NXT Takeover: In Your House
For the first time in 25 years, In Your House is back, and under the Black & Gold Brand! We have an absolutely STACKED card, headlined by the Backlot Brawl between Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship! Welcome to the FIRST EVER NXT Takeover: In Your House!
Heavy metal powerhouse Code Orange opens the show with a live performance of the theme for Takeover, “Underneath”, and we have the original In Your House stage! Love the callback to the past, and it also means that there’s a good chance that set will come into play in one of the matches tonight.
Six Woman Tag Match – Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Candice LeRae – Nox wins for her team with the Shiniest Wizard
No love lost between any of these six women, and they bring the hard hitting straight from the opening bell. As the action breaks down after multiple tags, the faces all hit diving takedowns on the heels, capped off by a Molly Go Round dive from Nox! The heels get the advantage back after a distraction from Kai, allowing Gonzalez to run interference and take out Blackheart.
After the illegal tactics, Shotzi is held down by Dakota, who keeps Blackheart pinned in the opponent’s corner, allowing tags from Raquel and Candice to wear out the TCB warrior. Shotzi eventually breaks free, tagging in Mia Yim, who comes in like a house of fire on Candice LeRae.
After more hectic action, Yim and LeRae battle outside, and make their way through the “garage” and backstage, leaving it a two on two contest. Gonzalez and Kai try to work some double team action, but Nox breaks free, causing Kai to pump kick Gonzalez in the face. Blackheart and Nox dispose of Gonzalez, Shotzi hits Dakota with an assisted Sliced Bread, then Tegan takes her out with the Shiniest Wizard to pick up the win.
Fun opener, allowing all six women to showcase their abilities. Gonzalez continues to grow with her intimidation and in ring skills, and after what transpired, seems that the seeds could be planted for a separation from Dakota Kai. The story between Mia Yim and Candice LeRae most likely isn’t over, as they didn’t have any closure to their feud after brawling to the back. Felt a bit rushed, just to get everyone to get their spots in, but that didn’t take anything away from it.
Damian Priest vs. Finn Balor – Balor wins with the Coup de Gras
Balor wastes no time going after the Archer of Infamy, hitting him with a shotgun dropkick to send the big man outside. Priest is furious, as he gets back in the ring to allow the match to begin. From there, Balor’s aggression takes over, and he takes it to Priest with stomps and kicks.
Priest recovers and takes Balor out with a throw into the steel steps. Outside the ring, Priest shows his intentions of taking Balor out for good, with a sidewalk slam on the ring apron. Stiff elbows from Priest keep Balor grounded, and as Balor tries to fight back, Priest takes Balor down with a leaping Flatliner.
Priest slows the action down, keeping Balor down with a neck vise, talking trash to the Prince. Balor fights back, and his emotions take over and he takes Priest outside. Balor attempts to go for a tope con hiro, but Priest slows him with a lethal lariat. Priest goes for a suplex, but Balor counters with a high angle Brainbuster.
More counters back and forth, and now the action really picks up. Both guys hitting high power offense, with Priest eventually getting the advantage with a Razor’s Edge on the ring apron to Balor. Priest is in control, with multiple flying elbows on Balor in the corner. Balor comes back with a Slingblade, but Priest comes back again with a pair of roundhouse kicks.
Finn counters again with another shotgun dropkick, then he goes up top, looking for the Coup de Gras, but Priest stops him and takes him down with a top rope choke bomb! What a match! Both guys are on the mat, trying to recover, but Priest makes it to his feet first. The Archer of Infamy tells the ref that he’s not stopping the match, as he eyes the steel stairs outside. Priest tries to set up for the Razor’s Edge from the apron to the steps, but Balor takes him out with a stiff elbow, causing Priest to fall to the steps hard!
Priest barely makes it back into the ring, but Balor goes up top to hit the foot stomp on the back of Priest’s neck. Balor goes up again and hits the Coup de Gras to pick up the victory! These guys left it all out there! What a war that they had! Fantastic stuff!
NXT North American Championship – Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano
Johnny makes his entrance from his “house” through the door on the stage, locking the door and dropping the key into his tights, which was absolutely hilarious. Lee comes out through the garage, exuding confidence. The match starts off with Gargano trying to go after the injured hand and eye of the champ, but Lee easily fights him off. Lee and Gargano try to trade punches and roundhouse kicks, but Lee shows his agility and dodges the offense.
Gargano takes Lee outside and goes for a dive, but is caught by the champ. Lee goes for a powerbomb on the steps, but Gargano wriggles away. Johnny tries to attack Keith with a pump kick, but misses and kicks the stairs, angering the big man. Gargano tries to run back through the door, but of course it’s locked. With the camera angle being shown from the security camera, Lee stalks Gargano and slams him into the door, followed by the Grizzly Magnum chops.
Back in the ring, Gargano takes the advantage by targeting the injured left hand of Keith Lee. Multiple stomps and hand cranks start to weaken the champ. Gargano even goes to his shady side by removing the covering from the turnbuckle and wrenching the left hand of Lee around it. Gargano slows the pace by going for a Cobra Clutch. Lee works to fight out, but Gargano goes back for the eye and stomps down the champ.
