Andrew brings us ratings and overall thoughts on the first NXT Takeover of the new year!
Well the IWC tends to mark the Takeovers as the real must see events during these big WWE PPV weekends. Do we get another banger of a show that sets the bar too high for Royal Rumble, or does this show come down to Earth a little?
With many proven talents, this card could be fire. The only thing that sticks out is the Matt Riddle and Kassius Ohno match. Hopefully that’s not too much of a down moment on the show.
- NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era (c) vs War Raiders: Raiders win via Fallout @16:55 – **** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno: Riddle wins via Repeated Elbows, TKO @9:15 – ** 1/2
- NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Ricochet (c): Gargano wins via Slingshot DDT @23:35 – **** 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!
- NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Bianca Belair: Baszler retains via Kirifuda Clutch @16:25 – **
- NXT Championship: Aleister Black vs Tommaso Ciampa (c): Ciampa retains via Fairy Tale Ending @26:30 – **** 1/4
- War Raiders come out with Viking war horns, dark lightning and soldiers as the crowd starts to bustle before eventually appearing and going into their normal theme. With such a big entrance, I’m not surprised they won, hell I picked them in the staff picks. But this match was tremendous. Era started off quick and basically had this match feeling like a Tornado/Lucha match with the amount of times all four men were involved in the action. Hansen kicked out of the High/Low tandem finish, Raiders pulled out most of their moves though. Thor’s Hammer, Rowe’s Powerbomb/Bodyslam combo, Hansen’s Back Handspring Double Elbow, just a lot of good stuff. The matched flowed well, Raiders showed resiliency and Undisputed Era stuck to the gameplan of trying to just use speed and double team maneuvers to get an upper-hand. Just damn damn good.
- This match was a little better than expected. Ohno was 0-4 on Takeovers and 0-2 against Riddle, so he had something to prove, and did pull out a lot of stops. Stepping on toes, biting toes, general underhanded tactics still weren’t enough. If anything it just pissed off Riddle more, so he hits a close range Knee Strike and starts raining down elbow strikes until Ohno taps out. Also I have to mention, Nigel had a great V for Vendetta/Guy Fawkes reference when he was talking about the first meeting between these two and said something to the effect of “Remember, Remember, that night in December”.
- Velveteen Dream shows up in a limo with two women and a hat, in similar fashion to The Godfather. Gotta love Dream’s propensity to make references.
- Well now, great match. A few awkward moments here and there, but all in all, both Gargano and Ricochet put on a hell of a show. Ricochet’s movie stunt Wall Run Backflip off the post onto Gargano was impressive. The way he just shrugged off distance or difficulty of jumping over the turnbuckles and post to dive onto Gargano, just all great. Gargano exposes the cement as a callback to his Ciampa feud, but doesn’t go through with it right away. Then, he’s pushed to the brink, shoved Ricochet into the post whilst on the apron, as a callback to his match against Andrade, and eventually hits a Brainbuster on the exposed floor. Impressive match, but one big takeaway is that Ricochet really needs to tone down the excessive flips, especially since that’s mostly why he lost and when he got caught by Johnny, plus the misses felt obvious, so they didn’t add anything to the match.
- I had more than a few issues with the Baszler/Belair match. Baszler did not go after the “injured” shoulder nearly enough, and if she’s such a submission specialist, she should know how to go after an injury. The finishing sequence was sloppy, the roll in the ref bump, and Belair doing the 450 Splash that missed everything except Shayna’s foot, just the whole thing fell apart in the last couple minutes. Bad camera angles on the Kirifuda Clutch hurt the believability too. Could”ve been a decent match, but sloppiness hurt the match and it would’ve been nice to see some logic from a former MMA fighter instead of just going to her Kirifuda Clutch twice.
- This was a damn good match. Ciampa worked over the plant leg heavily to try and take away the Black Mass. Seth Rollins could learn some things from Aleister Black, since he actually sold a busted up leg well and for the entire match. Two nice wrinkles I picked up were Mauro’s commentary about Tommaso calling himself Tommy Sports Entertainment, and asking if Aleister will end…Tommy, yes Tommy End, we get it. The second wrinkle was hearing Nigel call his own move when Ciampa hit a Rope Hung Cutter onto the apron, but Nigel called it Tower of London. Also, Ciampa had a beautiful transition from a roll up, into a Draping DDT and then a Fairy Tale Ending, but that wasn’t the finish. So what hurt this match to me were two things, another ‘exposing the concrete’ spot shortly after Gargano did the same thing and too damn many false finishes. When Black hit Black Mass, it made sense for Ciampa to be able to roll to his side, since it took time for Black to crawl over to Ciampa. But 4 Fairy Tale Endings? Really? And the fourth one coming after Aleister almost pulled off a miracle Black Mass, but his leg gave out and it just looked awkward. The finish to this match really took it down a peg, but it’s still damn good.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
So this wasn’t a bad show, but the order of the card was a little weird and it definitely under performed compared to what we’re lead to expect from Takeovers. Though we see Gargano win his first singles’ title, War Raiders unseat Undisputed Era and Bianca’s undefeated streak was broken…this didn’t feel as fantastic as most usually do. I guess we can be thankful Takeover wasn’t so outstanding, cause now even the smarkiest of fans can’t completely discredit Royal Rumble tomorrow.
The show was still perfectly fine. As I listed off, some things did happen that make this show worth watching, but maybe we just expect too much from NXT. I guess we’ll see if Brooklyn V picks it back up, or maybe NXT might be cooling off a little.