NXT Takeover Pheonix 2019 Review

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Star Ratings + Results:

  • War Raiders defeat Undisputed Era to win the NXT Tag Team Championships @16:54 ****1/2
  • Matt Riddle defeats Kassius Ohno @9:18 ***
  • Johnny Gargano defeats Ricochet to win the NXT North American Title @24:38 ****3/4
  • Shayna Baszler defeats Bianca Belair to retain the NXT Women’s Title @15:14 ***1/2
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Aleister Black to retain the NXT Championship @26:30 ****

War Raiders vs. Undisputed Era(c) for the NXT Tag Titles:

  • A fast start to the match, Rowe bodyslams Hanson onto Undisputed Era at ringside which is a solid spot. 
  • UE throws Rowe into Hanson on the apron sending both crashing to ringside. 
  • UE isolates Hanson in their corner, with a guillotine locked on by O’Reilly, Rowe makes the tag to Hanson who comes in with a hot tag. Rowe gutwrenches O’Reilly into Roddy. 
  • Suicide Tope Con Hiro by big boi Hanson misses and he hits the floor hard. 
  • Double Team Draping Suplex by UE begins isolating on Rowe, Rowe deadlifts O’Reilly out of the Triangle but Strong hits a powerbomb before O’Reilly gets powerbombed. Great heel tag work by UE, Hanson gets back on the apron and in the ring but with the referee distracted Strong pulls Rowe back into UE’s corner. Rowe exploder suplexes O’Reilly into Roddy on the apron wiping both out and opening tags but O’Reilly pulls Hanson off the apron. 
  • Great FlipOver Knee by Rowe opens tags as Mauro references Sicko Mode with a like a light ayy like a light. Hot tag by Hanson is finally made, insane cartwheel lariat by Hanson wipes out O’Reilly. Bronco Buster in the corner by Hanson to Strong gets a near fall. 
  • Great 4-man sequence into a pop-up powerslam by War Raiders followed by a Suicide Dive by Hanson to Strong ringside. Amazing near fall on O’Reilly after the powerslam.
  • Jackknife Powerbomb/Diving Crossbody combo by War Raiders near fall save by Strong.
  • Great superplex by Strong to Hanson followed by a diving knee by O’Reilly for another great near fall. 
  • Great show of strength by Strong (literally) to Olympic Slam Hanson for a near fall. 
  • HighLow Tandem Strike Finisher by UE for a great near fall on Hanson.
  • Hanson cartwheels to miss a running knee by Strong and hits an insane backspring double elbow, insane powerslam/powerbomb combo by Rowe into a Diving Slam combo for the win for War Raiders. 

Winners: War Raiders New Champions @16:54!

Rating: ****1/2, An insanely hot opening tag match with an insane performance by War Raiders with crazy strength from Rowe and surprising agility from Hanson. The match moved at 100 MPH and the crowd was hot as hell. Undisputed Era always plays the technically dominant heel to a tee and does that again here but the Raiders were too much to handle for the Era as they will most likely go up to the MR. This will be a big-time contender for Tag Match of the Year and almost Match of The Year but most importantly the match did what it set out to do and that was to put over War Raiders and start the show off with another Takeover Classic. 

Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno:

  • Matt Riddle was one of the best independent wrestlers last year and now he’s got his first big Takeover match. I’m really excited about the future of Riddle mostly because WWE haves a love affair with UFC guys. 
  • Running Forearm off the steps ringside by Riddle. 
  • Insane deadlift by Riddle of Ohno to send him over in a gutwrench.
  • Riddle goes for a Sunset Bomb off the apron, Ohno traps Riddle’s face under the apron and kicks it to escape which is a smart spot. 
  • Spinning Back Elbow by Ohno knocks Riddle down for the first near fall.
  • Slow pace instigated by Ohno acting like a heel.
  • Ohno sends Riddle face-first into the post yelling “Remember This” because he did the same thing on NXT TV. Then Ohno sends him into the steel steps. 
  • Ohno strikes at Riddle on the apron who fires up and gets Ohno in a rear-naked choke, Ohno gets the ropes but Riddle tries to German Suplex Ohno. Kassius stomps on the barefoot of Riddle to escape but Matt comes back to hit the German Suplex for a near fall. 
  • After some Bro Kicks, Ohno bites at the feet of Riddle weird but he escapes further attacks. Sit-out powerbomb by Ohno for a near fall. 
  • Great Diving Moonsault by Ohno for a near fall.
  • Senton by Ohno caught into a Rear Naked Choke by Riddle but Ohno gets to the ropes. 
  • Ohno on his knees looks for a fist bump but Riddle hits him with a knee and a Dragon Suplex. Riddle taps out Ohno after repeated elbows. 

