Metalhead’s NXT Takeover San Antonio Review (Nakamura vs Roode, DIY vs Authors of Pain, Asuka Kicks Ass)

Before going into full-on Rumble-Madness mode, we first had the now usual NXT treat in the form of NXT Takeover Dallas. So, did the event live up to our expectations? Let’s find out:

Eric Young defeated Tye Dillinger in 10:55 via pinfall:

Good opener thanks in no small part to Tye Dillinger who had the crowd firmly behind him. The Perfect 10 showed great energy at times and was great as the face in peril. Young also delivered a strong match, aided by the other members of Sanity who circled the ring like a pack of wolves. In other words, everybody played their role well which is always nice. I also liked that commentary touched on the long history (outside of NXT) between those two. Good back and forth throughout the match with Dillinger usually able to get the upper-hand over Young only to get thwarted in his efforts by the other members of Sanity. Young worked a focused match, setting up the ending by targeting Dillinger’s neck. Dillinger, pushed by the crowd, fought hard, but the numbers game proved to much in the end and Young finished things off with a Wheelbarrow Neck-breaker. Dillinger was on fire, Young was on target and all of that gave us a good start of the show.

Roderick Strong defeated Andrade Cien Almas in 11:40 via pinfall:

Strong match (pun intended) in every sense of the world. And with Strong, I mean the wrestler, not the adjective. Don’t get me wrong, this was a very good match, fast-paced and hard-hitting with both wrestlers working their asses off. But, if you watch this match and focus on the crowd reactions, you will get some chants, some applause, sometimes bordering on the polite, a rather shy “This Is Awesome” chant and the crowd focusing on the next match as soon as this one was over. In other words, Strong was never able to put the fans in his pocket the way Dillinger did before him. And, like stated in my preview, this has been a recurring problem for Strong throughout his career. Now, I really don’t know what the solution is here, but I do know he’ll have to figure out something if he wants to make it in WWE, because, as technically good and sound as his matches are, this simply won’t suffice for him. As for Andrade, also a good showing from him, we again got shades of La Sombra and I loved the Tranquillo reference (Los Ingobernables fans will understand), but, in my opinion, Almas needs to stop channeling and start being La Sombra again sooner rather than later. Again, this was very good but I simply don’t feel they’ve achieved what they set out to do. Strong nailed Andrade with the Sick Kick to bag this one.

NXT Tag Team Title Match – The Authors of Pain defeated DIY (Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano) (c) in 14:30 via pinfall:

And then it w<as time for the smaller, more talented team to work their magic with the Road Warri… I mean The Authors of Pain, sorry. First of all, how over are DIY? I mean it was fantastic to see how the crowd was behind everything they did and kept hoping, against hope, that they would somehow pull it off. When it comes to great babyface teams, DIY ticks off all the boxes, they’re amazing work-wise, show great in-ring psychology and effortlessly get any crowd behind them. So I was completely with the San Antonio fans here, rooting for a DIY victory even if I knew that wasn’t going to happen.  And I was as disappointing as the crowd was when it indeed didn’t happen. Of course, booking-wise, if you really want the fans to HATE your monster heel tag team, then this was a very good way to achieve that. Most observers will point out that Tomaso and Ciampa did all the work here, but, that was to be expected and, never forget, such matches are exactly what got The Road Warriors over back in the days, so I have no issues with that, that’s simpluy the way wrestling work sometimes. Also, fair is fair, the AoP worked hard despite their limitations and do seem eager to improve. That said, they still have a lot to learn when it come to in-ring psychology. Their act will work as long as their protected by NXT’s booking, but, the real test will come when they are called up to the main roster. Can they come over as the next big thing on a bigger stage? I still have doubts.  Much better match than it had any right to be thanks to DIY.

Rollins then appeared to call out HHH, nice little surprise, this was kept short but was an effective step towards their now inevitable WM match.

Fatal 4-Way for the NXT Women’s Title – Asuka (c) defeated Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Nikki Cross in 9:55 via pinfall:

Wrestling is funny sometimes. If you go on the internet, and look up reviews of this match, you will see it compared, unfavorably of course, to the famed Four Horsewomen match. And I find that amusing because the comparison simply makes no sense. Peyton, Billie and Nikki have different strengths and work by a different dynamic than Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha and Becky did, and Asuka is an entirely different animal altogether. To put things clearly, was this a great wrestling match? Well, probably not. Was this a fun and entertaining match to watch? Definitely. Everybody played their role well with Peyton and Billie looking absolutely terrified at the mere thought of having to face one of  the other two without some sort of edge, Nikki played the insane card well, showing a  total disregard for a physical well-being and Asuka was simply The Empress. Story of the match was also good with the Aussie girls trying, and eventually succeeding in singling out Nikki, fighting her all the way to the announcing booth and taking her out with a double suplex over another table. They then rushed back to finish off Asuka, but the champ manages to kick out and the Aussie Girls reaction is priceless as they clearly didn’t have a plan B. The finish then becomes a foregone conclusion with Asuka eventually going into ass-kicking mode before finishing off Peyton. The destroyed Nikki then smiles at the exiting champ. And again, this was fun and made me wanna watch a Nikki Cross/Asuka match (hopefully it will happen). Also, Ember Moon was featured on the pre-show and it seems they’re finally gonna move her in the direction of the champ. SHould be quite a clash. Fun stuff!

NXT Title Match – Bobby Roode defeated Shinsuke Nakamura (c) in 27:15 via pinfall:

While I did expect a Roode victory, to be honest, I WAS wondering how they were going to pull that off. I mean they couldn’t really have Roode simply beat Nakamura in a straight match, could they? As things turned out, they indeed had something different in mind. Match started slow with both playing the crowd and doing their trademark moves and posturing. That kinda lasted until Roode went to the GLORIOUS well one time too many and got cut off by a Nakamura ass-kicking. Now that was funny. Match then picked up steam with a rather interesting story developing. Indeed, Roode found himself routinely outgunned whenever he was trying to match the King of Strong Style with punches, kicks, wrestling or ground work, but still managed to keep up with the champ by out-smarting him on more than one occasion. And then it was time for the BIG angle with Nakamura injuring himself after hitting Roode with a knee-strike on the ring-apron. I’m usually not a big fan of the trainers coming out, but, I guess that, in this case, it did serve its purpose. The injured Nakamura did manage to knock out Roode with the Kinshasa but was unable to follow through. From then on, Roode, smelling blood, was all over Nakamura, the champ survived one Glorious DDT (and Roode’s reaction to that was priceless)  but eventually succumbed to a second one, making Roode the new champ. I felt this was an excellent main event which achieved everything it set out to do. Nakamura was protected in the right way (although the angle does put an end to my nice little Nakamura at the Rumbler theory, snif…) and Roode played to the situation beautifully by coming over as an extremely crafty and sometimes very dickish heel which is exactly what he needed. In short, great stuff by all involved and all hail our GLORIOUS champion.

Conclusion: Another very enjoyable Takeover event with matches ranging from fun to great. Good opener, hard-hitting Strong/Almas battle, Incredibly heated tag team match, fun fatal 4-way and great main event, what more can one expect from a two hours show? I had no problem staying up (very) late for this one, I  honestly doubt very much I’ll achieve the same feat for the Rumble.

And that’s it from me for today, Metalhead’s Dissections will be back tomorrow for the Royal Rumble. Until then, have fun!



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