NXT PPV 2019Recaps (PPV/Event)

[PPV Recap] ‘NXT TakeOver: Toronto II’ – Gargano/Cole III, Baszler/Yim

Date:  August 10, 2019
Venue: Scotiabank Arena (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, & Beth Phoenix

NXT TakeOver: Toronto II features The Undisputed Era’s quest to end the night draped in gold, as Adam Cole fights to keep the NXT Championship while Roderick Strong challenges for the North American Title and the team of Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish attempt to reclaim the Tag Team Championship. Also on the show Shayna Baszler puts her Women’s Championship on the line against Mia Yim, Candice LeRae takes on former best friend Io Shirai, and much more!

CHAMPIONS

  • NXT CHAMPION: Adam Cole
  • NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION: The Velveteen Dream
  • NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Shayna Baszler
  • NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)

LINEUP

  • The Street Profits [c] vs. The Undisputed Era for the NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***3/4)
  • Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai (****1/2)
  • The Velveteen Dream [c] vs. Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
  • Shayna Baszler [c] vs. Mia Yim for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
  • 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS: Adam Cole [c] vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP (***3/4)

*****

-Ranallo welcomes the home audience. The Slipknot theme for the event plays as we get us a light/smoke show on the entrance stage. The whole thing I think is sick. Do this more.

-Cut to the announce table where Ranallo, McGuinness, and Phoenix go into hype mode. Phoenix had her WWE tryout in this arena apparently, that’s cool.

The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) [c] vs. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) for the NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

Dueling chants as Dawkins and O’Reilly face off. O’Reilly talks trash, Dawkins shoves O’Reilly into the corner and pats him on the head. O’Reilly slaps him and hides in the ropes to avoid retribution. Dawkins with a double leg takedown, playing O’Reilly’s grapple game to show he can hang. O’Reilly with an ankle pick, Dawkins kicks him off and connects with a shoulderblock. O’Reilly grabs a leg, Fish tags in and Dawkins runs him over. Ford tags in and connects with a dropkick that gets ALL OF THE HEIGHT for the first two-count. The Profits work over Fish’s left arm. Fish with knees and jabs, sending Ford to the floor. O’Reilly tags in and clobbers Ford from behind while Fish distracts him. O’Reilly floats over nothing, Ford with armdrags on both UE members followed by another dropkick. Profits with a double flapjack on Fish, O’Reilly rolls to the apron and drops Dawkins throat-first on the top rope. Ford runs over and waits a long time for Fish to sweep his legs and send him crashing into the apron. Dawkins chases O’Reilly into the ring, Fish tags in and connects with a stun gun. Dawkins splashes O’Reilly, Fish clobbers him and the Undisputed Era are in control.

O’Reilly and Fish do their thing as they wear down Dawkins, O’Reilly utilizing a series of strikes while keeping himself between Dawkins and Ford to prevent any possible tag. Fish hits a couple of high impact moves, including a beautiful Samoan drop, then O’Reilly tags back in for some ground and pound and a front chancery. Dawkins trades forearms, O’Reilly knocks him to the mat with a kick to the leg. Fish tags in, Ford dodges a cheapshot and Fish gets dropped by Dawkins. Ford gets the hot tag, dropping Fish with a leaping lariat. Ford flips out of a suplex and connects with a belly-to-back suplex followed by a flip up and standing Moonsault for the 1…2…not yet. Ford teases a People’s Elbow, O’Reilly grabs his leg and Fish gets backdropped onto his partner. Ford drops O’Reilly from the apron with a PK then hits a urinage on Fish for the 1…2…Fish kicks out. O’Reilly drops Dawkins from the apron, Fish chop blocks Ford and UE hit a DDT into a wheelbarrow throw for the 1…2…Ford barely kicks out. First “THIS IS AWESOME” chant of the show, probably not the last. Ford and Fish fight on the buckles, the former slaps the latter down to the mat. O’Reilly gets involved, Fish crotches Ford on the buckle. Fish with a super exploder suplex, O’Reilly follows up with a flying knee and the Achilles Heel! Ford almost gets to the ropes, Fish splashes him and O’Reilly reapplies the Achilles Lock. Dawkins runs in and DROPS FISH ON O’REILLY’S HEAD WITH A SPINEBUSTER JEEEEESUS. Stop trying to kill Kyle O’Reilly, NXT. He’s precious cargo.

