Okay, I literally just finished watching this. I am on a high unlike anything I’ve ever felt for a PPV. The truth is that this is the very best PPV I’ve ever seen in my life. It is better than any other TakeOver I’ve ever seen. It is better than any WrestleMania I’ve ever seen. What you are about to read is pure editorial. I won’t bother with grades because everything was five crowns. Why bother with grades when they’re all five crowns? I was left breathless by every single match. I will do my best to put into words the spectacle I have just witnessed. This will not be easy and I may be rather brief but I’m going to give it a shot.
6-Man North American Title Ladder Match – Adam Cole (Bay Bay), Ricochet, Velveteen Dream, EC3, Killian Dane, Lars Sullivan
This is the most incredible ladder match I’ve ever seen. I’m going to be saying “most incredible” a lot. There’s not a single person in this match that didn’t give his body. All of them had rather nasty ladder spots, though I’m not sure any of them had more than Ricochet did. Speaking of Ricochet, he is absolutely electric in there. He was just incredible here. EC3, too, was amazing and I’m so glad he’s getting another shot in NXT and can’t imagine it not leading to more. After this match, it has to. Killian drew blood about halfway through (not a nasty amount but happened). Sickening thuds abounded and they gave it all they had. They even completely killed one of the ladders! This was the kind of match that shortens careers. In the end, Adam Cole came away with the win and I’m not mad at all. They were all just incredible and I’m going to run out of adjectives if I keep going on this way. Trips must have been thrilled…and this was only the beginning!
Ember Moon vs. Shayna Bazsler
This one was every bit as good but they went another way with this one. Rather than spend their time focusing purely on athletics, this one was more story-based. This told the story of Ember going after Shayna’s arm. Ember was pretty merciless and even did the stomp that Shayna did to her (and others). Shayna REALLY sold her shoulder pain throughout incredibly well – even using the ring post at one point to ram her shoulder back into place. There was, however, plenty of exciting ring work. The Eclipse to the outside of the ring was just sickening. In the end, Bazsler made Ember pass out. It took almost five minutes but finally just gave out. Ember comes out looking incredibly strong and Shayna does too. Better yet, Ember can now go to the main roster, which is where I’m hoping where she’s headed. Shayna will now become the beast of NXT – think female Brock Lesnar. She doesn’t like anyone, she has no allies, and she shows mercy to no one. She’s really special and she’ll be fun with the title for a while.
3 Way Tag Team Title Match – Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) vs. Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne
The fun just kept coming with this one. I wonder wondering how Cole was going to handle being in two matches. Thankfully, they figured it out and let him rest a bit but the damage on the announcers’ table probably wasn’t the best way to get it. Still, each one of them put it all out there. Pete got off some of his vicious wrist work too which always tells a great story. The very best part of this match, as good as the action itself was, would have been Roderick’s heel turn. Roderick hit the suplex heard ’round the world allowing Kyle to pin Dunne. We were all quite surprised, although “S.A.M” called it. He called every weird thing that happened. Clairvoyance is a real thing and “S.A.M” has it. Anyway, just after the match, Roderick went over to Cole, took his arm band, and put it on – signifying that Roderick is now a member of the Undisputed Era. Roderick’s character badly needs some shaking up so we’ll see how he can work as a heel now. Further, we’ll get a feud between Roderick and Pete which I am all good with. Lastly, Authors of Pain have not one thing left to accomplish on the NXT roster so, hopefully, they’ll debut on the main roster really soon.
NXT Championship Match – Andrade Cien Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) vs. Aleister Black
Oh, the beauty of the near falls! This was truly a thing of beauty from start to finish. The best part of this match, other than the absolutely stellar ring work, was Zelina. She’s different from most female managers in that she isn’t afraid to get into the ring and work a bit when the ref’s back in turned. She did it a lot here but because of how well-timed it was, it never became a bother in the traditional sense. Each time she did it, it very nearly resulted in a fall but Aleister would manage to kick out just in time each time. In fact, it was her last inference attempt that led to Black’s 2nd Black Mass Kick that got him the victory.
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommasso Ciampa
This match just left me completely drained. It is absolutely my favorite match of all time from anyone at any time. This match started on 10 and stayed there for a very long time. I had a very hard time staying in it because it just took it out of me. If a match can be too good, this was it. Ciampa used weapons galore in this match and Gargano just kept coming back. They went back and forth and had lots of time to do it. Many near falls in this one too. The storytelling was also great here – especially at the end. Gargano had broken a crutch to use and he couldn’t go through with it. Both of them seemed to be reconsidering the whole thing and Gargano sat down next to his friend but lest we thought get a happy ending, Gargano ducked a knee-brace hit and went for the Gargano Escape using Ciampa’s knee brace on his face. Ciampa then immediately tapped out.
If I had one complaint, it’s that there was absolutely no cool down. It started at 10 and stayed there for the next 3 hours. It showed no mercy and by the time it was over, I knew I’d been on a wild ride. It was very nearly too much to take. However, that “complaint” is not real so never mind. It just never let up for two seconds. About three hours after it ended, I remain worn out. If you didn’t get a chance to see this, go do it now! You don’t be disappointed because the results don’t tell the story. There just aren’t enough superlatives to express how good this whole thing was. Thank you, WWE, and thank you NXT!