NXT TakeOver: Toronto – Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano 2/3 Falls

John Pollock’s coverage of the NXT TakeOver: Toronto card from the Scotiabank Arena featuring Adam Cole defending the NXT title against Johnny Gargano in a two-of-three falls match.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the NXT TakeOver: Toronto card from the Scotiabank Arena.

Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are attending the show and will have their NXT TakeOver: Toronto POST Show later tonight on the upNXT feed.

RESULTS
*The Street Profits over Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish in 16:57 to retain the NXT tag titles
*Io Shirai over Candice LeRae in 15:00
*Velveteen Dream over Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong in 17:24 to retain the NXT North American title
*Shayna Baszler over Mia Yim in 14:34 to retain the NXT women’s title
*Adam Cole over Johnny Gargano in the 2/3 falls match to retain the NXT title

Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix are the commentary team with Phoenix noting she had her WWE tryout in this building.

THE STREET PROFITS VS KYLE O’REILLY & BOBBY FISH FOR THE NXT TAG TITLES

Early on, Bobby Fish stopped the momentum of Montez Ford by kicking out his leg while standing on the apron. O’Reilly & Fish took control of Angelo Dawkins while Ford recovered in his corner.  Ford received the tag and showed off his vertical leaping ability culminating with a standing moonsault onto Fish. Ford attempted the People’s Elbow and was stopped by O’Reilly grabbing his foot from the floor. Ford broke free and finished with a uranage to Fish.

Fish executed a superplex to Ford and O’Reilly came off the top with a knee onto the leg followed by the Achilles heel submission. Dawkins used Fish to crash on top of O’Reilly and saved Ford. The submission tease and save got a loud reception from the audience.

Dawkins shot in and was drilled by a knee from O’Reilly and was caught with a jumping guillotine. Ford came off the turnbuckle with a blockbuster to O’Reilly to break the guillotine hold. Ford hit a tope con giro to both, Dawkins speared each inside the ring and Ford won the match with a frog splash onto O’Reilly.

WINNERS: The Street Profits at 16:57 to retain the NXT tag titles

This was a fun opener and built throughout the match with the audience picking up as the transitioned into the climax. Kyle O’Reilly is one of the top talents in the industry and he’s not in the discussion among the best performers they have. He was so great with his selling, facial reactions, to complement the extensive submission base he blends together so well. Ford seems to be poised to become a major star as his athletic abilities are tremendous, has loads of charisma and has improved greatly this past year.

I wouldn’t rate this as a top-shelf Undisputed Era tag match, but it was a solid opener and worthy of checking out.

There was a shot of Johnny Gargano next to a ladder backstage. Ricochet was shown in the crowd.

IO SHIRAI VS CANDICE LeRAE

Shirai was dubbed the ‘Joshi Judas’ by Mauro Ranallo and while her inspiration is Rey Mysterio, she more closely resembles the villain Mysterio.

LeRae stormed the ring and immediately went after Shirai before the bell rang. They fought on the floor with Shirai suplexing LeRae onto the announcer’s desk. LeRae beat the count into the ring as Shirai continued with her attack, which included an Air Raid Crash.

LeRae fought back and was stopped on the apron until she hit with the tiger feint kick (619) to the neck. LeRae responded with a suicide dive into a DDT on the floor. Shirai blasted her with a forearm strike against the ropes. LeRae leaped backward into a bridging German suplex that she kicked out from.

LeRae was hoisted onto Shirai’s shoulders and turned it into an Inverted huracanrana with a roll-up for a two-count. Shirai’s attack has been centered on LeRae’s neck and the reverse rana also hurt LeRae’s neck, which the announcers called attention to. Shirai took LeRae to the top and hit a Spanish Fly for a big near fall.

Shirai hit a double underhook backbreaker and top rope moonsault, which LeRae kicked out from. Shirai was frustrated and went to the Koji Clutch, which put LeRae to sleep and referee Jessika Carr called for the bell.

