Wednesday June 18th, 2014
NXT Takeover: The End
Full Sail University
A cool video package opens the show reflecting back on the stars of NXT past such as Seth Rollins, Paige & the Wyatt Family. Then it worked its way through the various champions culminating in Joe & Balor in a staredown inside a cage in a dark room. Cool visual and the package concluded with the narrator stating its The End…of the Beginning. Take that for what you will, but it’s interestingly vague.
They go inside Full Sail where Tom Phillips welcomes the viewers while the camera pans the crowd. Phillips is joined by Corey Graves. And we’re off!
Tye Dillinger vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
Dillinger makes his entrance wearing a new ring jacket. Looks a bit like what Tanahashi wears, but without the trench coat portion. I’ve never really noticed how great Tye’s music is, by the way. It’s perfect for him. I give it a 10. I’m so clever. Andrade enters next, and is of course the former El Sombra from Mexico. He has some unique entrance gear, but luckily doesn’t compete in it. A good early exchange by both with some showboating. Dillinger dominated a tad in the middle of this brief match, but this was clearly an outlet to showcase Andrade and he picked up the win. **
The crowd’s enthusiasm helped this one breath as both were treated like stars. Some great moves, energy & charisma displayed by Andrade. Taking the mask off was a smart call, as WWE has something with this lad (damn, I’m old). I immediately think of he and Hideo Itami having a program with killer matches, so here’s to hoping. Dillinger did his part as well, as he has improved immensely and I feel he is ready for the main roster.
Apparently Triple H is on Facebook tonight after the show according to Phillips. Big whoop! So is everyone else. Not me though, as I’m better than that (I prefer to keep it old school and scribble in my diary like a real man).
Video package airs recapping the buildup to the rematch for the tag team titles. Good stuff. It furthers both teams and I actually feel like the outcome is not a foregone conclusion.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Ah yes, the much anticipated re-match between the new Haas/Benjamin against the new Ole/Arn. Chad Gable reminds me of a kid in my gym glass in school who excelled at every sport and activity, looked ripped way too early, and could hammer out like 50 insanely fast chin ups during the fitness tests. Meanwhile, I’m dangling like that cat in the “hang in there” poster, barely able to get 2 solid chin ups. Man, gym class could be humiliating at times. Except for dodgeball. I was the Michael Jordan of that shit! But, I digress. Gable shows great fire with a headscissors, until he gets caught with a stun gun of sorts to play the brief face-in-peril. Dawson even used a spinebuster to really complete the Arn comparison ensemble. The finish has Jason Jordan taking the Shatter Machine to lose the tag titles, in a somewhat surprising title switch. ****
Smart move as it not only puts over the Revival huge, but sets the stage for American Alpha to get called up to the main roster now as part of the brand split purging of NXT. I say hell yeah and both teams looked great here. Dash & Dawson learned from the last match & the whole story was old school in presentation. I loved it. Probably gonna be my personal favorite match of the card, no matter what else happens. Post match angle has two unknown meatheads jumping Jordan and Gable, who were still selling the loss. Paul Ellering is managing them, and that is quite alright with me. He still looks good too. The crowd not knowing who he is makes me sad. Go educate yourself!
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries
This is the match that I feel can be the catalyst to having a new star in Aries. He’s been lacking something since his debut, but I’m a big fan, so excited to see him showcase what he’s capable of. And of course, there’s Nakamura. No words needed…or no words are enough. You choose. Speaking of which, upon his awesome entrance, the crowd sings along to his music. Great moment. I was enthralled in this match like a toddler sitting crossed legged on the floor inches away from the TV eating Spaghetti O’s or something, so I will cut to the chase. This was a hard hitting, fifteen-plus minute match that built nicely and didn’t disappoint. The finish came after Nakamura hit a combo of middle rope knee, Exploder & Kinshasa. **** 1/2.
Easily, Aries’s best match under the WWE umbrella. Nakamura truly is like watching an artist paint, and I am always in awe of his presence.
NXT Women’s Championship
Nia Jax vs. NXT Women’s Champion Asuka
I can never get enough of Asuka’s entrance. The whole presentation from her music, body language, the mask she wears is just perfect. She has mastered the subtleties. Nothing too earth shattering to report, but simply a solid David vs. Goliath story they told with Asuka finally getting the pin after chopping and kicking Nia down like a tree (well, you don’t technically kick a tree down, but you know what I mean). ***.
Absolutely nothing wrong with this formula at all. Nia Jax has really come into her own, and improved in a relatively short amount of time while being featured on TV. Kudos to her.
Steel Cage Match for the NXT Championship
Finn Balor vs. NXT Champion Samoa Joe
Balor is the “demon” tonight, as he should be. It’s neat to see a cage in a smaller, more intimate environment. Just an observation. Joe enters looking somewhere between slightly annoyed & downright homicidal. It’s a typical Wednesday for him. So apparently the rules of this cage match are pinfall, submission and escape. The latter I don’t like for concluding feuds like this. It wasn’t like Joe had been getting intentionally counted out, or having run-ins on his behalf. Save the escape stipulation for chicken shit heels, and not badass Joe types. One thing the escape stipulation brought us was a cool finish where Balor goes to the top of the cage & Joe catches him with a Muscle Buster to retain the title. *** 1/2.
Good ending to both the match and the rivalry. Now, we wait for whatever is next for both of these competitors.
Overall, nothing to hate and a ton to like. Another stellar Takeover special in the books. From here, it will be interesting to see how many wrestlers from this show are on the main roster by August. It’s time to rebuild the NXT brand as this show truly was the end of an era.