RECOMMENDED NEW PODCAST - EX-WWE CREATIVE TEAM MEMBER DISHES ON BACKSTAGE WWE OPERATIONS...
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app)
NXT TAKEOVER TORONTO REPORT
AUGUST 10, 2019
TORONTO, ONTARIO AT SCOTIABANK ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
-The “Prime Target” TakeOver hype special aired before the pre-show.
-Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts and Pat McAfee were on the panel. Charly announced that McAfee joined the ESPN broadcast team this week. Sam immediately framed the show as a question of whether the Undisputed Era could take all the gold.
-The Mia Yim-Shayna Baszler package opened. Sam said nobody’s done more work to get here than Mia Yim, but no amount of work will get her the win over Shayna Baszler. Pat respectfully disagreed.
-WWE.com “Exclusive” from earlier today: Adam Cole said he was going to hold the title for as long as he damn well pleases, and the Undisputed Era will be draped in gold tonight. He said he’s undisputed, unrelenting and unbeatable.
-Io Shirai-Candice LeRae recap. Sam said this is the Io Shirai that needs to exist. Pat said he’s a team guy.
Kelly’s Analysis: Sam and Pat are keeping 100% to heel-face roles. It’s even more stark than usual. I appreciate it.
-North American Championship Triple Threat hype. Sam said everyone here needs to win. He claimed that without a championship, Pete Dunne has no identity. Pat picked Dream while Sam predicted a clean sweep for Undisputed Era.
-WWE.com “Exclusive” from earlier today: Johnny Gargano said this building has a lot of history. DIY vs. The Revival. He said that tonight, he goes to war, he goes to hell, he comes out NXT Champion. Some of the Gargano-Cole hype package followed.
-William Regal said he could explain what he’s got planned for the third fall, but he’d rather just show us. We went to a bunch of shots of a cage with barbed wire at the top, sledgehammers on the inside, and chairs and other weaponry strewn around.
Kelly’s Analysis: I figured if a cage was involved they’d have to show us before the show at some point, since it would be hanging there anyway. This looks like it’s going to be brutal. The question of how brutal is a good one, particularly with NXT potentially on its way to FS1 soon.
-Mauro introduced the show and a hype video played on the big screen played in the arena hyping all of tonight’s matches.
-Announcers: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix.
(1) THE STREET PROFITS vs. KYLE O’REILLY AND BOBBY FISH – NXT Tag Team Championship
The Profits were introduced first to a strong reaction. They both jumped the barricade to hobnob with the crowd for a bit. Fish and O’Reilly came out to the typical pop the UE gets. They wore matching “Shock the System” shirts that I’m pretty sure are new. I can’t tell if they’re too busy or not busy enough.
Dawkins and O’Reilly to start. Dueling Undisputed/Street Profits chant. Kicks from O’Reilly until Dawkins forced him into the corner and asked if Kyle thought he was a joke. Dawkins patted his head. Dawkins tossed O’Reilly around and gave him no opening. O’Reilly managed to back into a tag and Fish took over but got shouldertackled. Tag to Montez Ford who hit a dropkick. Cover for one. Tag to Dawkins, who hit a double axhandle on Fish’s arm. Tag to Ford again and he came off the ropes to hit the same arm. Arm wringer, but Fish escaped and hit rights and lefts. He dumped Ford and tagged O’Reilly. Double-team allowed O’Reilly the advantage and he took it to Ford’s midsection in the corner. Neither man could hit something until Ford hit some armdrags on both opponents. Tag to Dawkins. World’s Greatest Tag Team spot. Double flapjack on Fish. Ford chased O’Reilly out of the ring but Fish took him out. O’Reilly bailed from Dawkins (the legal man) and tagged Fish, but Dawkins controlled both until Fish hit an elbow to take down Dawkins.
Fish and O’Reilly held Dawkins in their corner. O’Reilly tagged in and kept up with fists and took down Dawkins. Two count. O’Reilly barreled into Dawkins’ side with knees. Tag to Fish who covered for two. Snap suplex for another two. Samoan Drop and O’Reilly tagged in and went at Dawkins with fists yet again. Front chancery on Dawkins as the crowd started begging for the hot tag. Dawkins fought back with some punches but got kicked down. Fish tagged in but Dawkins made the tag and Ford hit a jumping lariat, then blocked a suplex and hit his own belly-to-back. Standing moonsault for two. Spinebustr. Ford pretended to throw off an elbow pad and went for People’s Elbow, but O’Reilly stopped him from the outside to boos. Ford hit a uranage on Fish to keep the Rock vibes going for two.
