All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Six Man NXT North American Championship Ladder Match: EC3 VS Adam Cole VS Ricochet VS Velveteen Dream VS. Lars Sullivan VS Killian Dain; Cole wins and becomes the new NXT North American Champion.
- NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler; Shayna wins and becomes the new NXT Women’s Champion.
- Dusty Rhodes Classic/NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: The Undisputed Era VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering VS Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne; Undisputed win, retain the NXT Tag Team Championships and win the Dusty Rhodes Classic.
- NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Aleister Black; Black wins and becomes the new NXT Champion.
- Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano VS Tommaso Ciampa; Gargano wins and has his NXT contract back.
PLAY BY PLAY
The NXT Kickoff Panel interviews Adam Cole.
He clutches onto one of the NXT Tag Team Championship belts but is also going for the North American Championship. Cole is pulling double duty, but tonight is a “living, breathing travesty”, it’s TakeOver: Let’s Screw Undisputed Era. He says it’s ridiculous. And what is Pat McAfee doing there? He’s not worth Cole’s time. But Pat tells Cole soem breaking news: the NAC Ladder Match starts the night! The very first night is the ladder match?! Cole has to do that before the triple threat tag?! Yes, take it up with management. How is Cole going to address this possible lose-lose night? Regal wishes that’s how it’ll go. Tonight is the biggest challenge in Undisputed Era’s career, but they’ll find a way because they always come out on top!
Sam Roberts asks what the goal was with last NXT’s interruption? To prove a point: the Undisputed Era is the best team in NXT and ALL of the WWE. No one else deserves the Dusty Rhodes Classic cup or the Tag Team Championships, “and that’s a fact”. Cole storms out before Pat can finish asking his next question, how will Cole’s mood be once the show starts?
Backstage interview with Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne.
Tonight, the sold-out TakeOver puts both the Dusty Cup and the NXT Tag Team Championships on the line. How are these two feeling? “Tonight’s huge!” Strong has always wanted to be champion here, and tonight it can happen. Strong wanted a tag partner he felt he could trust, and that’s Dunne. Dunne says the Undisputed Era put their foots in their mouths when they stuck their noses in someone else’s business, so now Dunne vows to put his foot and more into their mouths. The Authors of Pains are also part of the match, and Strong knows “they’re big bad dudes”, but while Akam & Rezar bring the fight, so will they. When it’s winner takes all in the triple threat tag, who will come out the combined Dusty Rhodes Classic winners and tag team champions?
Triple H has Johnny Gargano sign the Hold Harmless Agreement.
This paperwork is necessary for the Unsanctioned Match, as Gargano is no longer an employee and WWE cannot be held responsible for what Tommaso Ciampa does to him in their match.
Candice LeRae joins the panel.
Mrs. Wrestling speaks on her husband’s ultimate grudge match with a former best friend. This is like the Twilight Zone to her. Ciampa was a roommate, a best friend, the best man at their wedding, yet he seems like a completely different person. The match is more than just about Gargano getting his dream job back, with how special NXT is, but this is a personal fight. What is Gargano’s state after what Ciampa has done to him? As his wife, Candice doesn’t always agree with her husband’s decisions, but she understands and accepts his choice.
Neither of them are happy about what happened, “I want my husband back.” This has changed Gargano, too, and “it’s unsettling how calm he seems.” Gargano has no nerves or anxiety, he’s eerily calm. Pat knows Gargano has everything to lose as well as gain here, because this could be a permanent good-bye. Is he fighting for revenge or for his career? “He’s fighting for his dream.” Which is Candice more worried about? Gargano’s job or his health? She admits it’s a gamble, but she still supports him. She hopes for the best but prepares for the worst, if it means they can both be in NXT together.
Referee Drake Wuertz joins via video call to say that he’s really only part of the match to count pins and submissions. Other than that, there’s no rules, anything can happen. Unsanctioned means no rules, but Pat can’t understand what else is there for a ref to do! Drake agrees, but he’s not sure about this, either. Sam asks Drake about his relationship with Gargano and Ciampa. Drake had to count the pin that fired Gargano from NXT to begin with. Drake knows now he made a bad call but he was in a bad spot. That pinfall will haunt him for a long time. Will he be able to do another hard call tonight? Drake takes a moment, but says he will. As for Candice, she’s at a loss for words. Anything can happen in the Unsanctioned Match, can Johnny Wrestling get back to NXT?
Drew McIntyre joins the Kickoff Panel.
How does the former NXT champion feel? He’s doing rehab for his injury these last four months, but he did #WWJCD: What Would John Cena Do? McIntyre has been 100% focused to get back. He’s been watching Andrade “Cien” Almas, the man who defeated him, “the man’s cocky but he gets the job down.” Almas and Vega are a great duo, and he dropped McIntyre on his head. McIntyre promises when he returns, he’s not just taking Almas’ arm, but his head. What does McIntyre see happening tonight? It doesn’t really matter, so long as the best man wins, because McIntyre will be back to go after either of them. But who would McIntyre like better? Again, doesn’t matter, he still goes after Almas either way.
Cane Hill opens the show with live music!
Specifically, they play the theme song they provided for TakeOver: New Orleans, “It Follows”.
Six Man NXT North American Championship Ladder Match: EC3 VS Adam Cole VS Ricochet VS Velveteen Dream VS Lars Sullivan VS Killian Dain!
With NXT bordering between developmental and a brand unto itself, William Regal felt it necessary to make an entirely new championship! And what better way to give this new belt meaning than to have six amazing talents from around the world compete to be the first? The Panama City Playboy has another match to worry about tonight, will he be able to focus on grabbing history for his own? Or will another of the contenders climb above the rest?
All six men watch the belt hoisted high above the ring. The bell rings, and already fans say, “This is Awesome!” The six men are standing around but EC3 slips out. Cole and Dream pounce on Ricochet, but then Lars and Damo pounce on them. Only the monsters remain in the ring, but they notice EC3 egg them on, so they go out after him! He’s cornered, but Cole and Dream come over. The behemoths get the better of the three, but then Ricochet springboards and FLIES!
Ricochet wipes out Lars and Damo, and the fans lose their minds! The One & Only King of Speed gets a ladder in the ring and stands it up. Ricochet climbs up but Dream intercepts to knock him away. Dream moves the ladder aside, but Ricochet goes after him. Ricochet whips but Dream reverses, Ricochet rolls off his back to handspring headscissor and dropkick Dream down! Fans are all fired up for the red-hot Ricochet, but Dream puts him on the apron. Ricochet punches Dream away but Dream trips up the springboard to send him crashing and burning. Dream gets the ladder, but Cole comes in to stop that. Cole throws hands and kicks, then a mudhole stomp.
Damo grabs Cole but Cole enziguris Damo down. Dream runs out, but Cole gets him with the Ushigoroshi! Cole hurries up but EC3 gets in, so Cole hops down, but into a shoulder jawbreaker. EC3 keeps Lars out, splashes and snapmares Cole to a neck snap. The fans rally but Lars returns to clobber EC3, then do the same to Cole. Lars whips Cole, pop up into a powerslam! Then he scoops EC3, for another powerslam! Damo returns and dumps Lars out, to then build speed and DIVE!
The Beast of Belfast wipes out the Leviathan, but he enters just as Ricochet does. Damo rallies on him and Dream with big rights. Damo scoops Dream, then catches Ricochet, but Cole kicks and they all fall down. Cole brawls with Ricochet, but then Damo adds on. He grabs them both and Dream comes in for 2v2 brawling. Damo has Cole in a corner while Dream European Uppercuts Ricochet. EC3 comes in and it’s a five man brawl. Lars carries in another ladder like it’s nothing, and throws it at them all!
They go down like bowling pins! Lars roars as he picks that ladder back up and rams Damo with it. Then he knocks EC3 and Cole down with it, then puts the ladder around his head to hit Dream and Ricochet, then EC3 and Cole again! Lars sits the ladder in a corner, and boucnes Damo off it. Lars gets another ladder, grabs Dream, and just drops him on it, ribs first! The Leviathan finally stands a ladder up, and climbs. Ricochet catches up to him and throws hands on the big man. Ricochet gets up and over but Lars holds onto the ladder to deny the sunset flip pwerbomb. EC3 and Dream keep the ladder down, and work to pry Lars off with Ricochet. Cole returns, climbs up and punches Lars, and the powerbomb is completed!
