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.
Carol: Why Brock Lesnar Will Win At WWE Wrestlemania
What if Brock wins?
Will Seth Rollins slay the beast at WWE WrestleMania, or will Brock Lesnar walk out the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Universal Champion? Carol thinks the latter.
WrestleMania is less than three weeks away and while everyone’s attention is on Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair, there’s one title match that has slipped everyone’s mind. The Universal Championship match between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar is a high-profile fight that hasn’t received that much attention. The reason is due to Lesnar’s part-time schedule. Since the Royal Rumble, Lesnar has only appeared on RAW twice and that was to attack Rollins.
Rollins has done everything he can to get fans invested in the feud. He’s delivered heartfelt promos while also doing verbal spats with Paul Heyman about why Lesnar doesn’t deserve the championship. Heading into WrestleMania, Rollins is heavily favored to win and end Lesnar’s reign as champion. Fans have become frustrated with Lesnar being a part-time champion and will be cheering when he loses. However, WWE fans shouldn’t start celebrating just yet.
History Repeats Itself?
WWE is well-known to do stupid stuff and come WrestleMania, I have a feeling they’ll have Brock retain. There are a couple of reasons behind my theory. The first one has to do with the uncertainty of Brock’s future with WWE. Every year around this time, there’s reports questioning Brock’s career plans. Just as fans get excited about the prospect of Brock leaving for UFC, he inks a new deal to stay with WWE. This year, I don’t see things changing when it comes to Lesnar’s status with the company. Brock is one of Vince’s top guys and with new competition popping up; Mr. McMahon is going to do everything to keep his wrestlers from leaving. Brock’s incentives could include more money and a longer reign as Universal Champion.
Health Issues For Rollins
The other reason for Lesnar going over at WrestleMania is Seth’s health. Rollins has been having issues with his back, which has kept him off of house shows. Recently, he wrestled on RAW and showed that he was still in top form heading into WrestleMania. However, Seth’s back issues could be a concern for WWE officials, and that may very well play into their plan of whether Rollins wins the Universal Championship.
The Big Dog Is Back
The last reason to be concerned about the match has to do with the return of Seth’s Shield brother Roman Reigns. Prior to announcing his battle with leukemia, Reigns was the Universal Champion and was feuding with Brock. With Reigns now healthy and has returned to wrestling, Vince may decide to resume the Roman vs Brock feud, with Reigns conquering the beast and reclaiming the championship. If any of these scenarios were to happen, it would be unfair to Seth.
Rollins has had a phenomenal year and there’d be no better way to cap it off by having him win the Universal Championship at WrestleMania. But given how notorious WWE is for swerving fans, it wouldn’t be surprising if we had another outcome like last year’s WrestleMania. My advice to WWE fans is to prepare for the worst when it comes to WrestleMania, because odds are that Brock Lesnar’s reign as Universal Champion will continue.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (3/18/19)
Who delivered the biggest performances of the night on Raw?
Greg DeMarco brings the Three Stars of The Night back with the March 18 episode of WWE Raw from Chicago!
Raw was live from Chicago, on the Road To WrestleMania, and it seemed like the perfect night to revive the Three Stars! I mean, it’s a mega city for the company and a very important Raw. I figured the entire roster would step up in a huge way. I was wrong…
But we did get a packed WWE Raw, including Kurt Angle’s opponent being revealed as Baron Corbin, Beth Phoenix officially returning to the ring, and the heat being turned to 11 on Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins. Now, it’s Three Stars time…shall we?
The Third Star: Leo Rush
I know people find Lio Rush annoying, and it means he’s doing his job. In reality, he delivers in a big way on a weekly basis, making Bobby Lashley more relevant and usually putting in a great in-ring performance. This week was no different, especially when he was selling for Braun Strowman. Bobby Lashley also let it happen to Lio Rush, which is another way Lio delivered–letting Lashley’s character develop even further. Hate on Lio Rush if you must, but he continues to enhance Bobby Lashley’s entire act on a weekly basis.
The Second Star: Elias
Few people have a better grasp on their character than Elias (Alexa Bliss being one of them), and he’s gotten it to a point where it’s effortless. To me, that means we may see a big push coming for him after WrestleMania. In this segment he delivered a strong promo, interacted brilliantly with Alexa, got the desired reactions out of the crowd, and perfectly foreshadowed a WrestleMania interruption that very well might be John Cena. Count me in as walking with Elias.
Honorable Mention: Paul Heyman, Alexa Bliss, Ronda Rousey, and Sasha Banks
And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!
The First Star: Seth Rollins
If there was any question who has taken up the mantle of leading WWE Raw, it should be answered now. Seth Rollins delivered in a big way on Raw. Last year he carried things as Intercontinental Champion, and I think he’s more than ready to be the Universal Champion. I look forward to seeing his run, with opponents like Drew McIntyre waiting in the wings after WrestleMania.
But can I put in for a Rollins vs. Batista program post-WrestleMania? Please? Nothing would make me happier than seeing Big Dave put Seth over before heading back to Hollywood.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
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