“Johnny Sucks” chants break out as Gargano continues to work on the grounded Lee. The champ makes it back to his feet, but Gargano’s speed allows him to evade the attacks. Gargano goes for the slingshot spear, but Lee swats him down and hits him with a hangman’s neckbreaker. Lee’s hand is clearly hurt, as he winces with every strike, but the southpaw improvises with stiff left elbow shots on Gargano.
Lee sends Gargano into the ropes and goes for a pop up Spirit Bomb, but Gargano counters with an armbar, still woorking on the left hand. Lee hoists up Gargano with ONE ARM and drops him to the mat. Lee’s strength advantage starts to take over, as he powers Gargano into another powerbomb position, but Gargano once again goes after the injured hand.
Gargano tries to go for the Gargano Escape takedown, but Lee fights off and hits a one armed Spinebuster. Johnny escapes to the outside, causing the champ to give chase, tossing the challenger back into the ring. Gargano takes down Lee with a diving tornado DDT, but Lee is out, and the ref starts the 10 count. Gargano breaks the count, then goes back outside, but is body checked right through the plexiglass! HOLY ****!
Lee easily carries the lifeless body of Gargano back to the ring, and Candice LeRae runs out to try and stop the Limitless One. With the distraction, Gargano goes for the hidden key and gouges at the eye of Lee, then hits the One Final Beat, but only gets a two! Multiple superkicks, multiple kickouts, and Keith Lee won’t quit! Gargano trash talks Lee, but Lee tosses Gargano up for a devastating pair of Spirit Bombs, followed by the Big Bang Catastrophe to retain the title.
What a fantastic story that both guys told in this match. Keith Lee was brilliant in selling the injuries to his hand and eye, and Johnny Gargano tried multiple times to be as shady as he could to take down the champ, to no avail. And as Beth Phoenix said, a new GIF was born with Johnny being pounced through the plexiglass. Awesome match!
NXT Championship – Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream (Backlot Brawl) – Cole wins with the Panama Sunrise
The Backlot Brawl setting is a ring set up outside Full Sail University, with various superstars in their vehicles. Adam Cole rides up in a souped up truck decked out in Undisputed Era colors, while Dream shows up in a yellow Lamborghini, dressed up as Negan from The Walking Dead, Lucille in hand. Referee Drake Younger tells the men that the only reason he’s there is to count the pinfall, and for the competitors to enjoy their spotlight.
Dream goes for a series of roll up pins, but can’t get the champ pinned, and Cole is incensed. Cole beats down Dream, and says he doesn’t deserve the title shot, saying he’s leaving as he gets into a vehicle. Dream grabs the baseball bat and wails on the car, causing Cole to get out and bring the fight. A random vehicle pulls up, and a womans asks, “Did someone call for an Uber?” Drake tells the woman to leave, and the fight continues.
Cole gets away from Dream, and as Dream pursues the champ, he is met with a fire extinguisher blast. The competitors fight their way back to the makeshift ring, bouncing between vehicles. Cole beats Dream down and continues his trash talking, but Dream attacks Cole and throws him into the ring post. Dream goes for an axe handle smash, but is met with a superkick from Cole. Cole then goes for a Panama Sunrise, but he is also met with a superkick from Dream.
Dream powerslams Cole onto the hood of a vehicle, then grabs a ladder. Dream goes up top, but is distracted by the blaring horn from Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish. Cole fights up the ladder, but is knocked down by Dream, falling through the windshield. Strong and Fish beat down Dream, then go to check on Cole. The champ tells them that they know what to do, and Strong and Fish proceed to fill the ring with steel chairs from the back of Cole’s truck.
Strong goes to grab another chair from rinigside, but is met by Dexter Lumis, who beats down the UE boys. Lumis loads them into the trunk of the car and speeds off, leaving the match even once again. Cole tries to recover from the crash through the windshield while Dream waits in the ring. Cole gets to the top rope, and goes for another Panama Sunrise, but Dream counters with the Dream Valley Driver.
Dream makes his way up top as Cole is set up on a seated chair, and Dream nails him with a Purple Rainmaker, but Cole kicks out! Dream stalks Cole and tells him that “every era is meant to end”, but is met by a low blow, followed by the Panama Sunrise on the pile of steel chairs, which is enough for Cole to retain his championship.
I loved the presentation of this match, which had the feeling of the Boneyard Match from Wrestlemania combined with the One Final Beat between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. I never expected Dream to beat Cole to take the title, but he really brought the fight to the champ, and now it appears that there’s a “call-up” in his future.
Karrion Kross vs. Tommaso Ciampa – Kross wins with the Kross Jacket
As much as I have loved the entrance of Karrion Kross, the NXT wrestlers at ringside chanting “Fall and Pray” really took away from it. They had no emotion while chanting, and it weakened the presentation big time.
Kross and Ciampa stare down in the middle of the ring, then Ciampa delivers a series of stiff shots, but Kross no sells and takes down Ciampa with a side suplex. After fighting outside, Ciampa tries to take out Kross with the Willow’s Bell, but is quickly overpowered. Kross mercilessly takes out Ciampa with a rising knee, then takes him outside and tosses him into the ring apron.
