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NXT TAKEOVER XXV REPORT
JUNE 1, 2019
BRIDGEPORT, CT. AT THE BARCLAY CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
(1) MATT RIDDLE vs. RODERICK STRONG
They immediately move to the mat for some extremely energetic mat work. Waistlock takedown from Riddle. The rolls into the ropes, break. They reset, Strong picks Riddle up and drives him to the corner, they move to a bit more of a brawl. Riddle with a gutwrench suplex, then a second, then a third. Phoenix adds some audible excitement. Strong takes Riddle to the outside, they trade strikes. Riddle with a forearm off the steps. This is some hot, hot pacing. Riddle and Strong definitely get how to sell a personal feud. They brawl on the apron. Stiff knees from Riddle, Strong puts Riddle into the post back-first then delivers a backbreaker using the ring. Riddle rolls into the ring first and chops Riddle into the corner. Strong dumps Riddle onto the ropes and Riddle lands on the outside. Riddle blocks a whip and drives Strong across the ring with punches, Strong breaks free, blocks a strike, backbreaker for two. Strong mounts Riddle as Riddle is face down and delivers shots to the back and head, then a hold. Riddle works free only to get put down again, and Strong using the ringpost to leverage Riddle. Riddle tries to fight back from his knees but Strong beats him into the mat. Riddle is down for two. Riddle uses a hold to cover Strong for two, Olympic Slam in return earns Strong two.
Strong stalks Riddle, sets up a Canadian backbreaker, Riddle rolls under, wants a Bromission, Strong escapes, Riddle with a brainbuster. Ruddle peppers Strong with strikes, knee, forearm, Pele kick. Riddle kips up, more offense. Another suplex from Riddle. Riddle ducks a knee, rolls under a moonsault, take a Bro-ton then a kick to the face and Riddle covers for two. Riddle lands a series of Yes kicks, Riddle whiffs a running kick, they tangle, a knee from Strong, Go To Sleep then a German Suplex from Riddle nets a near fall. Riddle has some of the best suplexes in the game, they look so brutal. Body slame to Strong, he puts boots straight up to Riddle’s face, enziguri in the corner, Strong goes for a superplex and hits it and gets two-and-a-half.
Phoenix sounds much more confident and strong in the booth, I noticed. The trade standing strikes. Strong with the upper hand. Running leaping knee, running elbows, giant powerslam and Riddle barely kicks out. You can hear in Ranallo’s voice that he is on his feet. Ripcord knee, powerbomb, “Final Flash” knee to the face, and Strong somehow kicks out at the last possible moment. Top rope moonsault, but Strong gets knees up, running knee to the face, gutbuster, powerbomb, cover, Riddle somehow kicks out. Strong transitions to the Stronghold, Riddle rolls under, Stronghold re-applied, Riffle rolls under, kicks the face, Strong drops down, Riddle transitions to the Bromission. Strong teases a tap, teases a tap, and Strong muscles out. Riddle with elbows, Strong gets to his feet, Riddle with a reverse Styles Clash for the win.
Winner: Matt Riddle at 14:38. If NXT wants to counter AEW, this is how to do it. What an insanely great match. So fast, so smooth, so filled with chain wrestling, reversals, stiff moves, and a logical flow. At no point did it ever feel like these two were not trying to murder each other within the rules of a professional wrestling match.
