Brian Campbell breaks down every match on Saturday's NXT TakeOver: San Antonio card, taking place at the historic Freeman Coliseum. Senior stats analyst Sean Coyle offers ratings for each match on a sliding scale worth up to five points. Criteria for ratings is based on storytelling, in-ring execution, match psychology, timing and innovation -- worth up to one point each.
(c) -- indicates defending champion(s)
NXT championship: Bobby Roode def. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) via pinfall (27:15)
After a long career outside the WWE, Bobby Roode took his place atop the NXT mountain Saturday. And, yes, it was "Glorious."
In a finish that might have cleared the way for incoming NXT champion Shinsuke Nakamura's call-up to the main roster, Roode captured the title via pinfall following a grueling, back-and-forth match.
Whether Nakamura makes his debut at Sunday's Royal Rumble or not was made far more uncertain by the ending of the match, during which his injured left was the cause of his eventual loss, as he was carried from the ring to the back.
Late in the match, both superstars brawled until Nakamura nailed a prone Roode with a flying knee onto the ring apron and collapsed in pain for the first time. After getting up, Nakamura hit his Kinshasa flying knee to the head and then fell to the mat again, clutching his knee while Roode appeared to be out cold. A doctor and a second referee ran in to check on apparent injuries to both men for several minutes, but after chants from the crowd of "Let them fight," Roode interrupted the doctor to land his Glorious DDT on Nakamura, which only got a two count.
With Nakamura continuing to favor his knee, Roode put him in a one-leg crab, punching the knee for extra effect. Despite eventually working free, Nakamura quickly found himself on the business end of a second Glorious DDT, which lifted Roode to victory.
Both superstars provided plenty of fireworks before the match even started, with dueling entrances that rank above even the best that the WWE has to offer.
Roode was accompanied into the ring by a group of women dressed in matching sparkling gowns to his ring robe as his "Glorious Domination" blared. Nakamura, meanwhile, had the appearance of floating to the ring on top of a platform complete with strobe lights accompanied by huge cheers from the crowd, who also sang along to the tune of his lyricless entrance theme.
Nakamura constantly teased his Kinsasha finishing kick and set up for it multiple times but was unable to connect until the end. Roode, at one point, even played possum and laid flat on his face before leaping up to attempt a roll-up pin while escaping the move.
Later in the match, Roode backed up to the corner to avoid the Kinshasa and met Nakamura with a double boot to the face.
Roode, the heel, mocked Nakamura's dance moves throughout the bout while methodically cornering and beating him down with kicks to the neck and head.
Nakamura's second run with the NXT championship ended at 56 days, the second-shortest run in the title's history, behind only Samoa Joe's second reign with the title.
NXT women's championship: Asuka (c) def. Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay via pinfall (on Royce) (9:55)
Asuka's unbeaten reign as NXT women's champion continues, but she needed to fight through nearly half of the women's roster to keep it that way.
In a red-hot Fatal 4-Way match featuring a number of big spots and constant teamwork from teammates Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, Asuka overcame the odds to score the pinfall victory on Royce.
Asuka kicked out of a number of late pinfalls after double-team attempts, including a knee to the head from Kay and Royce's finishing move, which took Asuka bridging out at the very last moment to avoid the three-count. The NXT women's champion turned the tables with her signature stiff kicks, knocked Kay out of the ring and finally decked Royce with a kick to the head to wrap things up.
Despite Asuka's victory, the star of the match may have been Sanity's Nikki Cross. The Scottish newcomer drew a number of large pops from the beginning, including a cross body from the top rope onto both Royce and Kay on the floor. The action continued down the aisle and back to the announcers' table next to the stage, but the double-teaming from Royce and Kay caught up with Cross soon after. The Australian duo lifted her up onto the announcers' table and landed a double suplex through a table next to it. Cross laid there for the remainder of the match.
All signs, including the NXT TakeOver: San Antonio preshow, point to a massive showdown between Asuka and Ember Moon during WrestleMania weekend in Orlando.
Seth Rollins calls out Triple H
In the aftermath of the tag-team championship match, Seth Rollins made a surprise appearance in the ring, dressed in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. He commandeered the microphone to call out Triple H, who was backstage. "I'm taking this bitch over!" Rollins yelled. "I know you are back there. You are watching this, you can see everything. So I call your ass out. Right now. Let's do this. I'm not leaving this ring until you come out here and make me."
