POLLOCK’S NXT TAKEOVER REVIEW: Adam Cole wins title

John Pollock's review of an excellent NXT TakeOver card featuring Johnny Gargano defending the NXT title against Adam Cole in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The show began with a retrospective of the first TakeOver event in May 2014 and highlights from the past 24 editions and talent that has competed on the big shows.

Mauro Ranallo started the show calling TakeOver “the gold standard in sports entertainment”. Nigel McGuinness added that they are “the true alternative”, which sounded direct in where that was aimed at. The two are calling the show along with Beth Phoenix.

QUICK RESULTS:
*Matt Riddle over Roderick Strong in 14:42
*Street Profits over Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch and The Forgotten Sons in a Ladder match in 21:29 to become NXT tag champions
*Velveteen Dream over Tyler Breeze in 16:47 to retain the North American title
*Shayna Baszler over Io Shirai in 12:14 to retain the NXT women’s title
*Adam Cole over Johnny Gargano in 31:46 to win the NXT title

RODERICK STRONG VS MATT RIDDLE

This was a sensational opening match. Strong attacked Riddle’s back early in the match by dropping him onto the edge of the apron. Strong focused on the back and it affected Riddle’s offense. There was an awesome sequence of strikes by Strong, ending with a slam off the shoulders and Riddle kicked out. Riddle came back with the Final Flash for a two-count and then dove off the top to land on Strong’s knees. Strong capitalized with a Tiger Driver and applying the Strong Hold with the pressure on the back. Riddle escaped with up kicks, went for the Bro Mission but his back didn’t allow him to fully apply the hold. He hit his variation of the tombstone, dubbed the “Bo Derek” by Ranallo and Riddle won.

WINNER: Matt Riddle at 14:42

This match was terrific and a fantastic opener.

Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg were shown in the crowd and displayed their Hall of Fame rings.

STREET PROFITS VS FORGOTTEN SONS VS ONEY LORCAN & DANNY BURCH VS KYLE O’REILLY & BOBBY FISH IN A LADDER MATCH FOR THE VACANT NXT TAG TITLES

This match was off the charts with a tremendous layout. Each team had their moments and there were teases each could win at various points.

O’Reilly and Fish had the strategy of getting the ladders early and attempting to double team using the ladder as a weapon to empty the ring. While holding the ladder, Wesley Blake hit a tope suicida and crashed into the ladder and cut himself on the forehead. Blake had several great spots in the match and had a great performance, including a powerbomb to O’Reilly to knocks Fish off the ladder as he was climbing.

Blake & Cutler took the ladder and wrapped it around their heads and attacked until Lorcan & Burch hit stereo German suplexes and the ladder went flying. It was dangerous because the ladder nearly hit O’Reilly, who didn’t seem ready and was going at a fast speed but luckily missed.

O’Reilly was cut on the lower back after being dropped onto the ladder.

It built to Jaxson Ryker coming out and attacking Ford, Fish, and Dawkins and clearing the ring. He was the unstoppable force until the six men ganged up and attacked him with stomps and ladder shots.

Then, Lorcan & Burch cleared the ring and teased winning the titles when the Forgotten Sons tipped the ladders and the boos began as Cutler climbed. Blake was on the mat and Dawkins ran under the ladder and speared him. Ford landed a springboard onto the ladder, knocking Cutler off and grabbed the titles.

Awesome match and two matches into the show, this event has been off the charts.

WINNERS: The Street Profits at 21:29 to become the NXT tag champions

They celebrated in the crowd and they felt like superstars with the excellent ending to the match and post-match reaction.

VELVETEEN DREAM VS TYLER BREEZE FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN TITLE

The video they aired on NXT this past week aired again before the match and set up the story of Dream believing he’s a better version of Breeze, who has been a failure since leaving NXT.

The audience was engaged from the beginning of the match.

Breeze wrapped Dream’s leg around the post, which he sold big. Dream came back and drilled Breeze into the announcer’s desk repeatedly and took a selfie with Breeze and displayed it on the screen for everyone. Breeze responded with the Supermodel kick, put Dream into the ring and then walked into a Dream Valley Driver, which rendered the Supermodel ineffective.

There was a spot where Dream attempted a reverse cross from the corner and Breeze landed a picture-perfect dropkick that was timed beautifully. Later in the match, Dream faked the dropkick to play off this earlier sequence.