WINNER: Io Shirai at 15:00

This was a strong match and the best performance from LeRae in NXT with a rare opportunity for her to have a lengthy match. Shirai is excellent in the heel role with her mannerisms and has tremendous poise in this role. They did a lot within the body of the match and the audience responded in kind as they increased the intensity of the match. LeRae had the silver lining of kicking out from Shirai’s moonsault but fell to the Koji Clutch, which they established as a dangerous submission and the finish worked well.

Matt Riddle came into the ring and called out Killian Dane to fight him. Dane came out through the crowd and they fought on the floor. Dane stomped on his foot and the fight continued with Riddle landing a flying knee and running knee. Security was out, including local performers Sebastian Suave and Stone Rockwell. It ended with Riddle on Dane’s back and he ran off the stage and took a security member with them and went through a table on the floor.

EVOLVE champion Austin Theory was shown in the crowd with Ranallo telling everyone to remember his name.

VELVETEEN DREAM VS PETE DUNNE VS RODERICK STRONG FOR THE NXT NORTH AMERICAN TITLE

Velveteen Dream’s entrance began with Jacques Rougeau’s old Mountie theme and then transitioned to the break dancers dressed in Toronto Raptors gear with a graphic acknowledging them as the NBA champions.

Strong picked up the pace with a multitude of back breakers to both on the floor, including Dunne being dropped onto the back of Dream. Several minutes later, it was Dream executing the back breakers to Strong and applied a sharpshooter for the easy reaction. Dunne broke the submission with a missile dropkick.

Dunne grabbed each by the wrist and attacked with stomps before the two fought off Dunne, they traded strikes and then became a three-way striking affair and they went down. They had numerous three-way spots that were creative, including Strong delivering an Olympic Slam to Dunne off the turnbuckle as Dunne held Dream’s finger and flipped him.

Dunne applied a triangle to Strong while grabbing his fingers, Dream broke it with a coast-to-coast elbow across the ring. Strong did this awesome sequence running the ropes and delivering elbows to them as he ran, then applied the Strong Hold to both simultaneously.

Dunne snapped both their fingers and hit the Bitter End on Strong, Dream dove and stopped the referee from counting three.

Dream hit the Dream Valley Driver on Dunne, Strong sent him to the floor and hit Dunne with the End of Heartache, but Dream returned and got rid of Strong and pinned Dunne.

WINNER: Velveteen Dream at 17:24 to retain the NXT North American title

This was a well-worked three-way match, which is not my favorite style of match. They had many creative spots to interweave everyone as opposed to getting rid of one body and they disappear for minutes on end. The audience was behind Dream from the moment he came out and the entrance only accentuated that support. With the Toronto Raptors affiliation, it was clear who they wanted as the audience’s pick. I liked the match, a lot.

Three of the four Undisputed Era members have lost tonight with Adam Cole coming up in the main event.

SHAYNA BASZLER VS MIA YIM FOR THE NXT WOMEN’S TITLE

Yim had a bunch of extras with bandanas covering their faces for her special entrance.

Early on, Yim attacks Baszler’s right arm but the match changes direction when Baszler stomps the left elbow and works for a kimura.

The audience was checked out of the match for long stretches.

Yim landed a suicide dive and a tornado DDT back into the ring. It picked up as Yim hit a Code Red off the second turnbuckle, which Ranallo identified as a ‘Code Blue’ since Yim hit it.

Baszler attempted the Kirifuda Clutch but Yim grabbed the injured arm and broke free. Yim stomped the bad arm and went for an armbar, Baszler moved to the back again while Yim defended by attacking the right hand and arm. Baszler improvised and used an inverted triangle and Yim tapped.

WINNER: Shayna Baszler at 14:34 to retain the NXT women’s title

The match had a focused story with Baszler’s right arm being hurt and compromising the ability to use the Kirifuda Clutch, but the match was hurt by the crowd’s lack of engagement for the majority of it.

It was an average match and not at the level of most big women’s title matches of past TakeOver shows.

WALTER and Tyler Bate were shown in the audience as they promoted the NXT UK TakeOver card on August 31st.

