8/22 NXT Takeover XXX: Lindberg’s Live Report on Lee vs. Kross, The North American Title Ladder Match, Shirai vs. Kai & more


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NXT TAKEOVER XXX
AUGUST 22, 2020, 7PM EST
ORLANDO, FLA., AT FULL SAIL LIVE
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY NATE LINDBERG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Commentary: Corey Graves, Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph


Pre-show

-The Preshow opened with Sam Roberts & Scott Stanford in the studio, hyping up the 30th Takeover. Shortly after, they introduced Booker T as a third host via Zoom.

-Scott Sanford threw to earlier today, outside of Full Sail, Pat McAfee was entering the arena when he ran into Regal who told him he would need to enter the match alone, not with his NFL lackeys.

-A video package for Kross/Lee was up next, showcasing Lee’s rise to the first dual champion in NXT and Kross’s wish to become champion.

(Lindberg’s Analysis: I’m almost positive that this is the same video package they played on NXT this past Wednesday night. While it may not be the “My Sacrifice” video, or the video for Rock vs. Austin set to My Way. But, this was an incredible video that I appreciated much more the second time around.)

-Scott Stanford threw to Booker T to give his analysis on Shirai vs. Kai, choosing Kai as his pick, Roberts choosing Shirai to retain.

-They threw to a video package touting Imperium, and their rise to becoming NXT Tag Champions, a very brief look into their careers and victory over Undisputed Era.

(Preshow Match 1) BREEZANGO VS. DANNY BIRCH & ONEY LORCAN VS. LEGADO DEL FANTASMA (WILDE & MENDOZA)

Breezango made their way to the ring first, followed by Oney Lorcan & Danny Birch. The NXT Cruiserweight Champion accompanied his henchmen, Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza, to the ring next.

Lorcan, Mendoza and Fandango kicked the match off, as Lorcan and Mendoza quickly began fighting on the apron. Mendoza knocked Lorcan out with a kick, and entered the ring to take it to Fandango. He climbed to the top rope, but was pushed to the floor outside the ring by Fandango. Wilde entered the ring, and was met with a lariat from Fandango who then threw him outside the ring on top of a waiting Lorcan, Breeze and Mendoza. The action spilled back into the ring, where Fandango and Lorcan exchanged blows.

The action spilled back outside the ring, and Lorcan and Fandango kept exchanging blows as Mendoza came off the top rope taking both men out. Wilde tagged in, and he and his partner double teamed Lorcan and Breeze, who tagged in moments before. Two pinfall attempts later, Birch manages to tag in and clean house as the only man not to expend energy thus far.

He signaled for Lorcan to go to the top, and they went for what looked like a Doomsday device on Wilde, who escaped. The three teams then spent the next few minutes exchanging offense, double team offense, quick tags and false finishes.

The match came to a close after Breeze caught Lorcan with a superkick, with all other men down after the aforementioned chaotic few minutes.

WINNERS: Breezango

(Lindberg’s Analysis: A chaotic match to cover live, but exciting to watch nonetheless! Breezango felt like an underwhelming victor for me, as Legado del Fantasma seems to have so much momentum right now. 

-Sanford, Roberts & Booker T then discussed the North American Title Match before getting into McAfee vs. Cole.

NXT TAKEOVER XXX

-The show kicked off with a video of major moments over the last thirty Takeover events, from the first event all the way to the build to tonight. Next, a hype video that quickly outlined each feud that culminated in a match-up here tonight.

-As they cut to a live shot of the arena, they have changed the set to a beautiful Takeover XXX set, complete with pyro. Corey Graves and Vic Joseph welcomed us to the show, acknowledging Beth Phoenix remotely on commentary.

(1) FINN BALOR VS. TIMOTHY THATCHER

Balor entered the arena first, kicking off the show proper, followed by a fired up and intimidating Thatcher. Balor exploded as the bell rang, backing Thatcher into the corner with strikes. Thatcher was able to get Balor to the mat, and the two exchanged submissions and strikes like the mat technicians they are. Balor seemed to be out-wrestling Thatcher, until Thatcher locked a front face lock in with Balor looking to be fading. Balor escaped, but Thatcher was able to quickly lock the face lock in once again. Balor was able to walk backwards to the ropes and toss Thatcher over to break the hold.

