SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Quick pre-credits package on NXT Champion Johnny Gargano. Jaxson Ryker and the rest of the Forgotten Sons come out. Looks like his victim will be the personable, athletic, and highly athletic Humberto Carillo.
1. HUMBERTO CARILLO vs. JAXSON RYKER (w/Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler)
Ryker quickly throws Carillo down then messes him up in the corner. Carillo gets boots up in the corner then hits a springboard kick for a one count. Head scissors then a handspring back elbow followed by a standing moonsault can’t even get one. Ryker fires up and hip tosses Carillo into the corner and stomps on him. Widowmaker chokeslam into a sitout powerbomb but Carillo rolls outside, where Ryker keeps up the beating. Ryker throws Carillo over the barricade. As Ryker knees Carillo in the face against the barricade, the referee calls for a double countout.
Double Countout at 2:58. Ryker looks better than he has in the past.
Post-match, the Forgotten Sons want to keep up the attack, but Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch make the save with steel chairs in hand. Lorcan checks on Carillo. Let’s see if this leads to a six-man tag match in the near future, maybe next week…
Backstage with Adam Cole posing for pictures. Cole says that Gargano is afraid for not wanting to face him, then says that Roderick Strong will maul Gargano. Cole gets mad that Matt Riddle is there. Riddle says it’s funny how Cole is so jealous of Strong and asks what Cole will do about it. Cole thinks and then decides it would be a waste of time to “do anything about it”. Cole stomps off. Riddle smirks and says that he will see what he can stir up.
2. CANDICE LARAE & KACY CATANZARO vs. VANESSA BORNE & AILYAH – Tag Team Match
Aliyah and Catanzaro to start. Aliyah takes Catanzaro down then drops a knee. Catanzaro whips Aliyah into the corner then follows up in the corner, then a head scissors. Axe kick, cover for one. Aliyah suddenly turns it around, and tags in Borne. Double suplex gets them two, then Borne keeps the pressure up. Catanzaro reverses a double suplex with a double neckbreaker and tags in LaRae. LaRae brings some much-needed skill and movement to the match, taking Aliyah out of the picture and going on hot-tag offence against Borne. Springboard moonsault get the win for LaRae.
Winners: Candice LaRae and Kacy Catanzaro at 4:24. Catanzaro still isn’t being trusted with much offense and it is clear why in this match. This was to put over LaRae and give a little shine to Catanzaro.
Recap of last week when Io Shirai tried to save Kairi Sane from an injury and a post-match beating at the hands of NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler and her lackeys Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke.
Backstage interview with Shirai. Just as she vows revenge, Baszler, Duke, and Shafir ambush her. Keeping with her trend, Baszler is wearing a Slayer shirt. If NXT wants to get really meta, we need to see her in a Megadeth and then an Anthrax shirt.
Package on Kushida. Backstage with William Regal, he is excited to have Kushida here. Kassius Ohno comes in and acts nicely to Regal. Regal congratulates Ohno. Ohno says it is an honor to get a chance to teach the UK “kids” the UK style. Regal says he knows the feeling. Ohno proposes a match with Kushida. Ohno leaves. Regal books the match.
3. STREET PROFITS (MONTEZ FORD & ANGELO DAWKINS) vs. NXT Champions WAR RAIDERS – Non-Title Tag Team Match
They are still called “War Raiders”, “Hanson”, and “Rowe”. On the same day that the PWT Talks NXT podcast team praised WWE for never showing Bray Wyatt’s chair after it got burnt to a crisp, they can’t get the names straight. Ford ambushes the War Raiders, they throw Rowe into the ring, and the ref calls for the bell. They hit a team move, cover for a nearfall and can’t believe they didn’t get the win. Another team move attempt on Rowe, he escapes and tags Hanson. Hanson unloads on Ford and Dawkins. Dawkins is knocked out in the ring as Hanson words Ford over. Hanson wrangles Dawkins, the legal opponent, to the mat. Hanson uses mat work to wear Dawkins down then tags in Rowe. Body slam, then Rowe slams Hanson onto Dawkins. Dawkins crawls to the neutral corner, and a wild right stops Rowe in his tracks. Double tag and Ford takes it to Hanson but the big man doesn’t go down. Big boot from Hanson stuns Ford, but a dropkick sends Hanson to his knees. Ford is fired up, and manages a long delayed belly-to-back, moonsault, and Hanson rolls to the ropes. Ford sends Rowe back out of the ring, Dawkins and Ford deliver tandem offense for a two count. Tag to Ford. Hanson lands a handspring double back elbow, takes Rowe who has a suplex for Ford and a knee to Dawkins. Tag to Hanson. Double team work and the Street Profits are down. Another tag from the Raiders, they call for the end. Thor’s Hammer ends it.