Breeze hit a Cheeky Nando’s kick and finally hit the Unprettier he had kept trying, but Dream kicked out. Breeze hit the Beauty Shot and Dream rolled to the floor. Breeze told the referee to stop counting while Dream grabbed the North American title and Breeze yanked it away. The referee was handed the title by Breeze, who was momentarily distracted, turned around and was hit by the Dream Valley Driver and Purple Rainmaker.

WINNER: Velveteen Dream at 16:47

This was Breeze’s best match since he was in NXT and while I wouldn’t it put it ahead of the first two matches, it delivered and the audience elevated Breeze’s status. Dream is great with his reactions; his timing was very strong in this match and is advancing at a solid rate and benefits greatly being on this roster as opposed to the main roster. In terms of presence, Dream is on par with the top guys in the entire company.

The announcers protected Breeze and explained he proved he can hang with the best in NXT.

Breeze took a selfie with the two of them inside the ring after the match and Dream made his exit.

There was a promo that ran for Damian Priest, who was Punishment Martinez in Ring of Honor.

SHAYNA BASZLER VS IO SHIRAI FOR THE NXT WOMEN’S TITLE

Baszler came out alone with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir staying backstage.

The match was structured around Baszler’s early attack on Shirai’s left arm by stomping the elbow and targeting the body part.

Baszler went for another stomp and Shirai moved it out of the way, fought back and landed a bridging German suplex but couldn’t maintain the bridge because of her arm.

Baszler was knocked to the floor and Shirai hit a fantastic moonsault from the top to the floor. She set up Baszler for a moonsault inside the ring when Duke and Shafir ran down. They were stopped by Candice LeRae, who attacked both with a kendo stick and a crossbody off the steps.

Baszler got out of the way of Shirai’s moonsault, Shirai went for a bridging O’Connor roll and Baszler kicked out while applying the Kirifuda Clutch. The entire arena was chanting for Io, who struggled and fought but couldn’t get to the rope. Shirai faded and finally tapped.

WINNER: Shayna Baszler at 12:14 to retain the NXT women’s title

The emotion was high for the match with an excellent villain and an excellent babyface. After the match, Shirai snapped and attacked Baszler with the kendo stick and was handed a chair by LeRae and proceeded to hit a moonsault from the top while holding the chair. It was a spectacular post-match beatdown and Shirai felt like a big star from the audience’s reaction, her performance in the match, and fire displayed. I enjoyed this match a ton.

Baszler was left lying inside the ring as the audience chanted “you deserve it”.

They announced the next NXT UK TakeOver on Sunday, August 31st at 3 pm Eastern from Cardiff, Wales. The special will be airing the same day as All Out.

Stephanie McMahon was shown in the crowd.

JOHNNY GARGANO VS ADAM COLE FOR THE NXT TITLE

Josiah Williams of Wrestle and Flow fame came out for Cole’s entrance and rapped to his theme song, it was a cool entrance.

Phenomenal main event.

Cole superkicked Gargano’s right knee and targeted the knee and that was Gargano’s match-long struggle to overcome.

Cole caught Gargano with a backstabber as he came off the turnbuckle and landed Feast Your Eyes, although it wasn’t called that.

They both landed on the floor and attempted superkicks at the same time with each going down. Inside the ring, Gargano kicked out of an Ushigoroshi and then used head scissors to apply the Gargano Escape. Cole escaped and applied a figure-four as he returned to the injured knee. Cole stomped on Gargano’s knee after removing the champion’s knee pad.

They traded their finishers with Cole going for the Gargano Escape, Gargano escaping and hitting the Last Shot for a two-count. There was an insane sequence of maneuvers, culminating with Gargano hitting a reverse rana only for Cole to come right back with the Last Shot for an enormous near fall and the audience lost its mind.

On the floor, Cole was dejected and grabbed a chair, referee Drake Wuertz warned him and Gargano attempted a suicide dive but took out Wuertz by mistake.

Back in the ring, Cole takes over and Gargano is playing possum that he’s out only to draw Cole in and apply the Gargano Escape. Cole elbows the bad knee to escape the hold. The closing moments saw Gargano’s knee buckle and Cole landed the Panama Sunrise and one final Last Shot to win the match.

WINNER: Adam Cole at 31:48 to win the NXT title

This show was amazing, you can debate what the best TakeOver in history is, but this has to be in the discussion. I thought this was one of the best WWE shows they have produced.

About John Pollock 1905 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.