By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Adam Rose def. Camacho
It's amazing to see just how incredibly over Rose down in NXT compared to the main roster. It's literally like night and day. Granted, he debuted on Raw only a few short weeks ago, but it goes to show how much livelier the Full Sail University crowd is than most Raw and SmackDown crowds. Rose making his way to the entrance via the Exotic Express was very fun and it kicked the show off on a high note. This feud has been nothing of note in recent weeks, but this was a nice matchup with both competitors holding their own. Rose picking up the win was academic and while I couldn't care less about Camacho, he managed to impress me with his showing here.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension def. Kalisto and El Local
The Ascension is in a very strange spot right now. The reaction they receive from the crowd indicates that they are babyfaces when they are actually heels. The issue is that they do nothing to make people boo them. Thus, Kalisto and El Local were in an awkward position since the crowd wasn't behind them much during the match. Some of the spots were missed and it wasn't a good match on the whole. I like Kalisto and El Local as a tandem, but The Ascension is too over to the point where any face tag team they go up against will get booed. As much as I enjoy The Ascension, it's time for them to drop the straps and make their way to the main roster.
Tyler Breeze def. Sami Zayn in a No. 1 Contender's Match for the NXT Championship
Breeze is one of my favorite wrestlers in NXT at the moment, but a common complaint he has received as of late from fans as well as myself is that he hasn't evolved much since his debut. He's done a great job of doing just that in recent weeks and especially in this match against Zayn by bringing out his aggressive side. The video package that aired before the bout made him out to look like a star and he definitely came across as one. Take nothing away from Zayn, though, as he pulled everything out of his arsenal (along with Breeze) to have yet another gem of a match. These two have such awesome chemistry together and I was really happy to see it receive as much time as it did. Breeze winning in clean fashion made him look credible and it sets him up for what should be an enjoyable feud with Adrian Neville over the NXT Championship. As for Zayn, I have no doubt in my mind that he'll be NXT champion by year's end.
Alexander Rusev Attacked Mojo Rawley
Lana's promo was nothing different than anything we've seen from her and Rusev on Raw recently aside from Rusev waving the Russian flag around, which was effective in garnering good heat. Rawley getting new entrance music was a nice touch and the crowd was excited to see them brawl at first. Rusev beating up Rawley continued his streak of ruthlessness without having either guy lose a match, so that was smart booking. Both guys still need to be protected, so I hope this more of a one-off angle than a way to start a feud between the two.
Charlotte def. Natalya to Win the NXT Women's Championship
Charlotte has truly come a long way since her NXT debut last summer. She was still very much green in the ring as soon as a few weeks ago, but she appeared to have improved immensely in her match against Natalya and this was by far her best match to date. Natalya did her part in carrying her to a great match and they did a superb job of telling a solid story. Ric Flair and Bret Hart didn't do much at ringside, but they didn't need to and I'm glad they didn't. This match wasn't about them. Their presence at ringside along made the match more meaningful, and everything about the contest made the title feel prestigious as well. They were given great time and while it was slow-paced to start, the final few definitely delivered and Charlotte's title victory felt like a special moment. I realize she's a heel, but I had no problem with her hugging it out with Natalya afterward and showing babyface-like qualities. She worked hard to get where she is and seeing Ric Flair get emotion was an excellent visual and feel-good moment. Defeating Natalya cleanly gave Charlotte a big boost and a nice start to her title reign.
NXT Champion Adrian Neville def. Tyson Kidd
Like with the women's bout, Neville and Kidd started out slow but they picked up the pace down the stretch. The action was very exciting and the competitors were great in keeping the live crowd invested the entire time. They were given plenty of time to shine and the in-ring styles of both Neville and Kidd meshed perfectly. It was a big win for Neville to defeat a main roster member and the post-match antics with Kidd refusing to shake Neville's hand indicate that a heel turn is on the horizon. Neville has been firing on all cylinders since becoming NXT champion and I look forward to his impending rivalry with Breeze over the strap.
Everything on this show from start to finish was good, great or excellent. The tag team title match was decent at best, but not even that was enough to ruin this event. The two main matches (Charlotte vs. Natalya and Neville vs. Kidd) were both fantastic and I give major props to Kidd and Natalya for doing the honors for the stars of NXT. There was far less filler on this show than there was for Arrival and everything seemed to be timed perfectly with the two headliners getting the time they deserved. The live crowd was energetic all night long and made for an electric environment. Arrival had the better buildup, of course, and felt more special because it was the first in-ring show to air on the WWE Network, but I would go so far as to say that Takeover was the better all-around event. The action was amazing and you won't see it anywhere else but NXT. That being said, if you aren't a regular viewer of NXT, go out of your way to watch this show and started tuning in weekly from there.
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