The open this week focuses on Bo Dallas and his win or leave
town NXT match against Big E, but it also provides a bit of an overview of the whole episode. It's kind of like a "scenes from next week's episode" segment of an serialized drama. I like it. Hope they keep doing it.
- Bo Dallas cuts a pre-match promo where he declares himself "Mr. NXT" and vows to never leave the BOlievers at Full Sail.
- Big E defeats Dallas with a Big Ending after Bo's turnbuckle loosening trick backfires and he's thrown head first into the exposed steel.
- The crowd is denied a five count from their returning hero.
- But they are treated to Bo's epic post-match tantrum where he injures his foot kicking the ring steps and announces that he "strongly dislikes" all of them and tells them to leave before deciding to be the bigger man and go.
- First off, this show had a weird, inverted flow to it due to this match kicking off instead of main eventing. It was the main focus of the build and got more than twenty minutes of the show's airtime. The whole episode would have felt much more satisfying building to this and closing on Bo's farewell. I get why they ended with what they did, this being the Takeover 'go home' show, but still.
- Renee Young, who is clearly still getting her feet under her as far as being a full-time color commentator goes (and who wasn't particularly helped by being sent out there with the even-greener Rich Brennan and Alex Riley - when A-Ry is the veteran of your announce table...yeesh), made an interesting comparison of the Bo character to Tim Tebow. It's a good, if dangerous, short hand to explain the gimmick. Yes, a lot of people loathe the former Heisman winner's goody goody persona. But a lot of folks in the WWE's target audience loved him, too.
- Don't mind me. I spend too much time obsessing about how Bo will be received by the WWE Universe.
- And it's because he freaking owns this character. I thought his pre-match speech was some of the best work he's done, and then he blew that out of the water with the post-match stuff. I love how they've established this rhythm where he can block out the fact that an audience has turned on him in the past and delude himself into thinking they're all BOlievers again. That said, the meltdowns are SO (or should I say, BO) satisfying.
- Good job, Full Sail. I still really hate it when you sing "He's Got the World" during Dallas' matches, but otherwise, you played your role well in this story.
- It sure was nice to see Big E get a chance to be over again. It's been a long time.
- The match? It was fine. Big E got his spots in, Bo is still pretty dependent on rest holds and basic strikes/slams, but it gives him a chance to do some character work during the match, too, so it all works out.
- I really hope Bo's banner flies in that arena forever. Thanks for the memories, champ.
- A video of Tyson Kidd from after his victory last week is run. Kidd says that this is why he came to NXT.
- Devin Taylor interviews Sami Zayn, who gives Kidd props for winning. Tyler Breeze interupts to point out that Sami didn't pin him, to which Zayn says that he'd be happy to pin him in a one-on-one match tonight. Prince Pretty can't do it tonight, due to phone accessory shopping and a ball he has to attend, but the match is made for Takeover.
- Divas champion Paige defeated Tamina in a much improved rematch of their Extreme Rules title match.
- Camacho walked out of his match with Adam Rose when the leader of the Exotic Express proved a little bit more intense than he was expecting.
- If they were showing any signs of tweaking or advancing Sami's character last week, they weren't present in this segment tonight. He's right back to "disappointed but undaunted fighting spirit guy".
- Breeze vs. Zayn at Takeover? All my quibbles about the card are gone. Still not crazy about any of the title match-ups, but I'm pumped to watch these two steal the show. I just hope this is the start of a feud that will roll for a while.
- One of the key improvements in the Paige vs. Tamina bout was that they let the champ get in a good bit of offense before the heel took control for the middle portion of the match. The Anti-Diva has some work to do, and Superfly's daughter is not a dream opponent, but this was a reminder of what she can do after a month-plus of watching her play face-in-peril on the main shows. Love the running high knee; she should keep that in her arsenal.
- Tamina's Superfly Splash already looks like dogcrap - could we at least remember to set it up so that her opponent isn't directly beneath her in the corner?
