NXT Takeover: Dallas is tonight and it’s the first of the four big events that encapsulate WWE WrestleMania Weekend. With the other three being the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony on Saturday Night, the granddaddy of them all WWE WrestleMania on Sunday, and the night after WWE Monday Night Raw where often something huge happens kicking off a new year of WWE sports entertainment.
Back to the NXT Takeover: Dallas show, this wrestling card might seem small at only six matches, but this show is insanely stacked top to bottom with each match having the possibility match of the year candidates and that being said it could easily eclipse WrestleMania 32 despite being in a building with roughly 50 times less people in it as it’s being held in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center; while WrestleMania will be held in the home of the Dallas Cowboys; AT&T Stadium two days later.
In the likely first match of the evening to get the crowd in to the show with Austin Aries makes his NXT in-ring debut against the resident NXT bully Baron Corbin. While seeing these two competitors, it looks like a huge mismatch as Aries is listed at 5-foot-9 and 202 pounds while Corbin is listed at 6-foot-7 and 275 lbs; however Austin has wrestled since 2000 and Baron started in 2012 after a lengthy football career. This match came about when Aries debuted in NXT television on March 2nd and Corbin jumped Aries from behind and told NXT General Manager William Regal “An eye for an eye!” after the GM wouldn’t keep him in the NXT Title picture. This seems like it can be a classic David vs Goliath match; however, hardcore wrestling fans know that size has meant nothing to Aries for all of his career as he is one of the greatest technical and most over wrestlers in the world. This will be an excellent way to get the crowd into the show from the start.
To keep the crowd building they will next have the NXT Tag Team title match between challengers American Alpha which is the team of Chad Gable and Jason Jordan will try to dethrone the defending champions in Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, better known as The Revival. This will mind any fan of the golden age of tag team wrestling of the mid to late 1980s. Gable and Jordan are both classically trained amateur wrestlers before they swapped the mat for the squared circle that will remind fans of the likes of Kurt Angle, Charlie Haas, and Shelton Bejamin; while Dawson and Wilder are old school tough and gritty brawlers that are reminiscent of The Brain Busters or the tag team of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Considering how dead American tag team wrestling is for the most part, this could easily be in high consideration for the best tag match of the year.
The third match of the evening will likely be Elias Samson taking on Apollo Crews where you will have two superb athletes locking horns. Samson has been around NXT since 2014 and before that in several independent promotions throughout the Northeast. While Crews, has been known elsewhere as “Uhaa Nation” has been one of the most talked about up and coming stars in pro wrestling in quite some time from the United States. He quite possibly has the entire package, as he is in incredible shape, has breathtaking agility, is extremely marketable as like other wrestlers in the past who have the so-called “It Factor”, Crews has a human action figure look to him. If you’re a fan of pro wrestling and haven’t seen this man wrestle and have the WWE Network, please sit down with your favorite beverage and just enjoy.
In the last but certainly not least match of the under-card as fan super-favorite Sami Zayn takes on one of the most talked about signings in the history of the WWE in Japanese star Shinsuke Nakamura who has been having wars in New Japan Pro Wrestling since 2002. Zayn is pulling double duty this weekend as he will also be on the WrestleMania card as well. Nakamura has been known as “The King of Strong Style” which means he works extremely aggressive and stiff (real), not to mention possesses ultra charisma that few wrestlers in the world have. This will be a back and forward match and might get the most time of any of the six matches and the crowd will be insanely loud for this match.
Onto the co-main event as it is for the NXT Women’s Championship between international superstar Asuka who will be taking on fan ultra favorite Bayley. Asuka has been in in NXT since August 2015, but has been wrestling since 2004, primarily in Japan and if Shinsuke Nakamura is “The King of Strong style”, then she is the Queen. As for Bayley, when you think a woman in mainstream WWE you think the all-american girl of with some surgical enhancements shall we say; however, she is all real, completely over, and insanely beloved due to being the Jane Everyone that was always told she wasn’t good enough to succeed in anything she does. This is much like how someone like Stone Cold Steve Austin was the Joe Everyone, which much sharper edge to him in every facet. These two women are expertly trained and extremely physical and technical and will tear the house down without question.
Finally, the other co-main event of is for the NXT Championship where it is a rematch from NXT Takeover: London where defending champion Finn Bálor will face challenger Samoa Joe. These two also were a tag-team last year in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, in fact they actually won the tournament, so when Joe turned on Bálor this whole feud was kicked into high gear. Joe has been wrestling all over the world since 1999, but most notably in the Orlando, Florida based promotion of Total Nonstop Action where he won every major championship. While Joe for the most part became a star domestically, the Irish-born Bálor made his name household over in Japan and has been wrestling since 2000. If this match is anything like their first one across the pond, we will be in for a treat for sure.
All and all, while this event is on a Friday night and in no where near as gigantic of an event or arena as WrestleMania will be on Sunday however; this match will cast a far larger shadow.