The Ins and Outs of NXT TakeOver: Respect
You know, despite my falling out with the main roster product of the WWE over the past year, I have tried my best to keep up with NXT. It hasn’t been perfect, especially since I’ve cut the cord on the WWE Network, but I’ve seen enough to still recognize that they have some great talent, some great behind the scenes people and (aside from Lucha Underground of course) some of the most coherent storytelling in wrestling today. If they had nothing to do with WWE, I’d probably be all over NXT every week. And, because of that, I’m going to actually give you a preview for tomorrow’s NXT TakeOver: Respect (which, on a scale from one to LUGER WON THE TITLE, is a whole LUGER WON THE TITLE better than R Evolution as far as names go. Who the hell thought that was a good idea?). Much like my AAA and CMLL stuff, I can’t promise this will be perfect, as I don’t know all the talent as well as I should and am not plugged in with NXT as I am LU. That said, I think this does a pretty good job overall breaking down the event. If not, hey, it’s not like my reputation is that of David Meltzer’s anyway! In fact, it’s actually better, or so I’m told. But enough wasting time, let’s talk NXT. ON WITH THE SHOW!
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke
What to Expect: I honestly don’t know. On one hand, you have Asuka (best known as Kana from her days in Japan), a sawed off, stiff as hell ravager that pretty much sent Cageside Seats into frenzy just by giving Dana Brooke a sideways look. On the other, you have Brooke, a relative newbie that has a good look (when she’s not dolling herself up to Rocky Horror Picture Show levels) but is still a work in progress. Basically, we have a woman that can pretty much do whatever in the ring and another that still has a ways to go before she can get there. What does that mean here? My guess; either an entertaining, utterly dominating squash by Asuka or Dana’s pal (and dancing queen) Emma getting involved to even the odds. Either way, this one isn’t going too long. Don’t order the pizza if you want to see this bout, because it’ll be done before you even sit down.
Winner: Unless Vince McMahon hijacks the NXT controls and just wants to troll everyone, it’s clearly going to be Asuka. There’s a way to have people lose their debut matches in a promotion while looking strong, but historically WWE doesn’t do that, and Bayley is going to need another top notch challenger after tomorrow night. The only question is how long will it take and how hard will Asuka stiff Dana? It’s inevitable, like the Cardinals making the playoffs or 20th Century Fox neutering the final cut of a Ridley Scott film.
Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze
What to Expect: A pretty darn good contest, provided time is given. I like both guys here; the Artist Formerly Known as Uhaa Nation is an exceptional talent (especially at his size) who should only continue to rise through the WWE ranks. And I’m not sure there’s a better character down in NXT right now than Tyler Breeze. I don’t know if that gimmick would work on the main roster and I unfortunately don’t think he’ll rise to the top the way some of his contemporaries have, but there’s no doubt the guy has charisma flowing out of him, not to mention some solid ring skills to boot. Put these two together and give them ten minutes, and I think you see a really solid showing. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that these two could eventually be feuding for the NXT title somewhere down the line, with this serving as a precursor.
Winner: I would actually have Breeze win this one. Granted, I don’t have as much of a grasp on the story as others do, but I don’t recall the last time Breeze actually got a big win at one of these events and having him steal a win from Apollo could help continue the story a tad longer. That said, the former Uhaa Nation is clearly destined for big things, and I’m still not convinced that poor Prince Pretty is. Thus, Crews takes it.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Final
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs. The Mechanics
What to Expect: First off, props to NXT for going old school with a WCW esq tag team tournament here. A very nice touch; now if they could only have let the tag champs go farther in the tournament, while also having all the matches take place on NXT TV. I guess it shows that anything can happen, but man, having something of this importance on house shows and eliminating your top tag team is the equivalent of the Cubs starting Kyle Hendricks over Jake Arrieta tomorrow and playing home games at the White Sox ballpark. It’s just odd, and hopefully something NXT can correct going forward.
In any event, I’m not really sure how well this one is going to go, on account of the fact that I don’t really know how good The Mechanics (one Scott Dawson and one Dash Wilder) are. I’m sure they have to have some ability if Triple H and co are willing to put them against their top star and one of the best wrestlers of the past decade. Plus, how can you not love the name Dash Wilder? Very solid. I look for them to have a pretty good showing here, perhaps even good enough for them to get a shot at the Vaudevillains for the NXT Tag titles somewhere in the near distant future. Of course, seeing as they are facing Balor and Samoa Joe, there’s a good chance they may get squashed like Hopper at the end of A Bug’s Life. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen for my new found friends. And yes, I know Hopper was eaten and not squashed. He might as well have been though; probably would’ve been more enjoyable too than being devoured by a bird and its babies. I know, I might be crazy.
