NXT Takeover: Respect 10/7/15
Finn Balor/Samoa Joe vs Scott Dawson/Dash Wilder Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals
I MUCH prefer Balor as the kind of cunty dude in a leather jacket instead of doing all the dumb demon shit. THIS guy I can see as being a huge star. The Demon trash is going to do a lot more harm to his future than good, in my opinion. It will be good for merch, but it makes him look like a tool and is hard to take him seriously when he's got dreadlocks made out of Goodwill belts and is crawling on the floor like an asshole. I like the Mechanics as bootleg Andersons. Balor gets immediately kicked off the apron to start the match, and Joe doesn't appreciate it. Dash/Dawson are a legit ass team. They work very well together and 90% of their offense is Arn/Tully spots. They're dominating Joe with their tag skills. Balor gets the tag and hits his big tope. Thankfully they got rid of the ramp for the night, so people aren't getting their brains scrambled on it after catching a dive. A chop block from Dawson changes the complexion of the match. From that point on, they completely control Balor, never changing the focus on the leg. Decapitation elbow! My favorite tag team finsiher. Do you like Southern 80s tag team wrestling? Then you would love this. This is perfect execution of that formula. Enjoyable as fuck. Joe finally gets the hot tag and comes in with more fire and energy than he's had in years. Balor wants the tag before Joe hits the muscle buster. Joe hesitates but does tag Balor in. Muscle buster/double stomp combo for the win. I do have an issue with Balor getting his leg worked on the whole match and still winning with the top rope double stomp, but Joe thought it was stupid too, and I assume that will play into the later match or their angle going forward. A super enjoyable 80s tag match. Joe and Balor advance to the finals.
TO THE BACK. Sasha gets her outfit correct.
TO THE LOOK AT HOW MANY PLACE WE RUN BESIDES FLORIDA.
Jason Jordan/Chad Gable vs Rhyno/Baron Corbin Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semifinals
Corbin and Jordan start the match, and it shows you how deceptively huge JJ is. And strong. He's throwing Corbin and Rhyno around like they ain't shit. The fans start chanting for Gable to the tune of Kurt Angle's theme, which is obnoxious as shit. I'm sure they thought that was super clever. Considering Gable is about as big as Tyson Kidd, they should lower their expectations of Gable being the new Angle. The wrestlers focus on the arm of Rhyno. Gable has a really interesting mix of amateur style moves and more fast paced junior stuff. But he's also super out matched here and gets splattered on the LED board. Corbin is going to be big. He's good. After what seemed like a year of doing nothing but 30 second squashes, he finally showed that he could actually wrestle at the Brooklyn show. Dude is legit. I see big things in his future. I also see big things for Gable and Jordan. They've shown so much in the past few weeks. Rhyno randomly tries a Superfly splash that he hasn't attempted in about 15 years. He misses and Gable is able to tag in JJ, who dominates. This mother fucker is having his star making moment. But Corbin lays him out and hits Gable with a black hole slam. Oh shit, that little fucker just hit Chaos Theory on a dude a foot taller than him. That's pretty impressive. Rhyno hits the Gore on JJ. Gable tries his spinning something only to get smashed with the End of Days. Corbin and Rhyno advance. Another super fun tag match. I would have liked to see JJ/Gable vs Joe/Balor, but this was definitely a star making night for them.
Dana Brooke vs Asuka
Shout out to Crush Gals. Dana does not hespect the Code of Honor. A slap to Asuka gets a "You fucked up" chant. Asuka is fast as shit. It's like watching prime Tiger Mask and seeing that dude just turn into a blur. Emma causes a distraction, which allows Dana to get some offense. What the fuck is up with Emma's gloves? They barely make it past her knuckles. How weird. This is nothing but a showcase of how dope Asuka is. She'll knock the shit out of you. She'll turn anything you can do into a submission OUTTA NOWHERE. She'll chuck your ass around the ring. And she'll mock you at the same time. Lol, Emma. "YOU LEAVE HER ALONE! DON'T YOU HIT HER ANYMORE!" Asuka wins with the crossface chickenwang, the Asuka Lock. Always been a big fan of the chickenwang. After the match, she completely punks out Emma, who won't even make eye contact. Wolf like behavior.
