Takeover: New York
Date: April 5, 2019
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
We’re finally in the big city for what might be the best show of the weekend (I’m looking at you ROH/G1. Impress me.) with a new NXT Champion guaranteed in the main event. Other than that we have all title matches up and down the card with the United Kingdom Title on the line as well. I guess I can deal with this if I have to. Let’s get to it.
We open with a look at the history of Takeovers (and Arrival) before getting to tonight’s card. The history was rather quick and that’s fine in something like this.
Tag Team Titles: War Raiders vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet
The Raiders are defending and come out with vikings beating on drums because they’re awesome that way. Ricochet and Black won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to get the shot. Black and Rowe start things off and they actually go technical with Rowe taking him down but not throwing a right hand at a downed opponent. Back up and Black puts his foot on the side of Rowe’s head as the mind games continue. They bump fists and it’s off to Hanson vs. Ricochet, much to the fans’ delight.
Ricochet goes with the speed and sends Hanson outside, leaving Rowe to take a dropkick. Black moonsaults to the middle and has a seat next to Ricochet as the NXT chants go up again. Back in and the pace quickens with Hanson sitting on Ricochet’s chest in the corner, setting up a slam to drop Rowe onto him again. With Ricochet mostly crushed, Rowe starts in on Black’s arm but the second tandem slam is cut off with a legsweep.
Ricochet already comes back in for a kick to the head and a springboard clothesline drops Rowe. Black’s elbow to the face gets one and we hit a seated abdominal stretch as the fans go nuts over something in the crowd. They chant YOU DESERVE IT until Rowe fights up and throws Black down with a slam. Hanson comes in to clean house, including the running clotheslines in the corner. Ricochet has had it with the beating and FALL AWAY SLAMS HANSON for your WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT/MAMA MIA spot.
Black and Rowe slug it out with Black kicking him in the head but getting kneed out of the air. A knee strike of his own sets up a heck of a German suplex for two on Rowe and the fans get to breathe while applauding. Hanson and Ricochet come back in for a flip off until Ricochet scores with his own kick to the head. That’s fine with Hanson, who hits a Tajiri handspring elbow (he shouldn’t be able to do that) for his own near fall. Ricochet knocks him off the top but it’s a blind tag, allowing Rowe to knee him into the corner.
Rowe throws Hanson into Ricochet in the corner and it’s a springboard clothesline/German suplex combination for two more with Black coming off the top with a double stomp for the save. Hanson gets sent outside and moonsaulted by Black, who takes a suicide dive from Rowe (whose feet got a little caught on the ropes). Ricochet busts out a corkscrew Space Flying Tiger Drop but it’s Hanson with a Cannonball off the top because it’s ok if he kills everyone.
Ricochet and Rowe dive back in to break up the count and it’s Black coming in as well. Rowe growls at him and takes a sweet Black Mass, knocking him silly. The 630 connects but Hanson shoves Black onto the cover for the save. Another 630 misses and Hanson blasts Black with a clothesline on the floor. Back in and Thor’s Hammer hits Ricochet and Hanson suicide dives onto Black. Fallout to Ricochet retains the titles at 18:39.
Rating: A. Yeah that was incredible and an instant classic with all four doing things that shouldn’t be humanly possible. Hanson alone is an athletic freak and their power moves are more than enough to carry them as far as they need to go. Ricochet and Black are going to be fine as they have solid chemistry, though Black still seems more like a singles star. Anyway, outstanding opener as the bar has been set.
Post match, hands are shaken and Black/Ricochet get the big sendoff to the main roster. Well they certainly deserve that.
Piper Niven and Toni Storm are here.
We recap Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle. Dream finally won the big one by winning the North American Title back in February but Riddle showed up to get a better look at the belt. Dream didn’t like someone taking his spotlight and the match was made.
