We kick off WWE NXT TakeOver: Respect with a glimpse of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy while the fans chant Dusty’s name. Finn Balor is out first.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder
The first semi-final opens the show. Dash Wilder attacks Finn Balor just as the bell rings, which sets Joe off on a flurry of attacks. Dawson pulls Wilder away from Joe and the established team take control of the match. Joe answers with a kick to the head, and as Dawson attempts to attack Balor on the apron, the champion jumps down, which leaves Dawson distracted and Joe can make the tag. Balor kicks them both out of the ring before flying over the top rope on them both. Wilder blocks a Coup De Grace attempt on his teammate and is flung out of the ring, but Dawson recovers and hits a hard spear to Balor’s leg. Dawson and Wilder spend time working on the leg now to weaken Balor. The crowd rally behind their champion to try and tag in Joe. Dash and Wilder pick up a near fall after pulling Joe away and double teaming Balor. Balor finally tags in Joe who instantly goes on the attack. Joe hits his Muscle Buster before Balor goes up top to hit the Coup De Grace on Dawson. Balor plays up the leg injury as he crawls to make the cover. Joe takes out Wilder and Balor picks up the victory as the two superstars make it to the final.
Result – Balor and Joe win
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable vs Rhyno and Baron Corbin
The second semi-final follows straight on from the first. Jordan and Corbin begin the match. Jordan lifts and plants Corbin a couple of times to show his strength before Corbin shoulder tackles him to the ground. Rhyno enters, and after exchanging offenses with Chad Gable, finds himself on the receiving end of a beat down from his opponents. Incredible move by Gable as he goes to the top rope, falls back but holds onto Rhyno’s arm and puts in a submission on the ropes. Corbin gets the tag though and annihilates Gable on the outside. Gable tries to tag out, but Corbin strongly pulls him back by his head and delivers a huge boot to the face. Jordan comes in and quickly takes out the two big men. He hits a huge spear in the corner to Corbin while Rhyno is down. He tags Gable in but this gives Corbin a second and clotheslines Jordan. Quick paced action going on. Rhyno takes down Jordan which leaves Corbin and Gable, the two legal men, in the ring. Gable with another remarkable move as he rolls up Corbin but goes further and German Suplex’s him in the same move to attempt a pin. Rhyno breaks a pin and then hits a Gore on Jordan. Gable ducks a clothesline and swings round Corbin but Corbin catches him and hits him with an End of Days. Victory for Corbin and Rhyno who will meet Balor and Joe in the final.
Result – Rhyno and Corbin win
Notes – firstly, I was shocked to see two makeshift teams make the final. It will make a compelling final but it was a strange move. That being said, what a match. Absolutely brilliant. The pace was fast, there was some jaw dropping moves. Gable looked outstanding as the crowd rallied behind him. Corbin put in another good showing that will help his credentials. And it is still amazing to see Rhyno go at it.
Dana Brooke vs Asuka
Dana comes out first accompanied by Emma. Asuka then arrives to a warm reception from the crowd. Dana breaks herself away from an early submission and patronisingly taps Asuka on the head before a slap to the debutants face. Asuka smiles. Asuka hits a flurry of quick attacks before mocking Dana’s signature pose. Dana isn’t happy but Asuka pulls her down to the canvas and locks in an arm submission. Emma interferes as the ref tends to Dana and Dana is able to ground Asuka and gets some offense in. Dana locks in a submission from behind but Asuka rapidly escapes. She then applies an ankle lock that turns into a German Suplex. Wow. Asuka gets Dana back into an armbar, this time resembling Becky Lynch’s Disarmer. After two strong kicks to the head, Asuka locks in her finishing move, the Asuka Lock, and makes Dana tap. Winning debut for Asuka.
Result – Asuka wins
Notes – future main roster champion. Scary and scarily good. Quick, innovative, and a master of many submissions. She got in a lot of offense in her debut which was good. Fans loved every minute of it. Dana didn’t really have enough time working down Asuka to judge if she has gotten any better yet.
The vignette for Nia Jax is then shown but with a difference. She is coming. Next week.
Tyler Breeze vs Apollo Crews
That huge dropkick from Crews sends Breeze out of the ring. Breeze goes for a suplex but Crews lifts Breeze up instead and holds him up there for a good few seconds. Breeze sees a counter from Crews coming and counters it himself, but attempts a roll up which Crews avoids. Breeze instead dumps Crews out of the ring. Crews is then launched into the LED board, back first, at the side of the ring. Big back breaker by Breeze as he focusses on the back of Crews. Breeze locks in a sharpshooter as he tries to make Crews tap. Breeze argues with the ref after Crews gets to the rope which allows Crews to recover and hit a flying clothesline. Incredible kick by Crews to the back of Breeze’s head. Crews leaps over Breeze but feels the back as he lands. Breeze hits the Supermodel Kick for a two count. Crews hits the Gorilla Press to set up the standing moonsault but Breeze holds his leg to prevent it. Crews manages to get up anyway but Breeze lifts his knees to block. First time Crews hasn’t managed to hit his combination finisher. Massive big boot knocks Breeze back before a powerbomb lays out Breeze. Crews picks up the victory off that powerbomb.
Result – Crews wins
Notes – sigh. My disappointment from the match wasn’t about Crews winning. He is fantastic, and I will be backing him all the way to future championships. The match was brilliant too, and Crews adding a new finisher was a nice touch. It’s Breeze losing yet another big match that annoys me. The crowd still love him and he can put on matches like this, yet he always loses when it comes to important matches. He needs a huge win at the next TakeOver.