TO THE BACK. The trainer tends to Balor's knee.
Tyler Breeze vs Apollo Crews
The set up for this was very flimsy. I think it was "Hey Regal, give me something to do for Takeover" and then Crews showed up and was like, "I'll wrestle Tyler". Crews controls the early part of the match with his power and speed game. You know what breaks that? A kick to the face. Crews gets dumped to floor and then launched into the LED apron. From there, Breeze zones in on the back. It's a good game plan. It's hard to do all your flippy and power moves when your back is jacked. Sharpshooter. Shout out to Calgary. Even when AC tries his flippy stuff, he instantly regrets it and can't pull it off. Breezus had his game plan on point. He's also doing all the Canadian spots. Super kick, sharpshooter, spinning heel kick, Owen's jump off the top into a powerslam, Jericho's springboard dropkick. Candadalife, baby. I really like Breeze's counters for the standing moonsault. First, he grabs the leg of Crews so he can't jump. Then he gets his knees up and does a roll up. Would have loved to seen that be the finish. Crews gets the win with what was essentially a release Blue Thunder Bomb. Good, solid match with a story, selling, and psychology. I'm really ready for Breeze to start being more than a jobber to the indie stars, though. He has a lot more to offer.
TO THE BACK. Bayley stretches.
Baron Corbin/Rhyno vs Samoa Joe/Finn Balor Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals
Finn starts the match, which the announcers point out is pretty dumb. It seems like there is a story brewing of Balor getting a little full of himself and his abilities, even when injured. I would like it to follow in the tradition of the NXT Championship turning everyone heel, or at least making them a dick. Even though one of the younger teams being in the finals would have been cool, this is also solid booking. Not only are the biggest stars in the finals, but they all have history with each other, this being somewhat of an epilogue to the Joe/Corbin, Joe/Rhyno, and Balor/Rhyno feuds. Still, I'm not particularly interested in seeing Rhyno wrestle twice in one night, even if the first match was a ton of fun. Balor gets tagged in and thinks his knee is fine. It wasn't. It tripped him up and becomes the focal point of the match once again. Joe and Balor win with the Muscle Buster/double stomp to win the Dusty Classic. I had an issue in Balor still winning with the double stomp in the first match, but it's even worse here. This was decent, but certainly the weakest match of the show so far.
The Rhodes family present the Dusty Cup to Balor and Joe. Cody talks a bit about his dad and says that, tonight, we are all part of the Rhodes family. Dusty's cowbell hitting really got me.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley NXT Women's Championship Ironman Match
This is very likely the most important night in the history of women's wrestling in America. That it features two women who wanted to change the perception of women's wrestling in America even at a young age, and that everyone is 100% down for it, is great. It may be "just" NXT, and it might just be at Full Sail, but it marks a fundamental change in what female athletes can do and be allowed to do in the context of WWE programming. Fans blast through ten different chants two minutes into the match. let them wrestle before you start chanting everything. Bayley is in Iron Man themed gear, while Sasha is wearing gear based on the first gear she wore when she was a rookie. The opening minutes have neither being able to get a clear advantage. I wish the fans would shut the fuck up for a second. It's like they're trying to make sure everyone knows this is a BIG FIGHT FEEL, but they're doing it when nothing is going on and it's already getting grating as shit. I hope they don't pull this shit for the next 25 minutes. Sasha takes a brutal bump on a Japanese arm drag, landing right on her head and shoulder. Bayley avoids both the knees in the corner and the Banks Statement. Sasha bails on the Bayley to Belly and slows the pace. Bayley offers a hug and handshake, only for Sasha to throw her by the hair. SON OF A BITCH. This does nothing but fire Bayley up. Sasha gets the first fall by distracting the ref so she could poke Bayley in the eye and roll her up. 20 minutes remain. Bayley to Belly! The match is tied at 1. Bayley tries her torpedo dropkick one time too many and gets chucked into steps. Sasha showing off her power game. Sasha gets right in the face and starts screaming at Izzy, Bayley's young super fan. After chucking Bayley into the LED screens, she STEALS IZZY'S HEAD BAND AND MOCKS HER WHILE BAYLEY GETS COUNTED OUT. And then THROWS IT AT HER. Holy shit. This little girl is bawling. What a monster. Incredible. When is the last time a heel made a little kid cry? This match just went up about 5 notches.