Kross dominates Ciampa back in the ring with multiple suplexes, then taunts Ciampa, begging the Sicilan Psychopath to hit him. Ciampa tries to fight back, but Kross takes him down with a vicious clothesline. Ciampa starts to fight back, with a series of strikes, then a step up enzuigiri and flash knee, sending Kross outside. Kross gets caught with the Willow’s Bell as he goes back into the ring, then another flash knee.
Ciampa goes for the Fairytale Ending, but Kross counters with a fireman’s carry toss. Kross then hoists up Ciampa and locks in the Kross Jacket, causing Ciampa to pass out. Wow, I did not expect Kross to be so dominant against Ciampa. This is how you make an impact in your first Takeover match, taking out the Psycho Killer.
NXT Women’s Championship – Charlotte Flair vs. Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley (Triple Threat Match) –
The last time women main evented Takeover, October 2015. This is history in the making. Charlotte quickly rolls out and tells Io and Rhea to go at it. “You don’t go here” chants break out as Rhea and Io lock up, then Charlotte sneaks in with a quick takedown on Rhea before sneaking back out. Charlotte goes back and pins Rhea in the corner, then Io takes Charlotte down, but Charlotte overpwers both women and takes the early advantage.
Charlotte says this is her house, then dishes out knife edge chops to both Rhea and Io. The challengers gang up and beat the champ down, then Ripley headbutts Shirai and turns her focus to Flair. Ripley goes for a rolling senton on Flair from the apron, but Charlotte dodges and then throws Rhea into the barricade. Shirai comes from behind and takes out Flair with a flying hurricanrana from the apron. Charlotte powers back and throws Io into the barricade next to Rhea, maintaining her advantage.
Back in the ring, Flair taunts Shirai, but Io fights back, then goes off the ropes with a cartwheel and dropkick attempt, but Charlotte counters into a Boston Crab. Shirai fights out, and Ripley charges in with a series of vicious dropkicks. Shirai comes back with a dropkick and Tiger Feint Kick on Flair, followed by a quesadora then a double foot stomp for a near fall. Ripley gets back in the ring and goes for an Okada Roll attempt on Shirai, who works out of the hold, then Shirai and Ripley knock each other down with right hands.
Shirai and Ripley try to get their feet, but Flair rushes in with a double spear. Flair goes for a pin on each woman, but only gets a two count. Charlotte lines up both women and goes for a top rope moonsault, but eats the knees of Ripley. Shirai goes for a roll up, but Ripley hoists Shirai up for the Riptide,which Shirai counters. Io locks in the crossface on the champ, but Rhea breaks it up. Charlotte recovers with the Queen’s Boot on Rhea for another near fall.
Charlotte goes for Natural Selection, but Rhea counters with a face first toss. Shirai then hits a springboard dropkick on Ripley, then the double knees on Ripley, immediately followed by Natural Selection on Shirai from Flair. Wow, the action is so fast-paced! Rolling crucifix from Shirai on Flair, countered by the Figure Eight. Ripley pulls Flair out of the ring and they battle it out, then Shirai goes for a suicide dive and takes out Ripley.
Flair takes Shirai out by tossing her through the stage set, then Ripley throws a potted plant into the champ’s face. Flair and Ripley continue to battle against the barricade, but Shirai is atop the set, and the Joshi Judas takes out Flair and Ripley with a flying splash! This is nuts! Shirai gets Flair back in the ring, then goes up top. Ripley slows Shirai down with a punch, then Rhea dodges a spear attempt from Charlotte, sending the Queen outside.
Ripley goes for the Superplex on Shirai, but Io fights through, then takes the dominant position. Shirai goes for the Frankensteiner, but Ripley catches her, and Charlotte boots Io in the face. Charlotte attacks the prone Rhea atop the corner, but Ripley fights back and hits the avalanche Riptide! Ripley goes for the pin, but Shirai breaks the pinfall attempt at 2.99!
Rhea and Io battle in the middle of the ring, and Ripley locks in the Prism Trap on Shirai. Flair brandishes a kendo stick and takes out both women. Flair hits the spear on Ripley, then locks in the figure four, transitions into the figure eight, and just as Ripley is about to tap, Io Shirai hits Ripley with a top rope moonsault, breaking the submission attempt from Flair and getting the pinfall on Ripley, and we have a new NXT Women’s Champion!
What a barnburner of a match! And what a fantastic finish! All the women brought it hard in this one, and it deserved the main event slot! Congrats to Io Shirai on capturing her first NXT Women’s Championship.
Man, what a show! Every match brought the fight and the emotion. In real time, the only thing I had a complaint about was the Kross vs. Ciampa match. But in hindsight, it makes perfect sense for Kross to absolutely dominate Ciampa to prove that he belongs. And now, with Takeover in the rear view mirror, we can look to see what the future holds for guys like Velveteen Dream, who is rumored to be moving to Raw or Smackdown. Who’s next to challenge Adam Cole? Does Charlotte stick around and go after Io Shirai to get the title back? We’ll have to tune in this week to see!
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