For the first time in its history NXT is going through a bit of a slump. The weekly interest in their television product seems to have waned, and it has been hurt by its top talent making the step up to the main roster. However, when it comes to TakeOvers Triple H’s lads and lasses have a near perfect record, and you would have been mental to bet against them going into TakeOver: Toronto.
Bobby Roode beat Tye Dillinger by pinfall
If this match had finished after the entrances, we would have gone home happy. Bobby Roode has embraced his NXT character, and its over the top nature is wonderfully good fun. It also feels like those in charge are finally beginning to see Dillinger as something more than an enhancement guy. The crowd has always been in his corner, and he deserves something for his years of hard work. It has to be said that the match kind of failed to live up to those entrances, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. It was a very solid encounter between two great wrestlers and I hope we see this feud continue down the road.
The Authors of Pain beat TM61 to win the Dusty Classic
This match was always going to struggle to stand out. The Authors of Pain have a lot of upsides (mainly in their look), but they aren’t built to put on thirty-minute classics. Even the talented TM61 aren’t good enough to hide that. With that said, this was about as good as you could expect it to be. Having Ellering hanging above the ring seemed a bit pointless while the chain flying off into the crowd was a scary moment but Thorne’s dive from the crane made up for it. The decision to keep it short was clever, and it did what it needed to do.
DIY beat The Revival in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match to win the Tag Titles
Holy shit. Every time I think The Revival have put on the best match they can, they raise the bar. This may have marked the end of their title reign, but it certainly didn’t mark the end of my respect for them. Those two could build a tag division single-handedly and if they get treated on the main roster like American Alpha have, I will personally be banging on Vince’s door to give him a piece of my mind. If you haven’t guessed, I thought this was wonderful.
It wasn’t only down to The Revival either. Ciampa and Gargano are having one hell of a year and much like their opponents deserve every plaudit that will come their way. It was the right time to move the belts to them. It keeps them hot, and hopefully, it means we get at least one more match from these two teams. NXT’s tag division has gone from one of the weaker things about the promotion to one of the best and long may it continue.
Asuka beat Mickie James by submission to retain the Women’s Title
It was lovely to see Mickie James back in a WWE ring. She wasn’t treated well at the end of her last run, and I’m glad the company built her up as the star that she undoubtedly is. Sadly, it was done to hide the fact that NXT’s women’s division has taken a bit of a kicking. It almost feels like they’ve swapped places with the tag teams. Asuka is a brilliant champion, but she’s almost too powerful. None of the other women feel like they are on her level.
That also made the decision to take Mickie in smart. No one expected her to win, but she was a credible challenger, and she can go. This meant that we got a great thirteen-minute match between the two of them that allowed Asuka to cement her dominance. I kind of hope they don’t give into the temptation to turn Asuka full heel. I like her in this in-between stage. She’s an ass-kicker, and I don’t think she has to be more than that.
Samoa Joe beat Nakamura by pinfall to win the NXT Title
Colour me surprised. Going into this I can’t be the only person who assumed Nakamura would pick up the win and Joe would head to the main roster. I can only guess this means that the exact opposite is going to happen and that Nakamura will soon be gracing either Raw or SmackDown with his incredible charisma.
Which is a good thing, Nakamura could have made the jump after his match with Zayn and been perfectly fine. However, I also think Joe is long overdue his shot at the big shows. I don’t know where they go next with him as champ and as fun as ass-kicker Joe is, it means they have to do a damn good job for us to believe said person has a chance.
All that aside, this was a great match. It didn’t do enough to take the attention away from the Tag Title fight, but if, like me, you are a fan of watching two fuckers beat the shit out of each other it will have given you everything you need. They were smart enough not even to try and compete with what had come before and instead gave us a brawl that will live long in the memory.
You know that thing I said about being mental to bet against NXT? Well, it was true because this was another great show. TakeOver shows are such a pleasure to watch. With their two hours run time and their tight cards they fly by and come the end, you are left wanting more. Which when you compare it to the slog that is most of the main roster PPVs is an impressive feat. I don’t know if this will mark a turnaround for the TV product too, but you can bet that whatever happens, come the next TakeOver, I’ll be there once again, ready to be wowed.