Thatcher re-entered the ring, and was met with a series of stomps from Balor. The two struggled for position on the mat, each trying to synch in a submission. Thatcher finally locked in a leg hold, with Balor escaping via rope break. Keeping up the assault, Thatcher locked in a bow and arrow before reversing into a cover for two.

Thatcher continued his assault on Balor’s legs and lower back. Balor, looking like he was down for the count, sprung to his feet and attacked Thatcher with a series of strikes to the head, but Thatcher almost immediately put him in a Kimura lock in the center of the ring. No rope break in sight, Balor was desperate to escape. Thatcher let go of the Kimura, and continued to stretch and “tear Balor’s anatomy apart”, as Graves so eloquently put it.

Balor was eventually able to reverse a double chicken wing, taking Thatcher down with a dropkick. They made their way to their feet and exchanged strikes and lariats before Thatcher chopped Balor. Balor bent over in pain, then delivered a Pele kick to Thatcher, bringing both men to the mat.

As the two made it to their feet again, Balor got the offensive and took Thatcher to the corners. He looked for the Slingblade, but was stopped by Thatcher. Balor drop kicked Thatcher and then double stomped his sternum before picking him up and looking for what looked to be a 1916. Thatcher reversed, but Balor reversed his reversal attempt with an abdominal stretch followed by the 1916. Balor covered and Thatcher kicked at two.

Balor drop kicked Thatcher to the corner, setting up for the Coup de Gras, missing on the attempt. Balor landed on his leg, and the damage done to the legs earlier in the match caused Balor to wince in pain. Thatcher, seeing this, locked in a single leg crab but Balor was able to get to the bottom rope. Thatcher attempted to lock in another Kimura, but Balor escaped and delivered a kick to the gut, taking Thatcher down. However, Thatcher recovered and delivered a German Suplex and looked for another submission. But Balor countered into a series of abdominal submissions. Thatcher broke Balor’s grip, right into an ankle lock on Balor. Balor rolled through, and was able to then land a Coup de Gras shortly thereafter. He followed it up with another 1916 for the win.

WINNER: Finn Balor

(Lindberg’s Analysis: This match was certainly not for everyone, however I personally loved every second of it. Thatcher is a master in technical wrestling and brought the best out of Balor. They told a great story, working Balor’s legs, and put on an old school contest that set the tone of the rest of the show for this analyst.)

-Lee and Yim were shown entering the arena, then Bayley & Sasha were shown in the audience.

-A hype video for the North American Championship ladder match played next, showcasing each competitor in the match.

(2) NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP LADDER MATCH – DAMIAN PRIEST vs. JOHNNY GARGANO vs. BRONSON REED vs. CAMERON GRIMES vs. VELVETEEN DREAM

Damian Priest entered the Full Sail arena first, complete with pyro accenting his entrance. His gear was an homage to Shawn Michaels, and he also made a few of Scott Hall’s gestures – a nod to two of his favorite wrestlers. Mr. Wrestling, Johnny Gargano entered the arena next, followed by the Thicc Boi, Bronson Reed wearing gear inspired by Bam Bam Bigelow, one of the greatest big men to grace the business. Cameron Grimes made his way to the ring next in all his annoying glory, followed last by the Velveteen Dream. Dream entered in a silver sequin robe, and a chainmail veil a la Scott Steiner.

Before Priest could finish his entrance, Priest attacked him from behind. A brawl broke out with Reed and Priest standing tall. As it looked like Reed and Priest were about to face off, Dream took Reed out with a Famouser. Dream landed a DDT on Priest, who then rolled out of the ring. Grimes attacked Dream next, who was then tossed over the top rope by Dream who then went for a ladder. Grimes attacked him, and brought the ladder out himself. Priest attacked him, and set the ladder up against the apron. Gargano and Grimes got the ladder in the ring, and Gargano used it as a weapon to take Grimes to the mat.

The ladder fell against the top rope, and Bronson Reed came in and cleaned house. Dream was bringing another ladder into the ring, but Reed grabbed it, pulling Dream into the ring as well. Dream took Reed to the mat, and both ladders were set up by Dream and Priest, both scrambling for the title.

