I was at NXT Takeover Respect last night in Orlando. It was an amazing experience and it only cost $20, which is probably as good of a value as you can get in professional wrestling these days.
I’ve never been to a NXT before, so I was happy to be there. I was facing the hard camera in a Blue Jays hat and on camera most of the night. A lot of people sent me comments on Facebook and Twitter saying they saw me, which s cool. I’m not going to write play by play of the matches because Kurt has already done that for us, but I’ll offer up some notes on each.
Here’s a view from our seats.
That camera in the upper right is the hard camera, which was facing us the entire time.
– As we were standing outside to get in, they taped the Kickoff Show right inside the front doors. Then it took about 15 minutes to take down the set. Some people in line said they were there since 12pm. I got there at like 5:30pm and a friend helped me get to the front. Tickets cost $20 and then you get to sit where you want if you have a general ticket like we had.
– The arena looks so small in person. I’m not sure what the capacity is, but I guess it’s around 500 people or so. They do a great job of making it look bigger on television.
– A lot of people were talking about James Storm being there. I know he got there in the afternoon, but obviously was not on camera.
– Dark match was Bull Dempsey over Sawyer Fulton. Bull won with the butt splash off the top. It was okay.
Finn Balor & Samoa d. Dash & Wilder
– I was told that when Finn was doing his entrance, we did the arm poses and that I was visible during it. It was fun to be a part of that.
– It was a solid match. Crowd was so loud for it and into the faces a lot. Good story with Balor selling the knee injury a lot. My guess was that it would lead to them losing in the finals and Joe turning heel on him, but that didn’t happen obviously.
– The role of the opener is to get the crowd emotionally invested and this match was effective in that sense.
Rhyno & Baron Corbin d. Jason Jordan & Chad Gable
– This match was outstanding. They got about 10 minutes and they worked at a great pace with some awesome nearfalls. The Gable/Jordan team has built up some awesome chemistry. When I saw them after the show I congratulated them on a job well done.
– Some of the crowd hates Corbin while others seem to get behind him due to the improvement he’s made. His entrance is cool in person and drew a good reaction. It was one of the best matches he has had too.
– I thought that Jordan and Gable would win the tournament, so I was a little surprised when they lost.
Asuka d. Dana Brooke
– The crowd loved Asuka. The entrance was really cool and she seemed to enjoy the reception a lot.
– That staredown with Emma after the match was interesting. I thought it did a good job of putting over Asuka as a threat.
Apollo Crews d. Tyler Breeze
– Another enjoyable match to show what Crews can do. I’m glad it got about ten minutes because it made Breeze look good even in defeat.
– Even though he’s a heel, Breeze is cheered quite a bit. Fans respect him for how talented he is in the ring. Some girls sitting near us screamed really loudly for him on his entrance and during the match.
– Hideo Itami and Funaki were placed at two seats at ringside for the Crews match. That’s the only match where they were there. The two guys sitting there were back there after the match.
Finn Balor & Samoa Joe d. Baron Corbin & Rhyno to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
– It made sense to have the face team win. You don’t want to give a Dusty Rhodes trophy to a heel team, so WWE opted to go with the team of the two most popular guys in NXT. Makes sense from a booking perspective.
– Balor’s selling was great. I thought they would do a spot where he couldn’t cover after hitting his finisher as a way to create some tension, but they just went with the finish after he connected it for the second match in a row.
– There were a lot of chants for Dusty all night long. Cody looked like he was in near tears from what I could tell. Very cool to see Dusty’s wife and kids in the ring for that moment.
Bayley d. Sasha Banks to retain the NXT Women’s Title in a 30 Minute Ironman Match 3-2
– Prior to the main event, they placed three chairs in the front row. Lita, Charlotte and Becky Lynch sat there. Stephanie McMahon moved a bit to sit beside Becky. All of them were interested in the match while also joining in the chants.
– Stephanie was right across from where I was and you could see her smiling a lot as well as chanting “women’s wrestling” with us.
– I think they brought that Izzy girl backstage during the show and likely went over the spot with her where Sasha made her cry. I’m not 100% sure on that and had a guy tweet me saying her dad said it wasn’t planned. Fans were pretty mad when Sasha made her cry, which shows that the angle worked really well. For the main event, Izzy was seated beside Bayley’s parents and Izzy’s parents in row one. Obviously you would see that if you watched the show because she was on a lot.
– They didn’t announce the pinfalls or the score during the match. All we could visually was the time left in the match. I thought they should have had the ring announcer say what the score was as the match went on. That’s just a minor gripe.
– We were standing for about the last 20 minutes of the match. I’ve never been a part of something like that where you’re standing for that much of it, which shows how invested the crowd was.
– A lot of fans around us were talking about how they had to make a lot of noise especially for Sasha because this might have been her last NXT match since she’s on the main roster. For people that went to a lot of NXT shows, they watched her go from a newcomer to arguably the best female performer in WWE.
– I thought it was going to overtime. When Bayley won with the submission with three seconds left it was a bit of a surprise because I thought Banks would hold on. The crowd was happy for Bayley getting the win, but I also think a lot of people wanted the match to continue as well.
– The match was fantastic. I think they did a good job of playing off the Brooklyn match because they did some nice counters of spots that worked in that match. People were freaking out when they set up the reverse hurricanrana off the top rope, but I’m glad they did it so that Banks could counter it.
– Banks is such a phenomenal performer. She knew that the crowd wanted to cheer her because they appreciate her greatness, but she was a fantastic heel all match long. What she did with Izzy worked so well in terms of getting heat. Then when she applied the Banks Statement she really cranked back on the neck.
– Bayley is an awesome babyface that sells really well and is genuinely loved by the crowd. You can tell that the last few months have been huge for her because she’s as good as I’ve ever seen her. She did a fantastic job of keeping up with Banks the entire way.
– I loved the chants for this match. From chanting things like “women’s wrestling” to “main event” it was such an awesome atmosphere. Some people chanted “match of the year” as well. I’m not sure about that, but it was damn good. I’d rate it at ****1/2 out of five stars on first glance.
– The post match celebration was pretty awesome. I liked seeing them give the girls flowers and then have the NXT roster come out to applaud them. It was a smart way to put over the match as a truly special moment.
– After the show, fans lined up to greet wrestlers as they left. Almost all of them stopped to take pictures or sign autographs. Bayley and Sasha were out last. Fans were cheering wildly for them. They both looked pretty exhausted, so security guys were telling fans to go home so they can leave.
– The crowd was amazing, but there are times when the chants are dumb and people just do them for the sake of making noise. It really is only a few people that start the chants.
– It was a fun environment with no problems to report. For $20, it was a great experience and one of my favorite times at a wrestling event.
When I get home on Saturday I may re-watch the show and write about it in detail because I like doing reviews in that format too.
Tonight, we’ll go to the NXT tapings at Full Sail again and hopefully have another enjoyable evening.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays. Go St. Louis Rams.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org