Dawkins gets the tag and it’s time for the hoss to go hossing, almost putting O’Reilly through the mat with an overhead T-Bone suplex. Dawkins charges, O’Reilly with a knee strike and hanging front chancery. Ford tags himself in and breaks it up with a Blockbuster for the 1…2…Fish breaks it up in the nick of time! All four men struggle to their feet and trade forearms in stereo. Fish wipes out Ford, O’Reilly wipes out Dawkins with a knee strike, leaving him and Ford as the last two in the ring. Ford sends O’Reilly and Fish to the floor, following up with a tope con hilo, Dawkins rolls them both in. Dawkins spears both men, Ford with a Frog Splash on O’Reilly for the 1…2…3!

The Street Profits [c] defeated The Undisputed Era to retain the NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS when Montez Ford pinned Kyle O’Reilly with a Frog Splash (16:55)

  • Great match to start the show that only suffered from a few moments of people slowing down and waiting around for big spots to happen. Looks like this won’t be the Undisputed Era’s night after all, interested to see if they all end up losing as the night goes on or if this is the only loss they take. My apologies to the Street Profits for doubting them, they BROUGHT IT here and proved their worthiness as Tag Team Champions. (***3/4)

Johnny Gargano is backstage working out and also admiring a ladder as a potential weapon.

Ricochet is in the crowd checking things out. Hi Ricochet!

-FEUD RECAP: Candice LeRae/Io Shirai. They used to be friends but Shirai was driven insane by her failure to win the Women’s Championship and is now chaotic evil.

Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai

LeRae rushes Shirai but the ref waits to separate them before ringing the bell. Shirai tries a sunset bomb on the floor, LaRae holds on so Shirai trips her up and suplexes her onto the announce table. DANG. LaRae rolls in just in time, Shirai immediately makes her pay with a sliding dropkick and full mount strikes. Shirai with a flapjack followed by another sliding kick, arrogantly covering for a two-count before settling into a chinlock. LeRae with a snapmare followed a flying headscissors but SHIRAI LANDS ON HER FEET and damn near dropkicks LeRae out of her boots. Shirai rams LeRae into the corner and connects with a running Air Raid Crash for the 1…2…LeRae somehow kicks out. LeRae sends Shirai to the apron, Shirai drops her but misses a front-facing missile dropkick. I’m pretty sure Shirai would have been f*cked even if she hit the move. LeRae makes a comeback, hitting a brainbuuuuustah for the 1…2…nope. LeRae with an Octopus hold in the center of the ring. LeRae catches Shirai mid-619 and connects with a neckbreaker but Shirai kicks out of the pinfall attempt. LeRae seats Shirai on the top rope, Shirai dropkicks her and hits the 619 to the BACK OF THE HEAD/NECK. LeRae sends Shirai to the floor and connects with a tope into a DDT. LeRae quickly rolls Shirai in and hits a double stomp to the back for the 1…2…Shirai kicks out! Shirai counters a right hand with a crossface in the center of the ring. LeRae rolls through into a cover for the 1…2…Shirai kicks out. LeRae with a forearm, Shirai goddamn forearms/splashes her against the ropes. LeRae charges, Shirai ducks a clothesline and hits a release German. Shirai charges, LeRae hits a snap German of her own. LeRae with a springboard nothing that Shirai catches into a bridging German for the 1…2…LeRae kicks out.

