Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of NXT TakeOver: In Your House from Full Sail University.
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will have a review of the show posted late tonight. They will be hosting a live watch-along beginning at 7 pm Eastern at YouTube.com/upNXT.
*Mia Yim, Tegan Nox & Shotzi Blackheart over Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez in 9:51
*Finn Balor over Damian Priest in 13:07
*Keith Lee over Johnny Gargano in 20:36 to retain the NXT North American title
*Adam Cole over Velveteen Dream in 14:58 in the Backlot Brawl to retain the NXT title
*Karrion Kross over Tommaso Ciampa in 6:14
*Io Shirai over Charlotte Flair (c) and Rhea Ripley in 17:37 to win the NXT women’s title
The show started with the NXT signature done in the style of the WWF’s in the mid-90s followed by Todd Pettengill introducing the show.
It featured a classic video package right out of 1995 voiced by Pettengill previewing the top matches and the classic In Your House theme song. He warned “one lucky winner…will not win a house”.
Then, Code Orange did a live performance of “Underneath” at Full Sail University.
There are using a makeshift version of the In Your House set.
Mauro Ranallo is calling the show with Beth Phoenix and Tom Phillips.
MIA YIM, SHOTZI BLACKHEART & TEGAN NOX VS CANDICE LeRAE, DAKOTA KAI & RAQUEL GONZALEZ
They set up a series of dives with Blackheart’s tope caught by Gonzalez on the floor. That was followed by LeRae with a twisting crossbody and Nox off the top with a somersault dive, identified by Phoenix as the ‘Molly Go-Round’.
Blackheart used cattle mutilation on LeRae and was broken up by Kai.
Nox was in and hit with a powerbomb from Gonzalez with Yim late on the save. Yim and LeRae brawled to the back and left the match.
Kai hit Gonzalez by mistake leading to Nox hitting Kai with the chokeslam and a double-team sliced bread on Gonzalez before Nox hit the shiniest wizard and pinned Kai.
WINNERS: Tegan Nox, Mia Yim & Shotzi Blackheart in 9:51
It was fine for a television match but didn’t feel at the high level of a TakeOver quality match. A lot of that is contingent on a rabid audience, which this show isn’t going to replicate with the trainees.
There was a focus on Gonzalez as the monster of the division with Phoenix comparing her to Chyna at one point.
DAMIAN PRIEST VS FINN BALOR
Priest took over after using the steps on the floor and leaving them strategically placed. Ranallo tried to compare the audience here at Full Sail to the one for Canadian Stampede in 1997, which was a tough comparison to try.
They went through a series of big moves and had a great flow to the sequences. There was a big exchange of strikes ending with the Pele kick.
Priest hit a Razor’s Edge onto the edge of the apron and later hit a chokeslam with Balor coming off the top rope but kicked out at two.
Priest attempted a Razor’s Edge from the ring to the steps on the floor but Balor blocked and nailed Priest as he took a massive bump off the apron back first on the steps. Balor ended the match with two Coup de Graces for the win.
WINNER: Finn Balor at 13:06
This was a solid match and worked to the strengths of Priest where he got a lot of his flashy offense in and showcased his ability to be an agile big man. Balor is among the best guys on this roster and it showed in a match like this as he led the way.
It felt like this wrapped up the feud in a tidy way and should allow Balor to move on to something bigger like an NXT title program. They emphasized his 11th win at a TakeOver event going back to 2014.
The next nostalgic commercial was Adam Cole promoting ICOPRO.
The video package for the North American title match featured a “Table for 2” graphic and ended with Gargano in his supposed kitchen and went to leave the house looking at a photo of Dok Hendrix and entered the arena and locked the door of his “house” while placing the key in his trunks.
KEITH LEE VS JOHNNY GARGANO FOR THE NXT NORTH AMERICAN TITLE
Lee had “Black Lives Matter” written on his trunks.
Lee is selling the effects of his eye and hand injuries from last Wednesday’s episode. Both would be a big focus of the match.
Gargano played the coward very effectively with Lee constantly catching him and Gargano begging off. Gargano tried to exit through the house and we watched through a camera from inside the house as Lee came and stopped him from leaving (I guess Gargano forgot he locked the door with the key in his trunks).
In the ring, Gargano attacked the injured hand and used tactics such as elbowing the face, fish hooking, and pulling at the fingers. Lee slammed out of an armbar attempt and went for the Big Bang Catastrophe, which was countered with a small package.
Gargano landed a tope into a DDT on the floor, but Lee recovered and put Gargano through the plexiglass with the pounce. This led to Candice LeRae coming out and she was attacked and taken care of by Mia Yim.
Gargano pulled out the key from his trunk and used it on Lee’s eyes again. It had no effect as Lee continually kicked out of superkicks, came back with the Spirit Bomb, and won with the Big Bang Catastrophe.
WINNER: Keith Lee at 20:36 to retain the NXT North American title
As far as playing this character, Gargano significantly adjusted his style to suit the heel persona rather than the examples of guys keeping all their flashy offense in their matches even though it’s crowd-pleasing. The hand injury was a good focus of the match and grounded Lee, which one could argue is not the version of Lee people want to see where he sells and sells and gets a limited set of big moves. They made Lee out to be Superman by taking the keys to the eyes for the second time this week and didn’t stay down from the attack or the subsequent three superkicks.
