Welcome one and all to the live recap of NXT Takeover: Respect! This is a huge night for the brand as we celebrate the legacy of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and we write a new chapter in women’s wrestling as Sasha Banks and Bayley prepare to tear the house down. Let’s not waste any more time and get right to the action.
Yet another awesome video package opens the show talking about what it means to have respect in the business.
Tag Team Classic Semi-Final: Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson
We’re opening hot on this show with arguably the hardest match on the card to predict. Balor comes out first and gets his rock star entrance and reception. The new Balor Club entrance in full effect. New stage design for this show as there’s no rampway and more video boards. The trophy that’s going to the winner is very impressive. Our boss man John Canton is dead center facing the camera wearing the Blue Jays hat. Tweet him and let him know you see him.
Wilder knocks Balor to the outside immediately and he starts off with Joe. Joe goes off on Wilder and then goes hit him in the corner but Dawson pulls his partner out of the way and now they go on the advantage. Both men pound on Joe, but Joe battles out of the corner and makes the tag to Balor who attacks both opponents. Balor chops Dawson in the corner and then dropkicks Wilder out, doing the same to Dawson as well. The crowd chants for Finn as he dives high over the top rope and hits a big dive on to his opponents. Dawson is brought back into the ring and is hit with the Shotgun dropkick, but befoe he can hit the Coup De Grace, Wilder comes with the distraction and now The Mechanics are back with the momentum working over Finn and his left leg after Dawson chop blocks it out from under Finn.
Both men tag in and out working over the leg as this VERY loud crowd tries to get behind the champ. One side note for this show that may only interest me, is that they’re continuing with the Black and White color scheme from Brooklyn and didn’t go back to the gold. Dawson hooks a single leg crab but Balor gets the rope. Dawson goes for what looks like a figure four, but Balor kicks him to the outside. Before Finn can get the tag though, Wilder comes from his side of the ring and pulls Joe off the apron. Joe gets sent back by the ref as The Mechanics hit the Demolition Decapitator on Finn. They go back to work on Balor’s leg, but he finally breaks free and makes the hard earned tag to Joe. Joe is coming in like a house of fire and is destroying Wilder. Joe gets a two count after a snap powerslam and then hits his STO out of the corner and drops Wilder with the Muscle Buster. Balor wants a tag despite his knee hurting. Joe second guesses it but tags Balor in and Balor manages to hit the Coup De Grace. Joe takes out Dawson and Balor crawls over for pin. Balor and Joe advance!
Winners: Samoa Joe and Finn Balor
That was a tremendous match that the crowd ate up entirely. I love how The Mechanics work. The story is that Finn disregarded his knee being hurt despite having another match coming up tonight. We’ll see how that comes to play in the finals. Joe continually checks on Finn’s health but Balor says he’s fine.
We see Sasha back stage as she gets ready for the main event and get a video package highlighting NXT’s appearance at the Louder Than Life festival this past weekend.
Tag Team Classic Semi-Final: Rhyno and Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan
Only fitting that we go straight to the second semi-final match. This honestly may be the loudest Full Sail crowd I’ve heard. They are going nuts for everthing. Jordan and Gable are the defacto babyfaces in this match judging by the crowd. Jordan and Corbin start things off. Jordan gets a go behind on Corbin and shows off some strength tossing him around. Jordan shows some great agility and stands toe to toe with Corbin, but Corbin sends him to the mat with a shoulder tackle. They counter each other for a bit and then Rhyno gets the tag. Now Jordan uses his ameteur skills on Rhyno and then tags in Gable. Rhyno shoots him in the corner and overpowers him. The crowd is chanting Gable’s name to the tune of Kurt Angle’s WWE theme. That’s creative. Gable tries to control Rhyno, but Rhyno continues to use his size to his advantage. Gable is able to fight Rhyno off and tags back in Jordan who starts to work on Rhyno’s left arm.
Gable tags back in and they hit a double team Northern Lights that gets a two count. Gable back to the left arm and ends up getting an arm bar on Rhyno over the top rope. Corbin tags in while this happens and almost kicks Gable’s head off when Gable lets go. Corbin sends Gable into the apron and beats down Gable. Rhyno tags back in and slows down the match. He wears down Gable with a headlock and then tags back in Corbin. Corbin works over Gable’s neck. Gable escapes the hold Corbin has him in, but he can’t make the tag. Corbin goes for a pin, but Jordan trying to get in the match distracts the ref. Rhyno gets back in and goes to the top rope with a flying headbutt but Gable rolls out of hte way. Gable finally gets the tag, as does Corbin, and Jordan takes over. Huge dropkicks on both opponents and then a high angle back suplex to Corbin. Jordan is all sorts of fired up. Straps are down and a big spear in the corner to Corbin. Gable tagged in, but Corbin hits him with a massive Black Hole Slam. Jordan breaks up the pin, but then gets hit with a belly to belly by Rhyno. The crowd is insane as Gable and Corbin are legal.
