A lengthy video package starts the show off. Hot crowd in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Tonight booth has the full boat of Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness, and Mauro Ranallo. The Tag Team Championship match will be the opener.
1. MOUSTACHE MOUNTAIN (TYLER BATE and TRENT SEVEN) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions UNDISPUTED ERA (KYLE O’REILLY and RODERICK STRONG) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Seven and Strong start, and are able to immediately isolate Seven. Bate tries to intervene and it devolves into a four man brawl. Stereo Bop and Bang from Seven and Bate send Strong and O’Reilly to the outside. Eventually it is Seven and O’Reilly. Strong tries to stop a double team but Bate still gets one. Strong tags in, Moustache Mountain uses teamwork to get another one count. Backbreaker from Strong lets him take Seven to the corner and bring O’Reilly in. Bate gets a tag and takes on both Strong and O’Reilly. Bate repeats his airplane spin/giant swing spot, but this time trong is able to put the brakes on, deliver some kicks, O’Reilly with a sleeper, and Bate manages a Samoan Drop to O’Reilly and a suplex to Strong at the same time, sick. Clothesline from Strong wipes Bate out and now Bate is in trouble.
O’Reilly with a variety of strikes on the mat, many with a hammerlock applied. So slick. Rapid tags between Strong and O’Reilly. Double knees from the top to Bate’s back earn O’Reilly two. Body scissors locked on Bate while Strong hits a running kick. Gory Stretch. Bate escapes but O’Reilly gets a tag. Heel hook, Bate tries to kick away, O’Reilly attacks the knee. Repeat of their last match, when Seven’s knee was in jeopardy? Strong and O’Reilly continue to work the knee. Bate finally throws Strong out of the ring, and starts to crawl to Seven. O’Reilly yanks Seven off the apron to stop the tag, Seven fights him off, tag to Seven and Seven unloads on Strong.
Seven now in the ring with both Strong and O’Reilly. O’Reilly accidentally big boots Strong, the n Seven takes them both on. Suplex, Strong kicks out. Big kick from O’Reilly, then a brainbuster for two. Bate makes the save, but gets taken out. Stronghold on Seven, but he can’t quite lock it in… Bate wants to make the save, O’Reilly with a triangle, Bate lifts O’Reilly up and throws him into Seven to break the Stronghold. Bate is crazy strong. Formal tag to Bate, Bate unloads on Strong, then catches O’Reilly and exploder suplexes him into Strong, dive over the top to them both, Tyler Driver ’97 mid ring and Strong kicks out at the very last moment.
Bate starts to head to the top, but Strong meets him there. They tangle and Strong hits the mat. O’Reilly wrecks Bate’s knee on the top of the ringpost, then O;Reilly tags in, takes out Seven on the corner. O’Reilly with a hell hook on the mat, mid-ring, and Seven is the one stuck on the outside watching his partner suffer. Seven starts to enter the ring and the ref tells him to stay out. Strong gives an assist behind the ref’s back. Seven retreives a towel from the timekeeper area, considers throwing it, then throws it away. Strong tries to take Seven out, but Seven fights him off. Bate slowly drags himself and O’Reilly to the corner, tag to Seven. Seven has strikes and the Seven Stars Lariat, O’Reilly kicks out.
Tag to Bate. Bate to the top, fights off Strong, Burning Hammer, O’Reilly kicks out again. Tag to Seven, Seven puts O’Reilly in a full nelson, Strong sneaks into the ring, takes Bate out, they hit the High/Low for the win.
Winners: Undisputed Era in 18:02. Outstanding match as you expect from these four men. I loved the callback to their previous match with Seven refusing to throw the towel in. Seeing Undisputed Era kick out of the finishers of Bate, Seven, and their team finisher pretty much telegraphed the finish.
Post-match, War Raiders show up and take out Undisputed Era.
The announcers remind us of the attack on Aleister Black that took him out of tonight’s match, then we see Johnny Gargano backstage pacing around.
Vignette of Dream doing his “Ambiance, atmosphere, illumination, spirit” routine, then clips of his matches. EC3 taking, and says that there could have been an “E-C-Dream Experience”. Callbacks to the hokey pool scene, then their brawl last week.
Dream comes out first. He has on a crown-like headband, a psychedelic vest, and “NOTORIOUS D.R.E.A.M.” airbrushed pants, brilliant move in Brooklyn to call up Biggie’s ghost. His pants say “Call Me Up Vince” on the back, and Watson notices it. Ranallo calls it a “not so subtle message for the boss”. That is extremely bold if it wasn’t run by the higher ups first.
