It was a TakeOver to head into a new era as NXT’s title was vacant for the first time since it’s inception. Johnny Wrestling and the leader of the Undisputed Era would go head-to-head to be the cornerstone of the next chapter of the black and gold brand. But was this show a page-turner, or worth leaving on the shelf?
War Raiders (c) vs Aleister Black and Ricochet- NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Result: War Raiders retain via pinfall
Thoughts: The best opener in recent memory for a WWE special and, potentially, the best NXT Takeover opening ever. What. A. Match. Both teams are absolutely exceptional in their own rights so when the two were put together; magic was always going to be great but I don’t think ANYONE could have predicted what we saw for nearly thirty minutes. I’m not going to mention every spot in the match because, otherwise, we’d be here all day. War Raiders retaining, of course, makes the most amount of sense with Ricochet and Black going to the main roster but they honestly had everyone believing they could do it. The reaction to Black and Ricochet after the match was emotional and FULLY deserved; both those men made NXT their homes and created magic every single time they entered the ring- either together or as individuals. Seriously; watch. This. Match.
Velveteen Dream (c) vs Matt Riddle- NXT North American Championship Match
Result: Dream retains via pinfall
Thoughts: Whilst not quite as good as the opener; it came DAMN close which is the biggest positive I can give to both Riddle and Dream. What initially looked like a near squash match from Riddle; for the first two thirds Matt absolutely dominated Dream to a point where he almost turned heel during the bout. In the last third; the match suddenly picked up massively as both guys started pulling out all the stops. Dream got dropped right on his head after a dead-lift german suplex from the second rope and then, somehow, kicked out. The finish was fantastic as well. Riddle losing is great for two reasons; the first being he lost to a roll up. It wasn’t a completely dominant win and caught Matt completely by surprise. Secondly, after Asuka just had a near two year undefeated streak, I don’t think many people wanted to see another so soon afterwards. Takes a lot of pressure off of Riddle that he didn’t need in the first place. Interesting to see who Dream feuds with next as well. Lovely stuff.
Pete Dunne (c) vs WALTER- NXT UK Championship Match
Result: WALTER wins via pinfall- New Champion Crowned
Thoughts: This was as good as Riddle vs Dream but for completely different reasons. This was borderline uncomfortable to watch at certain points. A very simple story was told brilliantly. The bigger man in WALTER consistently used his size and strength advantage to ground Dunne whereas Pete used his speed and joint manipulation to bring him down to his level and make it a, near, level playing field. The amount of genuinely ‘look-away’ moments were insane and both men went absolutely mental against each other. Whereas some matches on the card will be technical masterclasses; this was more like a fight in a car-park. And it was amazing. WALTER winning is the right decision as he can carry a brand on his absolutely massive shoulders for years and it allows Dunne to move onto ‘Proper NXT’ and, hopefully, go after the NXT Championship. But a near 700 day reign from Dunne is absolutely fantastic and he should be so, so proud of himself. But for now…the Ring General has his gold.
Shayna Bayzler (c) vs Io Shirai vs Kairi Sane vs Bianca Belair- NXT Woman’s Championship Match
Result: Bayzler retains via submission
Thoughts: …this show is absolutely incredible. All four women here but on an absolute show for all involved. Kairi put her heart and soul into every move, Bianca went out to prove everyone why she deserves to be in this quality of match, Io continually proved that she’s debatably the best women’s wrestler in the world and Shayna took her opportunities to retain her title. Not really anything to argue with here- every woman was great and, when thinking about it, the right decision was to have Shayna retain here. It’s going to be absolutely massive when someone- maybe Io- finally defeats her; probably at Summerslam?
Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano- NXT Championship Match – Two out of Three Falls
Result: Gargano wins via submission- New Champion Crowned
Thoughts: The best NXT Takeover ever culminated with my favourite match of all time. Many people, prior to this, debated and asked if this Takeover was going to be better than last year’s Mania edition. And my god; it did and then some. I’m honestly, not going to say much about this. I know it’s a cop out. But I don’t want to take away any emotion or drama that you would feel if you didn’t know the periodical goings on. So please- go and watch it. It’s my favourite match EVER…Johnny Freaking Champion.