I had the pleasure of attending NXT TakeOver: Toronto over the weekend, and let me just say, holy crap what a show.
I've been to a WrestleMania, I've been to iconic Monday Night Raw episodes, multiple pay-per-views, insane Ring of Honor shows, and NXT's TakeOver of the north takes the cake. The matches, the entrances, the pace and the crowd was as close to flawless as you can get.
If NXT comes within five hours of your body, do yourself a favor and go as you will not be disappointed. From the surprising NXT title change, the jaw-dropping 2-out-of-3 NXT Tag Team Championship match, Dusty Classic Finals, Asuka and Mickie, and crowd-favorites Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger, this card exceeded any and all possible expectations.
Also, a little #humblebrag time. For anyone who watched Takeover or Survivor Series over the weekend, you might have picked up on the crowd chanting "10" for every goddamned count-out. I'm the asshole that started that.
The crowd was super hot for Tye and Bobby, I had a decent amount of whisky in my belly and decided to start yelling "10" in synchronization with the ref's actual 10-count. It started in our section of the Air Canada Centre, with laughs and a corner of the arena participating, but then something crazy happened.
The entire crowd started doing it. You can listen to me describe that experience -- a smark's dream -- on The Geekiverse's Geeks talk Wrestling podcast:
Enough about me, though, as the entire crowd was just fantastic. My friend and co-worker Matt, who drove and orchestrated my dream trip into the north, brought up a great point that he wondered if this was how original ECW fans felt after leaving a show. Such a collective, immersed and surprisingly cohesive gathering of wrestling fans doing their best to add another special layer to an already special show.
Highlights and thoughts from the show:
Samoa Joe beating Shinsuke Nakamura was not only shocking, but extremely well done. There might not be anyone more over than the King of Strong Style in the entire company, but this was a match built around sheer physicality. What a beautiful match with a perfect ending.
#DIY vs. The Revival might be my favorite tag team match of all time. One of the first things I did after getting back from Toronto was putting this match on. Unbelievable. These two teams held the crowd in the palms of their hands, and they milked us dry. Hats off to both, and I'm extremely excited to see DIY get a run while Dash and Dawson get their chance on the "main" roster.
I felt that the time between each fall was perfect, and that the sudden death period had everyone in that arena either on their feet or on the edge of their seats ready to burst out with hands in the air.
The Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger feud should not be a one-off. I'm convinced that even if this match wasn't in Canada that it would have been a smashing success. They have chemistry and don't need flips to win the crowd over. Fantastic old-school, non-flashy opening match.
Keep billing and building Asuka as unbeatable. I was so curious in the crowd's treatment of the NXT Women's Champ and the return of Mickie James. Here's how it went down:
/Mickie enters to cheers and applause
//Asuka's music hits
///crowd starts chanting "Asuka's gonna kill you ..." and so on.
The Authors of Pain are getting close to being ready for the top of NXT's tag team division. I'd like to see them go through a couple more teams before a title shot, but these guys are big, move well and are extremely physical.
Reaction post from the fantastic WWE Survivor Series to come later this week, as I love to give you guys a chance to catch up.