2. VELVETEEN DREAM vs. EC3
This match feels very heel versus heel. Dream throws his vest at EC3 who throws it back and Dream sells like it was a big boot. Lockup, EC3 throws Dream into the corner, then again. Dream pops out of the corner but gets thrown through the ropes. Dream with an armbar. Apparently EC3 has more money than Bruce Wayne. EC3 moves to a wristlock, then picks Dream up and drops him while maintaining the hold, then again. EC3 puts Dream across the ropes, then kicks him repeatedly, one so hard that Dream lands crotch-first on the ropes. EC3 jiggles the ropes to enhance the pain. Dream finally ties to sunset flip into the ring, EC3 blocks, does Dream’s hip shake so Dream grabs the tights. EC3 shakes off Dream’s rally attempt and slams Dream, leaping elbow drop. EC3 clotheslines them both out of the ring. Dream is just being dissected in a way that we have never seen. Dream hits a spinning neckbreaker on the ramp to stop EC3’s onslaught, then throws EC3 into the ringpost.
Dream rolls EC3 into the ring and covers for two. The crowd seems pretty firmly behind Dream. Dream to the second rope and lands a single axe handle. Dream lands strikes in the corner. Neckbreaker midring earns two for Dream and he moves to a neck crank. EX3 works out of the hold but takes a forearm to the back. Dream shimmies before a neckbreaker, letting EC3 powerout, but Dream has a knee to the middle followed by a neckbreaker into a sloppy cover for two. Dream slams EC3 into the announcer booth, then snags a water off the booth and drinks some. they end up brawling mid ring. EC3 bounces out of a corner with a clothesline then lands punches. Stinger splash wipes Dream out, blockbuster. EC3 wants the One Percenter, Dream counters with a rollup for two. EC3 blocks a pair of superkicks, and gets another two count.
Dream paintbrushes EC3 while in the corner, which annoys EC3. EC3 continues to beat on Dream. Neck thrust from Dream gets him some room, Dreak to the top, but EC3 throws him off. EC3 to the top, hits an ugly crossbody, Dream rolls through and covers for two. Slap from EC3 then a powerbomb. EC3 looks cocky, fires up, deadlift sitout powerbomb for a nearfall. EC3 shoves Dream into the corner then puts him on the top turnbuckle, lands chops, and wants a superplex, gets it. EC3 sells the back of his neck and is slow to cover, and only gets two. The move to the apron, EC3 lifts Dream up, Dream slips out, superkick, Dreamvalley Driver for a tight nearfall. German suplex into a bridge for two from EC3. EC3 drags Dream to the apron by the hair, but Dream lands a Dreamvalley Driver on the apron, then goes to the top. Purple Rainmaker on the apron, EC3 is busted open and bleeding from the eyes, Dream rolls him into the ring and gets the three count.
Winner: Velveteen Dream in 15:07. This match had poor flow, with none of the mind games that make Dream matches so fun. The outcome was a true surprise, Dream is teflon on losses (he only has one Takeover win, against Kassius Ohno) and is expected to be sent to the main roster soon. This was easily my least favorite Dream match that I recall, and despite the amount of offence EC3 got, he didn’t blow me away except for the deadlift sitout powerbomb, which the much-smaller Tyler Bate can hit too.
Matt Riddle is shown on the front row to big cheers and is announced as a new NXT signee.
Tommaso Ciampa is shown backstage, then a video package introduces Ricochet facing NXT North American Champion Adam Cole for the title.
3. RICOCHET vs. NXT North American Champion ADAM COLE – NXT North American Championship Title Match
Some pacing and staring, lockup into chain wrestling. Cole torques Ricochet onto his knees then Ricochet turns it around. Rope break, then Ricochet’s moves dazzle while eluding Cole. Cocky grin from Ricochet as Cole says he isn’t special. Cole cinches in a headlock but Ricochet powers out. Cole re-applies the headlock. Cole outwits Ricochet to put the headlock on again. Cole sends Ricochet onto the mat then gloats. They both think dropkick but Ricochet gets it first, sending Cole out of the ropes. Ricochet fakes a dive outside, lands back in the ring and stares Cole down. Ricochet calls Cole a coward. Cole dodges in the corner then throws Ricochet over the top and onto the mats outside.
