NXT Takeover: The End

NXT Takeover: The End
Date: June 8, 2016
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves

We’re back with a big show at Full Sail for the first time since last fall. It also might be the final show under the Takeover banner depending on which news source you believe. If nothing else it’s likely to be the final match between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe for Joe’s NXT Title inside a steel cage as the gimmick makes its debut in NXT. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks at the beginnings of NXT with names like Seth Rollins, Paige and the Wyatt Family. Then it was the era of Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks. However, all things that have a beginning must come to an end. We look at Samoa Joe and Asuka winning their respective titles as the old THE END IS HERE theme plays. Tonight is the end of the beginning.

Tye Dillinger vs. Andrade Cien Almas

This is Almas’ (formerly known as La Sombra in Mexico) debut. The place goes NUTS for Dillinger’s count to ten entrance and you would think he was a huge star based on the reception. Almas’ entrance attire is all white, including suspenders and a hat with a feather but no mask. The white comes off to reveal some blue and white tights for a pretty basic look. So he’s a male stripper?

Dillinger takes him down into a sunset flip and the fans are just going nuts for him. Almas sends him outside as the fans chant BETTER THAN ONE HUNDRED (as in ten is better than Cien, which is Spanish for one hundred). A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker (very popular move these days) gets two on Almas but he pops up to put Dillinger down.

Almas misses a moonsault as Tye rolls away, only to have Almas hit a standing moonsault for two instead. Andrade tries a headstand in the corner, only to have Dillinger superkick him down for two instead. Almas backflips into a double kick to the back before a bulldog puts Tye in the corner, setting up a double running knee in the corner for the pin at 5:18.

Rating: C+. This was uh…..not that great. Dillinger completely stole Almas’ debut here as the fans were COMPLETELY behind him and Almas didn’t exactly do much to win them back. Almas was totally fine here but certainly nothing that blew me away. It’s good enough but running knees in the corner isn’t enough of a finisher for him and he’ll need something much better.

We look back at American Alpha taking the Tag Team Titles from the Revival in a great match at Takeover: Dallas. This turned the Revival into a much more serious and aggressive team coming into the rematch here.

Tag Team Titles: Revival vs. American Alpha

Alpha is defending. Dawson and Gable start things off with Chad taking him to the mat but getting dropped with a shoulder block. It’s quickly off to Jordan who hits that really high dropkick for two on Scott, drawing a JORDAN chant. Back in and it’s a four way standoff with Alpha sending Revival at each other, only to have Dawson and Dash get behind the champs’ backs for double belly to back suplexes.

Those are reversed as well and it’s a double ankle lock to send Revival scurrying for the ropes. Back in and Alpha starts working on Dash’s arm and the referee doesn’t count a tag to Dawson. Not that it matters as the distraction lets Dash get in a cheap shot on Chad so the real tag can go through. That’s fine with Gable who works on Dawson’s arm, earning himself an uppercut to take it outside.

Everything breaks down again and Gable scores with a top rope double clotheslines, followed by a double dropkick to send Revival outside again. Back in and Chad tries a flying headscissors but gets caught in a hot shot to finally change control. They be clubberin in the corner for two on Gable and it’s time for an armbar. Dawson gets two off a spinebuster and it’s back to Dash for the armbar sequel.

Dash loads up something on top but gets pulled down into an armbar over the ropes. The hot tag is broken up by Dawson and a Trash Compactor (I haven’t seen that in years. It’s kind of like a delayed spinebuster from Dash with Dawson adding a top rope legdrop.) of all things for two on Gable. Not that it matters as Gable crawls through Revival’s legs and makes the hot tag off to Jordan as house is cleaned.

The spear in the corner gets two on Wilder but a sunset flip/clothesline combo gets two with Dash spearing Gable down for good measure. Jordan grabs a backslide and tags out at the same time, allowing Gable to sneak in for a German suplex with Jordan adding a dropkick for two. The fans accurately call this awesome as Chad puts Dawson in an ankle lock, only to be kicked away into an uppercut from Dawson.