Winner: Matt Riddle @9:18!

Rating: ***, This was okay but ranks on the lower end of Takeover matches in the past few years. Ohno played an okay heel but he really needs a character revival that’s more drastic than what he’s currently trying to do and Riddle hasn’t had his calling card match in NXT and that’s what I expected this to be but I was disappointed. The story kept very solid and the strikes hit hard but the match was missing something and never really kicked into any gear. 

Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet(c) for the NXT North American Title:

  • Genuine MOTY potential on this one. 
  • Solid feeling out period at the start. Momentum gains and a great sequence ensues as both get the better of each other. Staredown and “NXT” chants end the sequence. 
  • Rico asks which Johnny he’s gonna get tonight and Gargano gets up and punches him in the face. Heel Johnny then. 
  • Springboard Stepping Moonsault off the turnbuckle to Gargano ringside. 
  • Off the top rope, Gargano Alley-Oop bombs Ricochet into the top rope face-first. 
  • Stiff dropkick to the back of the head of Ricochet by Gargano for a near fall.
  • Standing Moonsault by Rico is caught mid-air by Johnny as he pushes him with his legs across the ring. 
  • Slower start than would be expected.
  • Grounded Octopus Lock by Gargano in, Ricochet gets a pin attempt to escape the hold. 
  • Slingshot Spear by Gargano halted, Ricochet hits a Standing Moonsault to Gargano on his knees.
  • Strikefest, Ricochet begins to bring momentum back in and hits a huricanrana and a Tiger Faint Kick in the corner followed by a Springboard uppercut to Gargano to knock him down. 
  • Rolling Brainbuster by Ricochet for a near fall. 
  • Rolling Huricanrana by Ricochet stopped with a mid-air powerbomb by Gargano, Johnny gets in the Gargano Escape but can’t get all of it. Ricochet rolls Gargano up for a near fall. 
  • Slingshot DDT by Gargano stopped in mid-air, Ricochet throws Gargano to ringside and he hits his face on the apron. Twisting Tope Con Hiro by Ricochet hits. 
  • Diving Moonsault by Rico gets a near fall. 
  • Avalanche Huricanrana by Gargano, Rico flips out of it. Insane. The two strike off as Rico hits a rolling Pele kick, Backspring back elbow by Rico caught into a Gargano Escape. Rico deadlifts out and throws him into the corner. 
  • Rico goes to the top rope but Gargano rolls to the other side of the ring. Rico aims at Gargano on the apron but Johnny drops off the apron. Rico Tope con Hiros over the corner to hit Gargano ringside and hits a Springboard 450 back in-ring for a great near fall. 
  • Shooting Star Press by Rico caught with Gargano’s knees as Johnny rolls him up for a near fall. 
  • Running Stiff Superkick by Gargano sends Ricochet ringside, Suicide Dive by Gargano caught into a Fireman’s Carry by Rico. Gargano hits an insane reverserana ringside. Slingshot DDT by Gargano back in-ring for an amazing near fall.
  • Gargano goes ringside to remove padding Tomasso Ciampa style, Johnny decides against it which is amazing storytelling. Roll up by Ricochet back in-ring for a great near fall. 
  • Stiff Lariat by Rico knocks out Johnny, Pheonix Splash misses for Ricochet. Johnny catches him with a superkick. Gargano Escape by Ricochet locks in but Gargano gets the ropes. 
  • Gargano shoves Rico into the post calling back the Andrade match, Gargano grabs Rico and looks at the floor and hits a Vertical Suplex onto the exposed floor. Johnny rolls Ricochet back in the ring. Slingshot DDT again for the win. 

Winner: Johnny Gargano New Champion @24:38!

Rating: ****3/4, One of the best stories told in recent memory in my opinion. Gargano deciding who he wanted to be and ending up choosing the villainous side was amazing. The in-ring material was insane too but not as up to par as I expected it to be and not on the level as a Gargano vs. Black or Almas. The match started slow which was just to boost storytelling but it took them a little too long to get it back up and running. The match got incredible though but it missed that huge spot. The layout of the match aside, the storytelling and talent mixed together to really make something special. Serious MOTY contender. 

Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s Title:

  • Bianca Belair is undefeated going into this match. 
  • Baszler used the hair to send Bianca into the ring post, smart spot. Belair looks to have injured or is selling the shoulder.
  • Shayna stomps on the arm of Bianca brutally. 
  • Baszler continues to work on the arm with efficiency keeping herself dominant. 
  • Stiff knee by Baszler gets the first near fall. 
  • Belair comes back and gains momentum. Belair hits a spear for a near fall. 
  • Jumping Knee by Baszler for a near fall.
  • Good strikefest ensues and Belair ends it with a hair whip that takes down Shayna.
  • Baszler gets out of the Chicken Wing and throws Belair into the referee. Belair hits the KOD but there’s no referee to count the pin and Bianca releases some blood-curdling screams. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke come in but Belair fights them off. Coquina Clutch by Baszler in locked in and the referee comes back but Belair deadlifts Baszler up and breaks the hold and hits a Vertical Suplex for a great recovery. 
  • Jessamyn Duke distracts Belair on the top rope, Belair misses the Diving 450 and Baszler locks in the Coquina Clutch again and she sells it amazingly and gets back up again but then falls back down but Belair deadlifts Baszler up again but Baszler gets her back down and she passes out. One of the best submission sequences I’ve seen in a while.

Winner: Shayna Baszler Retains @15:14!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a great women’s match with so much emotional investment put into the amazing Bianca Belair. The strikes hit hard and the submission sequences were amazing but the referee bump with the Four Horsewomen interfering was annoying. It would’ve made perfect sense for Belair to come back and win but Baszler ended up getting the victory. Amazing showing from Belair and Baszler continues to show that she has taken to wrestling amazingly. Rousey gets the majority of the credit because she is on the big stage but Shayna is so much better. 

Tomasso Ciampa(c) vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Championship:

  • The match starts very solidly with a feeling out period that isn’t slow paced. 
  • Buzzsaw kick by Black sends Ciampa ringside, flip over taunt by Black. 
  • Black taunts Ciampa with the sit-down but Ciampa strikes at him while he’s down. 
  • Tope Con Hiro by Black wipes out Ciampa ringside. Black lands a bit hard on his knee. 
  • Springboard Standing Moonsault by Black for the first near fall. 
  • Ciampa rolls ringside but Black catches him with a buzzsaw kick leveling him. Ciampa whips the leg of Black into the steps and chucks him into some stairs for good measure. 
  • Vertical Suplex ringside by Ciampa sends the legs of Black into the steps. Ciampa aims to work the leg of Black that he tweaked from the dive earlier.
  • In-ring Ciampa works the leg innovatively. Ciampa wraps the leg of Black around the ring post and sends him leg-first with a suplex into the announce table. Ciampa sits on the table Black-style. 
  • Stiff buzzsaw kick by Black sends the water in the hand of Ciampa flying. Back in-ring Ciampa hits a low dropkick to the leg of Black getting him down again. 
  • Ciampa wraps the leg around the top turnbuckle while he’s in the Tree of Woe, Black fights out and hits a flying knee to Ciampa on the top that sends both out to ringside.
  • Black begins to string strikes together and gain momentum, Aleister hits a big kick for a near fall on Ciampa.
  • Small Package by Ciampa for a near fall.
  • Black misses a Black Masses and Ciampa goes for the Fairytale Ending but fails. Lariat by Ciampa and he attempts Fairytale Ending again but again fails. Black hits a one-legged German Suplex Bridge for a near fall. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Ciampa into a Single Leg Crab but Black fights out. 
  • Black locks in a Single Leg Boston Crab of his own but has to put too much weight on his injured knee and he falls.
  • Draping Cutter from the top rope onto the apron by Ciampa for a great near fall. Running Knee Strike by Ciampa against the ropes for another near fall. 
  • Ciampa does Black’s signature foot raise taunt but Black catches him with a knee strike, Ciampa knocks him down with a knee strike of his own. 
  • Strikefest ensues and speeds up Ciampa catches Black with a near fall roll up. More roll-ups from both men and strikes continue Ciampa levels Black with a lariat. Black removes the knee pad but Ciampa escapes but Black catches him with a double stomp. Black catches Ciampa in the back with a knee and hits a brainbuster for a near fall. 
  • Moonsault off the corner to outside by Black, Aleister slips on the water from earlier and Ciampa hits Fairytale Ending in-ring for a great near fall. 
  • Ciampa removes the ringside padding similar to Gargano earlier tonight. The referee argues with Ciampa and Black hits a Meteora onto the exposed concrete. Black Mass hits but he can’t capitalize because Ciampa turns over. 
  • Ciampa grabs the referee to escape Black Mass, Ciampa rolls Black over and hits the draping DDT. Fairytale Ending by Ciampa for a great near fall. 
  • Another Fairytale Ending hits and Ciampa goes for the 3rd one but Black levels him with a buzzsaw again but Black misses the Black Mass because of the knee and Ciampa hits the final Fairytale Ending for the win. 

