Credit: Randy Sobel & Prowrestling.net
Enzo and Cass were hugely over with the crowd. Waiting on line to go into the arena, you got the typical smark chants – Cena sucks, Yes! Yes! Yes!, New Day Rocks, yada yada. The most prominent chant of the night by far was “How You Doin?” So good. I will say that I think Enzo and Cass in their opener (of the television taping) seemed a little shocked and humbled, which was probably the most exciting moment of their careers. We definitely saw a relative of one of theirs, probably a grandmother who was escorted to the front row before the match and helped to the back right after. She was wearing a “How You Doin?” shirt. Lots of MVPs tonight. She’s one of them.
The crowd hated the Hype Bros and loved Gable.
Not a surprise, but the crowd hated Eva Marie. She was protected heavily in this match. She only got in a couple of hip tosses, chin locks and her finisher. The crowd liked, but not loved Carmella. Staten Island got a mixed reaction because, well, no one likes Staten Island.
I went and got a drink during most of Sampson/Dempsey. Sampson was billed as The Drifter. Not sure if this was new for him, but he channeled his inner Jeff Jarrett carrying an acoustic guitar to the ring. He definitely belonged in Brooklyn. Dempsey got a nice reaction and I believe this is his first appearance as Bull Fit. Same music though, and same awesome profanity laced chants involved.
The fatal four way was strange. The finish seemed botched for whenever reason and even Emma looked surprised that she won. Dana and Emma sort of turned on each other at some point too and it wasn’t convincing at all. Charlotte and Becky were definitely held back so that they can go all out tonight. I can easily say this was the worst match of the night. Sign of the night: Dana Brooke is Literally The Worst. Give that man a hand.
Okay, file this under the this seriously happened category. HHH came out before the taping. It was a time killer 15 minutes before air and an ego stroke. He told the crowd, a Brooklyn crowd mind you, that they were taping the opening and shutting all of the lights off and he needed everyone to be dead quiet when he spoke until they turned the lights on. No one listened. It was a really dumb idea in theory and in execution. Whatever, he cares and that’s what matters ultimately.
I saw Jushin “Thunder” Liger wrestle live. Seriously. I wrote that sentence and it actually happened. I will say I expected a little more from them, but Liger is 50 and Breeze isn’t a top star on the roster, so for what it was it was fine. One of my favorite chants of the night, and there were many, was Liger’s Gorgeous! No He’s Not! I’d care to say that the crowd was way more into Breeze though, and some jerk behind me kept yelling that he didn’t like Liger’s kind. I won’t make mention of him again, but think of any racist, homophobic, sexist slur and he probably shared his opinion about it.
The tag match was fun and the outcome was surprising. Outside of Bayley, Enzo and Cass, Blue Pants was easily one of the best pops of the night. The Blue Pants City chants were hysterical. As were Blue! Pants Rocks! I don’t know how well it came off streaming because of the lighting, but her tron video is just a slightly shaking pair of blue pants. She’s so over its ridiculous. I think they need to feud her with Eva Marie soon, it’s inevitable.
The crowd was really into Dillinger’s perfect ten gimmick. Lots of 10 signs in the crowd. He was more over than Crews at first, but when Crews mocked him the crowd ate it up. Both guys really impressed me. I’m not sold on Crews’ personality yet especially because we have yet to see him with a mic, but I have high hopes that he’ll be successful at least in NXT for now.
Baron Corbin vs Samoa Joe was fine. Joe did look gassed at a point though, so I wonder if that’s a concern moving forward. He doesn’t look any lighter than he did when he started. The crowd was pretty anti-Corbin and pro-Joe, but I think they were holding something back because the anticipation for Bayley vs. Sasha Banks was on their minds.
I haven’t been to as many big wrestling events as I should of been to in my lifetime, so I’m grading on a curve here, but Bayley vs. Sasha is in the top two of live matches I’ve seen. The other being C.M. Punk vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania. This should have been the main event. The crowd buzz was electric and I think when the Lets Go Bayley/Sasha chants erupted, everyone just chanted the entire thing. The reverse huracanrana had me in complete shock and it was one of the best spots I’ve ever witnessed. The whole match was beautiful, they told their story the right way and had to crowd buying into it the entire time. Was it the best WWE woman’s match of all time? Do you know of a better one? If so, I’d like to see it. It’s definitely the best of the NXT bunch. The four Horsewomen being in the ring was a cool moment, albeit the most diverse collection of hair colors ever seen together in one wrestling ring.
I’m not sure if this got on TV, but before the Kevin Owens vs. Finn Bálor match (I won’t say main event because it shouldn’t have been) there were a bunch of guys trying to throw streamers into the ring like they did in Japan. Security initially kicked them out for it. The crowd was chanting “let them stay” and then five minutes later security brought them back. The crowd chanted “welcome back.” It might have been confusing to most on the live stream. It seemed to me that the crowd was just emotionally drained after Bayley vs. Sasha and they went a little ADD for most of the match by starting Olé chants and all that. Owens was in strange form, my friend said his attitude was like he was wrestling on a house show.
There were a couple of goofy moments here and there, which I love, but I’m not sure how crazy the brass is about it. Good match, though. Bálor’s dive off the table was sensational. The only spot where I think could of been better was Owens should of apron bombed him onto a ladder, but that’s just spot monkey stuff that doesn’t effect match quality. They told a good story and if this is Owens’ NXT swan song, he had a great nine-month run for sure. Bálor’s entrance live is really cool, but I think leaves something to be a little desired as opposed to on TV where where the camera movements make a huge difference. It won’t hurt his stock at all, but I guess I was expecting more of an arena rock feel to it when it was just some smoke and face paint and red lights.
I was sitting in a decent spot on the first riser to the floor facing straight toward the entrance. Everyone they showed throughout the night sitting in the front row were planted there, in the same exact spot, and left immediately after their on camera appearance. I suppose they do this often? Maybe not since it was Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter and guys of that ilk who’d rather be watching backstage. Rick Rubin, the supposed huge wrestling fan, left midway through the Bayley match.
They only person I saw there for a good portion of it was Seth Rollins, although I never saw him get up to leave.
The Tough Enough people watched the entire taping they did before Takeover started from a few sections away from me. People were yelling in ZZ’s face, telling him to get eliminated. Not much else with that, though. Amanda looks really hot in person, hotter than on TV even, so I guess I don’t blame Miz anymore.