North American Title: Matt Riddle vs. Velveteen Dream
Dream is defending. Riddle comes out in a pinstripe jacket and Dream…..is the Statue of Liberty, sitting on a throne carried by four men ala Macho King Randy Savage. There certainly are some similarities. The fans are split (of course) and Dream doesn’t like that posing on the corner. Riddle starts kicking at the knee and Dream is completely dominated when he tries to take it to the mat. A springboard armdrag into an armbar has Dream bailing to the ropes as the champ is in early trouble.
They go to a back to back test of strength until Riddle flips over him and reverses a monkey flip into a cross armbreaker. That’s broken up as well so Dream gets smart by stomping on the bare foot. Dream gyrates the hips and gets gutwrench suplexed for his efforts. Riddle picks him up again and gyrates his own hips, allowing Dream to get out and hit a dropkick. With Riddle outside Dream tries a dive but lands in a German suplex on the floor. Back in and Riddle sends him flying with an exploder suplex but it’s too early for the Bromission.
The threat of an armbar sends Dream bailing to the ropes for the break and he’s right back up with a release German suplex. Riddle doesn’t sell German suplexes though and it’s a jumping knee into a fisherman’s buster for his latest near fall. Some forearms in the ropes show some frustration from Riddle so he counters what looked to be a powerbomb into a triangle. With that broken up, a GTS into a German suplex gives Riddle two. Kicks and knees to the chest make Dream HULK UP, meaning it’s a big boot and clothesline to the floor.
There’s the ax handle as we get both sides of the Mega Powers. Dream hits a Fameasser but dives into a jumping knee. A Codebreaker of all things gives Dream two but his running knee is countered into an ankle lock. Riddle switches feet to block Dream kicking him in the face but Dream is right back with a superkick. The wind up DDT sets up the Dream Valley Driver and Dream goes up.
The Purple Rainmaker is countered into most of the Bromission, sending Dream bailing to the ropes. Riddle takes him into the corner for a release German superplex into a corkscrew Swanton for a crazy hot near fall. A superkick doesn’t work for Dream as Riddle knees him into the Bromission but Dream flips back over for the pin at 17:33.
Rating: A. Well those were some of the best near falls I’ve ever seen and they actually got me on the finish. Riddle teasing the heel side during the match because his athleticism couldn’t get around Dream’s creativity and unorthodox style. This was an incredible match and the kind of match that Dream needed to win to really establish himself. I’m surprised that Riddle got pinned so soon, but he didn’t lose much at all from this. Great match as Dream steals another show.
More respect is shown post match.
Earlier today, Kushida signed with NXT and he’s in the crowd here.
We recap Pete Dunne vs. Walter for the United Kingdom Title. Dunne has held the title for nearly two years and is out of big challengers so Walter, a rather large man, is here to give him the fight of his reign. This should be amazing.
United Kingdom Title: Pete Dunne vs. Walter
Vic Joseph replaces Watson on commentary and Dunne is defending. Feeling out process to start with Dunne not being sure what to do with someone this size. Walter tries a choke but Dunne goes to the fingers to escape and even avoids a chop. Another chop misses and Walter tells Dunne to bring it. The champ gets slammed down into an armbar and now the chops start connecting, with Dunne looking a bit scared. Back up and a big boot keeps Dunne in trouble as Walter lays him on the top rope.
In a scary sight, Walter climbs the ropes as well and stands on Dunne’s throat as it’s one sided so far. They go back inside with Walter chopping his way out of a leglock and putting on a Boston crab. Dunne makes a rope and goes for the finger again so Walter boots him in the face to the floor. Back in and Dunne goes with the kicks to the head, allowing Dunne to moonsault onto the big man. For a change of pace, Dunne goes up top and, after bending the finger again, hits a slow motion sunset sitout powerbomb for two.
A top rope double stomp to the floor has Walter in more trouble but they’re right back inside. Dunne tries a moonsault over him but slips, allowing Walter to shotgun dropkick him down. Walter’s powerbomb, with Walter coming off the mat for the cover, gets two and they’re both a little spent. Walter chops him and gets slapped in the face, earning him another chop and a kick to the face. Dunne is picked back up but gets pushed back down in a test of strength for another stomp.
