NXT Takeover Toronto
NXT continues its international expansion, this time holding its first Takeover event in Canada.
Bobby Roode vs Tye Dillinger
Might as well start the show with two Canadians. Bobby is accompanied by a glorious choir, with clouds and smoke making it appear like he is walking straight through heaven on his way to the ring. Tye comes out to a monster pop wearing a 70s Marvel villain collar. Fans are very, very hot for their country men. This all started when Booby offered to be Tye's partner in the Dusty Classic, but walked out on Tye during a match. Tye starts out with a big flurry of offense, bouncing Roode out of the ring multiple times. I like Tye, but this seems really below Roode. Tye absolutely dominates for minutes until Roode back drops him out of the ring, then uses all parts of the ring to his advantage. From here, Roode works the neck, presumably to set up his new DDT finisher. Tye gets his share of hope spots, then starts firing up only to get hit with a spinebuster. Perhaps the best spinebuster in the game in late 2016. Tye gets a hot near fall with a superkick, then applies THE SHARPSHOOTER! In the opening match. Lol. This is fine and all, but it's been going on almost 15 minutes. Completely unnecessary for this match. Then Roode hits his implant DDT really out of the blue to end the match at 16:28, a solid 6 minutes too long for what this match and show needed.
TO THE BACK. Asuka prepares.
Authors of Pain vs TM-61
Dusty Rhodes Classic Finals
First off, this might be the least interesting finals possible given the teams that were Dusty Classic this year. TM-61 are the blandest pieces of shit imaginable. Due to the sanctity of Dusty's memory, Paul Ellering is going to be suspended above the ring in a shark cage. How fucking great is that? Paul Ellering in a cage above the ring in 2016. What's not great is that now there's a giant crane on the outside of the ring that the cage is attached to that must be fucking shitty for anyone sitting on that side of the ring. And the cage ISN'T EVEN ATTACHED TO THE CRANE. In fact, the crane and cage both are only there to promote a new Mattel toy called the Rage Cage. Incredible. I'm going to be honest here: I have no idea what the names of any of these guys are. Nor do I give a shit, but I do like the idea of the AoP, at least. The very first god damn spot is AoP 1 putting White Guy 1 on his shoulders and climbing up the crane. For no reason at all. The fuck? And then White Guy 1 does a dive off of it, because of course. Not that it mattered, as AoP were immediately on the offense anyway. I'm deeply bothered that the smaller White Guy 2 is throwing around AoP with fucking ease and it's not even a big deal. Going fucking exploders do these 300lb+ monsters. The fuck? And then, they hit their finish on one of them, which is like a double press slam into a side walk slam. These dudes should not be throwing these big dudes around. It's a Dusty Classic and you got Paul Ellering above the ring in a cage. Why would you have these much smaller guys not known for their strength completely killing the monster heels' size gimmick? YES, Paul drops the chain from the cage! And then...it doesn't play into the finish at all, since the chain went into the crowd and then AoP won clean with their finisher anyway.
TO THE BACK. #DIY head to the ring.
Johnny Gargano/Tomasso Ciampa vs The Revival NXT Tag Team Championships
I'm not calling them #DIY ever again. Not even DIY. Hashtag DIY. Get the fuck outta here with that shit. Revival have upgraded their satin jackets to leather jackets, and they're wearing Hart Foundation tribute gear. An Arn/Tully tribute team wearing Bret Hart tribute gear. How wonderful. Gargano and Dawson start the match. As soon as DIY get an advantage, Revival bring the cheap shots and double teams to stay in control. In traditional 2/3 falls fashion, Revival score an early fall after actually baiting Johnny into doing his spear from the apron, which was countered into the Shatter Machine, showing how well the champs have done their scouting. And it was a particularly crazy looking SM, at that.
Fall 2 sticks with Johnny as FIP, and he's WONDERFUL at it. Incredible baby face selling from him as he gets ripped apart. The crowd explodes when he finally makes the hot tag to Ciampa, who throws so many damn knees. DIY quickly ties it up their knee/superkick combo to Dawson.
Johnny Wrestling again finds himself as a FIP in the 3rd fall, and shit starts getting real. Dawson uses the title belt to block one of Johnny's kicks, re-aggravating the knee injury that cost DIY the match in Brooklyn (and Johnny's run in the CWC). But Johnny WON'T GIVE UP! Ricky Morton-esque is his baby face selling in this match. Revival decide to try DIY's finish. It backfires. SHATTER MACHINE FROM DIY! The pin is broken! What an amazing finish that would have been, though. Dawson has Johnny pinned with a handful of tights, but the ref realized he wasn't the legal man. Meanwhile, Dash blasts Ciampa into the post and hits the most hellacious of chop blocks on Johnny's OTHER leg. After some roll up exchanges, Gargano gets Dash in his weird arm bar. Dawson comes in to break it, but Ciampa intercepts and locks on his own weird arm bar. Revival have this great moment where they straight up Thelma and Louise it, holding hands in solidarity so they don't tap out, but then they tap out together. New champions!
