This week was the go-home episode of NXT for TakeOver and it really snuck up on us. The build hasn’t been bad but it really did fly by and here we are. Plenty to look forward this week as Ted DiBiase was set to make an announcement in the CWC, Ember Moon was set to take on Dakota Kai and the competitors in the fatal 5-way were set to have a face to face as well. Plenty of stuff on the menu so let us see what NXT had for us this week.
Austin Theory vs Oney Lorcan
I knew this match would be stiff because that is all Oney knows and I wondered how Theory would be in it. Austin was able to take all the stiff chops and strikes from Oney and would even try to return some of his own. This was actually quite the fun opening match and Theory really is gifted in the ring. Sure, he plays a meathead character but he is far from that in the ring and could easily become a future NXT and maybe even WWE/Universal Champion. Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano would come out during the match to show support for their fellow mates and they would eventually head to the back as they could not resist fighting each other. Theory would hit one of the best and creative looking Spanish Fly I have ever seen and apparently it may have been a shoutout to the man that trained him, AR Fox. Great opening match and Oney would end up getting the win here. Theory continues to impress me in the ring and I would not mind if I saw him in the North American Championship picture so he can finally get gold of his own.
LA Knight Promo
Simple and straight forward stuff here as Knight was in his home and he was showing off why he should be the one to carry on the legacy of Ted DiBiase. Knight really is full of himself and plays it perfectly. In fact, I stated he is reminding me of a combination of Rick Rude and Ted DiBiase and the more I think about it, the more it feels right. Good stuff and we shall see what comes of this later in the night.
Dok Hendrix Promo
This was just fun stuff as Dok would appear to plug In Your House and did a fine job at it. He would do the same later on so this grade is for both of them as they were basically the same thing.
Legado del Fantasma In-Ring
Legado were in the ring and they were none too happy over losing the tag title match last week and Bronson Reed’s involvement in it. Santos wanted to talk more but Bronson would come out. Bronson would replay the spot where he splashed Santos along the plexiglass over and over and that was great stuff. Santos would call Bronson into the ring and Bronson was more than willing to get in but MSK would come down to make sure the odds were even. Legado did not like that and they would leave the ring but not before issuing a challenge. They want a six-man match against MSK and Reed and for all the gold to be on the line. Bronson and MSK were game for it and the match would be made official. Hit Row would then come out and I was thinking they would want a piece of the action but they were just coming out for Swerve’s match that was next. Really good stuff and that match should be a fun one at TakeOver.
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Killian Dain
Fun little here as this was happening because of what happened between both sides last week. I do love the new swagger Swerve has since officially forming Hit Row and it feels natural to him. The match itself was fun and both men worked well in the ring. Dain used his size over the smaller Swerve but that did not stop Swerve from finding ways to get the advantage. Eventually, Drake would take out Ashante when he got involved but would pay for it when Top Dolla would take him out. That would be all Swerve needed to get the advantage and he would get the win to continue the momentum for Hit Row.
Indi Hartwell & Candice LeRae Backstage
Candice continued to voice her displeasure over Poppy being involved with NXT because she feels like she is taking the spotlight away from her and Indi. Indi is still trying to get Dexter Lumis back and she would eventually leave to find him when she mentioned that he listened to her music on her headphones. Candice was not pleased over this and would leave. This is not the end of this and we shall see how it plays out.
Cameron Grimes Promo
Like LA Knight, Cameron Grimes had a turn in his house to show why he should inherit the legacy of Ted DiBiase. I loved how Grimes tried to partake in certain things like smoking a cigar and drinking scotch but it was clearly not for him. Good stuff and we shall see how this plays out in a bit.
Mercedes Martinez vs Amari Miller
I actually had to look up who Mercedes was facing here as I totally missed it. Mercedes would be attacked Xia Li while she was making her entrance and it looked like XIa would get the better of her but that was not the case. Mercedes would fight back and referees would come down to separate the two. Nice stuff here and a twist on the usual heel beats up the face prior to the match trope.
The match itself was a blink and you miss it type of one as Mercedes would make quick work of Amari. The grade really is this high because of the stuff prior to the match rather than the match itself.
Short little segment with Breezango here as they talked a bit about WALTER and the threat of Imperium. They didn’t seem worried about it and actually made fun of both WALTER and Imperium during the segment. They just want to be able to get another crack at the NXT titles and we shall see how Imperium reacts to this when they have the chance.
Triple H, William Regal & Poppy Backstage
This was pretty much a plug for the EP Poppy did that has some NXT branding on it but that doesn’t take away from how great this segment was. Triple H and Regal had some amazing facial reactions throughout it and that is what made it amazing. Dexter Lumis would eventually show up and would present Poppy with a drawing he made of her. She would thank him and give him a hug but the timing was not very good as Indi Hartwell would walk in and leave in tears at the sight of Lumis hugging Poppy. Dexter’s face was completely shocked and Triple H and Regal also had some great expressions to boot. There is still more to this and we shall see how the story plays out.
