Wrestlemania weekend officially kicks off with NXT TakeOver:New York.
There are titles on the line in all 5 matches, and there are interesting ways to go with each of those belts. I made my predictions earlier, but now it’s time to see what happens in the ring. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a great night of wrestling!
NXT Tag Titles: War Raiders(c) vs Ricochet & Aleister Black
The War Raiders climbed through the fog covered stage flanked by viking drummers while the crowd chanted “War! War! War!”Next the challengers made their standard entrances also cheered loudly by the incredible Brooklyn audience.
The tattoo count is off the charts as Rowe and Black start the match with a series of lock ups. lots of mutual respect being shown between the four fan favorites. They eventually tag in their partners for some flipping action. Soon all 4 men are in the ring together and the respect gives way to some stiff fighting.
The challengers are of course known for their quickness, but the agility of the larger War raiders never ceases to amaze me. Ricochet shows an amazing feat of strength when he catches Hanson in the middle of a cross body! It’s a flurry of strikes now between Black and Rowe. Ricochet misses a handspring elbow, but Hanson follows up by hitting one. The big vikings get in some double teaming on Ricochet and nearly pin him before Aleister breaks up the count.
Suicide dive. Corkscrew over the top rope. Hanson with a moonsault from the top rope to the outside! Both teams are nearly counted out but Ricochet and Rowe make it back to the ring at the last possible moment. Black Mass to Rowe followed by a 450 splash for a nearfall. The Raiders hit a Thors Hammer and a Fallout on Ricochet and it’s finally enough for the pin.
Winners: War Raiders retain (while the challengers move on leave NXT behind and challenge for the Smackdown Tag Titles on Sunday)
Postmatch hand shakes, hugs and respect between two great teams. The champs leave the ring allowing Ricochet and Black to soak up one last emotional ovation from the NXT crowd.
NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm and recently debuted NXT UK competitor Piper Niven are shown at ringside.
NXT North American Title: Velveteen Dream(c) vs Matt Riddle
Riddle comes to the ring in NY Yankee inspired gear. Dream appears in silhouette looking like the Statue of Liberty. He’s revealed to be perched upon a litter that gets carried to the ring by 4 men.
After taking turns encouraging cheers from the crowd things finally get under way with Riddle getting in some quick strikes and some chain wrestling. Riddle almost locks in an armbar as Dream rolls to the ropes for the break. Riddle continues to display his technical prowess while the champion slips in power moves when he can.
Riddle is on fire with move after move as Dream struggles to keep up. Velveteen sneaks in a German suplex, but it only angers Riddle who fires back with some strong offense. As the original bro gets more aggressive the crowd begins to turn on him. Riddle locks in a triangle armbar. Dream powers out of the hold only to be hit with a pair of knee strikes and a suplex.
Riddle acting heelish as he yells “I’m the bro who runs the show.” This leads to Dream “Hulking up” and hitting Hogan’s signature finishing sequence, but it’s not enough to keep the bro down for the count. Riddle gets an ankle lock, Dream kicks out of it only get caught by the other ankle.
Velveteen hits the Dream valley drop but when he tries to follow with the Purple Rain Maker he gets caught in another armbar. riddle suplexes Dream from the 2nd rope and follows it up with a moonsault but can’t get the pin. he comes close to locking in a Bromission, but Velveteen rolls him into a surprise pin!
Winner: Velveteen Dream retains
Matt Riddle seemed to almost make a heel turn over the course of that match. I thought he was going to make it official with a post match attack on the champion, but instead he applauded and offered a fist bump which Dream reciprocated.
Footage is shown from earlier in the day of Kushida signing his NXT contract alongside Triple H and William Regal. The Japanese star is then shown ringside watching live.
WWE UK Title: Pete Dunne(c) vs Walter
Dunne has maintained his grip on this title for a historic 685 days, but this is by far his greatest challenge.
They start by locking up with the Bruiserweight looking quite strong against a man who outweighs him by at least 100 pounds. Through a series of back and forth holds the champion manages to avoid each of Walter’s large striking attempts… for a while anyway. When the big Austrian’s chops do finally land they make an immediate impact.
Walter places Dunne atop the corner, delivers a huge chop, and then climbs up and puts his boot in the champs face. The big man is firmly in control, but the resilient champion won’t go down without a fight. Dunne gets hold of Walter’s fingers, but the challengers breaks free and hits a big boot that sends the champ out of the ring briefly.
Dunne unleashes a flurry of hands, flips and strikes culminating in a moonsault to the outside. On the way back into the ring the champ climbs the corner. Walter cuts off whatever he had planned, but Dunne adapts and ends up hitting a massive power bomb on the big man. Walter hits a giant drop kick followed by a chop to the back, a suplex and a power bomb, but somehow Dunne kicks out.
Dunne stomps on the challengers hands and hits him with a quick kick. The champ goes up the corner again and again cuts stopped by the challenger sends him flying with another suplex. Walter goes for a chop but Dunne catches his hand and makes a wish with his fingers. Dunne now stomping away at his challenger and manipulating the hands and arms. Walter leaps from the top rope but gets caught in a triangle. He fights out of it, but Dunne has a firm grasp on his fingers. Dunne eventually hits the Bitter End for a nearfall.
