Is this the beginning of the end for NXT? Or the end of the beginning? It's a very cryptic name for tonight's WWE Network special, as fans get ready for NXT TakeOver: The End.
We have an impressive lineup for you tonight as we'll witness the next installments in some great feuds, 3 title matches and NXT's first ever cage match. Here is the card:
-Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Tye Dillinger
-American Alpha (c) vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship
-Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax for the NXT Women's Championship
-Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries
-Samoa Joe (c) vs. Finn Bálor in a Steel Cage match for the NXT Championship
Who will walk out of the cage as NXT Champion? Can Nakamura continue his impressive streak against "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived"? Will we see new NXT Tag and Women's Champions? And let's not forget about Andrade "Cien" Almas' debut. All this and more starting... NOW!
The crowd is popping for Mr. "Perfect 10" as Almas makes his NXT debut.
Lots of impressive mat wrestling to start off, with both men displaying incredible athleticism. Andrade shows off his high flying moves, teasing Dillinger but getting caught with a superkick to the face in the corner. Cien with some flashy moves finishes off Dillinger with running knees in the corner. It was a solid debut for Cien and an impressive outing by Dillinger that got the crowd going.
Match Rating: 6/10
The Revival is looking to reclaim their lost gold as they face off against American Alpha.
Another great tag match between these two teams, as all 4 men display their incredible skill and awesome double team maneuvers, from ankle locks to suplexes galore - that belly to belly from Gable on Wilder while he was on Dawson's shoulders was ridiculously sick. The Revival end up picking up the win with the Shatter Machine in a great match, but a tad inferior to their NXT TakeOver: Dallas match.
After the match, two massive men lay waste to American Alpha. Legendary manager to the Legion of Doom Paul Ellering comes out as the two anonymous behemoths stand behind him.
Match Rating: 8/10
Gotta love the crowd chanting Nakamura's theme song as both wrestlers stretch in the corner in preparation to the awesome match that followed. What else did you expect from these two?
Aries threw everything at Nakamura, including a suicide dive, the Last Chancery and a sick death valley driver on the apron. He missed another suicide dive as he hit the guardrail, which led to Nakamura hitting a top rope knee to the back of Aries' head, followed by the reverse exploder and the KINSHASAAAAAAAAA for the 3 count.
It was an awesome match that made both competitors look like a million bucks. A little slower and more calculating than Nakamura's matchup against Zayn, but it's unfair to compare the two. Great stuff all around.
Match Rating: 8.5/10
Can "The Empress" take down the massive Nia Jax and stay undefeated?
The two talented women fought in the classic speed vs power matchup, as Asuka tried to apply numerous submission holds but kept getting outpowered and (wo)manhandled by Nia. Some great counters and reversals along with stiff brawling from the champion, including a running kick to the head of Nia, led to Asuka retaining the title.
It was a good matchup with an interesting dynamic as Asuka kept trying to apply a submission hold to no avail, which led her to use her legs for the win.
Match Rating: 6.5/10
This easily feels like the most important cage match in quite some time - good to see the use of a gimmick match actually making sense.
After a slow start, business picked up as Joe and Balor traded blows, tossing each other into the steel. At one point, Joe got caught between the ropes and the cage, allowing for a cool spot that saw Balor climb up the cage quickly using Joe's back. The finisher flurry followed, with Joe hitting a Muscle Buster and Balor nailing the Coup de Grace, both for 2 counts. The end came when Finn tried to climb the cage, nearly making it out but getting caught with a top rope Muscle Buster for the 3.
A good, but not great match between the two, as there was something lacking - a slow start to a heated rivalry doesn't help. The use of the cage is always appreciated, but it almost felt as if it handicapped them. A solid outing, but inferior to their previous matches.
Match Rating: 7/10
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