Last week on NXT: Nothing of consequence happened at all. Just video packages and one match that was wrestling for the sake of wrestling.
Last Time at NXT Takeover: Matt Riddle had a banger of a match against Roderick Strong. Riddle picked up the win, but now won’t be featured on Takeover Toronto, while Strong will. The Street Profits finally win the NXT Tag Team Championships in a ladder match, crowd lost their shit. Tyler Breeze and Velveteen Dream had a classic North American Championship match that Dream won. They had a mutual selfie to show respect. Shayna Baszler defended her championship against Io Shirai, leading to Shirai’s heel turn on Candice LeRae. Johnny Gargano lost his NXT Championship to Adam Cole in the best match of the night.
Kind of a movie preview type deal. The matches are shown while movie guy narrates. The word TONIGHT shows up and the O is the Undisputed Era symbol. Really heavy on Undisputed Era dripping in gold. So I’m predicting every heel wins tonight. Every. One.
NXT Tag Team Championship
Street Profits (c) vs. The Undisputed Era
- Street Profits open the show, the crowd is hype for them. If anyone in the crowd didn’t know who to cheer for, having the Profits come out in Raptor colors really hits the point home. The Profits are jumping in the crowd and there is a sea of red solo cups.
- Undisputed Era come out with new merch on. Kyle O’Reilly almost hit the air guitar during his entrance, but he is lacking a championship belt. I am pulling for the Profits, but I predict the heels run the table tonight.
- Dawkins and O’Reilly start the match out. I’m watching with my three year old daughter and she wants the purple guys to win “because they look more funner”.
- Montez Ford gets tagged in and hits a gorgeous dropkick then mimics the Undisputed Era’s taunt.
- Match is hitting the normal tag beats, Dawkins and Ford shine a bit, Undisputed Era use some double team moves to take Ford out and now we are settling in to the part where Ford gets beat up until the hot tag.
- Then they upend what I said and Ford takes both members of the team out and tags Dawkins in. Ford is all sorts of fired up. Still one of my favorite up and coming wrestlers.
- Okay NOW, the heat is coming but Dawkins is the one in the Ricky Morton spot. O’Reilly hits multiple kicks to Dawkins and the crowd applauds due to how crisp it was. O’Reilly is one of the best professional wrestlers on the planet. From facial expressions, to cripsness of moves to believability.
- Crowd seems to be more behind Undisputed Era during the actual match but more into the Profits when the crowd response calls for it.
- Ford gets tagged in rather quickly and takes care of the Era once again. If it wasn’t apparent that Dawkins was the Marty Janetty, this match is really showing it.
- Hearing the crowd chant “this is awesome” and seeing the long haired super fan in the front row, only clap but not chant, really makes me laugh.
- Montez had his heel worked over, O’Reilly and Fish were relentless, Ford almost tapped but Dawkins broke up the submission and hte crowd exploded. Dawkins is actually in the hot tag spot and is lighting up the Undisputed Era. The crowd is firmly behind the Street Profits now.
- Street Profits almost had the match won with a top rope blockbuster but Fish broke up the pin. All four men are fighting to stand and having a strike battle now. Love how hot this crowd is.
- No one really won the strike battle but it ended with Ford doing his huge flip to the outside of the ring. That allows Dawkins to knock Kyle O’Reilly down and Ford hit a HUGE frog splash to win.
And I’m Like… I am shocked that the Profits won. The match had some spots that were obviously contrived but the crowd was there for it 100%. Suer happy that the Profits are most likely heading into the NXT FS1 era as champions. Seeing as this is the last Takeover before that era begins.
Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae
- Io’s entrance is such a MOOD. The weird noises and bassline, her demeanor and the overall presentation. It’s a sight to behold.
- Candice ran to the ring and didn’t wait for the bell to ring, she just jumped Io from the gun. Referee Jessika Carr broke up the fight just to get the bell to ring.
- Io isn’t playing around either and took the fight outside of the ring rather quickly. Suplexing Candice onto the announce table. This is a grudge match, if I’ve ever saw one.
- Shirai brings Candice into the ring and does a very disrespectful cover. Io is very old school in her wear down holds, really selling the facial expressions. This is an Io showcase match. If it isn’t Io is making it one.
- Io hits a running air raid crash on LeRae and Candice kicks out at two. Outside of the opening fight, Candice hasn’t been able to get any offense in.
- Shirai made her first mistake when she went for a top rope dropkick. Candice moved out of the way and capitalized by striking Shirai.