At the half way point, Sasha is up 2-1 and firmly in control. God, Sasha is such an asshole, stomping on the hand AND head while putting Bayley in the Lion Tamer. She's on that Kawada shit right now. A counter and of another Boston crab ties it up at 2. Hard not to notice a large chunk of the crowd on the hard cam not even looking at the match, instead looking across the arena to chant shit at other fans. I'd say that's everything you need to know about why people shit on the Full Sail crowd. After avoiding the double knees for a second time, Sasha puts Bayley in the tree of Keanu to finally hit it. Still tied with 9 minutes to go. Bayley stomps on the hand of Sasha, and then tries to break it with the steps, much like Sasha did to her in Brooklyn. Bayley is not fucking around anymore. Fucking LOOOOOOOOOL that Bayley could move the steps easier than Punk could at Summerslam 2013. The steps come back to haunt her, though, as she's kicked back into them. Sasha tries a dive, only to be caught and hit with the Bayley to Belly on the floor. Back in the ring, SUPER Bayley to Belly. Sasha got her foot on the ropes, possibly accidently and just dumb luck of Bayley's momentum on the pin. Bayley attempts the super reverse rana again. This time, Sasha lands on her feet and HITS THE BAYLEY TO BELLY! MY GOD! Banks Statement is locked on with 90 seconds to go. Sasha can't hold the submission like she normaly would due to her injured hand. Bayley rolls through, but Sasha rerolls. Bayley breaks the hold by trying to BREAK SASHA'S FINGERS. This aggressive side of Bayley is great. Bayley rolls through the back stabber and into a brutal looking Rings of Saturn variant while trying to break Sasha's fingers AND stomping her head. Sasha gives up! Bayley wins! Title retained.
After the match, the entire NXT crew and roster stand at the entrance to congratulate the women. HHH and William Regal present flowers in a ceremony straight out of a joshi show. Regal cries while presenting the flowers to Sasha. Sasha bawls. Bayley is crying in the ring. Emotions running high for everyone.
A very fun, enjoyable show. The main event was very, very good. I don't know if it was better than the Brooklyn show, but I also don't know how good Rock/Hogan 2 would have been going from the Skydome to an armory with 400 people a month later. The in ring story telling in both of the Sasha/Bayley matches have been some of the best in years for WWE. So many great small touches from both, with the evolution of Bayley's character to Sasha taking her cunty levels to new heights, doing what is no doubt the best heel work of the year. Bayley bringing out her aggressive side, the whole crew there to celebrate how big the occasion was...it was all really great. I definitely put these two matches and the overall story on the same cathartic experience level as Sami's title win last year and Bryan's title win at WM 30. Just great.
As for the rest of the show, the semifinals tags were a blast. The whole tournament has been great, giving a lot of guys chances to shine and get noticed, while also doing a good job of making the weekly show really worth paying attention to after months of doldrums. Guys like Gable and Jordan, the Mechanics, and even non-WWE contracted guys like Ciampa and Gargano have all had great showings that raised their stocks considerably. It's a shame that the final match was the least interesting of the show. It being booked just like the Crockett Cup is great, though.
Breeze and Crews was good. Crews hopefully can reignite the main event scene soon, but I'm hoping Tyler manages to sneak his way in and steal the title some day. He's way too good to just put over the big indie names. Asuka/Kana is going to be huge for NXT. I thought this show might have had a hard time following Brooklyn, since on paper this seemed way more hyped, but then the Brooklyn show was great. And this delivered.