The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Toronto
Live from Toronto, ON
Your hosts are Tom Phillips & Corey Graves
Bobby Roode v. Tye Dillinger
Roode actually brings his own choir to sing him out, which is a nice touch. And he’s clearly the biggest babyface of the show right away. They wisely omit the hometown of Roode and emphasize Tye’s in order to keep people from cheering Roode, but I think it’s a losing battle. The crowd, before they even TOUCH, chants “This is awesome”. Hey, good old fashioned tag team betrayal, I can dig it. Tye wins a slugfest and clotheslines him to the floor right away, then again to the other side and out for a brawl on the floor. The crowd is really, REALLY torn here. Back in the ring, Roode offers him a 10, which merely angers Tye in a funny bit. Tye gets the TEN punches in the corner, but Roode backdrops him out to take over. On Takeover. Roose is smartly being a complete dick about it to make sure people don’t cheer him. He works the neck on the apron and back in for a corner clothesline after some VERY loud spot-calling, but Tye counters a neckbreaker into a backslide for two. Roode gets another try and hits it for two, however. Roode works him over in the corner, but Tye makes the comeback and stops a ten-hole in the corner. Roode bails to escape and Tye chases him back in, but stupidly walks into the spinebuster for two. He blew that lead like a true Toronto sportsman! They head up and Roode brings him down with a superplex for two. Roode, true dick to the end, gives him a 10 and pulls down the kneepad, then rolls him up for two with his feet on the ropes. Tye gets his own rollup for two, and a superkick gets two. They slug it out for the big finish (“Roode!” “Ten!”) and Tye turns the finisher sequence into a Sharpshooter, but Roode makes the ropes. Roode cradles him two, but Tye reverses him for two, then misses a charge and hits the post. Implant DDT finishes at 16:24. Hey, that’s a much better finisher than that shitty pumphandle slam he was using at the last show. Tentative start, hell of a finish with the back and forth ending, and I really had no clue who was going over here. Roode is clearly the guy who should be NXT champion, though. ***1/2
Dusty Classic Finals: TM-61 v. The Authors of Pain
I haven’t been watching the weekly TV lately so I’ve never seen either team outside of clips, but neither seems to be anything special. Also, “TM-61” is a weak-ass name for a tag team. So Ellering is locked above the ring in a cage for reasons that aren’t adequately explained. They immediately brawl to the floor and Shane Thorne climbs the scaffold that supports the cage and dives off onto the Authors. The heels quickly trip him up and pound on him to take over. Apparently one is named “Achim” and the other “Rayzar”. Doesn’t anyone know how to pick names for monster teams anymore? Also, isn’t that pretty much begging for people to call him “Akeem”? They both kind of look like Brodus Clay anyway. Thorne gets beat up for a while with chinlocks and punches in a boring heat segment, but makes the hot tag to Nick Miller, who looks nothing like he does on TV. Hopefully he too writes zombie novels in his spare time. Miller with a moonsault for two, and they double-team Rayzar with a double spinebuster for two. Ellering drops a chain to his guys from above, but the KO punch completely misses and the chain goes flying into the crowd. Still, they finish Thorne with a double-team clothesline/legsweep to win the tournament regardless at 8:04 in a completely anticlimactic finish to a totally forgettable tournament. Yay for generic looking mean guys, I guess? ** If TM-61 are supposed to be a big deal, I don’t see it. Also, Ellering in the cage was completely pointless.
NXT Tag team titles: The Revival v. Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa
This is DIY’s last shot, and 2/3 falls for good measure. Gargano gets a quick two on Dawson and the Revival regroups, but DIY hits Dawson with a double dropkick for two. Ciampa gets caught in the heel corner and double-teamed, and Dash legdrops him for two. Back to Gargano, who bulldogs Dash into Dawson and gets a neckbreaker on Dawson for two. Dash makes a blind tag, however, and Shatter Machine gets the first fall at 5:06. Gargano recovers with a rollup on Dash for two to start the second fall, but the Revival quickly returns to beating him up in the corner. Dawson with a slingshot suplex for two. And in the real tribute to Dusty, they do some clubbering in the corner and Dawson drops an elbow off a Dash drop toehold, for two. Dawson wraps him up in a Gory Special, and then Gargano’s hot tag gets cut off by more inspired chicanery from the champions, leading to a Hart Attack for two. Gargano counters out of a suplex with a cross body for two, and finally makes the hot tag to Ciampa. Missile dropkick on Dawson and he’s the house of fire, and a Rocker Dropper gets two. Rolling germans sets up the running knee for two. Cross body gets two in the chaos, and the double knee on Dawson win the second fall at 13:32. So we’re all even at 1-1 and that finish was inspired craziness. Ciampa slugs it out with Dash to start the third fall, but Dawson switches in and reverses an armbar attempt into a crucifix for two. Ciampa hits Dawson with a