WrestleMania 32 weekend started with a bang as NXT delivered another stellar WWE Network special event on Friday night. With five terrific matches, NXT TakeOver: Dallas has raised the bar for the WWE superstars that will be on the card Sunday night at AT&T Stadium.
There were three title matches on the card, and two championships changed hands. The event featured two NXT debuts, and Sami Zayn had what will likely be his last match in NXT. He’s headed for a full-time spot on WWE’s main roster, and Friday night’s results indicate that a few other NXT wrestlers could be appearing on “Monday Night Raw” in the near future.
Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson was expected to be on the card, but it was filmed as a dark match before the event officially began at 10 p.m. ET.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe (NXT Championship Match)
An inadvertent headbutt at the start of the match busted Samoa Joe open near his right eye, forcing the ref to stop the match multiple times because there was so much blood. The challenger refused medical assistance as much as possible, battling Balor in a hard-hitting match. Balor survived being tossed over the barricade and onto a security guard, as well as the Muscle Buster and the Coquina Clutch. Balor used the ropes for leverage to reverse the Coquina Clutch and pin Joe, winning in the same fashion that Bret Hart beat Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII.
Winner: Finn Balor
Bayley vs. Asuka (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
Bayley suffered her first loss since winning the title in August, leaving the live crowd stunned with the finish of the match. The ref was forced to ring the bell when Bayley passed out from the Asuka Lock as she refused to tap out. Bayley held her own for most of the match, and she came closest to winning when Asuka escaped the same hold that forced Sasha Banks to tap at the end of their title match in October.
Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
What a way for Nakamura to make his debut on WWE TV. The former New Japan star and Zayn had a 20-minute war that ended after the newest NXT star delivered a knee to the face of the former NXT champion. Nakamura showed why he’s called the “King of Strong Style,” as both wrestlers traded stiff punches and kicks. The highlight of the match came when they exchanged forearms for what seemed like two or three minutes, leaving Nakamura bloodied.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin
The much bigger Corbin dominated for most of the match, and it looked like Aries might get counted out after he fell victim to Deep Six on the floor outside of the ring. But Aries found a way to reverse End of Days and roll up Corbin for a win in his NXT debut match.
Winner: Austin Aries
The Revival vs. American Alpha (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
The event got off to a great start with the only tag match on the card. Dash and Dawson used every cheap trick in the book, but their cheating ways weren’t enough to help them retain. American Alpha won after Dawson didn’t notice Jason Jordan making a tag to Chad Gable, allowing the challengers to hit Grand Amplitude for the win.
Winner: American Alpha