Tim Fiorvanti breaks down every match on Saturday's NXT Takeover card, which took place from The Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Senior stats analyst Sean Coyle offers ratings worth a maximum of five points. Criteria for ratings is based on storytelling, in-ring execution, match psychology, timing and innovation -- worth up to one point each.
The following was updated in real time.
Bobby Roode def. Tye Dillinger by pinfall (16:28)
WWE is 2-for-2 thus far, with incredible, over-the-top entrances for Roode at NXT TakeOver shows, and it might just be a matter of how many times they can top themselves before there are diminishing returns. By using a full choir to sing Roode's "Glorious" entrance theme, the tone was set for an evening in which the Toronto crowd was one of the stars.
Matching the two Canadian performers against each other in the opener was also an inspired choice. While Dillinger's entrance couldn't quite compare to Roode's production, the crowd also went ballistic with "10" chants as nearly the entire arena threw up both hands while Dillinger, the St. Catharines, Ontario, native, made his way to the ring.
Dillinger, the scorned former tag team partner of Roode, dominated the early action and entertained by milking the 10th punch of a corner sequence to great effect. Roode eventually took control by tossing Dillinger over the top rope to the outside. And Roode's slow, methodical pace gave the crowd ample opportunity to rotate between chants of "This is Glorious" and "Perfect 10," without taking a single thing away from the match.
Roode tried to use the ropes to pin Dillinger but was called out by the referee. Dillinger followed by nearly pulling off the win, hitting a "Tye-breaker," only for Roode to kick off just before the three-count. One of the biggest early reactions from the crowd came, predictably, when Dillinger slapped Roode in a sharpshooter to evoke echoes of Bret Hart, but Roode got himself to the ropes. After exchanging a few near-falls, Roode hit his "Glorious DDT" to pick up the victory.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic final: The Authors of Pain def. TM-61 by pinfall (8:20)
The end of the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament looked a lot different than the original. But by the end of the match, The Authors of Pain sent a clear message: They're looking to be more than just another pair of big guys as they make their way up the NXT tag team division
The gimmick in this match was the crane (based upon the WWE's new "Crash Cage" toy playset) that saw AoP manager Paul Ellering in a rehash of the same stunt from 1983, when Ellering was suspended high above the ring at "The Last Battle of Atlanta." While the attention was placed squarely upon the cage, the scaffolding portion of the arrangement saw TM-61's Shane Thorne incite the crowd with a flying senton on top of both Authors of Pain members -- Akam and Rezar -- from high above the top turnbuckle.
After going back and forth, Thorne and partner Nick Miller hit "Rolling Thunder" but only got a two count out of it. Despite hanging high above the ring, Ellering still involved himself by dropping the chain holding his cage closed so that it could be used as a weapon.
It ultimately went flying into the crowd, as it was nearly used as a weapon, but the distraction was enough. The Authors of Pain regained all of the momentum and ultimately hit their "Last Chapter" finishing maneuver to earn themselves a permanent spot on the Dusty Cup. Triple H and Rhodes' son, Goldust (Dustin Rhodes), came out to celebrate AoP's victory, and it likely set the team up as the next serious contenders to the tag team titles.
NXT tag team championship: #DIY def. The Revival (c) in best 2-out-of-3 falls (22:18)
For many in attendance at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, almost everything in the show-stealing NXT tag team championship match was precisely on-point, except for the finish. With how the next three months played out, culminating in a two-out-of-three falls match that once again captivated a TakeOver audience, the powers that be soundly proved that they know what they are doing when it comes to storytelling.
The heel champion Revival was already going to be unpopular in Canada, but wearing the pink and black to clearly evoke memories of Bret Hart only put them in lower favor with the Toronto crowd.
There are any number of ways that multifall matches can go, whether there's an early fall to immediately add tension to the match, an extended period without a fall to set the stage for a frenetic finish or something in between those extremes. This particular match leaned more toward the former, with Dash and Dawson picking up the first fall early on with an unbelievably stiff edition of the "Shatter Machine" on Johnny Gargano.