- Candice was able to get a near fall off of a brain buster. Candice is fighting all she can but Io already did a lot of damage to LeRae.
- Io hit a 619 attempt on LeRae but Candice reversed it. This match has become pretty even. I think Io is more surprised at the heart that Candice is showing.
- This match really hasn’t slowed down at all and both women are beating the shit out of each other. LeRae did a suicide tornado DDT an that dazed Shirai enough to get double stomped on her back. Candce is vicious when she wants to be.
- Now they are trading German suplexes and the crowd starts to applaud out of respect. Shirai caught Candice in mid air and hit an Everest German. That only got a two count. Both women are laid out, this is the spot where the crowd should start clapping and cheering, but they aren’t. It takes a while but dueling Io and Candice chants fill the arena.
- Candice and Io hit an amazing sequence. Io backflipping out of a German then running hard into the turnbuckle. Candice hitting a poisoned rana and a neckbreaker from the top rope for two. Crowd erupts in a “this is awesome” chant.
- Io his a top rope Spanish fly and Candice kicks out. Mauro loses his shit and as do I. This is a hell of a match.
- Io doesn’t sell “I can’t believe they kicked out” she sells shock and anger. It’s a breath of fresh air. Io keeps hitting huge moves to put Candice out.
- Io finally hits her finish, the top rope moonsault. Guess what? Candice kicked out. The crowd came unglued during that. My daughter is getting fed up with the near falls. “Why won’t this match just end?”
- Io puts Candice in the Koji Clutch and then my daughter says “don’t tap out”, which LeRae didn’t do, she passed out.
And I’m Like… This match was so fucking good. Io is next level at putting together great matches and Candice proved her worth as well. These women knew how special a non championship women’s match is on Takeover, and made sure they proved they deserved their spot on the card. Good shit.
Matt Riddle shows up from the crowd looking mad as hell. Of course he says “Bro” a bunch of times before he gets in the ring. Matt calls out Killan Dain for a face to face fight. Dain shows up through the crowd too and then they just fight.
Austin Theory is in the crowd!!! Holy Shit. Dude is gonna be a main event at Wrestlemania in 10 years. Probably headline Wrestlemania 50.
North American Championship
Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong vs. Velveteen Dream(c)
- The Mountie theme song plays with people dressed as Mounties coming out, then it turns into a hip-hop song and the Toronto Raptors dance team starts dancing. I thought for sure it was a Velveteen Dream entrance. Boy was I let down.
- HOLY SHIT IT’S A VELVETEEN DREAM ENTRANCE!!! I was just swerved by an entrance. Dream FOREVER!
- Honestly with Dream, Austin Theory, Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne and Montez Ford just waiting to blow up on the main roster. Not to mention the women from NXT and NXT UK. I’m so excited for the next decade of WWE. Of course usually what I love about someone on NXT is taken away from them on the main roster. But I am gonna love what I see, while I see it right now.
- Props to Dream for coming out wearing suspenders ad knowing how to wear them. Unlike Liv Morgan.
- Dream stops the match from starting to have the crowd cheer for him. Then mocks Pete Dunne. Roderick is mad that Dunne is paying attention to Dream and not himself. Dream tells Roderick to be quiet and then violence happens.
- Pete Dunne usually rocks the maroon singlet, to honor Daniel Bryan and William Regal. Tonight though? Dunne is rocking Finley inspired gear.
- Mauro says that Dream has adopted Canada as his home. Now I have to look that up. Is it legit or is Mauro just saying that because of the entrance.
- Dream and Pete square off and this is just a one-on-one I want to see. Roddy ruins everything.
- I only see that Dream is from D.C. and is billed from there. So I don’t know what that “calls Canada his home” nonsense.
- Roderick stops the Dream/Dunne bit by grabbing Dream’s legs and pulling them into the ring post.
- It’s always hard for me to write about multi-man matches, because for me the stories are hard to follow. I don’t know if they tell a story during a match or not, because there is always a third guy getting in the mix and switching whats up. WWE multi-man matches usually is just “one guy gets knocked out of the ring and the other two wrestle a mini one-on-one match”. Then when a near fall or submission happens, the other person comes in at the last minute and breaks it up. Then there is a bunch of high impact moves, usually a big spot on the outside, crowd applauds and then a finisher fest with bunches of near falls. Then the finish happens.