This leaves Cole on the very top, and he climbs! But Damo returns to stop him. Cole tells the “punk” off, but Damo just headbutts Cole down. Damo dumps the ladder over, then tosses Ricochet onto the other! He stands the other ladder back up and begins to climb, but Cole dropkicks him. EC3 returns and hits Damo with a super bulldog! EC3 and Cole fight over the ladder, then decide to work together to use it on Lars. They wedge Lars in the corner and throw hands. Then they spot Damo and go after him. EC3 brings out a new ladder, and Cole helps him with it to make a bridge. They go back to Damo, and double whip him into it, the ladder clotheslining Damo down!
EC3 and COle return to ram Lars again, and even high-five. The Top 1% copies Cole’s pose, and Cole takes offense, so he Death Valley Drivers EC3 on a ladder. SUPERKICK to Dream, SUPERKICK to Damo, SUPERKICK to Lars, then SUPERKICK to EC3! And yes, SUPERKICK to the flying Ricochet, from “ADAM COLE, BAYBAY!”
Cole finds himself all alone again, and gets a ladder up. He climbs up with the fans fired up behind him, but Lars returns to tip it over. Cole hotshots on ropes but Dream rams Lars down. Dream climbs up to the top, and hits Damo with a PUrple Rain Maker elbow! He won’t slwo down, he hits one on Cole! Dream wants the hat trick, taking aim at Ricochet, and he hits it to the back of Ricochet’s head. Now Dream is the one all alone, and he grabs a ladder. Lars returns an dpins Dream into a corner with the ladder. Dream taps out, but that doesn’t matter. Lars runs corner to corner, but Dream shoves that ladder in his face! Dream sets the ladder up again, and climbs to the very top. Fans sense what’s coming next as Dream takes aim at Lars. SUPER Purple Rain Maker!
And it hits! The fans are loving this as Dream gets himself back up. Dream sets one of the other ladders up in a corner, then adjusts the ladder he used. He climbs, but EC3 returns to get him. EC3 pulls Dream down and powerbombs him into the corner ladder!
Dream goes down, and EC3 has the fans rallying as he flounders back to the main ladder. Damo blasts EC3 with a dropkick, but EC3 counters with the modified STO. He gives Lars a cutter, too, then finally climbs. Cole yanks him off, then climbs, so EC3 clubs him back. EC3 puts Cole in a fireman’s carry, SUPER TKO!
Everyone is down, but EC3 and Damo are stirring. EC3 climbs while fans again say, “This is Awesome!” Damo stops EC3, bicycle boot knocks EC3 down. Now Damo tries the climb, but Cole goes after him. Damo throws Cole to a corner, then brings EC3 up for the Wasteland slam. Damo sets a ladder on top of EC3, and hits the back senton! EC3 writhes from being crushed, but Damo won’t stop there. Damo climbs up, but Cole returns and clubs him. Cole climbs up, positions himself for a sleeper, but Damo jumps and they both fall on EC3!
The Vader Bomb takes them all out, but Lars slowly returns while fans again say, “This is Awesome!” Cole slumps out of the ring while Damo and Lars rise. The monsters lock eyes again, but Ricochet comes in. Lars tosses Ricochet aside but Ricochet dodges in the corner to hit Darmo with a bicycle kick, then hit Lars with one. Ricochet keeps moving, roaring elbow to Damo, but Lars catches him. Lars puts Ricochet in a corner and throws him across the way! Damo sees that, fans want Damo to “Throw Him Back!” So he does! Ricochet bounces out of the ring, and now the monsters are alone again for a brawl! They go back and forth, Lars runs but into Damo’s mule kick. Damo throws elbows and EuroUppers, then clobbers Lars with a lariat. Damo runs at Lars, but Lars catches him!! Lars slams Damo out of the Divide!
Lars grabs a ladder, stands it up, and begins to climb. Ricochet returns to go after Lars, pulling him off for a roundhouse! Ricochet climbs, but Lars tips the ladder, so Ricochet moonsaults off onto Damo and Cole! Fans lose their minds while Ricochet crawls away from the wreckage. He springboards and dropkicks Lars down, but then EC3 kicks Ricochet down. EC3 puts Ricochet on the top rope and chops away at him. He moves things around, but Ricochet hits back, and EC3 ends up on a ladder again. Ricochet takes aim, and hits a Shooting Star onto EC3 and the ladder!
Everyone is down again, but Ricochet has the fans rallying. Ricochet positions a ladder and climbs up, but Dream returns! Dream rocks Ricochet with a right, then takes another ladder. He misses hitting Ricochet, but Ricochet hits Dream with a heavy haymaker. They go ladder against ladder and make a new bridge. Dream rocks Ricochet again, then finishes the ladder bridge before placing Ricochet on it. Dream climbs up again, but Ricochet intercepts him. They brawl while they climb, and end up balancing on the bridge. The fans beg, “Please Don’t Die!” Ricochet trips up Dream, and looks to leap on him, but Dream kicks him in the stomach. Dream sits up while Ricochet sits down. Dream throws hands and finds footing, for a very scary rolling Death Valley!
The fans lose their minds as both men go down. Referees check on Ricochet and Dream, they’re somehow okay to continue. But while they’re down, Lars gets up. Lars lariats Dream back down! He drags Dream up, sets him on the original ladder bridge, then climbs onto the apron. He sees EC3 coming and clubs him, to bring him out, for a FREAK ACCIDENT!
The ladder breaks!! Lars takes himself out with EC3 and Dream, and the fans are losing their minds harder than ever. But again, “This is Awesome!” While these three men are still down and out, Damo grabs Ricochet and puts him on a new ladder bridge. Damo climbs up, but Cole goes after him. Cole brawls with Damo, but it does nothing. Damo just brings Cole with him as he jumps onto Ricochet!
And that ladder breaks, too!! All six men are wrecked on the floor, but fans chant “NXT! NXT!” The fans also want them to “Fight Forever!”, as impossible as that might seem. Lars drags himself up into the ring, and he goes into the ring to climb the one ladder standing. But Damo is slowly following. Lars is almost there, but Damo stops him. They brawl while they climb. Somehow EC3 returns, and uses a ladder to jab at them both. Lars and Damo come down while EC3 sets up the ladder. Cole returns and climbs with EC3, side by side with Damo and Lars. They all reach while brawling, not letting anyone else get ahead of them.
Dream returns and adds on, while also adding a third ladder. The ladders go three wide while Dream climbs and Ricochet returns. Dream comes the closest but has to let go as the brawl gets stronger. No one is backing down, so Cole just takes EC3 with him in a Russian leg sweep! Dream and Ricochet kick the monsters down, Dream paws at the belt, but Ricochet brawls with him. Ricochet ducks a punch to then turn Dream, for a SUPER Neckbreake! This leaves the monsters left on the ladders. Damo clubs Lars down, but Lars grabs Damo, for a SUPER Freak Accident! No one is left on the ladders, but the fans are loving it. Lars drags himself up again, climbing for the top, but Ricochet leaps in out of nowhere to bring him down!
Ricochet leaves Lars on the ground as he positions a ladder back under the belt. He climbs, but Cole tips him off and out! Cole climbs up, grabs the belt, and brings it down! Adam Cole wins!!
Winner: Adam Cole, NEW NXT North American Champion!
The Undisputed Era’s double duty superstar makes history, just as he promised! Cole has a belt all to his own, but will he have the energy to help Kyle O’Reilly return the tag team championships later on?
NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler!
While the Queen of Spades made it to the finals of the Mae Young Classic and sees herself as a champion already, the Prophecy of Flame simply sees her as a bully. Ember may have survived Shayna in Philadelphia, but will this war end in New Orleans with the War Goddess still champion?
The bell rigns and Ember goes right at Shayna, but Shayna dodges to rock Ember with a right hand! Shayna smirks, but Ember gets her with a swing kick. Ember drags Shayna out, then dropkicks her into steel steps. SHe puts Shayna back in the ring, but Shayna’s right up. Ember runs, dodges, and hits a flying Code Breaker! Cover, TWO, but Ember puts Shayna in a crossface! Shayna rolls her, Ember holds on, Shayna gets the ropebreak. Ember lets go at 4, Shayna gets out of the ring. Ember stalks from the apron, but Shayna blocks the kick to trip the champion up. Shayna taunts Ember before putting her into the barriers, then back in the ring. Cover, ONE, but Shayna goes after that left arm.