Grimes pushed both ladders over, knocking the two off. He then climbed both ladders, one leg each, but Priest and Dream pulled them apart wishboning Grimes. Reed took Grimes out for good, but was met by a ladder sandwich from Priest and Dream. Priest and Dream threw the ladders at one another, taking Priest out of the ring. Dream and Gargano fought over one of the now-laying ladders, but was met by the Thicc Boi, using the ladder as a folcrum to take Gargano and Dream out.

All five men spent time in the ring as the “sole man” standing tall before Reed and Gargano tried climbing the ladder. Gargano pushed Reed off, and fought Priest from knocking him off. It took the other four men to finally suplex Gargano off of the ladder, who was quickly back on his feet.

Dream, Gargano and Grimes seemed to make an alliance and began beating down Priest and Reed, using the ladders as weapons. The alliance broke down quickly however, as Grimes went to attack Dream with a ladder, who kicked Grimes in the gut before he could do so. Dream went up to the top rope, but was met with a ladder to the face by Gargano. Priest then sandwiched Gargano and Dream between two ladders, looking to make an offensive move when Grimes then sandwiched Priest in the corner with the other two men. Reed then added Grimes to the pile of flesh and ladders in the corner. Reed backed up and ran full speedinto the pile, taking out all four of his competitors. Reed climbed the top rope, as Dream was still somehow sitting, dazed, on the top. He punched Dream repeatedly, when Priest then inserted himself into the mix. Dream did next, setting up for a tower of doom between the four men.

Gargano, seeing an opportunity, set a ladder up in the middle of the ring. Reed made it to his feet first and prevented Gargano from climbing the ladder. Grimes tried scaling the ladder, but was pushed off by the other men. He bounced off the top rope and on to the floor. Priest climbed the ladder next and almost grabbed the belt before Dream pummeled him down. Dream quickly climbed up, but Priest swept his feet out from under him sending Dream face first to the mat.

Gargano and Dream were left standing after a five man brawl, and Gargano used the ropes to launch the ladder at Dream. Dream then picked up the ladder and tried hurling it at Gargano, who ducked. Priest took the full brunt of it. All five men started brawling outside, with Reed breaking it up with a suicide dive.

Grimes made his way to his feet first and brought a fresh ladder into the ring. He set it up, and Priest then kicked the ladder into Grimes who then launched himself outside the ring, taking out Gargano, Reed and Dream.

LaRae ran to her husbands side as Grimes climbed the ladder. He had his hands on the belt when LaRae stopped him and knocked the ladder over. She attacked Grimes with a series of strikes. Grimes was set to attack her when Gargano came out of nowhere to protect his wife. She then delivered a headscissors takedown to Grimes off of the apron to the floor.

Gargano took the ladder, set it up, and slowly ascended it as Reed climbed the other side. Gargano was knocked off by Reed, and was seconds away from winning before LaRae climbed up after him and swatted the belt away from him. Reed put her on his back and then splashed a prone Gargano, leaving Reed, LaRae and Gargano a heap of flesh and bone laying on the mat.

Reed recovered and slowly climbed the ladder again, Priest climbing the opposite side. They jockeyed for position as Grimes set up his own, bigger, ladder. Just as Grimes seemed like he was about to get it, Dream knocked him off, but was immediately taken down by Grimes. Dream countered one of Grimes strikes, and then set up a ladder bridge between the ropes and another, standing ladder. A third ladder, the big one, was set up next to it. Dream climbed it to jump off and hit Reed when he accidentally bumped the title, realizing he was close to the belt. He scrambled for it, but was knocked down by Priest. Priest chokeslammed him off, and went to climb back up but was met by a double stomp by Grimes. Grimes climbed to the top, but Gargano stopped him.

Gargano sent Grimes and himself through the ladder set up against the ropes, but the ladder didn’t break. It looked like a rough landing. Gargano made it to his feet and grappled with Dream, who delivered a Dream Valley Driver to Gargano on top of Priest who was laying on a ladder. Dream then climbed the ladder and was almost the new champ, as Reed knocked the ladder down, sending Dream into the audience area!

