KYLE O’REILLY & RODERICK STRONG VS TYLER BATE & TRENT SEVEN FOR THE NXT TAG TITLES
The audience was very hot at the start with dueling chants. Seven has a brace on the left knee and plays off the title change on television where Bate threw in the towel. Bate was in and did the giant swing/airplane spin combination to both opponents. A clothesline took down Bate and they isolated Bate in their corner. They attacked the knee until Bate kicked Strong into the barricade and fought off O’Reilly and eventually tagged Seven. Strong applied the Stronghold onto Seven and O’Reilly applied a triangle to Bate, who lifted O’Reilly and crashed into Strong to break the submission. The audience was going insane from this point on. Bate landed a tope onto the floor onto O’Reilly, a shoulder bounce off the rope to clothesline Strong on the floor and then hit a Tyler Driver ’97 to Strong and he kicked out. They went back to attacking Bate’s left knee, O’Reilly used an Imanari roll into a heel hook on the bad leg. This time Seven grabbed the towel, but he stopped himself from throwing it and instead threw it into the crowd. Bate fought to the corner and tagged Seven. They hit a double team Burning Hammer knee drop with Bate coming off the top for a huge near fall on O’Reilly. Strong took out Bate with a flying knee strike, they chop blocked Seven’s knee and hit the High-Low and O’Reilly pinned Seven. (****1/2)
WINNERS: KYLE O’REILLY & RODERICK STRONG AT 18:08 TO RETAIN THE NXT TAG TITLES
The boys did it again, delivering yet another great tag team match with spectacular work and drama, as well as callbacks to their previous matches. I loved that they didn’t go for the immediate repeat of working on Seven’s knee, and changed it up by working over Bate’s knee this time around. These four can do no wrong, and while not quite as great as their last match, it still ruled and was an absolutely great opening match. Undisputed Era are making the case for tag team of the year with consistently great performances. This was a hell of a way to kick off Takeover, with a beautiful mix of old school tag formula and new school work.
War Raiders appeared and attacked Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong, concluding with the Fall Out hit to O’Reilly.
Johnny Gargano was shown in the locker room in anticipation of tonight’s title match.
VELVETEEN DREAM VS EC 3
Dream came out with a Notorious B.I.G. inspired outfit and crown. His tights read, “Call Me Up Vince”.
They started slow and then went to the ramp and Dream hit the twisting DDT on the ramp onto EC 3. There was something going on in the audience but Dream tried to play off the loud reaction as though they were cheering him. Dream worked over EC 3 and sent him to the floor.
Ethan fought back and attempted the one-percenter, it was blocked, but on his second try he hit it for a near fall, that didn’t get a big reaction. Ethan hit a top rope crossbody and a powerbomb and started to get booed. Ranallo noted that he calls himself, “the baddest dude ever”. The audience seemed to shift and were chanting for EC 3. Dream caught him with a superkick and “Dream Valley Driver” for a two-count. EC 3 was cut on the bridge of the nose.
Dream stopped him on the edge of the apron and the hit the DVD onto the edge, and then the Purple Rainmaker on the edge and pinned EC 3 inside the ring. (***1/2)
WINNER: VELVETEEN DREAM AT 15:05
This was an overall good and fun match, that while a bit lethargic in the middle and could have used a minute or two clipped, the ending stretch and finish were really good and Dream picked up a much-needed Takeover win.
Matt Riddle was shown in the front row.
ADAM COLE VS RICOCHET FOR THE NXT NORTH AMERICAN TITLE
Cole had the early advantage and telling Ricochet, “you’re not special.” Ricochet came back with a Fosbury Flop to the floor and landed on his feet after completing it. He landed a corkscrew splash from the second rope for a two-count. He went for a handspring off the ropes and was met with a backstabber. Ricochet went for a springboard, Cole attempted a superkicked and was caught. Ricochet went for a quebrada and Cole blasted him with a superkick upside down, hit the Ushigoroshi for an incredible near fall. They traded big kicks, Cole landed on top for a near fall and then a chant of “Mama Mia” broke out. Ricochet hit a reverse ‘rana, pulled Cole to the corner and climbed to the top but Cole rolled out of the way to the edge of the apron. Ricochet leaped over the top to hit a huracanrana to the floor. Cole was placed back into the ring, landed the 630 splash and won the match. (****)
WINNER: RICOCHET AT 15:21 TO WIN THE NORTH AMERICAN TITLE
This was a great back and forth match, with good drama, a hot closing stretch, and a new champion being crowned. Both guys looked great and delivered, they also did some ambitious stuff, and made it look easy. Cole selling the loss was also well done, he does really good at selling moments, and also did so during the match.
Kevin Owens and Mark Henry were shown in the crowd.
SHAYNA BASZLER VS KAIRI SANE FOR THE NXT WOMEN’S TITLE
At the beginning of the match, they showed Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke in the front row.
