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.
The Ronda Rousey Situation
Can Ronda handle the WWE Universe?
Maria Elisa kicks off her Chairshot career with a look at the state of Ronda Rousey in WWE!
I am probably not the first to say this but when WWE signed Ronda Rousey, I was skeptical if this was a good idea for wrestling. Several questions went through my head
- Can she actually wrestle?
- Will the WWE be a good environment for her?
- Will her ego and personality get in the way of making her successful in this business?
- Is wrestling even a good move for her?
UFC and wrestling are two extremely different businesses. The norm is anyone can be a wrestler however, you need to put in the time, dedication and training. This is something I knew Ronda will be able to do however, one thing I am still not convinced is whether she can wrestle. The past year every single match she has been in has been in my opinion somewhat dry and lacking in technique.
Let’s be honest, the only reason she was getting by in this business is the fact when you speak the name Ronda Rousey, there still comes to mind the bad-ass, dominating persona that we all saw in UFC. To fans like myself, that still gives us an incentive to sit down and still watch her matches. She is still an imposing figure whether you like her or not. Another thing that I am not sure she could handle is the WWE Universe.
The WWE Universe
WWE Universe is not exactly like any other sport fans. They cheer who that like and they will boo who they do not like. If a wrestler has a slump or has a bad match, the crowd will eventually let them know “hey, you suck”. That is just the way this particular universe works. This is why character development, story line writing, gear change, entrance music change, or turning heel or even baby face keeps a wrestler marketable and in touch with the WWE Universe.
However, Ronda is somewhat different. She left the UFC after coming to terms with two things: 1) She cannot handle losing and 2) Her technique and fighting skills in the UFC just did not help her cut it with opponents like Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. We all saw this when Holly Holm exposed her by simply fighting fist to fist with her and avoiding submission card Ronda always plays.
We are now seeing this emotional side in which she cannot handle certain outcomes or reactions from the crowd in the WWE. Ronda Rousey coming into the Staples Center for Survivor Series against Charlotte Flair, who was handpicked by ‘THE MAN” Becky Lynch to represent Smackdown, turned her into the automatic enemy to the WWE Universe. You can see the reaction on her face coming into the ring that being greeted her to boo’s was not a reaction she expected. Even through the acting, she could not phantom why the fans were booing her and you can tell, it bothered her on a personal level.
I do not feel that Ronda has completely learned from the devastating losses she experienced in the UFC.
It took Ronda a year to come back to UFC after the first loss and even then so, the results of her comeback weren’t any better as Amanda Nunes knocked her out in the first round.
So if the rumors are true that Ronda is leaving the WWE after WrestleMania 35, it only solidifies that Ronda cannot handle losing or the WWE universe for that matter. She is used to winning and having the crowd and when someone with her ego hasn’t had enough experience with being critique on a negative basis or most importantly, with losing in their respected sport, they can react emotionally and irrationally. In turn, it shows they cannot handle the situation. Take The Miz for example, who embraces his heel and uses it to his advantage. I mean look at where he is now and it is possible he might be going to WrestleMania as a baby face. I actually prefer seeing THE MIZ a heel than a baby face, but either one, he embraces it and it shows through his promos.
Can Ronda Be The Top Star?
Ronda is great but not enough to carry the company in my opinion. There is a lesson that should be taught to every child while growing up and that is “the great ones treat failure as a necessary part of their journey. It’s not win or lose. It’s always win or learn”. Quite frankly, I do not feel Ronda has fully learned from her failures. This is what separates her in this business from the Becky Lynch’s or Charlotte Flair’s or Sasha Bank’s.
It will be interesting to see after the heel turn last night on Monday Night Raw, where Ronda takes this change. However, by the look of the crowd last night, It looked like they were not convinced. Her promos were a little too shaky and one could even argue that some things were spoken out of truth to what she is really feeling about WWE from a business perspective. But again, it will still be interesting to see where this goes leading up to WrestleMania 35.
As far as where I would like to see her, I honestly would like to build Ronda’s character after WrestleMania. I would love for her to stay and have WWE put her in the “underdog” category and see where she can flourish. I have always said that for certain wrestlers, character building should start from the bottom and work their way up. Great example of this, Stone Cold Steve Austin. The way he began was terrible but him being able to stay true to self and basically not give a damn, developed a character that the WWE Universe could relate to. I would love for WWE to develop her into a great heel similar to what they did with Becky. I would love to see her develop more technique in her wrestling that could boost her confidence and see her in some solid one to one competition. One thing I can agree on is her leaving WWE after WrestleMania can only do damage to her character and perception of the WWE Universe.
Andrew’s WWE Raw & SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (3/18 & 3/19/19)
Andrew tries not to gauge his eyes out during WWE Raw. But that’s why Vince invented SmackDown right? Right? Please?
Andrew tries not to gauge his eyes out during WWE Raw. But that’s why Vince invented SmackDown right? Right? Please?
Batista told us what he wanted, what he really really wanted last week. McIntyre is on a mission to single-handedly break apart the Shield and Kofi is going to literally be put through the ringer. So there’s a couple big points to keep both shows interesting.
Or well, there should be.
Let’s just see.
- Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush vs Finn Balor & Braun Strowman: Strowman wins via Running Powerslam – ** ½
- Elias vs No Way Jose: Elias wins via Drift Away – * 1/2
- Kurt Angle vs Chad Gable: Angle wins via Ankle Lock – ** ¾
- Sasha Banks vs Natalya: No Contest – N/A
- Jinder Mahal vs Ricochet: Ricochet wins via 630 Senton – * ¼
- WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey vs Dana Brooke: Ronda retains via Armbar – N/A
- Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews: Crews win via Roll Up – *
- Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre: McIntyre wins via Claymore – *** ½
Heyman says words, talks about how a match with McIntyre is stupid. So McIntyre comes out happy someone acknowledged his imposing force-ness…then the only slightly interesting part here was Seth holding a grudge and attacking McIntyre over and over again with a chair.
A tag match I don’t care about. I mean Braun threw around Lio. And much like I mentioned on Raw Reaction even though I dislike Lio and don’t mind seeing him get used like a chew toy…I equally don’t care about Braun. So when two bland forces of underwhelming meh collide, you can call me Captain Apathy.
Moment of Bliss with Elias. Alexa says this time they won’t get interrupted, they announce Elias as the musical guest and…then get interrupted. Apparently Heavy Machinery is leading Jose’s conga line, and it was a planned bit but they came out too early. So as Alexa scolds, the cheeseburger attacks Elias and reveals himself to be No Way Jose. WHY? It’s his music, his conga line, why did he have to go undercover as the Pentagon Burger, Cero Calories, but mucha mierda.
Now we get a match between Elias, who people used to care about, and Jose who really doesn’t matter. He’s a waste of space with dancers. Apathetic to this match too.
Kurt Angle makes the announcement no one wants to hear. I’m still hoping there’s a swerve at Mania where Angle squashes Corbin and then we get a real match that doesn’t suck. But Chad Gable getting a dream match on Raw is a nice moment.
The match was perfectly fine, would’ve been better with some more time to put together a bigger story and if Angle was 5 years younger, but for what we have to work with, I’m not mad.
This whole Sasha/Bayley/Divas of Doom/Samoan Slaughterhouse…I don’t care. Sasha and Bayley are great, but I have no nostalgic love for Beth Phoenix, Nattie is a charisma vacuum and the Samoans…ugh. Though I agree Nia is prettier than Beth, everything involving these women was painful.
Is it sad I look forward to Mojo screaming at a mirror? He’s one of the more consistent moments that haven’t sucked last few weeks.
Ricochet and Jinder are a prime example of the problem with WWE lately. Jinder has done nothing and most people don’t like or care about him, so fans disengage. Ricochet has no personality. All people know is he can do cool flippy stuff, but you know nothing else…unless you count not being able to cut a promo. So yeah, the crowd was so quiet I thought it was a Japanese show.
Another announcement of a largely worthless but WWE specific award we are supposed to care about. Neat.
Dana died, that’s the summation. Then we got Ronda’s husband laying out security and scooping her up with one arm cause he’s mammoth.
God even Batista’s promo was hard to watch cause Cole was so lame. Batista tried to carry it with tone changes and generally bad ass comments, but it just came off as not saying much.
Hey this was a solid match, and a rather meh episode at least rewarded people who didn’t click away or fall asleep. Rollins falls for the old wrestling trope of faces are weak to entrance music. It’s basically a Pokemon game. *Heel used Rival’s Entrance Music* *Super Effective! Face is confused!* *Heel uses Finisher* *Face Fainted*
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Average, meh, whatever you really want to call it. A few storylines moved forward, a lot of wheel spinning happened but at least Drew went over in the main event. So nothing was awful, but it was just a ton of apathetic…and just pathetic moments.
Expected a little more from a show 20 days out from WrestleMania.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- IIconics vs Bayley & Sasha Banks: Peyton wins via Dirty Pin – * ¾
- Gauntlet Match: **** 1/4
- Kofi Kingston vs Sheamus: Kingston wins via Trouble in Paradise
- Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro: Kofi wins via S.O.S.
- Kofi Kingston vs Rowan: Kofi wins via DQ
- Kofi Kingston vs Samoa Joe: Kofi wins via Cradle
- Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton: Kofi wins via Roll-Up
- Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan: Bryan wins via Knee Plus
Miz is tremendous. This was one of the most impassioned promos he’s ever given and the crowd reacted correctly. Face Miz could really be where the money is at. Great way to start off the show.
Boss and Hug show up to actually answer the IIconics, go figure. The match is non-title and the IIconics pick up a cheeky win, so I guess we’re on the road for a 4 way…or maybe even more…ugh. We’re on the way towards a mess, that’s what we have to look forward to.
Dominick is so much taller than Rey…maybe Eddie really was his father.
KO Show was actually funny. Owens is great and playing them against each other to egg on the brawl, while being mindful of his position so he moves stuff and gets out of the ring. It was all great.
Kofi and Sheamus would’ve been a damn solid match alone, let alone kicking off the gauntlet. The sight gag of more and more faces crowding around the TV to watch was actually cool. The gauntlet played out really well, Rowan purposely getting DQ’d to inflict more damage with weapons made perfect sense as well. Just really really great stuff. Kofi beat the original 5 and then Vince continues to screw Kofi by adding Daniel Bryan at the end. So it’s all good story telling, a really good gauntlet and generally just great way to cap off the show. It was a gut punch to people rooting for Kofi, but also another wrinkle to overcome with a few more weeks til Mania.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Great show. SmackDown is the shining light of hope for WWE main roster. The promos, the stories, the wrestling, just everything flows better and feels more organic. It really does baffle me that there have to be similar people shared on the production teams between shows…and SmackDown feels like a completely foreign animal sometimes.
So even though I think Raw did beat SmackDown twice this year, when SmackDown isn’t slacking for a week it tends to blow Raw out of the water.
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