Tonight, the NXT crew rolls into Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, TX to give us their latest big event – Takeover: San Antonio. Bobby Roode looks to try and take the NXT gold away from Shinsuke Nakamura. Will he be successful in making the NXT Championship “glorious”? Asuka is faced with three challengers tonight – Nikki Cross, Billie Kay, and Peyton Royce. Will she be able to turn all three women away in the fatal four way, or will one of the three take her title? Team #DIY hopes to turn away the challenge of Authors of Pain tonight as well.
The show kicks off tonight at 7PM EST with the pre-show on WWE Network, with the card starting at 8PM EST. The full card is as follows:
- Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Bobby Roode; NXT Championship
- Team #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) vs. The Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering); NXT Tag Team Championship
- Asuka (c) vs. Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce; NXT Women’s Championship in a four-way match
- Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young
- Roderick Strong vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
Charly Caruso hosted, accompanied by Corey Graves. Graves announced that he will be stepping away from his position as the NXT color commentary and he introduced Nigel McGuinness, saying he is leaving the team in good hands. Going forward, the commentary team will be Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson.
Bill Says: Um, why no Steve Corino?
They showed Shinsuke Nakamura arriving earlier, then the commentary team hyped up the NXT Championship match between Bobby Roode and Shinsuke.
Dasha Fuentes checked in from the stands. Fans are just entering so the building looks a bit empty. They ran a video package focused on the Team #DIY and Authors of Pain match for the NXT Tag Team Championship. They talked about the match, where Graves picked AOP and Nigel picked #DIY.
Caruso set up the announcement of the NXT Breakout Star of the Year award. Nominees were No Way Jose, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, Ember Moon, Andrade Almas, and Sanity. The winners were Kay and Royce. They came to the commentary position to take the award. They talked about the four-way women’s match and said that they would be champion together.
They switched backstage, where The Revival won Match of the Year for the two out of three falls effort against #DIY. Wilder asked where their plaque and interview was (which was odd because we’ve yet to see #DIY) and it arrived. Graves said they also won Tag Team of the Year. Dawson received it. They bragged about their 2016, and said they would watch the title match closely tonight.
Caruso hyped the show.
Bill Says: I wouldn’t mind seeing The Revival show up on Smackdown and go at it with American Alpha. How about you?
Backstage, Bobby Roode was interviewed and asked about how he felt going into the biggest match of his career. Roode says he has the look and is the main attraction, and the only thing missing is the NXT Championship. Roode recalled Shinsuke telling him that he would kick his head off. Roode said he would love to see him try. Roode said he would leave Takeover as the new NXT Champion, “and it will be…you know…”
Kayla Braxton was shown in the crowd by the entrance ramp, where fans were cheering and chanting 10 behind her. They moved on to a video package to hype the Women’s Championship four way match. Ember Moon joined the commentary team to discuss the match.
Nigel said taking on three different challengers could be the biggest mistake Asuka made. Ember defended it but Nigel insisted. Ember put Nikki Cross over as being insane and unpredictable. Graves asked her who she would rather face and why, and Ember said she wants Asuka to win so she could be the one to beat her. She said the person she thinks will win the match tonight will be a different story and thought any one of the four could win. McGuinness asked her what made her think she could be the next champion and Moon said that we’d have to find out for ourselves.
Bill Says: Moon struggled here, but Nigel came off good. He put Moon on the spot at one point, which may have rattled her a bit. Nigel’s career in the ring got cut short, so I’m glad to see him on the big stage with WWE in some capacity.
Mike Rome interviewed #DIY. They cut a brief promo about not being underestimated as the tag champions. The hosts talked briefly then went to a break..
After a break, they ran down the list of nominees for Women’s Performer of the Year. Bayley, Nia Jax, Asuka were the nominees, and Asuka won. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay cut them off and intercepted her award then said they would take the Women’s Championship later. Graves said voter fraud and alternate facts got involved.
Bill Says: Admittedly, fun that Royce and Kay are playing their heel personas up very well all over this pre-show.