Cole delivers offense outside while disputing the description of being a coward. Neckbreaker from Cole for two. Ricochet tries a leapfrog, gets count in a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker. Cole with another chinlock on the mat. McGuinness compares Cole to Shawn Michaels. Richocet fights out of the corner with a stunning sequence and sends Cole out of the ring. Corkscrew dive over the top from Ricochet and he rolls Cole into the ring. 619 in the corner, springboard European uppercut, two count. Ricochet is just so good. Ricochet sells his neck, fireman’s carry and Cole escapes. Springboard moonsault, Cole rolls under, standing shooting star press, springboard corkscrew moonsault cover, two count. Cole fights Ricochet off, but takes chops. Ricochet handsprings off the ropes and gets caught with a backstabber for two.
Cole wants a suplex but Ricochet blocks. Cole tries again, Ricochet flips over and hits a big forearm to stun Cole. Cole dumps Ricochet over the ropes, he lands on the apron, big rigght, Ricochet springboards in, Cole tries a superkick, ricochet lands on his feet, catches the kick, delivers offense, handsprings into the ropes, springboard moonsault, but takes a superkick to the neck, Cole with the shoulderbreaker for a tight count.
Cole recovers first, wants the Shining Wizard, Ricochet catches it, rollup for two. Exchange of huge strikes. Enziguri from Cole, jumping knee from Ricochet, more knees and kicks, cover from Cole almost gets there, they both are down and recovering. “Mamma Mia!” chant from the crowd as they get to their feet. Cole is up firs and Ricochet doesn’t know where he is… it’s a ruse, he ducks a shining wizard from behind, hits a reverse ‘rana, and heads to the top. Cole rolls across the ring to make sure Ricochet can’t land the 630. Cole laughs on the apron. Ricochet runs, jumps over the ropes to hit a huracarana to the outside, rolls Cole inside, goes to themtop, 630 senton, Ricochet is the new NXT North American Champion.
Winner: Ricochet in 15:19. Easily, by far, bar none, Adam Cole’s best match in NXT. It wasn’t just that Ricochet was amazing and provided an outstanding foil for Cole, Cole reached down deep and conjured up his inner Chris Jericho to deliver a wide array over reversals and counters and moves we haven’t seen him use before to surprise the audience. Cole didn’t cheat, but he looked crafty and dangerous throughout. I like Ricochet as champion.
Mark Henry and Kevin Owens are shown front row.
Video package introduces Kairi Sane challenging Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship, with focus on their history.
4. KAIRI SANE vs. NXT Women’s Champion SHAYNA BASZLER – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Ronda Rousey, Jassamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir are sown in the front row supporting Baszler. Early feeling out process. Sane wants to pick a leg, Baszler gutwrenches her, Sane transitions. Sane then tries a Stretch Muffler but Baszler fights out. They go head to head then trade blows. Baszler drives Sane to the ropes. Head scissors takedown from Sane then a low dropkick to send Baszler out of the ring. Sane with a diving forearm from the apron to Baszler, then rolls Baszler into the ring. Sane with chops, but a low dropkick to the legs stops the assault. Baszler stomps Sane’s leg over and lever. Baszler casually kicks Sane around. Sane low bridges Baszler who lands on the apron, but Baszler dodges a spear through the ropes, then hot shots a leg on the ropes. Baszler sits on Sane’s knee in a mount and lands punches, then starts to torque Sane’s knee and ankle. Baszler is twisting he foot every way possible, then delivers the Baszler Stomp to the ankle. Sane rolls arpound clutching her foot while referee Jessica Karr checks on her. Baszler makes fun of Sane’s marching then kicks the leg hard.
Baszler is fully confident as she disects Sane. Sane gets to her feet and screams in Baszler’s face, Baszler hits her, Sane asks for more and gets it. Wild right knocks Baszler back and Sane has more for her. Baszler covers up, but a backfist and blockbuster and another keep Baszler down. Sane hits her leg to stay in the game. Sane limps away from the corner then lands a sliding knee for two. Sane positions Baszler for the Insane Elbow, but an enziguri stops her. Baszler meets her at the top and hits a gutwrench superplex. Baszler hit the back of her head hard on that. They fight from their knees then get to their feet. Baszler kicks the leg, then a knee to the face get Baszler two.
Baszler thinks uplex, Sane slips out and hits The Interceptor spear. Sane to the top, Insane Elbow to the back, no cover. Sane goes to the top again. Baszler rolls out of the ring and to the outside, Sane turns around, crossbody to Baszler. Sane rolls Baszler in the ring, Insane Elbow, Baszler kicks out at two and a half. Not even a full nearfall. Sane locks in the Anchor, Baszler slips out, Kirafuda Clutch, Sane is thrashing. Sane can’t quite get to the ropes as she fades, then a final stretch gets her there for a rope break.
