NXT Takeover: San Antonio was a good show, with some interesting results. NXT is the brand of change, so it’s unsurprising that the show played out like a snowglobe getting shaken up. But more interesting than the results or the NXT Year End Awards was a moment between the tag title match and the women’s tile match, when inaugural NXT Champion Seth Rollins made his return, storming the ring and demanding Triple H come out to face him. Rollins was swiftly dragged off by security. Triple H later built up the drama in a Facebook Live interview with Cathy Kelley. “If he wants to come here to challenge the creator, great,” Triple H said, referencing his role at NXT. “The destroyer’s not too far behind. Sometimes in life, you gotta be careful what you wish for.”
NXT continuity is something that rarely gets recognized on the main roster, outside of a few interview moments by the wrestlers themselves, or the occasional reference by Corey Graves on commentary. Most of the time, significant NXT moments go infuriatingly unrecognized, like Mickie James’ actual return to WWE against Asuka, or the fact that Bayley actually defeated Nia Jax in singles competition twice before winning her No. 1 contendership on Raw. There is an argument to be made about not throwing casual viewers in that deep continuity pool, but even comic books have editor’s notes. Would it really hurt the commentary team to mention it during the match? They could even get in those WWE Network plugs that Vince McMahon loves so much.
What made Rollins “taking over” Takeover so great was that it finally acknowledged the fact that NXT absolutely exists in the world of Raw and Smackdown Live: the Seth Rollins of Monday night Raw knew that the only way he would get Triple H to face him was by knocking right at his door while he was at work. Triple H was no longer an unseen apparition, playing his music to distract. Rollins knew from experience where exactly he could find his former mentor. It’s the kind of drama Dennis Hopeless would try to write in the WWE comics.
With a lack of Rollins in the Royal Rumble, Raw is now in a position where it has to recognize that something at NXT absolutely affects what happens on the main roster. It’s hard to say now just how or if that carries over from here on out, but it’s a good start to bridging the gap that currently exists between the continuity of those rosters. After months of unanswered questions, the Rollins and Triple H story may actually be moving forward. And while this bubbling feud between Rollins and Triple H may have started in the wake of Balor’s injury, what finally pushed it into high gear was a moment on NXT.
Ashley Leckwold is a freelance writer based out of Atlanta who specializes in comic books, professional wrestling, and pop-punk music. Besides being regularly found at Graphic Policy and The Outhousers, you can find her at her blog and on Twitter @misskittyf.