Wow, just wow. Last night’s Takeover once again could be hailed as NXT’s best yet. Bell to bell the match quality never dropped with every superstar performing gave their all. There was something for everyone on this card. So without further delay let’s get into the good stuff.
Undisputed Era Are Still at the Top of the Mountain
NXT has a no problems warming up a crowd. Every Takeover starts exciting and that momentum is carried on throughout the show. The opener this time was Moustache Mountain vs Undisputed Era. A personal bout that saw the big strong boys trying to reclaim their stolen tag titles. It didn’t go to plan unfortunately as after an insane amount of back and forth, double team moves and momentum shifts, they unfortunately came up short. We saw almost saw a repeat of the towel throw except it would be Seven saving Bate. Instead he launched the towel into the crowd and willed Bate on instead keeping the match alive. There would be several near falls where it would appear the British lads had prevailed only for Undisputed Era to power out. In the end they fell to Total Elimination for the loss.
Moustache Mountain have had a strong showing in the US and will no doubt be used as the poster tag team for NXT UK so they have been made up not buried. We also have a newly re-energised Undisputed Era as they have reclaimed their belts and proved that their loss was a onetime thing. The Takeover also provided a clear hint as to who their next opponents will be as after the match they were obliterated by the War Raiders. This is going to be a new challenge for the Era as this is a team they have never faced before and hold a sizeable power advantage.
Dream Over for EC3
What do you get when you put two wrestlers dedicated to their egos in a ring? If the answer is this then we need more of it. EC3 and Velveteen Dream took each other to hell. What started as an EC3 dominant match was soon shifted when the match went to the ramp and Dream hit a twisting DDT onto EC3. This collision of head and neck meeting steel would plague EC3 for the rest of the match and gave the Dream plenty of time to get back into the match. There was a moment to that we didn’t get to see where EC3 was busted open in quite dramatic fashion. There was a lot of blood that seemed to have been wiped away by the finish. Even then though EC3 would fight through the pain in attempts to come back and it would look like he’d get the upper hand at times until a Purple Rainmaker onto an apron prone EC3 would get Dream the victory.
Once again, the Dream is given a strong opponent and he puts on a “dream” match (pardon the pun.) EC3 was a perfect opponent for the dream as the two almost matched each other strength for strength. They were both cocky, both sure of themselves and both out for blood. EC3 looked to have the advantage until Dream used the environment to flip that and EC3 on his head. It felt like either man could win. This match had one problem though as many on Twitter have pointed out, for a large portion of the crowd seemed dead. I don’t know if it’s because some in attendance weren’t quite aware of who EC3 was or they were just burned out from the tag match. For whatever reason the crowd just didn’t warm to this match until late into it.
The final thing to note from this match was a particular note on Dreams wrestling tights. They were once again full of catchphrases and slogans but this time there was a very specific one, which the Dream made sure to emphasise, “Call me up Vince.” Now this could be a joke. Given the Dream’s character it could be a direct prod at everyone’s expectations for call-ups after Summerslam. This may be the case but can we take a second to imagine the Dream on main roster. Especially when on Smackdown where he’d hopefully be used properly. Now that would be a dream.
The One and Only North American Champion
Well we can say two things from this match, Adam Cole is not a coward and Ricochet is definitely special. Adam Cole was solo for this match as Bobby Fish was nowhere to be seen and his other stablemates had been destroyed by the War Raiders. This meant he had no help fighting Ricochet and would have to get the job done on his own. Ricochet on the other hand was out there to take the belt and make it mean something. Yet again, NXT delivers another pair that fans could have watched fight all night. Cole was methodical and precise, grinding down Ricochet and delivering some downright shocking counters to his aerial assault, included a Superkick to cancel a backflip. Ricochet on the other hand would find ways to get back into it and use his speed and agility to batter down Cole. This was another match where the momentum would shift in an instant and it was the new falls kept coming. Another match without any dull moments as each rest hold meant something; it was Cole proving he could keep Ricochet down. After playing with the audience’s emotions for what felt like forever (positively) Ricochet hit Cole with a hurricarana to the outside the rolled him in to get the win with the 630 splash.
