Did the “sure thing,” WWE NXT Takeover Phoenix, deliver? Bobby lets you know in his Good, Bad, and Ugly review!
The predictions have been made. The stage is set and ready to go. It is the popular opinion, including my own, that Takeover Phoenix will be nothing but Good. Will they be able to live up to the hype? Can they fail?
NXT Tag Team Championship Match – Undisputed Era (c) vs. War Raiders
“Predicted” Match of the Night. Nothing to lose but everything to gain, the War Raiders Hanson and Rowe undoubtedly demand respect and attention. This being possibly their biggest match in their careers you can expect their best. Undisputed is in the business of showing up, winning and looking Good doing it. Opening Match honors is only going to fuel this more. Underhanded tactics and skill was shown early on by Undisputed Era attempting to isolate either of the two Viking Warriors, and this was just filled the action. The War Raiders however being the wild beast they are continuously countered and overpowered the smaller foes. This went back and forth and as always delivered. A rare but huge miss by Hanson to the outside kept him out of action letting Undisputed Era finally get the upper hand punishing Rowe.
Unfortunately for the Champions, Rowe is an absolute freak. He just kept fighting back, Hanson recovered and came back on fire. Hanson put on a show, outdoing the Champions. All four guys went at it, countering constantly, move after move. War Raiders had it won but only a two count. Strong regained hit a sick “superplex” to Hanson, O’Reilly followed with a flying knee off the top, but Hanson kicked out. No matter what The Champs did, Hanson kicked out. War Raiders took it from there, Hanson and Rowe flattened the Undisputed Era hitting the “Fallout” for the victory. War Raiders win at NXT Takeover are the new Tag Team Champions!
Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno
The “King of Bros” has been a thorn in Mr. KO’s side. It will all come to a head here at Takeover. No doubt physical and brutal right away. Matt Riddle came to impress showing great strength and athleticism. Riddle had full control until getting his face stomped while wrapped in the apron. Ohno then tried to end it several times. Ohno is so stiff, he lays into it making every strike count. Riddle got his face kicked in. His foot stomped on, beaten down, but he still came back fighting. Nothing worked, Ohno even bit Riddle’s toe. Ohno finally got some ground and hat the undefeated rookie beat. Riddle just would not quit though. Instead, Riddle snapped beating Ohno with repeated strikes. He then got Ohno trapped and rained elbows on Ohno making him tap. Matt Riddle continues his Win streak with an impressive showing at NXT Takeover.
NXT North American Championship Match – Ricochet (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
This match will be a clinic. The level of talent is astronomical. Expected, as on a show like Takeover this is as high level as you possibly can get. Every time Ricochet comes out, he just looks ready. This was just beautiful, a dozen exchanges, counters and every kind of throw you could imagine. Ricochet is doesn’t stay in one spot very long, making flying look easy. Ricochet is such a star. The contrast here made for a great story. Gargano at one time had Ricochet unable to move completely tied up. Gargano had complete control after countering Ricochet’s high risk style These guys try so hard out there, it shows on every move. Gargano had it going finally, but got bounced off the apron hard on his ribs followed by a corkscrew dive to the outside by Ricochet. Ricochet had the match won but Gargano would only give him a two count.
Ricochet countered a hurricanranna by Gargano off the top, but Gargano got the hurricanranna only for Ricochet to flip onto his feet. Gargano kept going but would just get countered. Gargano instinctively retreated but got dove on by Ricochet to the outside once inside got a near fall, he then hit a “shooting star press” but Gargano got the knees up, only for a two count. Gargano hit move after move including a sick “reverse spikerana” and his “spike DDT.’ He just couldn’t finish the Champion. After some more unspeakably impressive acrobatics Ricochet hit Gargano’s own submission only to have Gargano get to the ropes. Gargano did not forgive this easily drilling Ricochet onto the exposed floor on the outside. He hit a second Spike DDT this time finishing the unstoppable Ricochet and becoming for the first time the North American Champion. Wow! Best match at NXT Takeover? We shall see!
