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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE NXT Takeover Dallas Review with Match Ratings and Show Grade
By Mr. Tito
Apr 1, 2016 - 7:14:05 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Can I be BRUTALLY honest here? Head into NXT Takeover Dallas, I'm actually more pumped for this event than I am Wrestlemania 32. During the Summer 2015, I had a choice... Watch WWE Money in the Bank 2015 or the NBA Finals... I chose BOTH as I gave the WWE Network a free trial to watch the PPV on my Smartphone while the NBA Finals was on my television. I gave the WWE Network a real shot to impress me... During my free month, I binged watched all of the WWE Network documentaries that I missed out on as a non-subscriber and I really enjoyed the "Beast of the East" WWE Network special event.

But then I watched NXT... I casually watched it here and there and I liked what I saw... So I gave WWE Network another month... And then NXT Takeover Brooklyn... Holy cow. During the episodes of NXT that I watched, I didn't quite see Bayley perform against the rest of the "4 Horsewomen"... I saw that Sasha Banks vs. Bayley NXT Takeover Brooklyn event and I fell in love... I couldn't believe my eyes... NXT finally made Women's wrestling important and fun to watch. In the past, maybe Trish Stratus and Lita could catch my interest, but only every once and a while. I saw that NXT Takeover Brooklyn match and it became my current "Match of the Year" candidate. By year's end, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley won my award.

NXT loses Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks... NO PROBLEM! Sadly, NXT may have also lost Emma again as she was amazing in her heel role along with Dana Brooke as her friend. Their entrance together is so sexy along with Emma's remixed music and it looks better than the sex appeal that WWE tries on its main roster with the Divas. Nia Jax has been good, so far... Carmella is cool... But then you have possibly the BEST free agent signing by the WWE in recent years... Asuka is AMAZING. She has so character, the look, and the amazing in-ring ability to make her a unique asset to the WWE for years. And tonight, we get Bayley vs. Asuka? Holy cow...

In addition to getting women's wrestling correct, NXT has also built an amazing Tag Team division. The Revival reminds me of a faster, more aggressive version of the Brainbusters or 4 Horseman tag team Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson... But then you have American Alpha who seriously resemble a bigger version of Shelton Benjamin and a smaller yet more athletic version of Charlie Haas. Those 2 teams are WWE ready RIGHT NOW as the in-ring talent as tag teams is off the charts! Enzo & Kass are a lot of fun and did well against Revival at WWE Roadblock and are full of personality to get over. I like Blake & Murphy are good and I really love the fun gimmick of the Vaudevillains. That entrance... So great!

Many other fans like the Main Event scene with Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Apollo Crews, Sami Zayn, & Baron Corbin... While I personally like most of those wrestlers, the Main Events are hit or being just "ok" to me... My expectations are way too high for these guys because I'm expecting these guys to look like potential Main Eventers and I worry that Vince McMahon would struggle to use each of them. But the problem with NXT's main event scene is whenever someone gets really good at the top, they'll get promoted to the WWE main roster. We'll see what happens after Wrestlemania 32 if any of these individuals debut in the WWE.

Things could look up for the WWE as Triple H, EVP of Talent/Live Events/Creative, has been aggressively signing free agents to stock both WWE and NXT. Quite amazing to know that NXT can book a strong looking show like NXT Takeover and the shows could only get better with new talent about to debut. Shinsuke Nakamura has a ton of hype behind him and we'll see how he does tonight...

Please note that this column was written to be INSTANTLY posted after NXT Takeover Dallas wraps up. What you're about to read is how I felt as the event was going on... Hope you enjoy.

Mr. Tito's PHAT NXT Takeover Dallas Review

Pre-game show was EXCELLENT for NXT Takeover Renee Young as host but Lita and Mauro Ranallo were on fire with their analysis. Especially Mauro, as he sounded like a student of the game and was really hyping up wrestlers that newer audience members didn't know. Good job guys!

That arena is PACKED!

We get a HOT OPENER for the NXT Tag Titles between American Alpha vs. the Revival(c) and the fans are PUMPED. Champions coming out second and I LOVE the Revival's music. So badass! Huge "GABLE" chants as we get some nice chain wrestling and American Alpha dominates to start... But don't worry, a hard rake of the eyes will stop that. However, Jordan is just too strong and unwilling to be "face in peril". Tag made to Gable and he's willing to accept that role. Gable fights back, however, and we get awesome sequence where Jordan saves Gable and then American Alpha hits German Suplexes on both members of the Revival. That was beautiful! And now, Gable assumed the proper role of "face in peril" after getting MURDERED on the outside with a clothesline. GOOD GOD! Heels are just working Gable over and Dawson puts Gable in a sick submission (imagine holding someone in a Razor's Edge). Double DDT by Gable on the Revival... Crowd is HYPE for that Hot Tag but Dash crawled under the ring to pull Jordan away from the tag. Sadly, the Revival messed up a Double Team move badly... Very rare that they botch things... Luckily, the crowd just has fun with them... HOT TAG and Jordan is on the attack. That guy is going to be a big star in the WWE some day... Nice move where Dash hold Dawson's leg on the top rope and they tried to use the ropes to pin Jordan. Lots of near falls now... Crowd is HYPE! Love how the Revival keeps cheating whether it's the tights, ropes, or Dash pulling Dawson out of harm's way. However, that wasn't enough as American Alpha has a nice sequence of tags to hit a spear in the corner and then their finsher. NEW NXT Tag Champions! This match gets a [ ****1/4 ] with only the glaring botched double team move by Revival holding it back but they recovered nicely to still have a fantastic match!