Winner: Tomasso Ciampa Retains @26:30!

Rating: ****, When a 4-star match underwhelms you know you’ve had it good. The working of the leg was really smart but it took the heat out of the match. Ciampa turned in a solid performance and the match kicked into a top gear momentarily but it wasn’t on the caliber of a Takeover main event. It was still really good though but it just felt like something was missing and Gargano vs. Ricochet goes home with Match of the Night. 

  • Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa hold up their belts to end the night. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: A great show but a lacking Takeover. Mostly for one reason, there are going to be a lot of call-ups soon and NXT is in a transition point right now. With Aleister Black and Undisputed Era mostly getting the raise the faces of NXT are leaving. However, it is also a possibility that WWE realized Takeover was a threat to their product and wanted Royal Rumble to be the highlight of the weekend especially with it being the first PPV after the whole Mcmahon revamp thing and WWE in one of it’s lowest points right now. However, this show still wasn’t bad it had two very legitimate MOTY contenders in Ricochet vs Gargano and War Raiders vs Undisputed Era but the main event while it was good it was underwhelming and the Riddle vs Ohno match just wasn’t any good. The big news for NXT though is that after this show DIY runs the place again but as heels this time which I can totally look forward to. It will be interesting to see how NXT changes by the Next Takeover Event. This was the worst Takeover show of the 2018-2019 season but by now you should now that the worst Takeover is still freaking awesome. 

 

WWE Weekly Wednesday Wrestling Wrap-Up Reviews: 9.19.2018

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205 Live Results + Star Ratings: 

  • TJP defeats Lince Dorado **3/4
  • Cedric Alexander defeats Drew Gulak to retain the Cruiserweight Title ****1/2

 

TJP vs Lince Dorado:

  • Good opening pacing lead by Dorado. 
  • Guillotine Choke over the middle rope by TJP followed up by a high crossbody by TJP diving back in-ring. 
  • Springboard by Dorado caught by TJP into an arm break weakening the arm for submissions later in the match. 
  • Series of suplexes by TJP for the first near fall. 
  • TJP torques Dorado’s arm in a hammerlock. Dorado tries to fight out but TJP takes him back down into a Butterfly Lock, TJP is showing solid technical ability. Dorado finally fights out but TJP takes him down with a springboard forearm. 
  • Spinning Heel Kick by Dorado comes out of nowhere taking both down. Stiff chop by Dorado into a high crossbody. Dorado hits a huricanrana sending TJP ringside, suicide dive by Dorado.
  • Moonsault by Dorado, near fall. 
  • Superkick by Dorado knocks TJP into the corner, Bronco Buster by Dorado into an Inverted DDT attempt by Dorado, TJP fights off and removes the mask of Dorado and delivers a roll-up win. Solid heel way to finish a match. 

Winner: TJP

Rating: **3/4, A pretty fun opening match and TJP looked great in this match showing a technical side and a dastardly heel side too. The match never really got anywhere though but was fun while it lasted. 

  • Lio Rush and Drake Maverick segment, Drake says regardless of Lio Rush’s appearances on RAW he still has to commit to his bookings on 205 Live and books the MOTH for a match next week against Noam Dar.
  • Drake Maverick and Mustafa Ali segment, Maverick books Ali vs. Itami.

Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander(c) for the Cruiserweight Title:

