6/8 Powell’s NXT Takeover: The End live review – Samoa Joe vs.Finn Balor in a cage match for the NXT Title, Shinsuka Nakamura vs. Austin Aries, American Alpha vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Titles

imgresBy Jason Powell

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NXT Takeover: The End
Aired live on WWE Network
Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video package opened the show and focussed on the various matches while a singer belted out “The End is near,” in Jim Morrison style. The narrator closed the video by saying it is “the end of the beginning”… Tom Phillips and Corey Graves were on commentary…

Powell’s POV: Zack Zimmerman is in attendance at the show and passed along word that Amber Moon (Adrianne Reese) beat Peyton Royce in the dark match. Moon won with a diving flip stunner in about five minutes.

1. Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Tye Dillinger. Dillinger was over huge with the live crowd, which chanted “Ten” as he made his entrance. Phillips and Dillinger checked in from ringside. Almas entered to some wannabe Carlos Santana instrumental. The wrestlers ran the ropes and Dillinger dropped down only to be hit with an Almas dropkick. Dillinger rolled to ringside. Almas teased going for a suicide dive, but caught himself in the ropes and flashed a smile while holding himself in between the middle and top rope.

Almas went to the second rope and went for a moonsault. Dillinger rolled away, but Almas landed on his feet and then performed a standing moonsault in a cool spot. Dillinger caught Almas on the ropes with a kick and a good portion of the crowd popped big for the kick and chanted “holy shit.” Graves said Dillinger was a half count away from spoiling the debut of Almas. Andrade came back and performed a running double knee in the corner and scored the pin…

Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Tye Dillinger in 5:25.

Powell’s POV: Almas showed some tremendous athleticism, and Dillinger played his part in the match very nicely. Seth Rollins raved about Dillinger on Chris Jericho’s podcast, noting that he worked with him prior to making his return. The broadcast team also put over Dillinger’s performance and said he opened a lot of eyes even though he lost the match. Almas is the guy they are clearly excited about, but it’s cool that Dillinger’s hard work has earned him a nice Full Sail following. I see him as the new Tyler Breeze in that he is currently a stepping stone type whom NXT officials can count on to elevate other talent. That said, it’s possible Dillinger will end up being more than that if he’s given the opportunity.

The broadcast team hyped Triple H taking part in a Facebook interview that will air live after the show. They also hyped the tag title match and then footage of American Alpha winning the title during WrestleMania weekend was shown…

2. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan vs. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson for the NXT Tag Team Championship. The broadcast team hyped Breaking Ground Reloaded airing after NXT (competing with the Triple H interview). The screen cut to green and pink momentarily, but it only lasted for a second at roughly the 2:00 mark. Jordan hit a beautiful dropkick on Dawson, then hit another on Dash. The teams came face-to-face and then traded punches. The Revival ended up at ringside briefly, but they came back and fought again. American Alpha got the better of the exchange and applied a double ankle lock. The Revival members escaped to ringside as the crowd applauded Gable and Jordan.

At 5:45, Jordan and Gable performed stereo dropkicks and clotheslines that cleared the ring. They slid on their knees by the ropes to play to the crowd, which cheered loudly. Dawson came back with a Hot Shot on Gable that Dash assisted with. The challengers isolated Gable in their corner. At 8:45, Gable made a lunge toward his corner, but Dawson put him down with a spinebuster for a two count.

Gable caught Dash in an armbar while hanging from the outside of the ropes and had to release the hold. The challengers maintained control and got a two count off a nice double team move that saw Dash hold Gable up while Dawson performed a top rope leg drop. Gable finally slipped through the legs of both opponents and made the hot tag to Jordan. The heel duo regrouped, but Jordan tagged in Gable, who performed a suplex into a bridge on Dawson off a dropkick from Jordan for a two count.

Gable held onto the ropes when Dawson tried to DDT him. Gable applied the ankle lock. Dawson kicked off Gable, who was hit by an uppercut form Dash on the floor and was rolled up for a good near fall. A short time later, Dash and Dawson hit their finisher on Jordan and pinned him.

The Revival defeated American Alpha to win the NXT Tag Titles in 15:35.