At ringside, Jim Ross, ESPN's Michelle Beadle, and Kota Ibushi.

"Earlier today" segments shown for Bayley greeting fans while Asuka is training... Hey, that resembles the first bout on Rocky 3 where Rocky had fun with his fans while Mr. T was training hard for his match... Hmmmm...

Up next is Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries... I like strategy early on Aries, going low on the bigger Corbin. But then the Snake Eyes destroys Aries. And now, Baron dominates... Starting to resemble the NXT London match against Apollo Crews... Meanwhile, Baron tries to taunt the crowd. As seen with his taunting in London, he's just not good at it. Given that about 95% of the arena can't hear you, actions should speak louder than words. Aries eventually makes a comeback but once they were on the outside, Baron Corbin hit a BEAUTIFUL spinning backdrop on the outside. Aries just beat the 10 count on that one... I would have been OK with a countout there. That move was devastating. Somehow, Aries has energy after that move and breaks Corbin's End of Days finisher by rolling up Corbin for the 1, 2, 3. OK match, but like the Crews/Corbin match-up in London, the psychology was a bit off. However, for all I know, this is just the start of their extensive feud and we could be treated to better things. I just wonder if it's a match-up thing for Corbin... He wrestles better against larger wrestlers who are more grounded, like Samoa Joe, compared to smaller or more athletic wrestlers like Crews or Aries. [ **1/2 ]

At ringside, we have Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) and Sean Waltman (X-Pac).

The next bout, after lots of video hype to introduce the new NXT signing, was Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Good lord, talk about a tough weekend for Sami Zayn! Great theme music for Zayn, but I like the atmosphere and theme for Nakamura. Fans are HYPED for this... "Holy sh**!" chant breaks out for Nakamura's entrance and NXT/WWE debut. And now, the PG approved "this is awesome" breaks out and converts to "Nakamura/Sami Zayn" chants. Then, "YES!" chants. I have never watched Nakamura wrestle and just from the opening part of this match where he's toying with Zayn, I can tell that I'll really like this guy. Zayn gets in some offense and then taunts Nakamura. Nakamura fools Zayn with a test of strength (they'll always kick you) and goes on the offensive. Those kicks of Nakamura, holy cow... Pretty awesome to see two wrestlers who have decent size but amazing speed hit each other with such crisp moves. This is how wrestling ought to be in the WWE... Nakamura really knows how to use those knees, poor Sami! Nice move by Zayn to cause Nakamura to jump over the rope on the outside, and then Sami flies for a flip on the outside and crossbody inside the ring. Ohhhh, more knees by Nakamura! Michinoku Driver out of no where by Zayn! Slugfest in the middle of the ring and both fighters are selling the worn out boxer look... Crowd gives a standing ovation! Nakamura is busted open but then he delivers some hard forearms and more knees/kicks. Holy damn! More slugging back and forth and then Nakamura counters Zayn by flipping over his backside and into an armbar submission. That was sick! Converts to Triangle Choke and Sami is able to stand up and kick his way out of it! Nice! Sami, himself, is getting stiff with his punches kick... Zayn slaps on his submission but Nakamura counters with a pin and then hits a beautiful enziguri kick. Wow! "Fight Forever!" chant by the crowd. I agree. Blue Thunder Bomb but a close 2 count only. Oh damn! Zayn tried his dive through the turnbuckle on the outside and Nakamura counter with a kick to the head. OUCH! Zayn tries to hit the exploder on Nakamura but lots of elbows stop that... 2 really hard kicks by Nakamura follow and that's it. HOLY COW... Call me crazy, but I'm going full [ ***** ] on that and this becomes my 2016 "Match of the Year" #1 contender until something beats it. WWE has a new star in Shinsuke Nakamura and I believe that Sami Zayn's WWE stock just increased as well on the main roster. AWESOME crowd reactions for this and the announcers were damn good calling the match as well.

After that epic match, we see a handshake and the crowd is quite proud of Sami Zayn as he's still in the ring. DO YOU HEAR THAT WWE?!? And now this poor bastard has to wrestle a Ladder Match in just 2 days.