Undisputed Era double-teamed to get the advantage and hit some tandem German suplex for two. “This is awesome” chant. O’Reilly, now legal, set up Ford in the corner and tagged Fish. Fish followed Ford up the ropes and went for a superplex, but it was blocked. Ford ended up slapping Fish in the face to take him down, but O’Reilly held the leg and Fish hit Ford with a kick to the face, and Fish hit an exploder from the top and O’Reilly tagged in and trapped a leg to go for a submission. Fish attempted to keep Dawkins at bay, but Dawkins launched Fish onto O’Reilly to break the hold. “NXT” chant as we surpass thirteen minutes.
O’Reilly attempted to hold Ford’s leg, but Ford made the tag and launched O’Reilly into Fish and cleaned house, and Dawkins and O’Reilly sparred until Dawkins hit an overhead belly-to-belly. Dawkins walked into a sick-looking knee in the face, but Ford made a blind tag and hit a leaping blockbuster for two, broken up by an axhandle by Fish.
All four guys fought to their feet in the ring. The teams traded punches slowly, then furiously. Ford and O’Reilly are legal at the sixteen minute mark. Ford dumps both members of UE and flips over the top rope to clear out both. Back in, and Dawkins spears one, then the other. Ford hit a frog splash on O’Reilly for the win.
WINNERS: The Street Profits at 16:55.
Kelly’s Analysis: It was what you’d think: a hot, energetic opener that had high spots and some satisfying brutality. I’m surprised that we didn’t get an Undisputed Era win to continue the question of whether they’d win all the titles – maybe now the question will become whether they walk out with any of them.
-Backstage, Johnny Gargano stretched and patted a ladder. Mauro talked about the third fall like it was an inevitability, which it is, but…you know.
-Ricochet was shown in the front row. We went to a Shirai-LeRae package to tee up the next match.
(2) CANDICE LERAE vs. IO SHIRAI
Shirai, who just keeps looking cooler, is introduced first. Her entrance suggests she’s going pretty far down the “crazed” route. Candice stormed the ring and referee Jessika Carr held them apart long enough to get the bell rung.
Both went outside and Shirai hit a suplex on LeRae on top of the English announce table just 35 seconds in. Shirai went into the ring and posed to boos while LeRae fought to her feet on the outside and reached the ring at 9. Shirai hit a dropkick and mounted LeRae and battered her. She picked her up and hit a flapjack, then another low clothesline. Cocky cover for two. Shirai went straight to a chinlock. LeRae backed to a corner to escape, then hit a huracanrana but Shirai landed on her feet and posed again. Another chinlock. Running Air Raid Crash for two. Shirai charged the corner but LeRae flipped her over; Shirai knocked her off, went up and missed a dropkick to finally give LeRae an opening.
LeRae went at Shirai with forearms and chops. She hit furious fists in the corner and then a brainbuster in the center of the ring for two. LeRae was slow to recover, but hit an octopus. Shirai walked to the ropes to escape then hit a drop toehold and set up 619, but LeRae caught her and hit a neckbreaker for two. Shirai went up and LeRae followed. Shirai dropkicked LeRae to the apron then hit 619 this time. On the apron, Shirai was tossed to the bottom, and LeRae hit a tope into a DDT, then tossed her in for two. Both were on the mat at eight and a half minutes.
LeRae went for a Rude Awakening, but Shirai blocked and hit a crossface. LeRae rolled Shirai back for a two count to break it. LeRae attempted to go off the ropes but Shirai followed with a hard knee. German suplex from Io, and Candice quickly returned the favor. Io hit a bridging German for two. “Let’s go Io/Let’s go Candice” dueling chant that actually seems to favor Io a bit. LeRae attempts to superplex Io but she flips to her feet and does the Dikembe Mutombo “no, no.” LeRae rolled up Io for two in the middle of the ring, then hit a swinging neckbreaker off the second rope for another long two. “NXT” chant as the crowd has really warmed to this match down the stretch. “This is awesome” follows as both sell on the mat.
LeRae went up and Io followed. Avalanche Spanish Fly by Io. Awesome. Long two count and Io screams in frustration. Io slaps LeRae, who hits a small package for two. Double-underhook into a backbreaker from Shirai, who steps on Candice on the way to the corner. She goes up and hits a moonsault for two. The crowd is in disbelief at the fourteen minute mark, and so am I. Shirai beats on LeRae until she can put on a Koji Clutch. Candice struggles as Jessika Carr asks her if she can go. Candice fades and Carr calls it.