Match of the year. A write up can't do it justice. This is for sure the best match I have seen in the year of our lord 2016. So many cut offs, so many hope spots, so many near falls, all done to absolute perfect. Gargano was incredible as the FIP, Ciampa was excellent with his hot tags, Revival are so next level at everything they do. This was incredible.
Mickie James vs Asuka NXT Women's Championship
Mickie is making her one off return to WWE for the first time in 6 years, mostly because NXT's women division is so many levels below Asuka that there was no one to put in the ring with her that had any credibility. Asuka's big entrance has what appears to be everyone in the first few rows wearing her mask. Not as cool as the Brooklyn one. Asuka is starting to become even weirder than Nakamura. I wonder what that thing is where every Japanese wrestler that comes to America has to act like such a fucking weirdo. This starts out with a stalemate of grappling and rolling on the mat, which shows how Mickie is on a much higher level than the other women Asuka has faced in NXT, including Bayley. Mickie is blowing kisses. Do you...do you think she'll grab Asuka by the pussy? Mickie actually has Asuka bailing to the floor to regain her composure. Mickie holds the ropes for her. "THANK YOU!" And then Asuka goes under the ropes. THE DISRESPECT. That kind of dickery is sorely lacking in WWE. Mickie tries to do the same thing and Asuka beats her ass for it. German suplex on the floor! The strikes come in flurries from both. Mickie slapped the shit out of Asuka. Mickie really has looked great in this. In fact, I'd say she's looked better in this match than she ever did in her actual prime as a wrestler. Everything is so crisp, her timing is spot on. Mick Kick OUTTA NOWHERE! Asuka might be out! Rope break. That's the closest Asuka has been to losing. Mickie goes for the DDT, which is countered into the chicken wing for the win. Title retained. Really good match. Mickie looked so good in this, no way they don't bring her back for something else. Post-match sees Mickie offer her hand, and Asuka calmly raising her title, smiling, and walking off. THE DISRESPECT.
Samoa Joe vs Shinsuke Nakamura NXT Championship
Lol, how do you top Nak's last entrance, with the dude shredding on the violin? Why, you have a whole army of violin players who clearly aren't actually playing or mic'd up at all. It actually looked pretty goofy and kind of stupid. Sweet, the match starts with a kick boxing stand off. MOOEY TIE. A lot of heavy strikes here. Joe's leg is already developing a pretty big bruise minutes in. This has a much quicker pace than their first match, essentially just skipping the first third of that match and heading into the high spots. Joe starts going after the leg. Idk why, because Nakamura is never going to not hit all of his knees at the end of the match. That's his thing, so you'd think at some point someone would decide that instead of having Nak no sell the bulk of the match to hit his move 5 times, maybe focus on a different body part. Like, say, the head and neck, to set up for a guy whose finishers are a muscle buster and a rear naked choke. Just spit balling here. Oh shit, look at the rolling knee bar from Joe. Smooth as fuck. The crossface in general is such a weird thing, but it is extra weird in Canada. Everyone is immediately reminded of Benoit. There's no way around it. But especially in Canada, no one really knows how to react. It's kind of like "Ooooooohhhh/should we cheer?" and instead just usually gets a bizarre tension in the air every time anyone does it. When Nak fires up, it is of course with knee strikes and running, jumping kicks. Joe kicks out of the Boma Ye. A second one, to the back of the head, sends Joe to the floor. The ref goes to check on him instead of counting. Nak follows him out. DICK KICK! Joe just kicked Nak in the dick! Uranage on the steps! Muscle buster! New champion!
This was the Samoa Joe show. Nakamura was just kind of there, completely overshadowed by Joe the whole way through.
The first two matches can be skipped entirely. The three title matches were good, with the tag match being the match of the year. I'm kind of ready for Nak to go back to NJPW, to be honest. Not because I think he's not great in NXT, but the novelty of him in WWE rings has worn off a bit, and his run feels temporary from the start anyway. I guess what I mean is I'm ready for him to be called up, have some big matches like something at WM, then go back home. He's not the kind of guy that you need to be seeing every week, as it just exposes when he's phoning it in a lot clearer than when he was in NJ, which he did there as well but it wasn't quite as noticeable since you weren't seeing him nearly as frequently. Not that he phoned it in on this show, but you know what I mean.
NXT is in a weird spot as of this show, because all of their main talent should be on the main roster, but they have no one to fill their spots, and they can't go back to NXT being full of actual developmental talent touring the country/world.