NXT Women’s Championship Match – Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Bianca Belair
These two are tough. We have complete Alphas about to fight up and up. Belair pure strength and confidence vs Baszler who is precision and brutality. Belair beat the Champion from post to post, confidently making her claim to the Championship. Baszler finally got some space and used Belair’s own hair to slam her into the steel post. Belair looked to hurt her arm which was noticed immediately by Baszler. Baszler had full control however Belair would not go quietly. Injured arm and all, Belair kept fighting the dangerous Champion. Finally out of pure desperation, Belair whipped Baszler with her hair whip.
Belair then got slammed into the Ref, and hit her KOD but he ref was out. Baszler’s crew came out to interfere but Belair tossed them out. Baszler capitalized on the distraction gripping Belair into the Kirifuda Clutch. Belair showed resilience and freakish strength countering and suplexing the Champ. Belair came off the top with a “450” but was countered on the ground locked into the Kirifuda Clutch a second time. Belair again made it to her feet but collapsed from exhaustion. Again though, Belair gets to her feet, but just couldn’t continue. Belair finally passed out and Baszler retains in a fantastic match that belonged on an NXT Takeover.
NXT Championship Match – Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Aleister Black
As once said in Batman by the infamous Joker himself. Here we Go. This is going to be chaos, the hype, the suspense is about to pop off. Aleister Black’s entrance is just awesome! The guy is so over and kills it in the ring. Ciampa has been the Champ for a while now and is holding his own atop the mountain. This match was fast paced, full on action packed. Ciampa punished the challenger trying to end his chances of getting any offense.
Ciampa would not let off and for Good reason. He was just chasing Black around constantly inflicting unimaginable pain on him. Black out of pure desperation got a sick kick across Ciampa knocking him off the top to the outside. Black just had a lot of trouble standing from all of the punishment earlier on, but when he got Ciampa, it really took the Champion down. This could have gone either way, back and forth, counter by counter, Black looked like he was back in it.
However Black couldn’t stand and got rolled into a half crab. Black then returned fire putting Ciampa in the “half crab” but couldn’t stand long enough for it to be effective. Ciampa got a “Ciampa Drop” on the apron, Black kicked out. Ciampa hit more and more, and kept failing to finish Black. Black would continue to fight back even kicking out of the Fairy Tale Ending. Black is one tough bastard. Ciampa has no remorse and seemingly will do anything to win. Ciampa removed the mat to expose the concrete outside.
Black dove and hit a knee while Ciampa was distracted with the ref. Aleister Black hit a huge Black Mass but could not get the cover. Black had him but was hit with a DDT off the ropes and another Fairy Tale Ending. Again, kicked out. Ciampa hit two more “fairy tale endings” and finally got the win. Ciampa Retains! Interestingly as Ciampa was celebrating on the top of the ramp, he was joined by former DIY associate and partner the New North American Champion Johnny Gargano, who raised his belt next to Ciampa in unison.
THE BAD/THE UGLY
“Will you be serious?” – Gorilla Monsoon
- GOOD- 5
- BAD and UGLY: No Showed
NXT as a whole, let alone a Takeover is just a superior quality product. NXT really puts it all out there and tries with all effort to put on a fantastic show. Takeover from top to bottom was entertaining. It really impressed from the mat wrestling to the high risk. The fans were into it the entire show. It just seemed to run completely smooth. NXT is the product that is setting the standard in our pro wrestling world, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
NXT Takeover was incredible, next we move to the WWE Royal Rumble. Looks like it will be a great show, but will it finally be able to upstage the always on point, always impressive, NXT Takeover? We will see Sunday.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (5/22/19)
Prince Pretty is back on NXT!
Tiffany’s Takes dives into this week’s edition of WWE NXT as the black and yellow continues their built to Takeover XXV!
As we head into TakeOver XXV, what is the state of WWE NXT this week?
