NXT TakeOver XXX: No Smoke and Mirrors

NXT TakeOver XXX aired this past Saturday night, and damn what a freaking show it was. On this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, the chairman of WWE Vince McMahon himself opening the show. He welcomed the WWE Universe to the Thunderdome, stating that nobody brings the thunder like WWE. They might bring the thunder but NXT has and always will bring the goods. 

The milestone and history-making TakeOver event took place outside of the dome yet it still brought the thunder and some lightening. The black and gold brand didn’t need all the smoke and mirrors to produce a buzzworthy spectacle. From start to finish it was an incredible show. With five matches on the card the once labeled developmental brand delivered in high fashion. 

The match that stood out to me the most, was the epic ladder match for the vacant North American Championship. During the absolute car-wreck of a match, we witnessed all five superstars put their bodies on the line all for the gold. It was exciting, breathtaking, and downright insane. In the end, Damien Priest clinched tight to the gold and shot his arrow into the history books as the new champion. 

In what was probably the most shocking occurrence under the black and gold banner, former Colts kicker Pat McAfee made his NXT in-ring debut against UE’s Adam Cole. McAfee put on one hell of a performance, his agility and freakish athleticism were on full display. 

He even came super close to knocking off the longest-reigning NXT champion after a punt kick. Cole, however, the mastermind of the wrestling ring outsmarted and outwrestled his rival by ending it all with a Panama Sunrise for the resounding victory. 

In the main event, Keith Lee defended his NXT Championship against  Karrion Kross. I was actually quite surprised about this one as Lee just won the title in June and hadn’t defended it much. Kross has arrived on the scene and taken out anyone in his path. First, it was Tomasso Ciampa, then it was Dominik Dijakovic. 

Now after Saturday’s event, you can add Lee to that list. Heading into TakeOver, there was speculation that Kross would walk out with the title but I certainly didn’t think it would happen this quickly. I thought for sure Dijakovic would come out and cost Kross the victory setting up his first real feud under the brand. Now that Kross is our NXT Champion, I wonder who will step up first to challenge him. 

It’s crazy to me that WWE needed to rent out a huge building with a massive amount of pyro and theatrics, yet NXT still blew it out of the water. The black and gold brand didn’t need an insane amount of virtual fans to make the show special, the superstars, creative team did that all on their own. 

I’ll just leave this here, former WWE superstar Jon Moxley stated a Thunderdome won’t fix the company and he’s right. Vince needs to wake the hell up and realize that the building isn’t the problem. Especially, when NXT can hold any event inside the Performance Center and put on a A+ show. 

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