Ember gets away so Shayna lets her hair down. Shayna runs and htis Ember with a knee, then a gut wrench suplex and a kick. Cover, TWO, but Shayna isn’t bothered. She just bends Ember back in a Bow & Arrow. The fans rally for Ember, Ember fights out, then slips up and around for a headscissor. Ember runs at Shayna, handspring forearm! She runs, but Shayna follows for another knee. Shayna runs but into Ember’s roll up, TWO. Ember tries again but Shayna spins her around, big knee lift! Cover, TWO! Shayna keeps her cool, daring Ember to get up again. Shayna grabs Ember in a sleeper, but Ember throws her off.
Ember dropkicks Shayna, matchbook cover, TWO, and Shayna slips around to a sleeper! Ember backs her into buckles but Shayna holds on, so Ember jumps to fall on Shayna. Shayna lets go, the fans applaud while Ember crawls to a corner. The fans rally while Ember pulls herself up. Shayna stands and runs in but Ember evades. Ember comes back with kicks, then runs to dropkick Shayna down again. Ember keeps going, half-hatch suplex and kip-up. The fans fire up as Ember runs, sliding complete shot! Cover, TWO.
Ember grits her teeth as she brings Shayna back up. She clubs Shayna, whips but Shayna reverses, Ember springboards but Shayna ducks under, letting Ember hit the mat. Shayna stands on Ember’s hand, and Ember senses what’s coming. Shyna goes to stomp, but Ember gets clear! Ember sweeps Shayna’s legs, then stands on Shayna’s hand to turn things around! Ember stomps on Shayna’s arm!
Shayna writhes, but the referee backs Ember off. Ember doesn’t care, she gets right at the arm for an arm wringer. Matchbox cover, TWO, but Ember keeps her focus. She kicks Shayna’s arm, then decides to climb up top. Ember takes aim, but Shayna bumps ropes to trip her up. Shayna kicks Ember while she’s stuck, giving a swift kick to the head, then a dropkick to the back. The referee backs her off, and Shayna takes a moment to recover. She pops her arm back in with the help of the post! Then she goes to Ember from the outside, but Ember is ready. Ember kicks her down, then gets another wicked idea in her head. She adjusts, takes aim, and leaps for a SUPER Eclipse!
Both women are down on the outside! The referee checks on them, and sees they’re okay to continue. He begins a ten count, and Ember begins to stir. The count reaches 8 when both women get in the ring. Shayna still works to get her arm working, but Ember crawls over. Shayna suddenly pops Ember into the Kirafuda!
Ember reaches, pries, and goes after the bad arm! Shayna lets go, Ember keeps on the arm with hammering forearms, but Shayna gets her in a triangle hold! Ember high stacks that, TWO, so DEADLIFT POWERBOMB! Another cover, TWO!! And Ember can’t believe it! But she won’t let that stop her, as she grits her teeth. The fans rally while Ember gets to the top rope again. Ember takes aim, and jumps for another Eclipse!
But gets dragged into the Kirafuda!!
Ember is caught! She goes for the bad arm, but Shayna won’t let that stop her anymore! Shayna uses her hair to finish the lock, keeping Ember in. Ember tries anything, from the bad arm to prying at the legs. Ember flails, reaches, but she starts to fade. Shayna rolls her away, Ember keeps trying, but she can’t get out. Fans rally, Ember gets a second wind to make it a cover, TWO, and the hold stays on. Ember’s out, Shayna wins!!
Winner: Shayna, by submission; NEW NXT Women’s Champion
The Submission Magician has done it! She has defeated the #Shenom to get her hands on what she felt was hers all along. Now that Shayna reigns over the Women’s Division, will there be any stopping her from doing what she wants to who she wants?
Adam Cole gets checked out in the trainer’s room.
The new North American Champion is very tender, but Kyle O’Reilly wants a partner out there. It doesn’t look good for the Undisputed Era, how will they hold on to their belts like this?
Dusty Rhodes Classic/NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: The Undisputed Era VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering VS Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne!
The premier tag team tournament that honors the godfather of NXT, the American Dream, returned for a third year. However, Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly felt that with Bobby Fish down with injury, they had to do something to protect their titles. They ruined what were the finals of the tournament, but William Regal wouldn’t allow it to end that way. Thus, this triple threat was made! Who will come away with all the prizes in this amazing combination of tag team matches?
The Authors don’t wait for the bell, they go right at the weakened Undisputed Era! It is a brawl with all six men going left and right. Akam & Rezar get control with a big boot to Cole, then another to Kyle. Strong gets thrown out and then so does Dunne. They focus on Kyle, neckbreaker bomb, but Cole manages to break the cover. Akam & Rezar throw the battered Cole out, and then clear off the Spanish announce table! Ellering coaches them as they bring Cole up, but Dunne & Strong come in. Akam & Rezar boot them away, then go back to Cole, but he slips out of the double choke slam! He can’t get away, though, they make it a double POWERBOMB!
Cole goes down through the table, but then Kyle flies in to knee Rezar! He boots Akam, too, but then turns into Strong’s chop. Kyle still knees Strong down, but Dunne is upon him with a hoverboard wristlock! They fall to the mat, Kyle makes it a cover, then to an armbar, but Dunne slips out. Dunen swings but Kyle blocks and counters with a strike fest that dumps Dunne on his head. Strong chops Kyle, then catches a knee into a backbreaker. Strong knees Akam out, then dropkicks Rezar. Rezar stays up so Strong unloads, and lets Kyle forearm Rezar out for him. Strong then gets Kyle into a full nelson backbreaker, cover, TWO!
The Messiah of the Backbreaker knows he’s close, so he hoists Kyle up. Kyle slips around to put Strong in the guillotine! He wrenches, Strong works to make it a cover, but Kyle slips into a triangle! Akam returns and stomps Kyle, but Kyle grabs that foot into an ankle lock!
Kyle has two holds at once, but then Dunne comes in, only for Rezar to use him in a powerbomb to break it all! Everyone is down, but Ellering coaches his team up as Rezar gives knees to Strong. Akam actually tags in, and they mug Strong with knees. Akam stomps Strong, then gives him body shots. He tags Rezar in, and they continue to mug Strong. Rezar knocks Strong around, covers, ONE. Rezar puts Strong in a modified clutch, but fans rally. Strong stands up, fights back, but gets thrown overhead! Kyle returns and kicks at Rezar, but Rezar sits him down with a forearm. Cole is barely stirring, so Kyle goes it alone as he throws forearms, but gets thrown in a German Suplex! yet he’s right back up! To fall right out…
Strong crawls for his corner but Rezar intercepts him. Rezar tags in Akam and they again mug Strong in their corner. Akam drags Strong up for kicks to the stomach, then tags Rezar for more mugging of Strong. The referee checks on Cole but he’s nowhere near the ring. Rezar taunts Dunne while standing on Strong. He tags in Akam, and they mug Strong with another knee to the ribs. Akam taunts Dunne but fans rally for Strong. Akam tags Rezar back in, Rezar hits Dunne just because, but Kyle returns, only to get booted down again. Strong boots Rezar then enziguris him, and crawls for his corner. Kyle grabs Strong, but Strong shoves him off, tag to Dunne!
The British Bruiserweight rallies on Akam with strikes and an enziguri. Kyle whips Dunne to a corner but Dunne goes up and over. Dunne gets a waistlock, but Kyle gets the standing switch and German, but Dunne lands on his feet! Dunne kicks Kyle in the back, but then Rezar grabs him, only for Dunne to reverse the slam into a DDT! Cover, TWO! Kyle gets up and kicks Dunne, so Dunne slaps him. They brawl fast and furious, but Dunne get s the edge with a palm strike. Kyle kicks, then they both palm strike, but Akam runs them both over with clotheslines! The Authors grab one each, for the Super Collider!
They’re not done there, they drag Kyle up. Rezar runs, LAST CHAPTER! Cover, but STrong breaks it just in time! Strong hits Akam with a knee, then goes after Rezar. Rezar throws Strong out instead, then goes to Dunne. But Dunne gets the fingers! And snpas them! Then tag to Strong. Strong lifts Rezar but Rezar fights him off, shoving Strong into Dunne. Dunne goes down, but Strong puts Rezar into the corner, for a shining wizard! He then brings Rezar out, Olympic Slam! Cover, TWO! But Strong won’t stop, he tags in Dunne. Dunne climbs up, but Kyle anchors his foot. Strong goes after Kyle, and drops him on the apron! And Dunne adds double stomps! Strong swing kicks Rezar, then hits a knee lift, to then hit the knee and enziguri comb! Strong lifts Rezar, hand-off to Dunne, Bitter End of Heartache!