NXT Championship: I love when a babyface drops some hard facts. I also love that I’m apparently better at math than Adam Cole. Gargano pointing out that Cole’s talking point about winning the first fall was nonsense was so fun. I do like that we’re getting Part II at Take Over XXV, but I was surprised that Gargano didn’t insist that UE be banned from ringside.
The tag team match between Gargano/Riddle vs UE was fabulous! It seems that all is back on track between Strong and Cole, at least for now, but it remains to be seen how it’ll be after TakeOver.
North American Championship: This segment was really interesting. Tyler Breeze never really got any traction on the Main Roster, so moving him back to NXT makes sense. I think the match between him and Dream will be an interesting one, but I don’t see Dream dropping the title.
Women’s Division: Candice LeRae seems to finally be back on track after months of being Gargano’s perpetually worried and vengeful wife. Her match with the Lone Star Loca, Reina Gonzalez was so good! WWE certainly seemed impressed with Gonazalez after the Mae Young Classic, so it was nice to see her get some screen time. Going by Baszler’s actions after the match, it appears that Ms. LeRae is on track for a title shot, thank God.
Remind me to never piss off Io Shirai. The Genius of the Skies definitely seems to be tapping into her hardcore side because the sight of her wielding that Kendo stick AND using it scared the shit out of me. It’s pretty clear that the reckoning between Shirai and Shayna Baszler is going to happen at TakeOver.
Well, it is officially official, Mia Yim and Bianca Belair will meet again NEXT week and settle the score. I really want Yim to win this because her booking has been weird considering her talent.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!
Be like Elisa and get yours at:
NXT Tag Team Championship: Another announcement was made officially official – Viking Raiders are no longer NXT Tag Team Champions, but because the Street Profits didn’t get an ACTUAL pinfall, the titles are now vacant. I love that Regal has made it a ladder match between the only four tag teams in NXT right now: Forgotten Sons, Street Profits, Burch and Lorcan, and Undisputed Era. I have a feeling Forgotten Sons will win, but we’ll see.
Sean Maluta vs Mansoor: This was a good, if random match. Sean Maluta has been back to WWE several times since the Cruiserweight Classic, but he never seems to stick around for very long. Mansoor seems to be someone WWE is very high on considering he’s racked up several victories over the last few months. The match was okay, but since it was two jobbers going at it, it was hard to get into. I was more excited about Maluta than Mansoor.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was NXT US this week? It was really good. They’re really kicking the build to TakeOver XXV into high gear without making it seem really rushed, especially in situations where substitutes are being made (Dream vs Breeze).
Even though it LOOKS like all is well in Undisputed Era, the fact that all of them have matches next Saturday makes me wonder if that’s when the final breakdown will happen, especially with Strong taking on Riddle. I’m very excited by the change in Io Shirai, I think Baszler’s going to learn the hard way to never underestimate someone’s willingness to fight.
That’s it for Tiffany’s WWE NXT Takes. Be back on Monday for RAW!
Andrew’s WWE Raw and SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (5/20 + 5/21/2019)
Coming out of Money in the Bank, how do the WWE main roster shows stack up?
Coming out of Money in the Bank, how do the WWE main roster shows stack up?
We’ve got a Beast in the Bank and a new title being debuted on Raw.
So generally speaking this could be interesting. I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Let’s get to the shows!
- Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman: Strowman wins via Running Powerslam – N/A
- Cesaro vs Ricochet: Cesaro wins via Gotch Neutralizer – ** ½
- The Usos vs The Revival: Revival wins via Dirty Roll-Up – *** ¼
- Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs The IIconics & Lacey Evans: Becky wins via Guillotine Leg Drop – **
- WWE 24/7 Championship Scramble: Titus O’Neil wins – * ½
- WWE 24/7 Championship: Robert Roode vs Titus O’Neil (c): Roode wins via Roll-Up – N/A
- Drew McIntyre vs The Miz: McIntyre wins via Claymore – ** ½
- WWE 24/7 Championship: Robert Roode (c) vs R-Truth: Truth wins via Roll-Up – N/A
- NoDQ Tag Match: Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston vs Bobby Lashley & Baron Corbin: Kingston wins via Trouble in Paradise – ** ¼
Brock and Heyman come out to kick things off. Brock seems to be loving the hate, using the briefcase like a boombox. Heyman doesn’t say anything interesting beyond the fact that he made it clear that Brock isn’t sure which belt he wants yet. But Brock seems to be tickled, and I was amused.