flatliner off the top, but he dives at Dash and gets forearmed from the floor. Gargano slingshots in with a DDT for two as Corey takes shots at the Blue Jays’ failure in the playoffs. Hey man, that’s MY job! Revival double-teams Gargano again for two as we’re now just into permanent crazy finish mode. Ciampa gets sent into the post and Gargano is left in the heel corner, but he fights them off and cradles Dawson for two. Dash grabs one of the belts for Dawson, who clocks Gargano in the knee behind the ref’s back while Ciampa gets rid of Dash, and Dawson hooks in the inverted figure-four as a callback to Brooklyn. But this time, he makes the ropes and it’s awesome. Revival sets up to finish, but Dash accidentally superkicks his own partner, and DIY hits Dash with their own Shatter Machine for a HOT two. AMAZING. Dawson suckers Gargano into a rollup behind the ref’s back, but he’s holding the tights and the ref waves it off, but again Dash DESTROYS the knee of Gargano while Ciampa eats the post. At this I actually yelled “FUCK!” out loud because I totally bought that they were doing the screwjob finish on DIY again. Gargano keeps fighting with a series of rollups, and then hooks Dash in a crossface while Ciampa takes Dawson down into a Fujiwara armbar, and the Revival can only look each other in the eye while both tap out to give DIY the titles at 22:21. I don’t even have the words for this one. That finish was poetry, one of the best I’ve ever seen, as they called back to Brooklyn multiple times and teased all kinds of false finishes. The crowd was absolutely losing their mind at the end, and so was I. ***** I think this one has a shot at Match of the Year.
NXT Women’s title: Asuka v. Mickie James
Glad to see Mickie recovered from being murdered via subway train in TNA. It must have been touch and go there for a while. Asuka’s theme apparently has lyrics now, and I don’t think it’s a change for the better. They trade takedowns to start and Mickie sends Asuka to the floor off that. Back in, they trade holds on the mat and Asuka butts her out of the ring. Mickie gets all feisty, so Asuka puts her back on the floor and they head out for the brawl, with Mickie getting a rana off the apron, but Asuka answers with a german suplex on the floor. Back in, Asuka pounds her on the mat and hooks the armbar in the ropes, but Mickie fights off the kicks and powers her into a half-crab. Mickie turns that into the Muta Lock, forcing Asuka to make the ropes. They slug it out and Mickie is still hanging with her, but now Asuka is ALIVE. Mickie gets a neckbreaker and makes her comeback with the flapjack and a Bombs Away for two. And then Asuka takes her down with the armbar, so Mickie kicks her in the face and follows with a spinkick for two. Asuka with the Asuka-lock, however, and Mickie fights it off but taps at 13:03. That was a really different dynamic for Asuka, as she finally had someone who didn’t look like a rank amateur in there with her and gave her a fight. Even Bayley looked completely out of her league, but Mickie looked like someone on the same level. ***1/2. Mickie offers a handshake, so Asuka holds the title in her face in a supreme dick move.
NXT title: Shinsuke Nakamura v. Samoa Joe
Nakamura and his roving pack of violinists remains the entrance by which we should all aspire to live our own lives. They THROW DOWN to start and Nak gets the boot rakes in the corner before they brawl to the floor. Back in, Joe with the enzuigiri in the corner, but Nakamura throws knees before walking into the uranage. Joe drops an elbow for two and takes Nak down with a kneecrusher before rolling him into a kneebar. Nakamura fights out of that, so Joe tosses him and follows with a dive to really wipe him out. Back in, that gets two. Nakamura makes the comeback with a leg lariat and a whole bunch of kicks, but Joe slams him and follows with a senton for two. Crossface follows, but Nakamura fights out, so Joe powerslams him for two. Nak goes up, so Joe kicks him to the apron, and Nakamura fires back with a knee to the head on the apron, and follows with a knee from the middle rope as both guys are down and out. They slug it out and Nak takes him down with a release german suplex, but he misses a charge and Joe clips the knee. Muscle Buster is countered into Kinshasa for two. A second one is countered by Joe into the Coquina clutch, but the crowd sings Nakamura’s theme song to wake him up. Joe with a german suplex into a dragon suplex into a straitjacket suplex for two. Joe stops to talk smack, so Nakamura throws a knee that puts Joe onto the floor. Nakamura follows and attacks, but Joe was playing possum and he goes low, slams him on the stairs, and follows with the Muscle Buster to regain the title at 20:04. Man, Nakamura didn’t even get ONE title defense? The crowd is completely stunned by that one. I have no idea where this going, but it was another great, hard-hitting brawl. Good ol’ Joey Head-Knocker indeed. ****
Well, that was quite the newsworthy show. Skip the Dusty Classic match, check out the rest, there’s your $10 worth right there, as usual. That tag title match was one for the AGES, though, and you should probably go watch it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Tags: NXT, SmarK Rants, Takeover: Toronto, WWE Network