Cover, Akam breaks it! Strong goes after Akam and dumps him out, then runs, but his wrecking ball dropkick misses. Akam rushes Strong, but Strong puts him into steps! Dunne swings at Kyle but Kyle dodges to counter with the ax kick, Dunne still gets the enziguri! Dunne lifts Kyle, Bitter End! Cover, but Strong breaks it!? And he hits Dunne with End of Heartache?! He puts Kyle on the cover, Undisputed Era wins?!
Winners: The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly, O’Reilly pinning), still NXT Tag Team Champions
What is going on!? Why did Strong do that to Dunne when they would’ve won?! Why did he help his enemies in the Undisputed Era? Or, are they enemies? Strong takes the armband, and is now a member of the Undisputed Era!!
NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Aleister Black!
The Embodiment of the End has sought the NXT Championship ever since joining this brand. El Idolo has let his ego run wild on his way to the top. Will the devil on Aleister’s back be satisfied with making Almas #FadeToBlack? Or will Almas get the respect he and Vega feel he deserves?
The bell rings, and the two run at each other! Aleister grazes Almas and the two brawl with haymakers. Aleister gives Almas a strike fest, Almas bails out, Aleister fakes him out with a springboard, but then actually jumps on him with a SUPER moonsault! Almas goes down, but Aleister puts him in the ring. Aleister glares at Vega to keep her back, then goes back to Almas. Almas slips out of the ring to overhand chop Aleister. Aleister hits back and puts Almas in the ring but Almas clobbers him. Almas whips, Aleister rolls off his back and goes for the crucifix, but makes it an Octopus hold! Shift to a sunset flip, TWO, and Almas gets out of the ring again.
Aleister pursues him, punching him around the corner. Aleister kicks Almas against barriers, then puts him in the ring, but Vega being Vega, she hits Aleister with a flying headscissors!
She sends Aleister into the steel steps! Vega then shouts to Almas, Almas gets Aleister in the ring, cover, TWO. Almas rains rights on Aleister, then brings Aleister up to put him into the post. The fans duel while Almas stomps a mudhole into Aleister. Almas whips Aleister corner to corner, then blocks Aleister’s boots into a draping backbreaker and clubbing forearm. Cover, TWO, so Almas stomps away on Aleister. Almas goes to the apron and grabs Aleister in the hanging triangle! The ref counts and Almas lets go at 4, to then springboard missile dropkick! Cover, TWO, but Almas keeps on Aleister in the chinlock.
Fans rally and Aleister fights his way out of the hold, but Almas switches to a chinbar and armlock. Almas wrenches Aleister while Vega trash talks him. The fans continue to rally, and Aleister fights his way up. he puts Almas in a corner but Almas holds on, so Aleister rams him to buckles again. Almas brings Aleister around, but the third time is the charm, and Aleister gets free. Aleister runs but back into a sleeper! He backs Almas into buckles and gets free again, to then back elbow Almas away. Almas boots back, then hops up, but Aleister fights him off. Aleister turns around, but Almas gets him right back into the hanging triangle! Almas lets go, and Aleister staggers away, but he counters the springboard missile dropkick with a knee lift!
Fans rally while both men are down, Vega shouting for her man. Both men stir, then stand up and brawl. Almas blocks but Aleister counters. Aleister rallies with forearms, sweeps the leg and slides in for a knee! Aleister kip-ups, and the fans fire up, he runs in for a forearm smash on Almas. He whips Almas back into the buckles, then springboards for the Quebrada!
TWO, and Vega is relieved. She tries to get Almas back into this while Aleister climbs up. Almas springs up to stop him, then chops him for good measure. Almas climbs up to join Aleister, but Aleister resists with body shots. Aleister adjusts, sunset flip but Almas lands on his feet! Almas misses Cien Knees, Aleister boots him back but then Almas gets around Aleister for a German Suplex! Vega tells Almas to seize opportunity, and Almas climbs up. Moonsault, Almas lands on his feet to moonsault again onto Aleister! Cover, TWO, and Vega is frustrated for Almas. Almas goes after Aleister’s arm, but Aleister forearms back.
They brawl with forearms back and forth, Aleister getting the edge. Almas kicks, so Aleister kicks and knees, but the roundhouse misses. Almas throws elbows from both sides, then runs, but narrowly avoids Aleister’s back hand to give a back elbow of his own! Cover, ONE, and Vega can’t believe it. Almas runs, Aleister hits a big knee, cover, TWO! Vega coaches Almas up, and Almas stands up. Aleister also stands as the fans rally. Almas forearms Aleister, then they both forearm, both chop, and both roundhouse! They both fall back to the mat, and fans applaud while Vega is shocked. She tells Almas to think, to be the smarter man. The fans like it, though, and declare “This is Awesome!”
The ref starts a ten count, and it reaches 6 before either man stirs. They get up, Aleister elbows Almas away, and Almas ends up in a corner. Aleister runs in at Almas, Almas hip-tosses Aleister into buckles! Almas fires up and runs, but Aleister intercepts the knees. Aleister kicks then runs, but Almas dumps him out over the top rope! Almas runs, jumps and hits Aleister with a corkscrew plancha! He keeps going, putting Aleister back in the ring to cover, TWO! Vega and Almas can’t believe it! But Almas calms down to then direct Vega. Vega grabs the belt and gives it to El Campeon, who brings it into the ring. The referee takes the belt away from Almas, but this is a distraction so Vega can hit Aleister with a spike-rana!
Vega slips out and Almas covers, TWO! And Vega throws a tantrum. She tells Almas to finish this now, and fans rally as Almas drags Aleister back up. He puts Aleister in the hammerlock, but small package counter, TWO! BLACK MASS!!
Cover, but Vega cheats the ropebreak! Vega laughs to herself while Aleister can’t believe it. Almas slumps out of the ring to buy himself some time. Aleister goes for another moonsault, but Vega anchors his feet! He manages to kick free, but Almas runs over and trips him up! Vega tells Almas to keep going, and Almas climbs up. Almas forearms Aleister, then continues on up, draping double stomps!
Almas isn’t done there, CIEN KNEES!!
Cover, TWO!! And neither Almas nor Vega can believe it! Fans are all fired up for this, even though Vega is furious. Almas stalks Aleister on weak legs. He drags Aleister up, and prepares the hammerlock, but Aleister lifts with a fireman’s carry. Almas slips out then swings that back elbow, but Aleister dodges and the referee almost takes the hit. Aleister goes for Black Mass, but Almas dropkicks him in the back! Both men are down again, Aleister clutching his back. Almas gets to ropes, and they both end up on the apron. Almas grabs Aleister, but Aleister fights back, sitting him down with a chop. Deja vu to Philadelphia, Almas goes to the other end, and comes back for Cien Knees against the post!
Aleister is dazed, but he tells the referee he’s okay to continue. Almas comes over and drags Aleister up, draping him on the top rope, but Aleister slips back in and dumps Almas out! Vega coaches Almas up, but Aleister builds speed to FLY!!
But Aleister doesn’t stop, he gets Almas back in the ring, only to walk right into the Hammerlock DDT!! Cover, TWO!? Aleister survives and no one can believe it! Almas argues with the referee, but Vega’s climbing up top? Everyone sees this, she jumps, but onto Almas!
Almas catches her, but then Alesiter hits another BLACK MASS!!
Cover, Aleister wins!!
Winner: Aleister Black, by pinfall, NEW NXT Champion
The devil on his back has what it wants! Aleister is now THE NXT Champion, the 13th ever, which is incredibly fitting. Vega throws a fit, but it’s her own fault for getting a little too involved. Aleister is ecstatic, having achieved his goal. He fought so hard to get it, how hard will he fight to keep it?
Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano VS Tommaso Ciampa!
They were once friends in Team DIY, but that changed when the Psycho Killer chose to be selfish. Things got worse when Ciampa returned to blindside Gargano after his loss at TakeOver: Philadelphia, and then again to cost him both the title and his job in NXT. But Gargano would return the favor by attacking Ciampa out of nowhere, and now it’s all led to this. In a match with no rules but to win, can Johnny Wrestling get his job back? Or will Ciampa add one last insult to injury and be rid of Gargano once and for all?
