NXT Takeover Chicago 2 Review

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NXT Takeover Chicago Results + Star Ratings: 

  • Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly defeat Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships @16:00 ****
  • Ricochet defeats Velveteen Dream @22:03 ****3/4
  • Shayna Baszler defeats Nikki Cross to retain the NXT Women’s Championship @9:30 ***1/4
  • Aleister Black defeats Lars Sullivan to retain the NXT Championship @14:05 ***1/2
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Johnny Gargano in a Chicago Street Fight @35:37 *****

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(c)Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly(Undisputed ERA) vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan for the NXT Tag Titles

This match was the literal perfect opener. It started fast and got the crowd into it. The pop for UE was insane. Lorcan and Burch were interesting choices for the challengers here but they totally showed their ability in-ring to any doubters. Lorcan especially shined here, hitting an amazing diving double Blockbuster to ringside and being fast as lightning. After a Doomsday Uppercut by Lorcan and Burch, Adam Cole removes Lorcan from the pin and gets an ejected. The match continues at a splittingly fast speed and had an amazing double submission spot by Lorcan and Burch. After a flurry of strikes by ERA, the match ends. Even with a predictable match, Lorcan and Burch were amazing here and got a standing ovation post-match. ****

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Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

This feud had been all about Dream showing Ricochet whatever Ricochet can do Dream can do better. This played heavily into this match. The Dream came down in a Hulk Hogan-inspired attire which was surprising.  If you don’t know, Velveteen used to be on Tough Enough in 2015 and Hulk Hogan was a judge. Hulk Hogan was one of the main reasons Dream was kicked off the show and then Hogan had his “controversy” that then kicked Hogan off of Tough Enough. The match started slowly with Dream in control. Velveteen then dumps Ricochet ringside and hits an amazing tope con hiro. The crowd is split and starts to chant “Both These Guys”. Ricochet fired back with two topes of his own picking up the pace. Dream hit an amazing rolling Death Valley Driver off the top rope for a near fall. The dream also hit a Brutal Suplex to ringside, both men get in at 9. STO DDT by Dream gets a very near fall. Towards the end, this match got into very near 5-star range. Dream yells at Ricochet “I’m a Wrestling God!” This fires up Ricochet to hit Dream’s moves. Ricochet hits a Rolling DVD and hits a Purple Rainmaker but Dream gets his knees up and gets a near fall on Rico. Velveteen flies across the ring to hit the Purple Rainmaker but Rico misses. A 630 Senton by Ricochet closes. ****3/4 

I loved this match so much. I was at NXT Takeover and this match was so fun to watch live. This will go down as one of my favorite 2018 matches however it isn’t the best in quality so far this year. The characters clashed so well and Velveteen and Ricochet provided another amazing NXT Match. The feud was fantastic and this, in my opinion, was better than Dream vs. Black. 

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(c)Shayna Baszler vs. Nikki Cross for the NXT Women’s Championship

Cross vs. Baszler had so much potential and while it was better than almost all of the WWE Women’s matches in 2018, I was still left disappointed. Cross is fantastic while Baszler is one of my favorite women’s wrestlers ever. Early on, Cross was hilarious and crazy yelling at Baszler to choke her out. Ringside, Cross gets a choke on Baszler and Baszler drops Cross onto the ramp out of the hold brutally. In the arena, a beach ball was released but fans grabbed it and ripped it. A “Beachballs Suck” chant boomed through the arena. Knee strikes by Baszler fire up Cross. Cross hits a Diving Crossbody for a near fall. Cross hits a Reverse DDT on the apron. Cross tries to roll up Baszler but Baszler grabs in a coquina clutch. Cross smiles then abruptly passes out. While this was nowhere near bad, it could’ve been great and it was VERY short. ***1/4

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(c) Aleister Black vs. Lars Sullivan for the NXT Championship

