Hello everyone. I’m back with a new report card this time looking at the most recent NXT Takeover special. And spoilers people I love the show. WWE’s third brand continues to deliver on all accounts. They gave you all you wanted and then some.

Fun A +: The show really benefits from the two hours in a lot of ways as it feels much more kinetic then proper WWE pay-per-views at times. You can feel a palpable electricity at Full Sail. The specials are really the crown jewel of what makes the Network so special. It’s a reminder that things are changing within the WWE hierarchy. The brand is becoming its own thing outside of developmental. And Triple H said he’s having trouble keeping hold of the brand as things have expanded exponentially for the COO the last six months. Seems like WWE is really behind the momentum.

Spectacle A +: As NXT the brand evolves so does its production. The upgraded stage and entrance is awesome. I can imagine the LED ramp will be in addition to WWE programming relatively soon. Entrances with Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor really showcase WWE wanted this to have a big fight feel and it did. It made these personalities like Becky Lynch all the more special. Other than those production changes, the matches themselves gave you moments that makes the events matter that you watched. From The Demon Dive the new set to the Divas tag match, Sami/Owens to the debut of Samoa Joe they made everything feel important even if the match wasn’t the greatest.

In Ring Work: A-: While the match in ring work wasn’t as solid as previous specials I still thought it was top-notch. Even on a bad day NXT his head and shoulders above the bulk of wrestling television out there. The weakest on the card had to be Baron Corbin versus Rhino however it was perhaps the best showing that the Lone Wolf. Becky Lynch was probably the match and the night. Both women really worked hard and it told a great story making Lynch much more sympathetic coming out and proves that you can get more from loss sometimes then a victory.

The NXT Championship Match was an all out brawl for obvious reasons given Sami’s legitimate injury so it wasn’t as technically proficient as some were hoping for. But it made sense from the storylines they point that the two would come to blows. Many modern-day fans don’t see that as much as they are told storylines are just that. So I don’t have as much of a problem as some with lack of in ring work in the match.

I think Dana Brooke is ahead of the game on character but her in ring work needs to develop a little more. She hesitated at the finish but that will come with time. What she lacks in in ring ability she has in presence.

That women ‘s  tag match was more a showcase for Bayley to finally get a win on a Takeover. They really created a solid character that will inspire future generations of girls to get into the business. In my opinion Charlotte felt out place in this match she doesn’t feel like NXT anymore. I’m going to use an analogy I heard, it’s like she graduated high school and is still hanging around the parking lot. She needs to be brought up soon but I can understand the trepidation of Triple H and company for the perfect situation. But she needs to be moved up soon because she’s floundering not having a story line. I definitely feel coming out of the special Bayley versus Sasha is coming and after months and months of coming up short I definitely see Bayley winning The Women’s Title before the end of the year. Sasha and Becky will keep the women’s division strong with their work underneath. And I have to say how cool was to see two women matches on the show. They have a lot of good women underneath like Jessie McKay, Alexa Bliss, Carmella and others. I would be surprised if they don’t at some point have a women’s tag team title given the popularity of the division.

The only disappointment I really had about the show is that Enzo and Colin Cassady did not win the tag team titles. They are definitely ready for the big time and especially the tag team titles. But given the wrinkle of the Alexa Bliss heel turn this gives the feud a little more juice with mixed tag and diva showdowns to give it more complexity on the shows.

Overall Grade A-: As I said before, the show was great from top to bottom. Given all the injuries going into the show I think they made the best of the bad circumstances they were dealt. The brand continues to impress fans and critics alike which in this day and age is pretty hard to do. I hope the trend continues.

The biggest story of course coming out of the event is the arrival of Samoa Joe. From all reports, the former TNA and ROH champion has a very special deal with the company in which he will appear on NXT but still do international and independent dates. This marks a massive change in WWE philosophy, it wasn’t that long ago that WWE wanted to lock talent down under the umbrella but now it seems WWE wants to use their credibility to build a rapport with smart fans. It is smart business. I would not be surprised that we don’t see more top independent stars under the same deals. And why not the talent gets international TV exposure while still doing the style that they want to do and in turn getting more money on their independent dates. It’s amazing how quickly things have changed and I think we have Triple H to thank. The wrestling world is changing before our eyes and it’s amazing to watch.

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.