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And now, the Best and Worst of NXT TakeOver: Dallas for April 1, 2016.
Best: The Power Of Damn Friendship
Look at Jason Jordan’s face when he realizes he just won the NXT Tag Team Championship. He looks like Frank Dux when he gets powder thrown in his eyes at the end of Bloodsport. That’s one of the most realistic and honest emotional reactions I’ve ever seen on a wrestling show. It’s somewhere between existential shock and SCREAMING.
So yeah, NXT TakeOver: Dallas begins in the best way: with American Alpha taking the straps from The Revival. One of the best compliments I can give the show is that this wasn’t the best thing on it. That’s remarkable. Aside from a few rough patches and an iffy false finish that the crowd temporarily completely turned on, this was a brilliantly laid-out tag team masterpiece. It was everything you want from tag team wrestling. It was the Steiners and the Brainbusters on an NXT show in 2016.
The dynamic that makes American Alpha so easy to love is that it’s the perfect tag team formula. You’ve got Chad Gable, the Ricky Morton, a guy with wrestling ability to spare who can turn feeling-out processes into exhibitions and can turn heat into a masterclass in watching a smart guy who’s great at wrestling get out of jams. On the apron you’ve got Jason Jordan, a deeply emotional, intensely connective future superstar who we’re learning might secretly be the most dynamic guy on the show. Tagging in Jordan is like tagging in a thunderbolt. He’s huge and strong and can suplex you without falling down, but he can also throw Okada dropkicks and crush you with shoulderblocks. Like, actually crush you. The best moment of the entire match is the finish, in which Jordan makes a blind tag and SPRINTS offscreen. A few seconds later he comes darting in from the other side of the ring with the most massive corner shoulder to the stomach you’ve ever seen, setting up the Grand Amplitude. It’s a perfect moment because not only does it show what a cohesive unit American Alpha is, it shows what an unstoppable force Jason Jordan is. He’s everywhere at once. He spends that time on the apron thinking about how he can dropkick 10,000 people at once if necessary.
I don’t think anyone doubted the finish here, but it’s still exciting and wonderful to see. These guys deserve the belts more than anyone in the history of NXT, with apologies to Enzo and Cass, and I’m glad NXT didn’t jerk them around for another year before pulling the trigger. Sometimes the right call is the right call, and the time to make it is right now.