After the match, two unnamed wrestlers hit the ring and attacked American Alpha and ended up leaving them lying. Paul Ellering, who managed the Road Warriors, walked onto the stage after the beating took place. “Who are these guys?” Graves asked after acknowledging Ellering by name…

Powell’s POV: An excellent match that I enjoyed even more than their strong Takeover: Dallas outing. The finish was a pleasant surprise. It will be debated simply because Gable and Jordan are so over, but I like that The Revival are back in the driver’s seat with Alpha as the challengers. For a second I thought this might be a sing that Alpha are going to be called. I could be mistaken, but the post match attack by The Authors of Pain makes it seem more likely that Alpha will be sticking around to feud with the AOP. As a longtime fan, I love the use of Ellering, who looks tremendous for his age. The Full Sail crowd chanted “who are you?” but that may have been directed at the tag team more than the manager. It’s worth noting that Ellering’s daughter Rachel recently worked an NXT match.

A video package set up the Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries match… Entrances for the match took place. Aries, who had his ribs wrapped, received a rather flat reaction. Graves said there was “nothing on the injury report” regarding Aries being injured. He said it puts a target on his ribs, but he also said it could be a swerve in that Aries may have another part of his body that is actually injured. Nakamura received a star reaction with the fans chanting along with music and then continuing with the chant after the song stopped playing…

3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries. There were chants for both wrestlers with Nakamura getting more support. Aries sold rib pain, and Nakamura delivered some kicks to the ribs early on. At 9:30, Nakamura threw a series of great kicks. He placed Aries on the top rope and then delivered a running knee to the ribs. Aries came back and threw knees to the top of Nakamura’s head while holding him in a face lock. Aries caught Nakamura with a nice spinning elbow to the face. Aries followed with a suicide dive under the middle rope. Aries rolled Nakamura back inside the ring and covered him for a two count.

Graves said the match had been all Aries. Aries adjusted his rib wrap. Nakamura reached up and caught him in a triangle. Aries reached the ropes. Graves said a lot of damage could have been done to Aries in the 10-15 seconds he was in the hold. Nakamura went for a running knee, but Aries caught him and ended up applying the Last Chancery at 13:05. Nakamura put his foot on the ropes to break the hold. The crowd chanted for Nakamura. The Aries chants in response were louder than earlier in the match.

Aries threw a running dropkick in the corner at 14:15. Areis went up top and went for the 450. Nakamura moved, but Aries landed on his feet and ended up regaining control of the match. Both men ended up on the ring apron and traded forearm shots. A short time later, Aries performed a Death Valley Driver onto the apron. Aries followed up with a suicide dive attempt, but Nakamura moved and Aries crashed into the barricade. Nakamura followed up with his running high knee finisher and scored the pin…

Shinsuke Nakamura beat Austin Aries in 17:05.

Powell’s POV: Graves did a great job of recapping the story of the match, which is that Aries brought his A-game, but one mistake led to Nakamura getting the win. I love the way Aries looked so strong in defeat. It will be interesting to see if he uses the ribs as an excuse in a heelish manner or if they try to tell the story that he was injured and still managed to push Nakamura to the limit. A hell of a match.

The broadcast team spoke at ringside and hyped the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event that will be held during SummerSlam weekend…

Footage aired of Samoa Joe arriving at the building earlier in the day… A video package set up the women’s title match…

4. Asuka vs. Nia Jax for the NXT Women’s Championship. The announcers noted that Nia rejected Bayley’s good luck handshake. Nia tossed Asuka by her hair across the ring early on. Asauka applied a submission hold, but Jax broke free and slammed Asuka down. There were dueling chants with Asuka winning out, though not by much. Asuka caught Jax with a guillotine, but Jax powered out and slammed her down again. Asuka came back with a triangle. Jakx powered out and slammed Asuka into the corner and then rammed her backside into Asuka’s face.

Jax bent Asuka’s back around the ring post while standing on the floor. Asuka came back with a knee bar at 6:00 but Jax reached the ropes to break it. Graves said it was the first time that Jax had really been in jeopardy during the match. Jax bounced right back with a slam and then went for leg drop, but Asuka moved. Asuka threw a missile dropkick from the second rope and then fired up with some great spinning back fists.

Asuka powerbomed Asuka and covered her, but Asuka countered into an armbar. Jax teased tapping only to power out. Asuka went for the Asuka lock. Jax forced her way out. Asuka caught Jax with a pair of spinning kicks. Jax let out a war cry. Asuka threw two more kicks at Jax and pinned her clean. Jax sat in the corner and a trainer climbed onto the apron and checked on her afterward…

Asuka defeated Nia Jax in 9:10 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. It won’t compete for best of the night, but Jax looked like a powerhouse who had the champion on the ropes before she finally went down. Asuka’s abdomen looked more tone than it did during WrestleMania weekend. By the way, I was told that Jax looked loopy after the match and was walked backstage by one of the trainers.

