NXT Takeover: Dallas Review

NXT Takeover Dallas Logo.png

            Hello everyone and welcome to the NXT Takeover: Dallas Review! Oh my god, I just woke up on Saturday morning and realized that this show wasn’t tonight. This is like Christmas! I am so pumped for all the matches and the debuts of Austin Aries, one of my favorite wrestlers, and Shinsuke Nakamura, another of my favorite wrestlers. Without further ado, lets get the show underway!

The show opens with a tremendous video recapping Texas’s wrestling history and hyping the card. If I wasn’t hyped before, I am now! Lets get the first match underway, which is…

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The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (c.) vs. American Alpha (Jason Jordon & Chad Gable) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

            I talked about wanting this match last NXT review, and it lived up to the hype. My god, both teams worked on all cylinders in this match to make it special and succeeded. The match began with The Revival pulling out every trick they could, but their opponents were able to counter it every time. This allowed Gable and Jordon to get some heated offense early, while the Revival show their smart, logical spot layout. Throughout the match, the Revival used every trick imaginable to try and stay champions, and it worked so well. Their spots are always incredibly logical and clever, while the execution is usually smooth. One of their smaller moments was when Dawson put his feet on the ropes and Dash used a towel to add extra leverage. Due to these spots and Gable’s incredible connection to the crowd, the heat was uber heated. The crowd roared as Gable kept getting near Jordon, before the Revival’s clever trick ruined the attempt. Once the hot tag happened it was awesome, with Jordon getting super heated and the crowd going NUTS! The back and forth down the stretch was wild and the strategies of Dash & Dawson kept getting better and better. The only real issue I have here is that, personally, I could have had the heat go a bit longer and, secondly, during the heat the Revival and Gable botched some weird double team powerbomb badly. Otherwise, this match is incredible and you should watch it right now.

Rating: ****½

Some cool faces, like JR and Kota Ibushi, are in the audience. God, Kota Ibushi is the best. Then, a video plays hyping the next NXT tour over the summer. This tour is in the UK. Then, Bayley is shown at NXT Axess, and Asuka is shown striking. After a video package, next up is…

Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin.png

Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries

            This was a totally inoffensive match, but nothing to go out of you way to see. It had a basic speed vs. power story, with Aries trying to bring the fight to the larger man. This is all well and good, until Corbin has to get the heat. He is just not good enough yet to carry matches, yet they make so he does it every time. It wasn’t too bad until he used A GODDAMN NERVE HOLD IN 2016. To anyone who uses a nerve hold 35 years since a nerve hold was acceptable, fuck you. Aries sold the effects of the NERVE HOLD like a champ, but it was a NERVE HOLD. If that does not represent the lack of compelling offense from Corbin, nothing will. Aries was always good on offense, but that was way too few and far between. While Corbin did some good stuff, he’s just so boring to me. One moment where this is exemplified when Aries does something cool, laying flat on his stomach in pain yet telling Corbin to bring it. Baron responds by slowly lumbering over, lifting him up, and hitting the slowest, daintiest forearms ever. Also, the finish was an anti-climax. Overall, not a bad match, just a match that was the definition of just there.

Rating: **½

Post match, an ad for The Rock at Wrestlemania plays. Then, the theme song of the show is shown. In a video backstage, Finn Bálor enters the arena. A video package plays us into our next match…

Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.png

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn

            I just cannot stand how good both these wrestlers are. It is frustrating to me that these guys work at such a high quality all the time. This match was perfect. The pace was perfect, the story was perfect, the execution was perfect, the timing was perfect, EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT! These two put out one of, if not the, best matches of the year. The story was simple and the structure was brilliant. The early going was a greatest hits sort of match, where Nakamura introduced his big spots and Zayn used his in NXT for possibly the last time. However, this was mixed with some extra viciousness, as Sami shows that he is not ready to give up NXT to a newcomer. This viciousness is vital throughout the whole match, as plays into trading forearms with Nakamura, stomping his head to escape a triangle choke, kicking the hell out of Nakamura while he is in the ropes, and more. His performance is a delicate balance between the lovable Zayn with a violent edge. Nakamura, in contrast, goes from cocky to destroyer fast, as he loses his more playful edge as the match gets closer to closing. The brilliance continues with the structure, which was essentially these two trading control back and forth with seamless transitions from sequence to sequence. The back and forth was at a quality very few matches match, and had a kick to it not seen enough. This is due to Zayn’s harder edge in this match, as mentioned before, and Nakamura’s excellent strikes and submissions. With all this greatness building towards the finish, the match got better, the nearfalls got nearer, and the spots got more impactful. I have to say, though, I hate the finish. Not because it’s bad, as it is also perfect, but because it means this match had to end. This is wrestling at the highest level imaginable, and all wrestlers strive to be at such a quality. This match is one that reminds me why I love this art form and have spent hours and hours watching and reviewing it. There is no better way to describe this match than 5*.

