NXT Recap: Takeover Phoenix

Last time on Takeover: Matt Riddle called out Kassius Ohno and defeated him with one move. Shayna Baszler needed some help from her friends to defeat Kairi Sane in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black had a match of the year candidate that Black won. Velveteen Dream almost dethroned Tommaso Ciampa as NXT Champion but made ONE mistake in a match that was better than Black/Gargano.

Last time I had an NXT virgin watch with me. This week I have another NXT virgin. We will see how he likes the yellow brand.

Cold Open

As the opening video package plays. My buddy only watches ROH.. and talks about how bad it is and how hard to watch it is. Granted he only has basic television. At least we know the NXT video package is better than the ROH product.

NXT Tag Team Championship

War Raiders vs. Undisputed Era (c) 

  • With this batshit crazy Viking entrance the War Raiders have, they need to win the match.
  • My buddy said “these guys were on ROH!” He also said “I’d feel so dumb if I was one of them”.
  • I didn’t realize until now but this is a straight ROH match. It’s funny how my buddy Justin’s first NXT experience is a match he has already seen.
  • This match started off hot and heavy, Rowe even bodyslammed Hanson off the apron onto the Undisputed Era. UE doesn’t even have their shirts off.
  • UE was able to use their smarts to gain the advantage and take their shirts off. The story is taking a normal wrestling story turn.
  • O’Reilly and Strong are fast and smart but War Raiders are strong as hell, so they are able to hit one or two moves and be right back in this match.
  • Hanson tried to suicide dive but he missed because high flying fast action is the Undisputed Era’s game not War Raiders.
  • Undisputed Era are able to cut the ring in half and hit quick tags. That wears down Rowe and keeps the Era’s energy up.
  • Some very old school wrestling here where Kyle and Roddy anger Hanson. Hanson tries to get in the ring but the ref stops him and the Undisputed Era are able to double team Rowe.
  • This story is Rowe trying to fight off the hyena’s that are Undisputed Era. Some Simba in the boneyard type shit.
  • Hanson is able to get the hot tag and take total control of the match.
  • The match breaks down in what appears to be the third act. All four men in the match and just big moves and huge strikes everywhere. Bodies are falling people are diving and people are dying.
  • Roddy hits a superplex and O’Reilly follows that up with a double stomp from the top rope that only gets a two count. The crowd is giving them a standing ovation.
  • UE is throwing everything, every strike, every double team move, everything, and they still can’t put the Raiders away.
  • Hanson impressed my cousin and friend by doing a front handspring into a back elbow. Then Rowe does a powerslam/powerbomb combo on both members of the Era. Then War Raiders hit their finish for the win.

And I’m Like… Ten minute entrance for the Raiders and a normal entrance for Undisputed Era. That kind of told the story. Both people at my house loved the match and are very impressed. This match was great. Crowd was popping, stories were told and the wrestling was impeccable. Love that tag team wrestling is as important as anything else in NXT. This was a fantastic way to open the show.

Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno

  • The video package hyped my friends for this match. When Riddle came out in all his broness, some loser lady tried to be too cool to give Matt knucks. Pssssh. You’re at a wrestling show lady, you’re obviously not too cool for anything. I should know.
  • This match doesn’t start with Riddle trying to throw the knee. They just start throwing punches at each other. Ohno has to powder to the outside.
  • Riddle stays on Kassius and keeps the pace up. Riddle makes a mistake when he attempts a sunset flip powerbomb to the outside. The veteran Ohno takes the apron and puts it over Riddles face.
  • My cousin can’t get over how tight Kassius Ohno’s trunks are. “His balls definitely will show in one of his matches.” I don’t think they are interested in the match because they are now talking about Attitude Era and Mae Young showing her puppies.
  • Kassius laid in one of the grossest kicks to Matt Riddles mouth and that got everyone’s attention. They legit just stopped talking and are watching.
  • Riddle is bleeding from the mouth and seems to be fighting for his life. Now Kassius is stomping on Riddle’s feet in a cringe inducing spot.
  • Riddle is fighting for his life and Ohno is doing the most vicious spots. Ohno was legit biting Riddle’s toes!!!
  • Big spots back and forth, even with Ohno doing a moonsault. “You know that guy is gonna get drunk as shit tonight.” says Justin. Casual fan commentary always cracks me up. My brain is so far removed from that type of thinking when watching wrestling.
  • Ohno is begging no don’t hit me. Kassius drops to his knees. “What is this Hulk Hogan shit?” says my cousin.
  • Riddle doesn’t give mercy to Ohno and instead elbows the shit out of him. Like so much that Kassius tapped out to getting hit too much.

And I’m Like… They won the room over. Great story, great intensity. The sleeper suplex that Riddle hit is the move of the match. Kassius was an inch away from breaking his neck. Justin said “that’s how you pull a dude off your homies.” Which basically means that this match was real enough to suspend belief. Good shit.