Reed climbed, and Grimes knocked Reed off. Grimes climbed up slowly and as he was about to grab the belt, Gargano made it to the top. He knocked Grimes off, and as he was about to grab the belt, Priest made it to the top. They both unhooked the title and tug-of-war’d it until Priest finally managed to wrestle it away, becoming the new North American Champion.

WINNER: Damian Priest

(Lindberg’s Analysis: This was a chaotic, energetic and brilliantly fun ladder match that utilized a couple unique spots that I hadn’t seen before. NXT continues to redefine multiman matches, as typically anything other than a 1 v 1 contest seems watered down to me. Priest seemed like a surefire winner after this past NXT on USA episode, and I was glad to see him come out as the champion.

-A hype video for Pat McAfee vs Adam Cole then aired, outlining their entire feud up to this point in time.

(3) ADAM COLE vs. PAT MCAFEE

Adam Cole made his way to the ring solo, as the rest of Undisputed Era only accompanied him to the stage before retreating to the back. Pat McAfee was shown backstage holding a mic. He cut a promo on Cole after sending his NFL lackeys to the locker room. He said with one kick from the strongest leg in the history of legs, he will become victorious. His music hit, which seemed like something you’d hear during an NFL game itself, and McAfee made his way to the ring. His NFL lackeys, wearing “Cole Sucks!” shirts, showed up on the stage and walked with him to the ring. Something Regal specifically said that they could not do.

Drake Muertz, doing his job, told the three lackeys to stand to the side but did not send them backstage. The match began, and the two locked up. Cole immediately got the upper hand with a standard headlock. Cole whipped McAfee into a corner, but McAfee countered with a leapfrog. He attempted to leapfrog a second time, but Cole was wise to it and moved. McAfee then grabbed a headlock and went into the shoulder tackle. McAfee ran the ropes and Cole went for a dropkick. McAfee scouted the move and wisely jumped out of the ring. McAfee trashed talked Cole from outside the ring as the ref counted up to 7. Cole broke that count by exiting the ring, confronting McAfee and his NFL cohorts.

To even the odds, Undisputed Era ran out from the back sending security running to break up the brawl. As everyone was brawling, McAfee Swanton’d off the top rope onto the mass of people, taking everyone out!

(Lindberg’s Analysis: I’m actually quite impressed with McAfee so far. Sure, he looks relatively green. But, for someone who hasn’t really been professionally trained, he seemed to know his way around a ring. 

Cole and McAfee made their way back to the ring, and McAfee continued his assault on Cole, stomping a mudhole in him in the corner. Methodically, McAfee walked around a prone cole before picking him up and dropping Cole once again with a stiff punch to the head. McAfee delivered a kick to the face of a sitting Cole, who struggled to get to his feet. McAfee picked Cole up, squatted, before body slamming Cole and covering for two. McAfee then synched in a headlock and when Cole began to escape, McAfee grabbed Coles hair and slammed him to the Mat. The ref saw it and the two got into a screaming match about rules.

The ref didn’t disqualify McAfee, who continued his assault on Cole. Cole recovered in a corner, and when McAfee went in for some offense, he was met by a slap from Cole. They exchanged slaps and strikes before Cole pulled McAfee’s t-shirt over his head, blinding him, and pummeling him in the stomach. Cole then started his offensive on McAfee, planting him on the back of his neck with a modified Death Valley Driver. Cole covered for two. McAfee rolled Cole up for a two count. Cole knocked McAfee down and climbed to the top rope, but McAfee hit him, dazing Cole on the top rope. Pat climbed up himself, looking to deliver a superplex. Cole pushed McAfee off, who flipped backwards and landed on his feet. McAfee jumped up to the top rope in one single leap and delivered that superplex!

He covered Cole, who kicked out at 2.9.

The two sold the Superplex, McAfee rolled out of the ring as Cole has his head draping out over the Apron. McAfee went to punt Cole in the head, but missed and hit the steal steps. McAfee shrieked in pain, as Cole then took that as an opportunity to win. He locked in a figure four leg lock to McAfee, who wouldn’t tap. He was able to get to the bottom rope to break the hold after nearly a minute or two in the hold.

