NOT JUST YET
By Sam Jones
Broadcasted live June 8 2016
Emanating from Full Sail University, Orlando, Florida
Announcers: Corey Graves, Tom Philips
TYE DILLINGER vs. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP- AMERICAN ALPHA(C) vs. THE REVIVAL
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. AUSTIN ARIES
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP- ASUKA(C) vs. NIA JAX
NXT CHAMPIONSHIP- SAMOA JOE(C) vs. FINN BALOR- STEEL CAGE MATCH
MATCH SPOILERS AHEAD- Y’ALL HAVE BEEN WARNED
Well, this is exciting: my first ever NXT TakeOver special review! Truth be told, I’ve been pretty eager for an excuse to talk about anything NXT-related here on WBS; the reason for that being pretty much everything NXT has been doing for the past little while has been absolutely head-and-shoulders above everything coming out of the main roster. The combination of simple, easy-to-follow storytelling and a heavy focus on excellent wrestling and showcasing fresh, and exciting talent has come together in a glorious fusion to produce one of the best wrestling products going around right now.
Anyway, I shouldn’t spend this whole review gushing about NXT in general, mainly because I want to spend it specifically gushing about TakeOver: The End.
TakeOver: The End exemplified every element I just mentioned that makes NXT such a consistently great product: an emphasis on great wrestling performances and simplified, non-intrusive storytelling that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Every match from top to bottom on this card delivered in one way or another, with everyone involved firing on all cylinders: special mention has to be given to the Tag Team Title match, however, which absolutely stole the show: Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder, Chad Gable, and Jason Jordan delivered their best work to date in this match and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the elite not just of NXT’s tag team division, but the elite of WWE’s tag team scene as a whole. I should also mention that Nia Jax, after months of somewhat shaky reception, really came into her own on this show in her Women’s Championship match with Asuka: this was definitely Jax’s best outing to date, and even in defeat, Jax looked more like a legitimate threat than she ever has looked before. Of course, Nakamura vs. Aries and the NXT Championship delivered big-time as well, which can only be expected when you’ve got four elite talents the likes of Joe, Balor, Nakamura, and Aries on your hands. Even Tye Dillinger finally got a big break on this show, getting a chance to show what he can do against newcomer Andrade “Cien” Almas (formerly masked luchador La Sombra), which turned out to be a fun opening bout, with some really great spots here and there. And unlike the main roster shows, TakeOver: The End was wonderfully free of any annoying instances of pointless overbooking (save for one match, which I’ll get into in a bit). At only just under two hours as well, TakeOver: The End not only managed to deliver a series of incredibly satisfying series of matches, but also managed to do it without being a all-day marathon slog (looking at you, Wrestlemania).
There’s really only three very minor points of criticism that I have towards this show (and they could probably be safely filed away under “personal taste”, but nevertheless). Firstly: while it was kinda neat as a historic moment, I thought it a little odd that the decision was made to have The Revivial knock off AA for the Tag Titles (the “historic” part being that this makes The Revivial the first-ever two-time champs in NXT history) after only such a short run with them: while its difficult to be disappointed with it given how great the match preceding The Revival’s win was, it was a tad deflating, considering how hot American Alpha is right now: I would have hoped they got a slightly deeper run with the belts. The second point of criticism was having a new tag team, who I’m calling The Hulkwhackers, debut by attacking American Alpha may not have been the best call in hindsight: while I can certainly appreciate the desire to have the Hulkwhackers make an impact in their first appearance on NXT, the general reaction seemed to land more on the side of confusion than excitement: bonus points to Full Sail as well for not recognizing Paul Ellering, who debuted here as the Hulkwhackers’ manager. With any luck, they’ll recover from this slightly wonky debut. Third and finally, while “Cien” Almas looked great in his debut against Dillinger at the top of the show, I somewhat question the wisdom of throwing him up against someone as over as Dillinger, especially considering it would seem that the plan is for Almas to be a face: still, this is a minor point since Almas won the crowd over well enough in his victory anyway (also, his finisher kinda sucks, but annnnnyway).
Shockingly, I can’t help but highly recommend TakeOver: The End to any WWE Network owners. Filled to the brim with great wrestling, streamlined booking and story-telling, and endless entertainment value, TakeOver: The End is more or less the kind of wrestling I wish WWE was putting on all the time instead of every other month or so; TakeOver: The End is definitely worth your time.