LA Knight, Cameron Grimes & Ted DiBiase In-Ring
Knight and Grimes each arrived at the CWC in their respective expensive cars and would trade words with one another. They would be told by one of DiBiase’s security members that he wants them in the ring and he would introduce each man. They would come down to the ring and DiBiase would eventually tell them that their match at TakeOver would be slightly different than they thought. A ladder would descend from the ceiling of the CWC and he would tell them they will be in a ladder match. Knight and Grimes would then take turns once again stating their case as to why they should inherit his legacy and Grimes would pose the question about what they are climbing the ladder for. DiBiase would ask his security to give him the case he brought with him and would unveil the beautiful Million Dollar Title at the end goal for both men. The title still looks beautiful and this ladder match has a chance to be the sleeper hit of TakeOver.
Simple and to the point here as Ever-Rise appeared backstage to plug that they are having a pre-pre-show for TakeOver on Sunday. Ever-Rise are a great comedic act and I think they would be getting really over if they could be in front of a proper crowd.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs August Grey & Ikemen Jiro
This match was slightly more competitive than I was expecting. I will also say that I do not watch 205 Live so I had no idea that Jiro wrestled in his jacket. The match itself was solid and it did look like Grey and Jiro would be able to steal the win when Timothy Thatcher and Tomasso Ciampa came out to sit ringside. The distraction wasn’t enough though as GYV would pick up the win anyways.
GYV would get on the mic after the match to tell Thatcher and Ciampa that they are done with them and they should get a clue about it. Ciampa would then talk to them about how they aren’t done and they need to settle things before either team can go after the tag titles. Gibson would pitch a tornado tag between the two and Ciampa would accept the challenge. Ciampa and Thatcher would charge the ring to get some of GYV but they would flee instead. The match would be made official and that has “banger” written all over it.
Bobby Fish Promo
Short promo here for Fish as he was training and would say he is not done with Oney Lorcan just yet. It was short but it still didn’t do much for me.
Candice LeRae In-Ring
Candice would come out to the ring and would voice her displeasure over Poppy because she is stealing all of the spotlight from her and Indi. She would even voice how Poppy is stealing Dexter Lumis away from Indi and I guess Candice does not like someone stealing someone from her daughter even if it is someone, she doesn’t want her with. Poppy would come out and simply say that she doesn’t wrestle but knows someone that does. A familiar entrance theme would play as Io Shirai would make her return and would take care of Candice in the ring. I have no idea where this is leading to but i am all for seeing a match between Candice and Io because they have had great ones in the past. Also, Io would cross paths with Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai as they made their way out for Dakota’s match with Ember Moon and it is easy to see that Io is definitely getting her rematch down the line.
Dakota Kai vs Ember Moon
This match was a ton of fun and it is easy to see why when you see who was involved. Plenty of good back and forth from two of the top workers in NXT. Raquel did come out with Dakota and she will play a factor in this match. The work was solid and both women had their turns being in control during it. Ember would take out Dakota and Raquel on the outside with a dive that would make Shotzi proud as she smacked herself right into the announce table. Ember was setting up for the Eclipse but Raquel would come with a boot to cause a DQ. I thought we would see some friction with Dakota and Raquel here but they went right to beat down Ember but Ember was able to fend them off and even hit Raquel with the Eclipse to stand tall here. Ember versus Raquel is sure to be a fun match and we shall see if Dakota plays a role in that one on Sunday.
Karrion Kross & Scarlett Promo
Kross really has quite the presence during his promos and you believe everything he has to say. That is something natural and Scarlett standing there with the NXT Championship added a bit to this as well. He wants his challengers to come out and show them why they are made of in the ring. I am really becoming a bigger fan of Kross with each passing week because this is how he should have been booked since he started in NXT.
Fatal 5-Way Face To Face
This was a great way to NXT this week and I loved the intensity between Regal and Kross here. I am sure there is another timeline in which we got a stiff match between Kross and Regal because I think that match could be amazing. Kross told Regal that he doesn’t run NXT, he does and he wants his challengers to come out to the ring. Kyle O’Reilly would be the first one out and he spoke about why he will beat Kross and everybody else in the 5-way. Johnny Gargano would come out and do the same but in his goofy way. Pete Dunne would come out and say that he is done with all the talking and wants his fists to do the rest of the talking. Adam Cole would then appear on the screen and laugh at all the men in the ring because he is smarter than them and had no intentions on being in the ring. He said he beat them all last week and outdid Kross in their verbal exchange. Things would breakdown eventually as all four men brawled in the ring and even took out the security in the ring that did their best. One of the best parts was seeing Regal on the outside of the ring and just looked angered and just over all the chaos because there was nothing, he could do to stop it. It looked like Kross would be the last man standing but Cole proved why he was the smartest man because he picked Kross off and would be the one standing tall in the end. Great finish to a great go-home episode.
If You Don’t Know, Now You Know!
Overall, this was a great go-home episode of NXT this week for TakeOver. The matches were all solid and Theory kind of stole the night for me with that awesome Spanish Fly he hit on Oney. The final segment was great and got me properly hyped for the 5-way. The Ember/Dakota match was fun as well and so was the return of Io Shirai. I liked Poppy’s involvement tonight as well and she did her job well. The InDex love story continues to take some nice twists and turns as well. The Million Dollar Title ladder match should be fun and so should the six-man title match that was added late. All in all, great stuff from NXT this week and make sure to join us on Sunday because there will be a Dignified Discussion for what should be an amazing night of NXT action.