That and the best wrestlers on the planet leads to one of the greatest wrestling shows of all time. I’ve seen a ton of wrestling cards in my life, from all over the world, but the greatest ones are those that BUILD. The shows that have matches that have been built up over time. Shows that give us the reason two men, or women, are facing off. Yes, there are a select few indy companies that can simply throw together matches, and it works, but if you’re on weekly TV you absolutely have to build your shows through time. You have to give us the reason for match ups. NXT does that better than anyone, and they did it better than ever for Takeover Dallas.
American Alpha was built over a long stretch of time. They weren’t shoved on us, they weren’t propelled into the top spot, even after we all realized how great they were, they still had to earn the spot through weeks of NXT TV. Dawson and Wilder were built even slower, losing most of their matches, going through gimmick adjustments, until finally they were utilized in a way that clicked. When these two teams finally came together it was a great big deal. Then those four men put on a match that was worthy of that build. American Alpha became the new champs, props to them. I like both teams, and if NXT is smart, they will be in a long feud that will see them trade the titles back and forth numerous times.
I’m not a big fan of Baron Corbin, but they’ve got a genius gimmick on him. “The indy killer” is money, and it opens up countless matchups for the big guy. After realizing that the NXT crowd wasn’t into the WWE recruit, that didn’t spend a day outside the WWE, instead of continuing to force him as a baby face, they used the fans resentment and made him the guy there to take out their indy darlings. Austin Aries has deserved a top spot for years, and it’s great to see him finally get it. I felt the match should have showcased a lot more of what Aries is capable of, but at least he won, at least he escaped Corbin’s dreaded finisher. I enjoyed the match over all, but it was the most disappointing match on the card, but it wasn’t Aries’s fault.
I’ve not seen a wrestler built the way Bayley has been built in decades. This girl came onto the scene like a joke, like a fan that could bump. She was a tag along, an afterthought. Little by little though she began to step up, and step out. Little by little fans began to realize this little silly girl that hugs everyone could really wrestle. She is now the wrestler that has had one of, if not the best matches I’ve seen from NXT. Bayley vs Sasha was epic in every way. Asuka was billed as one of the greatest of all time, and she’s come in and proven that to be true. She has a mystique around here like the WWE has never built around a foreign competitor. While this match wasn’t on the level of Bayley/Sasha it was very good. It showed Bayley as being all heart, taking on the dangerous Asuka and matching her step for step, until she got caught in the Asuka lock, and even then, she fought it like no one ever has before. Who challenges the new champion now? The only contender I see is Emma, and she’s lost to Asuka already. Who will NXT “build” next, for the mighty new champion?
The greatest match, on an amazing card honestly had the least build, but it still had some. Sami Zayn has been on a mission to prove he deserves another NXT title shot since returning from being injured by Kevin Owens. Suffering a huge set back from Samoa Joe (after weeks of building that match up) he refuses to be shaken, he insists that he will get back to the top, and become the only man to hold the NXT title two times. Regal appears on the ramp and informs Sami that he can do that by facing NXT’s newest signee, Shinsuke Nakamura! NXT then built Nakamura up the same way they did Asuka, and it lead to tons of hype, and excitement for the match. The match was beyond great, awesome isn’t a fair word either because so many matches have been described with that word. This match was an instant classic, one that will forever be remembered, and cherished by all true wrestling fans. Sami leaves NXT for the main roster having lost, and failed at his attempt to be the first man to become a two time NXT champion, but if WWE is smart they can use that in his Wrestlemania match. They can say that is what drives him. They can say his NXT failure, and Steen being the reason he lost the NXT title in the first place, is what makes him so desperately desire the IC title. Here’s hoping that is the story they tell on Sunday.
Samoa Joe has been built as a “monster” since day one in NXT. When they finally turned him heel that idea was pushed even more. No one has used Samoa Joe that well since his early ROH days. Fin Balor has been pushed as one of the greatest wrestlers the world has to offer since his arrival. As such, these two have been slowly, but surely, headed towards a collision for months. After the inexplicable chainsaw entrance of Balor’s, the match was incredible. Joe getting busted open immediately lead to a feeling or “realness.” The doctors, and cut men, stepping in every so often didn’t bother me either, they made it feel more real to me. I believe most people felt this was Joe’s night, so it was a shock when Fin retained. What now? Where does Joe go from here? Surely Fin is being called up to the main roster very soon, some even believe as early as Sunday’s Wrestlemania, and if not, then the next night on Monday’s RAW. Will he bring the NXT title with him? Or will he remain in NXT as the name behind that brand? Whatever happens, we know that NXT will do it right, we know they will keep building their stories like only they can. Wrestling that is built right is wrestling that is DONE right!