Here’s what NXT believers and most wrestling fans who hit Dallas this weekend knew: NXT TakeOver: Dallas was going to be the wrestling show of the weekend. With the NXT in-ring debut of Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka facing off against Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship, the proto-Steiner Bros in American Alpha going up for the NXT Tag Titles and Joe/Balor 2, it was essentially the card of the weekend, regardless of what promotion entered Dallas proper this weekend.

What happened? Nothing short of an emotional, action-packed night where everything delivered and the one match most thought would be dull in Apollo Crews versus Elias Samson (not because of Crews) ended up as the dark match. The best match of the night? Easily the 20-minute classic between Nakamura & Sami Zayn. In what many are already calling the first MOTY for 2016, Zayn got a curtain call in what was probably his final NXT match as he makes his WrestleMania debut in the Intercontinental Title ladder match. Nakamura, on his FIRST NIGHT mind you, delivered with all of the charisma of a main event star and a vicious move-set that made every strike look believable.

What NXT captures better than any WWE produced product and maybe secondary only to Lucha Underground is the advancement of stories. NXT TakeOver: Dallas produced a fitting end to the reign of Bayley as NXT Women’s Champion and pretty much signifying the NXT end of the Four Horsewomen era as the next generation, led by Askua will get their time in the sun. Pulling off a finish reminiscent of UFC 196 with Holly Holm & Miesha Tate, Asuka locked Bayley in the Asuka Lock and Bayley refused to tap, rather choosing to pass out than give Asuka the satisfaction. The story told was simple: Bayley, a woman who has overcome all the odds in the role of female John Cena was going up against a superior talent in all fronts in Asuka. It’s no shame in losing to that particular woman. It was no shame for Baron Corbin to take a fluke roll-up loss to the debuting Austin Aries either since it protects both guys and Corbin more than likely is going to End of Days Aries into oblivion the next time they see one another.

The payoffs are what make wrestling great. NXT captures this mainly because of how strongly we the audience feel about the characters. When Bayley lost, her biggest fan Izzy had to be carried out of the arena by her dad. When Sami Zayn took his curtain call, everyone inside the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center stood and applauded. When American Alpha, the company’s hottest non-New Day related tag team pulled off their destiny in winning the NXT Tag Titles, it was the right call. When Bálor, complete with a damn chainsaw decided to pull a Bret Hart Survivor Series ’96 on Samoa Joe, it made all the sense in the world because Joe was going to be overzealous in every move he made until Bálor was down.

NXT TakeOver: Dallas was NXT’s biggest show outside of Brooklyn last August. It nailed the debuts of two indy sensations plus teased another with Kota Ibushi at ringside, all tucked away for the Global Cruiserweight Series coming this summer and former TNA star Bobby Roode waiting in the wings. NXT is beautiful, NXT is glorious and the next cycle should lead to some pretty interesting events.

Here’s the full recap.

NXT TakeOver: Dallas Results:
01. NXT Tag Team Championship Match: American Alpha def. The Revival (c).
After some of the most inventing tandem cheating around, The Revival fell to American Alpha after Jordan & Gable hit Grand Amplitude.

02. Austin Aries def. Baron Corbin. Corbin dominated most of the affair in a big guy/little guy match up. After catching Aries with a Deep Six to the outside, Aries beat the count and got back in the ring. Corbin went for End of Days but Aries countered with a roll up for the 3.

03. Shinsuke Nakamura def. Sami Zayn. Match of the Year already. Zayn and Nakamura threw everything at one another including forearms that busted up Nakamura’s nose. After evading the Helluva Kick, Nakamura won with a pair of “Kinshasa” knee strikes. Guess the Bomaye didn’t come over to America.

04. NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka def. Bayley (c). Bayley tried to resist Asuka at every turn but succumbed to the Asuka Lock, passing out to make Asuka the new Women’s Champion.

05. NXT Championship Match: Finn Balor (c) def. Samoa Joe. Bálor busted Joe open with a strike early, causing the medical staff to chase Joe around to close the wound. Bálor attempted the Bloody Sunday DDT (now called 1916) but Joe transitioned into the Coquina Clutch. Bálor reversed Joe’s momentum into a pin and retained.