By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Takeover: New York
Aired live April 5, 2019 on WWE Network
Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
A video package opened the show… The broadcast team was Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson. Ranallo noted that there was an NXT record 15,697 in attendance. Kayla Braxton was the ring announcer…
1. “War Raiders” Hanson and Rowe vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet for the NXT Tag Titles. The War Raiders received a special entrance with Viking warrior drummers. After an early exchange, Rowe and Black bumped fists and then tagged their partners in. Ranallo said it’s all about respect. At 7;00, Rowe set up to slam Hanson onto Black, but Black kicked Rowe’s legs out from under him, causing Rowe to fall onto his own partner. Ricochet tagged in and performed a standing shooting star press on Rowe for a two count.
Hanson did his running clotheslines on both opponents in opposite corners. A short time later, Ricochet performed a fallaway slam on Hanson, which popped the crowd in a big way. Black and Rowe checked in and had a great exchange of running knees and kicks. Black suplexed Rowe into a bridge for a near fall. Hanson and Ricochet checked in. Hanson performed his handspring elbow on Ricochet for a two count. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Hanson went to the top rope, but Ricochet cut him off.
Rowe held up Ricochet and then Hanson performed a springboard clothesline into a suplex. The War Raiders both had Ricochet pinned, but Black leapt off the top rope and double stomped onto them to break it up. A “fight forever” chant started. The wrestlers performed big dives, including Ricochet performing a corkscrew tiger bomb. Hanson went up top and performed a cannonball onto all three men below for a “holy shit” chant. Hanson and Black fought one another while trying to get back to the ring and knocked one another to the mat. All four men were down and the crowd started to groan, but then Ricochet and Rowe raced back to the ring to beat the count. Nice tease.
Black blasted Rowe with a Black Mass Kick. Ricochet performed a shooting star press. Black set up to block Hanson, who barreled into him so that both men tumbled onto the pin to break it up. Ricochet went for a 630, but Rowe rolled out of the way. A short time later, the War Raiders performed a popup powerslam onto Ricochet. Black was taken out at ringside, then the War Raiders hit Fallout for the win.
The War Raiders defeated Ricochet and Aleister Black to retain the NXT Tag Titles in 18:50.
After the match, the teams hugged and the War Raiders bowed at Ricochet and Black while Ranallo noted that it was their swan song in NXT. War Raiders left the ring. The fans gave Black and Ricochet a standing ovation and the wrestlers bowed to them while the fans chanted “you deserve it”…
Powell’s POV: Fantastic action from bell to bell. The game of “top this” has begun. I suspect this show will have an element of that between the matches, but really the overall weekend has that, especially with ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling running Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. So Black and Ricochet failed to win the Raw Tag Titles on Monday, the NXT Tag Titles tonight, and they will challenge for the Raw Tag Titles on Sunday. I wouldn’t mind seeing them lose again and have Black blindside Ricochet with a Black Mass kick to set them up in a feud against one another, but that’s probably wishful thinking from someone who would prefer to see them work as singles wrestlers.
Johnny Gargano was shown backstage… NXT UK wrestlers Toni Storm and Piper Niven were shown in the crowd… A video package set up the NXT North American Championship match…
2. Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle for the NXT North American Championship. Riddle wore a pinstriped “Original Bro” jacket to the ring. Ranallo said he’d be trying to emulate the Bronx Bombers by dropping some bombs on Dream. Meanwhile, Dream had a Statue of Liberty themed entrance. Yes, of course he was Lady Liberty, and he was carried to the ring on a small platform by four men.
There were dueling chants for the wrestlers before they locked up. Riddle offered a fist bump, but Dream blew it off and struck a crane kick pose and then they squared off. Riddle threw early kicks to the legs of Dream, who sold them both by squealing and then offered a fist bump. Riddle was open to it, but Dream tried and failed to take him down. Riddle took Dream down instead. Dream reached the ropes.
Riddle applied an armbar, but Dream reached the ropes. Dream begged off in the corner. Dream called for a test of strength and instead stomped the bare foot of Riddle and went on the offensive. Dream clawed the back of Riddle in the corner and then swiveled his hips. Riddle got pissed, grabbed him, and gut-wrench suplexed him.