That and a rollup with trunks is only good for two so Revival loads up their powerbomb/top rope clothesline combo, only to have Gable reverse it with a belly to belly ala Rick Steiner back at Wrestlemania IX. Another quick tag brings in Jordan as everything breaks down but Grand Amplitude is broken up and the Shatter Machine gives Revival the titles back at 16:00. That’s the first time anyone has ever held any title twice in NXT history.

Rating: A. This was an amazing athletic display and I was genuinely surprised by the ending. That belly to belly to counter the clothesline was outstanding and really had me flashing back to the Steiner Brothers. Revival looked great here too and you can almost guarantee a rubber match between these two, maybe going 2/3 falls. Either that or Gargano/Ciampa get the title shot while Alpha heads up to the main roster. Whatever happens now, this was outstanding.

Alpha is getting a standing ovation when two big guys who look a lot alike hit the ring and destroy them with splashes in the corner. A swinging side slam/running boot to the head drops Gable and a Russian legsweep/running clothesline does the same to Jordan. As they stand dominant (and receive a WHO ARE YOU) chant, Paul Ellering of all people comes out to watch. Those two would be Sunny Dhinsa and Gzim Selmani, collectively known as the Authors of Pain and normally under masks.

Asuka is warming up when Bayley comes up to look at her.

We recap Austin Aries vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, which is built around Aries wanting to prove that he really is the best in the world. Simple story and that’s all it needs to be.

Austin Aries vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Aries is coming in with taped up ribs. The fans are split but singing Nakamura’s theme tilts it in his favor. They hit the mat to start and that’s a standoff. It’s back to the mat with Aries jumping out of a headscissors and both guys ducking kicks, leading to a staredown. Nakamura puts his hands on the bad ribs and tells Austin to bring it. The fans think Shinsuke is going to kill him as he starts firing off more knees to the ribs.

Nakamura does his shaky leg in the corner (Good Vibrations) but a third attempt is countered into a shinbreaker. Aries drives a knee into Nakamura’s ribs but his slingshot hilo hits raised knees. For once it actually hurts the legs though and Aries kicks away at them to keep control. Off to a modified chinlock with a knee in the back as the fans sing the song again. Nakamura pops up and shrugs off the leg injuries to start firing off kicks. He really shouldn’t be able to do that. A knee to the ribs in the corner has Aries in trouble but he fights out of the reverse exploder suplex.

The knees to the head can’t set up the Last Chancery so Aries discus forearms him out to the floor, followed by the suicide elbow. That’s only good for two back inside as this is really starting to heat up. Aries goes up top but gets pulled into a triangle choke, only to make the ropes for the break. A release gordbuster looks to set up Kinshasa but Aries counters into another shinbreaker and throws on the Last Chancery.

As usual the hold can only stay on so long so Aries hits the running corner dropkick but he has to roll through the 450. Another running knee is blocked and Aries take him to the apron for a slugout with Nakamura scoring off an enziguri. Nakamura charges into a Death Valley Driver on the apron for a nine count but Aries screws himself over by missing a suicide dive and hitting the barricade. Back in and a middle rope Kinshasa sets up the real thing for the pin on Aries at 17:05.

Rating: A. The key there was Aries had Nakamura mostly beaten and then tried to go one step too far (in an effort to show how much better he was) and knocked himself out to set up the finish. It’s another excellent match as Nakamura continues to be someone who can turn it up to about 17 on a scale to 10 but it wasn’t quite as epic as the Zayn match. These two are both going to be fine though, especially if Nakamura learns to sell the leg injury. Aries could have done more with the ribs too but the announcers were speculating that they weren’t even hurt in the first place.

We recap Asuka vs. Nia Jax, which is the basic giant vs. giant slayer story. Both of them beat Bayley up pretty badly but the question is whether Asuka’s strikes can work on a monster like Jax.

Women’s Title: Nia Jax vs. Asuka

Asuka is defending and is quickly headbutted, followed by a hair toss to send her flying across the ring. A modified Octopus Hold of all things has Nia in trouble but she reverses into a backbreaker for two. Nia rubs at the face but gets caught in a guillotine, only to reverse with a big old suplex for two. Nia has to spin out of an armbar but gets caught in most of a triangle. It’s on loosely enough that Nia can lift her up for a buckle bomb to escape.