Shirai with double knees in the corner. LeRae tries a super German but Shirai lands on her feet. Shirai charges, LeRae sends her face-first into the buckles and climbs. Shirai yanks her off, LeRae counters a fireman’s carry with a reverse rana for the 1…2…Shirai kicks out! LeRae with a swinging neckbreaker from the middle buckle for the 1…2…Shirai kicks out again! Second “THIS IS AWESOME” chant of the night as both ladies struggle to recover from the impact. LeRae climbs the buckles, Shirai connects with a palm strike and an AVALANCHE SPANISH FLY for the 1…the 2…the CANDICE LERAE KICKS OUT AND SHIRAI SHRIEKS IN DISBELIEF. Shirai with a double underhook into a backbreaker followed by a Moonsault for the 1…2…LERAE KICKS OUT AGAIN ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? Shirai with a Koji Clutch, LeRae struggles to escape but passes out and that’s that!

Io Shirai defeated Candice LeRae via ref stoppage (15:00)

  • Holy f*ck this match was great. Io Shirai might be the best wrestler on the whole WWE roster, man or woman. Everything she did was beautiful and fluid, and her heel character work was off the charts. I loved it. LeRae rocked here as well, a great underdog in peril performance, and I loved that Shirai was so frustrated about not being able to pin her she just knocked her out instead. HELL YEAH. What a thing. (****1/2)

-Before we can get to the next match out comes Matt Riddle through the crowd with a live mic. Riddle calls out Killian Dain to fight him face to face…BRO. Riddle/Dain was supposed to be the main event of Wednesday’s show but Dain attacked him before it could happen. Dain also shows up through the crowd and a brawl breaks out at ringside. Dain hits Riddle with a pump kick, officials try to break things up. Dain tries to leave, Riddle runs up and attacks him to keep it going. Dain goes for a clothesline, Riddle with a ripchord knee to bring Dain to one knee and another knee to knock him down proper. More officials and security and whatnot to separate them a second time. Riddle attacks the security team with knees and kicks and a Bro 2 Sleep. This gives Dain the opening to hit a crossbody, he’s torn away by five security guys who HE then beats up. Riddle with a chokehold, Dain briefly breaks it using the LED screen but Riddle climbs back up so Dain takes him and a random security guy with him off the stage and through a conveniently-placed table.

-EVOLVE Champion Austin Theory is in the crowd. Nice. I’m fine with more EVOLVE shows on the Network, ClubWWN is a sh*tshow.

-THE GODDAMN F*CKING MOUNTIE THEME FROM THE 90S HITS AS A BUNCH OF FOLKS IN MOUNTIE OUTFITS COME MARCHING OUT. That was the sh-oh now it’s the Toronto Raptors dance team?!? Uhhh not as cool. Oh wait it’s to introduce The Velveteen Dream so now it’s cool again. I’m going through so many emotions right now.

The Velveteen Dream [c] vs. Roderick Strong vs. “The Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne for the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Dream plays mind games with Dunne, Strong wants them to pay attention to him. Strong clotheslines Dream to the floor and goes after Dunne. Dunne belts Strong with a lariat and bends the digits back. Strong avoids having his fingers stomped but gets clotheslined to the floor by Dream. Dream and Dunne meet face to face, Dream removing his suspenders because he means business. Before they can fight Strong pulls Dunne to the floor and rams him into the apron. Dream with rights in the corner mount and a leaping double axhandle on Strong. Dream tries for a Sharpshooter but Strong easily fights him off. Dunne re-enters the match, connecting with a forearm and sending Strong into Dream who dropkicks his head off. Dream sets up Strong’s arm so a semi-reluctant Dunne can stomp it. Dunne backdrops Strong to the floor. Dunne turns his attention to Dream and they jockey for position, countering one another until Dunne catches him in a cross armbreaker. Dream shifts his weight to turn it into a pinning attempt, Dunne kicks out. Dream escapes the Bitter End but Strong grabs his legs and rams him jewels-first into the post. Strong with backbreakers to Dream and Dunne and sends the latter into the former with a urinage! Strong rolls Dunne in and connects with a beautiful belly-to-back suplex for a two-count followed by a bow and arrow-type submission. Strong and Dunne have themselves a slap fight, broken up with a knee from the former which leads into a backbreaker for the 1…2…Dunne kicks out and Dream goes after Strong, connecting with a Russian Legsweep and lateral press for a two-count. Dream with a backbreaker on Strong followed by a forearm drop from the middle buckle and THE SHARPSHOOTER which pops the Toronto crowd.