Caruso set up the NXT Male Talent of the Year Award. Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bobby Roode were the nominees, and Shinsuke won. No appearance from Shinsuke. Caruso fed it to a break.
They came back and recalled Tuesday in Texas from the Freeman Coliseum, and showed highlights of the event which was highlighted by Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan. They sold WWE Network, Royal Rumble, the Takeover show, and Elimination Chamber.
Kayla Braxton checked in among the fans who were chanting NXT and 10 behind her. They fed it to a video package highlighting NXT Competitor of the Year, which highlighted Asuka and Nakamura. Nakamura won, and Nigel accepted on his behalf.
Graves fed it to a video package hyping up Roode vs. Nakamura. The panel discussed the matchup. Nigel talked about how Nakamura has headlined all over the world, and Graves said that Roode should not be discounted and has a chip on his shoulder. Nigel said Roode has impressed him but tonight is a different matter. Nigel picked Nakamura to win, and Graves called it a “crazy night from top to bottom.”
The panel hosts ran down the card one more time, and Charly welcomed Nigel one more time and wished Graves well.
NXT “Takeover: San Antonio”, Live from the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, TX
They opened with a video package that highlighted the matches. It closed with Roode and Nakamura facing off. Tom Phillips opened from commentary saying that change was iminent tonight.
Match #1 – Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young;
Winner: Eric Young
The Reax: Dillinger got a warm welcome from the live crowd and a lot of “10” chants. Phillips, Percy Saxton, and Corey Graves checked in for the call and they showed a shot of them as Dillinger played to the fans. Young made his entrance, accompanied by Alexander Wolfe and Dane.
Young told Dillinger that it was his last chance as the bell rang and threw the vest at him. Dillinger looked down at it, picked it up, then threw it at Young and fired off with strikes. Young took a powder after a clothesline, then returned to the ring to take more strikes. Dillinger ended up at ringside and Dane and Wolfe charged but Dillinger returned to the ring. Dillinger dumped Young to ringside again.
Dillinger threw punches in the corner, but Young took advantage of the referee’s back being turned and raked Dillinger’s eyes, dumping him to ringside. Dane threw a running cross body block on the floor, which Young followed in the ring with an elbow drop. He threw Dillinger back to the floor.
Young started to control the offense, using a headlock while standing on the ropes then hitting a neckbreaker. He set up for the headlock again but Dillinger fought out and perched Young on the top rope. He tried a superplex but Young fought him off. He tried a move off the ropes but Dillinger hit him with a drop kick. Both men sold.
The two men exchanged strikes as the crowd reacted with “yay/boo” for each. Young threw a right that knocked Dillinger down, but he grabbed Young’s beard and threw a headbutt then went on a flurry of offensive strikes. Young did a Flair Flop on the corner and went to the opposite corner but was met with a belly to belly suplex that got a near fall for Dillinger.
Dillinger set up for the Tye Breaker, but Wolfe entered. Wolfe took the Tye Breaker instead, then Dane took a superkick. Moments later, Young took the Tye Breaker. He had Young pinned, but Dane and Wolfe put Young’s foot on the ropes. Dillinger followed with a dive onto both men.
Dillinger threw Young in and went for a cross body block but Young rolled it through for two. Dillinger threw a kick at Dane and Wolfe, but ended up getting caught in Young’s neckbreaker finish for the win. The announce team recapped it, then they came back to Sanity standing over Dillinger as he sold. “If you make a stupid decision, more than often you pay the price,” Graves said.
They played it as if Dillinger became too concerned with the numbers game. Graves of course heeled it on Dillinger by saying he needs a career change. This match knew its place on the card and was fine to get the fans into the show. A decent match.
Shinsuke Nakamura was shown warming up backstage. A camera focused on Samoa Joe, wearing a suit, in the crowd. He got a ton of “Joe” chants.
Match #2 – Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Roderick Strong;
Winner: Roderick Strong
The Reax: Not a lot of reaction for Almas through my speakers as he came to the ring. Strong seemed to get a reaction though.