  • Gulak is accompanied by Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick. 
  • An early attempt at the Gu-Lock by Gulak off a distraction by Kendrick fails as Cedric gets to the ropes.
  • Kendrick pulls Cedric down and the referee throws Gallagher and Kendrick out. 
  • Stiff chops by Alexander after he unsuccessfully tries to capitalize on a distracted Gulak with a pinfall attempt. 
  • Gulak catches Alexander in a flat liner attempt and drops him on his neck with a half and half suplex. 
  • Gulak keeps working the arm of Cedric. Gulak has spent a lot of this match on top. 
  • A hard elbow by Gulak hits Cedric for the first near fall.
  • Amazing Suplex over the ropes rolling on to the floor by Cedric Alexander. Really innovative and well-executed spot, both back in at a 9-count. 
  • Cedric fires up and hits a series of running strikes, Drive-By kick by Cedric to Gulak on the turnbuckle. Springboard Forearm by Cedric for a good near fall. 
  • Lumbar Check attempt by Cedric rolled up, near fall by Gulak. Neutralizer kick by Cedric knocks Gulak ringside and Alexander hits a Tope Con Hiro to ringside. 
  • Gu-Lock locked in by Gulak, Alexander grabs the ropes. 
  • Stiff lariat by Gulak, near fall. 
  • Bodyslams by Gulak as he talks about a “better 205 Live”
  • Roll up by Cedric, near fall. Great lariat by Gulak flips Alexander, near fall. 
  • Buddy Murphy shown looking on, he faces the winner at Super ShowDown.
  • Step-up enzugiri knocks Gulak back, sunset flip into a Michinoku Driver by Alexander, near fall on Gulak. 
  • Chops by Alexander but Gulak flips over the turnbuckle and delivers a smashing forearm. Flying Lariat by Gulak, who had to actually go to the top rope against his own beliefs, near fall. 
  • Gu-Lock locked in for the 3rd time by Gulak, Alexander powers him up and hits a Death Valley Driver into the corner. Great counter by Alexander after a good submission sequence. 
  • Both run at each other and hit stereo big boots into a strikefest, a lumbar check by Alexander closes. 

Winner: Cedric Alexander Retains! Day Count: 143+

Rating: ****1/2, this is my favorite cruiserweight match of the year just topping Buddy Murphy vs. Alexander but this one had a great story along with well-executed spots. These two worked very cleanly without a botch and the pacing was fantastic with the opening being a feeling out period and it really escalating. The main story was Gulak went to insane lengths for him to grab the title and make a better 205 Live showing resiliency and even breaking his “No Fly Zone” rule. These two put on a very good match and Alexander looks great going into his match against Buddy Murphy at Super ShowDown. 

ricochet-pete-dunne-nxt-tv-logoNXT TV Results + Star Ratings:

  • Aliyah and Lacey Evans defeat Deonna Purazzo and Dakota Kai **
  • Jaxson Ryker defeats Humberto Cardillo N/A

Deonna Purazzo and Dakota Kai vs. Lacey Evans and Aliyah:

  • Deonna and Evans start the match. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl by Evans caught into a Fujiwara arm lock by Deonna, Evans fights out.
  • Evans attacks Deonna in the corner with elbow shots. 
  • Bronco Buster by Evans onto Deonna, near fall. 
  • Aliyah kicks the hand of Kai ringside turning the refs’ attention so the heels can team up against Deonna momentarily. 
  • Aliyah and Evans are isolating Deonna, hot tag to Kai. Broski Boot by Kai, near fall save by Evans. 
  • O’Connor roll by Kai, Evans hits a KO Punch stopping the pin on Aliyah and pins Kai for the win. 

Winner: Aliyah and Evans

Rating: **, a very mediocre showcase match for 3 talented women and Aliyah. 

  • Velveteen Dream interview, Dream walks away from a question about the mysterious assault on Aleister Black. 
  • Street Profits interview. These guys are pretty fun.
  • Replay from the Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair brawl from last week

Humberto Carrillo vs. Jaxson Ryker:

  • Ryker is an NXT debut but he’s also Gunner from TNA. 
  • Springboard by Carillo caught with an ax handle strike by Ryker.
  • Slingshot Powerbomb by Ryker ends the squash match. 

Winner: Jaxson Ryker

Rating: N/A, squash

  • William Regal and Candice LeRae segment about the Black attack. LeRaw says Ciampa might’ve done it. Regal asks her about Johnny Gargano maybe doing it.

Ricochet(North American Title) vs. Pete Dunne(UK Title) Winner Takes All Match:

  • An obvious Undisputed ERA match to interfere in, this won’t end clean. 
  • Keith Lee video package, I’m VERY hyped for Lee’s future in NXT.
  • Otis Dozovic vs. Tomasso Ciampa announced for next week. 
  • Big fight feels.
  • Dunne absolutely wrenches the arm of Ricochet giving him the early advantage, Dunne spends a while, in the beginning, working the arm of Rico. 
  • Solid technical start to the match.
  • Surfboard Lock by Pete Dunne but Ricochet falls out of it onto a pin on Dunne only getting one count.
  • Stiff elbow by Dunne absolutely decks Ricochet. Ricochet starts to speed up though and hits a huricanrana sending Dunne to ringside. Suicide Dive hits for Rico. 
  • Dunne wrenches back the fingers of Ricochet and continues to work the arm of Rico.
  • Rolling Thunder Lariat by Ricochet flips Dunne and gives Ricochet much-needed space. 
  • Springboard uppercut by Ricochet gives the first near fall. 
  • Fire up sequence by Dunne, Ricochet lands off Dunne’s explex and hits a Standing Shooting Star on Dunne, near fall. 
  • Ricochet caught into an armbar by Dunne, Ricochet tries to pin his way out, near fall. Dunne dodges a standing moonsault by Ricochet.
  • Jumping knee by Ricochet drops Dunne in the drop zone, Springboard uppercut by Ricochet gets caught with an elbow by Dunne. Explex by Dunne, near fall. 
  • Bitter End attempt but Ricochet lands on his feet. Snap kick by Dunne, Rico side steps Dunne sending him to the outside. 
  • Amazing moonsault off the post to ringside by Rico misses, Hard elbow by Dunne connects. Explex on the apron by Dunne, awesome sequence. Bitter End reversed into a reverserana by Ricochet, great near fall. 
  • This match is great and all but I’m just anxiously awaiting the non-finish.
  • Hand stomp/snap kick combo by Dunne starts a strikefest. Dunne catches a rolling Rico for a lariat. Handspring Tornado DDT by Ricochet, near fall. 
  • Awesome supercanrana by Rico followed by an ax kick/flatliner combo by Rico, great near fall. That awesome sequence of moves by Rico gets a standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • 450 by Ricochet caught into a triangle hold by Dunne, Ricochet powers into a powerbomb.
  • Finger break by Dunne gets Rico in a Kimura Lock, Ricochet deadlifts Dunne into a brainbuster, awesome show of strength. 
  • Undisputed ERA jumps the match ending it in a Double DQ closing it predictably. War Raiders chase UE out of the ring.

Winner: Double DQ

Rating: ****1/2, what could’ve been a MOTY contender because of amazing spots and a great chemistry between Dunne and Ricochet got cut short because of an attack by Undisputed ERA. However, this match delivered on so many levels. I normally give non-finish matches under a 4-star rating regardless, however, this match was heading into the 5-star regions and I had to acknowledge the match these two put on. The crowd was into it 100% and both got to look really strong. 

 

NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 Review

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NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 Results:

  • Undisputed ERA defeats Mustache Mountain to retain the NXT Tag Titles via pin @18:05 ****3/4
  • Velveteen Dream defeats EC3 via pin @15:05 ***3/4
  • Ricochet defeats Adam Cole to win the NXT North American Title @15:22 ****1/4
  • Kairi Sane defeats Shayna Baszler to win the NXT Women’s Title @ 13:35 ****1/2
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT Title in a Last Man Standing Match *****

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Undisputed ERA(c) vs. Mustache Mountain for the NXT Tag Titles:

This match is a rematch from the UK Tournament and the absolute classic they had last month on NXT TV. This match played out very similarly to the previous clashes but that isn’t a complaint. These two teams do an amazing job of mixing technical wrestling and high spots.

Roderick Strong and Trent Seven started this match and early in the match ERA returns to the pack mentality by isolating Seven. Tyler Bate hits a hot tag in and does another amazing Double-Spin spot, callback spot to the previous encounters, with Roddy on his shoulders and Kyle O’Reilly in the swing position. Tyler Bate looked incredibly strong in this match. ERA begins to regain the pack mentality and begins to go for isolating the leg of Bate. They play through an awesome desperation tag sequence with Bate going through hell to get the tag to Seven with ERA clinging to Bate to stop the hot tag. Seven makes the hot tag and hits an amazing suicide dive for a man of that size. Series of big moves by ERA on Seven to begin the match’s near falls. Seven looks resilient and Strong locks in the Strong Hold on Seven and Kyle locks in a triangle on Bate. Tyler Bate powers up and powerbombs KOR into Strong to stop the double submission spot which is another callback to previous encounters. Tyler Bate hits an amazing sequence of moves outside with a great over-the-ropes suicide dive taking out Kyle and a rebound lariat ringside to Strong. Bate speeds Roddy back into the ring and hits the Tyler Driver 97 for an awesome near fall. While Bate is on the top rope, Kyle smashes the previously worked leg of Bate into the post and follows it up with a heel hook in-ring on Bate. Strong stops Bate from getting to the ropes and Trent Seven teases throwing in the towel, a callback to their NXT TV match where Tyler Bate threw in the towel for Seven. Bate fights his way out to tag Seven and Seven hits a Seven Star lariat on O’Reilly for another great near fall. Tandem Burning Hammer for a near fall by Mustache Mountain. “Fight Forever” chants start and almost by queue, ERA hits the Axe and Smash Strike sequence for the win. 

