Review – NXT Takeover Respect

This is wrestling.

Hey kids! I haven’t written about wrestling in a while, not due to lack of interest but general malaise and ennui in regard to the product. Summerslam, Night of Champions and the MSG Special were just an extremely bland level of meh, nothing terrible enough to complain about, nothing great enough to praise, and the upcoming Hell in a Cell continues the head scratch-ery, with Brock Lesnar and Undertaker’s pointless on again, off again hate affair and uber-talented and criminally under-utilized Seth Rollins putting his title on the line against *shudder* Demon Kane.

The solution for endless main roster mediocrity? NXT, of course. The WWE developmental brand’s increased visibility has amazingly not yet caused it to profoundly suck, and last night’s live Takeover special continued the streak of HHH’s pride and joy being damn near the only un-shitty American wrestling game in town.

The biggest story here is the Iron Man (woman?) NXT Womens title Match between Bayley and Sasha Banks, a 30 minute encounter where the winner is the one with the most “decisions” at the end of the time limit, be they by pinfall, submission or count out. Endless digital ink has been spilled about the “four horsewomen” of wrestling, the Brooklyn curtain call, how NXT Women’s Wrestling is as awesome as the WWE Diva bullshit is terrible, yada yada yada, and it’s all true. The fan favorite Bayley, in appropriate Tony Stark red and gold, takes the heel Sasha (with more personality in her stunner shades than the entirety of the main roster) to the limit, in a harrowing instant classic that goes in and out of the ring and up the ramp and back before ending in a desperate last minute submission.

The announcers put over the historical significance, legends Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels (the less said about post Attitude Era garbage starring dickless shitheels like The Miz the better) and they’re right, this one’s the real deal, the 30 minute limit (as opposed to the usual 60, probably more to do with the short run time on these NXT specials than the gender of the participants) having no bearing on the quality of the athleticism on display. These heroes could’ve gone for another hour and kept the fanatics at NXT home turf Full Sail University begging for more.

The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament concluded as well, with uber-over face team extraordinaire Samoa Joe and Finn Balor taking the trophy home and Dusty’s family in attendance for a heartfelt ceremony honoring their legendary father and his contributions to NXT’s success thereafter. And finally there was the NXT debut of Japanese sensation Kana, now rechristened Asuka (because if WWE can’t trademark it, they don’t want it), who is for all intents and purposes a Japanese female Ultimate Warrior. Well, she looks and acts like the Warrior, but she can actually, y’know, uh… wrestle. NXT looks to have another winner on their hands.

Despite rumors of NXT taking the place of SmackDown! (complete with exclaimation point, like it just saw Solid Snake) on the weekly TV schedule, surely killing whatever underground indie cred it has in the process and burning the Arena at Full Sail into rubble like the house at the end of Carrie, NXT on TV remains WWE Network exclusive, and the best overall reason to fork the monthly $9.99 over to Uncle Vince’s money bin.


Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.

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