By Graham "GSM" Matthews
NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe def. The Mechanics in a Semifinals Match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Compared to the other teams in this tournament, The Mechanics are looked at as nobodies, but they really are a talented duo and they showcased their skills in this match. They held their own against Balor and Joe and I liked how they were credible in defeat instead of being squashed with ease similar to Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady last week. You know they're good when they're getting props from Edge and Christian, so keep an eye on them in the future and hopefully they receive more television time. Also, bonus points to the solid story told with Balor selling the knee injury.
Baron Corbin and Rhyno def. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable in a Semifinals Match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
This match seemed so out of place on paper because it was technically two heel tag teams against each other, but it turned into quite the gem. I've warmed up to Corbin as of late, especially in his pairing with Rhyno. They're the perfect match because it limits Corbin and less is more with Rhyno, anyway. The David vs. Goliath dynamic was excellent and the final few minutes were fantastic. And holy hell, that finish! Give both Corbin and Gable a raise for that one. I wish it would have been Jordan and Gable in the finals, but I couldn't complain after that amazing End of Days from Corbin. Wow.
Asuka def. Dana Brooke
I've been very vocal about Brooke and her improvement coming along not as quickly as I would've liked, but I have to give credit where credit is due: she did a decent job in this match. Granted, most of the match was centered around Asuka and she carried her through a majority of it, but she wasn't as bad here as she has been in the past. It was a nice little women's match that gave fans a sneak peak of what to expect from Asuka going forward and she certainly has promise. After Bayley is called up to the main roster, she'll be the one to carry the women's divison on NXT, and that inevitable Asuka vs. Bayley match could be a classic.
Apollo Crews def. Tyler Breeze
I really wish this match received more build than it did, but it was nice for both guys to get featured on the show. As well wrestled of a match as it was, the audience didn't buy into many of Breeze's near-falls because it was all but confirmed that he was losing. In the last year and a half, he's won only one match on an NXT live special. That's terrible! That said, Crews is the bigger priority at the moment and it was nice to see him go over in impressive fashion.
NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe def. Baron Corbin and Rhyno to Win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Although I thought the previous tag team match was better, this was still quite good. As noted, Corbin and Rhyno are an entertaining team and they worked well with Balor and Joe. Balor's "injury" definitely put the ending outcome into question, but the babyfaces were the right team to go over given the post-match celebration with the trophy and the Rhodes family, which was extremely well done. Obviously, expect Balor and Joe to tease tension sooner rather than later to start building toward an NXT Championship match at the next live special.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley def. Sasha Banks in a 30-Minute Iron Man Match
Everything about this was absolutely amazing. From the pre-match video package to the drama in the near-falls to the heel tactics of Banks to the closing moments, this was a phenomenal main event. I was holding out hope that they'd go the entire 30 minutes without a single fall and then going into overtime, but the story they told instead with it being tied 2-2 and Bayley forcing Banks to tap out at the last possible second was equally exceptional. No, it didn't top the match from Brooklyn and I didn't expect it to, but this definitely deserved the main event slot and I couldn't have been happier that they finally got it. There wasn't a better way for Banks to go out and Triple H giving both girls flowers as the show went off the air was a nice touch.
For a show that had less than two months worth of build-up, this was very good. The main event obviously stole the show, but the rest of the card was solid and each match had something to offer. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic made for a cool moment, Asuka had a strong in-ring debut, Apollo Crews had another fun outing, and the main event was damn near perfect. It's been a year and a half and we have yet to have a disappointing TakeOver special, and at this rate, I'm not sure if we'll ever get one. The two hours are well worth watching and I'm already excited for the event emanating from England in December.
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