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Andrew’s Ratings & Review: NXT Takeover Chicago II

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NXT Takeover: Chicago II, we get to possibly see the end of the Gargano/Ciampa feud, crazy faces brutal with the Women’s Championship match and we get to see if the Prince out does the King.

The most interesting match to me will be Velveteen Dream and Ricochet, mainly since Dream has gotten exposed for his inexperience a little in his last few Pay-per-View matches. Ricochet also get a bad rap for only being a flippy Indy guy, so I’m curious what kind of match he’ll wrestle. I’m also hoping the Lars Sullivan isn’t awful, but I guess there’s only one way to find out.

I guess it’s time for the show to start.

 

NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era (c) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

Early on we get a lot of headlocks and grapple exchanges. As O’Reilly and Burch get tagged in, the rough and tumble Lorcan and Burch manage to get the upperhand. After a small powder to the outside, O’Reilly manages to get a little bit of momentum going, while making space to get Roderick Strong back in the match, Big Wrecking Ball Dropkick from Strong, finally gives the Undisputed Era their first advantage of the match.

Kyle gets tagged in and immediately goes for a Kneebar, and tags back out to keep ontop of Burch. Some quick tags and cutting off the ring, leads Burch to absorb a lot of punishment. Armbars, and a big Dropkick from Roddy for a near fall. Strong hits his forearms/back elbow combination, but misses the follow up into the corner. Strong gets to O’Reilly first, but a big headbutt from Burch, lays everyone out for a moment.

Strong and Lorcan come in, and Oney is on fire. Clotheslines, uppercuts, chops and a messy but effective Top con Hilo. Half and Half suplex into a running uppercut on Strong, for 2. Oney takes on both men, and hits a big Double Blockbuster. Tagging in Burch they do a combination move for a near fall thanks to Kyle’s interference.

Lorcan goes to the top, but O’Reilly sends him bouncing off the apron and Undisputed Era slowly get the advantage back. Burch fights through a nasty Armbar from O’Reilly for a pretty important submission break. Era go for a few tandem moves, to no avail. Lorcan comes back, hits another big Double Blockbuster on the outside. Lorcan and Burch hit a Doomsday Device and Cole interferes to stop the pinfall.

After Cole gets kicked to the back, O’Reilly nearly picks up the win with a Guillotine Choke. Big double submission spot from Lorcan and Burch, looks like Undisputed Era will tap, but Kyle manages to counter his hold to break up the Half Crab on Strong. Both teams go to either side, say bring it and start throwing hands. O’Relly dispatches Burch with a knee strike, then they gang up on Lorcan and land a few big strikes, followed by Total Elimination. Undisputed Era retain the titles.

Winner: Undisputed Era via Total Elimination

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Velveteen Dream vs Ricochet

It needs to be mentioned that Velveteen comes out in a Hulk Hogan styled attire, going as far as doing the signature Hogan poses.

They size each other up for a little, collar and elbow tie up and then Dream breaks with Hulk Hogan theatrics. Lots of early chain/mat wrestling. See a Side Headlock, a few cradle style early pin attempts, but nothing really impactful. Dream had a slightly botched tilt-a-whirl headscissor that Ricochet flips out of. They run the ropes a little, and Ricochet hits his signature Power Ranger pose for a stare down.

Now the match speeds up a little, slap from Dream, Handspring Headscissors from Ricochet, into a Dropkick. When Ricochet goes for a springboard move, Dream hits the ropes and Ricochet goes crashing to the floor. Now we see Dream methodically picking apart Ricochet. Rude Awakening, for the 2 count. Ricochet tries to get something going, but Velveteen just pushes him through the ropes to the outside, and Dream hits a Rope Assisted Senton.

They go back inside, Dream had control early but Ricochet slowly starts mounting a comeback. Nothing Ricochet does lands hard enough, until a big Rolling Dropkick, followed by back to back dives onto Dream. Tiger Feint in the corner by Ricochet, Springboard European Uppercut, for the near fall.

Cat and mouse game from Ricochet, positioned for his 630 Senton, saw Dream coming, jumped down, went to set up for a Spanish Fly, but Velveteen hits a big Avalanche Death Valley Driver for 2. After a little jockeying for position, Dream hits a big Vertical Suplex from the Apron to the floor. Surpringsly both men seem exhausted but make it back in the ring at 9. Now we get the slow rising strike attempt, but Dream finds a surprise Cartwheel Death Valley Driver for 2.

