NXT TakeOver: San Antonio

-It’s the 14th in WWE’s NXT TakeOver series on the WWE Network. Much like in 2014 when NXT Arrival premiered on the WWE Network, NXT is trying to establish itself (again) as a viable brand after much of the star power has moved on to the main roster.

-On paper, this card looks noticeably weaker compared to some of the other cards we have seen from NXT over the past two years, but we have seen the developmental crew do a lot with very little.

-I’m interested in seeing if this show will over deliver like I hope it does.

1. Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young

-I still recall when Dillinger was used in a showcase match to put over Apollo Crews. He has really caught on since then. Eric Young comes out second with the rest of SAnityY and their bad ass entrance theme.

-Young offers Dillinger one final shot to join SAnitY by offering him a custom jacket. Dillinger declines  again and throws the jacket in his face to get the match under way.

-Dain and Wolfe do a good job of putting pressure on Dillinger any time he ventures close to the outside which creates suspense in this match. Young does this wild dragon sleeper in the corner of the ropes. It looked super painful.

“-The Perfect Ten” is clearly supposed to be the sympathetic baby face here as he remains on defense and commentary plays up that if Dillinger fails to win tonight he might need to throw in the towel forever.

-The crowd is super positive and vocal for this opener and voice tons of love for Dillinger. Tons of “TEN” chants.

-Commentary did a solid job during this match of establishing Dillinger as a performer who has struggled to achieve things in NXT. This seemingly is setting him up as the unlikely victor.

-Dillinger fights off Young’s gang, but Young capitalized with a beautiful elevated neck breaker for a three! This surprised me as I thought they’d build up Dillinger as the underdog baby face.

-Fun breezy opener to start the show and warn up the crowd.

2. Roderick Strong vs. Andrade Alamas

-Better known as La Sombra in Mexico, Andrade Alamas enters first followed by longtime ROH star, Roderick Strong.

-Both are built up as being “all over the world,” but Strong still strikes me as dull as sandpaper even down to his generic guitar theme song.

-Alamas goes right into targeting the left arm of Strong. The former ROH Champion replies with some really snug looking offense as he sells his shoulder. Solid sequence of action here.

-This is a real punch-kicky match. Which isn’t usually my cup of tea, but everything they dish out looks super stiff. It kind of brings a clunky pace with it though, unfortunately.

-Alamas looked to finish Strong with a Hammerlock DDT, but Strong creates enough separation to hit is running kick for a win.

-There wasn’t much going on here despite the action between these two looking really brutal. If there was a story going on here, the commentary and production didn’t communicate that to the viewer at all.

-No one got over here, because there was no story. Kind of a space filler of a match really. Decent action here, at least.

3. #DIY vs. Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championship

-Oh Hell yes.  #DIY were one of the hottest commodities in NXT in 2016 and I am really hoping they keep it up in 2017.

-Great video package putting over both teams that really got me pumped for this confrontation. The Authors of Pain are built up as a huge threat to the best feel good story of 2016 in #DIY.

-Ciampa and Rezar start things off and it’s clear this will be a match pitting strength versus technicality.

-The match breaks down quickly and the champions clear the ring of the much larger challengers as a “D-I-Y” chant fills the arena.

-Akam and Rezar look really good here, but not nearly as good as #DIY. The way this match goes makes #DIY look smarter and more tactical while the challengers look chaotic and powerful. Honestly, that is a pretty good deviation of strengths and weaknesses. Good dynamic.

-The challengers land a combination neck breaker-power bomb which i thought might be the end of their reign, but Ciampa powers out at the last moment. The crowd is super vocal for this match.

-The champions lock in dual submissions in the middle of the ring, but Rezar lifts Gargano and slams him on Ciampa to a “Holy Shit!” chant. Great false finish there.

-#DIY fight back and look to finish off the big men, but they catch the smaller champions with their Super Collider followed up by The Last Chapter to Ciampa to end their reign as NXT Tag Team Champions.

-Both teams looked great here. Wonderful story, which is clear as the crowd was super into this match and they baby faces #DIY. I just hope The Authors of Pain don’t turn into another version of The Ascension.

-Really great tag team action, I hope we get a rematch that is even better in Orlando.

-Seth Rollins, the inaugural champion of NXT, storms the ring and is PISSED. Rollins is here to call out Triple H who he knows is here in San Antonio.