Baszler kicks the leg a bit, then a heel hook in the middle of the ring. Sane rolls over to reverse it, she wants the Anchor but Baszler gets to the ropes. Sane with the Anchor through the ropes to the five count. Sane screams, Alabama Slam, Sane to the top again. Insane Elbow gets a face full of feet, Baszler looks for the clutch but Sane levers into a cover for the surprise win.
Winner: Kairi Sane in 13:38. Really solid match here with a lot of back-and-forth action, and a rather surprising ending. Sane looked like Baszler’s equal throughout the match, and her excellent job selling Baszler’s offense made you feel like she had a real shot the whole time, which she lived up to. Baszler kicking out of so many Insane Elbows telegraphed her winning, which did not happen. I really enjoyed this match.
Ad for NXT UK says it is “coming soon”.
Video package on Johnny Gargano facing Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT championship. Real shame that Aleister Black’s injury is keeping him out of this match.
Gargano comes out with an outfit that invokes both Spider Man and Venom, hinting at his divided state of mind. I wonder if Candice LaRae will get involved with this match in some way, since Gargano says he will do “whatever it takes” to win? Ciampa makes his way out to big boos as expected getting the “a–h—” chant. A kid in the audience has a “Ciampa is a meanie” sign.
5. JOHNNY GARGANO vs. NXT Champion TOMMASO CIAMPA – NXT Championship Last Man Standing Match
Gargano ambushes Ciampa during the formal introdcutions so the bell rings. Gargano beats on Ciampa. Notably, the referee is not Drake Wertz. Ciampa wants a Project Ciampa but Gargano gets out, looks for a baseball sldie outside, Ciampa dodges and throws Gargano into the steps. Ciampa gets put into the barricade. Ciampa takes the steps apart but Gargano recovers and puts Ciampa into the barricades a few times. Ciampa’s head is bruised and abraded already. Gargano rips a mat up on the outside like Ciampa did in Chicago. Thumb to the eyes stops Gargano from DDT’ing Ciampa on the concrete, Ranallo calls him a “sadistic SOB”. Ciampa wants a DDT from the barricade, Gargano slips off and drives Ciampa into the apron, then hits a cannonball splash to Ciampa. Gargano throws Ciampa over the booth and into Watson’s lap. Gargano stands on the booth as Ciampa is seated in the chair, Ciampa hits a backpack slam of sorts through the Spanish announce desk and the ten count is started.
They get up at eight. Ciampa grabs a chair, but Gsrgano has punches. Gargana tries to pick the chair up but gets kicked in the face. Ciampa stomps him in the corner. Big running knee to Gargano’s head. Then another. Ciampa sets up the chair over Gargano’s face, but Gargano gets up and slams the chair into Ciampa’s knee, then whacks Ciampa with the chair repeatedly. Ciampa begs off but Gargano has no mercy, slamming the chair in Ciampa’s chest a few times. Ciampa recovers at four. Gargano wants a lawn dart, Ciampa escapes and has a sleeper hold. Gargano falls to the mat and Ciampa uses the ropes for leverage. Ciampa screams “fairy tale is dead!” as he cuts Gargano’s wind off. Gargano is out and Ciampa lets him go. The referee starts a count, Gargano is up at six, another sleeper from Ciampa. Gargano is dragged down to the mat again. Ciamp’a arms are covered in ropey bruises. ciampa sits on the top turnbuckle, re-applies the sleeper from the turnbuckle, Gargano rips him off and lawn darts him into the chair in the opposite corner. Ref starts a count, Ciampa breaks the count at six then falls down again. Gargano preps a table ringside. Then another table on top of the other, upside down.
Ciampa recovers, he is in the ring, Gargano on the apron, Gargano wants an over-the-ropes suplex onto the tables, Ciampa suplexes Gargano into the ring, Gargano lands on his feet, Ciampa with a pair of suplexes though. Gargano grabs for the chair but Ciampa lands the third suplex of the trio and releases it. Sick running knee to Gargano’s face and Ciampa has the chair. Chair to the middle then the back. And again. And again. Three Project Ciampas in a row. Ciampa sits on the chair as the referee counts. Gargano is just wiped out, but manahes to get up at nine and superkicks Ciampa out of the chair. They both get up at five. They trade big bombs. The kicks. Gargano with his roll through kick combination, he tries the slingshot spear, takes a kick, Ciampa wants Project Ciampa, is countered with a reverse ‘rana. German suplex but Gargano rolls through, German suplex of his own, double clotheslines one, two, three, they both get up at one, then trade blows again. Kick to Ciampa’s middle, knee to Gargano’s face, superkick to Ciampa, more blows and they are both down. Ciampa up at eight, Gargano up right before ten. Ciampa on the outside, Gargano hits a superkick from the apron, Ciampa dodges a cannonball and Gargano hit the barricade, Ciampa delivers a Project Ciampa on the steps, Gargano gets up at nine and stumbles into the barricade to recover.