Dunne breaks it up with a dropkick to the back of Dream’s head. Dream dodges a pescado on the floor but eats a right hand. Strong hits Dream with a wrecking ball dropkick, Dunne flattens them both a Moonsault and all three men are down. Dream had to speed his way over to make sure he was part of that, and that was funny. Back in the ring Dunne sends Dream into Strong and hits a snap German on both, sending Strong into Dream. Dunne covers Dream for the 1…2…not yet. Dunne stomps both Dream and Strong, the duo fight him off and forge a temp alliance with right hands. They realize what they’re doing and start hitting each other. Dunne joins in, everybody kicks everybody and the crowd goes wild. Dunne stomps both Dream and Strong’s hands. More superkicks, Dream hits the Dream Valley Driver on Dunne, Strong hits Dream with the Olympic Slam, Dunne hits Strong with an X(Ex?)-Plex and all three are down once again. Dream blocks a Superplex attempt from Dunne. Dunne grabs the fingers, Strong belts Dunne with a kick and climbs up to meet them on the buckle. Strong hits a Super Olympic Slam while Dunne almost pulls Dream’s arm out of his socket with an armdrag. Strong clears Dream from the ring, Dunne traps him in a Triangle but he breaks it with a backbreaker. Dunne counters the Tiger Bomb with another Triangle Choke attempt. They back into the corner and DREAM HITS A COAST TO COAST ELBOWDROP ON DUNNE.

Strong with knee strikes to Dream and Dunne and a series of running forearms to both men. Strong spikes Dream, Strong sends Dunne into him with a Tiger Driver and we’ve got a DOUBLE STRONGHOLD Y’ALL. Strong can’t keep it going though and falls to the mat in exhaustion. Dunne grabs Strong’s hand, Dream superkicks Strong’s head into Dunne. Dream tries a double Dream Valley Driver but Dunne grabs the fingers. Strong knees Dream, Dunne grabs both their hands and snaps them fingies. Dunne hits the Bitter End on Strong and covers for the 1…2…Dream stops the hand from slapping a third time. An angry Dunne goes a stomping, driving his skull into the canvas. Strong avoids a PK and hits a series of forearms. Dunne kicks Strong, Strong rolls through another kick attempt into a Boston Crab, transitioning into the Strong Hold. Dream throws Strong to the floor and hits the Dream Valley Driver on Dunne. Strong throws Dream to the floor and hits the End of Heartache, Dream knocks Strong off with a splash and covers Dunne for the 1…2…3! OH SNAP!

The Velveteen Dream [c] defeated Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne to retain the NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP (17:26)

  • Helluva match with a great closing stretch. Dream and Strong both trying to take advantage of the other’s work to get the win was super fun. I thought Dream wasn’t getting out of this one with the title in-tact so I’m pleasantly surprised. Undisputed Era are now 0-2 for the night, Adam Cole must be getting nervous. (***1/2)

-NXT Champion Adam Cole is putting the wrist tape as the main event draws near.

-FEUD RECAP: Shayna Baszler/Mia Yim. Yim took out Baszler’s two MMA buddies to get to Baszler, but Baszler isn’t fazed because she’s the goddamn bully alpha.

Mia Yim enters, flanked by her bandana-wearing friends. She’s bringing the STREET CRED or something. As a white man from the affluent suburbs this frightens and confuses me.

