March 24, 2016 by gorillapressonline
NXT Takeover: Dallas is creeping up on us ever so quickly. And with the exciting prospect of loads of great wrestling over a jam packed Wrestlemania weekend, it is still undoubtedly the Takeover event which is really whetting the appetites of the fans.
The Drifter Elias Samson Vs Johnny GarganoEvolve superstar Johnny Gargano is the first real test to the Drifter here in NXT. The build-up for Samson is doing a great job to garner suspense and, given time, his methodical, tempered persona signals a bright future in Full Sail.
Elias Samson utilises the negative space of action to sell his character – watch his crazed looks as he stands over his downed opponent in the early stages for an example, this shows a great depth of thought to an otherwise overplayed gimmick and will set him apart if it doesn’t become too kitschy.
Johnny Gargano is another Superstar that has impressed in his short NXT tenure. He displays wonderful mat-based wrestling in this bout, doing his best to steal a win in this short match.
Gargano takes the win, in a hard-fought, but short bout
The Drifter doesn’t take well to the loss, attacking Gargano mercilessly, forcing a little bit of Evolve Chivalry to ensue as Apollo Crews rushes to the rescue of Gargano.
The look on Elias Samson’s face changes significantly as he stares down Crews at ringside. Samson does an excellent job selling the save without a physical altercation and those few seconds have done wonders to lay the foundations of what could be an enticing feud.
Finn Balor Vs Rich SwannIt’s always a pleasure to see Rich Swann in an NXT ring. A high-profile match such as this, against the champion Finn Balor, is a great introduction to people unfamiliar with Swann and his work.
Swann is super-over with the Full Sail crowd and from the moment he enters the ring (dancing his way down the ramp, accompanied by funky disco music) he is a delight to watch – and that’s before he’s even showcased his move-set.
Balor is in a transitional period here in NXT; he is white-hot with the crowd and exudes confidence and magnetism, yet his in-ring work is becoming far edgier, grittier and borderline relentless at times.
Finn Balor could easily be a heel champion and have the crowd like melted butter in his hands. Further to this, his new mean streak has fans contemplating Bullet Club rumours and Balor does a great job at keeping them second guessing.
Here, he keeps Rich Swann grounded and offers little respite from the assault, as Swann tries to break out of a wrist-lock with an unusual spring. Balor quickly applies pressure, jaunting him back to the ground – another vicious addition to his offence – Finn moves into a hammerlock, the whole exchange utterly flawless as the champion asserts his dominance.
The two competitors have a great chemistry, clicking together in the ring keeping the action swift and engaging. As it spills to the outside, more aggression seeps from the champion – he can switch from face to heel with ease and the crowd reacts accordingly.
Finn Balor naturally takes the win with his NJPW signature, the Bloody Sunday, now called 1916, after the Irish rising of 100 years ago- a nice touch which fits with the mythos of his Balor character (and is keeping in tone with the upcoming centenary).
Excellent match from these two early on the card, with Balor taking the win
The women’s division is absolutely jam-packed and Bliss is doing her best to rise to the top of the crop.
Alexa Bliss (wo)man-handles Dobson, slapping and throwing her around the ring for the most part.
This is a typical squash showcase for NXT but, if this match is anything to judge, Alexa Bliss could make waves in this stacked division.
Bliss takes the win in predictably squashy women’s fun
The recently-released Dempsey doesn’t even get to the ring before Samoa Joe beats him down and gets in there to beat up resident jobber Danny Burch.
Joe makes quick work of the two before getting into the camera, sending a message direct to Finn Balor.
This is a great way to keep Joe in the spotlight without having the two collide just yet. They could easily steal the show at Takeover: Dallas in what could be a truly brutal outing.
Bull Dempsey is given a suitable send-off in this non-match
Asuka Vs Emma
Emma has done a great job in this program with Asuka thus far; she is playing the heel perfectly and, as the NXT women’s championship looks firmly in the sights of the Japanese superstar, Emma has a score to settle.
Asuka is tremendous in the ring, it’s hard for Emma to get any offence in, her speed and versatility are a delight to witness.
The way she combines strikes with submissions and rolls into and out of moves is wonderful. This, combined with the fact she makes it all look so effortless, sets her a rung above most of the competition – and that’s not a dig at the roster, either, rather it’s a compliment on her talent.
When Emma does get a chance to punish Asuka, she takes real pleasure in it, her expressions and movement help sell the eventual comeback from the super-talented Japanese star.
Asuka catches a kick from Emma and turns it first into an ankle lock and then into a German Suplex variation, which snapped back beautifully, before applying the Asuka-Lock to nab the win.
An excellent close to the show as we head into Dallas next Friday. All eyes will firmly be on NXT during the biggest wrestling weekend of the year.
Catch NXT every Wednesday on the WWE Network