The champ’s back is bent around the post as this has been mostly one sided so far. Off to a bearhug but Asuka escapes and grabs a quick kneebar. A rope is grabbed so Nia plants her with a spinebuster, only to miss a legdrop. Asuka comes back with a quick middle rope dropkick and a running hip attack for two. The powerbomb gets two on Asuka but she grabs an armbar to start a TAP chant. Nia powers out of that as well but gets kicked in the head three times in a row. A running kick/knee to the head retains Asuka’s title at 9:09.

Rating: B. They had a story here with Asuka just coming at Nia over and over until she finally got somewhere but they’re running a bit of a risk by having Nia lose two big matches in a row. There’s more than enough time for her to rebuild but you have to assume Bayley gets the next title shot, possibly setting up a triple threat for the title. Nia looked more aggressive here and that’s where she needs to go, though she needs to get the title sooner than later.

Earlier today, William Regal was talking about the show when Bobby Roode walked past him. Regal immediately left to talk to him.

The cage is lowered.

We recap Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe. Balor beat Joe twice at previous Takeovers but lost the title to him at a house show. Tonight is the final match between the two and it’s being held in the first ever steel cage match in NXT history.

Neville is here.

NXT Title: Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor

In a cage with Joe defending. Balor is the Demon again and comes out from behind a piece of cage, which he shoves over and crawls across for a really cool visual. Pinfall, submission or escape to win here. Joe goes straight for the door to start but it’s barely even worth trying that early. The fans are behind Balor as he raises his boots to stop a charging Joe in the corner. A hard shot to Joe’s head lets Balor try a climb but Joe quickly pulls him back to the mat.

It’s time to go into the cage for the first time with Balor tasting the steel. Joe kicks him in the face but it’s too early to escape. An enziguri almost lets Balor escape but a German suplex drops him for two instead. Joe chops him to make everyone go WOO but he misses a charge and gets caught between the ropes and the cage. Balor hits a string of running strikes but can’t get over the top.

Instead Finn kicks him square in the jaw, only to have Joe fall on the ropes to crotch Balor down. The Muscle Buster is countered and they strike it out to put both guys down. Back up and Balor heads for the top, only to have to come down with a Sling Blade for two. A second Sling Blade gets two more but Joe pulls him out of the corner and gets two of his own off the Muscle Buster.

Joe shouts that he’s going to end Balor but Finn sends him into the cage a few times, followed by a third Sling Blade. A quick Coup de Grace gets two and Joe grabs the Koquina Clutch. Balor tries to flip out of the corner onto Joe but the hold is broken, meaning Finn has to settle for most of a standing double stomp. Balor gets his legs over the top of the cage but Joe pulls his head down and hits a middle rope Muscle Buster to retain the title at 16:07.

Rating: A-. I was expecting a bit more out of the finish but I’m surprised by the fact that Joe won off a clean pin. It’s a huge win for him as the Demon has never been beaten before. Again you have to think that Balor is heading to the main roster now and Joe should be soon behind him, but this was all about Joe and that’s a good thing for the long term future of NXT because whoever beats Joe is a huge star.

Balor has to be helped out to end the show.

Overall Rating: A+. When sixty percent of your show is an A- or better, I don’t know how much better you can get. The only thing missing here was some of the atmosphere and energy that existed down in Dallas but that’s hardly anything to take away. There were three excellent matches here that are worth checking out plus one very good and another that was just good, earning itself worst match of the night honors. This didn’t have the hype coming in but it was another amazing night of NXT.


Andrade Cien Almas b. Tye Dillinger – Running double knees in the corner

Revival b. American Alpha – Shatter Machine to Jordan

Shinsuke Nakamura b. Austin Aries – Kinshasa

Asuka b. Nia Jax – Running knee to the head

Samoa Joe b. Finn Balor – Super Muscle Buster

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