After some early offense, Almas locked Strong in a cross arm bar over the ropes. A bit later, Strong threw Almas to the ropes but he caught himself and posed in a cocky manner where he hung between the top and middle rope. Strong hit a nice kick and covered. A bit later, Almas ended up on the floor and he pulled Strong’s neck over the middle rope and took charge.
A bit later, Almas set up for running double knees but Strong popped up and threw one of his own. Both men sold. Both on their feet, they threw strikes at each other. Almas locked on a submission but Strong broke it in the ropes with his feet.
A bit later, Almas went top rope looking for a moonsault but got crotched. After some striking, Strong used the top buckle as a helper to hit a back breaker for a near fall. There were mild “this is awesome” and “holy shit” chants. Almas tried for his hammerlock DDT but Strong countered out. Moments later, Almas hit his double knees and tried to follow with the hammerlock DDT again. Strong countered out and finished Almas off with the Sick Kick.
This was a solid back and forth match. The fans started to invest in the action, but it’s hard to say if they invested in the talents. Almas is making progress as a heel and I think he needed the win here more than Strong did. That said, the fans liked Strong and reacted positively to his win.
They hyped Royal Rumble tomorrow night then set up a video package to focus on “Remember the Rumble” featuring Shawn Michaels’ win in 1995. Back with the show, they focused on Roode getting ready backstage. They moved into a video package to highlight the tag team championship match.
Match #3 – Team #DIY (c, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) vs. Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering); NXT Tag Team Championship;
Winner: Authors of Pain to win the NXT Tag Team Championship
The Reax: AOP came out first, then #DIY. The fans popped for DIY as they hit the ring and held the belts up at AOP. Razar worked with Ciampa to start, but attacked Gargano early. Tomasso tried to get Razar down but couldn’t Razar continued to overpower Ciampa, then threw him to the corner. Gargano sprang in but Razar squashed him down. Action broke down as all four men started brawling. DIY got the better of it by clearing the ring. Gargano hit dives and Ciampa hit a running knee. A “DIY” chant got going as AOP regrouped.
At the apron, Gargano kicked his way out of trouble but got shoved to the railing. Akim carried Gargano up the steps then threw him in the ring. A bit later, the champs went on a flurry. Ciampa tagged in and hit both members of AOP with German suplexes to a big reaction. Ciampa got a two count out of a running knee.
Ciampa kept up with running kicks to Akim, who kept calling for more. Ciampa set up another but Akim clotheslined him and covered for two. Gargano got the tag a bit later, with he and Ciampa hitting double spears for two. Gargano sold his back injuries.
Later, Ciampa locked in the armbar, and Gargano locked in a crossface. Akim (I’ve lost track) picked up Gargano and slammed him on Ciampa to break the armbar in a neat spot. The fans chanted that it was awesome. From their knees, DIY and AOP exchanged shots. They set up for running moves on both kneeling AOP members, but AOP got to their feet and used the “Super Collider” double powerbombs. They finished Ciampa off with their Last Chapter finisher to win.
This was good. Surprised and somewhat disappointed by the finish, honestly. I thought DIY sold the punishment then came back on good offensive runs that popped the crowd. They’re telling the story of AOP being dominant, so DIY winning clean wouldn’t have worked out. They’d have had to go with a DQ or otherwise dirty finish. You can make the case that DIY is better in chase mode. I think they can tell some story and build up other teams in the process of AOP holding the titles and going back to DIY with a big win somewhere else – like Wrestlemania weekend?
While the commentary team was talking, Seth Rollins took to the ring. He called out Triple H and yelled to “do this thing.” Fans popped for the Rollins appearance. He said it’s not a game and Hunter took his life from him and said he wouldn’t leave until Hunter made him.
