American Alpha def. The Revival to Becoming the NXT Tag Team Champions.
Boy did the guys behind the scenes at NXT pick the right match to kick off TakeOver: Dallas. From the second American Alpha hit the ramp, the crowd was hot for the action about to unfold.The Revival even received a better reaction than I expected from the Dallas crowd. The action was quick, fun, and encapsulated everything there is to love about tag team wrestling. The Revival looked great here, even if you count the awkward botch and the ensuing, “you fucked up,” chants from the crowd. like true pros, Dash and Dawson played off the crowd a bit, before going back to tuning up Gable. They battered their opponents, keeping their more athletic opponents grounded.
The match takes a few hits for being a bit to formulaic. Too often American Alpha pick up their victories off the hot tag to Jordan, and despite the chaos in between, that’s pretty much what happened in this match as well.Full of close finishes and red herrings, the bought was an excellent match to get the crowd riled up for the rest of the night.
Having American Alpha win was the right decision. Gable and Jordan are attached to a screaming rocket right now after winning the belts tonight. They’re primed and ready to dominate the tag team division as champions for the foreseeable future.
Austin Aries def. Baron Corbin by pinfall
Next up stepped Baron Corbin, which meant the debut of the Greatest Man that Ever Lived was upon us. Corbin soaked up what seemed to be a pretty split reaction. The fans didn’t seem to know whether or not to boo or cheer the Lone Wolf for the majority of the match. Austin Aries made his debut to a pretty large ovation to follow.The two worked a pretty slow pace the entire match, which really bogged down what should have felt like a marquee match. The crowd broke into duel chants for Corbin and Aries before the action got started, but ultimately that was all the Dallas crowd had to give for this lethargic bout.
Corbin does the job to get Aries going in NXT. Not a huge fan of the decision, but theirs worse ways to get a guy going. Compared to the rest of the matches on a stacked card, this match sticks out as the worse of the night. But at least the IOC v. Corbin storyline will continue with some direction, with Aries in the fold.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Sami Zayn by Pinfall
Shinsuke Nakamura’s debut was everything i wanted it to be and then some. The king of strong style and Sami Zayn put together an absolute clinic. A match of the year candidate, in fact,my new front-runner for that award. Nakamura v. Zayn was a class, hard-hitting, master-class of wrestling, and i can’t wait to see whats next for Nakamura.
Nakamura and Sami Zayn went to war. The two ring veterans brought a style of wrestling to NXT not often seen stateside. The strikes were stiff, they were precise, and they were loud. Nakamura got to show off his flamboyant, yet deadly charm against a game opponent in Zayn, who brought a few new tricks out of his bag just for Shinsuke. Everyone involved with this match should be congratulated.
Nakamura got the win after hitting Zayn with the Boma-Ye for the 1-2-3. Zayn got a nice little time to himself in the ring after shaking Nakamura’s hand to reflect on his time in NXT. Must be his swan song to the main roster.
Hats off to the Dallas crowd for setting the environment. They never let up, making the match feel every bit as important as a debut of this magnitude should. This is why I watch wrestling.
Asuka def. Bayley by referee stoppage.
Bayley and Asuka had the unfortunate job of following up Nakamura’s debut, and they knocked it out of the arena. Both wrestlers debuted some new gear before locking horns in the ring. The two deserve credit for keeping the crowd and myself involved after the Nakamura/Zayn bought. Asuka seemingly controlled the bulk of the match, working over Bayley’s arm and shoulder.
Giving Bayley the ole’ “I lost but I didn’t give up” finish was a fine decision that I didn’t even consider when i was writing up predictions earlier. Bayley remains protected, while passing the belt on to Asuka who has been booked to look unstoppable since debuting. But now that she has the belt around her waist, where does she go from here? Who in NXT can stand up to Asuka now that she’s reached the mountain?
Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe by pinfall
Whatever they had planned for this one, was scrapped after the match started with one errand headbutt.
Samoa Joe cut his eye open with a misplaced headbutt almost as soon as the bell rang. I actually put my head down to write a note, looked up, then had to rewind to make sure I didn’t miss anything explaining the blood. Joe and Balor had to throw caution to the wind and the result was chaos. Joe never looked better. The blood streaming down his cheek, his body language, the fact that he controlled much of the match, all helped to elevate the Samoan Submission Machine.
Lucky for us, the medical team was able to get the cut under wraps around the midpoint of the match, but by then the pace of the match was already ruined enough. Balor and Joe tried to kick the pace back up, but it all kind of petered to a pin fall win for Balor.
The match was above average fun, and the EMT’s helped to add a level of realism not seen in wrestling enough. Fans who wanted to see Samoa Joe and Finn Balor murder each other kind of got what they wanted. A post match interaction between the two would have been nice, as the ending the show felt kind of flat, but otherwise, the match capped off an excellent event admirably.