WINNER: Io Shirai at 15:02.
Kelly’s Analysis: I don’t know if it’s because LeRae’s presentation had been so underwhelming, but I think a lot of people slept on this match, and it was excellent. The early tone set was one that matched the grudge between them, and they really didn’t let up down the stretch. This match went longer than the majority of Women’s Championship matches that have been on TakeOver, and it earned every second.
-Slipknot wrote a song. Here it is!
-Matt Riddle walked in through the audience. “Bro, bro, bro, bro. Naw, naw, naw.” He said this was TakeOver: Toronto and he knew Killian Dain was in the building. He demanded Dain get his “hairy ass” out to the ring and fight like a man. Dain jumped the barricade and the two went at each other hard on the outside with fists and knees. Jumping boot by Dain. The officials attempted to break it up to boos. Dain walked back up the ramp but Riddle gave chase and stopped him and the two fought at the top of the ramp. Riddle hit a couple of hard knees to put Dain on his back as more officials broke it up. Riddle turned his attention to all the officials that were clearly wrestlers and Dain took the opening to take down Riddle. Dain then took down the officials until Riddle jumped on his back. Dain couldn’t remove Riddle using the LED screen so he took Riddle (and an official) off the ramp and through a few tables to end the segment.
Kelly’s Analysis: The big spot allowed the crowd to be okay with the fact that there was no match. Good appearance for both if they couldn’t sneak on another match.
-Video package teed up the North American Championship match.
-The Mountie’s theme music started up as dancers came out to the ramp. They removed the Mountie gear to reveal Toronto Raptors gear to cheers. Velveteen Dream’s music started and the dancers flanked him and hyped him up as he stood among them. He shined up his belt and walked down the ring. Roderick Strong was introduced next and Pete Dunne rounded out the cast. He sneered his way to the ring to a reaction on par with Dream’s.
(3) THE VELVETEEN DREAM vs. PETE DUNNE vs. RODERICK STRONG – Triple Threat match for the North American Championship
Dream jumped to the turnbuckle for a reaction, and wanted the others to do the same. Strong dumped Dream but Dunne kicked him down. Strong recovered and the two ran the ropes until Dunne hit a lariat. He wrenched Strong’s hand down for the sick-looking spot but Dream dumped Strong. Dunne himself was dumped and Strong reentered but Dream hit a double-axhandle on Strong. Dunne jumped to the apron and charged in. He ran Strong into Dream for a dropkick. Dream set up Strong’s arm for Dunne to come down with the boot. Dream and Dunne tossed Strong from the ring and Dream started a taunt but thought better of it. Dream and Dunne jockeyed for position until Dunne hit a cross-armbreaker, broken when Dream rolled him into a cover. Bitter End was escaped by Dream, but he went to the corner and Strong yanked his junk into the turnbuckle pole.
The action spilled outside and Strong cleaned up with suplexes. He tossed Dunne into the ring for two. Strong stayed in control and hit a big suplex for two. He wrapped up Dunne in an abdominal stretch on the mat, then allowed Dunne to get up as he hit a dropkick. Dream attempted to reenter but Strong knocked him down and covered Dunne for two. Dunne and Strong chopped the hell out of each other and Strong hit a backbreaker for two. Dream entered and clotheslined Strong a few times. Russian leg sweep for two. Backbreaker by Dream as Dunne is outside. Dream hit a Sharpshooter to a great reaction in Toronto, but Dunne went to the top and dropkicked Dream to break it. Dream and Dunne went outside and Strong hit a wrecking ball dropkick on Dream, but Dunne hit a moonsault on both. Dunne and Strong went back into the ring and Dream followed. Dunne German suplexed Strong onto Dream and covered Dream for two. Dunne grabbed an arm from each other downed man and stomped on them, but the two of them teamed up to escape and all men hit their feet. Fast offense from all three and they all reset at 9:40.
Dunne leaped onto the hands of each other man. Strong Olympic Slammed Dream and Dunne hit a release suplex on Strong. All three sold on the mat as we went three-for-three on “This is awesome,” as usual. Dream went up top and Dunne knocked him off, setting up for a superplex. Dream punched his way out of it but Dunne wrenched the fingers. Strong attacked both and followed the other two up. He suplexed Dunne down, and Dunne still had Dream’s fingers so Dream flipped through as well in a contrived but fun spot.