Out walks Triple H in a suit and he stared from the ramp. He took a few steps that direction, but called for security and then walked away. Rollins started beating up the security then stormed toward the back, mowing down more security. Eventually, the numbers got too strong and contained Rollins. The crowd chanted to let him go, but eventually they escorted him away. The fans chanted “bullshit.” The commentary team talked about it as the fans chanted of wanting Rollins.
That was great. A surprise appearance with some star power, it breathed life into Hunter vs. Rollins which is being rumored to go to Wrestlemania, and the crowd reacted to the moment very well. Well done.
They set up the women’s championship match with a video package, then entrances for the match took place.
Match #4 – Asuka (c) vs. Peyton Royce vs. Billie Kay vs. Nikki Cross; NXT Women’s Championship
Winner: Asuka to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
The Reax: Early on, Royce and Kay stood back to back and faced Asuka and Cross. They bailed and watched as Cross and Asuka worked, then jumped in and attacked both women. Rinse and repeat, but this time Asuka hit Royce and Kay with a double German. Impressive. Asuka smiled, then her and Cross went at it in the ring. Asuka hit a bridging German for a near fall then took out Kay and Peyton again.
Cross hit a neckbreaker on Asuka. A bit later, she hit a second that took Asuka from the apron to the floor, then followed with a dive on Royce and Peyton from the top rope. Things spilled out to the floor, where Royce and Kay brawled with Cross. They fought back to the announce position at the stage.
Cross got both down and got on the announce table. Kay tripped her, then she and Royce teamed up for a suplex through a table next to the announce position. That drew “holy shit” chants.
Back in the ring, Asuka sold as Royce and Peyton returned. They double teamed on Asuka, hitting running knees on Asuka and double-pinning her but only got two. Royce and Kay talked to each other then set up a double team, but Asuka kicked Kay in the face only to take the Widow’s Peak from Royce for a near fall.
Royce punked Asuka but took a kick to the face. Kay got in the ring and took another kick, and Asuka finished off Royce with a second big kick and the pinfall. Asuka sold and celebrated in the ring during highlights, then held the belt up at Nikki Cross who was being tended to by officials. Cross smiled.
The current NXT Women’s Division is Asuka and everyone else, but this had a good dynamic to it. Kay and Royce stayed true to working together and not turning on each other. Cross is just plain nuts and I like it. They didn’t give too much of that match away, so they can go back to it as a singles match too. The four-way was right for this show overall and I was entertained by it. That said, this match ended very quickly and awkwardly it seemed. The bar is very high in the NXT women’s division history, and while I see matches on the horizon that can add to that legacy – this one won’t be remembered on that kind of level.
They hyped Triple H making an appearance on Facebook Live after the show is over. They showed Tyler Bate, the UK Champion, in the crowd, and he got a good reaction from fans nearby. They showed a split screen shot of Roode and Nakamura heading toward the ring for their main event match. We got the video package to hype the match up.
Match #5 – Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Bobby Roode; NXT Championship
Winner: Bobby Roode to win the NXT Championship
The Reax: Both men got special entrances. Roode came to the ring with eight (!?) women on his arm, maybe to be pimping like Ric Flair. Nakamura rode to the ring on a cart. The crowd was hot for both entrances and both men in the match. We got in-ring introductions.
Nakamura threw an early kick and followed with a second. Roode took him down, but Nakamura used a head scissor. Roode escaped and locked on a headlock. He called for Roode to bring it, and Roode responded with a “Glorious” taunt. A bit later, Roode got Nakamura against the ropes and teased a clean break but threw an elbow instead.
Roode started to focus the offense on Nakamura’s left arm. He somersaulted and cartwheeled out, but Roode caught him with a head scissor. Nakamura tried for a stomp and followed up with a kick attempt that Roode countered. He smiled and did his Glorious bit but Nakamura kicked him in the gut.
Roode caught Nakamura by the leg, but Nakamura threw a kick with his other leg. Roode rolled out and Nakamura followed. He took a couple shots along the railing then got thrown back in. A bit later, Nakamura tried to kick Roode while seated on the top, but Roode caught him and dumped him to the floor. That looked nasty.