Foley takes a Uber to the arena! We all know he didn’t pay for that one, Foley is notoriously cheap.
Wait, so Sami and Braun are going to have a match? Even though Braun didn’t hang Sami up, and we can kinda figure it was Brock, or someone trying to help Brock. We need to see Sami get smashed? I mean, the crowd seemed to like it, even though Braun is bland and his involvement against Sami is just dumb. But it is what it is.
Wh-Why do we need to hear Lars Sullivan talk? So, generic cornball question from Charles is interrupted by…the god damn Lucha House Party. Okay well that’s a half point off of the score. Oh god, they’re giving them a modicum of offense too. Sheesh…no one cares about any of these four. Stupid Lucha morons.
Ricochet and Cesaro time! Oh okay, start with a commercial, hey the match starts to pick up, and then we go to that crappy picture in picture commercial break during what might’ve been a Sasuke Special from Ricochet. Well, talk about taking a match that could’ve been match of the night, and butchering it with poorly timed breaks.
So Styles and Corbin will clash eventually? Well…ugh.
So Shane is claiming he’s done with The Miz and moving onto Reigns. But now Shane has Drew Mcintyre in his arsenal as well as Elias. While I don’t mind this whole thing from a pro wrestling perspective, I’d really prefer McIntyre to stand on his own for a singles push soon. Playing the lackey really isn’t a great look, even though yes, it’s well positioned in the story.
This was a solid match between the two best tag teams in WWE. The fact that The Revival went over because of heel tactics is even better. So with the Usos’ being jerks and The Revival taking a few short cuts, we might get to see a few good matches out of this. I don’t need a whole year like New Day and The Usos basically had, but a few months of solid matches would be great.
Firefly Fun House introduces another verse to the theme song and a 90s style introduction clip, and then distorted into a creepy video with depressed kids and Let Him In, written on faces and shirts. Not the quality I’ve been expecting, but not awful.
Alexa comes out for Moment of Bliss with Nikki Cross in tow. Alexa is seemingly getting nasty with Nikki and she’s just acting like a loyal puppy who wants to make Alexa happy. Granted, I still see this as a bigger game, but that’s not the point Becky Lynch comes out for the interview and IIconics and Lacey Evans interrupt. A few decent lines were thrown around, Becky challenges all 3. Nikki immediately stepping up to fight with Becky was cute and perfectly simple with the “I’ll be your partner”. Also the way the heels try to dismiss it since they’re one short and Becky just shrugs at Alexa and says “She’ll do”. Plus the whole just stand there and look pretty, let the man do the work – that’s just a fantastic line, and Alexa plays along bringing her coffee. If Alexa really is hurt, this was a genius way to get them all over in a match. Alexa being disinterested sipping her coffee and just occasionally rooting on her team was perfect. This was such a perfect moment with a decent match attached.
Okay so the new title is effectively the PG Hardcore DDT Heavymetal Weight 24/7 and Free Tank of Gas championship! Foley has a scramble match and we see a few people we rarely see, including Eric Young doing his best Crash Holly impression. Titus World Slide wins the scramble, so he’s the inaugural champion, only to be rolled up at the top of the ramp by Robert Roode after like 65 seconds of being champion. Then the Scooby Doo chase begins!
Miz puts up a solid fight being out numbered and outclassed by McIntyre. So Shane just being a manipulative prick is great. Working his way on the Mr. McMahon 2.0 persona is entertaining and again, Roman and Miz being on the same page and working together as a positive thing…are just unexpected.
Joe makes a convincing point that the referee screwed up. I guess we’ll see how this goes.