- There isn’t many shine/heat/hope/comeback story beats to follow or strategy that happens. So I end up just writing “these moves happens, which lead to these moves, which leads to this moment.” Don’t get me wrong, when Dream and Roddy beat down on Pete, then start fighting each other, then a three way strike fest happens before the big spots of the match. I love that, I am into it and watching it. But, there isn’t much meat on the bone to whip into words.
- After the cool strikefest a “this is awesome” chant breaks out. That means there is about five to ten minutes of big moves/finisher fest/finish left.
- Dunne is just now getting to working on people’s fingers. Two weeks ago on NXT, Dunne beat Strong with a finger submission, making us believe that that can happen, adding to the cool submission sequence that is bound to happen in this match.
- So Dunne has a triangle in Roderick, Roddy powers out into a powerbomb but Dunne doesn’t let go of the triangle. Roderick walks back while in the hold into the turnbuckle. So then Dream does a coast-to-coast elbow drop on Dunne who is triangling Strong. It’s an amazing moment. Same with Strong running the ropes and hitting double elbows on Dunne and Dream. So is Strong doing a double Strong Hold on Dream and Dunne.
- Like these guys are making magic, but not lasting magic. The moments are cool and the match is great but it won’t be a match we talk about in a year.
- Pete does a double finger break. Dream calls the referee over and holds the ref while Pete hits the Bitter End on Strong. Pete pins strong but Dream has the ref distracted. The ref then sees the pin, counts to two and Dream dives to grab the refs arm. He didn’t have the strength to break the pin up, but he could stop the refs hand from hitting the mat.
- It’s time for finisher time, Dream out of the ring while Strong has the Strong Hold on. Dream tosses Roddy out of the ring, hits the DVD. Strong throws Dream out of the ring, hits his finish, goes for the pin but Dream breaks it up and pins Pete Dunne for the win.
And I’m Like… Great match, the crowd gave it a standing ovation. This match was a string of moments that are all GIF worthy. Which is a good description of a modern match. There wasn’t a spot that needed to be in there, but they all made the match great. Like, if you took anything out of this match, it wouldn’t change the crowd reaction, adding to my theory of WWE multi-man matches having no story.
NXT Women’s Championship
Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler(c)
- The story going into this is that these two are complete opposites but the same energy. Mia is street, she brings an attitude to WWE that no one has, she never gave up and as risen to where she is. Shayna is a better than you, Midwestern tomboy. Shayna cheats to win even though she doesn’t have to, Shayna got second place in the first Mae Young Classic. Shayna says she got signed based on her talent, Mia got signed because fans at the Mae Young Classic said “please sign Mia”.
- This has a thin veil of HHH vs. Booker T at Wrestlemania 19. Mia took out Shayna’s two friends because they always interfere. Shayna says Mia should be in prison, not in a championship match. There is a lot of emotion and animosity going on before this match even begins.
- I feel like Mia Yim is going to win once Mauro said all of Mia’s family is in attendance to watch this. I just watched Bret Hart’s first IC Championship win over Mr. Perfect from SummerSlam 91. They made a point to show that Hart’s parents were in the crowd. I feel the same thing with Mia.
- Shayna tries to control Mia’s arm but Mia bit Shayna’s hand. Nigel says Mia is bending the rules and could be disqualified. This is telling us that Mia is a street fighter and does what she needs to do to win. Even though we cheer her, she bends the rules. It’s because it makes Mia seem scrappy and fits her character.
- Mia has singled out on Shayna’s arm, slamming it into the turnbuckle and the steps. Pinning the arm between the stairs and turnbuckle post, then dropkicking it. If Baszler’s arm is out of commission, she can’t properly apply most of her submissions.
- Nigel points out that Shayna isn’t as aggressive because of how badly her arm is hurt. Shayna is still a fighter and smart as hell so she is working around the injury.
- Shayna’s offense against her opponents arm has literally made me gag before. So when she starts working on Mia’s arm, I get anxious. Shayna tries to throw ground and pound punches but she can’t throw a punch with her left arm. The selling in this match is tremendous.
- Both women are fighting with one arm now. This is a scientific street fight. The crowd hasn’t reacted to much though. It’s not because they are bored either, they are invested in this match and in the story being told.
- Mia gets out of a submission by sticking her thumb in Shayna’s eye and Nigel loses his shit. He keeps saying that Mia is breaking the rules, the ref is letting it slide. Beth Phoenix sticks up for Mia saying Shayna has done the same shit in previous matchs, which has kept the belt on her.