Winners: War Raiders in 5:43. War Raiders put on great Takeover matches, but their shorter matches are usually lackluster. This was an outstanding short match. I love that the Street Profits continued their persona of being tweeners who will do whatever it takes to attain a victory, while mostly coloring within the lines.
Backstage interview with Mia Yim. Yim admits that Baszler is unstoppable, but not the way she would do things. Yim says that Sane, Shirai, and Bianca Belair can’t get the job done. Yim says she learned a lot in her match against Baszler and deserves another shot.
Stumbling delivery, and Yim didn’t say anything important. Why should she get another opportunity? Just because she says so? She doesn’t win matches.
Kushida is announced to debut next week.
4. NXT Champion JOHNNY GARGANO vs. RODERICK STRONG – Non-title match
Quick takedown from Strong, then mat work. They roll all over the mat until Strong puts the brakes on with a front facelock. Shoulder tackle takes Gargano out. Rapid mat work. Strong counters a Gargano Escape with a rollup. The action is so fast here. Strong has improved dramatically in his time in NXT. Gargano dumps Strong out of the ring. Kick to Strong’s face from the apron. Strong goes around the ring. Gargano tries a baseball slide to the outside, Strong catches him and throws him into the apron. Gutbuster earns Gargano one. Another two count from Strong off a backbreaker. Strong beats Gargano into another two count. The announcers wonder if Gargano is playing rope-a-dope. Gargano and Strong go outside again, but Gargano counters the wheelbarrow this time. Slingshot spear almost gets the win for Gargano. Gargano continues his attack, sending Strong all over the ring. Strong dodges Gargano on the outside, tries a dropkick through the ropes but Gargano moves then hits a cannonball. Gargano gets caught in a torture rack, reverses into reverse ‘rana, superkick for two. Gargano chops Strong into the corner. Strong tries to rally but Gargano is too smart and reverses everything. Strong catches a slingshot spear, turns it into a suplex into a backbreaker for a nearfall. The announcers wonder if a win here will put Strong and Cole into conflict (they ignore the Triple Threat option). Lots of quick back-and-forth. Gargano calls for the end, Strong catches Gargano and throws him into the turnbuckle, another backbreaker, a slam for two. Gargano kicks away from a crab attempt, tries the Gargano Escape, then finally cinches it in. Cole runs out to distract Gargano, it almost works. Cole keeps jawing at Gargano until he hesitates. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly come out to help, Riddle runs out to even the odds ringside. This buys Gargano enough time to win with a slingshot spear, after a mis-communication sees Cole hit Strong.
Winner: Johnny Gargano at 13:35. Really good match that felt organic, even if the end goal was to heighten Riddle’s involvement and the tension between Cole and Strong.
Post-match, Strong and Cole talk, but Strong kind of stomps out ahead of the other three members of Undisputed Era.
Some good action tonight, especially with War Raiders facing the Street Profits, and the Gargano – Strong match. Let’s see if we can have a sustained push for LaRae or Yim.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 4/17 NXT TV REPORT: Dream vs. Murphy, Dijakovic wins quickly, Baszler vs. Sane headlines, plus Undisputed Era-Gargano exchange