MATCH I — VELVETEEN DREAM vs. EC3 vs. ADAM COLE vs. KILLIAN DAIN vs. RICOCHET vs. LARS SULLIVAN — LADDER MATCH FOR THE NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
‘Five stars.’ — Dave Meltzer.
I agree, that it was one of, if not the best ladder match I’ve seen, but five stars? 8/8? I dunno… The eclectic mix of stars did help, with the debut matches of both Flippy Ric and The USA Guy, plus the established name of Adam Cole (babez), along with smokey bacon hot favourite Velveteen Dream, and ‘sweater-vest’ Killian Dain. Oh, and apparently the ire of the NXT universe in Lars Sullivan, AKA, the ideal uncle.
The lads helped it out. And they meshed well. And it flowed well. But there were no stories here. That wouldn’t be a problem, but there was potential for stories. Sure, they had EC3 and Cole teaming up at points, and then betraying one another, but that’s in-match, the only other one they really tapped into was the whole Dain-Sullivan thing, which despite being enjoyable to watch, feels like it’s been going on for eons.
In conclusion, luffly flow, streets ahead spots, froot competitors, and an unpredictable finish (babez).
MATCH II — EMBER MOON vs. SHAYNA BASZLER — NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
This wasn’t fun, was it?
Not that it wasn’t good! It was good; everything that wrestlers do is good, it’s god-damned amazing, but it just wasn’t fun. Their first encounter had the tension of Baszler’s arm-lock, and this one played on that a bit too much at the start, taking fire out of what was actually, a shit-hot finish.
With Moon then stamping Baszler’s arm to complete donkey shit, forcing the arm-lock out of her arsenal, Baszler was forced to look elsewhere for a finish. And despite perhaps making the final hold a tad too lengthy, it also made Baszler look a bit of a beast, and Moon look like a gutsy old bird. Win-win.
It does feel like a bit of a new era for NXT women… Moon and the IIconics felt like the last of the previous Rushmore, and now the FANTASTICALLY FENOMENAL Dakota Kai can step up. She does have beef with Baszler at the moment, so I hope that comes full squared-circle…
MATCH III — THE UNDISPUTED ERA (KYLE O’REILLY and ADAM COLE) vs. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN w/PAUL ELLERING vs. PETE DUNNE and RODERICK STRONG — DUSTY RHODES TAG TEAM CLASSIC FINAL and NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle. (Set to EC3’s TNA theme).
I didn’t know where to go with this one. It seemed so fast. I dunno if they were rushed for time or what, but it seemed like they were moving quicker than I do when I have sex after popping a ready meal in the microwave.
Dunne and Strong: hella interesting team.
AOP: always up and around the title picture.
Undisputed Era (hold the Fish, extra Cole): fascinating scenario.
All I really remember is the finish, and Kyle being brill all the way through. For that reason, this ain’t gonna get high, but it’s was so intriguing, that I can’t give it too low. The Cole (babez) involvement made sense and his use in the match was Hugh Morrus, especially when he saw that he’d won, as I said, Kyle was utter sex, Pete Dunne was Pete Dunne, feckin’ fire, lad. Roddy is getting faster and faster, I haven’t seen him walk anywhere in months, and that adds venom to a match, and the AOP were… Necessary. There needed to be a foil… An extra layer so we couldn’t suspect anything. Such an odd combination made for an odd match that I will look back on fondly… With the crowd kinda watching in semi-silent amazement at the pace until the SHOCKING final moments.
I’d trust Pete Dunne to babysit, but not to aid me in a successful tag team.
MATCH IV —ANDRADE ALMAS w/ZELINA VEGA vs. ALEISTER BLACK — NXT CHAMPIONSHIP
Take it or leave it.
These kinda matches are always a bit tainted for me. I think everyone knew, or could at least predict that Almas was on his way to the main roster, and that he was losing his title, and that Black was being groomed to hold the belt. The fact that they tried to weave in the narrative that Black beat Almas in the former’s debut match like they were star-crossed lovers was nice, but a bit overplayed.
Great wrestling. Which we’ve come to expect from these two, but Almas is so entertaining, especially with Vega knocking about. Black can be, but his character is still a bit one-note, while Almas has facets now, he has a past, we’ve watched him develop and know his shit. It was like watching Bugs Bunny take on Elmer Fudd; we know that Fudd is just gonna try and hunt Bugs, and has a variety of traps in his arsenal, but Bugs evades them and comes back at Fudd with better, more entertaining methods. (Almas is Bugs).
Vega’s involvement could have been maximised, but it was still an absorbing finish, and good luck to Almas up there, but gooder luck to Black, cos you got shoes to fill as the champ, budday.
MATCH V — TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. JOHNNY GARGANO — UNSANCTIONED MATCH
In the words of Owen Wilson, ‘Wow…’
That is how you blow off a year-long feud. That is how you build a year-long feud. THAT IS HOW YOU DO A YEAR-LONG FEUD.
That is how you do a feud.
That is how you do.
Get the fuck on, lads. Just get the fuck on; standing ovation, all of that, bloody luffly.
You had callbacks, references, sick spots, OBVIOUSLY STORY, unpredictability, talent, smoothness, flow, chemistry, and this should have been a triple threat, because ol’ Kaye Fabe held up her end, didn’t she?
There’s nothing that I can say that will take anything away from you, nor gift you with anything; I’m just another in a long line saying ‘yeah!’.
I wasn’t gonna give you 8, but when I look back through, it may not have been my favourite match, but putting it all together, the whole feud, with this being one of the stops on the way? Yeah, that’s worth an 8, HAVE IT, JOHNNY.
A feckin’ weird Takeover, right? For me anyways. Not bad in any places really, but not great in many… The women’s match was a game of two halves, shit start, great end. The tag title match was Sonic the fucking hedgehog, the Almas-Black encounter was predictable, but they still managed to play us, and-…
I think that’s it.
I think I felt played. For the first time in a long time, I think Kaye Fabe enticed me with her wiles. I was (all) in. I was shocked by Roddy, gasping at Flippy Ric, stomping with Ember, and standing with Johnny. I felt connected to the faces… Something inside me felt they deserved to win. That’s why it felt good. I watched it with that mindset accidentally and had a great time. I do hope it happens again soon.
That being said, next time they do have one of these events, WONDERFUL WESLEY BEAUTIFUL BLAKE better be there, yeah! We got a deal? We better… #BringBackBlake
Oh yeah, also Moustache Mountain, Dakota Kai, Kairi Sane, Danny Burch and Street Profits should pop up a bit more.
OVERALL RATING: 5.2/8
Keep it streets ahead,