And if it wasn’t clear from the booing and the chants of “Asshole! Asshole!” as well as “You Suck! *clap clap* You Suck!” during his entrance, New Orleans does not like Ciampa one bit. Not that it matters to him, he takes it all in stride. But in stark contrast, everyone loves Gargano as he makes his entrance. The referee, Drake Muertz, does not wear official referee stripes, because this is not in line with official NXT regulations. That aside, the bell rings, and we begin.
Gargano and Ciampa stare down, Ciampa saying this is his moment. The fans continue to make noise, in support of Gargano and in anger towards Ciampa. Gargano and Ciampa continue to glare at each other, until they suddenly explode into a brawl! They both punch fast and furious, and Gargano knocks Ciampa over, then jumps on him with a Thesz Press! Gargano rains hands but Ciampa shoves him off. Ciampa throws Gargano to the apron, but Gargano comes back with the slingshot spear!
Gargano doesn’t care for the cover, he just throws more hands! Ciampa kicks back then puts Gargano in a corner. Gargano slips out and throws more hands, then stomps a mudhole into Ciampa! Gargano stomps and stomps and stomps because he can, and the fans love it! He goes back to Ciampa, drags him up for a corner to corner whip, but Ciampa reverses, only for Gargano to reverse back. Ciamap hits buckles, then Gargano clotheslines him out of the ring. Gargano takes aim, runs and DIVES!
Gargano just manages to hit Ciampa and bring him down. The fans are all fired up and cheering as Gargano stalks Ciampa. Gargano rocks Ciampa with a left hand, then another, but Ciampa knees back. Ciampa clubs Gargano’s back, and the fans boo. Ciampa whips, but Gargano reverses, and Ciampa ends up in the crowd! While Ciampa writhes, Gargano backs up then runs, and leaps onto Ciampa! The referee hurries into the crowd, to keep with them as Gargano rains down more lefts on Ciampa.
Gargano backs off to then drag Ciampa back up, but Ciampa shoves him back into the barriers. Ciampa drags Gargano, suplex and gordbuster onto those rails, to then club and club and club away on Gargano’s back. He pushes Gargano away, then climbs back over the rails to drag Gargano up, for a backbreaker! Ciampa’s knee brace adds extra pain into the move, and he dares Gargano to “do something, you piece of garbage!” But when Gargano doesn’t get up, Ciampa peels away floor mats! The concrete is exposed while fans boo and jeer. Gargano gets up and hits Ciampa with a forearm, but Ciampa boots him back. Ciampa stands over Gargano, clubbing him as he brings him up. He lifts Gargano, but Gargano resists! Ciampa keeps trying, Gargano keeps resisting. Ciampa gets him up, but Gargano slips out, then to the apron, for a mule kick!
Gargano is right on the dazed Ciampa by throwing him across the English announce table! The fans chant, “Mama Mia!”, since Mauro Ranello is too busy getting clear. Speaking of clear, Gargano decides to clear the table! Gargano gets on the table and drags Ciampa up to join him. He pulls Ciampa up in powerbomb position–and with a bit of a wedgie–but Ciampa resists the lift to hit Gargano low with a monitor! Ciampa grabs Gargano now, Gargano again resists the lift, but Ciampa still SUPERPLEXES Gargano from table to floor!
Both of them crash land and writhe from the impact! The fans rally for Gargano, but the referee checks on both men to be sure they can continue. Ciampa is first to sit up, and he glares down at Gargano. He rains rights down on him, and fans boo and jeer. Ciampa takes the announce desk cover and sets it up as a ramp, to then back suplex Gargano against it! The cover cracks but doesn’t break, and Ciampa stands up on the desk to embrace the heat. Ciampa sits and watches the writhing Gargano while the fans vent their displeasure. He then kicks Gargano right across the back, then puts him on the apron to ram his chest into the edge. Ciampa pushes Gargano into the ring, not for a cover, but to drop elbows and stomps on him.
Ciampa continues to stomp Gargano, and fans return to calling him an “Asshole!” He whips Gargano hard and Gargano tumbles up and down, landing on his head and shoulders. Ciampa enjoys it as he stalks Gargano again. He taunts Gargano, saying he should give up, but Gargano instead throws more left hands! Gargano throws hands, Ciampa boots, but Gargano comes back for the discus lariat, only for Ciampa to duck under and slam Gargano with a back suplex! Cover, ONE, so Ciampa puts Gargano in a Cloverleaf. Gargano grabs Ciampa’s beard to deny the hold, but Ciampa throws hands to weaken Gargano. Ciampa gets Gargano’s legs, and brings him into the Cloverleaf hold!
Gargano endures, but Ciampa bends him back further. Fans rally for Gargano, and Gargano gets to ropes. There are no ropebreaks, so Ciampa just holds onto the hold as long as he wants! Gargano keeps crawling, and gets himself out of the ring. Ciampa joins him on the apron, stomping and stomping away again without mercy. Then he sits down, and sarcastically claps to mock the fans. The Sicilian Psycho glares down at Johnny Wrestling, then goes searching under the ring. The fans let Ciampa know, “You’re a Wanker!” Ciampa can’t find what he’s looking for on that end, and accuses the referee of removing “it”. He sees Gargano moving, and keeps him down with a knee to his head! Again, that knee brace adds to the impact, and Gargano clutches his head. Ciampa scares a fan and takes their crutches?!
We all know what Ciampa’s done with crutches in respect to Gargano in the past. He waves “bye bye” like he did that night he cost Gargano his job before. Ciampa slips into the ring, armed with the crutches. Fans boo and jeer while rallying for Gargano, but he’s down on the mat. Ciampa uses the crutch to shovel Gargano up to his knees, then thrusts the crutch, but Gargano ducks! Ciampa tries to swing on the return, but Gargano ducks that, too. Gargano gets Ciampa with a strong left hand, then dodges the crutch again to throw a one two combo. Ciampa drops the crutch, Gargano goes for it, but Ciampa kicks him away. Ciampa picks the crutch back up, Gargano dodges and rolls Ciampa, for the school boy kick, which sends Ciampa out of the ring!
The fans cheer Gargano on as he goes over to where Ciampa is on the apron. They’re both slow to standing up, but Gargano stands Ciampa up for another left hand. Ciampa teeters on the edge as Gargano keeps punching. Ciampa sits down, Gargano reaches for him, but Ciampa sweeps his legs out! When Ciampa sees they’re back to the exposed concrete, he drags Gargano up, and tries to suplex him again. Gargano resists, for the sake of his life, and swing kicks Ciampa back. Gargano sees where he is, and slingshots over, but Ciampa blocks it! Ciampa hoists Gargano up and shifts him around, preparing for an Air Raid! Gargano slips out, to powerbomb Ciampa to the concrete!!
A sickening thud as Ciampa’s back hits the floor! And fans are losing their minds! But at the same time, they tell Ciampa, “You Deserve It!” Ciampa writhes in pain on the ground while the referee checks on him. Gargano rests in the ring while Ciampa drags himself up and in. Both men are down, but a crutch is halfway between them. Gargano and Ciampa each eye the weapon, and the fans know what they’re thinking. They both crawl for the crutch, and grab it at the same time. They tug-o-war over it, and Gargano gets the better of Ciampa!
Gargano has ownership of the crutch, and smacks Ciampa over and over with it! One for the betrayal, one for the sneak attack in Philly, and the rest for screwing him out of the title and his job! He even sweeps Ciampa’s bad knee with it. Gargano goes running in but Ciampa dumps him to the outside. Ciampa staggers over, but Gargano SMACKS him in the back of his head!
Gargano gets to the apron, slingshot DDT! Cover, TWO! Gargano keeps his frustration in check, and the fans continue to cheer him on. Gargano gets to a corner, and decides to expose one of the cross bars, as well as the buckle itself. He goes back to Ciampa, bringing him up and carrying him, but Ciampa slips out of the long dart to push Gargano into the top buckle. Ciampa clubs Gargano in the back, then hoists him up in the torture rack. Gargano slips out but Ciampa blocks the kick. Gargano evades Ciampa’s haymaker, but that back elbow gets Gargano right in the jaw. Ciampa gets space while Gargano checks his teeth. Ciampa runs back, and knees the slingshot spear down! Torture rack, Tower Hacker sit-out powerbomb! TWO! Gargano shows the same heart he showed back in Philly, and fans hope they “Fight Forever!”