Gable hits an insane German Suplex combo on Corbin with a bridging pin, but Rhyno breaks it up. Jordan tries to get back in the ring but eats a Gore. Gable tries one last escape from Corbin, but Corbin somehow reverses a headscissors into the End of Days and he plants Gable for the win.
Winners: Rhyno and Baron Corbin
That was even better than the first match. WOW. I could hardly follow that near the end. I don’t know if Gable and Jordan are supposed to be long term babyfaces, but NXT certainly has something in those two. I don’t know how I feel that in a TAG TEAM classic, the two true tag teams were eliminated. Nonetheless, our finals are now set.
Kevin Nash is shown sitting ringside wearing a Dusty Rhodes shirt.
We get a video package hyping the debut of Asuka. Her match with Dana Brooke is next.
Asuka vs. Dana Brooke (w/Emma)
I know absolutely nothing about Asuka/Kana, so I’m really excited to see her in action. Very cool entrance presentation for her, along with a cool theme song. Very colorful ring attire with a thin black line painted across her face, below her eyes. Asuka goes to shake Dana’s hand, but Dana slaps her hand away. They tie up and start to trade armbars and then Asuka hooks it from behind and Dana tries to roll away twice but Asuka sticks with her. Once Asuka lets go, Dana slaps Asuka hard and the crowd chants “you fucked up” because now Asuka goes on the attack and wipes out Dana followed by some mocking poses of Dana. That was great. Dana tries to attack Asuka but Asuka hooks a reverse cross armbreaker out of nowhere. Dana gets out and both women end up on the outside. Dana gets back in quickly and distracts the ref long enough for Emma to interfere. Dana sees the opening and drops Asuka with a neckbreaker over the middle rope.
Dana now goes on the offensive with her handspring foot choke and then a clothesline. Asuka somehow gets a heel hook put on Dana, turns it into an ankle lock! She’s pulling out submissions faster than I can type! After Dana gets out of the anklelock, Asuka comes with a jumping arm breaker. Dana gets up, but before she gets out, Asuka drops her with a superkick. Emma comes to the apron, but she’s quickly displaced. Shining Wizard onto Dana and then a crossface chickenwing with bodyscissors and Dana has no choice but to tap out! Corey Graves says that’s the Asuka Lock.
WOW. Yeah I’m blown away by that debut. Dana tries to save some dignity by going after Asuka when her hand is raised, but she’s promptly kicked back down. Asuka then goes to Emma to see if she wants some more, but Emma just turns away and thinks better of it. The hype for Asuka is for real.
We see the trainers backstage working on Finn Balor’s knee as Joe looks on concerned.
Nia Jax isn’t coming soon anymore, she’ll be here next week.
Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze
They tie up early and Breeze gets a headlock to start, but Crews hits a shoulder tackle and then one of his patented dropkicks. That’s easily one of the best in the business. Breeze to the outside, but Crews comes after him and gives him a Monty Brown Pounce that sends Breeze flying. They get back in the ring and Crews gets Breeze in a delayed standing vertical suplex. Breeze kicks out at two. Breeze elbows Crews and then tries to roll him up but Crews grabs the ropes and blocks him. Breeze kicks him in the head and then kicks him to send him to the outside. They fight up the walkway and then Breeze sends him hard into the side video board panel that’s below the ring apron. Breeze gets him back in the ring and gets a two count. Now Breeze works over the lower back of Crews after that attack.
Crews gets out of a Breeze submission, only to be caught in a sideways backstabber. Nice move by Breeze. Breeze now goes to the top but Crews cuts him off and goes for his Gorilla Press. Crews’ back gives out and Breeze hooks on the Sharpshooter. Breeze has it hooked on deep but Crews uses his strength to get to the ropes. Breeze argues about having to break the hold and then turns around into a jumping clothesline by Crews. Breeze regroups and goes right back to the back. He punches Crews in the corner and Crews tries to turn it into a powerbomb, but Breeze turns that into a Hurricanrana. Breeze comes off the ropes and Crews somehow hits an enziguri out of desperation. Crews tries to follow up, but Breeze hits him with a Supermodel Kick when Crews’ back gives out again. Only a two count though. Breeze sends Crews back outside and then hits the Jericho second rope dropkick. Breeze now goes to the top rope and comes off at Crews, but Crews catches him in a powerslam for a two count.