At 12:00 Strong took control and dumped Dream, but Dunne hit a triangle on Strong. Strong picked up Dunne into a backbreaker but walked into another triangle that Strong broke by reaching the turnbuckle. Dream went coast to coast with an elbow drop on Dunne. All three fought to their feet. Strong hit high knees on both men, then ran the ropes and hit forearms on one, then the other, and returned from the other direction. Nice. Strong wrapped up both men in the Stronghold, and both teased tapping. Neither would do so and Strong had to break the hold. Dream superkicked Strong into Dunne, then put both on his back, but Dunne grabbed his fingers to escape and Strong hit a knee on Dream. Dunne wrenched both fingers and hit Bitter End on Strong, but Dream had the ref tied up. The ref counted two and Dream actually ran into the ref to stop him. Dunne went at Dream to take him out and he stomped his face into the mat. Strong recovered with forearms and elbows on Dunne, then went for a German but Dunne landed on his feet. Strong rolled him into a Boston Crab but Dream entered and dumped Strong. Death Valley Driver. Two. Strong interfered and started rolling up Dunne but Dream finally hit Purple Rainmaker on Dunne for the three.
WINNER: The Velveteen Dream at 17:27.
Kelly’s Analysis: Early on felt like the same old conceit of making sure it was two guys in the ring all the time, but they were saving all their innovative spots – and there really were a good number – for the later minutes. I don’t tend to love most triple threats but I can’t find much fault with this one, and given the talent, of course I’m not surprised. Undisputed Era is now 0 for 2 in their quest for all the gold, so indeed, the script has flipped.
-Baszler-Yim package, one last time.
(4) SHAYNA BASZLER vs. MIA YIM – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Yim was introduced first; she bumped fists with other bandanna-clad extras at the head of the ramp. One was clearly Matt Riddle and I think I saw Io Shirai. They really weren’t hiding them. Not sure what went into that decision. Baszler made a no-frills entrance. The crowd didn’t really get into Mia that much for her introduction, and Shayna got a somewhat negative reaction. They’ll have to win the crowd over.
Both held up their fists and danced a bit. Mia grabbed Baszler’s ear and she shoved her off as the ref got involved. Tie-up and Baszler wrenched the arm, but Mia grabbed her nose to escape. Yim kicked down Baszler and casually kicked her head. I really like this “you have to be the monster to beat the monster” thing they’re doing, but we’ll see if the crowd follows them into that territory.
The two fought for control on the mat, until Yim hit a huracanrana and then took down Baszler in the corner and hit a cannonball. Baszler bailed but caught Yim as she looked for a tope suicida. Mia drove Baszler into the stairs and wrenched her arm down into it. Yim trapped Baszler’s arm between the stairs and ring, broke the ref’s count, and then dropkicked the stairs into the trapped arm. Yim is using complete heel offense against the brand’s biggest heel and it’s fascinating to watch.
Baszler hit a step-up knee on Tim in the corner and then kicked her down, but her arms were somewhat neutralized and she sold it well. Baszler stood on Yim’s head, then mounted her for punches, but the right arm couldn’t keep up and Baszler resorted to stomping Yim’s arm. Yim got to her feet and Baszler hit her with a forearm but then sold the pain. Baszler covered for two. Baszler wrenched Mia’s arm around the rope and the ref broke it up. She grabbed Mia with a standing armbar and Yim pulled the hair to escape. Baszler hit a hard lariat and both sold on the mat until Baszler crawled over for two. At seven and a half minutes, the crowd seems restless and waiting for another gear but I think this is the psychological battle we’ve got.
Baszler hit a standing armbar again and Yim reached the ropes but Baszler wouldn’t break. Yim went to the eyes to escape. Yim with a suplex. Both were down again. Back up and both ran the ropes until Yim hit a belly-to-belly. Baszler bailed and Yim hit the tope suicida. Yim threw Baszler back in, hit a tornado DDT and covered for two. Baszler recovered and hit a couple of jumping knees for two. Baszler couldn’t hit the suplex because of the arm and Yim drove her head to the turnbuckle and hit a tarantula. Yim went up but Baszler kicked Yim and followed. Baszler again couldn’t manage a suplex and Yim hit Code Blue from the top for a long two to temporarily rouse the crowd.
Yim continued her onslaught on the arm but Baszler hit her Kirafuda Clutch out of almost nowhere. Yim broke it thanks to Baszler’s bad arm and Yim hit an armbar. She fully extended but Baszler flopped out of the hold and hit another Kirafuda Clutch. Yim broke it and Baszler was forced to use her legs to apply a triangle choke, and it finally was good enough for the tap.