Shayna Baszler [c] vs. Mia Yim for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

Baszler with a top wristlock, Yim grabs her nose so Baszler trips her, confused at what her opponent is doing. Yim trips Baszler and arrogantly kicks at her. Baszler goes for a cross armbreaker, Yim FISH HOOKS HER and grabs the hair until she can get to the ropes. Yim with back to back armdrags into an armbar. Baszler with an Irish whip, Yim with a rana and a corner cannonball. Baszler bails to the floor and counters a tope something with a right hand. Yim counters a whip and sends Baszler shoulder-first into the steps. Yim goes to work on the limb, trapping it behind the steps and dropkicking the steel. Baszler trips a charging Yim and kicks her in the back of the head, but stalls so he can get a break to let her right arm heal. Baszler uses her “educated feet” to compensate, with step-up knee strikes and kicks. Baszler tries to do the arm stomp thang but Yim slaps her. Baszler pummels Yim and puts it back into position for THE STOMP ON THE LEFT ARM. Baszler with a key lock, Yim escapes so Baszler hits her with a forearm…using her own injured arm which was a mistaaaake. Baszler with a standing armbar, bending the fingers back for extra torque. Yim breaks it with a handful of hair but runs right into a clothesline and the champ is back in control, though she hurt her own arm once again and takes too long to cover, only getting a two-count. Yim kicks Baszler’s arm, Baszler responds with a dropkick for the 1…2…Yim kicks out once more. Yim escapes another hold by ripping at the eye and connects with a backdrop driver. Yim with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, Baszler rolls to the floor and Yim makes her pay with a tope suicida. Back in the ring Yim connects with a tornado DDT for the 1…2…Baszler kicks out.

Baszler with a knee strike followed by a PK for the 1…2…Yim kicks out. Baszler charges in the corner, Yim flapjacks her into the buckle and applies a Tarantula in the ropes until the ref forces the break. Yim to the top, Baszler kicks her and climbs up. Baszler can’t hit a suplex due to her hurt arm, Yim takes advantage with an avalanche sunset bomb for the 1…2…BASZLER BARELY GETS A SHOULDER UP. Yim goes to follow up, Baszler applies a Kirifuda Clutch but Yim targets the injured arm and breaks with a headbutt. Yim sets Baszler’s arm up and STOMPS IT. Yim follows up with a PK into a cross armbar, but Baszler fights to keep her fingers locked. Baszler slides out and it’s back to the Kirifuda Clutch! Yim breaks it by bending the arm so Baszler switches a LEG TRIANGLE and Yim taps!

Shayna Baszler [c] defeated Mia Yim via submission with a Leg Triangle to retain the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (14:35)

  • Shayna Baszler’s title reign survives another day, much to the delight of probably just me. I love watching her work, and how she finds ways to pull out victories even when it looks like her opponent has found the winning formula. Yim was good here, I liked her using “street smarts” or whatever like fish hooking to throw Baszler off her game, trying a strategy that hadn’t been used before. Wasn’t enough but that’s life. (***)

-WWE UK Champion WALTER and his TakeOver: Cardiff opponent Tyler Bate are in the crowd hanging out. WALTER is very stoic and I love it.

-FEUD RECAP: Johnny Gargano/Adam Cole. Gargano beat Cole in a 2 out of 3 Falls match in New York to win his first NXT Championship, Cole beat Gargano at TakeOver XXV to win HIS first NXT Champion. Now they’re battling in another 2 out of 3 Falls match, each fall with its own stipulation.

Johnny Gargano is in Wolverine cosplay for his entrance. Dork. Just kidding he rules.