Crews goes again for the Gorilla Press, manages to drop Breeze this time but Breeze grabs the leg. Crews gets free and goes for the standing moonsault but Breeze gets the knees up and instantly hooks a small package but only a two count again! Breeze hits some elbows in the corner but then is caught with a bicycle kick from Crews. Crews picks up Breeze in a back suplex and turns it into a powerbomb and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: Apollo Crews
Fantastic match from both men. A couple really good near falls and really good to see some new offense from Apollo. Tyler Breeze shines yet again in a loss. He’s so underrated.
Hideo Itami and Funaki are now shown ringside.
Bayley is shown backstage looking a little nervous heading into her title defense tonight.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno and Baron Corbin
Very cool touch to have Eden be the ring announcer for this match as the announcers acknowledge she is Cody’s wife. She’s even wearing a yellow and black ensemble to remember the greatness of the polka dot colors of Dusty. We still have an hour and 18 minutes left in this show so even with a 30 minute main event, this match is going to get plenty of time it looks like. Abbriviated entrances for everyone. Balor comes out in a Balor Club shirt instead of the leather jacket. He’s slightly gimpy but trying to not show how bad off he is.
Balor and Rhyno start the match as the announcers talk about how dumb this is of Balor. Balor with a quick roll up but only a one count. They feel each other out early, trade a couple shoves and then Rhyno goes to tag in Corbin. Corbin tries to get the knee but Balor blocks him at first. Corbin gets a shot to the knee but Balor counters with a dropkick and goes right to Joe for the tag. Joe fires up on Corbin and then snapmares him with a chop to the back and a kick to the face, followed by a jumping knee drop. Joe gets in a series of rights and then a chop, but Corbin catches him in his two hand modified chokeslam. Rhyno tags back in and works Joe over in the corner. Big shoulder block in the corner followed by a belly to belly. Joe fights out of a headlock but Rhyno manages to stay on the offensive. Corbin back in the match and goes for a pin but only two. Corbin starts to trash talk and then picks up Joe and knees him in the gut and then hits a series of clotheslines in the corner followed by a big boot. Two count after that.
Corbin goes back to the corner but Joe reverses him and then hits an enziguri in the corner. Joe goes for a tag and gets it. Balor hits a shotgun dropkick to Rhyno as he tries to get in and then goes after Corbin. He favors the knee for a second and Corbin tries to take advantage off the second rope, but Balor hits an enziguri of his own. Balor now wants to go up top, but Rhyno takes out the leg from under Balor. Now Corbin wraps Balor’s leg around the turnpost and inflicts damage to the injury. Now Corbin is relentless on the knee. Balor is in the wrong corner, but fights out, but then is caught in the Black Hole Slam. two count by Corbin there. Balor looks out of it but Corbin comes off the ropes and is caught with a sling blade. Both men crawl to their partners and get the tag. Joe again a house of fire on Rhyno and then hits both opponents with STO’s, but after hitting Corbin, he turns right into a Gore from Rhyno. Balor breaks up the pin and then disposes of Corbin with a DDT and a clothesline over the top rope. Rhyno then takes out Balor and goes for another Gore on Joe, but Joe kicks him and hits Rhyno with the Muscle Buster. Balor tags in and gets the Coup De Grace, Finn and Joe win the tournament!
Winners of The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Finn Balor and Samoa Joe
Not quite as good as either semi final match, but that was a damn good match regardless. Hard hitting with really good psychology.
After the match, the entire Rhodes family comes into the ring including Dustin and Cody. I got goosebumps seeing this as i’m typing this. Cody has a mic and talks about how Dusty died on the same day as his hero John Wayne. John Wayne had a saying, “Well, there’s just some things a man can’t run from.” We can’t run from what happened to The Dream. But we can remember and we can respect. A wise man referred to Dusty as The Oak of NXT. Cody referred to him as dad. For over four decades, the fans allowed Dusty to be a part of thier family. So to make it official, tonight we are all Rhodes’. Dusty’s WWE theme hits and the winners hold their trophy high in the air as the crowd chants “Thank You Dusty.” Everyone poses around the trophy for pictures as a beautiful moment comes to an end. That was absolutely perfect. I got choked up as I wrote that out. Let me also say, “Thank you Dusty.” Thank you and God Bless.