Ciampa gets to a corner and watches Gargano stir. He waits for Gargano to sit up, and does a callback to their days as DIY. Knee strike to the back of Gargano’s head! Cover, TWO!! And Gargano can’t stand it! The fans keep cheering for Gargano, even as he is dazed. Fans say, “We Want Tables!” while Ciampa adjusts his knee brace. He brings Gargano up, preparing a lift, but Gargano resists again. Ciampa clubs Gargano to weaken him, then lifts, but still Gargano resists. Gargano slips under and starts throwing heavy left lariats! Gargano shouts “This is MY moment!” and starts unloading overhand chops across Ciampa’s face!
Ciampa shoves him, but Gargano tilt-o-whirls on the rebound, but Ciampa clobbers him with a lariat! Then the powerbomb lift, but Gargano slips out again, for the Reverse-Rana! It’s not the cleanest, but Gargano doesn’t care, he fires up to run and tilt-o-whirls! He gets Ciampa in the Garga-No Escape!
The fans chant “YES! YES!” while Ciampa flails and endures. Ciampa reaches, fades, but drags himself to ropes! The ropebreak doesn’t matter, and Gargano pushes them back to the middle of the ring! Ciampa comes close, but he instead rakes at Gargano’s eyes! Fans boo and jeer again, but again, there are no rules. Gargano blindly reaches and rolls while Ciampa undoes his wrist tape. The fans rally, but Ciampa gets enough slack on the tape, to go after Gargano! Gargano blocks the choke, and the two brawl with haymakers. The tape keeps them together as they throw those heavy hands, but neither man backs down. Their punches get stronger and meaner, then faster and faster.
Gargano gets the edge, and fans chant “YES! YES!” but Ciampa kicks Gargano in the balls! A legal low blow gives CIampa a chance to grab the other crutch, and smack Gargano with it! Then he brings Gargano up, for the powerbomb backbreaker, aka Project Ciampa!
Cover, TWO!? Ciampa can’t believe it, but the fans love it! Both men are down, barely stirring. Fans rally for Gargano once more, but it’s Ciampa who gets up first. Gargano crawls over to Ciampa, but Ciampa just shakes his head. Ciampa says this is his moment, but Gargano just fires off palm strikes! Ciampa responds with his own, then spins for the lariat, but turns into a SUPERKICK! Gargano then clobbers Ciampa with a left, and lifts for the long dart into the exposed buckle!
He’s not done there, he mule kicks Ciampa! That’s still not enough, he gives Ciampa the DIY MULE KICK! Cover, TWO?! But how?! Yet the fans chant “NXT! NXT!” Gargano crawls to a corner, and drags himself up to the top rope. Ciampa crawls to follow, and they brawl as Ciampa makes the climb. That knee brace adds to the knee strike, and Ciampa adds a headbutt. Ciampa brings Gargano up in the fireman’s carry, then adjusts, but Gargano fights out again. Gargano elbows Ciampa n the head over and over and over, then adjusts for standing corner punches. But he punches one too many times, Ciampa gets him in a SUPER Project Ciampa!!
Cover, TWO!?!? Somehow, someway, Johnny FREAKIN’ Wrestling survives! Fans again chant “NXT! NXT!” but Ciampa undoes his knee brace… Ciampa clutches his knee, but he stands up to bring the knee pad down. He exposes his knee completely, but Gargano sits up. Ciampa prepares another DIY knee, but Gargano uses the discarded brace as a weapon on that knee! Gargano then grabs the crutch, and breaks it apart to make a jagged edge. Gargano rushes Ciampa with it, but stops short as Ciampa covers up. The fans want Gargano to finish it, but Gargano can’t bring himself to be worse than Ciampa. Deep down, Gargano is still Ciampa’s friend, so he puts down the crutch.
Gargano sits down with Ciampa, flashback to the Cruiserweight Classic, but Ciampa swings at him with the knee brace! Gargano ducks it, and puts Ciampa back in the Garga-No Escape! Ciampa reaches for the brace, so Gargano slips around to the other side, using the brace in an STF!!
Ciampa taps, Gargano wins!!
Winner: Gargano, by submission; wins back his NXT contract
Gargano is BACK in NXT! And Candice LeRae runs out to celebrate with him! Mr. & Mrs. Wrestling are together in NXT!
They were both betrayed by Ciampa, so it is both their victory that Gargano gets back at him here tonight. With this grudge put behind them, what does the future hold for Johnny & Candice in NXT?
TakeOver specials are always great, but this was flat out amazing. It was great booking to schedule the Six Man Ladder Match first, because it put a lot of pressure on Adam Cole since he chose to do double duty. I did not expect Cole to win because of this, but it was great to see the fans pop for him so unanimously. Then in that amazing Dusty Rhodes Classic/NXT Tag Title match, I really didn’t expect that swerve coming. I thought Undisputed Era would win using the other teams against each other, but instead, Strong goes back to his ROH roots and is not only Heel but Heel on the Undisputed Era’s side. Now the UE rolls four deep and 100% ROH talent, I can’t wait to see where this leads.
The NXT Women’s Championship was great, especially with Ember returning all the bullying and such to Shayna, but Shayna showing how gritty she could be with that shoulder-fix spot. With how well Shayna has been doing in the ring and even on the mic, it was inevitable for her to become champion. It was also great out-of-character stuff to see her celebrate with Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke, she’s the first of the MMA Horsewomen to really make it in pro-wrestling, so fans can all be happy for her regardless of her being Heel or Face. The NXT Championship was also great, so much of Almas’ offense was from his match with Gargano, Aleister knew it, and he gets the better of Almas because of it. As McIntyre said in the kickoff, a feud of him and Aleister is going to be amazing.
And the most amazing part of it all, was the FORTY MINUTE main event of the Unsanctioned match! And every minute was worth it, this was like taking their Cruiserweight Classic Match, doubling it, and adding all their instant-classic NXT tag team title matches on top of it. So much story, so much aggression, and spots I never could have imagined. Of course Gargano wins, he has so much still to do in NXT, but the match was booked so well that it still made it feel like the most amazing thing in the world to see.
My Score: 9.5/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dynamite Results & Report! (8/17/22)
American Dragon VS Dragonslayer!
Dynamite becomes the House of the Dragon!
AEW has an epic rematch between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia, in a Best Two Out of Three Falls match! Will Red Death truly slay the American Dragon?
- Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Bryan Danielson VS Daniel Garcia; wins.
- Gunn Club VS The Varsity Blonds; win(s).
- Toni Storm VS KiLynn King; wins.
- AEW World Trios Championship Tournament, Opening Round: La Faccion Ingobernable VS The Young Bucks & ???; win(s) and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
[Due to scheduling conflicts, coverage of AEW Dynamite will begin later tonight]
Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Results & Report! (8/17/22)
And then there were four!
The G1 Climax’s Final Four face off!
A VS B and C VS D, the biggest G1 Climax in NJPW history reaches its semifinals! Will Tetsuya Naito make Will Ospreay trainquilo? Will Kazuchika Okada make it rain on the Good Bad Guy?
- 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Suzuki-Gun; Chaos wins.
- Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor VS Dangerous Tekkers; Dangerous Tekkers win.
- Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe VS Bad Dude Tito & JONAH; Tito & Jonah win.
- Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & KUSHIDA VS Bullet Club; Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida win.
- G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga; Okada wins and advances to the finals.
- G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay; Ospreay wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!
It’s A Block VS B Block, Rainmaker VS Good Bad Guy! And in G1 Climax 31, Okada lost to Tama! Will history repeat itself? Or will Tama have to fall back to the golden ticket he got from beating Jay White?
The bell rings and fans rally up already as the two circle. Tama and Okada shake hands to show there’s respect here and fans cheer more. Okada and Tama tie up, are in a deadlock, but Okada uses his height as leverage. Okada puts Tama on the ropes and the ref calls for the break. Okada lets off, pats Tama on the shoulders, but Tama rushes in. Okada kicks low, headlocks, but Tama powers up and out. Okada runs Tama over and fans fire up. Okada runs, Tama gets up to arm-drag Okada around! Then Tama dropkicks Okada down! Fans fire up more as Tama brings Okada up. Tama CLUBS Okada and follows him to a corner.