2 OUT OF 3 FALLS
Adam Cole [c] vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP

First fall, decided by Cole, is a traditional wrestling match. Gargano and Cole trade holds to start and dodge each other’s finishers, almost teasing superkicks but they realize it’s pointless and reset instead. Gargano breaks clean in the corner, Cole kicks him down and Gargano dodges a Panama Sunrise. Gargano fakes Cole out and hits a rana followed by a clothesline to the floor. Gargano with a dropkick through the ropes. Gargano goads Cole into kicking the ring steps and sends him knee-first into the apron. Gargano goes to work on the limb, the one Cole uses for the Last Shot. Cole pulls Gargano out to the floor and sends him back-first into the apron via wheelbarrow throw. Cole goes to work, connecting with a neckbreaker but Gargano kicks out at one so Cole switches to a headscissors. Gargano bridges up for the 1…2…Cole shifts his weight and Johnny Wrestling crashes back to the mat. Cole charges, Gargano sends him into the buckles with a release overhead belly-to-belly. Both men trade forearms, Gargano with back-to-back clotheslines and a running corner chop. Gargano with a roll-through kick, Cole counters the slingshot spear, Gargano counters a DDT and hits a cradle brainbuster for the 1…2…Cole kicks out. Gargano with a double stomp to Cole’s knee, causing the champ to scream in pain and Gargano quickly follows up with a Figure Four Leglock. Cole escapes and catches Gargano with a back elbow. Gargano fights out of a fireman’s carry, Cole dodges an enzuigiri and hits a wheelbarrow suplex, bridging for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out. Both men trade kicks, Gargano counters the Panama Sunrise with a sunset driver for the 1…2…Cole kicks out! Both men fight on the buckles, Cole tries an avalanche Panama Sunrise but lands awkwardly on his knee. Gargano takes flight, Cole with a Codebreaker followed by a Michinoku Driver for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out!

Gargano and Cole block and block and then take one another down with a double clothesline. Cole counters a tope suicida attempt with a kick to the head. Gargano counters a wheelbarrow and sends Cole into the barricade. Back in the ring Gargano hits a DDT for the 1…2…Cole kicks out and bails to the floor. Gargano with a kick, back inside Cole counters a slingshot spear with a kick, Ushigoroshi for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out! Cole stomps Gargano and argues with the ref, then grabs a chair from the timekeeper’s area. The ref argues and takes the chair, allowing Cole to hit Gargano with a low-blow behind his back for the 1…2…GARGANO KICKS OUT. Aw man. Cole sits in the chair and talks trash to Gargano as he struggles to get to his feet. Cole folds the chair back up and throws it away to get in the ref’s face. Cole turns into a superkick from Gargano, Gargano grabs the chair and HITS COLE WITH IT! THE REF CALLS FOR THE DQ!

Adam Cole defeated Johnny Gargano via DQ to go up 1-0

Gargano shrugs it off and wrecks Cole with the chair a few more times. The ring announcer announces that the second fall is a Street Fight where anything goes. Bell rings, Cole bails but Gargano throws the chair at him and hits a tope suicida. They brawl into the crowd, Gargano hitting Cole with someone’s overpriced drink and taking a selfie with someone’s cell phone. Ha. Cole fights back but walks right into a superkick. Gargano puts Cole in a rolling chair and sends him crashing into production equipment. They fight back to ringside and Gargano puts Cole through the barricade with a splash. Gargano clears the announce table and butterflies the arms, Cole escapes and rakes the eyes. Cole with a double underhook, Gargano counters and puts Cole through the SPANISH announce table with a backdrop. Cole is rolled into the ring and Gargano introduces a table into the squared circle as well as a few more chairs for flavor. Back in the ring Cole with a standing Shining Wizard followed by an Ushigoroshi into a chair for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out. Cole superkicks Gargano’s leg, Gargano kicks Cole and throws Cole into a chair with a Hurts Donut. Gargano Escape and Cole quickly taps.

Johnny Gargano defeated Adam Cole via submission with the Garga-No Escape, tied 1-1

Third fall time, which is an EVIL CAGE WITH WEAPONS ATTACHED. The cage lowers, Cole is terrified while Gargano is all smiles. Replay of how the other two falls were decided while the refs try to get the cage in place. Only way to win this is via pinfall or submission. This is gonna be decisive AF.

