WWE “NXT Takeover: The End” Report
June 8, 2016
Live from Full Sail University
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
- NXT Title match: Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor in a steel cage
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries
- NXT Women’s Title match: Asuka vs. Nia Jax
- NXT Tag Title match: American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) vs. The Revival (Dash & Dawson)
- Tye Dillinger vs. debuting Manny Andrade
The NXT special started with a historical video package looking at the rise of NXT with the likes of Sami Zayn, Paige, Seth Rollins, and more (including Jim Ross’s calling pre-rise NXT). Tonight, The End is here. It’s “the end of the beginning” of NXT, said the voice-over man.
In the arena, Tye Dillinger was out first to loud “10, 10, 10” chants for the opening match. Corey Graves and Tom Phillips were on commentary. Spanish music interrupted Dillinger’s introduction to produce Andrade “Cien” Almas making his Takeover debut.
1 – TYE DILLINGER vs. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS
Hot start to the match with both men trying to impress the other and the crowd with their in-ring abilities. Meanwhile, Phillips referenced Andrade as a former IWGP Intercontinental champion (as La Sombra), linking him to Shinsuke Nakamura as another former IWGP IC champ on the NXT roster.
Andrade went for a big corner attack, but Dillinger surprised him with a giant superkick for a two count. Dillinger then dropped his kneepad looking for the big finish, but Andrade kicked free and nailed a handspring elbow into a running bulldog. Andrade followed with a big double-knee smash in the corner for the three count.
Post-match, Andrade celebrated in the ring for a while as the crowd shifted away from disappointment that Dillinger lost to applauding a new star like Andrade. WWE cut to a shot of Dillinger selling frustration on the stage.
WINNER: Andrade at 5:22. Surprisingly quick work of Dillinger as the crowd was just settling into the show. Good win for Andrade, though, who has a money look and tons of charisma. (**)
Announcers: Phillips and Graves plugged Triple H’s post-NXT interview on Facebook.
Backstage: Nia Jax was shown warming up for her NXT Title shot against Asuka later in the show.
Video Package: NXT Tag Title situation, specifically American Alpha capturing the Tag Titles from The Revival at the last Takeover special in Dallas two months ago. A very quick pace to the show thus far.
In-ring: The Revival was introduced to the ring first wanting to win back the Tag Titles. American Alpha was out next sporting matching red, white, and blue warm-up gear and track suits.
2 — NXT tag champions AMERICAN ALPHA (JASON JORDAN & CHAD GABLE) vs. THE REVIVAL (DASH & DAWSON) — NXT Tag Title match
The crowd was red-hot for the tag champs early on. The match built to Jordan hot-tagging and delivering his majestic standing dropkick on both challengers. Suddenly, there was a stand-off with all four men in the ring. Then, fists started flying and the action broke down into a street fight. Suddenly, Alpha caught Dash & Dawson in stereo anklelocks, popping the crowd. Revival desperately got to the ropes for a break to escape the champs.
Dash tried to sneak-attack Jordan returning to the ring, but Jordan caught him with a suplex. Gable then tagged in and worked on Dash. Dawson eventually tagged in and uppercut Gable out of the ring. But, Jordan lured in the challengers to take a double cross-body splash from Gable out of nowhere. Alpha then clotheslined the heels completely out of the ring before posing for the hard camera. Strong babyface tag team work in the first six minutes.
The match continued back in the ring with Dawson finally getting an opening with a slingshot neck-drop to Gable across the top rope. After the faces shined for a while, the heels finally slowed the pace working on Gable. After Dawson landed a spinebuster, Dash tagged in and walked right into a tarantula-like submission in the ropes from Gable. Dash broke free, then tagged in Dawson, who clipped Gable in mid-air to prevent him from hot-tagging Jordan.
The heels went back to work on Gable, who finally crawled through the legs of both Dash and Dawson to tag in Jordan. JJ went nuts with offense on both heels. Giant spear in the corner into a t-bone suplex on Wilder for a two count. The challengers waited for Jordan to expend energy, then caught him with a sunset flip sequence for a close two count.