McAfee was leaning in the corner holding his leg, and Cole assaulted him in the corner. While the ref wasn’t looking, McAfee kicked Cole in the groin, followed by a punt to the face and almost scored an upset win over Cole. Cole kicked out again at 2.9, and McAfee looked on in disbelief. McAfee climbed to the top rope, took off his shirt, screamed “McAfee Babay!” and left for a double axe handle. Cole, the veteran, scouted this and superkicked McAfee on his way down. Cole said that he was going to shut McAfee’s “stupid mouth” and delivered the Panama Sunrise for the win.

WINNER: Adam Cole

(Lindberg’s Analysis: McAfee was so much better than he had any reason being. Granted, this was taped and they had the advantage of post-production. But even still, with two weeks of training under his belt, McAfee looked like he belonged in the squared circle. He definitely has more to learn, for sure. But, given that he is so under-trained, Cole was able to lead him through a match that I didn’t think would be so entertaining.)

-Vic Joseph & Corey Graves introduced WWE Champion Drew McIntyre to the commentary booth to hype he vs. Orton tomorrow night at Summerslam. Graves asked McIntyre if he chose Lee or Kross to win tonight, and he chose Lee.

-Kross was shown backstage warming up for his match.

-A hype video for Shirai vs. Kai was shown next, outlining the feud between the two dating back to the exact night Shirai won the belt and Kai attacked her.

(4) NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – IO SHIRAI vs. DAKOTA KAI

Dakota Kai, accompanied by Raquel Gonzales, made her way to the ring first. The NXT Women’s Champion, Io Shirai, entered Full Sail Arena next. The two stood opposite each other in the ring as the ring announcer made her introductions. The bell rang, and this match was underway. Io Shirai immediately went for the legs, taking Kai down. Kai retreated to the corner, and Shirai followed with some strikes. Kai reversed, putting Shirai in the corner this time and began pummeling her. Kai shot Shirai off the ropes and looked for a clothesline. Shirai ducked and went for a handspring move of some sort, but unfortunately mistimed her flip and landed square on her head.

An audible gasp could be heard out of Beth Phoenix as well as the people in the audience as the ref checked on her. She was quickly deemed okay to continue, and Kai went to attack. Shirai reversed it into a dragon screw takedown. Shirai continued her assault on Kai, until Kai ducked out of the ring and hid behind her heavy, Gonzales.

Kai snuck up behind Shirai and threw her into the ringpost, then back into the ring. Kai covered for two and then locked in an arm wrench. Shirai fought her way out, but Kai then locked in the same arm wrench over the ropes, causing the ref to break it up. Kai then delivered a big boot into a cover for two. Shirai kicked out, and Kai locked in another submission – some sort of finger lock – before attempting another pin for two.

Kai continued her assault of strikes and kicks on the Women’s Champion, also working in arm submissions attempting to cripple Shirai for this match. Shirai was able to roll Kai up to break up that offense, but Kai kicked at two. Kai immediately regained the upper hand and synched in another submission on the left arm of the Genius of the Sky, Io Shirai.

Shirai was able to roll Kai over so her shoulders were pinned to the mat, prompting the ref to count for two. This led to the submission being broken up, and Shirai began to mount her comeback. A few shoulder strikes and a flapjack later, Shirai delivered a 619 + dropkick combo, and made a pin attempt for two.

Shirai looked to go for a German suplex, but Kai reversed. The two exchanged strikes and spilled out onto the apron. Kai went to powerbomb Shirai to the floor, but she escaped and double stomped Kai, rolling her back into the ring for a pin attempt. Kai kicked out, and then locked in yet another submission to Shirai. She escaped, and then sat looking dejected on the mat. Kai started mocking Shirai, kicking her in the face repeatedly. Each time, Shirai getting more and more angry before she finally hulked up enough to explode, delivering a series of strikes and kicks to Kai. That momentum didn’t last long, as Kai delivered a kick to the head of Shirai, using her knee brace as a bit of a weapon for added leverage. Shirai recovered and delivered three stomps to Kai in the corner. Shirai went to go to the top, presumably for a moonsault, and Kai made it up top to try and set up for a superplex. Shirai knocked Kai into a tree of woe, and double stomped her in the chest. Shirai covered and Kai kicked at two.