An ad aired for Breaking Ground Reloaded… The hosts hyped the Facebook interview with Triple H that will be conducted by Cathy Kelley for after the show…

Footage aired of William Regal being interviewed earlier in the day in the backstage area. Regal spoke about how it is the first time the NXT Championship will be defended in NXT. Bobby Roode walked through the backstage area with a coffee in hand. Regal stopped and looked in the direction of Roode. A stagehand entered the picture and whispered into Regal’s ear. Regal ended the interview and entered the room that Roode had already entered…

The broadcast team spoke briefly and acknowledged Roode’s appearance, then hyped the main event as the cage was shown around the ring…

Neville was shown sitting in the crowd and was acknowledged by the broadcast team…

Balor made entrance as the Demon and had pieces of a cage on the stage. He appeared behind a piece of the cage and presumably pushed it over (my network feed skipped) and then crawled to the ring. He climbed over the cage and walked the top rope from one side of the cage to the other and then squatted on the top rope until his music finished playing. Joe made his entrance and entered the cage while the broadcast team explained the usual rules of a WWE styles cage match. The wrestlers were introduced as they stood inside the cage and the ring announcer once again stated the rules of the cage match…

5. Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor in a cage match for the NXT Championship. There was a loud “Let’s Go Finn” chant that was followed by “Joe” chants just before the bell. There was a brief “this is awesome” chant before the wrestlers made contact. Joe made an early attempt to walk out the door, but Balor stopped him in the opening minute.

Joe hurled Balor over the top rope and into the cage a couple of times around 3:00. Graves said the cage “will crush your spirit.” Joe had an offensive run and performed a running kick to the head of a seated Balor in the corner. Balor got up and fought back, but Joe hurled him into the cage again at 5:20. Joe tried to leave through the cage door, but Balor caught him by the leg and threw forearms and then a kick to the head of Joe. Balor tried to leave through the door, but Joe grabbed his leg and pulled him back at 6:00. Joe followed up with a wicked German suplex for a two count.

At 9:50, Balor avoided a Muscle Buster attempt and then traded shots with Joe in mid-ring. Balor got the better of it with a kick that Joe sold by acting dazed while falling to the mat. Balor got to his feet and climbed the cage. Joe caught Balor from behind and then both men traded shots while standing on the top rope. Balor performed a sling blade clothesline off the top rope and covered Joe for two. The broadcast team played up the fact that Balor was close to the cage door and may have been able to escape if he had realized where he was.

Joe came back with a running senton and a Muscle Buster and got a two count at 11:40. Graves pointed out that the same move led to Joe beating Balor to win the title in Lowell, Massachusetts. Joe yelled that he would end Balor. Joe picked up Balor and threw kicks at him. Joe tried to powerbomb Balor into the cage, but Balor slipped away and then ran Joe into the cage twice and followed up with a sling blade clothesline and a pair of running dropkicks.

Balor climbed to the top rope and hit the Coup de Grace for a two count at 13:30. Balor picked up Joe, who spun him around and applied the Coquina Clutch. Balor escaped and had Joe down when he looked to fans. Balor tried to escape over the cage, but Joe caught him. Balor kicked himself free. Balor climbed to the top of the cage and had one leg over. Joe reached up and grabbed the other leg. Balor fought to get both legs over the top of the cage, but Joe slammed his head into the cage and then performed a Muscle Buster off the ropes for the clean win.

Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor to retain the NXT Championship in 16:10.

Joe celebrated his win while two referees and a trainer checked on Balor. Joe left the ring with his title belt while Balor remained down in the ring and a replay of the middle rope Muscle Buster finisher was shown. Joe headed backstage with his title while Balor continued to be treated to end the show…

Powell’s POV: A strong, dramatic main event. Most people picked Joe, but it did not feel like a lock by any means and that uncertainty made the near falls count. Of course, this will lead to speculation that Balor is leaving for the main roster and Joe is staying. And perhaps that will happen, but it’s just as possible that both men stay or even that both men leave. After all, there is a television taping tomorrow and it’s not like we haven’t seen the NXT Champion appear on the main roster before. The point is that while I’m as curious as anyone to see how it plays out, I’m not reading too much into anything at this point.

Overall, another excellent NXT Takeover special. This one didn’t seem to have as much buzz as the previous shows, yet there was never a dull moment. I will recap the Triple H interview shortly, and then I will be back later tonight with an NXT Takeover: The End audio review for members later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.



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