Lita, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, & Stephanie McMahon are now front row for our main event.
We get the Final Countdown video package and then both women get the big match entrance treatment as we start following them from the locker rooms.
NXT Women’s Title Match: 30 Minute Ironman Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks
This has every sense of a big fight feel. Sasha acknowledges Becky and Charlotte with a quick flash of the four fingers. Bayley does the same when she comes out. It’s so cool to see both women hardly able to contain their emotions. This match means so much to them. The crowd starts a loud “Main Event” chant before Greg Hamilton announces the rules and both participants. Sasha can’t stop smiling ear to ear. The clock is on the screen and here we go.
“Women’s Wrestling” is the next chant as the bell rings. “This Is Awesome” and “You Deserve It” follow right behind. We go the first minute without contact and then at 28:50 they tie up. I’ll do my best to keep you in line with time remaining. Sasha with a headlock and a shoulder tackle and then goes for a series of quick pins on Bayley to no avail. Bayley reverses the sequence and also to no avail. Now at 27 minues even. Sasha charges Bayley, gets hooked in a back slide, no pin, and then a small package with no pin again. A couple more pin attempts and still nothing. Both women obviously want the quick start but can’t keep them down for three. Sasha kicks Bayley hard into the corner and then stands over Bayley as she regroups. Now Sasha gets an armbar, but Bayley hits a couple front arm drags, but Sasha lands hard on her head on the second one. I really hope she’s ok, that could’ve been bad. Sasha looks to regroup though and grabs Bayley’s hand, goes to the top rope and hits a big arm drag from up top. Sasha tries for the Bank Statement but Bayley blocks it and both women go back to a stalemate. Sasha gets knocked down and then Bayley goes to help her up. Bayley looks to hug Sasha, but Sasha grabs the hair and slams Bayley down. Bayley gets back up and hits a jumping arm drag followed by a clothesline in the corner. Snapmare and then an elbow to the back of the neck and Sasha ends up outside. Bayley hits a couple dropkicks through the bottom corner. Sasha tries to get back in the ring, but Bayley trips her and then hits a hair grab bulldog. Just passed the 22 minute mark. Sasha reverses Bayley and then goes for a pin with the feet on the rope but the ref sees it. Then both women almost run into the ref, but Sasha ends up blocking him to be able to poke Bayley right in the eye, followed by a rollup and she gets the quick pin she wanted.
Sasha Banks 1, Bayley 0
No break in the match and Sasha goes right back to the attack, but Bayley counters and slams Sasha into the top turnbuckle repeatedly. Sasha reverses it in and sends Bayley into the middle turnbuckle. Now under the 20 minute mark. Sasha lays Bayley over the middle rope and goes for her double knees, but Bayley avoids it and hits Sasha with a Snake Eyes in the corner. Sasha tries to go to the top rope but Bayley grabs a leg, yanks her down right into a Bayley to Bayley and evens the score!
Sasha Banks 1, Bayley 1
Sasha tries to get separation on the outside, but Bayley comes at her with another corner through corner dropkick. Sasha catches her this time and whips her into the steel steps. She gets Bayley back in the ring and gets a two count and then sends her right back outside. Bayley sent hard into the stairs a couple more times. Sasha has flipped the switch now and is in full Boss Mode. Back in the ring and another two count, then right back outside. Sasha walks her all the way to entrance ramp and throws her hard into one of the LED boards. The ref is actually counting out both women and Bayley doesn’t make it back.
Sasha Banks 2, Bayley 1
Sasha taunts Bayley’s #1 Fan Izzy on the way back and steals one of her headbands that Bayley gave her! That is awesome. Izzy is in tears at ringside as Sasha throws the headband back at her and continues to taunt her. That’s being a heel. I love it. We pass the halfway point of the match and Bayley just gets back into the ring. Sasha toys with Bayley and taunts her. She trash talks Bayley and then grabs a leg and hits a nasty modified backbreaker. Sasha then hooks on a high angle Boston Crab. Not quite Liontamer style, but close. Bayley gets to the ropes but Sasha stomps her right in the head. Sasha goes for another Boston Crab, but Bayley somehow twists it into a reversal with a pin, she hooks both legs and gets the pin out of nowhere.