Winners: One team has the NXT Champion and the guy right in line behind him. The other is two dudes relatively new. What the hell do you think will happen? My only hope is the Mechanics get a good showing before they go out, but in the end, this is definitely going to be Balor and Joe heading to the finals. Not to win it necessarily, but at least to advance some sort of story.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Final
Baron Corbin and Rhyno vs. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan
What to Expect: I’m not sure what’s more surprising; that Baron Corbin isn’t challenging for the NXT Championship yet, or that he’s teaming with Rhyno, a guy who seemed to be on the verge of wrestling local indie shows not too long ago. Both are perplexing, and yet both are welcome. While I do think there’s an alternate universe right now where Corbin is battling Kevin Owens for the NXT Title, it’s pretty clear that he wasn’t ready for the big time early this year and tagging with a veteran like Rhyno can only help him. Despite those two being the household names here for this match, the one I’m really interested in seeing is this Chad Gable. Maybe it’s just Cageside hyping up yet another dude, but this guy seems to be both really solid in the ring and really entertaining. It doesn’t hurt that he’s cut from the same cloth as one Kurt Angle was either (gotta love that amateur wrestling background). How well he and Jason Jordan (who I know next to nothing about) mesh with Corbin and Rhyno is a mystery, but I must admit this is the match I’m most intrigued by. I know what I’m getting with people like Sasha, Bayley, Asuka, Breeze and Crews; the chance to see an up and comer like Gable could be a treat.
Winners: Corbin and Rhyno. As popular as Gable and Jordan may be becoming, they aren’t the names here, which I think is what NXT is going for. It wouldn’t shock me to see it go the other way (and personally, I would like to see Gable and Jordan against Balor and Joe), but I’ll play it safe and take the man beast and Roman Reigns’ taller clone. Which brings us too…
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Final
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin and Rhyno
What to Expect: …the finals! And, to be honest, I wish I were a tad more excited for this match up. I’m sure it’ll be fine; Rhyno, Balor and Joe all know what they’re doing, and Corbin’s best outing came with Joe back a month ago, which means he should be fine here too. This will definitely be more than serviceable. But even in my limited NXT viewing, I struggle to really care for any of these guys. Rhyno is what he is at this point, and I was never really a fan of his to begin with, while Corbin still has a ways to go. Samoa Joe has always been hit or miss for me, which you can probably thank TNA for. And, strike me down with lightning right now, I don’t see the big deal about Finn Balor as a face. He’s certainly not a bad talent, but every time I’ve watched him, be it the show in Tokyo, the other Takeovers, I just always walk away thinking, “that’s it? Eh”. Perhaps a heel turn will do him some good, but right now, the only thing about him I find compelling is his entrance; that’s all well and good, but unless you’re Will Smith in Independence Day, you’re going to need more than that. Again, I’m sure this match will be good, maybe even great if given time. I just would be more interested if some of the teams I wasn’t acquainted with were involved, or if these guys just interested me more.
Winners: Here’s where things could be interesting; the buzz is that either Balor or Samoa Joe might be turning one the other tomorrow to start a title program between the two. That’s a solid idea, and if I had my way, Balor would be the guy to turn. I know Joe is a better heel than a face, but I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if a heel turn did for Balor what forming the SES did for CM Punk back in 2009. I think he should turn, and I think he will turn tomorrow; the question is how. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Corbin and Rhyno pick up the win when Balor suddenly turns on Joe, leading to a storyline where Balor tries to control the demon while fighting off the Samoan Submission machine. As for Rhyno and Corbin, why not start an angle with the two men presenting the trophy after the match, Cody and Dustin Rhodes? I know Cody is doing the whole Stardust thing on the main roster still, but Corbin and Rhyno disrespecting Dusty during the celebration and a subsequent match would be money. Look at that, I just created two potential stories coming out of this match. I’m not sure what’s cooler; that they both make sense, or that NXT might actually do those stories. Man, that Triple H is swell.
30 Minute Iron Woman Match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks
What to Expect: Without question, this is the crown jewel of the evening, and you could make the argument that this show really is all about this match. Personally, I’m still annoyed these two didn’t main event the Brooklyn show, but this will most definitely do, and will most definitely be the Match of the Night. My only question is can it top the last match, and, please don’t throw stuff at me, I don’t think show. Dammit, I told you not to throw stuff at me!
Look, that isn’t an insult to either Bayley or Sasha, who in my opinion is one of the three best all around wrestling talents alive right now (along with Pentagon Jr. and Nakamura. Sorry Seth Rollins. And ‘Plan). They’ll tear the house down here and add yet another chapter to an already impressive book that is the NXT Women’s division. But let’s be real; do we actually think this is going to top the Brooklyn match? That had a story, an emotional feel and stakes that this match just doesn’t have from where I’m sitting. It’s just like this upcoming Fury Road sequel; it’ll be great, but you can’t really tell me that it’s going to outdo one of the greatest things ever. That’s a whole lot to ask, and I think we’ll see these two fall just short of achieving what they did a little more than a month ago. That doesn’t mean it still won’t be an all time classic, another great step forward for women’s wrestling and another example on how great these two are. Plus, there’s a 75% chance that they will top the last match, and I’ll be here on Thursday afternoon looking like the biggest idiot in the history of the western hemisphere; aka, Stephen A. Smith. Please ladies, don’t make me feel like Stephen A. Smith.
Winner: This appears to be Sasha’s swan song in NXT, which, combined with Bayley only holding the belt for a month, means that she’s not winning here. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this will be a low scoring Iron Woman match (yes, it’s Iron Woman. Get it right dammit!), with Bayley eking out a last minute pin to get a 3-2 victory over Sasha. There will be tears, there will be curtain calls, there may be an Asuka cameo afterwards, and hopefully I won’t feel like Stephen A. Smith afterwards. Or hopefully I do? I don’t know what to feel!
That’ll do it guys! I’ll be back tomorrow with some more baseball talk, and perhaps a profile on a Lucha Underground star. Maybe more; all depends on the mood. Till next time, how about I leave you readers with a raging case…of DUCHOVNY!
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