Velveteen Dream shows up with an entourage!

North American Championship

Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet (c)

  • Ricochet is wearing a red and black leather jacket with the design in the middle looking like a half Roman Reigns symbol.
  • Gargano has chest hair now.. Manly.
  • The match is chain wrestling and counter wrestling. My buddies are googling what they think Gargano’s gear is. They are thinking Wolverine from the early 90’s. Now I’m getting that it’s Ironman.
  • That goes to show me that the early stage of this match is for the wrestling fans. It’s a back and forth encounter that gets a huge applause from the crowd. The casual fans are talking about Hugh Jackman in Wolverine.
  • As I am enamored with the back and forth nature of the match. My cousin decided to go to bed. Now it’s just Justin and I.
  • Gargano is starting to pull forward in this war of attrition. He is more aggressive and really making Ricochet look sympathetic.
  • Ricochet is able to string together a combination of moves that turn the tide of the match. After the sprint is over and Ricochet just barely won the match. Both men are spent.
  • Gargano is able to hit the crossface on Ricochet and Justin brings up Benoit. Johnny attempts to turn the crossface into the GargaNo Escape but Ricochet fights out of it.
  • Ricochet hits a Fosbury Flop, which got a “Mamma Mia” from the crowd. I feel like the Fosbury Flop is gonna be the most used spot in all of wrestling in 2019. MLW had two of them in one episode already this year.
  • A crazy spot happened where Johnny and Ricochet fought on the top rope. Gargano went for a huricanrana and Ricochet flipped onto his feet. I cringed because I thought Ricochet landed wrong on his leg but he didn’t sell anything. Looking like a star.
  • I was telling Justin that the final 10 minutes of a Gargano match is always mesmerizing. The whole match builds to it and it’s amazing. I feel like we are getting there. THE CROWD IS HOT. For everything. Ricochet hits a flip over the top rope turnbuckle.
  • There is so much going on I can’t keep up. This match hit the final gear and we have an instant classic on our hands. My cousin made a huge mistake.
  • Boys out here hitting spots that have me making random ass noises. I am so nervous that these dangerous spots won’t work well. They all do of course. The crowd is giving a standing ovation with an “NXT” chant.
  • Gargano took the protective mats away to expose the concrete. Johnny attempted to hit a DDT on the concrete. Then his conscience kicked in and Johnny decided not to.
  • Ricochet capitalized and was able to get a nearfall and hit the GargaNo Escape but Johnny got to the ropes.
  • Johnny is desperate and notices the concrete again. Johnny decided to say ‘F’ it and suplexes Ricochet on the concrete. OUCH!
  • Gargano lands his slingshot ddt on Ricochet and WINS THE DAMN BELT!!!

And I’m Like… I just got done telling Justin about Gargano. How he and Ciampa were a tag team and Johnny sacrificed himself in a match for Ciampa. Ciampa turns his back on Johnny and Johnny tries to be the hero but comes up short. The battle between good and evil raging in Gargano’s head over the past year. This match was the first match where he truly embraced the dark side. It proved his point. You can’t be on top if you’re not ruthless. This is amazing storytelling and the most beautiful thing wrestling has given us in quite sometime. The DIY saga is one of the greatest stories ever told.

NXT Woman’s Championship

Bianca Belair vs. Shayna Baszler (c)

  • Sam Roberts on the preshow went off on Belair. Saying she doesn’t deserve a Takeover spot. It was honestly shocking and I couldn’t handle it. Belair is the future. She is a prodigy and she deserves this.
  • Let’s hope I don’t have to eat my words after this match.
  • Shayna comes out by herself. So this will be a straight up match.
  • Bianca takes control fairly early in the match and has a lot of confidence. Shayna turns the match around by grabbing Bianca’s hair and pulling Belair into the ring post shoulder first.
  • Bianca barely made it into the ring because her shoulder is too injured.
  • Shayna does the super gross arm spot. Bianca screams and is so much pain. The referee says “you’re still in this Bianca! Shake it off!” That was weird to hear.
  • Baszler will not let up and is relentless as hell. The work on the shoulder is wince inducing.
  • Shayna holds Bianca’s face and says “Ov-Er-Ra-Ted” and that fired Belair up. Bianca was gonna gain control but Belair hit a spear with her injured shoulder.
  • Shayna latches on to Belair’s arm and Bianca is kicking the shit out of Shayna’s face.
  • Both women are fighting to their feet. The crowd is not really into this mach but it’s a fantastic match telling an emotional ass story. Bianca is seeing her weakness show for the first time.
  • Belair whipped the hell out of Shayna’s stomach with her braid. That popped the crowd and actually CUT Shayna’s stomach!!! OH MY GOODNESS!
  • There is a ref bump spot and Belair has a visual three count on Baszler. A f’n 10 count.
  • Bianca is inexperienced. She is panicking and doesn’t know what to do. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke show up but Belair dominates them.
  • Bianca is trying to attack but Baszler gets the Kirifuda clutch on Belair. The crowd is boo’ing. Belair is selling so much emotion on her face. She is fighting so valiantly. She is starting to rise to her feet as Belair has the crowd in the palm of her hand.
  • Bianca goes to the top rope for her 450. She had to fight off Jessamyn Duke again!! Belair goes for the 450 and GETS CAUGHT IN THE CLUTCH!!!!
  • Bianca. Will. Not. Tap. She is starting to fight out of it again, the crowd is pulling for her! This is unreal! Bianca falls, Bianca fades… BUT SHE IS RISING AGAIN!! This woman will not die!!!
  • I can’t put over how amazing this is right now. The crowd fills the arena with “EST” chants. She just can’t get out of it though. She finally passes out.. Shayna wins.

