Well, I haven't watched a wrestling match since, what, WM? That streak of no wrasslin' has come to an end... w/NXT Takeover: (ironically named) The End. And once again, NXT Takeover kicks ass. But... some of the praise for one of the matches is pretty overblown imo.
Almas/Dillinger was a nice showcase... for Tye Dillinger. He looked GREAT out there, and certainly proved a point that he can hang w/the big names. Almas looked alright, but I don't think he clicked all that well w/Tye, he looked a little choppy there if you ask me, but still impressive in some areas. Decent start to the show, no Owens/Parker but okay nonetheless.
AA/Revival was FANTASTIC. MOTN by far, and easily the best Tag match I've ever seen on NXT. A lot of you liked Dallas better, and that's fine, but while Dallas had the advantage thanks to the atmosphere and the feelgood ending, as a wrestling match from point A to B goes, this was clearly better in my eyes. One of the most creative Tag matches I've seen in a long ass time (though it is one of the only ones I've seen in a long ass time
). Both teams have perfect chemistry. Gable is impossibly likeable, Jordan is an ass-kicking machine, and the Revival are absolutely terrific as despicable, mean heels that you just love to hate. None of the teams wasted any motions, so much great Tag work, so many creative and wonderfully executed sequences, the character work was great... even the ending made sense, at it worked as a downer, sad outcome to setup for what would happen after the match (which, holy motherfucking shit). Stupendous.
Now... am I the only one that feels like Nakamura/Aries was a little disappointing? I gotta be honest. Maybe it was bad enough it had to follow AA/Revival, but I feel like there was a lot of heaps in logic here and there. The fact alone that Nak didn't even try to seek out Aries' taped ribs is questionable, regardless of wheater or not that was a legit injury. If it was, then don't go stiff, work softballs on it, but WORK IT ANYWAY! You have a clear ass target in front of you, dude! What did you do to it, a bunch of knees spread across a 15 minute match? C'mon, Nak, you're better than that. And Aries' leg work was also wasted potential - it was so on and off I didn't even care that Nak no sold it later as he had way too much time to recover, so I actually believe the pain wore off. And Aries doing that Suicide Dive at the end, despite the 9/10 chances that Nak was gonna get counted out from that Death Valley Driver spot, therefore making it an incredibly unnecessary and dumb risk... ugh. That spot annoyed me. Many of you probably liked it, and I'm pretty certain I gave passes to worse and dumber spots in the past - not giving one to this is probably related to my lack of care about current wrestling - but I just didn't like it. Not to mention, I don't feel like these two guys clicked very well. I felt the opposite of when I saw Zayn/Nak, which felt like they had wrestled a million times before - this truly felt like the 1st time these two were ever touching in the ring, and that's not in a particularly great way.
But don't get me wrong, I still really liked the match. It was a great exhibition-style fight between two badasses who rank among the best in the world. Like the type of back-and-forth fights that don't feel choreographed or prepositioned, but rather actual opening-seeking gladiator battles. Aries is such an asshole that it's great, he played his character, who wanted to prove a point against Nak, to a T. Nak is just Nak, what can you say. The stiffness and the brutality in some of the shots was quite noticeable, and the atmosphere was electric as well. I feel like, if Aries didn't have those taped ribs (which may have steemed from a legit injury or not, so who knows if they had just planned the match out that way before and were afraid to improvise) and they worked that exact same match again, I would've certainly liked it more. As it is, it's still really good, bordering great... but I definitely wasn't blown away, have to say that.
As for the last two matches, Asuka/Nia was pretty damn good. I've grown to like Bayley/Nia from London more than I originally did overtime, though I still feel like that match was essentially Bayley carrying a rather green Nia Jax. Nia has clearly evolved, though, and this was not an Asuka carryjob as much as Asuka did a good bulk of the work, sure, but Nia had a strong performance in her own. It was easily her best, and her best match so far. She needs to work on her selling, but she's on a good track. The raw skill vs. raw power dynamic was played off excellently, and in some parts, I thought Nia actually did have Asuka's number. Shame that the ending virtually came outta nowhere, 5 minutes longer and it would've been pretty terrific. Not exactly a classic, but another commendable women's effort on a Takeover.
And as for Joe/Bálor... it seems we still have yet to see a truly great Cage match from WWE in the last many years. While certainly not BAD, good for what it was, it was by far the worst PPV match they had together. London and Dallas blow it out of the water completely. The early escape attempts weren't even the problem to me. They wrestled just about the blandest match they could've possibly had in the given circumstances. And while Dallas proved that they weren't allowed to have a complete bloodbath, at least kick the violence up a notch! You're in a fucking Steel Cage! Sigh, whatever. Still a good match, at least.
Superb show, overall, w/only match being less than good, and still being decent for what it was. Brooklyn II should destroy it, though. Joe/Nakamura, Asuka/Bayley II, Revival/AA/Gargano & Ciampa combo, Roode debut... damn.