WINNER: Shayna Baszler at 14:36.
Kelly’s Analysis: I still watch a lot of classic wrestling, which might be why I so easily accept a purely psychological match like this one when I know the crowd is begging for spots. I thought this told a very effective story of Yim lowering herself to Shayna’s level and doing whatever she could to neutralize the arm, but further served the story of Shayna being unbeatable because Yim did everything right, and Baszler still found a way.
-WALTER was at ringside, shown after an NXT: UK TakeOver Cardiff spot. Elsewhere in the front row, Tyler Bate twirled his mustache.
(5) ADAM COLE vs. JOHNNY GARGANO – NXT Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match
Johnny entered first with Wolverine-inspired gear. Cole’s entrance is straightforward. The two of them jaw before announcements. Same old boos for Johnny at TakeOver. Cole’s drones chant his name.
FIRST FALL: SINGLES MATCH
The Gargano fans woke up for a dueling chant. Jockeying for position to start. Nobody took control for some time, and both guys went for simultaneous superkicks at about the two minute mark and stop short to some cheers. Lockup and Gargano backed Cole into the corner. Cole kicked Gargano but Gargano charged. Gargano went to the second rope, faked jumping down to bait Cole, then hit a rana and dropkicked him out of the ring. The “familiar opponent” story is already working.
Action spilled outside and Cole charged Gargano at the stairs, but Gargano moved. Gargano lifted Cole and drove his lower knee into the hardest part of the apron. Gargano worked the leg over the apron and then rolled in, continuing to hold the leg and dropped knees on Cole’s leg. Gargano rolled over Cole into a submission, but he’s right at the ropes for a break. Gargano stomped Cole’s leg and there were some scattered boos. Gargano flipped over the rope to the outside but Cole hit a knee. Cole took out Gargano on the outside, then rolled him in for a neckbreaker in the middle of the ring. Knee to the back. Neckbreaker. Cover for one. Cole put Gargano in a hold not unlike the one Baszler used to tap Mia. Gargano escaped and held an anklelock, but Cole rolled through to send Gargano to the turnbuckle. Cole jumped from the top and his leg started to buckle after he missed. Gargano suplexed Cole into the turnbuckle and both guys sold on the mat. Back up and they kicked each others legs. Gargano whipped Cole, booted his face and fired up. Gargano looked to spear Cole, who blocked, but Gargano drove him to the mat with a fisherman’s driver for two.
Gargano chopped Cole in the corner and Cole reciprocated, but Gargano jumped to the second rope and came down on Cole’s right leg as Cole continued to sell agony on the leg. They’re really going for sympathy on the heels tonight. Gargano locked Cole’s knees but he reached the ropes to escape. Cole elbowed Gargano and hit a bridging German for two. They went back to missing a lot of moves due to the familiarity before they both started landing kicks. Gargano trapped Cole in a sunset driver for two. “NXT” chant. At 14 and a half minutes, the first fall of this match is close to surpassing the field.
Both men go up in the corner, and Cole wanted a Panama sunrise but the leg gave out. Gargano jumped down but runs into a Codebreaker. Michinoku Driver for two. Both men got to their knees and started throwing rights. Now to their feet. Cole yanked Gargano outside and into a wheelbarrow but Johnny rolled forward to drive Cole into the barricade. Back in, DDT by Gargano for two. Ushigoroshi by Cole for two and it’s hard to keep up with these two. Cole drove Gargano to the corner to stomp a mudhole. The official broke it up. Cole went outside and grabbed a chair. The chair distracted the ref enough for Cole to kick low, and he got a long two at 19:20. Cole grabbed the chair again, then sat in front of Gargano to mock him. He threatened to use the chair and the ref told him he’d disqualify him. Cole walked into a superkick and Gargano grabbed the chair. He crashed it down onto Cole’s back, got disqualified (20:45), shrugged his shoulders and started driving the chair into Cole.
Cole bailed from the ring and Johnny threw the chair down at him, hitting him square. Tope suicida. Gargano took Cole into the crowd and beat him all over between sections. He drove Cole’s head into a metal barricade and hit a double-axhandle from the stairs. Gargano took a selfie with a fan’s camera and gave it back. The two traded blows down the line and Cole took control but walked into another superkick. Mauro said “Remember: pinfalls anywhere,” which raises the question of why they didn’t call it a Falls Count Anywhere match, since not all Street Fights have worked that way.
