Todd Pettengill was brought in to host tonight’s show, and Code Orange kicked off proceedings with a live performance of Underneath. There was a crowd of Performance Center athletes to add a bit of atmosphere. The set was cute, with a front door and a window with plant pots around it. Entrances were made through the garage door.
Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, & Shotzi Blackheart def. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, & Raquel Gonzalez
Finn Balor def. Damian Priest
Keith Lee def. Johnny Gargano
Adam Cole def. Velveteen Dream
Karrion Kross def. Tommaso Ciampa
Io Shirai def. Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley
Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, & Shotzi Blackheart vs Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, & Raquel Gonzalez
They like to start TakeOvers with a high energy match and this six-woman tag definitely qualified.
There was a sequence in the middle of the match with bodies flying everywhere. Gonzalez caught Blackheart’s suicide dive but was knocked down by a flying Mia Yim along with Dakota Kai. Candice LeRae threw herself onto Blackheart, Kai and Yim, and Nox took out everyone from the top turnbuckle. It didn’t get any kind of result, but it was fun.
Dakota Kai knocked Gonzalez off the apron, despite having been warned to be careful when she’d almost kicked her in the face moments before. She actually did kick her in the face later in the match, after Shotzi Blackheart pulled Tegan Nox out of the way. By that time it had become a four-woman tag because Mia Yim and Candice LeRae had fought their way backstage.
Nox and Blackheart kicked Gonzalez out of the ring, then Tegan Nox got the pin with the Shiniest Wizard on Dakota Kai.
Damian Priest vs Finn Balor
Finn Balor signalled his intentions early on, with a dropkick before the match officially began. That got it underway. It didn’t give him a lasting advantage though. Damian Priest was soon showing off his superior strength by brutalising Balor at ringside.
Balor’s offence came from a place of anger. Priest was more methodical, more calculated, and it worked as a combination. I haven’t been a fan of Balor’s matches since he returned to NXT, but I think this was my favourite so far.
Priest went for a razor’s edge to the outside which would have sent Balor onto the base of a set of steps. Balor moved away and knocked Priest backwards off the apron so he landed on the steps with a sickening thud. It looked like the middle of his spine hit right on the edge of the metal.
Once Damian Priest was back in the ring he took a Coup de Grace to his back, then another to his chest, and got pinned.
Keith Lee (C) vs Johnny Gargano – NXT North American Championship match
Johnny Gargano entered through the front door in the set, locked it, and put the key in his trunks. During Keith Lee’s entrance, we were told he has a corneal scratch and some bruising to his fingers as a result of Johnny Gargano’s attacks on Wednesday.
Gargano tried the same trick he pulled on Wednesday when Lee went for a Spirit Bomb on the outside, only with his hand rather than car keys. When he tried to kick the steps into Lee’s hand again he just kicked the steps, and Lee got mad.
For reasons best known to himself, Gargano started hammering on the front door to try to get away. No one answered, even after Lee bounced his head off it, so Keith Lee threw him back to the ring.
Gargano repeatedly went back to Lee’s injured hand and eye, including removing some padding from a turnbuckle and stretching Lee’s hand around it. He was making progress but fired Lee back up with some trash talk.
It went a bit long for me, although it was a perfectly good match. The build to the finish was entertaining though. After taking a DDT on the outside Lee Pounced Gargano over the barricade and through the plexiglass barriers, then casually walked around and dragged him back, finally giving up and flinging him over his shoulder.
Candice LeRae appeared behind them, but Mia Yim wasn’t far behind and they started scrapping again. They brawled through the ring with the ref trying to usher them out.
While the ref was distracted, Johnny Gargano used the key on Lee’s undamaged eye and delivered One Final Beat, but Lee kicked out. He tried again with a superkick, but Lee kicked out again, and again, and again. He stood on Lee’s hand and said something to him, and got Spirit bombed in response. Keith Lee didn’t go for the pin after the Spirit bomb, he took a few moments then repeated it and sealed the deal with a Big Bang Catastrophe.
Adam Cole (C) vs Velveteen Dream – NXT Championship Backlot Brawl
I was expecting this to close the show, but apparently not. That means the women’s match will, which is the right decision. Adam Cole showed up in a monster truck, Velveteen Dream in a Lamborghini. The ring was set up in the parking lot, surrounded by a circle of cars shining their headlights towards it. The ref said William Regal told him to tell them to enjoy their spotlight. He also reminded them that anything goes but it has to finish in the ring, and he’s only there to declare the winner.
Velveteen Dream was carrying a bat, but Adam Cole wouldn’t come down off the top of his truck until he put it down. It didn’t take long before Cole decided he was leaving and got in a car. Velveteen retrieved him bat and beat up the car until Cole got out. An Uber turned up they fought through it (I don’t know why either). The moving camerawork was nauseating, but they wandered around throwing things at each other and with Cole trying all the doors to look for an escape. He disappeared behind one of them and sprayed Velveteen with a fire extinguisher when he opened it looking for him.
Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish turned up to distract Velveteen Dream when he was about to leap off a ladder onto the car bonnet (hood) Cole was laying on. Cole ended up taking a fall onto the windscreen (windshield) of the car, cutting his arm in the process. Strong and Fish beat up Velveteen and filled the ring with chairs, then Dexter Lumis appeared from under the ring locked them both in the boot (trunk) of a car, and drove it away.
Back in the ring and back to one on one, Cole kicked out of a Purple Rainmaker that put him through a chair, but only just. Velveteen Dream was just telling Cole it was Dream Over when Cole gave him a low blow. One Panama Sunrise on the chairs later, Adam Cole is still NXT Champion and Velveteen Dream cannot challenge him for the title again.
Karrion Kross, with Scarlett vs Tommaso Ciampa
Tommaso Ciampa got thrown around a LOT in this one. Kross is huge and vicious with a statement to make. Ciampa took it all and came back fighting. For a moment or two, it even looked like a comeback. It wasn’t. Kross put him to sleep with the Kross Jacket. It was short and brutal, but it didn’t need to be anything else.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai
When they say the NXT women’s division is the best in the world, this is a big part of why.
Charlotte Flair left the ring to Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley to get things started, and answered the crowd chants of, ‘You don’t go here’, with, ‘I made here’. She didn’t stay out for long, she just wanted to attack Ripley from behind while she was focused on Shirai.
Flair took Ripley out for a while by launching her into the barricade, then she smashed Shirai against the ringpost and threw her into Ripley as well. In true triple-threat style, any momentum was immediately halted, and every possible finisher was either broken up or kicked out of.
Things got out of hand when they fought their way up to the stage. Flair threw Shirai through the set window. Ripley threw a plant pot at Flair. And Io Shirai jumped from the top of the set to take both her competitors out. It looked like Charlotte Flair might have taken an accidental knee to the face in the process.
Ripley prevented Shirai’s frankensteiner, and Flair kicked Shirai in the stomach. She fell out of the ring but made it back in time to stop Ripley’s Riptide from the second turnbuckle ending the match.
Charlotte Flair brought a kendo stick into the match and Shirai ended up outside the ring again. This time Flair put Ripley in a Figure Eight after a spear, but before she could make her tap, Shirai landed a moonsault on the entangled Ripley and got the pin before Flair could let go.
Io Shirai is the new NXT Women’s Champion. She celebrated in a ring full of confetti and streamers.
There were a couple of filler bits in the show, DX trying to use AOL, Robert Stone looking wasted and dishevelled as he watched the show. Nothing exciting. Overall, it was another good TakeOver, but with the exception of the main event, very little is likely to make the next batch of ‘Best of’ lists.