NXT Takeover: Toronto Review

nxt-takeover-toronto-logo

            Hello and welcome to my NXT Takeover: Toronto Review! There is quite a bit of hype surrounding this show, which is why I chose to review it. Sadly, it took me a while to watch this whole show, so it’s a tad outdated. Whatever! It seems like a pretty stacked card and I’m excited to dive in. Lets get started!

We begin with a video hyping how cool Toronto is and recapping all of the feuds. I’m so excited man! The first match is…

bobby-roode-vs-tye-dillinger

Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger

            I just want to say, Roode’s entrance in general might be my favorite thing in wrestling, and this was an especially good one. Having a choir is always so awesome. Bobby needs to be the top heel in this company and fast!

I am so shocked with how much I love this match. This was just tremendous work from both guys, with a nice story and great crowd investment. The early going was heated, with both men just brawling in this blood feud. Dillinger getting the better of Roode allowed him some shine before the heat segment as well as let Roode be a cowardly heel, a prevalent theme in this match. During Roode’s heat segment, his charisma and cockiness brought it up a great deal. Finally, the post heat portion of the match was pure awesomeness; there was drama, great character work, nearfalls, nice action, and great crowd investment. It would be hard not to get sucked into a match like this. Both Roode and Dillenger did such a good job in this match. Roode was brilliant as a heel, being cocky one moment then trying to escape the match the next. He is on another level and, as I said, needs a huge push RIGHT NOW. As for Dillinger, I am sold on him as something good and I think he’s just great. He showed fire, kept up with Roode, and helped keep the crowd so invested with his playing to them. I love this match so much. It may not be a MOTYC, but it’s a rock solid opener and what I assume will be a hidden gem in NXT.

Rating: ***½

(Sidenote: I have a feeling the crowd will be awesome tonight and help all these matches out a lot.)

Post match, Dillinger gets a huge ovation from the crowd. They love him, I love him, everybody loves him. What a way to start the show. Then, an ad plays. Cool. After the ad, we see Asuka preparing for her match. An awesome recap video leads into the next match…

tk61-vs-the-authors-of-pain

The Authors of Pain vs. TM61 – Paul Ellering is in a cage above the ring – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Final

          HOLY SHIT! ITS TMDK!!! I love TMDK, but I haven’t seen them wrestle in forever. Also, Ellering in the cage is so old school territories and I love it.

This is such a simple formula match that I’m at a loss for words. It’s every tag team match ever, which isn’t bad, but isnt spectacular either. Some quick notes:

  • The dive in the early goings from Thorne was cool and added to the big vs. small story
  • I thought the story of the AoP being big bruisers and TM61 having to use speed was okay.
  • Thorne bumped like a boss to make the AoP look like killer badasses.
  • TM61 threw around the larger men too easily, killing some of the mystique.
  • The chain at the finish was a superfluous spot.
  • The wrong guys won and the finish was flat.

Otherwise, the action was solid and the structure was super basic. It was simple and perfectly inoffensive, if a tad bland.

Rating: **¾

      The Authors of Pain celebrate with Triple H, Dustin Rhodes, and the huge trophy. Afterwards, another great video hypes our next match…

diy-vs-the-revival

The Revival (c.) vs. #DIY – Two out of Three Falls Match – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

      How can you get a better tag team match than this? With perfect structure, stellar action, great performances, and tremendous crowd investment, this may be one of the best tag team matches in history. I love this structure. There was an overarching story, with fall 1 being the early action, fall 2 being the heat, and fall 3 being the finish. However, each fall was its own microcosm of a tag match, with each having a heat and a finish. Fall 1, the Revival got a short heat segment on Ciampa, then hit their finisher on Gargano to win the fall. This then bled straight into fall 2, with Gargano being beaten down by the heels until he made the hot tag, and then that bled into fall three. Watching the structure play out was like watching a master artist apply paints to the canvas or watching an elite musician create a stunning melody. This was beauty in the purest form. Then, the action more than carried its weight. Every sequence was quite crisp, with no noticeable flubs or botches. They worked fast when they needed to, slowed down when the story called for it, and created some of the best drama I’ve seen all year. Notably, The Revival’s tremendous tactics as a heel team came into play, with some clever near hot tags in fall two and some tremendous cheating down the stretch. That is not to downplay the performance of #DIY though, as both brought their A game. Gargano, like always, was a star here; his beating was heightened significantly by his facials and, on offense, his action was as crisp as ever. The emotion in everything he did shined through, adding so much weight to every nearfall or submission. Ciampa should not be ignored either. He was a tremendous house of fire, often making the save and attacking with fast paced offense. One final thing to mention that caught my eye was how, in fall 3 with the match tied, the Revival lost all their arrogance and became desperate for the win. Their facials and mannerisms changed as they slowly lost control of their match, which, again, added so much to the incredible drama down the stretch. This is a classic, plain and simple, with so much content that I could not fit in. I dare anyone to find many tag matches in this century (or any time really) as good as this one.

