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.
Mitchell’s Wednesday Night War Review! The End!
The Wednesday Night War… is DONE!
Thank you, Wednesday Night War! It was fun while it lasted!
With NXT moving to Tuesdays, the wrestling war on Wednesday nights is no more! But let’s see where both sides stand now that the dust settles!
Let’s recap Year Two’s first phase.
Year Two, Phase One Final Scores: NXT – 9.13; AEW – 9.16
The margin was close as ever, but AEW inched out the win to continue their dominance from Year One! Don’t worry, NXT went past 12/9/20, it’s just that they and AEW tied those last three weeks. And you’ll notice that I left 12/30/20, the last Wednesday of the year, off because of the circumstances. Jon Huber, aka Brodie Lee aka Luke Harper, past away just days before that night, and AEW changed their plans to give us a “Celebration of Life” tribute episode. It did not feel right trying to give that show a score, because it wasn’t supposed to be about AEW but about Jon Huber. And to be fair to AEW’s score, I left off NXT’s episode for that night, even though NXT did have great action on their Year-End Award episode.
Now, for Year Two’s Phase Two, the WNW FINALE!
Year Two, Phase Two Final Scores: NXT – 9.44; AEW – 9.50
Year Two, Overall: NXT – 9.31; AEW – 9.36
Much stronger numbers from both sides this time, but these two companies started hard and kept going hard from New Year’s Evil VS New Year’s Smash all the way to TakeOver: Stand & Deliver and… Well, the AEW Dynamite put up against it. Just looking at it, that string in February for AEW made all the difference. They were just on fire right there, building towards AEW Revolution 2021, which itself was an awesome PPV (even with the pyro mishap at the end).
The margins were still close, but bigger than last phase’s, and even with TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night One bringing NXT up to a high level, it was not enough! AEW wins again! They win two phases to zero, and are therefore the overall winner of the Wednesday Night War!
The Wednesday Night War may not have been as epic as the Monday Night War, or as long, but it was a lot of fun. NXT and AEW were giving us great wrestling every week, not just in-ring action but the promos and segments. The wrestlers on these shows are now stars because they got to be on cable network television, and literally kept me up late at night because I could not let either show wait until Thursday morning. But now, #NXTuesday is going to be how it is going forward, and we can all argue one way or another why the move happened but it doesn’t really matter, I’m still going to be watching both anyway.
Cook’s WrestleMania 37 Night One Gambling Picks
Who’s trying make money on guessing the predetermined scripts? If that’s you, Cook gots all the lines you need. This isn’t Breaking Bad; we only do betting lines!
This is one of those columns that needs no real intro or explanation. Its WrestleMania! What else do you need me to tell you? Today we’re talking Night One, tomorrow it’ll be Night Two. Easy peezy lemon breezy.
I know that some of you prefer a 12 hour WrestleMania event, but to me, two nights is definitely the way to go. Think of it this way: instead of one night to watch the biggest show of the year, you get two. What’s the downside?
Also, you can get two days to make money, if you’re into the kind of thing we’re talking about here. Though, I am contractually obligated to mention that my look at these matchups, with odds provided by BetOnline, is for entertainment purposes only.
Tag Team Turmoil
Lana & Naomi vs. Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs. The Riott Squad vs. Natalya & Tamina
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 7, 2021
We’ve got a match setting up a Night 2 match here, as Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler will face the winners for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. They’ve had some amount of issues with each team, so we can’t really use that as an indicator of who will win. We also can’t base it off of who will have the best match with Nia & Shayna, as that seems like a push.
We also don’t have odds on this match as I write this. If some do get posted, my guess would be that Natalya & Tamina will have long odds and could be a good pick as a team WWE might want to give a little reward for their service over the years.
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest (-950) vs. The Miz & John Morrison (+500)
— WWE (@WWE) April 6, 2021
We all know how this one is going, right? Bunny & Priest are the easiest pick on this two day extravaganza. I’m sure an outside celebrity lost a WrestleMania match at some point, but one isn’t immediately coming to mind. I assume some are still complaining about Bad Bunny getting a WM match, I choose to be good with it since it gets Damian Priest a match too. Hopefully this all works out well for him.
