I did not get up early this morning to watch NXT TakeOver and I regret it. I knew the show would be excellent and there were some really good matches on the card but for me personally, it lacked the star power. The pull wasn’t there. But the show exceeded my already high expectations. And this is what NXT does. It sets the bar really high, then exceeds that again. Among the audience for this TakeOver were ECIII, Ricochet, War Machine and Candice Lerae and Maria Menounos. Onto the show now.
The show opened with Authors of Pain challenging Undisputed Era for the tag titles. Akam and Rezar looked like legit monsters and I got a Brock Lesnar feel, that’s how well both sides played there part. The fallaway slam with Bobby Fish having applied the sleeper on Rezar and Kyle O’Reilly in his arms was fantastic. The screwy finish allowed Undisputed Era to retain the title and AoP to retain there… Monstrosity…ness
Next up Velveteen Dream promised to beat Kassius Ohno in less than 30 seconds. Velveteen Dream’s hard-hitting style of late has been a pleasant surprise for me and that trend continued in this match. He started off dominantly against the larger Kassius Ohno and looked to be in control. The countered Death Valley Driver was really good. Kassius Ohno has been doing a great job of playing the Ziggler role on NXT for some time now and there wasn’t much doubt in my mind that that was exactly his role tonight as well with Velveteen Dream getting the big win with the top rope elbow drop. Velveteen Dream is probably gonna chase the NXT title now while I would like to see Kassius Ohno in the Royal Rumble tomorrow (Same thing I said last year).
Next up was the surprise of the night. The main roster could learn from this about swerves. Shayna Baszler looked like a freak during her match against Ember Moon and I could see no way for Ember Moon to win. Especially after Shayna stomped on her elbow and Moon was effectively wrestling with one arm from that point onwards. Ember Moon managed to land the Eclipse on Shayna but she landed on her arm and couldn’t cover Shayna. From that point on it was Shayna Baszler repeatedly locking in the Kirifuda Clutch and Ember Moon trying desperately to stay in the match. In desperation Moon rolled up Baszler for the surprise pin and the win. Shayna Baszler was not happy, to say the least, and attacked Moon after the match.
Aleister Black looked to get some revenge against Adam Cole in an extreme rules match and had the upper hand early on, outsmarting Adam Cole. Weapons came into play and Adam Cole used a Kendo Stick to get the upper hand by smashing Black in mid-air of a moonsault. Aleister Black went through two tables set up at ringside that he had set up after Adam Cole superkicked a chair into Black. Black fought back was about to end the match when the inevitable happened and Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish interfered on behalf of Adam Cole. Sanity though levelled the playing field by attacking Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish leaving it a one on one again between Adam Cole and Aleister Black which Black won with his Black Mass kick.
The main event is what turned me off getting up early in the morning to watch the show live. I know that the duo are fantastic wrestlers and would put in an absolute shift tonight but I wasn’t compelled to get up. Maybe I’m just too lazy. The match is my early pick for match of the year. Last year it was the Revival Vs DIY Vs AoP last year. Gargano’s slingshot spear. The pop. Mauro Ranallo’s commentary. That’s NXT at its best. Almas’ moonsault into another moonsault is the best spot I have ever seen. Useless as Almas seems to be on the mic, his in-ring skill is tremendous. Fantastic back and forth before the two cancelled each other out and fell to the mat. Sunset flip into double knees, slingshot DDT on the apron by Johnny Gargano, not just these spots but the story with Zelina Vega distracting. Mauro Ranallo wants Gargano’s DNA checked. Almas hit his double stomp off the top rope to the apron. Zelina Vega connected with a hurricanrana sending Gargano into the steps while the ref was distracted which allowed Almas to hit the hammerlock DDT for an insane near fall. Vega was looking to attack Gargano again before Candice LeRae came out of nowhere to chase her off. Gargano hit the slingshot DDT for near fall number 67 I think before locking in the GargaNo Escape which Almas escaped by putting his foot on the bottom rope. Double knees into the ring post, before hitting him with the draping hammerlock DDT off the top rope for the pinfall win. After the match, Tommasso Ciampa attacked Gargano with a crutch. If the rumours are to be believed we might see an NXT match on the WrestleMania main show. If so then I see this is the only match big enough to do so. And if this happens I’d pay 49.99 for the WWE Network to watch this. Gargano can make it look like a freaking paper bag is going to kill him and Ciampa looks mean. The two have great chemistry and if this match happens then take my word its going to be incredible.