Remember the Takeover… You can also remember the Rumble if you really want, but, just in case the 30th annual Royal Rumble disappoints, NXT Takeover: San Antonio will be there for you, with a truckload of comfort food and a warming embrace. This Week On NXT, you’ll get to see what it means to be a Perfect 10, how many backstage interviews you can do in one show and what a Japanese dog has to do with Bobby Roode. Let’s take a look.
First up, we had Sanity’s Nikki Cross Vs. Kennedy Lewis in a squash match. Nikki presented her character really well in the ring, snarling, acting vicious and quickly winning with a spinning neck breaker. Kennedy Lewis was fine but due to the type of bout, we didn’t really get to see much her move set. Hopefully, this gave her some exposure and TV experience, so when she does appear next time she’ll get a chance to show what she can really do.
In a standard-fare backstage interview, No Way Jose was interrupted by Kona Reeves, who harboured a grudge after the Dancing Dominican ran to the aide of Rich Swann at the last Takeover, instead of Reeves (his apparent long-time friend), when SAnitY were going HAM on the pair. In all honesty, it’s been that long since we’ve seen Reeves that I completely forgot he existed, but we’ll likely see a match between him and Jose soon. The Revival also had a backstage interview in which they were called out by TM61, who felt that the Top Guys should report to the end of the line for shots at the tag titles. The conversation meandered back and forth, eventually leading to a match later on in the night between the two teams.
The second match of the night was Roderick Strong Vs. Steve Cutler. Strong managed to finally to get some breathing room from the onslaught but Cutler kept coming back, rarely giving Strong a break. The Messiah of the Backbreaker got back in control of the match and finished Cutler off with a Sick Kick. Cutler performed well and has the potential to grow and develop more on the show. Strong was interviewed just after the match and said that he doesn’t care about Andrade and that he’s only here for the NXT title. Later on, it was announced that Strong would take on Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas at NXT Takeover: San Antonio. I’m looking forward to seeing that match, which could be a sleeper MOTN on what is a stacked, if not hastily thrown-together card.
After that, we got ANOTHER backstage interview, this time featuring Ember Moon discussing her ambitions to get the NXT Women’s Title. Liv Morgan interrupted saying that they should have a singles match, which is scheduled for next week, to establish who deserves to be next in line after the Fatal 4-Way at San Antonio. Is this the last backstage interview of the night? We can only hope.
Tye Dillinger came out and aired his frustration with himself about his losses so far in his career. It’s not like I’ve seen a similar storyline recently, *Cough* Dolph Ziggler *Cough*. Funnily, the crowd chanted “Royal Rumble” and “Number 10”, which is heavily rumoured, though based purely in speculation – but don’t tell me you wouldn’t be excited to see him in the Rumble. Dillinger was interrupted by Sanity’s Eric Young. He came to comfort Dillinger, telling him:
“You could have everything, you just need some guidance… you got to pick the right friends.”
Tye was asked to join SAnitY… bet that must sting for Damo who has been doing everything he can to be noticed. Young talked about succeeding through NXT his way and his friends way without trying to impress anyone. Dillinger dropped the coat, expressing his lack of interest in joining SAnitY, flipping Eric Young the 10 immediately afterward, (less cool than Steve Austin’s middle fingers, but the moment is still cool). After Dillinger took down Sanity, Damo came from nowhere to take out Dillinger. Damo had to be second choice, but was FINALLY offered a membership into SAnitY. It was revealed that Tye Dillinger will face Eric Young at NXT Takeover: San Antonio, again another match to look forward to for Takeover (with little to no build).
The third match of the night was TM61 Vs. The Revival. The Revival immediately attacked TM61 right out of the gate and controlled by systematically working on weak points like knees and other joints. Nick Miller managed to get a head of steam but was taken down by a spine buster. The Revival looked like they’d get the win but Miller pulled out a cheeky roll up pin and stole the win. The Revival didn’t exactly take the loss well and beat down both Miller and Thorne, leaving Thorne with an injured knee. Hoping this rivalry will let TM61 grow in popularity thanks to the heat between them and The Revival, and that The Revival continue to impress this year just as they did in 2016.
The night was capped off with a contract signing between Bobby Roode & Shinsuke Nakamura. Bobby talked about the night Nakamura debuted and how impressed he was with his appearance. But heels being heels, he dropped a bombshell, saying:
“You call yourself the king of strong style… the truth is you have no style.”
Shinsuke responded, calm and collected, by calling him a “Shiba Inu” which I’m told is Japanese dog. The crowd then started chanting Shiba Inu in reference to Roode – the NXT crowd is slowly becoming my favourite crowd ever by this point. He added that Roode will not change NXT as long as Shinsuke is the champion. They stared each other down until Nakamura did the unthinkable, he stated that their match will be… GLORIOUS! With Roode’s taunt, he stole the crowd and we’re left waiting for their confrontation at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio.
The show was littered with backstage segments that were there to set up matches down the line and possible contenders for their respective titles, though I just wish that they could’ve been spaced out a little more as it dragged the pace of the show down. The matches themselves were well performed and served their purpose efficiently to build up the next PPV, although focussing ahead and not looking at the present does leave the episode feeling a little slow with not that much actual wrestling involved. I will say Tye’s “likeable underdog” character still makes me want him to succeed, and maybe he can beat Eric Young at Takeover and start building up to something better. A slow episode, but highlights such as Strong’s match, Nikki Cross’s furious and fast moves, of course… Shiba Roode.