So we have two new questions from this result. What will Cole do now? We could see him chase the NXT title as fans will get behind him without the need for a turn. There is that or we could see him be moved up prematurely, leaving behind his stablemates to shock the system on the main roster. This would be the weaker option because the Undisputed Era should all go up together for the maximum effect. The other question is who will be Ricochet’s first title feud be? There are plenty of tantalising prospects out there. Could we see the Dream push for a belt? A returning Lars Sullivan goes on the warpath? Maybe even Keith Lee will be pushed for it? Only time will tell but the potential matches that can arise from this new champion are numerous and exciting.
A Pirate’s Life for NXT
This was probably the biggest surprise of NXT Takeover for me, a pleasant one for sure but a surprise none the less. Shayna looked like she’d be untouchable as champ. A fixture on the title for the time to come and someone to carry on the desired MMA feel WWE crave at the moment. Kairi Sane had been built up as the woman to topple Shayna having done it before, but I imagine a fair few people didn’t actually expect it to happen. The match started with the two trying to exchange submissions and one up the other before this descended into a more wrestling and striking based match. Baszler would try to bully Sane, as she does the rest of her opponents but would be met with Sane’s offense too. Sane refused to stay down and refused to tap out or give up. Baszler would originally trap Sane in a load of leg based submissions bending Sanes’ limbs in many unnatural ways. Sane would fire back up hit an outside crossbody and eventually bring Baszler back into the ring. She would hit Baszler with two InSane Elbows, one to the back and one to try and seal the deal. Baszler would kick out of the elbow drop so Sane would try to lock into the Anchor instead. This then saw Baszler try to lock in another hold but would be caught in a roll up and allowed Sane to get the win.
So we have another new champion crowned this Takeover. This time we have Kairi Sane, a fan favourite and the opposite of Shayna Baszler. Once again though we have another long potential list of matches that can come of her crowning. We could see some interesting feuds emerge from this, including Bianca Belair who is probably still not too happy about losing her opportunity.
It makes sense Shayna lost those as this can help build towards the four horsewoman match WWE want to put on. She could easily make a splash on the main roster at any point. She’d fit right in on either roster with very little fuss. She may get a rematch but she is one of my top picks to be called up after Summerslam.
Gargano vs Ciampa 3
It should not be possible for Gargano and Ciampa to top their previous matches. Each time the two clash in the ring they destroy each other and attempt to steal the show. This Takeover was no exception as they were in a last man standing match for the NXT Title. This may be Gargano’s only chance at the belt for a while and as such he seemed willing to do anything for the win. Even before the bell, Gargano attacked, blindsiding Ciampa before he was even aware of what was happening. There would be too much to break down in this match. There were call backs to previous matches including the ring canvas being ripped up again, tables being set up and destroyed, the announce tables being destroyed and Gargano being buried under a pile of rubble, chairs and bodies. It was brutal, physical and dramatic. Fans were desperately watching to see if Gargano would go full heel to finally slay his demon. The finish saw Gargano handcuff Ciampa to the scaffold at the stage and would just Superkick him continuously whilst screaming at him. Ciampa would beg for forgiveness and constantly apologise. Gargano ignored this and would keep attacking without remorse. Unfortunately this would cost him as he would set up to destroy Ciampa with a running knee, despite already being in a winning position and would overshoot colliding with some case and Kayfabe dislocating his knee. Both men seemed to be out of it and there was the threat of a double countout but Ciampa would slide off the stage and land on his feet, meaning he would win it.
So where do we go from this? Ciampa has won the rubber match and Gargano may be written out with this Kayfabe injury and Ciampa will be free to feud with someone else. Once again as well as high quality matches, Takeover’s provide a delicious amount of potential.
Leaving the Realm of Believability
That main event will not have been for everyone and I understand that. The problem I saw with it at moments was it leaving the realm of believability. There were moments during that match where it would seem like this was the end of it but then whoever was down would get up. I understand in wrestling a ten count is a long time but still if you’ve eaten a Butterfly Facecrusher into the steps or are literally buried under a pile of rubble, chairs and bodies then I feel that should be it. There is a need for drama and the spots are relevant in building up the characters of Gargano and Ciampa but it can seem inhuman and way too exaggerated.
Look at it this way, if this is the best negative I can come up with then the Takeover was amazing. It was almost impossible to find a single negative as they knocked almost everything out of the park. Even the main event to me was amazing, for all the nits I want to pick. This may have been the best Takeover yet and no amount of minor negatives would diminish it. Summerslam has a hard job topping that but we shall wait and see and hope for the best.
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