Hot tag to Gable, who caught Dawson with an anklelock in the middle of the ring. He managed to kick free, Dash smashed him from the outside, and Dawson rolled up Gable with a handful of tights for a close two count. Chaos broke out with both teams charging in and out of the ring. Tag to Jordan, who walked into the Shatter Machine. Dash covered and Gable was a second late breaking up the pin, resulting in a three count. The announcers sold the crowd in complete shock over the result.
WINNERS: Dash & Dawson at 16:00 to re-capture the NXT Tag Titles. Stunning result to conclude a super-hot tag match. One of the hottest crowds for a WWE tag match you’ll see in the modern-era. Jordan & Gable are so good, while Dash & Dawson really held their own in impressive fashion. (***3/4)
Post-match, Dash & Dawson took the Tag Titles and hit the stage to celebrate. Meanwhile, Jordan and Gable slowly recovered in the ring. Suddenly, two huge men in black pants and black tanktops stormed the ring to attack the former tag champs. It was the Authors of Pain, who have been on NXT Florida house shows recently. They put a beating on Jason & Jordan. Suddenly, Paul Ellering slowly walked out on-stage to look into the ring. Wow. Ellering’s two charges left the ring and joined him on the stage, then he walked off with them.
Backstage: Asuka warmed up for her NXT Women’s Title defense with MMA trainer Seth Petruzelli. Bayley then walked into the shot and shook Asuka’s hand.
Video Package: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries. It’s time.
In-ring: Austin Aries was introduced first sporting a cape and taped ribs. Graves said there was nothing in the injury report on Aries having an injury, so perhaps there’s a strategy involved. Suddenly, the lights went down. Cue up Nakamura’s theme music. The King of Strong Style has arrived, complete with strobe lighting. Amazing.
3 — SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. AUSTIN ARIES
As the bell sounded, the crowd was full-throat humming Nakamura’s theme song and chanting his name. The two men slowly circled the ring as Nakamura sold intensity and Aries sold amusement over how hot the atmosphere was. After a lock-up, an early stand-off produced applause from the crowd.
Aries went for an early Last Chancery, but Nakamura hit the ropes to escape. Aries mocked Nakamura doing his trademark mannerisms, drawing a face-to-face confrontation. Nakamura promptly smashed Aries in the gut with repeated knees. The King followed with vibration boots in the corner. And again.
Suddenly, Aries caught Nakamura in the corner with a knee attack. Aries followed with a legwhip targeting the left knee. Aries kept going after Nakamura’s leg before nailing a torpedo senton from the ring apron. He followed with an elbow smash from the second rope. Aries continued to slow the pace wearing down Nakamura as the crowd sang Nakamura’s theme song to try to rally.
Suddenly, Nakamura fired off a high-impact chop into a left-leg kick. Nakamura shook off the knee work, then nailed knee strikes in the corner. Knee to the mid-section for a two count. Nakamura wanted an exploder suplex, but Aries elbowed Nakamura in the face to block. Aries followed with a hard chop to the chest, then kneed Nakamura in the head. But, he couldn’t transition to the Last Chancery. Instead, Nakamura pushed free, only to take a roaring elbow from Aries.
Nakamura fell to the outside selling the elbow, then Aries came flying through the ropes with a suicide dive. Aries quickly rolled Nakamura back into the ring, scoring a close two count. Suddenly, Nakamura snatched him with a submission, but Aries grabbed the ropes to break. Nakamura quickly followed up with knee smashes to the head/neck area. Nakamura followed with a front-face suplex into an attempted Boma Ye knee, but Aries avoided and nailed a suplex. Aries flowed right into the Last Chancery. Nakamura refused to give up, then used his long legs to reach the ropes.