2. STREET PROFITS (ANGELO DAWKINS & MONTEZ FORD) vs. FORGOTTEN SONS (WESLEY BLAKE & STEVE CUTLER) vs. ONEY LORCAN & DANNY BURCH vs. UNDISPUTED ERA (KYLE O’REILLY & BOBBY FISH) – Eight Man Tag Team Chahmpionship Ladder Match
Match quickly boils down to Undisputed Era and the Forgotten Sons in the ring. Fish and O’Reilly dump the sons out, then Lorcan and Burch return and it’s a brutal brawl. Lorcan and Burch are so good at playing the working man babyfaces. Lorcan with chops left and right but Fish and O’Reilly take over and own the ring again. O’Reilly kicks Dawkins off the corner, then Undisputed Era leave the ring to get a ladder. Blake decides to suicide dive right into the ladder from some reason. Cutler gets a pair of ladders but Lorcan knocks him silly, then Burch assists. Blake recovers and everyone is fighting ringside. Dawkins hits a top rope splash onto the mess and ringside then calls for Ford. Ford and Dawkins have the ladder mid-ring and are both climbing, Fish and O’Reilly take them off, climb, Blake knocks the ladder over and O’Reilly takes a very nasty bump. The Sons clear the ring using a ladder, then use it to double clothesline the Profits then Undisputed Era, Lorcan and Burch duck the ladder, do a double suplex on the Sons while their heads are inside the ladder, the ladder goes flying and nearly kills O’Reilly. He only has five lives left. Powerbomb to Burch, frog splash from Ford and he bounces halfway back to his feet, the hit Cutler below the belt with the ladder, then he flops on it. Dawkins holds the ladder one side in the ropes, Ford leapfrogs Dawkins and sentons Blake, ladder bends, then Cutler gets knocked silly. Profits try to re-do the spot, O’Reilly dropkicks Dawkins away and lands on Cutler. Fish and O’Reilly hit a combination Codebreaker and suplex on Ford onto the ladder.
O’Reilly and Fish have the ladder and smash Dawkins with it, the ring is clear so they are climbing. Lorcan is back to life, so Fish knocks him, then Burch down. Cutler blocks O’Reilly, Fish takes him out. Fish looks to climb as O’Reilly sells face damage. O’Reilly blocks Blake, Blake picks him up and powerbomb him into the ladder to take Fish out. This match is crazy. Cutler gets a ladder in the corner as the crowd is chanting “Mamma Mia!” Cutler sets a ladder up mid-ring over O’Reilly. O’Reilly with a figure four through the ladder on Cutler, Cutler taps like crazy. Blake sends O’Reilly out fo the ring. Fish interferes, Blake holds Fish, Cutler stomps Fish from the ladder. Cutler and Blake are climbing to massive crowd heat. Dawkins and Burch come in and electric chair them both. European uppercut from Lorcan to Blake, Ford with a top rope blockbuster to Cutler.
Everyone is recovering. O’Reilly has some nasty abrasions or cuts on his back, visible as he drags himself to the ladder. O’Reilly’s mouth is filled with blood. He suddenly goes goggle-eyed as Jaxson Ryker heads into the ring. O’Reilly clims like crazy, Ryker powerbombs him into the corner ladder, then chokeslams Burch, dumps Ford out, slams Fish. Dawkins is climbing, Ryker spots him and dumps the ladder over. Massive, massive crowd heat as Ryker gets the ladder and throws it into Dawkins then slams it on him over and over and over. Ryker back drops Lorcan onto the ladder that is on top of Dawkins. The crowd is super anti-Ryker. Ryker finally looks to climb, Ford tries to stop him but takes offense. O’Reilly and Fish double team Ryker, the Burch and Dawkins and Ford jump on him too. Everyone grabs a ladder and slams it onto Ryker over and over and over again. Finally it returns to a full brawl, O’Reilly and Fish own the ring.
O’Reilly and Fish set up a ladder then look at Ryker. They decide to hit Ryker in the face with the ladder, knocking him off the apron. Fish asks Ryker if he wants more, Ford recovers, jumps over the ladder, over the ropes, and onto Ryker. Then Burch does it. Dawkins comes into the ring, eats ladder, Burch hits a missile dropkick off the top into the ladder to knock Fish and O’Reilly over. Burch and Lorcan team up on Fish. Fish is screaming really loudly. Then offense to O’Reilly. Ladder shots to Dawkins, Ford, Cutler, and Blake. Lorcan and Burch double team Dawkins and Ford with ladders. Lorcan and Burch throw a ladder onto all three Sons ringside, then decide to climb. Fish and O’Reilly stop them and set a new ladder up. Fish, O’Reilly, Burch, and Lorcan are climbing side by side. Sick headbutt from Fish to Burch. Burch gives a return headbutt. O’Reilly has a finger on a belt. They are all near the top and brawling full speed, the crowd boos give away that Blake and Cutler are back, they knock the ladders over. Blake and Cutler throw a ladder onto Dawkins and Ford. The crowd is booing as they climb, Dawkins spears Cutler, Ford leaps onto the ladder, knocks Blake off, and gets the belts.
