Hello everyone. As I write this we are just minutes after the latest WWE NXT Takeover special live in Dallas, Texas. Coming into the event fans were predicting that this event from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center would outshine Sunday’s Wrestlemania. And honestly those on the WWE roster have a lot to live up to at the AT&T Stadium. Sure, the brainchild of Vince McMahon production will have the pomp and circumstance of the spectacle of spectacles. But I doubt it will have the great and hard-nosed attitude of the NXT roster tonight.

Dallas is not new to big wrestling events. The Big D was the setting for many of World-Class Championship Wrestling’s Star Wars events at the old Reunion Arena. These events and see the likes of Bruiser Brody, the Von Erichs and The Freebirds, Iceman King Parsons and whole cast of characters made for a promotion that caught fire. Similarly to NXT in 2016. There was such a physicality that hasn’t been seen on normal WWE programming in quite some time. I’m not sure if It’s a trend that I wanted to continue or not.

The night kicked off with a really strong tag team match between The Revival and American Alpha. I compared this on Twitter to an old-school Fantasticks versus Midnight Express from World-Class and I think that’s pretty accurate. Both teams were fast-paced and the action was hard-hitting. It really set the tone for the night. Those four men should be commended for all the hard work they did. They also prove that tag team wrestling definitely is not dead in 2016.. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and Chad Gable & Jason Jordan all live up to the respective team names. I can’t wait to see what these payers do in the future.

With such a strong kick off, Baron Corbin and Austin Aries when not put in a very enviable position. Both men really tried to establish something but they didn’t really get the rhythm together until the end of the match. And even that wasn’t smooth. Both these men are still trying to find a chemistry. And sometimes that takes time. Aries is the veteran there to help Corbin learn the skills he needs to be a top star and for that It’s serviceable. Aries wins in his debut match in the weakest way possible. The biggest thing to really note about the match was A Deep Six, a spinning slam, on the floor. That was a cool spot but everything else felt a little lackluster. Especially with what came next.

Before I get to the Shinsuke Nakamura-Sami Zayn match itself which was a classic, I want to talk about the video package they did hyping up the match. They had Mauro Ranallo do the voiceover. And there is definitely something to that man’s voice that gives something more gravitas. I said this on Twitter and many agreed with me. They need to utilize Ranallo more. He gives them so much more credibility every time you hear those dulcet tones.

But back to the match itself. It was the perfect debut of former New Japan star to the American audience. I love his new entrance music. Everything worked. He definitely stands out from anybody else on the roster and will be an asset for the touring brand going forward. The King of Strong Style definitely lived up to his name. There were some stiff strikes and kicks as he and Sami battled it out. It was also our first sight of blood which would not be the only occurrence in Dallas.

It’s not often in wrestling these days as a 32-year-old man do I feel like I’m in the middle of a moment. That was a Wrestlemania moment. That’s probably going to be a better memory then the main card for Sami. It was a nice sendoff to the main roster for the former NXT champion and a passing of the torch to a new standardbearer.

I really questioned whether the women’s match that followed between Bayley and Asuka would get overshadowed. Well I didn’t have to wait long to say that that wasn’t going to happen. Both women were physical and gave hard shots, trading submissions back and forth. In the end I like the finish of Asuka getting a referee stoppage victory over Bayley. It keeps the fan favorite underdog strong because she didn’t give up she passed out. And it makes the new champ look like a badass. It also sets up great possibilities for down the road between the two women. Like I quit stipulations, last woman standing matches and more really pushing the boundaries of what is possible for women’s wrestling in WWE.

There are some that say this is Bayley’s swansong for NXT. I don’t personally think so but I guess time will tell. There’s still money on the table with the pairing. It’ll be interesting to see how the women’s division moves forward coming out of these changes.

I want to say this there is one thing I didn’t like about the women’s match and it affected the main event as well. And that’s the crowd. I know it’s Mania but some of the crowd chance especially the ones trying to get themselves over were annoying and took away from matches.

But enough about that and on to the main event. Samoa Joe and Finn Balor was as physical as anything else on the card. The Samoan Submission Machine suffered the wounds of war seconds into the match and it looked nasty. But wearing the crimson mask seem to bring out the more savage side of Samoa Joe. It was like it was 10 years ago. Joe had a fire that I thought was dormant. Other than the times where the match had to be stopped to check on Samoa Joe’s injured eye, the pace was solid and physical. I like the finish because they emphasized that Joe was so focused on winning the title that he would lose sight of the small things. Finn Balor getting the better of him with a rollup countering the Coquina Clutch is perfect. My question is what comes next? Who is the next challenger?

Many thought that Finn Balor would lose the title and be called up the main roster. And that still may happen considering they’re taping television at Wrestlemania Axxess. But what do you do next? Do you go right to Austin Aries, Nakamura, Apollo Crews or someone else.

All that aside, NXT did a lot of great things On the show. They made the event matter. There were multiple changes to the status quo. The Bayley finish illustrated that anything can happen and that’s great you always want to keep fans guessing. Can WWE Proper take this as a challenge making this Sunday all the more special? I’m not sure. But NXT once again showed that you don’t mess with Texas. And you don’t mess with Takeover. Because they definitely left a mark on the weekend.

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.