Rating: ****3/4, These two teams put on an AMAZING trilogy of tag matches and even though their NXT TV match was better this match was a high spot for the show and an amazing opener. This match might’ve been a perfect 5-stars if the spots were new and not just callbacks to awesome spots that we have seen before. The match had gone into another gear in terms of awesome near falls and great moments over their previous encounters but the NXT TV match had a far superior story. It’ll be interesting to see where Mustache Mountain goes from here, I’m guessing they headline the NXT UK tag division. 

  • After the match, War Raiders attack ERA and establish themselves as the next challengers. 

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EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream:

The match is a total clash of character and another match that highlights Velveteen Dream as possibly the best NXT talent ever. EC3 has yet to prove himself in NXT even though his character is awesome. 

Velveteen Dream breaks the 4th wall again and on his tights, it says “Call Me Up Vince” even though I really hope Vince doesn’t listen and Dream continues to thrive in NXT. The match starts off really slow and lethargic until Velveteen hits a Twisting DDT on the metal ramp. Velveteen throws 3 into the announce table and throws water at him. Dream pretty much carries this match. There is a sequence of big moves and near fall as the match crawls to close, EC3 hits a huge superplex for a good near fall. Dream works the neck of EC3 over the match and that plays in when 3 hits a German suplex and can’t successfully bridge due to the neck. Dream hits the first Rolling DVD for a near fall. The ending sequence in this match was amazing and saved this match from mediocrity, Dream hits a Rolling DVD on the apron and hits the Purple Rainmaker on the apron for the pin. 

Rating: ***3/4, This match is the worst Velveteen Dream Takeover match since versus Kassius Ohno. However, Velveteen has been on absolute FIRE recently and has had amazing sequences of Takeover matches. This match was slow at the beginning but picked up towards the end and had some very solid spots and an amazing closing sequence. Hopefully, this isn’t Dream’s last Takeover match but it might be. The main roster may be very near for VD. 

  • Matt Riddle debuts on camera ringside. 

Adam Cole(c) vs. Ricochet for the NXT North American Title:

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The feud revolved around becoming a “special” talent in NXT. Adam Cole has been telling Ricochet he isn’t special for the last few weeks. These two undoubtedly will put on a banger. 

The match starts with a staredown and a collar and elbow sequence making it look evenly matched. Ricochet gradually went into the flippy shit showing that he can wrestle in the early stages of this match. Rico hits the first crazy move off of a dropkick knocking Cole ringside for an amazing corkscrew dive. Rico hits a Standing Shooting Star/Pheonix Splash combo for a near fall. Cole hits an amazing catching backstabber for a near fall. Cole goes for a catching superkick but Rico blocks it, Rico goes for a lionsault and is absolutely blasted with a catching superkick by Cole. Adam hits a reverse neck breaker afterward for a very near fall. An amazing strike-fest ends with Cole falling on top for another awesome near fall. Rico hits a huricanrana off the apron setting Cole up for a closing 630 senton by Rico. 

Rating: ****1/4, These two put on the absolute banger I expected. Amazing spots, near falls and intense speed mixed to make magic. The amazing lionsault catching superkick by Cole is the spot of the night so far and Ricochet absolutely deserved the win and will have an amazing title run. 

Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Title:655a7f55475ef594286211ec0dda3c34f79fbefcr1-1470-827v2_hq

I will preface this review section by saying WWE needs to take a lesson from their own developmental system on how to book the women for going into Evolution. The feud revolved around the Mae Young Classic last year and Shayna looked like an absolute beast. The match also is my favorite women’s match since Asuka vs. Ember Moon from Takeover Brooklyn 3. 

The 4 horsewomen of UFC are shown ringside. Shayna hits a dropkick to the leg of Sane giving Kairi a hard fall. It also begins the intense working of the leg of Sane. Baszler drops Sane’s leg over the middle rope and torques the knee in-ring. Baszler hits a brutal stomp over the foot of Sane. Shayna Baszler looked absolutely intense in this match and mixed amazing technicals with fun match styles. Hard strikes by Baszler fire up Sane to start fighting back on her own. Sane powers into a Sliding Knee in the corner but doesn’t fire it up with the in-Sane elbow due to the leg injury so just gets a near fall. Shayna hits an awesome Gutwrench Superplex. Jumping Knee strike by Baszler for a near fall. Sane goes crazy after hitting a Running Spear, she goes for an in-Sane elbow to the back of Baszler, then a suicide crossbody to ringside, she follows it up with another in-Sane elbow for a very near fall closing an awesome sequence. This match marks the first time anyone in NXT has kicked out of the In-Sane elbow. Heel Hook by Baszler locked in on the injured leg of Sane, Sane reverses into her Anchor Hold but Baszler grabs the ropes. Sane uses the ropes and re-applies the Anchor Hold for more torque. A final In-Sane elbow attempt goes into a Coquina Clutch by Baszler but Sane rolls it up for a near fall win. 