And I’m Like… That’s it. It’s over. That was the moment that Belair was made. Sam Roberts can shut the hell up. Bianca deserved her spot and earned respect. Shayna was fantastic as always and this could be my match of the night. I am gonna re watch this match a few times. The future of the women’s division is safe as hell. Why does Marina Shafir have a broken nose?

NXT World Championship

Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa (C)

  • Justin is watching Black come out and asks where the pyro is. I can’t help but imagine how much more tremendous Black’s entrance would be with fire. He has the aura of the Undertaker but is his own man.
  • Ciampa makes his entrance and Justin says “He looks like he was just begging for change in Middle Earth”
  • I explained to Justin why Ciampa hugs the championship. His response was “So he will turn back into Gollum after he loses?”. Holy shit though, that’s kinda spot on.
  • The match starts with a collar and elbow that rolls to the outside of the ring. Ciampa is able to attack Black’s arm but it’s still back and forth.
  • A pretty long feeling out process.
  • Ciampa gets knocked down and Black sits in front of him. Ciampa lays a kick in the face of Aleister.
  • The match is getting more aggressive and the counters are more vicious. Ciampa grabs Black’s foot and throws it into the stairs. Then throws Aleister into the steps. Then suplexes Black’s legs into the steps. We now know the story of this match.
  • Ciampa is zeroing in on the left leg of Aleister Black. The base leg for the Black Mass.
  • Black’s leg is being wrapped around the ring post repeatedly. Every side of the left knee is being thrown into ring post.
  • Ciampa sits on the Spanish announce table, sits cris-cross applesauce taunting Black. Going so far as to drink water in front of Black. Naturally Tommaso gets kicked in the face and spits water in the air for a great visual.
  • Ciampa is sick and vindictive with his offense. He is relishing doling out the punishment. It’s kinda brutal.
  • Black hits a desperation kick to a top rope sitting Ciampa. This gets us to a strike battle, yay/boo spot.
  • Black tries for the Black Mass but couldn’t even get his kicking leg up above Ciampa’s waist.
  • Ciampa locks in a single leg crab after Black fails to set up for another Black Mass. Ciampa has done enough work in this match to make it seem impossible for Black to win.
  • The crowd is watching but there isn’t much noise.
  • Black is going for his signature spots but they all involve leg strength. Ciampa capitalizes on every misstep and is able to get Black with a Tower of London on the apron. The crowd is awake now.
  • Dueling jumping knee’s to the face after a nearfall. Both men are out on their feet. This match looks to be ending soon.
  • Another yay/boo spot. It ends in a barrage of punches from both men. Then some running strike attempts, now pin attempts. These men are trying anything they can think of to win this match.
  • Lots of counter wrestling and big move attempts. There is a burst of attempts but still no victory. Aleister stops selling the leg for a little bit but “slips” on the water that was spilled walks right into Ciampa’s finisher.
  • Ciampa goes out of the ring and does a callback to Gargano’s match!!! Ciampa pulls off the mat to expose the concrete. Ciampa exposed MORE concrete though because he is MORE evil.
  • Black is able to counter and hit Ciampa on the concrete. Aleister hits a Black Mass on Ciampa but before he can pin Tomasso.
  • Ciampa hits the “Fairy Tale Ending” twice and Black kicks out. So Ciampa hits it one more time. Goes for it again. Black has a last ditch Black Mass effort but Ciampa dodges it and hits Fairy Tale Ending again for the win.

And I’m Like… The crowd is a bit underwhelmed and so are Justin and I. The match was great but just didn’t hit the level that the previous matches hit. Maybe we are worn out, maybe we weren’t as invested because this match had everything. This was another great Takeover but I don’t think it’s one of the best Takeovers. Maybe that’s because of how I feel right now in the wake of this championship match. I had a blast and Justin enjoyed it too. I’m sure this will have been better than the Rumble tomorrow.

JOHNNY GARGANO SHOWS UP AT THE END!!! Both are champions. Crowd is chanting “DIY”. Johnny holds his championship up. Tommaso holds up his. Both men stand proud and confident side by side. THIS STORY IS EVERYTHING!!

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