Alright everybody, WrestleMania weekend is upon us, as, more importantly, is Takeover: Dallas. This is our go-home show, and is the custom, we're looking at a bunch of squash matches. You know, here's the thing - if you've done your job right up until this point, mostly all you have to do is remind me that the matches are happening, and selling the show is easy. And trust me, they have more than done their jobs right this time around.
Our first squash of the night is American Alpha taking on Some Jobbers. The highlights are a pretty cool tandem takedown from American Alpha, and one of the Jobbers is an absolute treasure, making making all kinds of faces while AA wail on him. Finish comes when Gable takes out both men with overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, then brings in Jordan to clean house, culminating in a massive Grand Amplitude. Match Rating: You Know, I Think I Can Just Skip These On Go-Homes. Afterwards, we see the Revival awkwardly watching the match on the TV backstage.
Finn's got some words for Joe. See, Joe's been obsessed, but he's been obsessed over the wrong things - success, his reputation, the title. Finn's obsessed, too, but he's obsessed with being the best, and he's been obsessed with that since day one. Joe's in trouble.
Baron Corbin's out to squash Some Jobber, and, well, we've seen this one before. The best part of this was the commentary team pointing out that the Jobber has a rep on the indy circuit, so as to fit into Corbin's gimmick of hating indy guys. He kills him with the Deep Six for the pin, but hits the End of Days after the bell to make a point.
New Shinsuke Nakamura video package, this one with some actual match footage courtesy of Revolution Pro. They intercut it with some of the more famous indy guys talking about him and what he's going to bring to Takeover. Good stuff, but it's going to be hard for anything to beat the American Alpha video from last week.
No Way Jose. No Way, Jose. No! Way! Jose! No! Way! Jo! Se!
Wait, where am I? What's going on? What happened? I smell toast. No wait, I'm okay. They, uh, they need to do something with that, soon. Anyhoo. The Revival is out to also squash Some Jobbers, which they do in convincing fashion. We get to see some genuine clubberin' (def: four fisteses on one head), a cool assisted gutbuster move, and finally the Shatter Machine.
We recap what Joe did last week before going to Bull Dempsey. He's got words for us. His last words, I assume. Bull, ironically, doesn't like bullies. He's bringing the Last of the Dying Breed to fight Samoa Joe tonight.
Apollo Crews is out to fight Alex Riley. You got this A-Ri! Uh oh, you ain't got this, A-Ri. He gets absolutely murdered. He doesn't even hit that spinebuster he does so well. Crews cripples him with a fantastic enzuigiri, then the tossbomb wraps it up. Elias Sampson plays and sings his way down the ramp after the bell. Turns out, he can play pretty good, but he cannot sing for shit. He makes it to ringside, where AC invites him into the ring, but The Drifter begs off for now. He'll see AC in Dallas, and for now, he drifts away.
Baron Corbin is backstage with what is easily the greatest promo he's ever cut. He talks about ending Aries career, so that, years from now, he can set a table up next to Virgil and sell photographs of Corbin standing over his beaten body. Burn!
Next is a video package for Bayley and Asuka, and look, I already said you weren't going to beat the American Al...oh, okay. This has got footage interspersed with the other Horsewomen talking about how great Bayley is, but with the heel women talking about getting their asses kicked by Asuka. Dana Brooke, of all people, is especially compelling here, finally admitting how thoroughly defeated she was by Asuka, despite pulling out every trick she had. This really sells the entire match, which, when you think about it, really has no feud behind it. Bayley's the champ, and Asuka wants it. That's the feud, and the two of them are so good that it's enough for me.
Anyhoo, Sami Zayn has some words next, but he's a little too busy preparing for KO-Mania to join us in person. He's multitasking! Anyhoo, he gets pretty direct. He understands how important it is to make a big splash, but he's not going to let Nakamura make his rep at Sami's expense. Simple, and once again I'll take it.
Our main event isn't much to talk about. Samoa Joe is out to kill Bull Dempsey. I believe the canon explanation for Bull's absence is that Joe literally murders him here, as despite a pretty ugly-looking enzuigiri, this one's all Joe, right up until he locks on the Kokina Clutch and refuses to release it, even after the bell. The refs can't stop him, the jobber squad they send out can't stop him, but you know what? Finn Balor can stop him. Finn lays in a bunch of forearms, and when Joe tries to fight back, he gets a soccer kick from the apron and a knockback dropkick through the ringside barricade. Joe finally rallies, and tosses Finn over the desk and into Corey Graves. Officials pull Joe back, but Finn's not down yet. He gets up on the desk, and takes a running leap that carries him about 15 feet on top of Samoa Joe. They keep trading fists until the mob is finally able to separate them. We fade to black sans commentary (as Graves is in no position to talk right now, and Phillips completely deserted him).
And that's the show. The build for Finn/Joe has been way better than it was in London, and the rest of the card is dynamite. Let's run it down real quick, shall we? Finn/Joe, Bayley/Asuka, Revival/AA, Nakamura/Zayn, Corbin/Ares, and Crews/Samson. Ignoring the likely squash, the worst match on this card is probably going to have Austin Aries in it. Think about that for a second. This is a WrestleMania card. Why, it's almost as if they took a bunch of people who had genuine reasons to fight each other, made the crowd care about it, then booked a series of one-on-one contests to settle these issues. What a revolutionary approach to professional wrestling. And what a weekend we're going to have.
Listen everyone. We need to have a conversation about Baron Corbin. About how he's secretly acquired worker boots and has been having solid matches. About how his mannerisms within the ring has reached outstanding levels. About how his promo skills have improved to the point where he cut that magnificent promo complete with an APPLICABLE VIRGIL REFERENCE.
Baron Corbin is the man and I look forward to seeing where he goes from here.
Originally posted by El NastioBaron Corbin is the man
I am definitely not willing to go that far, but Project Corbin had come a long, long way from those squash matches. He is a legit major player in NXT, and I guy I certainly don't mind seeing on their biggest show of the year.
I've been a Booker mark since the Harlem Heat high-top fade days. IMO, Booker is the #1 heel in the Fed. He has worked programs w/ Rock, Austin, & Taker, not bad work for a newbie (to the WWF that is).