WWE NXT TakeOver: San Antonio Reaction
Posted by Nicholas Jason Lopez
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Even though it boasted the same static screen transitions and synth-powered alternative rock theme songs, there was something about this “TakeOver” that didn’t feel like “TakeOver.”
At least headed in.
With what could be considered a lackluster build to a card with throwaway bouts, it’s a testament to NXT and everything it stands for that even with “in-the-middle” shows like this compared to past TakeOvers, they can still spin yards of gold.
We also dug the ambition to continue the tradition of hard-fought contests, excellent teases and above all else, the element of surprise. While on a lesser level, we still got our “TakeOver” money’s worth.
– The opening video showcased the San Antonio skyline with the angle of “change in an uncertain world.” They used the words to transition into footage for all the big feuds. They’ve done a decent job with the production to make the build come off visually better than the shows themselves did. They threw in everything from the Bobby Roode-NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura standoff to Nikki Cross’ fearless cross body to end the last NXT episode.
– The Tye Dillinger-Eric Young match revolved around a storyline of Dillinger’s search of “what was next,” while at the same time he battled his biggest critic in the wake of heartbreak losses – himself. At the same time, Young came along and offered him a spot in SAniTY, as he believed the group would turn Dillinger’s momentum upward. With repeated attempts turned down by Dillinger, the latest SAniTY spot went to the former Damo, Killian Dain, who settles right in. You can also count on a Dillinger match to deliver in the opening spot. The “10” chants were still immensely over and there was a different feel to his entrance, maybe it was because one could sense Dillinger’s Rumble debut. It was a high possibility. SAniTY’s entrance still visually appealed and was downright spooky. They walk a tightrope between The Shield’s militaristic presence and The Wyatt Family’s fearsome aura, but it still works on its own. They used the opening standoff to have Young again offer Dillinger a group jacket, only to get it turned down. The crowd was on Dillinger’s side right up until Dain hit a crossbody on the outside. Young hit a flying elbow drop onto Dillinger’s neck, which received extra focus by commentary. Good job there. Young leaped from the top again but met a dropkick on the way down. Young screamed in his face, only to get grabbed by the beard and screamed back at. Nice transition to a top rope belly-to-belly suplex by Dillinger that was undoubtedly the highlight of it all. Dillinger battled with Alexander Wolfe/Dain on the outside and almost pinned Young. He hit the Tye Breaker, but Wolfe placed Young’s foot on the ropes. Dillinger took them out with a plancha followed up with a baseball slide. He attempted another move, but got caught in Young’s wheelbarrow neckbreaker to take the loss. It was a decent story to tell if the plan was to put Dillinger in the Rumble. That surely answers “what’s next.” Some nice teases, but they ultimately keep the underdog story going.
– The Andrade “Cien” Almas-Roderick Strong match was probably the biggest culprit of lack of build in TakeOver history. Strong likes to “take on the world” and wasn’t afraid of Almas, despite “Cien” believing otherwise. Almas had the last laugh as he attacked Strong backstage and that was it headed in. A war of words and headlocks. Again, we figured they paired them together because the story wasn’t the “story,” but rather, their styles. A true testament to the modern indies, we got a mix of submission styles with stiff chops and kicks. Almas did his signature stuff like the “Tranquilo” pose to get some reactions. They retained the same flavor throughout, as Almas grew increasingly frustrated. He went for the running knees in the corner, but was met with Strong’s knee strike instead. Almas kicked his way out of a backbreaker attempt in mid-air. Crazy. Strong dropped Almas on the top turnbuckle, particularly where there was a steel bolt. Almas executed his running double knees and tried to follow up, but ran into the Wicked Knee to get the loss. Pretty much what this needed to be between them. You get the sense they wanted to have a good, competitive match to make a name for themselves and that happened to an extent.
– The NXT Tag Team Championship match between Champions #DIY and The Authors Of Pain was inevitable by this point. With #DIY on top since they uncrowned The Revival at TakeOver: Toronto and successfully defended against them in a Two-Out-Of-Three Falls match, AOP built a road of success and destruction behind Paul Ellering. With AOP undefeated, they were easily #DIY’s biggest challenge to date. A plus to the build was the cool video package that aired that focused on Ellering’s narration of the “Book of Pain.” Loved the ending of that where he slams the book shut and dust flies all over the place. Almost reminded us of something Lucha Underground would put out. Thank god AOP had their respective names on their jackets, but that didn’t help when they took them off. Their look was still very Shield. Johnny Gargano’s attempt to spear through the ropes was immediately shot down and that conveyed that the usual tricks wouldn’t work for #DIY to pull this one off. Gargano did two suicide dives on opposite sides of the ring while Tommaso Ciampa did his running knee off the apron. Gargano sold his nose as he was dropped into the barricade after being knocked off the apron. There was a good build to the hot tag to Ciampa. as he wreaked havoc once he got in. He connected with separate German suplexes for a standing ovation. Akam took on Ciampa’s strikes and kicks and countered with a clothesline. #DIY did a double spear through the ropes for a two. Razar was tagged in and the combo sit-out powerbomb/neckbreaker was enough to tease a Title change, but it was a two. The Last Chapter was teased before Gargano hit a superkick to interject that. Things echoed Toronto as #DIY had duo submissions applied, but AOP got out of it as they bodyslammed Gargano onto Ciampa. That was probably the first time in history that an AOP match got a “This is awesome” chant, but it made sense here. #DIY had the Meet In The Middle set up as it looked like they’d win for sure, but that only set up the collision powerbombs. One Last Chapter later and AOP were new Champs. Still excellent and the show-stealer to that point.