Oh R-Truth has a car ready for Robert Roode, and funnily enough, a referee also. One Roll-Up later and the perfect Saturday Morning Cartoons on the brain mofo has the 24/7 belt. Three total champions in like 60 minutes. This is gonna be gold. I’m waiting for a Bayley Buddy to pin the champion.
So even though the tag match was turned into a NoDQ match, Bobby and Baron still kind of suck. Solid match all in all, but it’s very reminiscent of when Baron was GM and he’d just add stipulations and still fail more often than not.
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Really solid episode of Raw. Decent wrestling, storylines were moved along well enough, 24/7 title could be fun and damn did that whole Moment of Bliss thing play out like a damn beauty. So I would give the show a 7, but Lucha House Party being on the show and getting in offense is a half point off.
Firefly Fun House was a little disappointing and just there, so neither added nor subtracted to the Steiner Math.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Andrade vs Ali: Ali wins via Inside Cradle – *** ¼
- Carmella vs Mandy Rose: No Contest – *
- Kofi Kingston vs Sami Zayn: Kofi wins via Trouble in Paradise – ** ½
- Becky Lynch & Bayley vs Lacey Evans & Charlotte Flair: Bayley wins via Roll-Up – **
- Elias vs Roman Reigns: Reigns wins via Spear – ***
So Elias apologizes to Shane and uses the fact he put all his energy into the performance, for why he lost. It’s a decent excuse. Oh we’re getting a rematch tonight. Gotta love Shane trying to set up anything and everything to soften up Roman for Jam in the Sand III.
Okay so the fake out reveal for Big E was funny and then the side comments about Becky’s mom were also amusing. Kofi trying to end the digressions by saying he needs to be serious since he’s champion was an amusing jab at people saying he’s a comedy act. KO and Sami interrupt, as Sami talks, the New Day take a jab at KO losing and Owens just walks off. Sami makes a challenge to stand up for him and his buddy. Ok, I don’t expect Sami to win, but it should be a decent match.
Carmella and a bunch of others are looking for R-Truth, but Carmella is his friend, trying to help him out. So we get Truth in a blonde wig and Carmella needing to give him a makeover.
So we get a great match for people who like good wrestling. Andrade and Ali seem to work well together and it was just fun to watch. Ali getting the win is interesting, cause that makes you wonder if he positioned himself as next in line for the Intercontinental Championship, or maybe it becomes a Triple Threat. This result could have interesting ramifications.
Mandy Rose and Carmella have beef that came from the MiTB Ladder match, and we get a non-finish when the undercard mob comes out to get R-Truth since he came out to second Carmella. I’m a little annoyed at the non-finish, but Carmella and R-Truth are amusing.
Kofi and Sami was shorter than I’d like, and also didn’t do much to help Sami, but I guess if they’re moving away from KO and Sami until after the Saudi show, it was fine. Plus the Dolph Ziggler attack needed time, so the shorter match was necessary I suppose.
Roman walks in and Elias is looming above him singing his song – and it was actually pretty neat. I like the way the scene was framed, and definitely came off as Elias trying to play mind games.
This women’s tag wasn’t really set up in as entertaining of a way as the 6 woman tag from Monday. This is just Champs versus people they just beat. The match was fine and Bayley getting the pinfall after Becky got ganged up on a little bit was fine.
Oh Jinder and the B-Team catch Truth, but he manages to get away.
The ring work may not have been fantastic, but the story beats were entertaining. Shane trying everything to screw Roman over the same way he’s screwed with Miz, but failing this time, added a wrinkle. Shane looked concerned for a change, until Drew McIntyre showed up to tip the scales. Shane going from concerned to “yup this was all part of the plan, yup”, is a fun moment.
Overall Score: 6/10
Even though I didn’t mind the show, it was really nothing overly special. A few beats were rehashed from Money in the Bank and Monday, so this falls into the same rut that SmackDown has hit lately. Instead of feeling like two shows, SmackDown just extends certain stories and feels like only half of the show is dedicated to new/unique stories.
So not a bad show, but in no way was it a must watch.
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