Ciampa looks under the ring and gets a toolbox, gets some cutters and cuts the apron cover away, then slams Gargano’s face onto the steps. Ciampa pulls the mat and padding off one side of the ring, then a full quarter of the ring. Gargano sprays Ciampa in the face with a fire extinguisher from the side and Ciampa is blind. Gargano has a crutch and beats the brakes off Ciampa, breaking it on Ciampa’s back. Ciampa surprises Gargano with a DDT attempt, Gargano fights it off and is teetering by the tables. Enziguri stops Ciampa from knocking Gargano onto the tables, Gargano hits the elevated DDT onto the ring in the exposed area. Gargano gets up at five, Ciampa is still down. Ciampa uses the ropes, no dice, rolls to the outside onto his feet at nine, Gargano immediately lands a suicide dive. Another dive knocks Ciampa into the booth. Ciampa dodges a superkick and Gargano hits a cameraman instead. Gargano is sorry, Ciampa knocks him silly, then charges with a chair in his hands and slams Gargano through the timekeeper’s area. Ciampa covers Gargano with chairs, announcer chairs, the knocked out cameraman. Gargano fights out of the pile at nine. Great shot of Ranallo calling the match behind Ciampa.
ciampa gets handcuffs from under the ring, then tries to handcuff Gargano to the ringpost but Gargano fights him off. Gargano has the handcuffs, gets them on the left hand, Ciampa sends an elbow into Gargano’s face to break free. The tussle ringside near the tables. Gargano in the ring and Ciampa on the apron and Gargano has punches, then a superkick and Ciampa is through the tables. The referee starts the count. Ciampa uses the crutch to get to his feet a split second before ten. A fan in white on the front row facing the hard camera was in the exact same spot at the previous Takeover. Kudos to him for great tickets repeatedly.
Gargano assaults Ciampa on the ramp, then slams him into the LEDs, and puts him in the Gargano Escape. Ciampa taps. Gargano handcuffs Ciampa to the stage. Ciampa begs off, Gargano stams his face into the LED and superkicks Ciampa into it. Ciampa says “please” and says he is sorry, Gargano says it is too late and lands yet another superkick. And another kick to the face. Ciampa is still begging as Gargano grabs him by the beard. Gargano backs off and the ref is counting. Gargano slowly builds his strengthm Ciampa gets up at six but he is on his knees again because of the handcuffs. Another count starts. Gargano drops the kneepad, hits a massive running knee and rolls through into the crates behind Ciampa, clutching his knee. Double count. Ciampa rolls off the stage and thanks to the handcuffs is able to get his feet on the ground, Gargano isn’t up at ten and Ciampa is.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa in 33:41 to retain the NXT Championship. Brutal, brutal, brutal match as we expected. No Aleister Black hurt the match in some ways, but they were able to put on a nasty fight. There wasn’t much we haven’t seen here before, with Gargano allowing his desire to hurt Ciampa cost him the match for a second time.
Post-match, Ranallo says that Gargano may have dislocated his knee. Trainers check on Gargano as Ciampa gets freed. Ciampa gets the belt and gloats on the stage over Gargano, holding the belt up while looking down on Gargano. The trainers call for a stretcher to get Gargano out, but he gets his feet under him with the help of the trainers and attempts to walk to the back. Ranallo says that he tries to be unbiased but it breaks his heart to see Gargano hurt like this. Gargano holds his face on the ramp as the logo comes on the screen, but Ciampa appears behind him on the stage to hold u the belt once more.
Final Reax: As we discussed last week on the PWT Talks NXT podcast, this Takeover did not sound great from a number of angles, but the match quality delivered all around. The only match I did not care for was Dream – EC3, which was also expected unfortunately. It feels like Gargano is heading for the main roster (I would hope for 205 Live where he can maybe get more minutes and the audience will be more familiar with him). Lots of unexpected results here tonight, with Sane and Dream winning the matches I felt most certain about. This may not have lived up to the legacy of previous Takeover: Brooklyns, but was still a very good event with no complaints from me.