NXT Takeover: Respect Review

Takeover Respect Logo

            Hello everyone and welcome to my NXT Takeover: Respect review! Sorry this review wasn’t out last night, but the play I was in got in the way of watching this. In my opinion this could turn out to be the weakest Takeover yet, with many of the undercard matches not looking like they could be 4*+. That isn’t saying this show won’t be good, but compared to other Takeovers, this may be a comparatively weak show. I have no doubt this will be good however, as talent like Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Apollo Crews, Asuka, etc. can have good matches in their sleep, so lets see what this show has in store!

A video package plays and, my lord, it was amazing! This is the best video of the year from WWE, and that is saying a lot. The Tag Team Classic and Sasha vs. Bayley is hyped, with clips of legendary WWE moments being sprinkled throughout. The editing was gorgeous, elegant, and perfect. If nothing else, this video is worth watching. Our first match is…

Dash & Dawson vs. Joe & Balor

Finn Bálor (NXT Champion) & Samoa Joe vs. Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match

            This was great, plain and simple. It started off fast and furious, with Joe getting jumped before the bell, and brawling everywhere. Then, after about five minutes of furious action, they slowed down and focused. That is perfect. They use dives, strikes, and constant action to excite and engage the crowd, and then follow that by telling the story that needs to be told. Bálor’s leg gets devastated, and Dawson and Wilder did a tremendous job on the heat. They hone in on that leg, and everything has a focus and purpose. Nothing done is wasted, and everything furthers the story of Finn’s injured leg. They use submissions, strikes, double teams, and more to keep Bálor grounded and stay in control. Not only that, but they also did little subtle things, like Dawson rolling Wilder into the ring so he can get the tag, that were logical, and added so must subtlety to the match. Then the finish further plays into the injured leg of Finn, which sets up the rest of the tournament. Honestly, this is like a match you would see from Arn Anderson or the Rock & Roll Express in the ‘80s. It is focused, logical, simple yet layered, subtle, and, most of all, great. Watch this match and keep an eye on all of these men.

Rating: ****

Sasha Banks is seen briefly backstage preparing for her match, and then it highlights the NXT tour at a recent festival. The next match is…

Rhyno & Corbin vs. Gable & Jordan

Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Rhyno & Baron Corbin – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals Match

            This match was pretty fun, and both Gable and Jordan’s stock should be on the rise. These two killed it, and looked crisp and impressive throughout. Also, Gable was insanely over and that always helps. They were able to put together very good sequences that were heavily supported by the crowd. Then the heat happened, and the match lost a lot of steam. Unlike the last match, this heat was pointless, boring, and only served to waste time before the finish. Once Gable made the hot tag, though, Jordan showed great intensity during the comeback. He was screaming, had high energy and never stopped moving. On top of that, the finishing stretch was molten since Gable was so over. Then the finish happened, and the wrong team won. -_- Never forget this is WWE, where bad booking can get in the way of good matches. A bad heat segment and a bad finish make this match a story of what could have been. It could have been great, but these flaws hamstring it and keep it from being good.

Rating: **½

Kevin Nash is shown in the audience and a brief video plays us into our next match…

Asuka vs. Brooke

Asuka vs. Dana Brooke (w/ Emma)

            Asuka is the shit. If she is not the one of the top stars in WWE’s women’s division one day, I will cry. She has so much swagger, confidence, and personality. You want to know why mic skills aren’t as important as they once were? Watch this and tell me Asuka needs to cut 20-minute promos to make it in WWE. I DARE YOU! On the other end of the match, Dana did well for herself, and played the douchey heel to a T. She made me want to see her get punched, which is her job, and she didn’t botch. What else can you ask for from a rookie? Overall, Asuka is a goddamn star, and Dana held her own. One of the best squash like matches of all time.

Rating: **¾

Post match Dana disrespects Asuka and gets kicked. Don’t fuck with Asuka. An ad runs for Susan G. Komen, and the announcers hype the Tag Team Tournament final. Finn and Joe are shown backstage with a doctor, and a vignette plays for Nia Jax. This brings us to the next match…

Crews vs. Breeze

Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews

            His was a pretty standard, yet fun match. Apollo was, well, Apollo, which means he was charming and insanely athletic, and Breeze was good on offense like usual. His offense is always crisp, and he has a lot of moves that are just plain fun to watch. On the heat, he never reverts to “just a rest hold”, and always tries to keep the pace up. Crews, no shock, kept up with Breeze and they put together some very fun sequences. Also, there was some stuff from Breeze I legitimately never saw before, which is really novel at this point in my wrestling fandom. The only issue is that they added a nice wrinkle of Apollo injuring his back, and having to cope with it, but it was dropped after one or two spots. Overall, though, this was a good, fun match.