Uppercuts from dream, forearms from Ricochet, turns into a Northern Lights Suplex, Superkick from Dream, Pump Kick from Ricochet. Dream hits a Swinging Reverse DDT for only 2 and both men just lay on the mat for a few moments. Dream slowly gets up talking massive crap, telling Ricochet he belongs in a bingo hall. Ricochet hits the Cartwheel Death Valley Driver for emphasis, goes to the top for Dream’s Purple Rainmaker Elbow…but a near fall again. Velveteen goes halfway across the mat, but Ricochet hits a Shooting Star Press from Detroit.

The anything you can do game continues, Dream tries the Purple Rainmaker from across the mat, but Ricochet moves. Lands his 630 Senton on Velveteen for the 1-2-3. Very very solid match, had a few hiccups, but entertaining match.

Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton

Rating: ****

 

NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Nikki Cross

Cross asks Baszler to choke her, hit her, turns her back and Baszler is just confused at the crazy little Scott. Then she does her ring skirt beat down spot and jumps on Shayna’s back, only to get dropped on the steel ramp.

Big kick followed by ground and pound from a visibly frustrated champion. Cross is on the receiving end of a lot of illegal chokes and strikes, but she seems to be enjoying it. Multiple running knee strikes and Cross keeps smiling and asking for more. She finally catches the knee and throws a few forearms before hitting a big Side Suplex.

Cross comes alive with a Thesz Press and locomotion forearm strikes, following it up with laying the boots into Baszler in the corner. Big Diving Crossbody for 2. Cross hits a Reverse DDT on the apron, for another near fall.

Baszler keeps hitting these jumping knee strikes, for near falls. Kirafuda Clutch attempt, Nikki sends her into the corner, hits a big draping Swinging Neckbreaker for 2, because they were near the ropes. Cross goes for a Crucifix Pin, but Baszler counters it into the Kirafuda Clutch. Cross struggles for a while, eventually smiles and then passes out. Awkward ending, but it was an alright match with more story implications for the coming weeks I’m guessing.

Winner: Baszler via Kirafuda Clutch Submission

Rating: *** 1/4

 

NXT Championship: Aleister Black (c) vs Lars Sullivan

A couple big strikes, both men attempt their finishing moves, it rolls to the outside, Black gets a bit of advantage and hits a big Double Knee from the apron. Going back into the ring, Lars fights back a little, but Black hits a big Knee Strike for 1.

After a small submission attempts, Sullivan catches Black in a Power Slam, but Aleister slips out, Lars runs through a lariat and then tackles him to the outside. Black then manages a little space and goes for a Triangle Moonsault, but Sullivan catches him again and drops him across the apron.

Back in the ring, big corner splash for a near fall. A couple big haymakers from Lars, and another 2 count. Pop Up Powerslam attempted, but Black slips away, tries to get some offense, but then Lars catches him for a big bodyslam. After some smack talk and a flurry from Black, Lars finally hits the Pop Up Powerslam for 2.

Lars goes to the top rope for…reasons, and Black catches him with a big kick. Lars crotches Black in the corner and then lariats him back tot he mat. Lars goes for a Flying Headbutt, meets Aleister’s knee but it looks rough. Multiple strikes, leg sweep, sliding kick. Then a few more strikes and the Asai Moonsault for only 2. Sullivan catches the champion and hits a Chop Block on the injured leg.

Stretch Muffler submission on the injured knee from Lars in the middle of the ring, but Aleister turns it into a pinning predicament for 2. Freak Accident attempt, countered into a DDT from Black. Both men try to get their bearings back at this point.

Sullivan rolls to the apron, they exchange strikes and then Sullivan hits another huge Powerslam on the apron, followed by the Flying Headbutt, one more time, for only a 2 count.Black dodges the Chop Block, Aleister attempts Black Mass, but misses most of it (or all of it, but Lars sold it anyway), so Lars kick out. Another Black Mass sends Lars to his knees but not down, so one more Black Mass, finally slays the beast. Three Black Masses, finally give him the win.

Match was extremely sloppy and awkward at times. It was alright, but for the usual level people expect from Championship matches at a Takerover, it definitely fell short.

Winner: Aleister Black via Black Mass

Rating: ***

 

Chicago Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa

Both come out swinging symbolic crutches, but a big Cannonball Senton and dump over the announce table, gives Gargano the early advantage.Ciampa tried to rip up a Gargano poster, but their was a secret Stop Sign within it, so Gargano keeps the advantage.