Bell rings and the two trade forearms, Cole hits a pair of kicks and Gargano responds with a spinning clothesline. Gargano pulls a kendo stick off the cage, Cole superkicks him and grabs the other kendo stick. They tee off on each other and fall victim to a double superkick. Ooop now the WWE Network stream is chugging, fair enough. Gargano hits a hurricanrana followed by a poison rana and a superkick for the 1…2…Cole gets the shoulder up. Gargano sets up a table, Cole drills him with a chair. Cole rips a chair off the cage but not all the way and he sends Gargano head-first into it. Cole grabs a kendo stick and connects with a backstabber while it’s wrapped under the jaw for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out. Cole sets up two chairs, Gargano sprays him with a fire extinguisher and hits a tornado DDT ON THE GODDAMN EDGE OF THE CHAIR for the 1…2…Cole kicks out and the ref immediately checks on him. Gargano don’t care though, wrecking him with multiple kendo stick shots. He throws away the broken stick and goes for the Sledgehammer that’s zip-tied to the cage. Cole fights him, Gargano with an avalanche sunset bomb for the 1…2…Cole kicks out again! Gargano grabs the sledgehammer (I wonder who put that there?!?), Cole stops Gargano from using it with a pair of superkicks. Cole climbs the buckles and launches a ladder at Gargano. Gargano dodges, Cole with PANAMA SUNRISE for the 1…2…GARGANO KICKS OUT. Cole sets up the ladder and hits another PANAMA SUNRISE for the 1…2…Gargano kicks out once again!!!

Frustrated, Cole whacks Gargano with a kendo stick and goes for the Last Shot on his knee that’s apparently not as injured as it was before but Gargano flops to the mat. Cole sets up a chair and sets Gargano on it to keep him up. Gargano dodges and Cole hits the Last Shot on nothing but steel! Gargano applies an STO with the kendo stick, Cole escapes by biting him. Gargano sets up the ladder in the corner and two tables in front. Gargano climbs the ladder, Cole rolls off the tables so Gargano makes him pay with a kendo stick to the kidneys. HIS KIDNEYS HIS KIDNEYS. Gargano with a SUPER CANADIAN DESTROYER for the 1…2…Cole gets his shoulder up! Gargano grabs pliers (?!?) and snips off some of the barbed wire on top of the cage. Cole stares at Gargano in disbelief and hops to the top of the cage to get away from the barbed wire. He ends up on top of a table laid across the cage corner. Gargano follows him up via the ladder, a “PLEASE DON’T DIE” chant breaking out. Gargano and Cole trade rights, Cole blocks the barbed wire AND THEY BOTH FALL THROUGH THE TABLE IN THE RING! Cole drapes an arm over Gargano for the 1…2…3!

Adam Cole [c] defeated Johnny Gargano 2 Falls to 1 to retain the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP (51:00)

  • I appreciate the story, the callbacks, the fact these two men knew each other so well that it was counter city for the first fall. I liked Gargano causing a DQ so he could get to the Street Fight portion and wreck Cole, I liked the brutality of the final fall. BUT HOLY F*CK IT DID NOT NEED TO BE 51 MINUTES LONG. The first fall was a fine wrestling match that dragged, made worse by the fact we all knew this bitch was going three falls, and I was already exhausted when that finally ended. The Street Fight portion was cool and had some good moments, but the final fall. That’s where it was at. The brutality and desperation both men displayed, with some crazy ass spots to boot. I f*cking loved that. If this match had been just that I would have been thrilled. But 51 MINUTES TO GET TO THAT? Nah man. Not my jam. Watch the final fall most definitely, rest of it honestly is fine but you can skip it unless you really need the build. I’m not sure what else they can do with this feud, so let’s hope this is the end of things and Gargano gets called up to…I don’t know, lose in two minutes to a distraction roll-up or something. (***3/4)

The cage lifts and The Undisputed Era help him to the entrance stage and he poses with the title as the show concludes.

*****

FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s a TakeOver, of course it ruled. I’m sure a lot of folks will love that main event, and rightly so, but for me personally that was too much of a time investment for one match. I appreciated the build and the final fall was ***** on its own but overall…nah man. For my money Shirai and LeRae had the match of the night, a total surprise (for me) but a welcome one. Io Shirai should be Universal Champion. TakeOver delivers as usual, but don’t feel guilty for using the FF button here and there.

 

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