Tama throws body shots, but Okada throws forearms! Tama knees low, Okada throws body shots but Tama CLUBS Okada down. Fans rally as Tama whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs in but into a back elbow. Tama runs at Okada but into the FLAPJACK! Fans applaud while Okada catches his breath. Jado coaches Tama while fans rally up. Okada drags Tama up, ROCKS him with a forearm, and Tama goes to ropes. Okada brings Tama around to CLUB him on the neck. Okada puts Tama in a corner and throws a back elbow. And then another! And then another! The ref counts and Okada lets off.
Fans rally, Jado coaches Tama, but Okada brings Tama up. Tama throws body shots but Okada knees low. Okada turns Tama for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Okada sits Tama up for a chinlock. Tama endures while Okada squeezes tight. The fans rally up more as Okada turns and twists Tama. Tama fights up to his feet, throws elbows, but Okada knees low. Okada throws Tama out of the ring then follows after. Tama staggers up into a kick and DDT to the floor! Okada leaves Tama behind while fans rally up. Jado coaches Tama while the ring count climbs. We’re at 5 of 20 but Tama is still down.
Tama pushes up off the floor at 10 of 20 and crawls his way over, and he drags himself up at 16, only to fall! Tama springs up and in at 19! Okada walks over and kicks Tama around while the fans rally up. “O-KA-DA!” eggs Tama on, so Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Okada eggs Tama on, Tama keeps throwing hands, but Okada DECKS Tama with one! Okada whips Tama to a corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Okada! Fans fire up and rally again as Tama drags himself up the ropes. Tama rushes Okada to LARIAT, and ELBOW, and scoop SLAM! OFF COMES THE VEST! Fans fire up with Tama as he claps, “TA-MA! TA-MA!”
Okada is in the corner, Tama runs in to STINGER SPLASH! And then a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans continue to rally as Tama paces around. Tama brings Okada up to CLUB him down, then he throws body shots. Tama dragon sleepers but Okada fights free! Tama throws a body shot, an uppercut, and then whips. Okada ducks ‘n’ dodges to CLOBBER Tama with an elbow! Fans rally and Okada whips Tama into a corner. Okada runs in to back elbow, then kicks and DDTs! Cover, TWO! Fans clap for “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” as Okada watches Tama stand. Tama staggers into the Alabama Lift! But Tama fights it off with body shots!
Okada ROCKS Tama, but Tama ROCKS Okada. Okada EuroUppers but Tama EuroUppers back! Okada swings but into the TONGAN TWIST! Fans rally up again as Okada bails out of the ring. Tama goes out after Okada and brings him up, but Okada throws body shots! Okada whips Tama into railing, and Tama bounces off into a scoop! But Tama fights that to a TONGAN TWIST to the floor! A bit of payback from earlier! Fans rally up while the ref checks both men. Both men are able to continue and Tama stands first. The ring count starts and Tama drags Okada up at 5 of 20 to put him in at 6. Fans cheer as this match continues.
Tama stalks Okada while the fans clap. Okada stands, Tama rushes in, VENENO! Cover, TWO! Tama paces around then brings Okada back up. Tama fireman’s carries, but Okada fights free and spins Tama. ROLLING- NO, Tama ducks the lariat to fireman’s carry! S R C! Tama heads for the corner and fans fire up! SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Tama grows frustrated, but Jado calls the shot! Tama and Jado pound the mat, and fans clap along. Tama watches Okada rise, then he rushes in, GUN- NO, Okada turns that into the BACK2BACKBREAKER! And then the MONEY CLIP!!
Tama endures and fans rally up! Tama reaches out and gets the ROPEBREAK! Okada lets go in frustration but fans fire up more. The fans continue to rally, “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” Okada drags Tama up, scoops him and SLAMS him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs up and fans rally for the MACHO ELBOW! And of course, the Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Tama up, wristlocks, but Tama throws back elbows. Okada CLUBS Tama, EuroUppers and runs, but into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Tama takes Okada down! Tama drags Okada up, but Okada fights off the suplex to shove and DROPKICK Tama in return!
Okada drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks to slips around, BLOODY SUNDAY!! Shoutout to the Prince! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Tama just reloads and brings him back up! Double underhooks, but Okada fights free to LARIAT! Not quite the Rainmaker but Okada holds onto the wrist! Fans rally as Okada slowly rises back up. Okada drags Tama up, for a short arm LARIAT! Okada fires up and the fans follow suit! He drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks and runs, into a DROPKICK! But he gets back up! Tama is roaring, fans are fire dup, but Okada scoops for the LANDSLIDE!!
Okada then ripcords Tama, GUN STUN!!! But Tama can’t make the cover! Jado shouts to Tama, he crawls over to Okada, pushes Okada over for the cover, TWO!!! Okada survives because of the delay! Fans are thunderous while both men are still down! Tama rises and he drags Okada back up. Tama reels Okada in, underhooks the arms, but Okada fights the lift! Tama CLUBS Okada, CLUBS him again, and fans rally as Tama CLUBS Okada one more time. Tama brings Okada up, reels him in again, but Okada back drops and sits on the cover! TWO!! Tama swings, but into a waistlock! Tama fights the suplex, throws elbows, and then whips.
Okada reverses but Tama dodges the dropkick! And he hurries to underhook, but Okada slips out! GUN- NO, Okada holds it off this time, to then get the wristlock! Ripcord, GUN- NO!! Okada turns it into a MONEY CLIP!!! Fans rally as hard as ever, and Tama turns clip into cradle! TWO!!! Okada escapes, BOOTS, but Tama PELES! Tama reloads fast and waits on Okada to stand! Okada is up, Tama runs in, GUN- NO!!! Okada fights it again, to ENZIGURI! And then pump handle scoop, POWERSLAM!! Ripcord, RAINMAKER!!! Cover, Okada wins!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Tama put up one hell of a fight, truly worthy of the biggest G1 Climax ever, but it just wasn’t enough to stop the Rainmaker! Will Okada not stop until he has that Right to Challenge briefcase once more?
G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay w/ Great-O-Khan!
It’s C Block VS D Block, Uncontrollable Charisma VS Commonwealth Kingpin! We know Okada awaits in the finals, will he be facing one of his great rivals in Naito? Or will it be one of his great enemies in Ospreay?
Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire while Ospreay takes his time with his coat and two title belts. Fans rally, “NA-I-TO!” “O-SU-PREAY!” and the bell rings. Ospreay encourages the fans to get louder so they do, and Naito says that’s nice. The two then circle, Naito goes back and forth to toy with Ospreay, but then they tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Ospreay finds a point of leverage. He puts Naito on the ropes and Red Shoes counts. Ospreay pats Naito but Naito turns things around. Naito has Ospreay on the ropes, but then pats Ospreay on the shoulders. To then kick low and CLUB him on the neck! And again!
Red Shoes reprimands but Naito whips Ospreay. Ospreay reverses, Naito holds ropes and BOOTS Back, to then RANA! But Ospreay handsprings through! Naito ducks the Penalty Kick, avoids the Standing Moonsault, then arm-drags Ospreay! Naito ducks a roundhouse and tranquilos! Ospreay smirks while Naito bails out. Fans rally up while Naito stares Khan down. Khan keeps his distance and Naito takes a walk around the ring. Khan tells Naito to get back in so Naito does. Naito and Ospreay circle, feel out a knuckle lock, then circle some more. Ospreay blocks Naito’s kick! Naito tries to reach Ospreay but he can’t!
Ospreay ROCKS Naito with a forearm, then another! Ospreay whips, atomic drops and CHOPS Naito down, for the STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up and Khan cheers Ospreay on. Ospreay drags Naito up, ROCKS him again, then bumps him off buckles. Ospreay CHOPS Naito in the corner, then stalks him to another corner. Ospreay CHOPS again and Naito staggers. Ospreay whips him but Naito reverses, only for Ospreay to go up and over. Naito dodges, blocks a kick and puts Ospreay in the ropes for a DRAPING BACKBREAKER! Naito then whips Ospreay to ropes for a hip toss! And basement dropkick! Naito keeps going, NECKBREAKER!
Fans fire up while Ospreay clutches his neck. Fans rally up and Naito brings Ospreay into a chinlock. Naito grinds Ospreay down with an almost bulldog choke but Ospreay endures. Fans rally up more, Ospreay pulls hair but Red Shoes reprimands. Naito lets off to snapmare Ospreay into a headscissor hold! Naito pushes up to put pressure on the neck but Ospreay endures. Ospreay rolls around and gets the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts and Khan protests, and Naito lets off. Fans rally up as Naito brings Ospreay around. Naito ROCKS Ospreay but Ospreay ROCKS Naito, repeat! Naito then CLUBS Ospreay on the neck!