Triple H, who hasn't appeared on Raw since helping Kevin Owens win the WWE Universal championship in a four-way match against Rollins, Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho on Aug. 29, 2016. Last week on Raw, Rollins lost his Royal Rumble spot during a match against Sami Zayn when he was distracted by the tease of Triple H's entrance music playing.
Triple H came out from backstage in response to Rollins on Saturday but only to send out a group of security guards to attack Rollins. While Rollins beat them down, one by one, Triple H walked away as the sheer volume of security guards prevented Rollins from pursuing him.
NXT tag team championships: The Authors of Pain def. #DIY (c) via pinfall (14:30)
#DIY has made it a habit of putting on one classic "match of the year" contender after another in title matches on NXT TakeOver cards over the past year -- and Saturday, they found a new set of running mates to once again get that job done.
The Authors of Pain not only matched the dynamic duo move for move in helping to put forth an entertaining match, they began a new reign on top by capturing the NXT tag-team championships in emphatic fashion. After connecting with their devastating "Super Collider," featuring tandem powerbombs against both Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, AOP took the final step toward tag-team domination in NXT.
The Authors of Pain put the true finishing touch on the match by lifting Ciampa up into "The Last Chapter" (a Russian legsweep/lariat combo), giving Akam and Rezar the three-count victory while glaring at the crowd, as manager Paul Ellering celebrated with joy. AOP has been on a tremendous run of late, and rolled through the competition to capture victory last November in the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
#DIY's run as champions was cut short, but it wasn't for lack of trying as they utilized their speed and continuity to hold their own and draw huge pops with a series of tandem moves. Ciampa and Gargano landed double spears from the ring apron on Akam, nearly recording a pinfall, and Gargano also connected with suicide dives onto opposite ends of the ring in succession, setting up a running knee from the ring apron by Ciampa.
#DIY appeared to have the title defense locked up when it had the Authors of Pain pinned in the center of the ring with separate submission attempts -- in exactly the same fashion they defeated The Revival in Toronto -- but Rezar powered his way out and violently slammed Gargano onto Ciampa, drawing an electric response from the crowd.
The Authors of Pain remained undefeated, and now stand as a tremendous presence atop the NXT tag-team division.
Roderick Strong def. Andrade 'Cien' Almas via pinfall (11:40)
Roderick Strong continues to make rapid strides since his NXT debut in October, and scoring an impressive victory over Andrade "Cien" Almas by living up to his name with a series of stiff strikes.
Strong fought off a submission attempt from Almas in the center of the ring by inching his way to the ropes to break the hold, drawing a huge pop from the crowd for his efforts and showing some of the reasons why the WWE has so quickly gotten behind him. The positive chants increased soon after when, standing on the second rope, he scooped up Almas and landed a sidewalk slam onto the top rope.
Almas would work the match back into his favor, cornering Strong with one running strike after another. But Almas went to the well once too often, and Strong reversed the move, landing a knee to the face and a suplex. That set up Strong's "sick kick" to the face, which finished Almas off for good. As Strong got another big win and tremendous baby face support from those in attendance after the victory, Almas, who's been much improved since his turn to the dark side, lost another high-profile showdown.
Eric Young def. Tye Dillinger via pinfall (10:54)
Tye Dillinger seemingly could have held his own and emerged victorious against just one member of Sanity on Saturday, but having to deal with three members of the upstart heel faction proved too tall a task.
Sanity's Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain provided enough muscle and distraction to help Eric Young escape a sure defeat late in the match. In Dillinger's most hopeful moment, he connected with his patented "Tye-breaker," but Wolfe reached in to lift Young's leg onto the ropes, causing the referee to stop his count at two.
Dillinger responded with a dive over the top rope onto three members of Sanity (who were without Cross). Dillinger added a second cross-body moments later to Young in the ring, but Young reversed it into a roll-up that nearly earned him a three count.
After near-perpetual interruptions from Wolfe and Dain, Young grabbed Dillinger, who was standing on the ring apron, and hit his dead-lift wheelbarrow suplex into a neckbreaker combination (which he's previously called "Youngblood") to earn the pinfall victory.
The match featured steady action and stiff strikes throughout, drawing an early "this is awesome" chant from the crowd midway through the match after Dillinger connected on a belly-to-belly suplex from the top rope. Dillinger drew a similar pop when he hit a massive dropkick to Young as the latter jumped from the top rope. It was a great showing from both men, and if this is the swan song for Dillinger, it was a strong goodbye.