Rating: *****

After the match ends, Nakamura and Zayn bro hug like bosses. Then, the crowd bids Sami a heartfelt farewell from NXT.

Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Post match.pngSami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Post match II.png

Afterwards, an ad for the Hall of Fame ceremony plays. Next, we se Samoa Joe backstage, and the theme song is acknowledged. A video plays us into the next match…

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Bayley (c.) vs. Asuka – NXT Women’s Championship Match

            While there was clearly no way to top the last match, these two went all out and put on a great match. The story was simple, these are two evenly matched, high quality competitors going to war. This was clear in every way, but most primarily was structure and action. The structure was set up with two segments of control, first was Bayley’s and second was Asuka’s. While the action was still back and forth, these control segments are just who was in control for the majority of the time. With this structure, it was shown both are equal, as both get equal segments of control. In accordance with this, the action played into the story, as most was very back and forth and even. There was one sequence where, for a while, they were literally mirroring each other move for move, furthering this objective. As for the action itself, it was generally crisp and well executed. There were some really nice submission holds and great strikes that make Baron Corbin cry. As the match progressed, the action was really good, but it lacked a crescendo to the finish. While the finish was clearly the finish, it still felt anti-climactic. While I was not exhausted for the match, as I just slept before this match, the crowd must have been exhausted after Nakamura vs. Zayn. Therefore, the energy from the crowd wasn’t there and it brought down the match. Even with this hurdle, however, this was a smart, fun match and one that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: ***¾

Post match, an ad for Reigns vs. Triple H at ‘Mania plays. How can you not be excited for this? OMG! BOBBY ROODE IS IN THE AUDIENCE! Finally, a video package plays us into our MAIN EVENT!

Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe Dallas.png 

Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe – NXT Championship Match

            I loved this match. This was a refreshing brawl mixed with the crisp, great action one would expect from these guys. Within the first minute, the hatred is sold with the brawling and Joe starts pissing blood. Look!

Bloody Joe.png

That added so much to the intensity and hatred of the match. Most of the early going was great brawling everywhere, selling the hatred further. It was chaos, and when they entered the ring, it was more chaos. Both got to hit their signature spots of course, but all the strikes and transitions in-between still kept the intensity high. It was a delicate balance between wild brawl and trading big moves, and these two played that perfectly. Some sequences, like one of the last strike sequences, left my jaw on the floor, as it was exceptionally fast and incredibly awesome to see. On top of this, the performances were great, as both men used facials to enhance the hatred they were trying to get over. Every action, every motion, every facial sold the hatred and desperation necessary in this match, and it was great. The only flaws, while important, don’t bring down the match too much. The first was the medical staff incessantly treating Joe’s cut. I’m fine with that a little, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the action. This interfered with the action so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if this match went 5 minutes longer than planned because of the constant checking. Also, the finish, while not at all abrupt, was a downer and wasn’t well suited here. Otherwise, this was a great main event to one of the best shows I have ever seen.

Rating: ****¼

Bálor celebrates the win as a dejected Joe exits. Close curtain.

Overall:

            This was a tremendous show! There was next to no down time, as nearly every moment had something newsworthy or tremendous. While Corbin vs. Aries was not good, everything else was hovering around 4*. The fact that all but 1 match is something I would consider great is incredible. If Corbin vs. Aries did a better job, this would be the perfect show. Even with this, it is worth watching the whole show, since the event was one of the most fun shows I’ve seen.

Overall Rating: ****¾

 So that was the NXT Takeover: Dallas Review! If you enjoyed, like, comment, and maybe even follow my blog. If you want to keep up with this site, my contacts and social media are here or in the sidebar to the left. Also, check out my work at Free Pro Wrestling, which is a great site where I and people more talented than I write about great, legal, free matches. I hope to watch Wrestlemania tonight and have the review out today or tomorrow. Also, I’m still working on the 90s AJPW Prologue, as this takes a lot of time. There are some really cool matches there, so I’m pumped to get around to watching them. Other than that, thank you for reading and see you next time.

-Terrance Smith

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