ADAM COLE VS VELVETEEN DREAM IN A BACKLOT BRAWL FOR THE NXT TITLE
Adam Cole pulled up in an Undisputed Era monster truck outside the building. Velveteen Dream showed up driving a Lamborghini and brings a baseball bat with him.
There is a ring outside surrounded by cars with the lights on. Referee Drake Wuertz explains he is only here to ensure there is a winner.
Cole tried to leave immediately and got into a car that Dream attacked with the bat. There was an Uber driver that showed up for a comedy bit that fell flat.
They fought down a sidewalk with Cole hidden and spraying Dream with a fire extinguisher. Dream came off the top turnbuckle and was met with a superkick and then Cole tried the same and was hit with a superkick from Dream.
Cole was on the hood of a car; Dream climbed a ladder, but a car drove up honking to distract Dream and it was Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong. Cole was sent off the ladder and broke the windshield he landed on with his arm cut up.
Fish and Strong threw tons of chairs into the ring before Dexter Lumis emerged from under the ring and attacked both men, placed them in a trunk, and drove away.
Cole attempted the Panama Sunrise off the turnbuckle, and it was turned into a Dream Valley Driver for a two-count. Dream hit a Purple Rainmaker to Cole seated on a chair. Dream was preparing to finish him when Cole used a low blow and the Panama Sunrise onto all the chairs and pinned Dream.
WINNER: Adam Cole in 14:58 to retain the NXT title
This was many times better than the regular match they had on television that was not good. The taped element enhanced this greatly but was much closer to a normal street fight than past cinematic presentations. This was a street fight with higher production. It ended relatively clean as low blows are legal in the match and was a definitive win for Cole and to me, signals the end of the feud. They didn’t overdo it with the length, so that helped the match and again, this had the benefit of being taped in advance to make it come across flawless and therefore, has a distinct advantage to a regular match but I felt this come off well.
Pettengill did another segment pushing the merchandise and tried to push a 1-900 number before learning about the WWE Shop site. Pettengill was great in these segments.
KARRION KROSS VS TOMMASO CIAMPA
Kross lifted Ciampa on the floor and dropped him onto the edge of the apron with a tree slam.
Kross hit more suplexes in the ring and dominated the match until a short-lived comeback. Ciampa hit numerous knee strikes and hit Willow’s Bell for a two-count.
Ciampa went for the Fairy Tale Ending and Kross countered and threw him off his shoulders. Kross applied the Kross Jacket and Ciampa went out.
WINNER: Karrion Kross at 6:14
For what this needed to be, it was just about perfect. Kross looked dominant and went over in strong fashion over an established name in Ciampa. They gave Ciampa a semblance of hope with the comeback but was quickly ended by Kross.
For all the talk about making stars, this is how you do it with Kross. You go all the way, you don’t worry about “hurting” someone, you sacrifice people to make people and there is no trepidation that they are 100% behind Kross.
Robert Stone was shown looking disheveled after being fired by Chelsea Green.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS RHEA RIPLEY VS IO SHIRAI FOR THE NXT WOMEN’S TITLE
They noted this was the first time the women have headlined TakeOver since October 2015 when Sasha Banks and Bayley had the Ironman Match.
Shirai fought out of a hold by Flair with an up kick allowing Ranallo to reference to the 2008 fight where Gegard Mousasi stopped Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza with an up kick in their DREAM fight.
Flair hit a double spear to both women but they each kicked out. Then, Flair tried a moonsault onto both with Shirai getting out of the way and Ripley putting her knees up. Shirai countered the Riptide and used La Mistica on Flair that Ripley broke up.
Flair applied the Figure 8 on Shirai with Ripley pulling Flair to the floor to stop the submission. The three fought around the In Your House set with Shirai sent into the window. Flair and Ripley continued to fight until Shirai re-emerged on top of the set and landed a crossbody on both.
Back in the ring, Ripley stopped Flair on the turnbuckle and hit a Riptide (the way she beat Shayna Baszler for the title last December) and Shirai made the save. Ripley applied the Prism Trap on Shirai when Flair got the kendo stick and attacked both women with the announcers explaining there are no disqualifications.
Flair applied the Figure 8 on Ripley but Shirai came off the top with a moonsault landing on Ripley (it didn’t land square) and she pinned Ripley as the moonsault broke up the Figure 8 and Shirai is the new champion.
WINNER: Io Shirai in 17:37 to win the NXT women’s title
This was a spectacular match and you could see it was a very detailed three-way match they laid out. The action never subsided for the entire length of the match and I thought they had a lot of cool and innovative ideas that took this match to the next level. At first, the finish looked like one of those annoying finishes where both would claim they had Ripley defeated but it wasn’t played up that way and it was presented as Shirai winning the title clean.
All three worked incredibly hard and I thought delivered in a big way. The crowd knew its role throughout the show, helped with tons of chants, and added a lot of the atmosphere specifically for the main event. They also seemed to have way more people in the crowd, so that’s naturally going to help with the noise.
I can’t say this was one of the better TakeOvers but it was a very enjoyable show that was over within 2 ½ hours. I’d recommend the main event and Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest as the top two matches. They did a great job establishing Karrion Kross and the Backlot Brawl came off as a way better presentation than the Gargano vs. Ciampa match, which was their last attempt at something similar.