WWE NXT TakeOver: Respect
Winter Park, Florida 10/7/15
1.) Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic - Semi-Finals - NXT Champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. The Mechanics (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder): ***1/2
Back at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, NXT General Manager William Regal announced that a tag team tournament would be held to honor the late Dusty Rhodes. The opening and second round matches took place on NXT TV, as well as some NXT live events, while both the Semi-Finals & Finals are taking place here at NXT TakeOver: Respect. What interesting about this tournament is that while we did get a ton of regular tag teams, we got some makeshift teams. This match is a great example of that, as (then) NXT Champion Finn Balor teamed up with Samoa Joe, and they’re taking on The Mechanics (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) here in the first Semi-Final of the night. Dawson & Wilder are basically a throwback (in a way) to The Brainbusters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard), with regards to their in-ring style. I thought this was a really good opening match. Finn Balor & Samoa Joe, for a makeshift team, are actually a very entertaining duo. On the other hand, you really got to see a glimpse of just how good Dawson & Wilder are, and it would be a sign of things to come from these two (as they would, of course, go on to win the NXT Tag Team Titles). Finn Balor & Samoa Joe would eventually get the win to advance to the Finals.
2.) Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic - Semi-Finals - Baron Corbin & Rhyno vs. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan: ***3/4
The second Semi-Final on this show was very similar to the opener, in the sense that we had a thrown together tag team (Baron Corbin & Rhyno) taking on a regular team in Chad Gable & Jason Jordan, who had really started to make waves as a team. At the time, I just found it really off that Corbin & Rhyno were a team, considering that they had been feuding just a few months prior. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but in all honestly, I think this was just a little bit better than the opener. I really enjoyed this match! A lot of that, I feel, had to do with Chad Gable & Jason Jordan. Much like The Mechanics, you really got the sense watching these two that they had a really bright future as a tag team. Chad Gable (aside from being a smaller guy) has the total package, in the sense that he’s a really good wrestler who’s also got a very cool character, while Jason Jordan has been given a new lease on life in this team with Chad Gable, especially when you consider how long he’s been in NXT. Gable & Jordan were great in this match, producing what’s probably one of the best matches their opponents have ever had in WWE. Despite their best efforts, however, Gable & Jordan would eventually fall to Baron Corbin & Rhyno, who advanced to the Finals.
3.) Asuka vs. Dana Brooke (with Emma): ***1/4
NXT made what was probably one of the biggest women’s signings in recent memory, when they brought in international superstar Kana, who is now known as Asuka. She soon drew the ire of Emma & Dana Brooke, which has led us to this match, where Asuka is making her in-ring debut against Dana Brooke. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect here, as I’ve never seen any of Asuka’s work before she came to WWE. I thought this was a pretty solid match, and I think the fact that Asuka got this good of a match out of Dana Brooke just shows how good she is. They told a nice little story here, with Dana Brooke taunting Asuka, even slapping her at one point, which led to Asuka just beating the crap out of her. This really put over the fact that Asuka was a killer, and the fans would really into her. Asuka, in the end, would get the win, in what was a very strong debut.
4.) Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze: ***
Back at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, Apollo Crews made his NXT debut. Since then, he got into a feud with Tyler Breeze, which has led us to this match. Ever though this was one of the weaker matches on the show, this was still very solid (the fact that one of the weakest matches of the show is a *** match really says a lot about the card as a whole). It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but it was a good match that just went under ten minutes. Crews would eventually get the win here, in what would be the swan song for Tyler Breeze, as he got called up to the Main Roster shortly after this match.
5.) Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic - Finals - NXT Champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin & Rhyno: ***
It’s very odd that the Finals of this tag team tournament consists of two makeshift teams. This was easily the worst of the three tournament matches on this show, but it was still a relatively solid match. They had done an angle where Balor had “injured” his ankle (if I recall correctly), and that was quickly targeted by Baron Corbin & Rhyno. The action was fine, and told a nice little story, but again, this didn’t come close to the two Semi-Final Matches earlier in the night. Nothing really much else to say about the match itself, other than that. In the end, Finn Balor & Samoa Joe would score the victory, becoming the first champions of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
After the match, there was a big ceremony where the family of Dusty Rhodes (including Cody Rhodes & Goldust) presented Finn Balor & Samoa Joe with a huge trophy. This was followed by a short, but emotional, speech from Cody Rhodes, and then the group in the ring celebrated as Dusty Rhodes’ theme song played throughout the arena.
6.) NXT Women’s Title - 30-Minute Iron-Man Match - Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: ****½
After NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, it seemed like Bayley was moving on to other things after capturing the NXT Women’s Title, but Sasha Banks demanded one more match with Bayley. A rematch for the NXT Women’s Title. NXT General Manager William Regal agreed, and decided to make it a 30-Minute Iron-Man Match, in the Main Event of NXT TakeOver: Respect. I won’t go over every single pinfall/submission in this match, but Bayley eventually won 3-2 in a hard fought match against Sasha Banks to retain her NXT Women’s Title. I don’t think this was quite as good as the match these two had in Brooklyn (I think it’s impossible for them to top that match), this was still a fantastic match. These two just work so well together, and they produced some great action and awesome moments throughout this match. At one point, we even saw Sasha Banks taunting Izzy (the young Baylay superfan who usually sits in the front row of NXT shows in Full Sail). This was just so incredible from start to finish. I know some people would have preferred just a one-fall match, and while I do agree with that point to an extent, these two still had an awesome Iron-Man Match.
After the match was over, the entire roster came out on the entrance ramp. Triple H & William Regal came out with flowers, and presented them to both Bayley & Sasha Banks. Bayley celebrated in the ring as the show came to a close.
While I think this particular show will tend to get overshadowed by NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, this was a sneaky fantastic show. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that this was probably the first NXT TakeOver Special that had no bad matches, or a match that fell under the *** mark. Usually you’d get one of those matches on one of these specials, but not this one. Even the worst matches on the show were, at the very least, good. Obviously, Bayley & Sasha Banks easily had the best match of the night in the Main Event, tearing the house down for the second special in a row. While nothing else cracked the **** mark, again, the rest of the show was still very solid. The two Semi-Finals matches in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were really good, and Asuka had an awesome debut against Dana Brooke. While Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze and the Finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were the worst matches on the show, both still hit *** for me, and that just shows how great this event truly was. It might not get the recognition it deserves, but NXT TakeOver: Respect was one of the best specials NXT has ever produced.