- We need more Modified Scorpion Crosslocks and less roll-ups. Also, a replacement for the Paige Turner. Kthnxbai.
- There was no cheeseburger in The Exotic Express tonight, so I guess he's still having the sesame seeds removed from his buns (HA!).
- I don't undertand this character, and after thinking they were at least figuring it out in developmental last week, I again don't believe they do, either. He parties his way to the ring. But then once he's in there, he's champing at the bit to get at Camacho...to avenge Captain Comic, who he made to go face the big man on his own to begin with? After charging right in and brawling, he then goes to the move where he pedals his feet at his opponent in the ropes (the Rose Pedal...grrr). He flip-flops between these personas all match. If he's going to be a babyface, he should be happy go lucky until he is insulted and/or his entourage is threatened, and then he should snap. It's quite simple. I don't see what the problem is. But having him revert back and forth from ponce to asskicker makes it impossible to connect to the character.
- Young compares Rose and the Rosebuds to Andy Warhol's Factory, another good reference that I don't think is going to help with 75% of WWE's audience.
- Hope they're working on a more developed character or group alignment for Camacho, because he has very believable big man offense and could be a valuable piece of the roster for years to come.
Segment Three / Main Event
- Charlotte is shown in an in-set promo saying that she is rooting for her fellow BFF Sasha Banks in her semi-final match-up, but worried because if The Boss wins, she'll have to expose all of her weaknesses.
- Natalya beats Sasha when The Nature Girl rolls her back in during a double countout, right into a Sharpshooter from Natty.
- Adrian Neville polishes off a game Curt Hawkins, and then sounds good on the microphone in a verbal exchange with Tyson Kidd, who does not sound good on the mic.
- The Dirtiest Diva in the game is coming along nicely with her heel character, but I don't think she quite has the chops to pull off whatever nuance they were going for between the BFFs tonight. I'm actually hoping the teased dissension is a non-starter, because I think the two work well together, NXT needs more than one strong female heel and I don't want to see either of them turned just to do the break-up program.
- Especially not Banks, who is on fire as a rudo right now. She just exudes this dangerous sass that is something to see, and even manages to seem arrogant while taking a beating. The character seeps into her offense, too, with moves like the double handcuff chinlock and the devastating looking double knee stomp she hit Natalya with while she was strung up on the second rope in the corner.
- The Queen of Harts looked pretty crisp tonight. I don't know if it's the stink of Total Divas on her or what, but I just don't care about her anymore.
- We can probably find something for Curt Hawkins to do beyond showing up on NXT or Superstars once every couple of months, right? The guy's a solid hand with a decent look and a bit of pedigree. Maybe play off the New York roots and work him alongside Big Cas and Enzo? Something?
- The "main event" was just set-up for the Red Arrow. Which is fine, because no wrestling crowd will ever NOT pop for that move. On the suject of the champ's moveset, I did find myself wondering if they should tell The Man that Gravity Forgot to leave the missle dropkick alone, in light of Daniel Bryan's situation and the former PAC's similar background.
- I guess this aired last so we could have the Kidd-Neville staredown. They ran out of time, becuase this would have been better of they turned Kidd heel (FACT!).
- The FACT! thing probably sounded better on paper, and someone like Cody Rhodes could probably make it work. Tyson Kidd is not Cody Rhodes.
- If one of the ideas for booking TK against Neville was to make the Brit look like a winner in all their verbal duels...mission accomplished. Adrian did sound really good on the mic, with good fire. I wish he hadn't gone to the WWE babyface well of mocking men for being with strong women, but I'm not at all surprised he did.
Another solid show. I think I probably would have given it an 'A' had the first and last segments been swapped. All of the shows since Takeover was announced have been of a very similar caliber for me. I think it just depends on how much certain segments or performers entertain you in terms of ranking one over another.
They have me excited for the live special next week, for sure, and that was their job. Well done, NXT.