This weekend thousands upon thousands from all over the world will descend on Dallas, Texas (and surrounding areas) to take in WWE’s grandest spectacle – WrestleMania. Due to a growing injury list on WWE’s main roster, a crowd likely in excess of 100,000 rabid wrestling fans will be witness to the biggest WrestleMania of all time – but it’s not likely to be the best.
However, there is a show that has potential to be the best in its short history, and that’s NXT TakeOver: Dallas, airing exclusively on the WWE Network. NXT (WWE’s developmental program) launched its TakeOver series along with the WWE Network over two years ago and has, pun intended, taken over the world of professional wrestling. More often than not, a NXT TakeOver show will be better than its WWE counter-part and feature ‘Match of the Year’ candidates, largely in part to the talent that makes up those cards.
NXT TakeOver: Dallas will be no different. The announced card is as follows:
- – Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship
- – Bayley vs. Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship
- – The Revival vs. American Alpha for the NXT Tag Team Championships
- – Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
- – Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin
- – Apollo Crews vs. Elias Sampson
Now, many of these names may be unfamiliar to the casual wrestling fan (and definitely to the general public), but hardcore fans are likely salivating at the mere thought of this card. This is not the type of card a typical developmental promotion would put together, but NXT has grown into much more than that. Much like the early days of Ring of Honor or TNA Wrestling, NXT has become a national promotion that both indie and international stars want to join because it has a groundswell of fan support that has a chance to, ironically, challenge the WWE as the best game in town.
Backed by WWE’s vast resources, NXT has managed to bring in high profile performers who have made names for themselves outside of WWE on a regular basis. The first TakeOver event featured Sami Zayn, an Internet darling who has since broken out to become NXT Champion and is now performing at his first ever WrestleMania. Shortly after that, NXT brought in current WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and defending NXT Champion Finn Balor. These acquisitions changed the game for NXT, allowing the brand to tour the country with names that can headline smaller venues.
That trend has not only continued, but also accelerated at a furious pace. Independent and international stars like Samoa Joe, Apollo Crews, Asuka, Austin Aries, and Shinsuke Nakamura have all joined NXT in the last year, effectively making NXT one of the most talented promotions on planet Earth.
These acquisitions have brought more excitement and prestige to the developmental company, but that’s not to discount the homegrown talent that NXT has produced over the years. Bayley is largely considered to be one of the best female wrestlers on the planet today, and both The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) and American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) are up-and-coming tag teams hungry to prove just how good they really are. Add the easy-to-hate bully that is Baron Corbin, and NXT has rounded off a STACKED card with exceptional homegrown talent.
Wrestling fans often look at announced match cards and pick which ones they have the most interest in and which ones can be skipped in favor of a bathroom/snack/drink/merchandise break. However, it’s not easy to find one on this card. All three championship matches will be must see, as well as Nakamura’s debut in a dream match against Zayn, and Austin Aries will be making his debut against Baron Corbin in what should be a fun match to say the least. Perhaps the match with the least intrigue is Apollo vs. Sampson, but Crews is just too dynamic of a performer to skip out on live.
If last year’s non-televised event in San Jose, California just two days before WrestleMania is any indication, then NXT TakeOver: Dallas is poised to be one of the loudest shows in the history of professional wrestling. Not only that, but the card is unbelievably stacked and WrestleMania weekend tends to bring out the most hardcore of wrestling fans. Plus, you never know what kind of surprises WWE/NXT will have in store at their biggest shows of the year.
It’s likely that 100,000 hardcore wrestling fans will cheer for the bad guys, boo Roman Reigns, and chant offensive remarks repeatedly inside AT&T Stadium on April 3, 2016 for WrestleMania. But what happens when you whittle down that rabid fan base to a modest 10,000 people inside the much-less-acclaimed Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center on April 1?
The roof gets blown off the place, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen at NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
NXT TakeOver: Dallas airs exclusively on the WWE Network on Friday, April 1 at 10 PM eastern.
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