NXT TakeOver: Dallas Results: Most Memorable Moments from Massive Event
Fans witnessed another extraordinary effort from the stars of NXT Friday night as they battled for supremacy at TakeOver: Dallas and, in the process, delivered several unforgettable moments that will become synonymous with this year's WrestleMania weekend.
From the hotly anticipated arrival of Shinsuke Nakamura to Asuka's shocking defeat of Bayley, the show never stopped taking its audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.
Championships changed hands, legacies were cemented and newcomers overcame the tremendous efforts of the established stars of WWE's hottest brand.
Yet again, the fresh faces of NXT stole the show out from underneath the stars of Raw and SmackDown, setting the bar almost impossibly high for Sunday's Showcase of the Immortals.
In celebration of yet another outstanding show, relive the events of TakeOver: Dallas with these, the most memorable moments from Friday's massive event.
6. 'Let Them Bleed!'
At the outset of the intense and brutal match between Finn Balor and Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship, Joe caught the champion with a headbutt that drew blood from his own eye and would prove troublesome throughout the remainder of the bout.
As is the case in any instance when blood is accidentally spilled in a WWE ring, the action was halted at several points to clean Joe up. This infuriated the challenger and fans alike. Worse still, it cut off the momentum of the match.
The pace the competitors had set and the ferocity with which they approached the bout were adversely affected by the doctors and referees repeatedly and annoyingly halting the action to try and close the cut. After the fourth or fifth time the action was stalled, the fans barbarically chanted "let them bleed!"
While that may sound stereotypical of wrestling fans, it befit the physical battle the competitors were engaged in and, if anything, added to the tone of the match.
5. 'Thank You, Sami!'
Sami Zayn has always been a character whose popularity was maintained despite falling short more times than not. A consummate underdog whose connection with the fans was unwavering, he lost in what could amount to his final appearance in NXT Friday night. But the fans once again greeted him with the roar of approval and respect that he has earned over the last two years.
"Thank you, Sami!" chants filled the arena, the fans expressing their gratitude to Zayn—not just for the extraordinary match that he had just provided but also for his many contributions to the brand.
Very much the godfather of NXT, its face long before Finn Balor arrived, Zayn and his matches with Cesaro helped put the brand on the map and give it the recognition it enjoys.
The Montreal native may be on his way to a full-time gig on Raw and SmackDown, but NXT will always be the house Sami built.
4. Alpha Champions
Chad Gable and Jason Jordan's meteoric rise up the ranks in NXT culminated Friday night with a victory over The Revival, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, for the brand's Tag Team Championships.
The crowd in Dallas erupted for the arrival of American Alpha, and the electricity that accompanied the young stars held up throughout the match. Fans wanted to see Gable and Jordan leave with the titles, the connection they have to the charismatic duo proving stronger than anyone could have imagined.
To their credit, Gable and Jordan gave their supporters a reason to cheer at full throat, demonstrating great intensity and fire as they tossed Dash and Dawson around the squared circle en route to delivering Grand Amplitude and taking the straps.
The win was a coronation of sorts for American Alpha. For two competitors whose failures in high-profile championship matches were well-documented in video packages leading into the event, capturing the gold in the biggest match of their lives was the happy ending both they and their fans hoped for.
3. A New Queen of the Mountain
Bayley may be the most beloved star in professional wrestling today. She appeals to young kids, as well as adults, and her story is the stuff of inspirational movies.
Friday night, though, she ran into a buzz saw in the form of Asuka, who withstood everything Bayley threw at her, then trapped the hug-loving competitor in the Asuka Lock and forced her into unconsciousness. With no response from the champion, the official called the match off, meaning the Japanese sensation won the women's title.
The crowd booed the decision, their love and admiration for Bayley incredibly strong. But once the shock of the title switch wore off, they responded favorably for Asuka, who had not demonstrated any heel tendencies or done anything even remotely heel-like to warrant the jeers.
It was a changing of the guard, the crowning of a new queen of the NXT mountain and a moment that will have lasting effects on the brand going forward.
The question is whether Asuka can carry the division in the same way Bayley did for the last eight months.
2. STILL NXT Champion
The one thing Triple H and NXT have undeniably done better than Vince McMahon has done for his roster is build the importance of championships. That has been accomplished by the booking of the titleholders. They do not win in controversial fashion. Nor do they rely on outside interference. They are victorious because they are the better man or woman and because they deserve it.
Friday night brought with it yet another successful title defense for Finn Balor, who dug deep into wrestling history—recalling the WrestleMania VIII meeting between Bret Hart and Roddy Piper, in which The Hitman countered a sleeper by pushing off the ropes and into a roll-up—to beat Samoa Joe.
Balor has been the face of NXT for just about a year now, and rightfully so. He can be trusted to deliver in the main event position. The Demon persona allows every major title defense to feel special while his Balor Club initiative has provided an alter ego of sorts. He is highly marketable and has as much merchandise available as some of the most notable main roster Superstars.
He is the franchise star of NXT, and another strong victory—over a respected opponent—only helps fuel his legacy as part of the brand.
That means when someone finally pins his shoulders to the mat and wins the title, it will mean that much more to that star and NXT as a whole.
1. The King Has Arrived
The most eagerly anticipated moment of Friday's broadcast was the arrival of Shinsuke Nakamura. The charismatic Japanese star entered the arena to an ovation the likes of which several Superstars on Sunday's WrestleMania broadcast could only dream of.
An eccentric star whose body language does not match up with his Japanese Strong Style, there is an aura that surrounds him, making every match feel unique, special and important.
Those three adjectives accurately describe Nakamura's instant classic with Sami Zayn, a five-star affair that was fueled by the excitement of the audience.
The strikes were incredibly stiff, and the near-falls had fans wondering for a moment whether Zayn would do the unthinkable and knock off the newcomer.
But he did not. He fell just short, dropping the match to Nakamura, whose grand debut raised the bar for any and all future acquisitions by NXT.