Ringside, we have Stephanie McMahon... Oh please don't add anyone to your Divas Revolution! Pretty please?!?

Poor ladies have to follow that match... Next, it's Asuka vs. Bayley(c) for the NXT Women's Title. I love the use of the mask by Asuka... She markets herself well which is something all wrestlers should take note of. It's not just how the WWE books you but it's also what you personally put into the look and gimmick. This had the look and feel of a HUGE match here and we should thank NXT for letting it happen. Both are babyfaces but they are delivering this big match-up now. "Asuka's gonna kill you" and then "Bayley's gonna hug you" chants break out to start. Asuka caught Bayley early with a hard right hand and it appears we'll be working stiff in this match... I'm OK with that. Little awkward at first, as Bayley has been wrestling dastardly heels for her last few match-ups that she's thrown off a bit on the psychology. Asuka, on the other hand, is selling a bit more for Bayley than normal to start this match. NICE Frankensteiner by Bayley off the top rope and then later in the match through the ropes on the outside. Here come the kicks... Asuka hits such a tight dropkick... Both are starting to develop chemistry and are adding more intensity towards each move to overcome the babyface vs. babyface match. And as Bayley slaps on Asuka's leg submission and Asuka fights to make it to the ropes... My WWE Network freezes. Phew... That was about 45 seconds of me ready to lose it... Repeat Dragon Screw Legwhips by Bayley, my favorite smaller move to use on Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64 back in the day. Nice series of missed kicks by Asuka and then Bayley rolls her up. Bayley gets kicked and then the Asuka lock gets eventually locked in... Bayley is fighting hard but Asuka has it locked in hard... CHOKED HER OUT! Bayley passes out and Asuka is the NEW NXT Champion! Wow... Considering what match those two had to follow, they put on a tremendous effort... Started off slow but both got aggressive with each other and match became great. [ **** ] The ending gives Asuka a big win but it sort of protects Bayley well by passing out but not submitting. Afterward, Bayley sells the effects of being held in that chokehold while also selling disappointment from losing. We'll see if this results in Bayley joining the main WWE roster or if she has a rematch. . Given how poor WWE would use her, I hope she stays in NXT forever. Seriously.

Former TNA wrestler, Bobby Roode, appears at ringside. Cool... I'd rather have him thicken the NXT roster than being a punching bag in the WWE.

Looks like the Apollo Crews vs. Elias Sampson was either cut or moved to being a dark match? I don't see it... Not that I mind missing it, based on what I've seen from Sampson so far. Kinda dull.

Main Event was Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor (c) for the NXT Championship. Balor is in full bodypaint tonight and for some reason, he has a chainsaw. I'm one of the few who has the guts to repeatedly say this... In most cases, LESS is MORE. When you're a great wrestler, which he is, you don't need all of the flash. I like the look with just the leather coat. Let the in-ring ability and persona do the talking, not doing your best Jeff Hardy imitation. I know that will piss the Comments section off, but most champions have a professional look to them. That said, it is an impressive paintjob... Samoa Joe may have been busted open by Balor off the get and then Samoa Joe aggressively tosses Balor over the railing. We're working stiff in this match, too. Wow, Joe is badly cut around his eye and the fans boo when the referee checks on him. Ha! Hate to say it, but I love the realism here... Joe and Nakamura were busted open the hard way and it just adds to the intensity of the match. Just give Samoa Joe a Z-Pack and he'll be fine... "Let Joe Bleed" chants break out and Samoa Joe nods his head in response to that chant. Pretty impressive to see these two keep the momentum up despite the many bloody interruptions. The match ran a bit shorter than I expected, as Finn Balor won via flipping over Samoa Joe's sleeper/chokehold to get a pin. [ ***1/2 ] I just wonder how good this match could have been had the blood not occurred so early in the match. Poor Joe. Afterward, staredown... Joe to the main WWE roster soon?

LAST WORD: First and foremost, WWE should raid Japan for its top talent. Wow... Nakamura was incredible as was Asuka. And of course, Finn Balor did work there and AJ Styles was working there. At the end of the day, WWE is still a WRESTLING company and you need to put on great WRESTLING matches. Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was one of the best matches that I've ever seen.... Unreal how good that match was and that match, alone, should make you watch this show. The worst match was Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries but that was OK... The rest of the show featured nothing but great matches and I wonder how much WWE Management will gripe based on how stiff the NXT workers were tonight (causing 2 wrestlers to bust open). But screw them, this show was AMAZING. All-time great WRESTLING show thanks to the in-ring work. Hot damn! [ A+ ]

Get WWE Network just to watch NXT Takeover shows. Seriously!

Who needs Wrestlemania 32 when you have a developmental event THIS GOOD? Have fun following that, WWE roster!


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