-Out comes Triple H who simply motions for security and goes to the back. Rollins beats them down, but is finally surrounded and bullied out of the arena. Clearly, we are headed for Rollins/Triple H for WrestleMania.

4. Asuka vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay for the NXT Women’s Championship

-As of this event, Asuka is still undefeated in NXT. That’s impressive.

-Right off the bat this reminds me of the same dynamic we got in the great Fatal Four Way match a few years back at NXT TakeOver: Rival between “The Four Horsewomen.” Hopefully this match is at least a fraction as good as that one was.

-Interesting that Royce and Kay enter together and seemingly will be working together to win a singles belt. By kayfabe rules they could pin one another willingly to win the title? Surely that needs to be a story point going into this.

-Kay and Royce hilariously looked extremely frightened of both the bizarre Cross and the dangerous Asuka and bail immediately.

-Nikki Cross is intense and very distinct and I like her style straight away. She acts like a lunatic and i love it. It’s different than anything else we are seeing in the women’s division right now.

-I have to say, this might have been better off as a singles match without Royce and Kay. Despite their numbers game being a interesting dynamic for this match. They clearly are not even close to the level that Cross and Asuka are in the ring.

-The two best friends do, however, gang up on gross and superplex her through a table by the commentary booth.

-Peyton hits a Widows Peak and gets a long two count, but the champion bridges out of the pin.

-Asuka gets a big flurry. Lands big kicks to the heads of the team and retains her championship.

-I give this match points for creativity, but Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are clearly not even close to being in league with Asuka.

-Nikki Cross looked great in her limited interactions with the champion. I might have preferred a one-on-one with those two instead. Interesting dynamic, Asuka looked dominate as hell, but Royce and Kay held the other two women back.

-However, I look forward to what i hope is a singles program with Cross and Asuka. That will probably be awesome.


5. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT World Championship

-Great job by NXT by making both of these men look like freaking superstars. Especially Nakamura who is just such an enigma.

-Crowd is split right down the middle in the opening as they trade chants while champion and challenger stall.

-A little too much time wasting in the opening, but hopefully these two are just doing a slow build for what will be a long dynamic match worthy of the title.

-Nakamura gets moving with some offense, but Roode uses his wits to outsmart the champion and gain firm control of the offense. Roode has always been really calculating in the ring as we get that here in this main event.

-Nakamura fights back after being on the defensive and looks for his Kinshasa, but grows impatient and nearly got rolled up for a three.

-Roode is showcased as the more level-headed cerebral competitor here and it makes his style a great foil for the smash mouth style of the form IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

-The challenger again avoids “The King of Strong Style’s” final blow, but is caught using the ropes to pin the champion. Nakamura finally begins to dominate and nearly wins with an arm bar into a triangle chock.

-Nakamura hits a wild knee to Roode off the apron and begins to favor his left knee. He gets back in the ring, hits the Kinshasa but his knee keeps him from being able to go for the pin. Medical comes out to check on him. The NXT Champion begs to continue and he is allowed to. Boobe immediately hits the Glorious DDT and Nakamura KICKS OUT! The crowd loses it.

-Roode puts a half Boston crab on Nakamura’s injured knee, and it appears to be it, but Nakamura rolls over and tries his best to lock in a triangle chock, but can’t.

-Another Glorious DDT and Bobby Roode wins the NXT World Championship. Wow! What an ending. The crowd was so loud for that.

-Both men looked so good after this match. I can’t get over how well that ending went.

-While the match started slow, the two world class performers built the action up slowly and it hit a FANTASTIC crescendo near the end. I was on the edge of my seat and this was another GLORIOUS main event match to build on the legacy of NXT’s World Championship.

-To summarize, the only thing you should utterly skip would be Strong/Almas. No story. No heat. Not for me at all.

-The NXT Women’s Championship match and Dillinger/Young were both serviceable, but left something to be desired.

-The NXT Tag Team Championship match was really great with a wonderful dynamic between the two contrasting teams. I imagine they will have an even better rematch.

-Nakamura vs. Roode was an absolute joy and the ending legitimately surprised me as I thought Nakamura would continue to be the anchor and champion for NXT for some time still. I can’t wait to see where this goes next.

-All in all, a really great event despite the card looking really weak on paper.

Mandatory Viewing:

-#DIY vs. Author’s of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championship

-Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT World Championship

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