ADAM COLE VS JOHNNY GARGANO IN A 2-OF-3 FALLS MATCH FOR THE NXT TITLE

Professional Wrestling match

Gargano came out with Wolverine inspired gear. The first fall is Cole’s choice of a professional wrestling match.

They started off with reach reading the other and being one step ahead. Gargano was starting to attack the right knee when Cole used a wheelbarrow to slam Gargano’s back onto the edge of the apron from the floor. Gargano came back and went to work on the right knee again, including a figure-four being applied. Cole’s Panama Sunrise was blocked as Gargano hit a Sunset Driver (Kota Ibushi’s Bastard Driver) for a two-count.

Cole caught Gargano with a codebreaker coming off the turnbuckle and used a Michinoku Driver for a two-count. Gargano made his comeback with the Thunderstruck DDT into the ring but was caught with an Ushigoroshi for a two-count. Cole brought a chair into the ring and was warned by the referee, who removed it allowing Cole to kick Gargano low and get a near fall.

Gargano hit a superkick, grabbed the chair and despite the referee’s warning, Gargano attacked Cole and used the chair. Gargano was disqualified at 20:47 but used repeated chair shots to weaken Cole for the second fall.

Street Fight

Gargano threw the chair from the ring into Cole’s face on the floor to start the second fall. They went into the crowd and returned ringside with Gargano diving at Cole and knocking down the barricade. On the desk, Cole gouged Gargano’s eyes but was countered and sent through the desk when Gargano hit a back-body drop.

A chant of ‘Johnny Tables’ began as Gargano brought the objects from underneath the ring. Cole cut him off with an Ushigoroshi for a two-count. Gargano set up a chair in the corner and sent Cole into it with a lawn dart, applied the Gargano Escape and Cole tapped in 8:00 to even the match at 1-1.

Steel Cage match

The cage lowered with barbed wired and weapons attached to it. They stated you can only win by pin or submission and there is no escaping the cage. The audience chanted, ‘Thank you, Regal’ and ‘ECW’.

Each grabbed a kendo stick and repeatedly struck each other until double superkicks put them down. Cole choked Gargano with the kendo stick and executed a backstabber. Gargano was seated on the turnbuckle and used a fire extinguisher to spray Cole and hit a tornado DDT on top of two chairs.

Gargano grabbed the sledgehammer and was stopped with two superkicks. Cole tossed a ladder from the top and then hit the Panama Sunrise for a near fall. Cole came off the ladder with another Panama Sunrise for another two-count. Cole missed the Last Shot and drove his previously injured right knee into a chair. Cole resorted to biting Gargano’s hand to avoid the Gargano Escape.

Gargano hit a Destroyer off the second turnbuckle and Cole kicked out. Gargano found pliers inside a bad and cut off a piece of the barbed wire. Cole climbed up to avoid Gargano and fought on a table spread across the top of the cage, they both fell off the top and went through the table with Cole rolling over the cover.

WINNER: Adam Cole at 17:51 of the third fall to retain the NXT title

This was an excellent main event and felt like the culmination of a feud that has lasted all year. In terms of violence and stunts during the third fall, I would put Friday’s Ladder War as more dangerous but as an overall match that lasted over 45 minutes, this was a phenomenal match and an incredible end to the feud.

The gravity of the match and selling the impact of the ending by Mauro Ranallo was one of the best calls this year. I felt Mauro had a tremendous show and, his call of the main event gave it the feel of a major match and event.

Overall, I thought the main event was easily the top match on the card and from start-to-finish was an easy show to enjoy and watch. I didn’t feel the women’s title match clicked and a low point on a very good show.

We are now in an era where ‘very good’ is taken for granted and it’s only when you compare to the best TakeOver events that people will find fault. I didn’t think this show reached the level of the best TakeOvers. Until the main event, I would place this show as a very good show, but the main event did put it above that mark by a few notches.

Below is footage after TakeOver went off the air with William Regal coming out as Johnny Gargano made his exit:

About John Pollock 1331 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.