Another powerbomb is countered with an enziguri and they’re both down with the fans applauding. Dunne heads up top with his back to the ring, meaning Walter is right back up with a sleeper superplex (Who does that?) for two more. Somehow Dunne is alive and snaps both fingers, setting up a crucifix bomb for two. The fans are split as Dunne stomps at the side of Walter’s head so Walter kicks right back while still on the mat. Dunne has to flip out of a sleeper and kicks at the head even more.
Dunne traps both arms with the legs and bends the fingers back (FREAKING OW MAN!) but Walter gets a foot on the rope. A heck of a clothesline knocks Dunne off the top but Walter’s splash is countered into an attempted finger snap. That’s broken up with raw power though and Dunne is down again. Dunne won’t let go of the hand, even as Walter stomps him in the head.
A huge lariat breaks the grip but Dunne nails one of his own and hits the Bitter End for another two. They go to different ropes and pull themselves up because it’s time to slug it out. Dunne absorbs the chops so Walter kicks him in the head for no cover, sending Nigel into a near fit. Walter goes up top but Dunne is up again and tries a triangle. That’s reversed into a super jackknife bu Walter STILL doesn’t cover. A top rope splash FINALLY finishes Dunne at 25:30.
Rating: A. I need a nap. That was one of the hardest hitting fights I’ve ever seen with both guys beating the fire out of each other as only they could. The fingers and chops were used a bit too much but my goodness what more could you want? They had to take the title off of Dunne eventually and this was the only way that it could have gone. Walter is one of the few guys who could conceivably beat him and they just happened to get there in another classic.
Edge and Beth Phoenix are here.
We recap the women’s Title match. Shayna Baszler is out of one on one challengers so it’s Kairi Sane, Io Shirai and Bianca Belair at the same time. Belair’s “being undefeated is a mindset” promo still makes my head hurt.
Women’s Title: Bianca Belair vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
Shayna is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Shirai and Sane are sent outside early on and it’s Belair having to flip out of Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch. Back in and everyone goes after Baszler as Sane and Shirai start teaming up. As expected, they’re left alone and have to fight each other but Shirai flips out of a headscissors. Shayna and Bianca take their places and it’s Baszler grabbing the hair, only to have Belair pull her face first into the post. A running elbow gives Sane two on Belair and it’s a baseball slide to Baszler.
Shirai springboard missile dropkicks Belair but walks into a fall away slam. Baszler is back in to clean house and load up a gutwrench superplex on Belair, which is turned into the Tower of Doom (you knew that was coming). Shirai launches Sane over the ropes onto Belair and Baszler, followed by the middle rope moonsault for a bonus. Back in and Belair gets caught between Shirai and Sane until Baszler pulls Sane outside. That means a gorilla press to send Sane onto both of them, leaving Baszler to come back in.
The double chickenwing slam is countered into the Kirifuda Clutch but Belair powers back up for the KOD. Shirai dives in for the save and hits an X Factor. Back to back moonsaults hit Baszler for two with Sane making the save. That gives us Shirai vs. Sane with Shirai being slammed onto Baszler. The Insane Elbow hits Baszler with Shirai DIVING back in for what might have been a late save. Belair catches Sane on top and hits a double KOD on Sane and Shirai but it’s Baszler coming back in to kick Belair down. The Kirifuda Clutch makes Belair tap at 15:30.
Rating: B. Thank goodness as Belair was getting way too close to winning and I can’t handle hearing that many of her inane promos. Baszler winning is interesting because who is left to beat her? Candice LeRae would make the most sense, but that seems like a long way off. Maybe we’ll get there someday, but Baszler is going to need something to bridge that gap. Anyway, easily the worst match of the night and it was quite good.
We recap the main event, with the original plan of Tommaso Ciampa defending the NXT Title against Johnny Gargano being shelved because Ciampa needed neck surgery. Therefore, Adam Cole won a five way match, earning himself the spot in the title match against Gargano in a 2/3 falls match.
