The latest iteration of the Takeover network special brought the promotion to a new high as veterans and newcomers alike showed their best.
The night was kicked off with the American Alpha and The Revival. The two very different tag teams delivered a clinic in tag team wrestling. Dash and Dawson were hard-hitting and underhanded. The Revival used every trick at their disposal in order to get over the fan favorite Gable and Jordan. However, Jason Jordan showed flashes of inner brilliance that exemplify why he will be a star. Gable and his technical maneuvers served well as the plucky face that endured the beating. But unlike other matches, Gable got in a good offense that gave insight into what he is truly capable of.The match had a good mix of back and forth action that had the Dallas crowd on their feet and cheering. Jason Jordan then went on a tear reminiscent of Kurt Angel, I mean Angle. Jordan and Gable hit the “Amplitude” to become the new NXT Tag Team Championship.
The crowd barely had a moment to catch their collective breath when Baron Corbin and Austin Aries hit the ring. The TNA transplant looked to be in great shape and attacked with the passion and grit that was not present in his most recent run with TNA. Corbin had plenty of hard-hitting offense and great trash talking. Corbin has grown by leaps and bounds from when he debuted on NXT television. Aries and Corbin had good chemistry that produced a good but not great match. The match was only the prelude to the program that these two will most likely be involved in, as Aries did not hit a finisher for the pin instead a powerful roll up for the win in his NXT debut.
The Dallas crowd was then treated to what many would consider and Dave Meltzer should consider, a Five-star candidate in Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. The “King of Strong Style” and the “Underdog from the Underground” put on one of the hardest hitting matches in NXT history. Charisma oozed from both wrestlers as classic moves from Zayn and Nakamura flowed organically to tell the story of both men. Nakamura and his strong style brought out the best in Zayn with the former NXT champion having to reveal a mean streak to maintain an edge over the debuting star. Nakamura eventually hit the “Kinshasa” for the win. Both men then embraced in a show of respect as Zayn wrestled his last match for the developmental promotion.
The Kay Bailey Hutchinson also saw the sunset of one NXT career and then treated with the dawning of a new champion.
Bayley defended her title against Asuka in what was a solid match with Asuka being the strong and dominant force while Bayley was the never say die face. The NXT Women’s’ champion showed a new level of resiliency and grit when facing off against the undefeated Asuka. While the world-class hugger showed tremendous determination in her title defense the hard strikes and submission prowess of Asuka proved to be too much with for the champion who passed out to the “Auskalock.” The new champion celebrated while a disappointed Bayley sat against the apron disappointed in her body giving up where her will would not.
While the crowd was shocked and slightly disappointed with the outcome, they were about to be privy to a war unlike any seen for the NXT Heavyweight championship.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe showed unprecedented violence and stiffness in their second encounter for the title. The crowd grew white hot as both men through their bodies to the wind in order to deliver a match that had the crowd split down the middle. Joe was ready to be champion but through sheer will and determination, Balor found a counter to everything that Joe threw his way. Joe was busted open just a few minutes into the match which caused an oozing wound that medical staff rushed to treat, interrupting the flow of the match. Despite this, the pair gave us a solid match with a bit of a fluky ending, as the champion did not hit his finisher for the win.
“NXT: Takeover Dallas” was a well-rounded event that delivered enough change to shake up the promotion and gave viewers glimpses of the future. Kota Ibushi of NJPW fame visited the show, most likely as a way to hype up the WWE Cruiserweight series that will take place at Full Sail University. Hall of Fame members Scott Hall and X-Pac showed up to support the young talents along with industry veteran Bobby Roode, possibly hinting at an NXT debut. The network special delivered everything an event should as stories ended and began. With Balor on top of the promotion, the field is wide open for challengers for the remaining titles and time on Television. Let’s just hope that the main roster sat down and took notes on what these young men and women did just two days before the biggest show on earth, WrestleMania.