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Andrew’s NXT TakeOver New York 2019 Ratings & Analysis

A Friday fastball special with NXT TakeOver! How high did TakeOver set the bar for WrestleMania this year?

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A Friday fastball special with NXT TakeOver! How high did TakeOver set the bar for WrestleMania this year?

An entire TakeOver card filled with championship matches. No Kassius Ohno jobbing this time around!

I think most people are wise to the fact that Black and Ricochet are done with NXT. But aside from that, the rest of the card is completely up in the air.

NXT is always nice since there’s a lack of linear predictability, since most of the time, all opponents have a good story regardless of who wins.

Let’s see what happened!

 

Ratings:

  • NXT Tag Team Championship Match: War Raiders (c) vs Aleister Black & Ricochet: War Raiders retain via Fallout @18:40 – **** 1/2
  • NXT North American Title Match: Matt Riddle vs Velveteen Dream (c): Velveteen Dream retains via Submission Reversal Cradle@17:30 – **** 
  • WWE UK Championship Match: WALTER vs Pete Dunne (c): WALTER wins via Top Rope Splash @25:30 – **** TITLE CHANGE!!!
  • NXT Women’s Championship Match: Kairi Sane vs Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler (c) vs Io Shirai: Baszler retains via Kirifuda Clutch @15:40 – *** 3/4
  • NXT Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano: Gargano wins 2-1 with Garga-NO Escape @38:10 – **** 1/2

 

Analysis:

Yes I saw the pre-show, and yes I think that million dollar challenge was cringe beyond cringe. Stereotypical heel crap from a dude dressed like he was sponsored by Ferrero Rocher isn’t really what I call entertaining.

War Raiders vs Air Strike, most people had to expect a good match, but this was tremendous. The Black Mass/Shooting Star Press combination was close enough to even get me to buy it as a finish. Plus the Space Flying Tiger Drop with the Corkscrew Twist was just pretty. Started off a little slow and clunky, then the spotty outside stuff was forgivable playing into a Double Count Out. If this was really Black and Ricochet’s last match in NXT, they definitely put on a classic.

Dream comes out dressed like the Statue of Liberty and proceeds to get his ass kicked most of this match. Dream was saved by the ring ropes at least 4 times, but a Hulk Up spot from Velveteen Dream, including the Big Boot gave him some life. Riddle had Dream dead to rights numerous times and was getting visibly frustrated and using the extent of the 5 count to try and pepper in a little more offense. After a grounded Final Flash, he locked in the Bromission. His frustration got the best of him, since instead of locking in the move more, he tried to get in a few extra strikes allowing Dream the chance to counter into a cradle. Great match from a story telling and moment perspective. Riddle’s undefeated singles streak is over, and Dream is still the champ. Good times.

Well it was smart this match started off a little slow since two great matches preceded this, so you need to give the crowd a chance to catch their breath. This was a hard hitting affair and we saw both men kick out of the usual finishers and WALTER even do moves from the top rope, which are a rarity from him. Pretty solid match. A few hiccups and one noticeable miscue, but overall a old school brawl that eventually brought the crowd to life.

A lot of interesting story wrinkles came through on this match, and Baszler overcoming the odds was a little unexpected, not gonna lie. Io and Kairi having to break up one another’s pinfall attempts and begrudgingly going after each other was good. Belair’s show of power with the Gorilla Press Toss on Io and the Double KOD on the Joshi stars gave her a nice moment. But Shayna in all of her opportunistic glory, just snuck in and tapped out Bianca. Advantageously, the announcers did point out Io still hasn’t gotten a 1 on 1 opportunity. So I guess we know who’s got the best claim to another shot.

It’s a 2 out of 3 falls match. So there’s a lot that went on. Cole got the first fall with the Last Shot. Gargano got the second fall with the Garga-NO Escape. The third one was crazy, spotty, tons of near falls. Undisputed Era eventually came out to try and put Cole over, but Gargano kept kicking out. Fairytale Ending, Panama Sunrise, reDragon did Total Elimination, another Last Shot…Gargano wouldn’t die. He wiped out the rest of the stable and focused on Cole. Eventually Gargano caught Cole in another Garga-NO Escape, kicked off the rope to put it in the middle, and won the Championship! Crazy match, a little too “indy spotfest” to knock my socks completely off, but still a damn good match.

 

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Great show. Some people will say “of course it was, it was NXT”. NXT isn’t nearly as flawless to me as it is to others. But I can’t find anything bad about this show. The crowd was hot, the matches were fairly crisp, a lot of big moments…just definitely a show to remember. Sets the bar pretty high for all of the shows on WrestleMania weekend.

 


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Mitchell’s Wednesday Night War Review! The End!

The Wednesday Night War… is DONE!

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Wednesday Night War Year 2

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.

Wednesday Night War Chart 5

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!

Wednesday Night Wars Final

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!

Wednesday Night War Winner

 

My Thoughts:

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.


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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!

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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

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)

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 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)

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)

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)

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)

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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