We have arrived at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day and the build to it has been quite good. Each match has been given time with the build and there certainly are possible match of the year contenders that can happen on this card. We have three title matches to look forward to and both Dusty Classic finals. Without further ado, let us see how this TakeOver panned out.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (Women’s Dusty Classic Finals)
This really was quite the fun opening match for TakeOver. Both teams have looked great leading up to the finals and I was expecting a really good match and that is exactly what we got. Shotzi and Ember played a smart game during a nice portion of the match by keeping Raquel on the outside and working on Dakota and her knee. The action was great and this had tons of back-and-forth once Raquel was able to get back involved. Shotzi put her body on the line like she always does and hit quite the dive on the outside. Plenty of near falls were had and kickouts and saves came in as a result. This really was a ton of fun and Raquel would end up building the momentum for the finish when she would take Ember out of the equation and would pin Shotzi, with the help of Dakota, to win the first-ever women’s Dusty Classic. The two now have a future Women’s Tag Title shot and I hope they bring the titles down to NXT because they have the depth to make those titles mean something.
KUSHIDA vs Johnny Gargano (NXT North American Championship)
Simply put, this is a match of the year contender easy. The work these two put in cannot be done justice with my simple recap because it was amazing. So many great counters, reversals, and everything in between by two of the best technicians in wrestling today. We have all been waiting for KUSHIDA to be in a spot like this and he did not disappoint one bit. KUSHIDA did a great job in working the arm of Gargano and Johnny did good in trying to work around that. So much greatness here that I really cannot even say everything that happened because so much happened that was awesome. Like I said, this was a match of the year contender and made us wonder if the next match would even have a chance to follow this. Gargano would win this one and Johnny continues to prove why “Johnny Takeover” is exactly who he is.
MSK vs Grizzled Young Veterans (Dusty Classic Finals)
We all wondered if MSK and GYV could follow KUSHIDA/Gargano and boy did they ever. This was just a great tag match and another match of the year contender. This was such a nice display of tag team wrestling and these two teams feel like they will be the ones on top of the tag division in NXT for the next few years. Really great back and forth action in this match and this was just awesome to watch. The match built up nicely too and both teams were able to hit great tag team moves on the other at various points. There is so much that could be said about this match but the main thing is that it was awesome. GYV looked like they had the match one at certain points but MSK would find a way to keep the match going and vice versa. MSK would end up getting the advantage late and would become the Dusty Classic winners and earned a future tag title shot. MSK has the rocket strapped to them and they deserve it.
Cameron Grimes Music Video
I never thought I would be rating a music video but here it is. I am totally loving this new wrinkle to Grimes and love that he even had a music video done to show off how much money he has now. This is just amazing on every level.
Mercedes Martinez vs Toni Storm vs Io Shirai (NXT Women’s Championship)
I was excited for this match but sadly it was a bit underwhelming for me. The match was solid but it just did not match level of the previous two matches. I did love that Mercedes wasted no time in attacking Io to get the match started. All three women took turns in taking it to each other and I did like how Mercedes was making it a point to take out either Toni or Io so she can focus on one. There was nice action in the match and the most notable being Io’s crazy dive onto Toni and Mercedes. I will also add that I feel bad for Toni for the announce table giving way because they clearly had a spot planned and it ended up not happening. You could read it on her face that she hated that that happened. Io would end up hitting her moonsault and pinning Mercedes to retain. I think we will see Toni trying to get a rematch because she was not pinned and will continue to say that Io cannot beat her.
Pete Dunne vs Finn Balor (NXT Championship)
We now have our third entry for match of the year with this main event. These two beat each other up during this match and they did it using a more mat based wrestling angle. That is something I enjoyed because we do not get that very much in WWE/NXT and really Timothy Thatcher is the only one that engages in this style of match. Both men used mat wrestling to take it to the other and I loved how Dunne always uses his joint manipulation. There was plenty of back and forth on the mat and Dunne made sure to work on Balor’s hands throughout the match. I loved how Balor sold the damage to the hands too and did so throughout the match. Dunne thought he had the match won after he hit the Bitter End but Balor was able to kick out. Balor would take out Pete’s mouthguard and would end up getting the win here in quite the hard-fought main event.
Balor would celebrate after but would be attacked by Lorcan and Burch. Dunne would join in on the beat down but the Undisputed Era would come out for the save. Kyle would tell Finn that it was all about respect and that is why he came out there to help with Cole and Strong. They all gathered around and posed and it seemed like this alliance would continue. That was until Cole would superkick Balor and lay him out. Kyle and Strong were wondering what he was doing and Cole would end up superkicking Kyle as well. Strong was left frozen and he had no idea whether to go with Cole on the ramp or stay to check on Kyle. This was an awesome way to end an awesome show and it would seem like the Undisputed Era may be no more.
Overall, this was quite the killer show and reminded me why I absolutely love TakeOver specials. The opening match was plenty of fun and the next two were definite match of the year contenders. The triple threat was a bit disappointing but the main event and stuff after was superb. Even that Cameron Grimes music video was awesome and this really was an awesome show. This will definitely go down as one of my favorite TakeOver events and I really wonder what is next for the Undisputed Era. All in all, this was an awesome night for the black and gold brand.