Rating: ****1/2, this match was amazing and tied in technical intensity with the high spots from Kairi Sane. I never really bought in on Kairi Sane until this match but now I’m really excited for her title reign. I’ve been on the Baszler train much longer than anyone else but she showed everyone tonight that she can really go. There was a great Underdog/Dominant Heel dynamic and a great sense of urgency and desperation making this match something special. 

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Tomasso Ciampa(c) vs. Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing Match:

Even though the feud is less red hot now these guys have put an amazing trilogy of matches including this one. It depends on your preferred wrestling style which is your favorite match of theirs. My personal favorite match was the Takeover Chicago match but this one was an absolute classic too. Due to an injury on Aleister Black, the triple threat was canceled and replaced with the third chapter of the DIY break up. Johnny Gargano teased being darker in this match. 

Johnny attacks before the bell and shows a lot more aggression. Gargano exposes the ring concrete early on. Ciampa hits an awesome Air Raid Crash through an announce table. Ciampa hits a stiff sequence of running knees but Gargano fights back with intense chair shots. A long headlock sequence that would be boring in any other match was made logical and exciting here, Ciampa had tried to genuinely make Johnny go to sleep and got him down for a 6 count, Gargano fights into hitting a Lawn Dart on a chair set up in the corner. Gargano sets up back-to-back stacked tables over the exposed concrete. Ciampa hits a series of his Ciampa Project finisher and sits down to watch Gargano get counted out but Johnny rises with fire and superkicks the hell out of Ciampa. They gradually start to strike-off but double lariat each other down. After one count they return to striking and fall back down closing the awesome sequence. Ciampa hits a brutal Butterfly Piledriver on the steel steps. Ciampa again grabs bolt cutters and exposes the wood under the ring. Gargano blinds Ciampa with a crutch and attacks him with the crutch calling back the first match. Gargano hits an awesome Leaping DDT on the exposed ring to get Ciampa down for a 9 count. A superkick by Gargano misses and decks a member of the ring crew. Ciampa hits a chair-assisted running knee strike through the barricade and piles ring stuff on Gargano including the knocked out crew member, Gargano gets up at 9. Back in-ring, Gargano superkicks Ciampa through the Double Table onto the concrete. Brutal spot and Ciampa is back up at 9. Fight Forever Chants come. They walk up the stage and Gargano turns the tables and throws Ciampa into the stage for the callback spot. Gargano Escape taps out Ciampa but it doesn’t matter. Gargano handcuffs Ciampa into the stage and superkicks the hell out of him and smashes his face into the metal stage. Ciampa apologizes but it’s too late and Gargano exposes his knee and launches himself at Ciampa. Gargano flies brutally into stage foliage while Ciampa gets up at 9 winning the match.

Rating: *****, These men did it, they completed a golden trilogy of 5-star matches. I believe the match at Takeover was the best Last Man Standing Match of all time. The spots were genius and probably some of the best of the whole series. Including, the exposed ring DDT by Gargano, the knee through the barricade by Ciampa and the intense ending. However, in my opinion, it lacked the hot story that both New Orleans and Chicago had and the match had felt like we had seen it before while Takeover NOLA was the first encounter and Takeover Chi was a new spin on the match. This match combined both together and while it felt less fresh it was probably one of the most exciting of their encounters combat-wise. The ending was perfect though, Gargano had gone too far and made Ciampa apologize and ended up screwing himself out of the match and possibly injuring himself. The end solidified this as a 5-star match. 

Show Grade: A-, While I very much prefer Takeover NOLA, Takeover Brooklyn 4 is the 2nd best installment in the Takeover shows this year. Unlike, Takeover Chicago none of the matches were stinkers and felt like a very well rounded show. None of the matches, however, were as good as Gargano vs. Ciampa at Takeover Chicago or the North American Ladder match at NOLA. Takeovers continue to impress and I loved every minute of this show.