Winners: Street Profits at 21:35. Another amazing match here, I was holding my breath almost the whole time. The only mistake made, though understandable, was the inclusion of Jaxson Ryker. Holy cow did Kyle O’Reilly take some bumps, and Ford landed some spots. Despite my usual disdain of Cutler and Blake, they earned their checks tonight. If there was an MVP award for this match, it goes to either Montez Ford or Kyle O’Reilly.
Io Shirai is shown warming up. Candice LaRae comes in to remind her that she will be there to help her.
Replay of the outstanding video package from Wednesday on Tyler Breeze challenging Velveteen Dream for the NXT North American Championship.
Velveteen Dream is out in an Elton John-themed outfit, complete with super gaudy earrings and a yellow and red sparkling trunks and a white silk shirt. Breeze just lounges on the ropes in the corner doing the selfie cam. Dream actually curtsies in the ring.
3. NXT North American Champion VELVETEEN DREAM vs. TYLER BREEZE – NXT North American Championship Match
Dream strips down after the bell. He has a gold body chain on. He takes off his gloves and throws them in Breeze’s face. Breeze claps. Dream has gold glitter on his body. The crowd seems to be split 50/50. They lock up after more than a minute of posing. Dream right to a wristlock, Brezze reverses, they trade holds. Breeze loocks for the Unprettier, Dream slips away. Breeze gets on the ropes to pose, then holds a foot up and wags it “no no”. Breeze leaps off, attacks, knees, and a backstabber to the side. Breeze clotheslines Dream outside, hits the ropes, suicide dive right into an uppercut, turnaround double axe handle fromt he second rope knocks Breeze, springboard moonsault onto Breeze. Breeze rolls outside. Dream to the top, Breeze takes a dip outside, then yanks Dream’s leg and slams it onto the ringpost. Dream hobbles ringside, takes a forearm to the face from Breeze.
Breeze tries it again, Dream has a right hand waiting for him. Dream thinks Dreamvalley Driver, Breeze slips out. Breeze locks in a single leg crab after Dream tweaks a knee. Dream struggles and finally gets to the ropes. Dream tries to chop out of the corner, but Breeze stomps him in the corner, then knocks Dream silly, dropkick and Dream is over the ropes again. Breeze looks very, very serious here, but Dream has a superkick for him on the outside. Dream rolls into the ring as Breeze leans on the announcer booth. Dream slams Breeze onto the desk over and over and over again. The ref gets outside to yell at Dream, Dream gets in his face and yells at him. Dream gets his title belt and Breeze’s phone. Break doesn’t lock his phone, so Dream is able to take a selfie on the desk with Breeze and the title and broadcast it on the Tron. Supermodel Kick to Dream as he poses. Dream in the ring, Breeze follows, surprise Dreamvalley Driver for two. Dream heads up top, sells his knee, Breeze rolls across the ring onto the apron, slips between Dream’s legs, enziguri to Dream. The referee is on a double count.
Breeze to the top, Dream rolls through the crossbody, cover for two, takedown from Dream, fireman’s carry off the mat, Dream catches a Supermodel Kick, Breeze kicks a way, a pair of Supermodel Kicks and Dream is nearly out of the match at two-and-a-half. Crowd has a “this is gorgeous” chant to replace “this is awesome”. Breeze thinks Unprettier, Dream slips out, Breeze tries again, gets driven into the corner. Breeze with elbows to the face, walks into a boot, dropkicks an axe handle from Dream. Dream counters an Unprettier attempt with a spinning DDT. Breeze is bleeding from his ear, the camera zooms in on it. That’s nasty.
Breeze grabs Dream’s foot and drags him to the ground. Dream fights away, to the top, Breeze crotches him. Dream sells it like it was a howitzer to the groin. It’s a ruse, Dream lands a front suplex, Breeze hits back with a knee from the mat to the face somehow. They are both down. They get tot heir feet, Breeze thinks Tombstone, Dream reverses it, then Breeze reverses, then Dream reverses, Dream drops Breeze, Dream sets up a Dreamvalley Driver, Breeze slips out, Dream hits the Unprettier on Breeze for a nearfall. Dream continues his trend of using the signature moves of his opponents and legends to put himself over. Purple Rainmaker, but Breeze gets knees up. Dream to the top, Supermodel kick from below, Supermodel Kick for two-and-seven-eighths.
