Views from the Hawke's Nest: NXT Takeover
Posted by TJ Hawke on 06.08.2014
Ric Flair cried!
I do not hate NXT, but I often find there's not that much of their programming that excites me. For every Sami Zayn, there seems to be ten guys and gals who only know the basic WWE developmental match that is not exciting in the least. Obviously, a number of those unexciting wrestlers have some really charming characters that gives them a leg up, but I cannot help but feel like NXT should easily be able to put together two to three good matches on every non-live special, but they just don't seem interested in that. While I gave up on watching (and reviewing) NXT TV earlier in the year, I decided that I would check in on the live specials if I had time.
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, & William Regal
Adam Rose vs. Camacho
Rose and his posse’s entrance started outside before they made their way to the ringside area. It was quite delightful. Rose was being a bit silly at the start of the match, but Camacho managed to overcome the shenanigans and cut him off. Camacho worked him over for a while. Rose eventually came back. His comeback except for his “choo choo” Bronco Buster felt like it was exactly the same as every other development babyface that has had limited experience outside of the WWE developmental system. Rose finished Camacho with a snapmare driver: 1…2…3. Eric Corvis is fuming somewhere about inventing that move.
If Rose is going to take off, he’s going to need to find a way to integrate his character into his in-ring action more and more. I don’t really understand the point of this match. Camacho dominated the majority of the match, and Rose did nothing of note in the match besides the fact that he won. Match Rating: *
There was a very nice video showing Sami Zayn’s journey over the last few months.
Local and Kalisto called for stereo dives early, but the Ascension caught them with uppercuts. That was awesome. The Ascension worked Kalisto over for a while. Kalisto eventually took down Viktor with a jackknife hurricanrana. Local then made a very sloppy comeback. The teams briefly went back and forth. El Local then ate The Fall of Man: 1…2…3
I don’t have much to say about this match, beyond that it was not very good. I really liked the spot where The Ascension blocked the stereo dives. I think Local and Kalisto would be better off if Local got worked over and Kalisto made the comeback. Match Rating: *1/4
Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze
The winner of this match gets a shot at the NXT Championship.
Sami was mostly in control in the early goings. Breeze managed to cut him off after dumping Zayn to the floor. Zayn appeared to bump his head on that one. Breeze worked Zayn over for a while. Zayn eventually managed to bait Breeze to the floor, and he then took him out with an Arabian Press moonsault. Zayn made a comeback after that. Breeze came back. They traded nearfalls. Breeze had Zayn on the ropes until Zayn fired back with an exploder into the corner out of nowhere. They traded shots. Breeze connected on a superkick: 1…2…NO! Zayn came back with the double pumphandle vertical suplex powerbomb, but it was not done in a particularly smooth way. Zayn followed that up with a tope con hello! Breeze’s head bounced off the floor. Zayn brought him back in the ring and went for Yakuza. Breeze collapsed though, and Zayn essentially crotched himself on the attempt. Breeze then caught him with the Beauty Shot: 1…2…3!
This was the match that Breeze needed to have to convince me that he can be more than just an entertaining character on the WWE roster. He’s been getting a lot of hype from the NXT fanboys and fangirls, but I never really saw any special matches from him. He clearly has the potential to be a very talented all-around performer. Sami Zayn continues to deliver whenever he needs to on NXT programming. He belongs on the main WWE roster. Match Rating: ***1/2
Lana and Rusev came out to put over Vladimir Putin. WWE contributing to the false idea that Putin is some sort of mythical villain is nauseating. At first, I thought the Putin thing was just a one-time gag that I found tremendously amusing. It seems clear that it’s here to stay. Stop reading the rest of this paragraph if you hate “writers who can’t just have fun with problematic things in wrestling.” The Cold War is over. While it’s nice and easy to divide the world into two, the world is in fact more complicated than that. There's a reason why this narrative is popular in film, it appeals to us on a fundamental psychological level: it's safe and simple (we know who our enemy is) and it can be won (unlike a war on terror or climate change or poverty, plus we won it before, ostensibly through ideological superiority). It sells. We buy its simplicity and we buy the image of ourselves that it generates: if you create a bi-polar world where the US is pitted against Russia-- then you have America as the world's shining superpower again, defined by its contrast to a mythic antagonist. American exceptional-ism can resurface regardless of our actual internal condition. Yadda yadda, contact me privately to hear more of my ranting about the dangers of oversimplified political messages in media. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming where I dissect a performance art designed to pit one “hero” vs. one “villain” with little to no wiggle room for interpretation as to which person is which.
Mojo Rawley came out to defend ‘merica, but he got his ass kicked. I’m surprised Mojo got used in this manner, but it does not bother me.
Natalya (w/ Bret Hart) vs. Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair) [NXT Women’s Championship]
There was a really good video package before the match.
Paige came out before the match to officially vacate the belt. Charlotte, who looks more like Summer Rae now than I remember, and Natalya traded holds and whatnot at the start. Neither woman could get a firm advantage. At this point, the presentation of this match is light years ahead of the majority of matches in the WWE that feature women. They traded some hard slaps. Charlotte delivered some hard strikes that sent Nattie to the floor. Ric proceeded to strut and mock Bret. Charlotte got control of the match and hit the Alex Shelley facebuster move. Natalya came back and applied an abdominal stretch, but Charlotte escaped and cut her off again with a dropkick. Natalya then made her proper comeback out of nowhere. Charlotte dropped Natalya on the floor in a nasty bump. Back in the ring, Charlotte went for a moonsault but came up empty. Natalya then connected on a discus lariat and applied a sharpshooter. Charlotte reversed it into a figure four. They rolled around a bit. Natalya reversed the pressure. They spilled out onto the floor. Charlotte sent Nattie into the steps, injured leg first. Charlotte applied the sharpshooter, and Bret gave the classic “Bret Hart is not impressed with Triple H matches” face. Nattie escaped, but and Charlotte hit the Bow Down to the Queen: 1…2…3!
There’s probably only been a handful of women matches in the WWE over the last 10-15 years that have been as good as this one. They worked the Hiroshi Tanahashi/Minoru Suzuki match where they didn’t do any pinfalls until the finish. (Edit: I re-watched the match, and I was completely and uttlerly wrong. There were only a handful of pinfall attempts before the finish, but they did happen. I am a fool. Meh.) The match felt very unique, and the fact that Natalya (who I find gets a lot more praise than her resume deserves) and Charlotte (who I have never seen anything good from in the ring) were the ones who worked the match is somewhat mind blowing. Match Rating: ***1/2
This main event was fine but I felt like it was missing substance and emotion. In other words, I just watched a completely unsurprising Tyson Kidd match. I liked Adrian Neville a ton, but unlike Sami Zayn, he is not the guy that can carry other people to their best match. He’s someone who can do enough to make a match in spite of his opponent. Tyson Kidd is obviously very talented, but I think he needs to reestablish himself in the tag division before we can try to take him seriously again as a singles performer. Match Rating: ***
The 411: Three of the matches on this show were very interesting (even if the main event was underwhelming), and the other three matches/segments on this show I could have done without. However, I still think Takeover was a step up from ArRival because I will always prefer a hsow having two to three good matches than one great match and nothing else of note. With all of that that in mind, I recommend that you check out this show. The Zayn/Breeze and Charlotte/Natalya matches are definitely worth watching.