Naito CLUBS away on Ospreay in the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Naito runs in to JUMP KICK! Leg sweep, SWINGING DROPKICK! Combinacion Cabron! Fans fire up as Naito poses, then covers, TWO! Fans rally up and Naito stomps Ospreay around. Naito brings Ospreay up to cravat and neck wrench! Ospreay endures, drops to a knee, and fans rally again. Ospreay fights back up, throws body shots, but Naito ROCKS him again. Naito whips, Ospreay reverses but Naito reverses again. Naito swings into a full nelson, but he arm-drags free! Naito dodges and whips but Ospreay handsprings to NEURALIZER!
Fans fire up while both men are down. Ospreay sits up and grits his teeth. Ospreay waits on Naito to get up, but Naito is slow. Ospreay fireman’s carries to then SNAKE EYES and BOOT! Ospreay goes to the apron and fans fire up with him. Ospreay aims at Naito, springboards and PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is annoyed but fans continue to rally. Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in, but Naito resists the lift. Ospreay keeps trying but Naito flails. Ospreay CLUBS Naito, throws a quick Kowada Kick, then CHOPS Naito off his feet! Naito gets up but Ospreay reels him in, only for Naito to fight the bomb!
Naito ducks the lariat to BACKBREAKER into the LEG HOOK NELSON! Naito slaps Ospreay around but Ospreay still endures. Ospreay moves around, but Naito drags him from ropes! Fans rally, Naito puts on more pressure, but Ospreay kicks his way around! ROPEBREAK! Fans fire up as Red Shoes counts, and Naito lets Ospreay go. Fans rally as Naito stands and Ospreay drags himself up the ropes. Naito hammerlocks and half nelsons but Ospreay fights off the lift! Naito ripcords but Ospreay ducks the elbow. Naito CLUBS Ospreay, dodges a haymaker, then ROCKS Ospreay! Naito runs, into the Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! But Naito rebounds, into a SPANISH FLY!!
Fans are thunderous as both men are down again! Ospreay and Naito sit up, talk some trash, and then get forehead to forehead. Naito throws a forearm but Ospreay gives it back. Naito grins and forearms Ospreay again! Ospreay ROCKS Naito back! Ospreay eggs Naito on so Naito ROCKS Ospreay! Ospreay roars and fans fire up, and Ospreay throws another forearm! Naito gives another, and they go back and forth! Fans rally up as the speed picks up! Ospreay fires off a flurry, then CHOPS!! Naito staggers and Ospreay waits on him. Naito comes back to SLAP Ospreay! Ospreay grins and fans fire up!
Ospreay blocks a kick, ducks the enziguri but Naito dodges Hidden Blade to TORNADO- NO! Ospreay blocks to suplex and BRAINBUSTER! But Ospreay holds on, brings Naito back up, suplexes but Naito RANAS! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay escapes in time but Naito gets him for the TORNADO DDT! Fans are thunderous again while both men are down. Naito and Ospreay stir and Naito sits up first. Naito crawls his way over, drags Ospreay up, and throws heavy back elbows! Ospreay drops to a knee, but Naito brings him up for more heavy elbows! Ospreay drops again but he grabs at Naito. Naito brings Ospreay up for even more heavy elbows!
Ospreay falls over backwards, and the tape on his shoulders is coming off! Naito hammerlocks, half nelsons, and hits GLORIA! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is still in this but Naito is still smiling. Naito brings Ospreay up again, wrenches the arm, but Ospreay RAMS him into the corner! Ospreay runs in but Naito alley-oops him into the corner! Naito then sits Ospreay up on the top rope backwards, and climbs up behind him! Naito goes up to SUPER POISON-RANA!!! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay survives and fans are thunderous! Naito aims from the corner as Ospreay rises, then he runs in to CORRIENDO SHIKI- NO, Ospreay blocks Destino!
But Ospreay also holds Naito up! Ospreay ties up the legs, MAGIC CROSS DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous again as Ospreay aims from the corner! Naito sits up, Ospreay rushes in, HIDDEN BLADE!!! But Ospreay isn’t satisfied with that, he drags Naito up! Underhook and lift, STORM- DESTINO!!! Naito turns things around but both men are down! The fans are electric as both men stir on the mat! Naito crawls over to Ospreay, drags him up, but Ospreay BOOTS! Naito ENZIGURIS! Naito scoops but Ospreay slips out to HOOK KICK! Ospreay calls his shot, springboards, but Naito ducks the OsCutter! SPINEBUSTER!!
Naito hauls Ospreay up to wrench and- NO, Ospreay turns it, CHELSEA GRIN!! Fans fire up as Ospreay aims again! Ospreay runs in, but Naito ducks the blade! CORRIENDO SHIKI DESTINO!!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Ospreay survives and no one can believe it!! Naito roars, drags Ospreay up, and tilt-o-whirls, DESTI- NO!! Ospreay slips out to HIDDEN BLADE!!! Cover, TWO?!?!?!? Maybe 2.999!! The fans can’t believe it, Khan can’t believe, commentary can’t believe it! But Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in and underhooks, for STORMBREAKER!!!! Cover, OSPREAY WINS!!!
Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
After fighting back from an 0-2 start, after fighting his heart out here, Naito falls before the Climax! If this is truly Naito’s last G1 Climax, if this is truly his last year with NJPW, has it all ended here and now? Or can Naito find another path to Wrestle Kingdom?
As for Ospreay, he holds up his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship and Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship high as he stands over Naito, and then again as he stands on the corner. Khan waves the banner of the United Empire, then brings the mic to Ospreay. The fans applaud, but Ospreay says, “Louder, Budokan! Louder!! Motto! Gentlemen, I said MORE! I want more!” Fans applaud louder, and Ospreay is happy. “Naito, good showing. One more, onegaishimasu. This doesn’t get spoken about enough. In May, I nearly died! I had a kidney infection that nearly killed me! And in three months, three months! After saying I could’ve died, I’m in the G1 Final!”
Fans applaud that heart, and Ospreay says his opponent “is a man who seemingly, I can’t beat on my own. In the seven matches Ospreay and Okada have had, Okada has one SIX of them. SIX. Everyone is now doubting me, because they think I can’t beat Okada. I’ve seen it done with my own eyes! I have seen AJ Styles beat Okada. I have seen Tanahashi beat Okada. I’ve seen NAITO beat Okada! Hell, I’ve even see Jay White dethrone Okada. Know what makes me different? I know in my heart, I know I’m better than all those guys! I know I’m the best wrestler in the world today!!” Fans applaud that, he has a case for it.
Ospreay lists off his accomplishments: Best of the Super Juniors; the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship; the New Japan Cup; the British Heavyweight Championship; the NEVER Openweight Championship; the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship; and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship!! There’s just one more to go! “And believe me. Believe me when I say this. Believe me, I’m not gonna lose. I will beat Okada! I will lead NJPW out of the Dark Ages, and I will bring it back tot he light! Okada, matta ashita <I’ll be waiting tomorrow.> See you at the top!” The Kingpin vows to go from Grand Slam to ULTIMATE Champion in NJPW, will he succeed?
A great event as the penultimate night of the G1 this year. Yes, I skipped a lot of matches, and I wish I had time to see that 8 Man with Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida, because it saw the return of the Good Brothers to Japan. But Tanahashi’s team won thanks to some sneaky moves from Yano. I wonder if anyone from Tanahashi’s team will go after Karl Anderson’s NEVER Openweight Championship. Any one of them would be a great opponent for Anderson, but especially Tanahashi.
But we got awesome G1 matches, as to be expected. Tama has been running strong, but it sure seems like everyone knows how to counter the Gun Stun… It makes sense that Okada wins, he could potentially go back-to-back as the G1 Climax winner. But given that, I don’t think he will. Ospreay VS Naito was a great choice to be the main event between the two semifinal matches, and honestly I didn’t think Naito was going to lose. This is supposed to be his last year, so I thought he’d get to the finals before losing and having to worry about what’s next.
Ospreay has a great promo and he does make a great argument for winning the finals. Ospreay’s checked off almost everything to do in NJPW as a singles wrestler, even more than what Okada has done. Ospreay getting the honor of being the first to check everything off the list would be huge.
My Score: 9/10
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