Baszler attacked her right leg and calf with stomps. Baszler twisted the ankle and while applying pressure and was being checked on by the official after a big stomp to the ankle. Baszler mocked Sane’s pirate walk out of the corner. Sane landed a big slap and followed with more as she fired up onto Baszler. Sane landed a spinning back fist and a series of rolling neck breakers. Baszler landed a gut wrench suplex off the top. Sane landed a spear and an elbow drop to the lower back of Baszler. Sane returned to the top, but Baszler rolled to the floor. Sane turned around and hit a high cross to the floor. She hit the Insane elbow off the top and Baszler kicked out. McGuinness noted it was the first time someone has kicked out of the Insane elbow in NXT. Sane attempted the Anchor and it was turned into the Kirifuda Clutch, Sane began to fade but grabbed the bottom rope. Sane applied the Anchor while in the ropes and had to the release the submission. Sane came off the top with the Insane Elbow into the boots of Baszler, she applied the Kirifuda Clutch but as Baszler went down to her back, Sane rolled on top and got the cover and won the match. (****)
WINNER: KAIRI SANE AT 13:36 TO WIN THE NXT WOMEN’S TITLE
This was another great match, with the story of Sane overcoming as the underdog, showing the killer instinct that Baszler said she didn’t have and overcoming at the end. I’d expect the Baszler call up soon (which I fear for in many ways, but hopefully being Rousey’s friend helps her). Baszler’s ruthlessness was great, as was Sane’s babyface fire and comebacks; they were a wonderful pairing.
Mauro Ranallo had a great call regarding this being the reason these performers wake up at the crack of dawn to train, log all the travel miles and live for moments like this.
TOMMASO CIAMPA VS JOHNNY GARGANO IN A LAST MAN STANDING MATCH FOR THE NXT TITLE
During the ring introduction’s, Gargano jumped Ciampa from behind to start the match.
They brawled around the ring and Gargano sent him into the announcer’s area. Ciampa lifted Gargano and hit an Air Raid crash putting them through a table. Ciampa landed a pair of running knee strikes in the corner, on the third he was hit with a chair to the right knee that had a brace on it. A chair was set up in the corner, several minutes later Gargano had Ciampa on his shoulder and lawn darted Ciampa into the chair. Ciampa came back with multiple German suplexes and then hit three Project Ciampas. Ciampa sat down and awaited the count while Gargano was lifeless on the canvas. Gargano got to his feet and superkicked Ciampa in the chair. The two dropped the other with clotheslines, they each got up at the count of one. Gargano went for a cannonball off the apron and landed on the floor missing Ciampa. He followed by landing a version of Angel’s Wings to Gargano on top of the steps. Ciampa lifted the ring canvas to expose the wooden boards as a callback to their match in Chicago this past June. Gargano used a fire extinguisher in the face of Ciampa and grabbed the crutch to use as a weapon. They return to the ring, Ciampa attempted the draping DDT onto the wood, which is how he won in Chicago, but Gargano stopped him and reversed to hit the DDT to Ciampa on the wood. On the floor, Gargano went for a superkick, missed and took out the trainer. This allowed Ciampa to use a chair to run into Gargano. He stacked the injured trainer, the table, and chair on top of Gargano to bury him under the weight. Gargano fought free and made it up at nine. They brought in handcuffs, which Gargano could only lock onto one of Ciampa’s wrists. Garagno superkicked Ciampa off the apron through two tables stacked on top of each other. Ciampa used the crutch to get to his feet and break the count. They fought up to the entrance area. Gargano applied the Gargano Escape, Ciampa tapped but it doesn’t matter. Gargano handcuffed Ciampa to the equipment on the stage, Ciampa apologized and begged for forgiveness, Gargano hesitated to finish him, he exposed his knee and delivered the running knee to the face and nearly killed himself in delivering it and flying off the stage.
Gargano knocks himself out and Ciampa is able to get to his feet first and wins the match. (****1/2)
WINNER: TOMMASO CIAMPA AT 33:40 TO RETAIN THE NXT TITLE
Last man standing matches are tricky things, there are many more bland ones than great, due to the lack of near falls and fans many times showing little interest until the end. But with that being said, these two continue to be magic together and delivered an excellent main event. It had great drama, great heat, great throwbacks, and it even included that moment again where Gargano even teases a moment of forgiveness, but his anger got the best of him and that was his downfall as Ciampa survived due to Gargano’s mistake and ultimate desire to end his former friend. While the “weakest” of the three matches to me, it was still excellent, as they delivered once again. I’m just not sure where they go from here since while excellent matches, they’ve had the same match almost three times.
The audience seemed disappointed with the ending and I’m sure some where confused.
Ranallo teased that Gargano may have dislocated his knee cap from the closing sequence. The trainers checked on Gargano as Ciampa posed over top of him with the title.
Gargano sat on the ramp, the credits appeared and then Ciampa returned but then went off the air.
End of show.