- Shayna and Mia are selling their arms in between hitting big moves. Mia gets a tarantula submission hold, Shayna goes for a back drop from the top rope but Mia reverses it into a code red from the top rope. Mia calls it Code Blue.
- Shayna goes for a Kirifuda clutch but Mia is able to get out of it by overpowering the arm and hitting some headbutts. Mia bends Shayna’s arm backwards and stomps on it. Before the stomp she says “this is karma”.
- Mia puts an armbar on and rubs her foot over Shayna’s face. Baszler reverses into a Kirifuda clutch but her arm can’t hold once again. So then Shayna puts a leg scissors on Mia’s head to get her to tap.
And I’m Like… That match was intense. Shayna brings another level to all of her matches. It just feels so different. The story around both women’s left arm’s and giving it as good as they got. Mia targeting the arm to plan for when she got in the Kirifuda clutch. Then Shayna being the submission magician, busting out a different submission that Mia didn’t plan for. Mia proved she is good enough to beat Shayna, Shayna is just on another level right now. Real real good shit.
Fucking WALTER and Tyler Bate are in the crowd. They are facing each other at NXT UK Takeover. I can’t believe WALTER and Brock Lesnar are in the same company and will probably never wrestle.
Adam Cole(c) vs. Johnny Gargano
- When Tommaso Ciampa had to vacate his championship, Cole and Gargano wrestled to be the new champion. Gargano won the championship. Then they had a rematch and Adam Cole won the championship. So this is the rubber match. This match will be a two out of three falls match, but Three Stages Of Hell style. Meaning each person picks a stipulation. WWE before the show started said the third match will be a cage match with weapons, or Ambrose Asylum match. So basically Cole and Gargano will both win one fall before the cage. Which makes it so the second fall won’t be important at all and have no sense of urgency.
- Gargano comes out with Wolverine from X-Men inspired gear.
- Before Cole even comes out the crowd is chanting for him. Adam Cole is a huge star. He is supposed to be the top heel but everyone loves him. He is probably the closest to cool that WWE has right now.
- There is about an hour left in this show…….
- One thing I like about Adam Cole is he kisses the championship before giving it to the referee. That’s a Bret Hart move which means I respect it.
- The first fall is “wrestling match” which is my favorite stipulation! Cracks me up that the “choose a match stipulation, anyone you want” and he chooses “one-on-one match”, I wonder if they can choose handicap match.
- Both men are going for superkicks but know each other too well. This is like a chess match, like boxing. Johnny will act like he is gonna jump off the top rope, so Adam goes for a superkick attempt, leaving himself open to a different attack. It’s counter punching wrestling style.
- Gargano has decided to attack Cole’s knee, which is the knee Cole uses for his finisher.
- Nigel “Johnny Gargano is an inspiration to those chubby kids”.
- Cole seems to be trying to find a way to gain an advantage in the match and Johnny’s demeanor shows that he is super confident and in complete control.
- Cole is finally able to turn the tides with a wheelbarrow slam into the apron.
- Cole is attempting the triangle submission that Shayna used to win. Gargano is taking Cole’s kneepad down to dig his knuckles into Cole’s knee. Johnny’s wristbands have little claws on them, cute.
- We’ve entered the strike battle portion of the match.
- Johnny wins that and then goes or his signature catapult spear, Cole catches Gargano and goes for his yurinagi but Gargano counters that. These guys have hit another gear with their counter wrestling. That sequence ends with Gargano draping Cole’s knee on the rope and dropping his entire bodyweight on Cole’s knee. Then applies the figure four leg lock. Shout out the Flair/Steamboat trilogy.
- Big spot portion of the match where each man kicks out at two, neither of them have actually connected with their respective finishers.
- This match is almost longer than all the other matches on the card and we haven’t finished the first fall.
- A second strike battle is going on, this is an epic encounter to a first fall. Big ups to stamina.
- Commentary have dropped a Buddy Rogers reference and said “suplay”, best team in the company.
- Gargano just got hit with three superkicks and an ushigoroshi, he kicked out. The catapult spear that was countered by a superkick looked like it broke Johnny’s neck.
- Cole argues with the referee, then gets out of the ring and grabs a chair. Mauro points out that Adam Cole wanted the one-on-one match and is now cheating. The ref took the chair and went to put the chair out of the ring, Cole kicked Gargano in the nuts.
- Went for a pin and Johnny still kicked out. Nigel admonishes Beth’s disdain fro the groin kick because she was fine with Mia breaking the rules.