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs Rhyno and Baron Corbin in the final of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament
Rhyno and Balor start the match but Corbin is immediately in and eyes up Balor’s damaged leg. Joe comes in and works down Corbin. One big slam changes that and Joe is being worked by both his opponents. Corbin looks at his strongest when dominating his opponent, and he does so for a while to Joe. Joe finally breaks away with a big kick and Balor tags in. Balor goes on the attack but the injured leg gets to him. Rhyno, on the outside, attacks Balor’s leg to slow him right down. Corbin, as he had wanted to from the start, works down Balor’s leg. Joe and Rhyno come in and Joe hits a big kick followed by a senton. Rhyno with the gore to Joe! Balor breaks up the tag. Balor with a DDT to Corbin and puts him on the outside. Rhyno lines up another gore but is instead set up for the Muscle Buster. Hits it! Coup De Grace! Victory for Balor and Joe. They’ve won the tournament. After the match, the Rhodes family enter the ring, including Cody Rhodes and Goldust, and Cody delivers a beautiful speech in honor of his father.
Result – Balor and Joe win
Bayley vs Sasha Banks in a 30 minute Iron-Man Match for the NXT Women’s Championship
For the first minute or so, the women stood and absorbed the crowd, who were chanting “This is Awesome” before they even locked horns. Chants of “Women’s Wrestling” and “You Deserve It” broke out too. Both women attempt early pinfall covers to try and gain an early point. Bayley attempts to flip Sasha over twice but on the second attempt, Sasha doesn’t go fully over and lands badly on her neck. Looked very painful. Early attempt at their respective finishers but both are blocked. Bayley plays nice girl and helps Sasha up from the corner but Sasha attacks her. Bayley nearly runs into the ref in the corner, Sasha does the same but she blocks the ref into the corner, pokes Bayley in the eye and rolls her up for a three count. 1-0 SASHA! Sasha attempts her knee drop in the corner but Bayley counters and drops Sasha. Sasha goes up top but Bayley pulls her off… BAYLEY TO BELLY! IT’S 1-1! Bayley attempts a sliding kick to Sasha on the outside but Sasha catches her. Sasha throws her into the steel steps! Sasha throws Bayley into the steps two more times before mouthing off to Izzy (Bayley’s biggest fan) at ringside. Sasha walks Bayley up the ramp and throws her into the LED board at the top of the ramp! As she walks back, she steals a hair accessory off Izzy and parades around the ring with it on her head whilst mockingly crying. This is absolutely incredible heel work! Sasha throws the hair accessory back in the direction of Izzy who is in tears at ringside. Sasha has made a kid cry! Incredible! Amongst all this, Bayley has been counted out. SASHA LEADS 2-1! Sasha now applies a submission and she stamps right on Bayley’s hand that she broke not too long ago. Sasha has been an absolute heel tonight. Bayley reverses another submission and rolls Sasha up. SHE GOT HER! IT IS 2-2! Bayley rallies after her move of desperation got her level. Bayley sets up Sasha upside down, hanging her from the turnbuckle. She then hits an elbow to knock Sasha off. Nasty move. Bayley gets set up in the same position moments later though and Sasha hits double knees. Bayley works down Sasha’s left arm using the ropes and the steel steps. Bayley now sets up the steps on the outside. She runs up them and delivers a flying clothesline! She is booted into them by Sasha though as she tried to pick Sasha up. Sasha dives through the ropes but Bayley catches her. BAYLEY TO BELLY ON THE OUTSIDE! INCREDIBLE! Sasha is rolled into the ring but kicks out at two. Both women showing their tiredness. OH MY GOD! BAYLEY TO BELLY FROM THE TOP ROPE! UNREAL! BUT SASHA GETS HER FOOT ON THE ROPE AT 2! Bayley sets up Sasha for a hurricanrana from the top, but Sasha lands… BAYLEY TO BELLY BY SASHA!!! KICK OUT!!! BANKS STATEMENT WITH TWO MINUTES TO GO!!! She can’t lock it in properly though because of the hand injury. Bayley attempts to reverse the Banks Statement but its locked back in. MINUTE TO GO AND A BANKS STATEMENT IS LOCKED IN! Stamps to the hand by Sasha. Bayley crashes Sasha’s hand and the lock is broke. BACK BREAKER BY SASHA TO SET UP THE BANKS STATEMENT! NO! REVERSED! BAYLEY HAS A SUBMISSION LOCKED IN! TEN SECONDS! SASHA SUBMITS! 3-2 BAYLEY! THE BELL RINGS TWICE! THE MATCH IS OVER! BAYLEY WINS 3 COUNTS TO 2 AND WINS THE IRON MAN MATCH! WHAT. A. MATCH!!! After replays, we see the NXT roster out on the ramp applauding Bayley and Sasha for their remarkable match. Sasha makes her way up the ramp, and William Regal goes to give her flowers which Sasha breaks down in tears. Pure emotion from a true hard worker. Triple H enters the ring and embraces Bayley and gives her flowers as well. The entire building applauds. Bayley ends the show standing in the ring alone, tears in the eyes, title and flowers held high.
Result – Bayley wins
Notes – Incredible match. Enormous pressure to deliver and they done just that. A proper main event with emotion. That’s how both main events and women’s wrestling needs to be booked. People will debate whether they outdid their performance at Brooklyn, but they will not deny this was awesome. Sasha played up being a true heel and both left it all in the ring. The end was touching as well. The respect shown from everyone was moving. It almost felt like an end of an era, as this is probably Sasha’s last match on NXT, and it meant that three of the four horsewomen are now gone. It was the best way for Sasha to go out, though.