Following on from the historic TakeOver: Toronto, NXT heads to the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas, the day before the Royal Rumble to present NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. The main event of NXTs second show in Texas will see The King of Strong Style Shinsuke Nakamura defend his NXT Championship against Bobby Roode, but will Nakamura cement his being the best two-time champion in NXT history, or will Bobby Roode finally make NXT Glorious? After winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament, the monstrous team of the Authors of Pain, and their mysterious manager Paul Ellering, are looking to take the tag team titles from Team DIY. Will “Mr Wrestling” Johnny Gargano and “The Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa be able to retain their belts against the dominant new team? The NXT Women’s championship will also be on the line in a match where the defending champion, Asuka, will not have to be involved in the finish for the match to end as she takes on three huge threats in SAnitY’s Nikki Cross, and the pair of Australian besties, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. With three more matchups which could define the future of NXT also on the card, NXT TakeOver: San Antonio is an event not to be missed!
+ #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) (c) vs The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) (NXT Tag Team Championships): this match was interesting, as DIY are so good but the Authors of Pain are still so inexperienced, and it was clear who was in charge in the ring. There were some fantastic parallels to DIY’s former matches, and in the end this was a solid good-vs-bad, David-vs-Goliath tag team contest, and I look forward to a more experienced Authors of Pain as we go forward+ Tye Dillinger vs Eric Young (w/ Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain): I’ll admit it, I think the SAnitY entrance is awesome. This match started the show, and got the crowd into a ‘ten’ chanting frenzy from the get go. As far a middle-of-the-card feuds go, this was a fantastic story, great match and the best outcome
+ Roderick Strong vs Andrade “Cien” Almas: just looking at the names here, Roderick Strong going against the former La Sombra, now Andrade Almas, had the potential to be a show stealer. Admmitedly, both performers have been somewhat underutilized in their time in NXT, but in the end this was a very technically sound and hard-hitting match-up. Hopefully, there are bigger and even better things in the future for both of these two
+ a segment in the middle of the show involving a former NXT Champion was really well done, and it tied into a few criticisms I’ve had of NXT/other non-Raw or -SmackDown events in the past
+ the pre-show segments with the NXT Year End Awards were all amazing. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are such annoying characters that even as Australians I find it hard to like them (I still do, though. Kay is BAE and Royce is noice)
– Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Bobby Roode (NXT Championship): from the second the piano soudned at the beginning of Roode’s entrance, the crowd went absolutely rabid and were singing Nakamura’s entrance for minutes into the match. Something about this just didn’t click for me, and despite some very close near falls, it all felt a little bit flat. A same-old, mid-match story unfolded, and it is one that I personally always takes some of the shine out of a match-up, especially a much anticipated title match
– Asuka (c) vs Nikki Cross vs Billie Kay vs Peyton Royce (NXT Women’s Championship): between the two Australians and the mad Scotswoman, I have to say Asuka was probably my least favourite competitor in this match. I really don’t know what I was expecting, but all four women performed very well, with Peyton Royce in particular, being very impressive Unfortunately, this was too short and almost unnecessary once it was all said and done, with far too many logic leaps required
Should you watch this event: Even though the top two matches both felt a bit under-done, overall this was a pretty good show. Much like the old days of NXT, it was the tag teams and mid-card that shone the brightest, and those matches alone are worth seeing. Skip the two final matches, save yourself an hour, and you’ll be better for it.