Dream is deadweight on the mat. It’s another trick, small package for a nearfall, Breeze bounces back with the Beauty Shot but Dream rolls out under the ropes and in front of the booth. Breeze drags Dream. Then tries to pick him up. Breeze rolls into the ring to yell at the ref to break the count. This lets Dream recover, his hits a bit right, Dreamvalley Driver, Purple Rainmaker it’s over.
Winner: Velveteen Dream at 16:53. Wow wow wow that was good. For a match with less than two weeks of build, it was as hot as it could get. Dream has continued his string of outstanding matches with minimal build other than one promo exchange and a video package. Dream is such a great heel in so many ways, with his arrogance, use of the moves of legends and opponents, in-ring psychology, and mind games.
Post-match, Breeze gets his belt and Breeze’s camera. He poses with the camera. Breeze is recovered. Dream poses in front of Breeze. He indicates the title, “this is mine”, indicates the phone, “this is yours”. Breeze stops him from leaving, then requests a selfie. Dream sells he can’t hear the crowd chanting for it. Dream decides to do it, they pose together for a selfie, put up on the Tron. Dream hits his pose in Breeze’s face and departs. Dream is caught hugging a young fans ringside who has his trademark triple sunglasses.
Quick vignette on Damian Priest. That looks like Punishment Martinez to me.
Video package setting up the Women’s Championship match. NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler points out that everyone she has beaten for the championship has left NXT.
As Baszler is shown backstage walking to the entrance with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, she tells them to stay back and goes to the ring by herself.
4. NXT Women’s Champion SHAYNA BASZLER vs. IO SHIRAI – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Hot lockup out of the bell. Baszler puts Shirai on the face and lazily kicks Shirai in the face. Shirai backs Baszler to the corner, Baszler fights out, she thinks stomp, Shirai slips away, puts Baszler on the mat and slaps Belair. Shirai trips Baszler, then a dropkick and Baszler rolls out of the ring. Shirai thinks a dive, Baszler moves, Shirai stops herself, then hits a baseball slide to Baszler. Shirai to the top, Baszler runs at her, then yanks Shirai off the top. Giant kick to the arm, Baszler Stomp and Shirai sells her arm. Huge heat on Baszler for that. Baszler continues to work the arm, Shirai with a schoolgirl for one, Baszler hits a clothesline, cover for two. Baszler steps on Shirai’s face and yanks her arm and fingers, then DDTs the arm. Shiarai backs to the corner but Baszler presses the attack. Arm lock from Baszler. Shirai to her feet, ducks under a cmothesline, tries a waistlock, Baszler throws her to the mat, kicks the arm, covers for two. Baszler is looking arrogant if not over-confident. Baszler wants another Stomp, Shirai dodges it, then a kick, and tries blows to drive Baszler away. German Suplex, Shirai is too hurt to followup with the bridging cover. 619 from Shirai then a dropkick and Baszler is down for two.
Baszler with forearms, Shirai tells her to bring it, spins into a crossface but has to modify it for her hurt arm. Baszler stands up and drops a side slam. Baszler with an armlock over the ropes, drags Shirai halfway into the air, Shirai escapes, kicks Baszler off the top onto the outside, then follows with a moonsault. Back in the ring, missile dropkick to Baszler, followed by running double knees. Shirai wants to go up top, Duke and Shafir come to the ring, LaRae charges them with a kendo stick. Shafir wrangles LaRae from behind as LaRae beats on Duke, Baszler with a sudden cover for two, then a flurry of kicks, standing Kirafuda Clutch, Shirai gets out, knocks Baszler down, moonsault, Baszler rolls up, another clutch, Shirai rolls into a cover for two, roundhouse to Baszler. Shirai tries another cover, Baszler rolls under, Baszler is covered again, slips out, Kirafuda Clutch on the mat. Baszler is squeezing Shirai’s head off, but she is nearly to the ropes. Shirai is desperate, Baszler leans back to keep Shirai off the ropes. Shirai flounders, then fades. Baszler looks like she is going to commit a felony. Shirai weakly taps.
