By Darren Gutteridge
Aired on WWE Network, taped April 1, 2016
Dallas, Texas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Before titles, an extended NXT Takeover: Dallas highlight package was shown.
After titles, we were shown a cheering crowd in Dallas, before Phillips and Graves checked in on commentary. They hyped Elias Samson vs. Apollo Crews, before throwing over to new broadcasting colleague Cathy Kelley, who was on a terrible looking green screen set at WWE HQ in Stamford. Kelley introduced a highlight reel of Crews’s Raw debut against Tyler Breeze, before moving on to another highlight package recapping American Alpha beating The Revival to win the NXT Tag Titles.
American Alpha spoke after the match backstage. Jason Jordan was on the verge of tears as he spoke about the effort it took to get the titles. Chad Gable said they had to win to avoid failing on the big stage again, and both men said the crowd was fantastic. Gable said Jordan worked harder than anyone in NXT to get here, and he was so happy to be by his side when all the struggle paid off.
Gutt Reaction: I guess we’re in for video package central tonight. I hope they favor the Axxess content over Takeover: Dallas replays at the very least. American Alpha cut a great promo that further humanizes these elite athletes. We’ve all seen with the likes of Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, and Jack Swagger that it’s very easy to make these characters dislikable, but Gable and especially Jordan are coming off so well in their promo work.
Kelley introduced a highlight package of Bayley vs. Asuka. Backstage, Bayley opened by congratulating Asuka on her win. She said Asuka had an answer to everything, and she felt like she had let everyone down. “But a champion is defined by how many times they get knocked down and get back up again”. She vowed to come back stronger, and when the time comes, she’ll rise to the occasion.
A replay of Johnny Gargano pinning Samson was shown, along the subsequent post-match attack from Samson. They then replayed Baron Corbin vs. Austin Aries.
Aries was interviewed backstage, and called himself the most polarizing figure in professional wrestling – you either love him or hate him. He claimed Corbin chose to disrespect him, so he earned his respect by beating him. Whether that pleased or upset people, the “Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” didn’t care – he was going to be around for a long time.
Gutt Reaction: Bayley set the groundwork for her bounce back excellently. She was humble in defeat, and determined to avenge it. With no main roster call up imminent (or so it seems), I’m more than happy to see her try once again to beat Asuka. Aries was intriguing in his promo, walking the tightrope between face and heel. With a veteran like Aries, this is perhaps his best approach, as he can then fill any role the NXT rookies need him to fill.
They cut to stills of Corbin winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32, before airing a Finn Bálor vs. Samoa Joe highlight package.
Backstage, Bálor called Joe a monster “that just keeps coming”. He wondered how much he had to give to stop Joe moving forward, and claimed he didn’t beat Joe, he survived. We cut to Joe walking backstage, and he refused to comment on the match. This was followed by another video package, this time showing Samson singing to Crews last week.
An advert for NXT’s UK tour in June aired, before a No Way Jose vignette.
Back at Takeover: Dallas, Elias Samson made his way down. He sang a song for Dallas, but they chanted “We want wrestling” to drown him out. Thankfully, Crews was out quick to cut Samson short.
1. Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson. Samson kissed his guitar before starting. He also took control going into a break by sweeping Crews’ legs while he went for a springboard.
Following a sustained (read: slow) turn on offense from Samson, Crews fired up, highlighted by a moonsault from the apron to a standing Samson on the floor. He set up for his standing moonsault, but Samson got his knees up. Samson followed up with a jumping knee for a two count.
Samson picked Crews up and shushed the crowd, but Crews pushed him into the ropes, and hit the toss powerbomb for the three count.
Apollo Crews defeated Elias Samson in 22:00.
There was a highlight package of the entrances for Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura. This lead to another Cathy Kelley segment, which set-up the extended highlight package for the match. So we had a highlight package to set up a highlight package.
Zayn said the match was one of the hardest battles he has ever had. He spoke of how much the show of respect he received from Nakamura and the crowd meant to him. Nakamura was stood with Funaki, who translated for him. Funaki went to translate what Nakamura said to him, but Nakamura cut him off by saying “Strong Style has arrived!”.
Nakamura was hyped to be in action next week (as Austin Aries was earlier). Cathy Kelley thanked us for watching, and said next week was the start of a new chapter for NXT.
Gutt Reaction: Crews vs. Samson was rest hold city for the most part. Not the match I would have booked to warm the crowd up prior to Takeover: Dallas, but I am thankful that it didn’t taint the rest of the live broadcast last week. Crews’ trajectory is now obvious following Raw, but I have no idea where they go with Samson now.
Overall, while the show didn’t drag, it really didn’t hold my attention. Unless there is a Full Sail taping I don’t know about, next week will likely feature the Axxess videos/matches I expected on this episode. If that’s the case, I’d hold fire until next week if time is short – if you watched Takeover: Dallas, there is nothing for you here.
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