- Adam Cole sits in a chair and and taunts Johnny. Gargano hits a superkick and then grabs the chair. Johnny hits Cole with a chair and gets disqualified. He loses the first fall, but now it’s a street fight so Johnny starts wailing away on Adam Cole with the chair.
- Cole starts to run away and Johnny throws the chair right at Cole’s head. The fight goes into the crowd, Johnny grabs a fans coffee cup and smashes it over Cole’s head.
- I don’t know if a Street Fight is falls count anywhere, but the ref is following them. Mauro then says pin falls are everywhere. So nevermind.
- The ref is wearing gloves, which means someone is bleeding, I just can’t see it.
- Gargano and Cole figh to the commentary area, Gargano backdrops Cole onto the Spanish announce table and Cole goes right through it. The camera zooms in on Cole’s face and he is bleeding from the center of his forehead.
- There is still 27 minutes left in this show! The pace is slower because of the walking around and weapon use, but neither of these men appear winded. That cardio is ungodly.
- Gargano pulls out two tables, taking his sweet time while the crowd chants “Johnny Tables”.
- When Gargano finally gets in the ring he gets caught by Cole’s shining wizard and kicks out after an ushigoroshi on the chair. The near falls don’t worry me because Gargano is winning this fall.
- Gargano lawn darts Cole into a chair that was wedged into a turnbuckle. Then hit the Garga-No Escape. Cole tapped out.
- Gargano and Cole are laying in the ring, two tables and three chairs are also in the ring. Now the cage lowers. The Ambrose Asylum minus Mitch.
- No lowering of the cage music though, this is tremendous. Adam Cole is looking up in fear, while Johnny has a smile on his face, but the lower the cage gets, the more worried Johnny gets.
- There is chairs, handcuffs, sledge hammers, ladders and a fire extinguisher. The cage is NO ESCAPE, hence the barbed wire on the top of the cage. We got about twenty minutes left.
- Cole runs to the cage but Johnny stops him. After a strike battle, both men grab a kendo stick, they start simultaneously beating each other non stop. Then a double superkick and both men are out. The crowd is on their feet with the loudest ovation of the night.
- Johnny finally brings some tables into this match. There looks to be a table or platform on the top of the cage to. Johnny sets up a table under the platform. Takes to long building the scene and Cole uses a chair to take Gargano down. Cole drops a chair, only to climb the cage to grab another chair.
- After some brawling, Gargano sprays Cole with a fire extinguisher and then tornado ddt’s Cole onto seated chairs. The story to this match is gone, this is just who can do the most damage to the other person.
- Johnny attempts to grab the sledgehammer bt he can’t break the zip ties, Cole goes to grab it too so Johnny hits a top rope sunset flip powerbomb for two. Johnny then goes to grab the sledgehammer.
- The sledgehammer wasn’t used, instead Gargano got superkicked and hit with a Panama sunrise. Also, Cole threw a ladder at Gargano’s head.
- Cole went for a Last Shot on Gargano with Johnny’s head against a chair, Johnny dodges and Cole fucks his knee up again. Cole ends up biting Johnny’s hand, Gargano does a full baseball swing on Adam Cole, who starts gagging and coughing.
- There is a bag of thumbtacks hanging from the cage that hasn’t been used. Johnny and Cole are on the top rope and Johnny hits a Canadian Destroyer from the top rope and Cole kicked out. This reminds me of when I’d play WWE video games and dropped everyone’s attack down to zero so I could play for a long time.
- Johnny found the bag of thembtacks and it isn’t thumb tacks. It’s like wrenches and brass knuckles and shit. Bolt cutters too. Johnny uses the bolt cutters to cut some barbed wire. Cole gets scared and climbs to the platform on top of the cage. Johnny meets him up there. Johnny has the barbed wire in hand and te crowd chants “please don’t die”.
- While both men are fighting over the barbed wire, they both fall off the top of the cage through a table, they missed the other one. Cole fell on top of Gargano and gets the win. Both men are bleeding from parts of their body. It was a fucking crazy bump.
And I’m Like… So these two saw David Starr and Joey Janela’s Ironman match at Americanrana19 and decided to top it. They went almost a fucking hour. Maybe they did. This was something that will never happen again. This was magic. Johnny Takeover makes magic every time. Jesus this was so good. I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to sit and watch it again, but I think I kind of have to. This trilogy is maybe the greatest trilogy in WWE, maybe even wrestling. Fuck.
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