Rating: ****¾

After the match, an ad plays. Then, a video hypes up the next match…

asuka-vs-mickie-james

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

      I was really enjoying the match, but it quickly died a death midway through. Early on there was a solid story building, with Mickie playing the experienced veteran and Asuka the overzealous, talented young star. With this story as focus, the early work was pretty stellar, with both wrestlers sticking to the story in every facit. Mickie would outsmart and frustrate Asuka, only for Asuka to strike back. It was great. We also saw a subtle heel performance from Asuka, who was more aggressive and more willing to use dirtier tactics. All this is fine and good, but then Asuka got the heat and the match died a death. The audience was exhausted from the previous match, so this sadly suffered for it. I feel like the dead crowd did frustrate both performers, getting them sightly off their game in the second half. One way or another, nothing, from Mickie’s comeback to the finish, felt well-built to or climactic, which then gave the audience less of a reason to care. On top of all that, some sloppiness popped up as the match went on, further preventing it from what it could be. With all this, what should have been the climax of a good match was boring and awkward to watch. I thought this match might have been unfairly underrated midway through; sadly, the match earned the tepid reaction it received.

Rating: **¾

Post match, Mickie offers the handshake and Asuka scoffs at it. That’s pretty awesome. Then, another ad plays. After the ad, the commentators thank the viewers and plug the song. Finally, a video package plays us into the MAIN EVENT!

 samoa-joe-vs-shinsuke-nakamura

Shinsuke Nakamura (c.) vs. Samoa Joe – NXT Championship Match

      Holy shit! Did I watch a different match than everyone else, because this was absolutely exceptional.Everything here was so well done, from story to action to performances. Man, that was good. For the story, it was simple. Last title match, Nakamura was the better man. Due to defeat, Joe has obsessed over this match and even injured Nakamura. So during this match, the tables are turned and this time Joe is the better man. What a simple yet awesome story. There are so many places to go with this: Nakamura obsessed like Joe was, Nakamura having to work his way back up, Joe having a new fire and killing everything with a pulse. The possibilities are endless! Then, to add to the story here, Joe gains advantage after the STJoe (the move that injured Nak) and works on the legs a bit to weaken Nakamura’s best shot. For the majority of the match, focus is on Nakamura’s injured neck, but the leg is a crucial subplot. As the match goes on, Nakamura has to use his patented knees to have any chance. They work, but a.) Joe can take advantage of the injury and gain control again and b.) the Kinshasa is weakened so Joe won’t get KOed when Nakamura hits it.To the people who said the leg work didn’t matter, what match were you watching? The knee was subtle and a subplot, not the main focus. Also, Joe showed quite the intensity, which plays up his obsession to win this match. He was a killer here, and it was awesome; Joe used the perfect balance of stiffness, facials, and emotion to sell this match’s importance. Nakamura was no slouch either; he sold like hell and was compelling when he was on offense. Like, I cannot portray how good this match really was. Action: spot on from two stellar workers. Emotion: great job from both, especially Joe. Story: out of this world good. Structure: perfect compliment to the story. I may have liked this match better than anyone else on earth, but this was tremendous and one of the smartest matches of the year.

Rating: ****¼

The shocked silence after the match is so cool. What a way to end the show! Close curtain.

Overall:

      What a damn show. This was pure awesomeness. Only two matches fell below 3* and they hovered around the 3* mark and two matches were 4*+. That is absolutely incredible. Add in the awesome opener and the grandeur from some of the great entrances and you have a must watch event. There’s not much to say. The quality of the matches speaks for itself. NXT is the best.

Rating: ****½

So that was the NXT Takeover: Toronto review! I’m very happy you took the time to check this review out. I have some fun stuff going on, whether it be random match reviews, a secret series, or a Starrcade review, which have all been a pleasure. Check out new updates and such here, and check out some of my other writings at freeprowrestling.com. If you want to contact me, check here. Otherwise, like, comment, share, or do whatever else you want to do. Thank you for reading and see you next time!

-Terrance Smith

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