The NXT Takeover events have quickly become the must see events for WWE Network subscribers. Truly a brand differentiated from RAW and Smackdown!. But how did the latest Takeover stack up to the rest? And how did the “developmental” brand translate to a much bigger stage? Find out after the jump.
Jushin “Thunder” Liger def. Tyler Breeze
Legitimate legend Jushin Liger debuted in a WWE ring Saturday night 30 years deep into his career. The Japanese icon took on “Prince Pretty” Tyler Breeze. I thought they had a good match and set the tempo for what was to come later in the show. Liger’s debut was made out to be a big deal by the announcers which was great…because it was. Both guys seemed to be feeling each other out for much of the match, which should have been expected. Liger defeated Breeze with a “Liger Bomb” and was humble in victory. I feel Breeze should have gotten the victory as defeating the legend would have been something to build upon…especially when Liger probably won’t be back…at least anytime soon.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Vaudevillains def. Blake & Murphy (c)
The first great match of the night. These teams gel really well and the addition of Alexa Bliss to the feud has been great. The crowd was extremely into this one from the start, especially when Blue Pants came down to even the odds. Good back and forth action, hot tags, and false finishes. The girls were both great in their respective roles and the right team won after a “Whirly Dervish.” The NXT Tag Division is a little thin at the moment, but the announced “Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament” should prove to be interesting, and maybe we will get some new contenders out of it.
Apollo Crews def. Tye Dillinger
Apollo Crews debuted and he was nothing short of impressive. The former Uhaa Nation is incredible to watch, especially live. He came off really well in his debut and seemed extremely comfortable on such a big stage. I think the match went on a tad bit too long and should have been more of a squash, but expect great things from Crews quicker rather than later.
Samoa Joe def. Baron Corbin
Samoa Joe willed Baron Corbin to his first good/great match. Mostly a brawl the whole time, this one wasn’t too pretty, but it was effective. The right person won and the loser came out better in the end. Samoa Joe won with the “Kakina Clutch” when Corbin passed out. Hopefully Joe can move onto a feud with Balor later down the road.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Bayley def. Sasha Banks (c)
If it hadn’t been for a wonky finish in the SummerSlam main event, this match would have been the second best match of the weekend. Because of that finish, it was the best. These women took each other to the limit and both realized the position they had and the platform on which they had to perform. The crowd was hooked from the entrances. Great back and forth action, with quite a bit of actual psychology by Banks. Banks working on Bayley’s injured hand the entire match was great. Bayley is the epitome of a babyface and the fans were behind her pretty much 100%. Banks is the epitome of a heel, so the dynamic was perfect. I expected Bayley to come away with the victory because of Sasha’s increasing presence on RAW and Smackdown! but the obvious win wasn’t a bad thing and it didn’t make it any less special.
NXT Championship Ladder Match: Finn Bálor (c) def. Kevin Owens
These two had a tough act to follow but they certainly did a commendable job. Balor and Owens have a great chemistry in the ring and this match showed it. It was a slower match then I expected but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was certainly hard hitting and physical, and I feel that both men looked strong throughout. Much like the co-main, the outcome was rather obvious. Owens is becoming a player on the main brands and Balor has just started his reign. The right man grabbed the belt but both came out better off. I would love a Balor/Joe feud, and hopefully Cesaro/Owens get more time to continue their conflict.
All in all it was an excellent wresting show. It truly felt different than a typical WWE event. The lighting, ring, entrance set, everything set it apart. NXT has quickly become the hottest thing in WWE in years. Takeover: Brooklyn helped prove that point.
Look for my SummerSlam review shortly.