v. Tyler Breeze: I admit, my dogs made an appearance during the beginning of this match. I was blocked by fur and wet noses for a minute. However, the part of the match I did see was well done. I’m happy Crews didn’t just muscle out a win. I wanted Breeze to win, if only to break up the losing streak and show that Crews isn’t an invincible monster that WWE usually books.
NXT Champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe v. Baron Corbin & Rhyno: A great match, the added dynamic of none of these men being fresh after their matches earlier in the night was nice. Balor being the most damaged made me sit on the edge of my seat as Joe tagged him in for the finish. It was a good, clean win with the faces going over and, thankfully, no team split or heel turn! This team will end but I was happy to see it wasn’t tonight. The dedication of the trophy by the Rhodes family was a feel good, teary-eyed moment for everyone.
NXT Women’s Champion Bayley v. Sasha Banks; 30 Minute Iron Man Match: I liked that the title of the match wasn’t changed to Iron Woman before the match happened. The crowd chanted Iron Woman half-way through and I have to agree. This match will go down in history as the first Iron (Wo)Man Match with two female wrestlers. And these two women definitely EARNED their spot in the main event. Sasha was the perfect heel (taunting Bayley’s super-fan Izzy for crying out loud) and Bayley was an amazing, resilient champion. Winning at the last second it was a satisfying end. Seeing the entire NXT roster applauding the women, Sasha’s breakdown after and Bayley’s tear streaked face as Triple H held her hand high was a great way to end the night.
So many great moments overall, if I listed them all we’d be here for far too long and you would all probably shout at me for repeating what we all saw. If you didn’t watch it though, you’d better!