Winner: Shayna Baszler at 12:17. Another great match. The big downfall, like the ladder match, was the interference from Shafir and Duke, but LaRae did a super job at keeping them as a non-factor, and it was expected that Duke and Shafir would be there. Unfortunately for Shirai, Mia Yim beating Bianca Belair on Wednesday indicated that Baszler would retain.
Post-match, Shirai gets the kendo stick and goes berserk on Baszler. Baszler is knocked silly, then Shirai hits a moonsault. Shirai calls for LaRae, LaRae feeds her a chair. Shirai with another moonsault to Baszler with the chair. Shirai and LaRae leave. Closeup of the welts on Baszler’s back. The crowd chants “you deserve it”.
Baszler has something that few heels in 2019 have: legitimate heat, not “go away heat”, not “we boo you because it’s fun but we really love you” heat, but true, “we despise you” heat.
NXT UK Takeover Cardiff is announced for August 31.
Stephanie McMahon is shown ringside, smiling and getting a babyface welcome from the crowd. NXT truly is an alternate world in the “WWE Universe” when it comes to Triple H, and apparently Stephanie McMahon (who has a lesser, those similar role as he does, as the “den mother” of the women’s division).
Video package setting up Johnny Gargano defending the NXT Championship against Adam Cole for the second time in a row. Same package from Wednesday.
Adam Cole has Josiah Williams rapping over his theme song as he comes out. Williams has a pretty decent set of rhymes about Cole. Johnny Gargano has a Captain Marvel inspired outfit.
5. NXT Champion JOHNNY GARGANO vs. ADAM COLE – NXT Championship Match
The crowd is split 50/50 on this match too. Gargano and Cole pace. Lockup, they bounce all over the ring, Gargano has Cole on the ropes, they break, Cole thinks cheapshot, Gargano ducks. They quickly go back and forth, reversals and reversals. Gargano ducks Last Shot, then wrangle, Cole escapes an attempt at the Gargano Escape. Cole takes a breather outside. Gargano holds the ropes open for Cole to reenter. Cole comes in on another side of the ring and they reset the match. Lockup, chain wrestling. Gargano forces Cole to the mat, cover for one, they keep the holds. The get to their feet and trade blows. Gargano leaps over Cole in the corner. Huracarana from Gargano, then Cole avoids offense from the apron, Gargano cannonballs off the apron but injures his shoulder on the landing.
Gargano rolls Cole into the ring and follows, Cole rolls across the ring and outside, tries an enziguri but Gargano evades, kicks Cole then double stomps Cole’s arm as he rests it on the apron. Gargano continues to work Cole’s arm. A pair of covers by Gargano yield one and two. Gargano to a cloverleaf on Cole, then back to the arm. Cole kicks Gargano away, then gets on the turnbuckle, Gargano has an enziguri for him, Cole slips under, superkick from below to the knee and Gargano is down. Cole has more kicks to Gargano’s knee. Cole starts to put the works on Gargano’s knee. Cole puts Gargano in the corner and has kicks to Gargano’s major joints. Cole picks a leg but Gargano has strikes, Cole knocks him down, Gargano with a small package for two. Cole wants a leaping Codebreaker or a dropkick, Gargano counters with a powerbomb. The wrangle on the mat, rolling “gotcha kick” then an enziguri, flatliner from the top gets more than two for Gargano. Slingshot spear from Gargano is only good for two.
Gargano sets Cole up on the top, thinks superplex, Cole blocks, slips over and under, wants electric chair, Gargano escapes, Gargano looks for a moonsault or a leaping back elbow, Cole surprises him with a backstabber midair for two. A knee stops a suplex from Cole. They block strikes, Cole has an enziguri, torture rack into a facebuster but Gargano kicks out. Cole on the second ropes, fights Gargano off. They trade superkicks and again. Cole, second rope, Gargano has a superkick to the face for him. They both roll outside. They superkick each other outside. The roll into the ring, slideshot DDT from Gargano nearly ends the match. Gargano dodges a chop block, hits a double stomp to Cole’s back. Gargano calls for the end, Cole slips out of the ring, enziguri to Gargano. Shoulderbreaker outside the ring, rolls Gargano inside the ring, another shoulder breaker for a bit more than two but not quite a nearfall.
