Now that we’ve experienced “The End” of NXT tonight on the WWE Network – it’s time to embrace a new beginning for a promotion that has continued to give us the very best that pro wrestling has to offer night in and night out. Before that, let’s relive tonight’s show out of Full Sail University match by match with Cody Carter-Squire.
MATCH #1 – Tye Dillinger vs Andrade “Cien” Almas
As has been the habit with most NXT TakeOver events, the show opens with an incredibly athletic contest to get the crowd warmed up: Tye Dillinger taking on Andrade “Cien” Almas.
Throughout his career, Dillinger has impressed the entire NXT Universe with the high level of athleticism and charisma that he brings to the ring. But Almas proved in his debut that he’s more than capable of keeping up.
This was a match that showcased high moments for both men, including an impressive moonsault from Almas that didn’t land, but then turned into a second moonsault. Dillinger would soon after follow that up with a superkick while Almas hung upside down in the corner.
The end came with charged running knees from Almas to a downed Dillinger in the corner. An awesome outing from both men that has me pumped heading into the rest of the show.
MATCH #2 – American Alpha vs The Revival
The quick nature of the first match slowed down into the second as we hit our first title match of the night, with The Revival seeking to regain their NXT Tag Team Championships from American Alpha.
Both teams brought out their signature styles early, leading to the first high spot of the match that saw all four men in the ring trading reversals leading to Jordan and Gable locking Dash and Dawson in tandem ankle locks.
This was a classic-style wrestling match with both teams having their time to look strong throughout, and featured the first “This is Awesome” crowd chant of the night. Ultimately, after an impressive set of reversals and saves, The Revival took the win and became the first team to win the titles twice.
As if losing their titles wasn’t enough, Jordan and Gable were attacked post-match by a new tag team who look more like refrigerators with legs, managed by none other than WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellerig. It was reported after the event that these men are Sunny Dhinsa and Gzim Selmani, AKA The Authors of Pain, who have been on some house show cards previously. So even on their first night on TV, they’ve already made quite an impact.
MATCH #3 – Shinsuke Nakamura vs Austin Aries
Picking up pace again as we head into arguably one of the most anticipated matches of the evening, as “The Greatest Man that Ever Lived” Austin Aries faces “The King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura.
The flamboyance of Nakamura and the charisma of Aries pair extremely well together, with the crowd at times split between both men, although support would lean more heavily to Nakamura as the match went on.
Even with a taped up midsection, which Nakamura took advantage of at more than a couple of points in the match, Aries was in control for a good chunk of the match, including diving through the ropes and nearly taking out the barricade.
A Death Valley driver on the apron by Aries brought out the first “Holy S—t” chant of the night and seemed to leave Nakamura in a bad way on the outside. But one miscalculation by Aries with a missed dive opened the door for Nakamura to come back with a Kinshasa from the second rope and another from mat level to take the victory in a clear “Match of the Night” contender.
MATCH #4 – Asuka vs Nia Jax
Our second title match saw Nia Jax challenging Asuka for the Women’s Championship in a clear clash of strength versus agility.
Nia Jax had her physical dominance on display throughout the match with Asuka seeing flashes of defense before Jax would take back control. As the match went on, Asuka would see more chances to gain momentum, with longer and longer offense each time, but couldn’t hit any big moves before Jax would retaliate.
In the end, though, Asuka managed to find the opening to nail four sharp kicks to the head to keep Jax down for the three count. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed with the outcome, given how little offense Asuka displayed throughout in comparison to Jax and how the setup for the finish came from seemingly out of thin air. Regardless, I thought it was a decent match and hopefully sets up the chance for this feud to continue.
Bobby Roode. Bobby. F-ing. Roode.
MATCH #5 – Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor
Now we head into the main event of the evening: the first-ever steel cage match for the NXT Championship, with Samoa Joe defending against Finn Balor.
Given that these two men have arguably stolen the show on two other TakeOver cards, there were high expectations heading into their fourth title match. Thankfully, both champion and challenger are more than talented enough to both meet and exceed those expectations.
Despite the typical and almost cliché spots that come with steel cage matches, there was more than enough back-and-forth action to keep the crowd on the hook. Even a Muscle Buster in the centre of the ring wasn’t enough to keep Balor down, nor was a Coup de Grace the end of the line for Samoa Joe.
Just as it looked like Balor was going to make his escape from the cage over the top, Joe managed to pull him back in with a hard bash to the skull with the cage wall and secure a pinfall victory after a Muscle Buster from the second rope.
As medical staff checked on Balor after raising the cage, Joe walked up the ramp and held his title high to end the show.
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