Sasha Banks 2, Bayley 2
Down to 12 minutes left and Sasha goes for her double knees again but Bayley escapes ones again. Now Bayley gives everything she’s got and hits a couple of axhandles. She hits a version of the flatliner, doesn’t look like she caught all of it. Now she hits her series of shoulder tackles in the corner and a back elbow off the second rope. Bayley suplexes Sasha into the tree of woe position in the corner and then bounces off the bottom rope and hits an elbow drop. Sasha now placed on the top rope and Bayley wants a top rope Hurricanrana, but Sasha escapes and its now Bayley in the tree of woe. This time Sasha connects with the double knees but only a two count. We’re under nine minutes now. Back to the tree of woe for Bayley and Sasha charges but Bayley pulls herself up and Sasha goes shoulder first into the turnpost. Sasha to the outside and then Bayley hits a dropkick through the ropes. Now Bayley takes Sasha’s left hand and slams it hard into the steel steps. Turn about is fair play from when Sasha did the same to Bayley in Brooklyn. Now Bayley really focusing on that left hand and shoulder. Both women back to the outside and now Bayley is trying to get the stairs in position for something. Both women trade blows and then Bayley runs up the steps and launches herself off with a clothesline. Sasha kicks Bayley off of her and Bayley slams into the stairs. Six minutes left. Sasha comes from the inside and suicide dives onto Bayley, but Bayley catches her and hits a Bayley to Bayley on the outside! Baylet gets her back inside but Sasha kicks out at two! Both women are exhausted now as Bayley wills herself to get Sasha back up on the top rope. Sasha kicks her away but Bayley fights back repeatedly. Bayley makes one last desperation jump and hits Sasha with a middle rope Bayley to Bayley! Sasha rolls herself close to the ropes though so when Bayley gets the pin, Sasha’s foot was on the rope at 2 9/10. We’re still tied at two and under three minutes left. Back to both women going to the top and Bayley is going again for her reverse hurricanrana but Sasha lands on her feet!! Sasha now hits a Bayley to Bayley of her own! Two count! But Sasha immediately goes to the Bank Statement. Bayley is trapped with 1:50 left on the clock. It it hooked tight in the middle of the ring, 90 seconds left now. Bayley goes for the ropes but Sasha kicks the ropes and propells them both back towards the middle. Bayley looks like she’s going to get out, but Sasha is determinted to keep it locked in. We’re at less than a minute now. Bayley finally gets out with about 30 seconds left and Sasha goes for it one more time, but Bayley reverses it into a Rings of Saturn type submission, with all the pressure on Sasha’s hurt left arm. Bayley starts stomping Sasha right in the head as she cotinues with the submission. The clock is ticking but Sasha has no choice but to tap out with three seconds left!
Bayley 3, Sasha Banks 2
The last three seconds tick off and Bayley retains the title!
Winner: And Still NXT Women’s Champion, Bayley
Izzy is in tears at ringside seeing her hero retain the title. Sasha looks to be in tears on the outside and Bayley just absolutely exhausted in the ring. Lita, Charlotte, Becky, & Stephanie give them both a standing ovation, along with the rest of the crowd.
Now the ENTIRE NXT roster is standing at the walkway along with all the coaches as they all give the respect deserves to these amazing women. Sasha somehow makes her way to the group and William Regal presents her with a bouquet of flowers and Sasha just collapses in emotion and tears. I got tears in my eyes just seeing it. What a moment. Triple H now walks to the ring and presents Bayley with her set of flowers, Bayley in tears herself and Triple H raises her hand as the crowd chants “You Deserve It” again. Shots of both women soaking in the moment closes the show and ends one hell of a night.
My only final thought is just a thank you to not only Bayley and Sasha Banks, but a thank you to everyone on this show and all the coaches of NXT and Triple H himself for reminding me why I’m a pro wrestling fan. My God that was incredible. That was REAL emotion tonight. My hands were tingling as I was writing some of those moments. Hell, I owe John a thank you for even letting me write about this show live. I feel honored writing a recap of what took place tonight.
I’m not even going to begin to compare the two matches between Sasha and Bayley. They were two different style of matches to me. They brought out a couple elements from the Brooklyn match to tie them together. Tonight’s match wasn’t perfect, but that almost made the match feel perfect if that makes sense. I said going into this match that these two would redefine what women’s wrestling is, and they accomplished that without a doubt.
I hope everyone enjoyed the show and following along with my live recap. Please leave me some feedback in the comments below or on Twitter. Let me know what you thought of the show and anything else you’ve got regarding NXT. I’ll be back here next week with the follow up to tonight’s show and seeing where we go from here. Until next time, Bayley and Sasha, I bow down to you.