My favorite WWE program are these NXT Takeovers. NXT is their “developmental” which use to just mean guys trained in their system with a handful of indy dudes. Now it’s the opposite. Anyway, they have a show I don’t watch but I follow spoilers and look forward to these pig shows. Only 2 hours and 30 minutes and better than most wrestling programs. By most I mean real WWE pay per views like Money in the Bank which happened the next day.
1. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong w/Adam Cole) (c) defeated Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch in 16:00-Tag team match for the NXT Tag Team Championship
Undisputed Era is a stable of guys who are all ex-Ring of Honor wrestlers. ROH maybe the #3 or 4 company in the US, in the world they fall out of the top 5. They have all worked Chicago on the indys so the crowd was solidly behind them. The team of Lorcan and Burch is interesting. Lorcan was a buzz indy guy who got signed before really taking off and Burch actually just resigned. He’s a British wrestler who was part of NXT years ago, then released, and went on to work the indy scene. This was a hard hitting, action packed affair. O’Reilly and Strong make a great tag team. Generally speaking I think Strong is good but I just don’t like him. Lorcan’s been with NXT for a couple years and this is his first Takeover. He’s put in a lot of work and it sucks its taking this long for him to get some spotlight but him, and Burch, made the most of it. Great tag match, great opener.
2. Ricochet defeated Velveteen Dream in 22:10
Indy vs Developmental. The King vs the Prince. Ricochet has been working for years as one of the worlds premier wrestlers. An incredible high flier but underrated striker and deceptively powerful. His signing with WWE was hughe news and his first singles feud is against one of the best original WWE creations, the Velveteen Dream. Dream actually did work sometime on the indy’s before entering WWE’s Tough Enough, losing but still getting a contract. The former Patrick Clark pretends that “he has no memory” of this. The crux of the feud has been Dream targeting indy stars to prove a point, that he is the man in NXT. Proudly proclaiming that whatever Ricochet can do, he can do better. What makes the feud even more interesting is that megastar the Rock has endorsed Ricochet while WWE superstar trying to turn credible actor John Cena has endorsed the Dream.
This match was amazing. Sure, Dream is still young and there are parts for him to improve upon but there is few young wrestlers who come close to his raw talent. He has a defined character and strong promos which is something WWE values while at the same time lacking in much of their talent. His selling and expressions are above and beyond. Here’s the thing, he’s also good in the ring. He might not be technical or an amazing striker, but he has a cool moveset and challenges himself. In this match alone doing one of the most complicated dives to the floor (middle rope step up, somersault to the floor) or copying one of Ricochet’s standard somersault sentons. In some more years, he is going to be scary good. Just as Ricochet is scary good. he is a better wrestler than Dream, Dream makes it more important. This was my favorite match on the show. Such an amazing match and I look forward to when they cross paths again.
3. Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Nikki Cross in 9:25-Singles match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Shayna Baszler is legit. As in you don’t want to fight her. Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiujistu, only certified female catch wrestling coach, and ex-MMA. Baszler is the real deal. Sometimes however that doesn’t translate in wrestling. Wrestling is a different beast in the way you work and the way you connect with the crowd. Baszler has only be wrestling professionally for a few years. That said, she has the look and the attitude and when she is allowed to bully she is very imposing. This match was one of the better matches I’ve seen with her. Nikki Cross playing just crazy and unscared, throwing Baszler for a loop shows the continued growth of Baszler. It allowed Baszler to showcase different expressions and body language. The match itself was fascinating. I wouldn’t rank as a great match but a very good encounter. the ending with Nikki smiling while in the choke before going to sleep is one the best visuals I’ve seen all year.
4. Aleister Black (c) defeated Lars Sullivan in 14:07-Singles match for the NXT Championship
I feel for Black. He’s been on a tear since officially debuting in NXT. He is undefeated in one on one singles matches. Yet second show in a row where he is not the main event. First as the defending champion. Still, him and Lars Sullivan put on a good match. Lars is talented “monster” type. He takes a lot of hits and keeps coming. Black basically working as an underdog. The match was good, there was a major missed spot but it didn’t take away from the match. I don’t have much on this to say. I think NXT should have kept Andrade Almas for a couple more months and kept the title on him. Black is good, very good, but seems to be missing that extra something. Though he is better than half the former NXT champions. First time seeing Lars in a full match. Impressive but WWE has too many big man, monster types. In NXT its cool but I worry a call up will hurt him. Good match though.
5. Tommaso Ciampa defeated Johnny Gargano in 35:29-Chicago Street Fight
Honestly, I don’t care about this feud. Not like most people do. I think Ciampa and Gargano are very good wrestlers. I just seem to care. I liked their previous match which headlined the last Takeover show. That said, I didn’t go full five stars in people did. I went into this thinking, if they’re doing it again than Ciampa wins. I was right. This was a very good match. Better than half the card. I just have a hard time getting into this feud, I don’t know why.
Overall, great show. Money in the Bank was pretty lackluster so skip it.