Tonight is the ‘go home’ show for NXT TakeOver San Antonio. Pre-announced is a match between Ember Moon and Liv Morgan, which has no bearing on TakeOver but starts the post TakeOver build nicely, and a confrontation between the four women competing for the NXT Women’s Championship on Saturday. I’m sure we can expect plenty of build-up videos as well.
Ember Moon def Liv Morgan
No Way Jose def Kona Reeves
Eric Young def Chris Atkins
Ember Moon vs Liv Morgan
Essentially this is a match to establish the pecking order in the NXT women’s division. With the TakeOver match being a four-way for Asuka’s title, Morgan and Moon want to find out who is next in line.
Liv Morgan has improved hugely, I’m not convinced she’s on Ember Moon’s level, but I suppose that’s what they were trying to find out. I really enjoyed the match. They rolled around a bit at the start, which I always think looks a bit silly, but they soon got into some decent back and forth exchanges. For a while it looked like they were fairly evenly matched
Ember Moon finally got the upper hand after she threw Liv Morgan over the top rope to the outside, then kicked her in the face as she tried to get up, and threw her back into the ring. Before Morgan had a chance to recover, Ember Moon climber to the tope rope and delivered the Eclipse for the win.
In a backstage interview, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas was informed that Roderick Strong had seemed unworried about his assertion that he would be next. Almas said next time he saw him, he would kick him in the head. Cue Roderick Strong. Strong essentially said go on then and, after pretending to walk away, Almas knocked him to the ground and did just that.
Nice little video package to build up to #DIY vs Authors of Pain at TakeOver. The use of Paul Ellering in Authors of Pain’s storyline has been beautifully crafted. TakeOver is apparently where they will fulfil the prophecy. It’s definitely the most physical match #DIY have faced. It’ll be an entirely different challenge to The Revival or TM61, but Gargano and Ciampa only do good matches and I have no reason to think this will be an exception.
No Way Jose vs Kona Reeves
Kona Reeves gets a proper entrance now, which is nice. He’s starting to become something of a regular on NXT episodes as well so he’s starting to show some personality in his matches.
This was a decent match. No Way Jose is endlessly entertaining, and Kona Reeves looks like he’s having fun as well. They even had a bit of a dance off until Reeves spoilt it by attacking Jose (it’s fair enough, they were in the middle of a match). Jose’s flamboyance often makes people forget he’s actually really good. Reeves held his own for quite a while though. I’m looking forward to seeing more character development from him.
A huge punch from No Way Jose was the decisive move, and got him the win.
Jose’s post-match interview was interrupted by Elias Samson who sang a little dirge, until No Way Jose cut him off, told him song sucks and got the crowd chanting ‘just drift away’. Samson tried to rush the ring, but Jose was too quick and punched him off the apron.
Eric Young vs Chris Atkins
Having the rest of SAnitY on the outside must be intimidating for any opponent. It’s something Tye Dillinger will have to face on Saturday, and it’s something Chris Atkins had to face tonight.
Eric Young didn’t appear to need the back up in this match though. He was in control for pretty much the whole fight. The match was designed to show Young’s strength ahead of his TakeOver match, and it certainly did that. Young pinned him in only a few minutes.
After dispatching Atkins Eric Young grabbed a mic and said Dillinger made the wrong choice. The newest member of SAnitY, Killian Dain, punctuated his point by landing a running senton on the still prone Atkins.
Next, footage revealed the Shane Thorne has undergone knee surgery as a result of the attack by The Revival last week. He’s out for seven to nine months. Sad to hear as TM61 were just picking up their momentum in NXT.
Another video package, this time for Nakamura vs Roode. There’s not much to build up to be honest, they’re very much at the start of their narrative. It’s going to be interesting to see how their styles mesh, it could go either way.
The final segment of the night, not really a main event, I’m not sure what to call it. Anyway Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross and Asuka met in the ring, under the supervision of William Regal with Dasha Fuentes. Before the competitors came out Regal said he’d been assured that there would be no physicality, but I’m pretty sure we all knew that was unlikely.
Royce and Kay came out together and did their little spiel about running the NXT women’s division. They were predictably disparaging about their opponents, until Nikki Cross made her entrance at which point they seemed less sure. Cross was alone, which begs the question, will the rest of SAnitY be ringside on Saturday or not?
Asuka didn’t even wait for a proper introduction. She hit the ground running and went straight for Royce and Kay, who escaped from the ring. Nikki Cross and Asuka stared off forehead to forehead, shouting at each other, until Royce and Kay took advantage of their distractions and attacked. Cross threw Billie Kay out of the ring while Asuka did the same to Peyton Royce, then they faced off again.
This time security rushed the ring to separate them. Between them Asuka and Cross took out the entire security team as Royce and Kay looked on in shock. With the ring temporarily cleared of guards, Asuka kicked Nikki Cross in the face. When security grabbed Asuka by the ankles and pulled her from the ring to stop things escalating, Nikki Cross climbed to the top turnbuckle and launched herself at the group flooring everyone.
The go home images for NXT TakeOver San Antonio were a pile of security on the ramp with Asuka and Nikki Cross laying in the middle, while Peyton Royce and Billie Kay looked horrified.
A solid show, but not outstanding. After an exceptional 2016, NXT seems to be starting to struggle to achieve everything it needs to within the one hour per week time constraints. Characters are being built, but it is taking a lot of time and doesn’t seem to be a successful as it has been in the past.
There appears to be less hype for this NXT TakeOver than previous ones. The main event has no history to back it up, the tag title match doesn’t have the gravitas of recent ones and there’s less investment in the other storylines due to the short builds. The women’s title match looks like it may well be the highlight.
The reduced expectations could work in NXT’s favour. Quite often these are the shows which bring surprisingly awesome matches. I hope so, but time will tell. You’ll be able to read my preview and predictions on Kayfabe Today, then find out how wrong I was in my TakeOver review soon after the event.