NXT Title: Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano
The title is vacant coming in and it’s 2/3 falls. Cole sends the Undisputed Era to the back so he can do this on his own. The fans are behind Cole and it’s off to the mat about a minute and a half in. Gargano works on a hammerlock but gets reversed into a headlock. Back up and it’s an armdrag into an armbar to to keep Cole in trouble. That’s broken up and Cole bails to the floor where he manages to catch Gargano with a jumping enziguri. A hard knee to the face rocks Gargano and we hit a chinlock.
Gargano fights up again so Cole pulls him right back down into a dragon sleeper. That’s broken up too and it’s a double crossbody for a double knockdown. They bring it up another gear with Gargano nailing a belly to belly, setting up the rolling kick to the head. The slingshot spear gets two and a tornado Downward Spiral is good for the same. Cole is right back with the Backstabber out of the corner for two of his own. They fight over a small package and it’s Cole up first with a jumping enziguri. Another exchange of rollups goes nowhere so Cole hits the Last Shot for the first fall at 13:54.
The second fall begins and it’s a German suplex into another Last Shot for a very close two. Gargano spears him to the floor but walks into the fireman’s carry backbreaker. Back up and Cole can’t get a superbomb so Johnny reverses into a super White Noise (Ciampa move) for two of his own. With that not working, Gargano hits a slingshot DDT onto the apron but breaks the count, allowing Cole to post him twice in a row. Back in and Johnny grabs the flipping armbar (Ciampa move) before switching over to the Gargano Escape for a very fast tap and the tie at 20:52.
We pause for a second as Gargano has a cut on his head but it’s not a bad one. Gargano’s discus lariat sets up a swinging kick to the head but the brainbuster to the knee gives Cole two. The Lawn Dart sends Cole into the middle buckle for two so it’s double enziguris and double superkicks for a double knockdown. Cole is up first with a straitjacket suplex but Gargano is back with a reverse hurricanrana. The low superkick sends Cole outside and Gargano is crushed again. He goes out to get him and it’s a wheelbarrow suplex into the apron to put Gargano down again.
Back in and Gargano’s slingshot spear is blocked with a superkick, setting up Cole’s middle rope Canadian Destroyer for a very close two and the fans are losing it again. Gargano rolls outside and Cole tells him that he fails so Gargano throws him over the announcers’ table. The table is cleared out but Cole hits a Fairy Tale Ending onto (not through) the table instead. Cole wants the countout so Johnny dives back in at nine, right into a low superkick for another near fall.
The next Canadian Destroyer is countered into the Gargano Escape and here’s Roderick Strong for a distraction. Kyle O’Reilly breaks the hold as Cole is tapping and the referee goes down. High/Low from Fish and O’Reilly gets an even closer two so Gargano backdrops Cole onto all three of them. The Era gets beaten up on the floor but it’s two more superkicks into the Last Shot from Cole….for two. Another Last Shot misses and the Gargano Escape makes Cole tap for the title at 38:15.
Rating: A-. Yeah it worked and while it needed to be Ciampa, this was the best ending they could have had given what they had. Gargano FINALLY overcoming the odds to win the title was the feel good ending that the show needed, especially with Gargano defeating the entire Era to win. Some of the near falls were a bit much and there were a few too many superkicks, but they nailed the ending and that’s what mattered most.
Candice comes out to celebrate and they go into the crowd to hug their parents. They walk to the stage….and it’s Tommaso Ciampa….to hug both of them to end the show.
Overall Rating: A+. Oh like it could be anything else. Those first three matches are as great of a three match stretch as you’ll find and that’s more than enough to carry whatever else was on the show. It got the big ending, the various classics and absolutely nothing close to bad. What else can you get out of a three hour and fifteen minute show? Another incredible show and that’s just what you get from these shows.
War Raiders b. Ricochet/Aleister Black – Fallout to Ricochet
Velveteen Dream b. Matt Riddle – Rollup
Walter b. Pete Dunne – Top rope splash
Shayna Baszler b. Bianca Belair, Io Shirai and Kairi Sane – Kirifuda Clutch to Belair
Johnny Gargano b. Adam Cole – Gargano Escape
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