Reset at 14:00 with both men selling exhaustion. Aries picked up Nakamura looking to finish him, but Nakamura smashed him in the chest with a pump kick. Aries then blocked a corner attack and smashed Nakamura with a chop to the head. Aries tried a suplex out of the ring, but Nakamura blocked. Big exchange. Fists flying. Forearms. Kicks. Suddenly, Nakamura kicked Aries in the head, but Aries caught a charging Nakamura with a DVD on the ring apron. Big spot.
Aries returned to the ring looking for a count-out, but then he decided to try a flying suicide dive, but Nakamura intercepted with a smash to the face. Nakamura seized the opportunity by chucking Aries into the ring to smash him in the back of the head with a knee shot. Reverse suplex, then Nakamura nailed the Boma Ye knee for the pin and the win as the crowd exploded.
Post-match, Graves enhanced the story by noting Aries made one mistake going for a big suicide dive on the floor, giving Nakamura an opening to finish him. Aries left the ring, then Nakamura posed for an appreciative crowd.
WINNER: Nakamura at 17:05. What a match. It was a bit methodical early on, but it helped build to an epic conclusion with Aries showing the fire and in-ring ability he built his reputation on, matching Nakamura’s superior skills. The prospect of Nakamura facing the NXT champion in Brooklyn is huge. (****1/4)
Announcers: Phillips and Graves hyped NXT starting all over again at “NXT Takeover: Brooklyn” on August 20.
Video Package: NXT Women’s Title situation involving new champion Asuka, former champion Bayley, and new challenger Nia Jax.
In-ring: Nia Jax was introduced to the ring first as the domineering challenger. Big close-up on her eyes from stage to ring selling intensity and intimidation. Asuka was then introduced as the defending champion.
4 — NXT Women’s champion ASUKA vs. NIA JAX — NXT Women’s Title match
Prior to the opening bell, NXT ring announcer Greg Hamilton handled formal ring introductions. The crowd was clearly behind Asuka, but Nia did not care, as she kept her focus on Asuka until the bell sounded. Asuka tried to get the jump, but Nia used her size advantage to block. Nia then shoved her into the corner and Asuka sold concern for one of the few times during her NXT run, forced to re-think her strategy. Asuka tried a head-scissors, but Asuka countered into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two count.
Nia continued to dominate as the crowd tried to rally with “Asuka” chants. Nia could not put away Asuka, though, even after a sick powerbomb. But, Asuka came back with her trademark strikes and punishment. Nia tried to fire up to show that she wasn’t affected, but Asuka smashed her right in the face with a running strike to a seated Jax. Asuka covered for the win.
WINNER: Asuka at 9:12 to retain the NXT Women’s Title. Fine display from both champion and challenger. Asuka got to show underdog fire and Nia was established as a dominant force, who was done in by her hubris thinking she had the match won because of her size advantage. (**3/4)
Earlier Today: NXT GM William Regal was interviewed in the hallway. Regal talked about the NXT Title steel cage match between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Suddenly, Bobby Roode walked behind him and walked into a side office. Regal paused mid-sentence and said he needed to have a chat.
Back in the arena, WWE showed an impressive steel cage introduction – the four walls collapsed together from the roof down to ringside in unison, creating a cool visual.
Video Package: NXT champion Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor. Inside a steel cage. It’s time.
Back in the arena, injured WWE star/former NXT champion Neville was shown down at ringside to watch the main event. Neville had a different look with facial hair, glasses, and a buttoned-up plaid shirt, looking like an L.A. hipster.
After a pause, Finn Balor’s dramatic theme played. On the stage, a cage wall rose from the ground and Balor was trapped behind it. Balor, with his trademark “demon” face and bodypaint, pushed down the cage wall and slowly climbed out on top of the cage wall. Balor slowly make his way to ringside as Full Sail played along with his trademark intro. Balor posed on top of the cage, then hopped inside. Balor crouched on the top turnbuckle, posing like a gargoyle.