Both men are down. Who will recover first. Both men are now up and trading strong blows in the center of the ring. The ref gets them separated and then Walter hits a huge boot. Dunne seems to be down but it doesn’t last… Massive power bomb from the corner followed by a top rope splash and a pin.
After such a long title reign they needed a truly special challenger and a special moment to bring it to an end. This was it. The former champ still looked incredible in defeat and they no longer have the burden of that lengthy title reign to worry about. Dunne was the standard bearer around whom NXT’s UK division was built, but now he can potentially leave it in solid hands while moving on to bigger and better things in NXT Prime or on the Main Roster.
Edge and Beth Phoenix are in the crowd.
NXT Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler(c) vs Bianca Belair vs Io Shirai vs Kairi Sane
Shayna and Bianca quickly throw the Sky Pirates out of the ring and resume the battle they began at the last TakeOver. The Japanese stars don’t allow that to last long before they rejoin the fight though. Io and Kairi begin to fight one another only to be removed from the ring and replaced by the other two women.
It’s Belair vs Sane and then Belair vs Shirai but then the Queen of Spades is back in the mix and taking them all out. The Sky pirates are working together against the other two women, but none of them seem to maintain an advantage for very long. With constant action and 4 participants it’s difficult to capture every moment in a recap.
The champ is trying to lock in a kirafuda clutch on Belair, but Bianca is using her insane strength to fight out of it. The Genius of the sky hits two moonsaults on Baszler and nearly gets the pin before Sane breaks it up. Sane nearly gets a pin next, but this time Io returns the favor. Now the best friends are trying to defeat one another, but here comes Belair with some hair whipsand a double KOD. Before she can pin anyone though she gets caught in another Kirafuda Clutch from the champ and is forced to tap out.
Winner: Shayna Baszler retains
Wow. I thought for sure it was time to move on from Baszler, and I’m really not sure what’s next for the two-time champion. I can’t think of anyone else who feels ready to be a worthy challenger for Shayna except maybe Mia Yim.
NXT Title (currently vacant): Two out of Three Falls: Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole (bay bay)
Gargano is dressed as Iron Man tonight and Cole is escorted to the stage by the rest of Undisputed Era. The crowd is split between the two popular stars (even though Cole is technically a heel).
Quick exchanges of mat wrestling and technical holds get the action under way. Back and forth leap frogs and float overs. With Cole on the outside Gargano dropkicks him through the ropes. On the way back in Cole hits an enzeguri and takes control of the match.
Lots of back and forth, roll ups and pinfall attempts eventually lead to Cole picking up the 1st Fall.
Fall #1: Adam Cole (bay bay)
Gargano struggles to get back to his feet as Cole comes in to try and finish things quickly. Gargano hits an explosive spear on the apron then follows it up with a senton. He needs to get Cole back in the ring, but on the way back in Adam regains control of the match and scores another nearfall.
Both men on the apron now. Johnny hits a step up enzeguri and follows it up with a DDT on the apron. He could potentially have picked up the 2nd fall via count out but instead tried to get Cole back in the ring and gets thrown into the ring post. Back in the ring somehow Gargano finds a way to lock in a Gargano Escape and pick up a submission victory.
Fall #2: Johnny Gargano
Both men back on their feet and trading fists. Gargano hits a step up enzeguri, lawn darts Cole into the corner, and hits a “hurts donuts” for a nearfall. Back on their feet both men are again trading kicks and punches until they both end up flat on the mat.
Superkick to the back of Johnny’s head followed by a straight jacket suplex gets Cole a two count. Superkick from gargano followed by a reverse spike rana and another kick to the face. Cole rolls out of the ring to avoid the pin. Gargano follows him outside and gets suplexed onto the apron hard.
Cole puts Johnny back in the ring but he springs back to life with some amazing offense. It doesn’t last long before Cole gets in some quick, crazy offense of his own for another two count. Cole is getting cocky no and taunting gargano who gets angry and throws his foe over an announce table. However it’s Cole who hits a fairy tale ending on Gargano on the table then scurries back to the ring to await the count out.
Gargano makes it back into the ring at nine and a half only to face another pin attempt, but he somehow kicks out yet again. superkick from Gargano. Superkick from Cole. Gargano Escape locked in, but undisputed era distracts the ref and tries to take out Johnny. Somehow, he ONCE AGAIN manages to kick out of the pin.
Johnny tosses Adam over the ropes onto the UE and takes out all 3 of the interlopers. This gives Cole time to recover though and hit multiple superkicks on gargano who STILL kicks out of a pin! he follows it up with another Gargano Escape and finally gets Cole to tap.
Fall #3; johnny Gargano
Winner and new NXT Champion: Johnny Gargano
Incredible. A three year journey culminates in Gargano finally winning the NXT title and in the process becoming the first triple crown Champion in NXT history. He’s joined in the ring by his wife Candice LaRae to celebrate the victory. Former champion Tomasso Ciampa joined Gargano and LaRae on the stage for a celebratory hug and a beautiful moment between real life friends.
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