All good things must come to an end. Or do they? That’s the question many were asking when WWE announced the tagline for tonight’s latest NXT Takeover special as “The End”. Many fan theories speculated that the Internet darling would cease to be with the pending WWE draft. However, those fears were unfounded. As the independent label of the multimillion dollar company once again delivered a solid event with a twist and turns all the way.

The night opened up with the debut of former La Sombra in Mexico and Japan a.k.a. Andrade “Cien” Almas . The former New Japan and CMLL star made his talents known in quick fashion against a very popular Tye Dillinger. “The Perfect 10” almost outshined the guy known as “100” but the athleticism of the Mexican star quickly won the crowd over with his amazing aerial ability. It’s no secret that the Lucha to American-style transition is not an easy one. Just ask the original Sin Cara. But it will be interesting to see what else Almas has in store. Not a big fan of the look. He looks like a retread of Steve Keirn of The Fabulous Ones.

I said this on social media that Tye Dillinger is this generations Barry Horowitz. Some may see that as an insult but it’s not it’s the best compliment. He’s taken such a simple gimmick and gotten over. The former Sean Spears is the master of reinvention and the man you use to get guys over.

Great opener with great energy. Good way to start the show.

This match is followed up with the rematch with the Revival and American Alpha for the NXT Tag Team Titles. Much like their encounter in Dallas great overall tag team work. A throwback to an era gone by. NXT once again leaves you guessing as The Revival gets the win and become two-time champions. And before you have time to really process that information to guys dressed in black ( The Authors of Pain , Sunny Dhinsa and Gzim Selmani) attacked Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. Then legendary manager of Road Warriors and WWE Hall of Famer “Precious” Paul Ellering comes out to survey the damage. It seems that the mind behind The Legion of Doom has taken new purveyors of pain under his wing. I like all of this. Because it keeps everything fresh and establishes a new team on the scene. Great work from all involved.

NXT Takeover The End continued with a dream match as Shinsuke Nakamura and Austin Aries when one-on-one. The crowd was electric even before the two men touched. The crowd at Full Sail lead the audience in quite the sing-along of The King of Strong Style’s entrance music. All the shenanigans aside it was a solid back and forth match and what you expect from two performers the caliber of Aries and Nakamura. A lot of counters in a really good wrestling match. This was one of those matches that can really gone either way. But in the end , Shinsuke Nakamura comes out on top over Austin Aries almost guaranteeing that he’s next in line for the WWE NXT Title Match August 20 in Brooklyn. But we will have to wait and see on that.

The women were next in perhaps the biggest unknown match of the night. Could the Empress of Tomorrow and Nia Jax keep the standards high? The answer is yes. They brought a hard-hitting style that most women matches don’t see. And what is beautiful is thanks to the Tag Team title change anything was possible. A title change could happen. This added more intrigue on what could happen as one of the biggest females on the WWE roster battled the Japanese dynamo in quite the contest. Many will criticize that it’s not they were great as a Sasha/Bayley match in terms of work rate. And maybe it wasn’t in that aspect but I like the overall story of the match. Technique versus power. Asuka wins with a strong kick to the face to get the pinfall. A sign of a good match is both women looking strong whether they win or lose. And that’s what we have here. Great stuff. Both ladies should be proud. Especially when you look at the progression of Nia Jax in such a short period of time.

We get the tease of Bobby Roode later in the night during a backstage vignette with William Regal. This is why backstage vignettes should do.

Then we get a shot of the crowd with Neville full beard mode on waving to the crowd. I have to say the former NXT Champion looks good with that much all that facial hair.

And finally we get to the main event. The first ever NXT cage match between Samoa Joe and Finn Balor which has been touted as the end of the rivalry. Back in the day the cage stipulation was used to blow off a major feud and I’m glad to see the tradition continues here. One thing I noticed during Finn Balor’s entrance was the NXT production crew Incorporated the cage fencing into the entrance ramp. It’s a little touches like that that give these specials their own identity. Kudos to whoever was the production designer for that set.

As for the cage match itself I thought it was solid action between the two superstars. But I didn’t think they made a misstep in the rules of the match. The feud between Balor and Joe has been about who is better. The Demon even stating that he just survived Samoa Joe he didn’t win. So why have either man have the option to climb over the top or go through the door? Shouldn’t the idea be that both men destroy each other to try to be the best? I think the climbing aspect makes false drama that did not need to be. Don’t get me wrong the match itself was great I just felt that that hampered what could’ve been a really psychological war. That’s just a nitpick but action was nuts and really made the first cage match mean something for the promotion. Again the idea that the tag titles switched gave you the notion that anything can happen. Both men had great false finishes. But the spot of the night has to go with the off the top of the cage Muscle Buster if that was the coup de grace of Finn Balor’s N XT career it was a good finish to go out on. Everyone should be happy with the outcome.

Great night of action for the NXT crew.

So was this The End of NXT? No not by a longshot. But that’s not to say nothings going to change. Everything changes over time but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Much like the tag line of the show it is the end of the beginning of NXT. The NXT brand itself has grown far more than WWE ever expected. What’s next on the horizon? Nobody knows. But that’s half the fun anything’s possible. And that’s what keeps me coming back for more.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.