Usually the NXT TakeOver specials are indeed something special, something to look forward to. And usually the shows exceed all expectations. But not this time. Most matches appeared as fillers and didn’t have much history / story to them. And also the Fatal 4-Way match for the NXT Women’s Championship could have been better and longer. I still enjoyed this match the most from NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, so it’s on my list of Best NXT Matches of 2017. Here are my thoughts. Enjoy!
Episode: NXT TakeOver: San Antonio
Aired live: 28 January 2017
Match duration: 9:52 minutes
For not even ten minutes, this match have been a little over-booked for my liking. There were a lot of great spots but neither had enough time to get the right amount of attention. For example, take the first part of the match when Asuka took out Billie Kay and Peyton Royce at once for a couple of times, so we could have seen the one-on-one match-up between Asuka and Nikki Cross. We got that for one or two tiny moments. But it wasn’t enough to make a lasting impression.
The second part was all about Billie Kay and Peyton Royce playing the numbers game on Nikki Cross and finally taking her out on the commentary table. And that was the match for Nikki Cross. Because she laid there on the table for the remaining match and only shot Asuka a smile from there after the champion retained. It’s good that Nikki Cross had been apart from SAnitY for once but I can’t see her as champion when her gimmick screams left to right, I only care about beating up people; I don’t care about winning matches, let alone having a belt hanging on my body.
Unfortunately for the entire match, the third and last part wasn’t very good. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce went for the numbers game again and creative thought that it would be a great idea to give Peyton Royce the most time here to shine. But she just overdid everything, namely her reacting shocked and surprised when Asuka kicked out of her cover twice. That was over dramatic and just not good. Peyton Royce definitely should work on her believable acting. Also that she didn’t try to pin Asuka again but instead acted all shocked and surprised made no sense at all.
Asuka was laying on her back in the centre of the ring. There was no need for crying and yelling and only made Peyton Royce look stupid. So, Asuka had enough time to recover, and when Billie Kay made it back inside the ring, she only needed a few kicks to get the winning pin on Peyton Royce.
I’m still not entirely sure what to make of this coalition / friendship of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. One time, NXT wants to make Billie Kay one of the next big stars. Then, they hand her Peyton Royce as sidekick. Then, Peyton Royce probably doesn’t want to play second fiddle, so they are creating this tag team without a women’s tag team division. Obviously, there is only one singles title to chase for. So, what would happen if one of the ladies actually wins the belt? Being heels, one of them has to become jealous and turn against her partner. And that would make for a nice story.
But there is still Ember Moon lurking. And I still think that it will be her who finally beats Asuka in NXT for the title. So, this story around Billie Kay and Peyton Royce is useless in my eyes and only there to please some men’s fantasies perhaps.
And as for Nikki Cross. I hope we can have a real one-on-one match between her and Asuka at some time. With a more ambitious and straight-forward Nikki Cross and more than ten minutes of match time. And, of course, also a little more depth and story would be great.