After a small moment of no action, Ciampa goes for the Stop Sign, but Gargano flies off the second row of seating and hits Ciampa with a Flying Crossbody.Johnny goes under the ring for weapons, but that gives Ciampa the opening he needs to get in his first few glimpses of offense. Ciampa hits 3 German Suplexes in a row, but Gargano counters the fourth into a German of his own, followed up by a Suicide dive.

Gargano drives Ciampa into the ring steps and goes looking under the ring again. Ciampa hits a knee strike while Gargano is distracted and strats throwing him around the outside. Ciampa goes fishing under the ring, and pulls out a chair. Hits him once, drapes it around his neck and drive him into the ring steps. So far, Gargano has been doing whatever he could think of, but Ciampa is focusing on Johnny’s neck.

After a few more weapon strikes, Ciampa takes off his shirt and pulls back on Gargano’s neck in the middle of the ring. As he goes off to look for handcuffs, Johnny gets a small reprieve and manages to turn it around on Ciampa. As we then see Gargano take it to another level and he starts whipping Ciampa with his belt. Punctuated with a trash can over Ciampa’s head, and a big Superkick from Gargano.

Ciampa counters a Lawn Dart into the corner, lands Project Ciampa and a running knee strike with a trash can lid for 2. Intense spot on the apron where it looks like Gargano is going to counter Ciampa’s momentum, but Ciampa fights through the elbow strikes from Johnny and lands a Gravy Train on the steel steps, rolls him back in for only 2.

Tommaso gets bolt cutters out and removes the canvas to expose the hard wooden boards beneath the ring. After exposing the one corner, Ciampa props him on the top turnbuckle, bites him, tries to go for an Avalanche Gravy Train, Gargano slides out, attempts a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, but Ciampa blocks. We see the Cheeky Nando Kick, and then a slow but emphatic exchange of strikes between the two.

Both men keep countering the other’s weapon shot attempts, there was a double head shot with a trash can lid and crutch, but Ciampa manages to barely kick out. Johnny follows Ciampa to the outside with a Plancha, but Ciampa catches him with another trash can lid. Gargano moves out of the way of a knee strike and then goes after Ciampa’s surgically repaired knee. Chairshots, punches, stomping, and when it looks like Gargano has some momentum, Ciampa kicks him into the trash can in the corner.

Ciampa rains down elbows on the back of Gargano’s head. Johnny can barely pull himself up, and eats a knee strike and then a crutch to the back of the neck. Positioning and weapons are a big callback through this feud, the body language is very reminiscent of the last time they were in Chicago. They walk up the ramp the same way as last Chicago, and reenact the betrayal spot.

Ciampa climbs equipment to put Gargano through a table, even takes off Johnny’s wedding ring, but after spitting on it, and throwing that away, Gargano hits Ciampa with a Gravy Train through a wooden table from on top of the equipment. After this spot there’s a kind of long stretcher moment, as we watch Gargano slowly decide he needs to punish Ciampa more.

He locks in the Garga-NO-Escape, but the Ref is laid out. Agents try to break it up, but Gargano lays them out and handcuffs Ciampa and hits more Superkicks than the Young Bucks have all year. More agents come in to try and pull back Gargano, the ref finally gets to the ring, to help Ciampa out of the cuffs. Gargano walks up the ring steps and Ciampa catches him with a Draping DDT on the exposed wood, for the 1-2-3.

Gargano’s emotions got the best of him, and cost him the match.

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa via Draping DDT

Rating: **** 3/4

 

Thoughts:

Well this was something now wasn’t it? The show started out hot with a great tag match and Dream/Ricochet helped establish them both solidly in the framework of NXT. Dream’s inexperience has been heavily on display his last few matches. But the real point from that match, is to get the point across that even if you only knew Ricochet as the flippy guy, this established that he knows how to use psychology and a plethora of other moves.

The two singles matches weren’t great, but the Street Fight mostly lived up to the hype. The stretcher spot when on for a little too long, the Agent interference and ref bump made the finish a little more obvious, but it’s hard to argue the story it told. As a story, it ranks up there with Okada/Omega, regardless of how you feel about a hardcore match or some of the spots, wrestling is more than just catch wrestling or combinations.

As a show, it was alright, not the best, not the worst, but nothing to really complain about. The show left some stories to bleed over through the next set of tapings and did a good job at ending other rivalries.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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