Bridgeport, CT was the host for NXT’s 25th TakeOver event. Every TakeOver seems to be better than it’s last and that could very well be the case here.

Five matches took place with all four titles on the line, which included a guaranteed new champion in the tag team division. Here is my review of each of the matches for NXT TakeOver: XXV.

Matt Riddle def. Roderick Strong


Grade: A-

A solid opener started the show as Matt Riddle went up against Undisputed Era member Roderick Strong.

It started out as a back and forth bout but Strong had the early momentum. There were many near falls throughout and many memorable spots. One of the best spots here was when Strong hit Riddle with an enzuigiri and superplex from the top rope.

In the end, Riddle tried for the Bromission but was selling his back injury and could not properly apply it. He made up for it and delivered a reverse neutralizer for the pin.

A solid opener of TakeOver: XXV that combined technical wrestling and near-falls. Riddle going over was the right call. Strong can take the loss here as he is staying in the U.E. stable. The Original Bro showed once again that he is the future of the NXT brand. It would not be surprising that he is next in line for the NXT Championship.

Vacant Tag Team Championship – The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) def. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish), and The Forgotten Sons (Blake Cutler and Wesley Blake) in a Ladder match


Grade: A

A fun match that told a great story. The Viking Raiders relinquished their NXT Tag Team Championships during an NXT episode, leaving a big hole in the tag division. This match showed that the tag division is alive and well.

The Forgotten Sons looked good here in the stipulation and the addition of the third member Jaxson Ryker can give this team some heat that can help them out when they enter the title picture once again. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch looked good here too, showing that they could be a team to watch out for whether they are in NXT or the NXT UK brand.

Outside of The Street Profits, Undisputed Era member Kyle O’Reilly looked like a star here. The number of spots he did and selling was incredible and showed that he is one of the top stars in the NXT brand. O’Reilly and Bobby Fish looked great here but the right call was made with Street Profits holding up the titles.

Angelo Dawkins has gone through several repackagings during his long run in NXT but finally connected with the crowd when he teamed up with Montez Ford. It shows here that hard work does pay off and to never give up.

Ford and Dawkins have a connection with the crowd and needed the win now more than ever. They have been at times overlooked but continued to show out time and time again. Now the question is who will they start to feud with now.

Overall, the ladder match was brutal and showed all four teams trying their best to win the championship gold. A good spot fest match that gave everyone a chance to shine.

North American Championship – Velveteen Dream (c) def. Tyler Breeze


Grade: A

One of the pioneers in the NXT brand Tyler Breeze returned to battle Velveteen Dream for his North American title.

With Breeze never being used properly on the main roster, he was more focused than ever to show that everyone what WWE has been missing out on.

Dream adding insult to injury by snapping a selfie with the beaten-down Breeze and the North American Championship was a good addition to the storyline, trying to show that Breeze has been an afterthought since leaving the yellow brand.

A quality match that ended with Dream grabbing his belt from ringside and trying to use it. He ended up not using it, only for as a distraction to allowed Dream to deliver a Dream Valley Driver and Purple Rainmaker for the win.

Mauro Ranallo was especially great here, telling Breeze’s story. The numerous near-falls and close victory can hope that we will see another rematch between the two down the line. Breeze looks to be in NXT for the long-haul, which I think is a good call. He was rarely used on WWE T.V. outside of a few matches on Main Event but Sunday showed that he can still give quality matches.

Women’s Championship – Shayna Baszler (c) def. Io Shirai


Grade: A

Another day, another dominating victory for Shayna Baszler. This was a great match that showed a great post-match fight with Io Shirai using a kendo stick to take out her frustrations in not winning the match.

Baszler’s friends Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke came into the picture but did not last long as Candice LeRae came from out of nowhere to take out the Horsewomen with a kendo stick.

This was one of Baszler’s best title defenses and having Shirai tap out was a good way to continue her dominance as a submission specialist. You really can make the argument that Baszler has had one of the best NXT Women’s title runs outside of Asuka two-year reign a few years back.

The post-match attack by Shirai with a kendo stick and moonsault with a steel chair can be a sign that this will not be the last we see these two in a ring. Shirai will get another title shot, likely in an Extreme Rules match or No DQ match at the next TakeOver.

NXT Championship – Adam Cole (c) def. Johnny Gargano


Grade: A+

This match between Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole was just as good if not better than their battle at TakeOver: New York. Cole and Gargano had high expectations and they delivered with a five-star wrestling match.

A simple story here, with Cole showing the dawn of the Undisputed Era as the top guys in NXT. Gargano may have lost here and had a short reign with the title but it was still a memorable one indeed.

With this loss, Gargano is likely going to the main roster, maybe even as soon as Monday on Raw. He could still be in NXT but after winning every title on the roster and delivering high-quality matches for the past few years during TakeOvers, it is hard not to see him in a WWE ring in 2019.

If he does get called up soon, he leaves behind a legacy as the greatest superstars in NXT history. Many guys like Seth Rollins, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, and Finn Bálor, for example, are in that conversation but Gargano is right there with those group of guys.

The question is now what WWE has in store for Johnny Wrestling but you cannot take away what he has done for the NXT brand. Now, it will be up to Cole to carry legacy as NXT Champion and I think he can more than handle it.


Triple H has done it once again and it should not be shocking. He had a plan for the developmental brand back in 2012 and with his knowledge of the business, he has made it one of the shows in wrestling today. Raw and SmackDown may be at some low points with odd storylines and the ridiculous “Wild Card” rule but we can always count on NXT and NXT TakeOver to deliver great and memorable shows.


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