Suddenly, Samoa Joe’s theme interrupted Balor. Joe marched down to the ring ready to do battle inside the cage. Joe entered the cage and slammed the door shut before pointing down at Balor. Greg Hamilton handled formal ring introductions from outside the cage, noting the only way to win is by pinfall, submission, or climbing out of the cage. The crowd was clearly behind Balor for this match.
5 — NXT champion FINN BALOR vs. SAMOA JOE — NXT Title match — steel cage match
Joe tried to play mind-games early on by teasing walking out the door, drawing in Balor to take early punishment. Joe ripped off an early chop to the chest, then Balor responded with his own chop. Balor contemplated climbing out of the cage, but Joe pulled him down and chucked Balor into the cage wall. Joe continued to punish Balor to the point where he decided to just leave the cage, but Balor grabbed his leg from behind. Joe shook off Balor, then nailed a textbook German Suplex for a two count.
Joe wanted to climb out of the cage, but Balor grabbed his leg again. So, Joe chopped him hard across the chest. Joe tried a running attack, but Balor avoided and sent Joe into the cage wall. Balor followed with running strikes, rocking Joe into the cage. As Joe hung in the ropes, Balor almost-comically stepped onto Joe, stood on him, and tried to climb over the cage wall, but Joe grabbed his foot and kicked him hard back inside the cage.
Reset at 9:45 with both men recovering in the ring. Joe then dropped Balor with a frontslam and tried the Musclebuster, but Balor countered into a sunset flip for a two count. Pele Kick from Balor put both men on the mat. After a big exchange, Joe caught Balor with the Musclebuster in the middle of the ring. But, Balor kicked out of Joe’s finisher.
Joe seethed and glared down at Balor, upset by Balor’s audacity to stay in the match. “I’m going to end you!” Joe shouted at Balor. Joe punted Balor hard in the chest, then tried an Outsider’s Edge into the cage wall, but Balor slipped out and ran Joe face-first into the cage wall. Slingblade. Running pump kick to the chest. And another. Balor wanted the Coup de Grace, and he connected. Balor covered, but Joe kicked out. The crowd didn’t buy it as the finish since Balor just kicked out of Joe’s finisher.
Reset at 14:00 with Balor stalking Joe wanting to end the champion. Balor wanted a suplex, but Joe countered with his rear-naked choke submission. But, Balor ran the turnbuckles to escape. Balor double-stomped Joe in the chest, but he could not follow up. Balor slowly came to his feet, then he looked up at the top of the cage. Balor tried to climb, but Joe got up and grabbed his foot. But, Balor pushed Joe down to the mat.
Balor climbed the cage and got one leg over the top of the cage, but Joe grabbed his other leg from out of nowhere. Joe then smashed Balor’s head into the cage wall, bringing Balor down onto his shoulders. The crowd shrieked seeing what position Balor was in. And, Joe delivered a super-Musclebuster from the top turnbuckle. Sick. Joe covered Balor for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Joe at 16:10 to retain the NXT Title. It was a very good main event, but perhaps not the epic match expected for the blow-off to the feud. Balor just didn’t seem to be in a position to be a viable threat to win the match at any point, removing some of the drama. Also, the cage match seems like a tired concept with wrestling promotions abusing the structure with run-ins and silly rules for so many years. Plus, the close camera work trying to film through the cage wall loses some of the intimacy. It just didn’t seem to come together as the total package to “end an era” for NXT. (***1/2)
After the match, WWE replayed the high points of the match, finishing with Joe’s super-Musclebuster from the top turnbuckle. WWE cut back to the cage being raised and Joe standing tall with possession of the NXT Title after finally beating Balor at a Takeover special. Meanwhile, Balor sold exhaustion and required medical attention. Joe then slowly left the ring as refs and the ringside medic continued to check on Balor.
Joe stood on top of the stage before WWE replayed the finish of the main event. Meanwhile, Balor continued to sell inside the ring. On the stage, Joe clutched the title belt as Graves hyped this as the end of one era and the beginning of a new era – Samoa Joe’s. WWE cut back to Balor slowly showing signs of life as the special ended right at the two-hour mark.