Thoughts on NXT TakeOver: New York
NXT TakeOver is the biggest show for the developmental branch of WWE. It’s known as one of the most exciting brands in all professional wrestling and it’s a crying shame that every show isn’t quite up to the callibre of NXT, however then we would be spoilt for choice. This past Friday night, NXT TakeOver put out an incredible show, which is just what the exciting brand keeps on giving. With five titles up for grabs, there was a buzz about this show and the results of the show were, largely, quite exciting. So, since I mentioned on Friday that this weekend is WrestleMania weekend, here’s a quick summary of NXT TakeOver: New York, as well as my thoughts about the results.
NXT Tag Team Championship – Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The War Raiders (c)
NXT has produced some stellar tag teams over the years. From classics such as The Ascension, The Wyatt Family, DIY and The Revival; through to this year’s Dusty Rhodes Classic winners, Aleister Black & Ricochet. NXT handles tag team wrestling to perfection and some of the stories that revolve around this scene are excellent. I’m truly excited for the future of the Undisputed Era faction, when they eventually get called up (but hopefully they don’t get called up just yet). In any event, at New York we ended up with Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The War Raiders… And this was the opening match.
This match had it all; from insane athletic feats by the biggest competitor, Hanson, through to the stunning aerial assault from the smallest member, Ricochet, the match had spots gallore. Then there was the storytelling, such as the moments when both teams didn’t deliver what would be a knock out blow early. There was also an incredible moment when Aleister Black looked like he snapped, delivering a devastating looking Black Mass (roundhouse kick). The match ended with Aleister Black and Ricochet losing, which effectively marked their send off, as the two are already competing on the main roster of WWE RAW and SmackDown. The crowd reaction said it all – They deserve it.
NXT North American Championship – Matt Riddle vs Velveteen Dream (c)
Anyone who has ever heard of Matt Riddle probably knows the guy is a legit fighter, coming from an MMA background. He’s also a super relaxed guy, coming out to a loud call of “bro”. His whole demeanour has rapidly turned into a fan favourite at NXT. His chilled out vibes went out the window at a few points, however, as reigning champion Velveteen Dream occasionally got in the Original Bro’s head. There were points where Velveteen not only survived onslaughts, but was effectively proving why he was the best man for the title right now.
This match was a hell of a character ride. Velveteen showed Matt Riddle respect at the end of the match, fist bumping with him at the end of the match. All in all, this wasn’t anywhere near as fast paced as the previous match, but this match was enough to turn non-fans of Riddle into full fans, as the guy looked like an absolute killer. He lost the match via a crafty roll-up from the more experienced Velveteen Dream, which in all honesty, was the right call. Riddle looked amazing in defeat, he doesn’t have an annoying undefeated streak stuck to his head and he proved he can hang with one of NXT’s best. I’m looking forward to his and Dream’s future!
NXT United Kingdom Championship – Walter vs Pete Dunne (c)
685 days as the United Kingdom champion, the ‘Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne decided to not only call out Walter, but challenge him to a match at TakeOver: New York. Walter is a behemoth of a man, a monster who is feared across all of Europe. Walter, known as the Ring General, came to the ring without a complicated gameplan – He came to assert dominance over the division and show that he could take that title away from Pete, but that wouldn’t be an easy task.
The match was excellent, as both competitors laid it all on the line. Pete’s body was covered in welts and bruises at the end, but the amount of times that Pete did his finger snap moves was harsh to watch. Nevertheless, it appears that the era of Pete Dunne is now over and the era of Walter begins. I struggle with this decision, as he came in having only had a handful of matches, before taking the title off Pete who has held that championship for so long. However, I also think this could be the start of Walter’s true story in NXT UK. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens and if Pete gets his rematch sooner rather than later…
… And if not, what happens to Pete? Does he stay in NXT UK, or get called to the main roster? The result is fine, so long as they capitalise off this story.
Fatal Four Way Match for the NXT Women’s Championship – Kairi Sane vs Io Shirai vs Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler (c)
Shayna Baszler has held her NXT Women’s Championship for quite some time, defending left right and centre against all challengers. This match started as a one on one, which turned into a one on one on one, which then led to this fatal four way for the championship. Some high spots were absolutely off the wall, but to me the cream of the crop of moves here was the KOD (Kiss Of Death) from Bianca Belair to both Kairi Sane and Io Shirai at the same time. Hoisting both women onto her shoulders and throwing them in such a way, that’s incredible. It’s a shame then that Bianca ended up eating the pin for Shayna Baszler, who was an afterthought most of the match, trying to capitalise whenever she could.
Whilst I wasn’t a fan of the result of the match, there were a lot of incredible moments. The dampener for me is Shayna Baszler, who just hasn’t managed to impress me. She clearly has done everything she can to catch up with the other NXT wrestlers, no problem, but being a former MMA fighter, she hasn’t made the transition so easily. A few moments made her look crafty, but a few other moments just made her look severely outclassed. I hope they can overcome this at some point, as well as eventually taking that title off her, as she’s had it for quite some time, when any of the other three women in the match could have been fantastic champions – two of them having never held it before.
Two out of Three Falls Match for the NXT Championship – Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole
You’ll notice that there isn’t a (c) next to the champion going into the matches name. That’s because there was no champion going in. The former holder of the NXT Championship, Tomasso Ciampa, was injured and had to go off for neck surgery (pretty serious stuff). Johnny Gargano was next in line to Tomasso Ciampa, so all that was left was to give him a match for the title that he deserved. So matches were had in NXT, which ultimately led to Adam Cole taking the match and getting his way into this championship bout – and his friends at the Undisputed Era were only too happy to help him.
Adam and Johnny had a stellar bout, proving that both men belonged at the top of the food chain in NXT. When the Undisputed Era trio came out to help their charismatic leader, it looked like Johnny Gargano was done for. But, surviving pinfall attempt after pinfall attempt, Johnny got back up and was able to fight through it all, capturing the NXT Championship. This means that Johnny Gargano is the first ever Triple Crown champion in NXT history. Huge congratulations to a man who has become synonymous with NXT, as he’s honestly made it his home and now, he’s done everything he can do there.
If you’ve never watched a wrestling show before, check out the WWE Network today, as if you subscribe, you get to watch WrestleMania for free. Furthermore, you can check out NXT TakeOver New York for free as well. If you need convincing as to why professional wrestling is such a wonderful performance to watch, why they put their bodies on the line, then you should try to check out TakeOver. Now it’s over to you – Did you check out TakeOver? What were your favourite matches of the night? What did you enjoy/dislike? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.