Roode kept the offense up. He threw Nakamura into the steps shoulder-first a couple times. They replayed the dump off the ropes to the floor as Roode threw Nakamura in and covered for two. Roode threw punches, then rammed Nakamura face first to the buckle. Following an Irish whip he threw Nakamura down and hit a double axe handle off the ropes for a two count.
Nakamura fought up out of a chinlock but Roode threw Nakamura back down and stomped away then hit a couple flying knees to get two. Roode continued to press the advantage with stomps in the corner as the fans chanted for both men. Roode played some mind games by using Nakamura’s own “Good Vibrations” move on him in the corner.
Later, Nakamura hit a kick, then a running knee shot while Roode was draped over the apron. He followed with a guillotine leg drop. He blocked a punch, threw one of his own, then hit a kick. Roode got up and Nakamura threw another kick. Roode caught him, but Nakamura threw a kick with the other leg. Roode avoided a charge then clotheslined him with the top rope. Nakamura bounced back with double knees to Roode, who was already on the top rope.
Nakamura threw a suplex then teased the Kinshasa. Roode played possum and sold being out. Nakamura walked over and Roode tried to use a roll-up. He got two. Roode ducked under a kick then hit a backstabber. A bit later, Roode hit a spinebuster for two.
The two went top rope. Roode tried for a superplex that Nakamura blocked, then Shinsuke knocked Roode to the floor. He followed with a flying kick to the chest then tried for the Kinshasa, but Roode got his knees up and used a roll-up. Roode tried to leverage with the ropes but the official caught it.
Roode threw chops in the corner. Nakamura slumped over, then motioned for Roode to bring it. He threw a big flurry of strikes, stomping away on Roode’s head as he was draped over the bottom rope. Nakamura looked for an armbar, then turned it over into a triangle. Roode sold but powered up. Nakamura escaped and hit a sliding knee for two.
Later, Nakamura went second rope, but Roode rolled out to the apron. Nakamura threw a knee to the chest there instead, then rolled to ringside selling a knee issue of his own. Both men sold out on the floor. Nakamura rolled Roode in then hit the Kinshasa. He sold knee pain and couldn’t make the cover while Roode was out. The trainer came to the ring to check on him.
Roode sat in the corner and waited. Nakamura got back in the ring and Roode quickly hit a Glorious DDT. Nakamura kicked out and continued to sell the knee. Roode was shocked. As the referee checked on him, Roode grabbed Nakamura and locked him in a half crab and threw punches at him. Nakamura rolled it over and tried for the triangle again, but couldn’t quite lock it in. Roode quickly hit the Glorious DDT and scored the win.
As Roode celebrated, they went to highlights of the match. Trainers continued to check in on Nakamura while Roode celebrated. Roode posed for fans while Graves gushed about Roode at commentary. Roode stood on the ropes and posed as the show ended.
This was a great main event, propped up by good storytelling and good pacing. The stretching out of the match was received well by the fans because they helped keep things feeling hot with their enthusiasm. Nakamura sold his knee issues to perfection through the end of the match and after. Admittedly, surprised with the title change here.
Personally, I feel the knee issues will write Nakamura out of tomorrow night’s Rumble. But will it? Is this a way to keep people’s hopes down for that? Or is it just setting up a future match between Roode and Nakamura for a rematch. Where does Kassius Ohno fit into this mix, since he said he was coming to challenge Nakamura as well. There are certainly a lot of questions around the top of the NXT card right now and that’s good stuff.
This card looked drab on paper, but it delivered a solid show all in all. It wasn’t the most memorable of shows, but it was entertaining throughout. All of the matches were solid and made the two hours went by very quickly.
Drew has your Royal Rumble coverage tomorrow night, starting during the pre-show at 5PM EST. Be sure to download and fill out your very own Royal Rumble prediction card, which you can find at this link, and play along with us throughout the night. No prizes, but you can have the bragging rights of your own Royal Rumble party. We’ll see you tomorrow night.