Last night, NXT put on another excellent show in TakeOver: New York. WWE’s “developmental” brand continues to show that they can put on quality performances. It was a great start to WrestleMania weekend.
In tradition, five matches were on the card but for the first time in TakeOver history, all five matches were title matches. Breaking the tradition I did for the past pay-per-view reviews, I’ll just be giving my thoughts on the matches itself, rather than go over the entire match. If you have not watched TakeOver: New York, I highly recommend it.
Here are my thoughts in all five matches.
NXT Tag Team Championship – War Raiders (c) def. Ricochet & Aleister Black
A 30-minute opener that was WAYYY better than I expected. There was a lot of emotion throughout. The early staredowns in the beginning to the tail end the of the match, both teams left me glued to the T.V. to see what will happen next. While it was kind of obvious that War Raiders were going to win here, given the eventual full-time main roster turns for Black and Ricochet it still left me guessing at times that the new tag team would win the gold. The post-match ovation Black and Ricochet got was nice as they look to be members of either SmackDown or Raw come Superstar Shakeup time next week. Kudos to both teams for setting the tone for a great night.
Also, have to note War Raider’s entrance here. The Viking themed entrance was amazing here.
NXT North American Championship – Velveteen Dream (c) def. Matt Riddle
The majority of the match was slow but the end of the match more than made up for it. Dream adding new moves like the Codebreaker and Fameasser was a nice touch. His Hulk Hogan antics got a nice pop in the crowd. Riddle lived up to the moment in his first title match in NXT despite being his first defeat. Dramatic reversals and Dream reversing a Bromission attempt with a roll-up was a nice touch. This is not the last time will see both of these guys against each other.
Also, have to note Velveteen Dream’s Statue of Liberty inspired entrance/attire. Simply amazing here as well.
United Kingdom Championship – WALTER def. Pete Dunne (c)
Dunne’s impressive reign as UK Champion comes to an end after a brutal battle with WALTER (Walter? Not sure if it is all capitalized.) It was a nice change of pace with the British style wrestling, something the casual American fan might not usually see. The match might have been longer than expected but there was a lot of big spots here.
NXT Women’s Championship – Shayna Baszler (c) def. Bianca Belair, Io Shirai and Kairi Sane
A fun spotfest here with all four members getting their chance to shine. It was a fast paced match with a lot of high spots here. The teaming of Shirai and Sane was good at the start but the alliance did not last long as they tried what they can to win the NXT Women’s Championship. Belair had her moments too but Baszler winning shows that she is still the top star in the NXT women’s division.
Vacant NXT Championship – Johnny Gargano def. Adam Cole 2-1 in a Two-out-of-Three Falls match
Man, what a match. Despite the interference from the other Undisputed Era members and the beating he received from Cole, Gargano delivered an excellent performance here and finally capture the title he had been chasing for the past few years. Now an NXT Grand Slam champion (holding onto the NXT Tag, NXT North American and now NXT Champion), Gargano is in the conversation as one of the NXT greats. Johnny Wrestling is in NXT for the long haul now the question remains for Adam Cole. Will he be called up after ‘Mania?
A fantastic TakeOver that will be remembers no doubt. Every match was great here especially the opening tag and main event. NXT continues to show why is it one of the best brands to watch. High-quality action throughout. Now we see who will be called up to the main roster come next week on either Raw or SmackDown.