Rating: ***

In the audience, Hideo Itami & Funaki are shown, and, after, some ads play. I hate paying to watch a show, but still having to watch ads. Next, Bayley is shown backstage with her belt, preparing. The announcers hype the Tag Tournament final again. How fun. Next is…

Corbin & Rhyno vs. Joe & Bálor

Finn Bálor (NXT Champion) & Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin & Rhyno – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals

            This was better than it had any right to be. This match was not completely focused on Finn’s previous injury like I thought it would, and it was merely a subplot in the match. After five minutes of a normal tag match, with Corbin and Rhyno beating down Joe, he tags in Bálor and this match gets good. The heels focus on Finn’s leg, and try to further injure him, while Finn is forced to fight through the pain with all his heart. His selling was good, and him using it during the match furthers the story of him using his heart to power through injury. After the Joe hot tag, there were some great nearfalls, and very fun sequences throughout. I loved the finish, since it showed Bálor’s heart and paralleled Joe and Bálor’s previous match. This match was very good, and a satisfying finish to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Rating: ***½

Joe and Bálor celebrate with the Rhodes family, and Cody gives a greaat speech about Dusty and his legacy. This was a very nice moment in rememberance of a legend.

Rhoes Classic Celebration

An ad for the Brock Lesnar Go to Hell tour plays, and the artist who made the theme song for the show is credited. Lita, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Stephanie McMahon are shown in the audience. A video package plays, and then it is time for our MAIN EVENT!

Banks vs. Bayley (Respect) III

Bayley (c.) vs. Sasha Banks – NXT Woman’s Championship Match – 30 Minute Iron Woman Match

            They show each woman backstage just before their entrances, which really adds to the big fight feel. This has the aura of a big time match, and I am Hyped as hell for it.

This was art. Everything about this had purpose, and meaning, and the two performers both put in world class performances. The story was that Bayley was naïve, thinking Sahsa’s respect meant she could trust Banks. Banks used this opening to fuck Bayley up with brutal spots and tremendous heel work. Sahsa had great strategy and a viscious streak a mile long, but her confidence got the best of her a few times. This allowed Bayley an opening to comeback and stand a chance. This match had fucking brilliant heel work from Sasha, who stole Izzy’s bow and mocked Bayley. She frigging threw her into the steel steps right in front of her family! That was outstanding. Bayley also did phenomenal, working from underneath and, as soon as she was able to, punishing Sasha with brutal spots in return. Another layer in this match is the way they played off the previous match. For example, Bayley went after the hand of Sasha similarly to how Sasha did to her last time. They did must more than just that, but I will leave that for you to find out when you watch these two matches. The finishing stretch was climactic and just about as good as it gets, with great psychology and fun action. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention these two shots…

Banks vs. Bayley (Respect) IBanks vs. Bayley (Respect) II

These show how wrestling is art to me. Both these shots play into the story, and I could write an essay on how they play into the psychology, story and characters in the match. Overall, watch this right now. This is WWE’s MOTY. The only thing holding this back from a full 5* is a little bit of sloppiness, but they are so talented they made that work in the story. Just watch this. It is a classic.

Rating: ****¾

Both women are congratulated after the match by the NXT roster and given flowers by Triple H. Sasha is given, as V from “V for Vendetta” would call it, a viking burial, and is honored for her work, as she is sent up to the main roster. Bayley gets respect to as the curtain closes on this show.

Banks vs. Bayley (Respect) VBanks vs. Bayley (Respect) IV

Overall:

This show was fantastic, and was everything a great show should be. It was consistent, with every match having something absolutely fantastic in it, from Asuka’s performance to Sahsa’s heel work. There are 2 4*+ matches, and one is a classic. Everything else is good and perfect for what it was, which makes this show one of the easiest shows to watch. Watch this show right now, especially the main event.

Overall Rating: ****¼

And that was the NXT Takeover: Respect review! What a show. In other news, I have not started watching Starrcade ’89, but I will start it soon, hopefully. Also, I will review the next WWE PPV whenever it comes out. Other than that, expect RMR #10 (!!!) will come out sometime this month. To recommend matches for a RMR, or contact me for any other reason, click here or go to the sidebar to the left. Other than that, thanks for reading, and I hope you read again.

-Terrance Smith

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