The two women, tired and weary, made their way to their feet. Shirai looked for a tiger driver, but it was reversed by a reverse codebreaker from Kai, into another armbar to Shirai’s left arm. Shirai couldn’t reach the ropes and struggled to escape. Eventually, Shirai was able to wriggle her way to the bottom rope, and was able to get her foot on it to break the hold.

Shirai retreated to sitting apron, and Kai went to attack. Shirai caught her by the hair and threw her into the corner. She climbed up top, but Kai was able to hit her, get her dazed and knocked her off of the top turnbuckle. Kai covered and the ref counted three, but realized Shirai’s foot was on the rope and the match continued.

The ref was taken out next by a misplaced kick by Kai. Shirai then landed her moonsault, but there wasn’t a ref to count the pin. Shirai screamed in frustration, as Raquel Gonzales attacked Shirai and delivered a powerbomb to Shirai. Gonzales woke the ref who then began counting. Shirai was able to kick out at two!

Kai made it to her feet, as Shirai looked to be out cold. She picked Shirai up, but Shirai countered with a crossface, dead center of the ring. Kai rolled out and escaped, but was met by a knee to the face from Shirai. Kai exited the ring and hid behind Gonzales. Shirai climbed to the top and moonsaulted onto both women outside the ring, taking them out. She rolled Kai into the ring, hit the moonsault again, and covered for the win.

WINNER: Io Shirai.

After the match, Raquel Gonzales attacked Shirai. Ripley came out from the back to protect her friend Shirai, and she and Gonzales stared each other down in the middle of the ring for at least a minute before Gonzales and Kai retreated to the back.

(Lindberg’s Analysis: An absolute classic from Shirai and Kai here tonight. Shirai’s reign is still in its infant stages, so the chances of her losing tonight were slim. But Kai looked really strong after all the offense she was able to get in during the bout. Even though she had her heavy interfere, Kai still had the upperhand throughout most of the match. Overall, I think this was a solid way to build sympathy for Shirai and hatred for Kai. Loved everything about this, with maybe the exception of the predictable Gonzales interference. 

-NXT UK Return announcement was made, as they will return to the WWE Network on Sept 17th.

-Tomasso Ciampa announced to return Wednesday.

-Cesaro, wearing a mask, was shown in the audience watching the show.

-Damian Priest was shown holding his belt and exiting his hummer. There just so happened to be a hottub next to his parking spot with two scantily clad women waiting for him with champagne. Someone in the crowd could be heard saying “Where the hell did they put a hot tub??”

-The same hype video from the pre-show for Lee vs. Kross played again.

(5) NXT CHAMPIONSHIP – KEITH LEE vs. KARRION KROSS 

Accompanied to the ring by Scarlett, Karrion Kross made his way to the ring first, complete with pyro making his entrance seem just that much more complete. The NXT Champion made his way to the ring next. After ring introductions and the ring of the bell, this bout was underway.

Lee immediately ran into Kross, sending Kross flying across the ring. Stunned, Karrion Kross made it to his feet and went to attack Lee. However, Lee wasn’t having any of it and delivered an assault of punches and kicks to Kross. Kross looked like he may get the upper hand a few times, but Lee thwarted any attempt at offense. Lee delivered a cross body, and Kross rolled out of the ring to escape. Lee followed, and the two brawled ringside with Kross entering and exiting the ring to keep the ref counting.

Kross went to punch Lee in the face, but Lee moved and Kross punched the plexiglass. Lee then rammed Kross off of the plexiglass before punching it himself when Kross ducked. Lee went to check Kross again, but ran shoulder first into the ring pole.

The fight spilled back into the ring, and Kross began pummelling a wounded NXT Champion, eventually wrenching the injured arm. Lee, unable to escape, was stuck in this submission hold for an agonizing length of time before finally breaking Kross’s grip. Lee whipped Kross off the ropes and went to football check him again, but Kross didn’t budge this time. Kross used Lee’s injured arm and just pulled him to the Mat. He then delivered an assault of kicks and strikes to a prone Lee before wrenching the arm into a submission hold once again. Lee escaped and made it to his feet. However Kross was able to push him, shoulder first, into the turnbuckle two or three times in a row, causing Lee to scream out in pain louder each time.