They fight back to ringside and Gargano dived into Cole through a ringside barricade. Johnny shouted “Mamma Mia” and started clearing off the English announce table. He picked up Cole and put him in a double-underhook. Cole raked the eyes, hit a double-underhook, and he was blocked and Gargano backdropped Cole to wreck the Spanish announce table instead. Cole’s head would have been way too close to hitting the edge of the English table there, but he alertly lifted it to avoid disaster.
Johnny rolled Cole into the ring, and Nigel said finally he’s where he can submit or pin Cole, so there’s some disagreement here. Johnny grabbed two tables from under the ring and started rolling them into the ring as a “Johnny Tables” chant started. Gargano tossed chairs in as well, but walked into a shining wizard. Cole hit an Ushigoroshi on a chair for a long two. Jockeying for position as both guys hit a second wind. Gargano hits the lawn dart in the corner, then slaps on Gargano Escape for an immediate tap at 29:30.
A cage starts to lowers and both wrestlers stare up at it in horror. As the refs attempt to get the cage into place, they throw to some replays to give them time to finish the job.
Back to live action, Johnny actually smiled at the weapons as Cole grimaced. The ringside announcer said there’s no escape from the cage: there’s only pinfall or submission. The ref already has gloves on, so we’re gonna see some color here.
Hard fists and clotheslines. Gargano grabs a kendo stick and Cole does the same. They whip the hell out of one another, then finally drop the sticks and superkick one another to the mat to a huge pop. Gargano went up to reach for a ladder, but Cole tried to kick him down. Rana and poison rana by Gargano. Gargano superkicks Cole into a chair, upright, then another to cover for two. Gargano sets up a table while Cole recovers and stabs Gargano in the chest with the chair, then hits the hard shot on the back. Cole goes up and hangs a chair from the cage, and drives Johnny into it. Cole uses a kendo stick for leverage and hits a backstabber for two. Cole limps over and grabs two chairs and sets them up facing one another. He set up Gargano on the top turnbuckle and heads up for a superplex, which Gargano blocks. Gargano reaches up to a fire extinguisher right above him, uses it on Cole, hits a tornado DDT on the chairs and covers for two.
Gargano used the kendo stick a few times, then looked up and spied a sledgehammer on the top of the cage. Cole followed but Gargano slammed him to the mat with a powerbomb for two. Gargano went up again and freed the sledgehammer to a pop. He walked to Cole but Cole superkicked him to send the sledgehammer flying. Cole threw a ladder down at Gargano that missed, then came off the top to hit a Canadian Destroyer for a long two. Cole set up the ladder in the ring and looked down at Johnny from above. He hit Panama Sunrise from high up for two. Cole, frustrated, took the kendo stick to Gargano’s back. Cole grabbed a chair and set it up; Cole missed a dropkick and Gargano put him in a submission but Cole bit Gargano’s hand to break the hold.
After some traded blows, Gargano took the sledgehammer to Cole’s stomach and Cole writhed in agony as Gargano set up both a ladder and a table while Nigel pleaded for the match to end. Gargano set up another table and connected it to the other one, just below the chair. He set Cole on the far table and sent to the top of the ladder, but Cole flopped off the table to boos. Gargano stalked him and used the kendo stick again, then took him up in the corner for his own Canadian Destroyer for a very long two. I noted at this point the ref’s gloves are off, so I guess the blood isn’t inevitable.
Johnny found a pair of pliers, and used it to cut off a length of barbed wire from the top of the cage. Cole stared up, horrified, and tried to escape the cage. He went to the top to a corner with a platform that was inevitably going to be used for a big spot. “Please don’t die” chant. The two traded blows on top of the structure in the corner and Johnny attempts to wrap the barbed wire over Cole’s head. Cole furiously fought back and both guys went flying down to break through the far table. Cole rolled an arm over to cover Gargano for the three. Both sold death.
WINNER: Adam Cole at 50:58.
Kelly’s Analysis: The longest main event in NXT history certainly didn’t disappoint. These two continue to come up with new ways to tell their story, and the cage full of weapons, which should have seemed gimmicky, was utilized enough to warrant the stipulation. I don’t know what to say, really. Excellent.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The crowd didn’t really get into Mia-Shayna, but I liked it fairly well, and most everything else was strong or better. I’m not the kind of guy who ranks shows – mostly because I don’t remember entire shows anymore – but if I did, this would have to be way up there. I’m off to a post-TakeOver conference call with Triple H, and will post if there are any interesting developments from that call. Follow me all over social media @spookymilk and email the PWT Talks NXT gang at email@example.com and we’ll field your questions on the show.