WWE NXT Takeover Thoughts

A lot of the focus on the WWE Network is about the abil­ity to get PPVs for only $10 a month, or the huge library of old wrestling shows and PPVs. But there’s also a grow­ing library of WWE Network Exclu­sive (or semi-exclu­sive) current program­ming. And possi­bly the best of that is WWE NXT which is avail­able on the Network or Hulu Plus.

6a0d2aeb2b2bf9b37b172970857ce437_crop_northLast night NXT held a two hour special (essen­tially it’s equiv­a­lent of a PPV event) and they put most of the wrestling shows you’ve seen this year to shame.

The thing about NXT is it’s essen­tially the devel­op­men­tal roster with the occa­sion­ally main roster star show­ing up to spice things up. What you get to see when you watch NXT is a mixture of rook­ies and veter­ans of the inde­pen­dent circuit who are learn­ing the WWE way of doing things.

Since NXT is not on cable or broad­cast tele­vi­sion and since the shows are performed in front of a small local audi­ence, the focus of the show is much more on wrestling and much less on Sports Enter­tain­ment. They don’t need to attract a large casual fan-base so they can empha­size the stuff that hard­core fans like. Which is why, if you are a seri­ous fan, it can be a great show to watch.

NXT Takeover was the NXT roster’s chance to really show what they can do and they stepped up. The list of matches might seem quite short if you’re used to a 3 hour RAW, but that’s because almost every­thing was given the time it needed to develop fully.

NXT_TO_Photo_02Adam Rose vs. Cama­cho

They’ve been build­ing this match up for a few weeks in NXT. Obvi­ously Rose is now appear­ing on RAW and Smack­down regu­larly, but while he’s start­ing to get over he hasn’t really connected with the main­stream audi­ence yet. On NXT though every­one knows what his gimmick is about and every­one is into it.

In terms of wrestling this was one of the weaker matches on the card, but it was still solid. And Rose’s gimmick can be highly enter­tain­ing. He does a remark­ably good job of stay­ing in char­ac­ter while wrestling. It’s really only weak in compar­ison to the great matches that followed. On a normally weak this would be good.

NXT Tag Team Cham­pi­onship — The Ascen­sion vs. Kalisto and El Local

The Ascen­sion are the reign­ing NXT Tag Team Cham­pi­ons and they’ve been squash­ing all comers for months. This time out at least the team of Kalisto and El Local got some hope spots. But the basic story is unchanged. The Ascen­sion domi­nate every­one.

There was some good wrestling here, but I think it might have been a little more inter­est­ing if there had been even the slight­est chance that The Ascen­sion could lose and there really wasn’t.

Tyler Breeze vs. Sami Zayn

This was a number one contenders match and expected to be one of the high­lights, if not match of the night. I think it lived up to expec­ta­tions. Tyler Breeze has been saddled with yet another vari­a­tion on the annoy­ing model gimmick (which almost never works) but he’s actu­ally a very good wrestler and this match with it’s multi­ple close calls gave him a chance to show that. Mean­while Sami Zayn doesn’t really seem to have a gimmick at all but is hugely popu­lar with the NXT crowd. He also can wrestle.

Put the two together and what you get inside the ring is a great bit of wrestling with a strong story and a number one contender who you believe is a real threat to the cham­pion based on the tough­ness of this fight.

natalya-vs-charlotte-nxt-womens-620x350NXT Women’s Cham­pi­onship Match — Char­lotte vs. Natalya

What a fasci­nat­ing match, and another high­light. First of all, you never see the WWE Divas get the chance to put on this sort of length of match even on a PPV. This wasn’t “good for a women’s match” it was just plain good.

Secondly you’ve got Char­lotte who is Ric Flair’s daugh­ter and Natalya who is part of the Hart wrestling family. And NXT went all out with that angle. They had Flair in Charlotte’s corner and Brett Hart in Natalya’s.

And the match was essen­tially gimmick free. Yes they played on that wrestling heritage and we got both Figure 4 leglocks and Sharp­shoot­ers, but they went with real emotion. It was well wres­tled through­out and the hugs and hand­shakes at the end felt sincere. How often do you see that in wrestling?

dd32547f9af9e577961956b4f6a743c0_XLNXT Cham­pi­onship Match — Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd

Adrian Neville was the defend­ing cham­pion and early in the match they really played up the fact that these two wrestlers have very simi­lar styles. Which resulted in some really nice spots. Then they got seri­ous.

This was just some really solid wrestling that built to a logi­cal and believ­able conclu­sion. Nicely done by both men. The cham­pi­onship was made to clearly mean some­thing to both of them


I’m not going to bother talk­ing about Rusev vs Mojo. It was what Rusev does… Crush!

What I really liked about this show is that they really didn’t play up the heel/face aspect very much. This was mostly people wrestling because they wanted to win a belt. Which is refresh­ing given the enter­tain­ment focus of the main­stream product.

Don’t get me wrong, these are still char­ac­ters, it’s just the focus is more on them as athletes than as gimmicks. Even Tyler Breeze was pushed as being a seri­ous competi­tor despite that model gimmick.

The announce team of  Tom Phillips, William Regal and Byron Saxton is prob­a­bly the best team that WWE has on any of it’s shows right now. Given that they actu­ally focus on what’s going on in the ring. Regal of course is the high­light. He is unques­tion­ably the best color commen­ta­tor that WWE has and is I think one of the best of all time. He puts over both the heel and face wrestlers, tries to explain the signif­i­cance of some of the wrestling moves and gener­ally sells the whole thing as impor­tant. I’m glad he’s in NXT, but kind of baffled that WWE aren’t using him on their top tier shows.

Basi­cally if you’re a seri­ous wrestling fan, you want to watch this show.

Source: WWE Network — NXT Takeover

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of eoghann.com. You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?