Kross locked in another arm submission, with Kross unable to get up to break the hold for quite some time. Before Lee could do so, Kross broke the submission and delivered a single-arm DDT to Lee, singling out the injured right arm. Kross went right back to work on the arm, attempting to wrench it into submission once again. Lee escaped a few times, and each time Kross would find a way to lock it back in or modify it in such a way to keep Lee in pain. Lee eventually was able to roll Kross over and pin him while the triangle arm lock was locked in, but Kross kicked out without letting go of the arm hold. Lee picked Kross up with that arm and Spirit Bombed Kross, who finally let go of Lee’s injured arm.

Both men took some time to sell and get to their feet. Lee delivered a few punches to Kross, looking to knock him loopy each time. He whipped Kross into the corner, and then delivered a devastating powerslam for a two count.

An “Oh Bask In His Glory” chant broke out, as Keith Lee went looking for another Spirit Bomb. Kross escaped, and managed to deliver an elbow to Lee. He went for a back body drop, but couldn’t lift Lee. Kross kicked Lee in the head, and followed it up with another single-arm DDT and a pin attempt for two.

Kross went for a back suplex, but Lee was able to escape and deliver a vertical suplex of his own for a two count. Kross struggled to get to his feet, and Lee tried for another Spirit Bomb. Kross escaped and ran the ropes to deliver a powerful lariat to Lee. Kross went to go pick Lee up, but Lee started to fight back with a series of strikes. Lee eventually returned the favor and delivered a powerful lariat of his own. The two men laid on the mat for some time, as the ref began his 10 count. At the count of 7, both men made it to their feet. Kross charged with a Big Boot and Lee dodged. Kross grabbed Lee around the waist and delivered his Doomsday Saito Suplex, but Lee was able to kick out at two and a half!

As Lee struggled to get to his feet, Kross laid in waiting to put in the Kross Jacket submission. Lee looked to be down and out, and we looked to have a new champion. However right as the ref went to ring the bell, Lee showed signs of life. Lee quickly regained his energy, and was able to make it to the ropes to break the hold. Lee, looking nearly defeated, used the ropes to get to his feet. He was able to get a headbutt off on Kross, dazing Kross just long enough that Lee was able to hoist Kross up and deliver the Spirit Bomb. Surprisingly, Kross kicked out at two and a half, and this match continued!

Lee dragged Kross over to the corner, and Lee climbed to the top to look for some sort of aerial move. But Kross met him up top, dazing Lee. The two fought on the top rope, before Kross was able to deliver a super back suplex to Keith Lee, covering him for the surprising, upset victory over Keith Lee.

The crowd went devastatingly quiet as the referee rang the bell and handed the belt to our new NXT Champion, Karrion Kross.

(Lindberg’s Analysis: Well… I can’t say that I expected that in the slightest! Even though Karrion Kross has been billed as a monster since coming to NXT, Keith Lee’s title reign had just begun. I felt like Lee was going to have a bit of a run with the NXT title before dropping it to, presumably Kross, a few months down the line. Whether this was the way things were planned, or a swerve was thrown our way, this outcome was surely unexpected and left me slack-jawed. Wrestling doesn’t often do that any more, and I was pleasantly surprised at the twist ending. The villain triumphed over the good guy who we all assumed was a shoe-in to win.)

(Overall Analysis: I don’t think a lot of people were very hyped for this show tonight, however I think they delivered on all fronts. The finish to the main event has left many questions to which direction the company goes. With Ciampa returning on Wednesday, is he next in line for Kross – the man who Ciampa last faced? The Women’s title match also delivered in more ways than one, though I could have done without the predictable Gonzales interference. Pat McAfee also surprised me more than I expected, really showing us a side of him in the ring that I don’t think a lot of us thought he had. Thatcher and Balor, while not everyone’s cup of tea, was a treat for a fan of traditional wrestling to watch. And lastly, it’s now Damian Priest’s time to shine as the North American champion. Overall, Takeover XXX was on par with what we expect out of an NXT Takeover. 

 

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