– The Triple H-Seth Rollins in-ring segment was without a doubt, the surprise element the show desperately needed and easily the “talking point.” It all tied to when Rollins was screwed out of a Rumble spot when Trips’ music played to distract him on Raw in a loss to Sami Zayn. His unannounced appearance was as perfect as it gets, as Rollins challenged the status quo of “Proud Papa.” We kind of liked that they didn’t outright mention Rollins’ NXT success as its first Champion, but enough was done to get the point across. He called Trips out with full knowledge that he watched from the gorilla position and that prompted Trips to come out only to draw security guards. Rollins fought them off and got up the ramp before more officers swarmed him. It sparked chants of “Bullshit” and “We Want Rollins,” so we guess it worked.
– The Fate Four-Way for the NXT Women’s Championship between Champion Asuka, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce and Cross transitioned from a “holding pattern” match to keep Asuka hot to a legitimate question if she’d keep the belt at all, since she wouldn’t need to be pinned to lose it. All the elements were here. You had the crazy one, the Aussie Mean Girls and then the dominant Champion. A perfect contrast made this one of the better hyped matches. Asuka had the belt for 301 days at this point, so anything was possible. AMG left the ring early on and chose their spots to attack, while Cross/Asuka tangled up. Asuka did a double German suplex on AMG to get a rise out of the crowd. Cross had Asuka on the canvas and delivered a Randy Orton-like DDT to the floor. She did a cross body onto AMG afterwards. Eventually, the three made their way towards the announce table position with Asuka still down. This was brought to the match’s spot – AMG did a double suplex and put Cross through an adjacent table. Damn. Royce hit a Widow’s Peak after a superkick for a two. Asuka bridged out of it and that looked oh so impressive. She unleashed a flurry of kicks on AMG and covered Royce to get the win. We’ll guess that the stage is set for Asuka to defend against Ember Moon down the road. The staredown between Cross/Asuka could also mean more future encounters.
– The NXT Championship match between Champion Nakamura and Bobby Roode wasn’t the brightest of marquee matches, but they managed to insert a personal edge in the build to make it mean more than a battle of who has the catchier entrance theme. They amped up the entrances of course, as Roode was accompanied by eight women in glittery purple dresses, to match his robe. The Champ rode an elevated platform that moved as he danced. A big staredown ensued as fans chanted Nakamura’s theme. Psychology ruled early on as they traded mocking gestures and played mind games. Roode dumped Nakamura over the top rope backwards to the outside. Roode took control and did his own version of Good Vibrations. Nakamura came back with a driving knee to bring Roode over the apron and to the floor. He followed with his own Good Vibrations. Nice tease where Roode suckered Nakamura in for a pinfall attempt. Roode had the Kinshasa scouted and tried to use the ropes on a pin, but no luck. Nakamura dug deep and locked in an armbar followed by a triangle. Roode battled out, but was struck with the sliding knee for a two. Nakamura hit a knee strike to Roode’s chest on the apron, but had a rough landing on the way down. This became the match’s turning point, as he sold his injury to the point where he connected with the Kinshasa, but couldn’t follow it up with a pin. A medical trainer checked on the Champ. Once he came back in, Roode shocked him with a Glorious DDT for a two. Even that one had us. Roode locked in a half crab submission to further aggravate the knee, as Matt Bloom (formerly Albert) came down to ringside. Nakamura escaped to apply the triangle once more, but that was short-lived. Roode connected with another Glorious DDT to get the win and shock the world. Okay, that lived up the hype. Headed in, Roode was probably looked at as a foil for Nakamura to get past on the way to a bigger opponent, but they surprised us here. A rematch will definitely be fun. Nice stuff.
- Eric Young (w/Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain) def. Tye Dillinger via pinfall
- Roderick Strong def. Andrade “Cien” Almas via pinfall
- NXT Tag Team Championships – The Authors Of Pain (w/Paul Ellering) def. #DIY (Champions) via pinfall to become new Champions
- NXT Women’s Championship – Fatal Four-Way – Asuka (Champion) def. Billie Kay, Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross via pinfall to retain
- NXT Championship – Bobby Roode def. Shinsuke Nakamura (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 26 year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Posted on July 11, 2017, in NXT, WWE and tagged Alexander Wolfe, Andrade "Cien" Almas, Asuka, Billie Kay, Bobby Roode, Corey Graves, DIY, Eric Young, Killian Dain, Nigel McGuinness, Nikki Cross, Paul Ellering, Percy Watson, Peyton Royce, Roderick Strong, Seth Rollins, Shinsuke Nakamura, TakeOver: San Antonio, The Authors Of Pain, Tom Phillips, Triple H, Tye Dillinger. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
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