This match follows the same theme as the last match, it could’ve been fantastic but one thing stops it from being amazing. In Cross vs. Baszler it was the finish but in this match, it was a major botch. The match starts hot though as Black moves like a cheetah out of the gates. Black goes for a Moonsault off the post ringside but Lars catches him, Dead eyes him on the apron and launches Black into the barricade. Lars goes for a Flying Headbutt but Black gets a single leg up but it hurts Black playing the leg selling into the rest of the match. Black manages to hit a Standing Springboard Moonsault for a near fall. Lars gets in a Brock Lock which Black pins Lars to get out into a near fall. Lars hits a great powerslam on the apron. Now it’s time for the botch, while Black tries to go for a Fade to Black it misses but Lars sells it for a near fall anyway. The commentary makes it worse by saying that it was because Lars was so hurt he passed out and Black hurt his leg too. The crowd chants “You Fucked Up”. This led to a great finish however as Black finally hits two Fade To Blacks for the win. ***1/2

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Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa in a Chicago Street Fight 

Okay, okay guys, this may be the greatest WWE match of ALL TIME. So, Ciampa vs. Gargano was MOTY at Takeover NOLA until Okada v. Omega 4 came along. This match, however, blew the Takeover NOLA match out of the water, however, I don’t know if it’s better than Okada vs. Omega but it’s on the same level.  Instead of continuing to rave on, I’m going to talk about the match. Before the match, Candice LeRae gives Johnny the crutch from Takeover NOLA. Ciampa wears an Infinity War Reference on his shirt. Gargano flies out of the gates. Gargano throws Ciampa over the announce table wiping out Nigel. The fight goes into the crowd. In the crowd, a fan has a sign for Johnny that hides a stop sign and Johnny attacks with it. Johnny hits an amazing dive off the rafters. The match returns ringside and later on, Ciampa wraps a chair around Gargano’s head and send him face first into the steel steps in a brutal spot. Ciampa slingshots Gargano brutally under the bottom turnbuckle. Ciampa hits a Shell Shock on the steel steps. At this point, Ciampa grabs Bolt Cutters and cuts the apron off to remove the bare wooden ring. Ciampa initially fails to slam Gargano on it as Gargano hits a Cheeky Nandos Kick. A Strike Fest ends in a Double Weapon shot, Gargano falls onto Ciampa in a pin for a very near fall. Ringside, a knee strike by Ciampa misses sending his knee into the steel steps. Gargano attacks the previously injured knee with a chair. Ciampa locks in a Gargano Escape, Gargano grabs a crutch but Ciampa repeatedly elbows Gargano. Ciampa hits Gargano with the crutch from Takeover NOLA for a near fall. There is an amazing callback to Takeover Chicago last year with Ciampa sending Gargano into the stage. They climb the rafters, at the top Ciampa removed Gargano’s wedding ring, spits on it and throws it away. From the top of the rafters, Gargano shell shocks Ciampa all the way down through tables. Security comes down to stretcher Ciampa away but Gargano at breaking point continues to attack, Gargano wipes out the security and the referee. In the Ring, Ciampa taps out to the Gargano Escape but there is no ref. Gargano handcuffs Ciampa but security comes down to stop Gargano. Gargano distracted gets DDT’d into the Bare Ring to close the match giving Blackheart the win. *****

This match mixed brutality, story and in-ring skill better than any other match this year. It was so captivating, as everyone cared about the results. This match reminded me of Mankind vs. Undertaker from King of The Ring in the Hell in a Cell but if it had better characters and in-ring skill. The callbacks to the Takeover NOLA match and the DIY break up were fantastic and Gargano was really aggressive as Ciampa was a despicable heel. The match last night rocked the arena and was maybe the best WWE match ever. It’s hard to think of a better match from the primary wrestling company. Everything mixed so well and it was so captivating. They topped their match from just a couple months ago and did so by miles. I’d give it 6 stars if I could. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: While this show hosted three amazing matches in Ricochet vs. Dream, Ciampa vs. Gargano and Lorcan and Burch vs. Undisputed ERA, the rest of the card was mediocre for a Takeover. Ciampa vs. Gargano is an instant classic and Takeovers continue to be the best shows. 

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