Braun Strowman (-500) vs. Shane McMahon (+300)
— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) April 6, 2021
Braun is the natural pick here for obvious reasons (he’s actually a wrestler), but one can easily make an argument for Shane. The usage of a steel cage rarely keeps interested outside parties out of a match, and surely Shane will have a few allies looking to make an impact on WrestleMania. We’ll see Elias & Jaxson Ryker, and we’ll likely see somebody else. Any big stiffs in the Performance Center not otherwise occupied could be an option for Shane here.
The thing about gambling picks: we’re not always going to pick what we think will happen. I think Braun will destroy whoever gets put in his path here. But the object of this game is to make some money, and I think Shane McMahon at +300 is a good bet. Especially since I don’t think this feud will be ending at WrestleMania. Still some more heat to get on this issue.
Cesaro (-300) vs. Seth Rollins (+200)
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 7, 2021
Speaking of feuds that I think will extend beyond WrestleMania and will likely have the evildoer squeaking out a victory by nefarious means. I can easily talk myself into Cesaro getting a big win here, one which will lead to declarations that he’s a made man and finally on the level he deserves to be at. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that.
I think it’s far more likely that Seth Rollins gets the win, and the issue between these two continues. Cesaro’s big win is coming, but not at WrestleMania.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (+250) vs. AJ Styles & Omos (-400)
AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods – straight out of 2008 TNA. A reminder WWE is a TNA nostalgia company. pic.twitter.com/VNU9VULZ7N
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) April 6, 2021
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been burnt by picking against Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston. They have a knack for overcoming all obstacles at these major events and coming out on top. Its a good idea to keep these men featured on television, as they’re positive role models for the community and I can only think of one time that one of them did something a bit embarrassing for the company.
I mean….that Jamaican accent. What were they thinking? Never mind, we got more accent stuff to talk about for Night 2, let’s move on.
It is tempting to pick AJ & Omos, as there’s an obvious story there hopefully leading to Omos’ breakout as a singles star. That can easily be drug out though, and we don’t pick against The New Day here. Their victory will be a good way to pop the crowd early in the evening.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks (+250) vs. Bianca Belair (-400)
IMPOSSIBLE, THINGS ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY. pic.twitter.com/7iXlEA4gAe
— Mercedes Varnado (@SashaBanksWWE) April 8, 2021
This is a huge moment for Bianca, and for the Women’s division in general, as the significance of two women of color fighting for a championship on the biggest show of the wrestling year can’t be overlooked. Its a big f’n deal, as politicians would say.
A win here would put Bianca Belair over the top as a star in this company, and I think that’s what happens here. Sasha doesn’t need the championship to retain her relevancy, and it’s not like any losses have hurt her standing with the people yet. She’ll do whatever she can on this evening to make Bianca a star.
WWE Championship Match
Bobby Lashley (+150) vs. Drew McIntyre (-200)
— WWE (@WWE) April 7, 2021
People seemed legit shook when it was mentioned on Raw that this would be the main event of Night 1. Like…that wasn’t obvious? As much as I like Sasha & Bianca & think they will have a fantastic match, the build of their match hasn’t exactly gotten me any more excited than I was the moment after the women’s Royal Rumble Match ended. Maybe y’all are more into TAG TEAM PARTNERS THAT SECRETLY HATE EACH OTHER than I am, but zero part of that whole thing seemed inspired to me. To be fair, it seemed even less inspired when Asuka & Rhea Ripley did it.
Meanwhile, this is the WWE Championship, dating back to the days of Bruno Sammartino & Buddy Rogers. Drew & Bobby’s issue has been building since the Royal Rumble, and now is the time for Drew McIntyre to get the WrestleMania coronation they wanted to give him last year. Will it work?
Well, the mystery is one of the reasons we’ll be paying attention.
Thanks for reading! Join me next time for Night Two!
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