They kept Gargano isolated for the next five minutes, as Tommaso Ciampa grew more and more impatient. Gargano nearly got himself free by hitting a simultaneous dropkick and tornado DDT, only for The Revival to go back to its devious ways by neutralizing Ciampa at the very last minute. When Ciampa finally did come in, he took over like a house of fire and absolutely decimated Scott Dawson, nearly picking up the fall for his team with a modified "Fameasser." Three consecutive German suplexes and a "Shining Wizard" nearly earned Ciampa the first fall for his team again, but the crowd roared (reminiscent of Brooklyn, when there were seemingly a dozen near-falls) each time they couldn't quite do it.
Finally, the score was tied when #DIY cleared the ring and hit their knee-and-kick combination on Dawson to record the pin, and both teams retreated to their corners for the final fall. #DIY seemed to have it under control for much of the early portion of this sequence, with Gargano hitting a springboard DDT for yet another near-fall. But soon after Ciampa had to jump in to save his partner when Gargano got hit by a German suplex combo.
Dash and Dawson brought the title into play as Gargano tried to hit his rolling ground kick combo -- injuring his leg in the process -- and in a replay of the end of the tag team title match in Brooklyn, Gargano's compromised knee nearly caused him to tap out again. Gargano sold it impressively and looked ready to tap four or five times before finally getting to the ropes to get the entire crowd onto its feet.
The Revival tried to hit DIY's signature finisher, only for Dash Wilder to accidentally superkick Dawson. DIY hit the Shatter Machine for a two-count, and one of a dozen additional near-falls almost saw The Revival win until the ref noticed Dawson trying to grab the tights for the win. Dash chop-blocked Gargano's other knee, triggering one final roll-up sequence, and then it was on to the finish.
Gargano locked in an STO and Ciampa locked in an armbar, with the crowd becoming unhinged during the simultaneous submission holds. With seemingly the entire arena shouting "tap" in unison, Wilder and Dawson ultimately acquiesced, as #DIY secured the storybook ending to their year-long adventure in NXT.
NXT women's championship: Asuka (c) def. Mickie James by submission (13:07)
Limitations and boundaries often serve as some of the best opportunities to produce something creative and different. With NXT's current lack of depth in the women's division, the opportunity to bring back a star from a different generation created a match between two very different styles -- and James looked as if she hadn't lost a step after more than six years out of the WWE.
There was a tense handshake sequence in the middle of the ring, and the match didn't really get started in earnest until James held open the ropes, only for Asuka to climb under the bottom rope in protest. After Asuka connected with her hip attack, which sent James flying to the outside, James nearly returned the favor when Asuka held open the ropes -- only to receive another hip attack for her troubles.
James hit a hurricanrana from the apron to the outside, and Asuka responded with a vicious suplex. Asuka dominated the action once it got back into the ring, but James ultimately reversed a series of kicks into a single-leg Boston Crab and a bridge. For the first time since her Brooklyn match with Bayley, Asuka briefly looked vulnerable, as James connected with a slap and followed up with clotheslines, a flapjack and a top-rope cross-body splash to take control.
A "Chick Kick," one of James' finishing moves, actually required Asuka to get her leg on the bottom rope during the pinfall attempt. There was a midring scuffle with another two-count for James, but Asuka would not let go of the hold she had around James' neck and rolled It over for the "Asuka Lock" and the submission victory.
It was nice to see Asuka looking human -- and it required a possible future WWE Hall-of-Famer to do it. Despite the unbeaten Asuka regaining her swagger as she left the ring, she was brought back to earth a little bit -- and that seems necessary to have in order for anyone to become a serious contender to her title.
NXT championship: Samoa Joe def. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) by pinfall (20:12)
For match recap and ratings, click here.