Cole starts to get frustrated, but Gargano is selling knee pain. Cole to the second rope again, Gargano leg screws Cole off the ropes, tornado DDT into the Gargano Escape mid-ring. Cole looks like he will tap, then grabs Gargano’s leg, transitions into a Figure Four and Gargano is writhing in pain. Cole muscles Gargano’s shoulders down for two, then tightens the Figure Four. Again two count on Gargano. Gargano rolls over the reverse the hold, but the roll puts Cole near enough to the ropes to get an immediate break. Cole and Gargano starts to tangle on the mat, blows and kicks and whatever works. Cole slams Gargano’s knee on the mat, then yanks Gargano’s knee pad down to keep attacking the knee. Cole gets kicked out the ring, then hit with a spike DDT from Gargano, and Cole rolls outside. Gargano tries a suicide dive, and Cole nails him with a superkick to the face. Cole on the apron as Gargano recovers, Panama Sunrise off the apron. The ref checks on Gargano, Cole rolls Gargano into the ring, cover,close nearfall.
On the mat, Cole tells Gargano that the match is over. Cole drops a knee pad for the Last Shot, Gargano ducks, Gargano Escape, Cole reverses into his own Gargano Escape. Gargano slips out, Last Shot to Cole, Cole barely kicks out. The fight from their knees then their feet and trade strikes. Clothesline from Gargano puts them both on the mat. Superkick to Gargano, then one to Cole. Reverserana, Cole lands on his feet, Last Shot for an extremely close nearfall. Cole argues with the referee. Then he leaves the ring to get a chair. The referee leaves the ring to yell at Cole and take the chair from him. Gargano leaps over the top to take out Cole, and accidentally lands on the ref instead. The ref (Drake Wertz) is down. Cole wants to use the chair, Gargano superkicks it into Cole’s face, rolls Cole into the ring, covers, the crowd chants to almost 10. Gargano goes outside, rolls Wertz into the ring. Cole starts waving to the back as if he is calling for the rest of Undisputed Era. Gargano gets the chair, but no one comes. Gargano tries to return the ring, Cole hits Gargano with a DDT through the ropes, Wertz is recovered enough to count but it’s not quite three. Cole thinks Last Shot, but Gargano just collapses in the ring. Gargano surprises Cole with the Gargano Escape mid-ring. Cole is wiggling to the ropes, Gargano rolls him back mid-ring. Cole elbows the knee until Gargano lets go, kicks to the knee. Gargano reverse the Panama Sunrise,t he trade cover attempts, Panama Sunrise, Last Shot, and that is it for Gargano.
Winner: Adam Cole at 31:48. Another outstanding match. While it didn’t have the extreme pacing of the first four matches, they were extremely fast-paced for a match that went past 30 minutes. Outstanding use of Cole, with a clean finish and no interference. Cole acting like he was calling out the others and it being a trick was absolutely brilliant.
Post-match, the rest of Undisputed Era come out to hold Cole on their shoulders. Notably, Fish has his arm in a sling. Let’s hope that isn’t a serious injury, as we just got him back.
This was exactly what WWE needed to do to counter AEW’s Double Or Nothing event. Every match was on point and delivered at the highest possible level. If I had to pick a match of the night, it would be Dream – Breeze, but it is very difficult to pick a favorite of these matches. Whatever your tastes, this event had it. The only way to have made this event better would be to finally deliver the Dijakovic – Lee match that injuries and other issues have delayed for months.
(Justin James has been covering NXT for PWTorch.com since NXT’s beginnings. Read his TV report every Wednesday night at PWTorch.com and listen to him as part a roundtable conversation on the “PWT Talks NXT” edition of the PWTorch Dailycast every Thursday. Search “pwtorch” to subscribe free. Following NXT Takeover event, Justin is part of a special post-event VIP Roundtable discussion with Kelly Wells, Tom Stoup, and Harley Pageot.)