Latest posts by AJ Howells (see all)
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As Jim Morrison once sang “This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end, my only friend, the end”. Tonight, on the WWE Network, the WWE’s third, and hottest brand, NXT, presents its first special event since it’s highly successful NXT Takeover: Dallas over the Wrestlemania weekend. The NXT crew set the bar extremely high that night with match of the year contender Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura stealing the show among a plethora of other great action.
This evening’s event has been titled NXT Takeover: The End. Some fans online have speculated that “The End” refers to the final show in NXT’s existence as it stands because of the upcoming brand split in WWE, which will surely see several of its top stars recruited to RAW or Smackdown through the Draft. The name is a nice hook for the show and could refer to any number of outlandish possibilities. Most realistically, though, it refers to the end of the extensive feud between NXT Champion Samoa Joe and former champ Finn Balor.
The main event tonight sees NXT’s first ever cage match, and if the first for Balor, also. Given recent events in between the two, not least Joe claiming the title on a house show over Balor General Manager William Regal decided that the only way to house the vicious and violent action is inside the steel. This should add an extra wrinkle to a match we have seen often between these two stars. By allowing use of the cage as a weapon or as assistance for certain spots it should provide fresh options for both men. It seems likely we will once again see Finn Balor’s Demon character, a character that to date has not lost a match in a WWE ring. Will that end tonight? This rivalry stems from friends, becoming tournament winning tag partners and then Samoa Joe feeling wronged by his former pal. The vicious Joe we’ve seen since the end of the Dusty Rhodes Memorial Classic is fantastic and plays to the big man’s strengths so well. With Balor surely one of the NXT call ups come Draft time, a win for Joe seems likely but with WWE so high on Balor as the face of NXT and a future star on the main roster who knows. One thing is for sure tonight’s match is The End.
Elsewhere on the card, Women’s Champion Asuka takes on Nia Jax. Jax won her spot in this match, and another shot at title glory by defeating Alexa Bliss and Carmella in a recent Triple Threat match with some ease. NXT are pitching Nia Jax as a unstoppable force and now she has to meet the immovable object in Asuka. When Bayley defeated Nia Jax in London she did so with a chokehold, a submission move which plays into Asuka’s moveset perfectly with her rapid and aggressive strikes and wide array of submission holds. This match has not been built on the microphone, like the main event, as neither combatant is strong verbally but rather has been built through the potential for violence. It is hard to see Asuka losing the title so quickly, especially to the green Jax, but the match should provide a good showcase for Asuka and I am sure she will make Nia Jax look good in the progress. I wonder if we may see Bayley at some point…
The Tag Team titles will be on the line when The Revival get a shot at regaining their titles from American Alpha. In a match that could also come under the moniker “The End” this seems likely to be the closure of the feud between these two stellar tag teams. American Alpha, Jordan and Gable, are the hottest thing in NXT right now and surely retain their belts against the throwback team of Dawson and Wilder. The work these two teams have done together has been as good as anything the NXT tag team division has ever presented and both teams seem to have a bright future. I expect a competitive match with both teams showcasing their respective offense with the babyfaces picking up the victory and moving on to a fresh feud.
In the match that I believe a high percentage of the WWE Universe are looking forward to the most, it is “The King Of Strong Style” versus “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” when Shinsuke Nakamura takes on Austin Aries. Not so much an angle but a challenge to see who the better man is, and likely to see who the next challenger for the NXT title will be, these two could put on a clinic. Nakamura’s work to date in NXT has been outstanding and his connection with the audience has been impressive. Aries hasn’t hit the heights of his TNA days so far but this match could be a breakout performance against one of the best in the world. I expect Nakamura to go over in this match but I fully expect this to steal the show and only enhance both men’s reputation.
The final match on the card sees the television debut of former IWGP Intercontinental Champion and CMLL star Andrade “Cien” Almas, formerly known as La Sombra. He takes on NXT stalwart and perfect ten Tye Dillinger. Dillinger continues to perform at a high level, mainly for the betterment of others, and is connecting with the NXT crowd like he never has before. As much as I like Dillinger, and believe WWE could do more with him than be a glorified enhancement talent, there is no way that their latest star signing doesn’t win impressively on his first outing.
Overall the show looks like a good five match card for a two hour wrestling show. All the matches that need it should get the required time to shine and there is potential for of the matches to be the standout. What will “The End” refer to? Is this an NXT reboot with several angles coming to an end ready for fresh matchups down the line or is it something more earth shattering? The only way to find out is watch live on the WWE Network and check out KayfabeToday.com for all the fallout later this week.