A short time later, Riddle caught Dream going for a dive off the ropes to ringside, then suplexed him on the floor. Back inside the ring, Riddle performed a back splash. Riddle performed running strikes in the corner and then suplexed Dream again. Riddle connected with a running kick and got a near fall at 7:10. Riddle went for an armbar, but Dream blocked it and eventually reached the ropes.
Dream performed a German suplex, but Riddle no-sold it and blasted him with a running knee and a suplex for another near fall. A short time later, Dream was in the ropes. Riddle threw several punches at him and Dream fans booed. Dream caught Riddle in a Million Dollar Dream, but Riddle escaped it quickly and applied a triangle armbar. Once Dream was back on his feet, Riddle blasted him with two more high knees and suplexed into a bridge for another near fall.
Riddle barked at Dream that he is the bro and Dream is nothing. Dream fired up and caught Riddle with a boot to the face, a bodyslam, and a running knee. Dream clotheslined Riddle to ringside and then performed a Randy Savage style ax-handle form the top rope. Back inside the ring, Dream got a two count. Riddle came back for a moment, but Dream performed a Codebreaker for a near fall. A short time later, Riddle caught Dream in an ankle lock. Dream kicked his way free, but Riddle put the same hold on the other ankle. Dream kicked free again and caught Riddle with a superkick and a DDT. Dream performed a top rope elbow, but Riddle caught him in an armbar on the way down that Dream was able to break before it could be locked in.
Dream went to the apron. Riddle caught him and suplexed him back inside the the ring. Riddle performed a twisting moonsault and covered Dream for a great near fall. Riddle got another two count off a knee to the head. Riddle applied the Bromission. Dream rolled on top of him while Riddle had the hold applied and scored the pin.
Velveteen Dream defeated Matt Riddle in 17:35 to win the NXT North American Championship.
After the match, Riddle applauded Dream, then offered him a fist bump. Dream thought about it and then reciprocated…
Powell’s POV: That was fantastic. Wow. I loved the way Dream sold everything and even squealed early on. Riddle dominated the majority of the offense, but Dream came away with the win. We definitely haven’t seen the last from these two and I’m already looking forward to the rematch. I’ve heard from readers who have only seen Riddle in NXT and haven’t understood what all the fuss is over. They will now if they saw this match. Awesome work from both men.
A WrestleMania ad featuring Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins aired, then non-WWE ads aired…
Adam Cole was shown hanging out in his locker room with the rest of Undisputed Era…
Highlights aired from earlier in the day of Kushida signing his NXT contract while Triple H and William Regal stood by. In the arena, Kushida was shown in the crowd and he received a big reaction. Kushida pointed at his watch…
A video package set up the WWE UK Championship match…
3. Pete Dunne vs. Walter for the NXT UK Championship. NXT UK play-by-play voice Vic Joseph sat in on commentary in place of Watson for the match. Braxton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Both wrestlers were well received by the crowd and there were chants for both men. Joseph asked if Dunne was actually the underdog. McGuinness didn’t go that far, but he did say that Walter will be big trouble for Dunne. Walter tossed Dunne to the mat early. Walter threw early chops that knocked Dunne to the mat.
Walter no-sold a Dunne clothesline and then knocked him down with a big boot. Walter placed Dunne on the top rope and chopped him, then dumped him to the floor. Walter followed and then picked up Dunne and then dropped him onto the apron. Back inside the ring, Dunne applied a leg lock that Walter broke with a chop. Walter applied a half crab that Dunne broke by reaching the bottom rope at 7:05. Walter positioned Dunne on the rope to club his chest. Dunne caught his arm and went for the finger break, but Walter escaped it and kicked Dunne in the head to knock him to the floor at 8:00.
McGuinness spoke about how Dunne has had issues with bigger challengers. Walter suplexed Dunne, who landed on his feet and then blasted Walter with a kick. Walter rolled to ringside. Dunne went up top and performed a moonsault onto him. Walter rolled back inside the ring and Dunne went up top. Walter caught him with a double thrust, then set up for a superplex. Dunne grabbed his fingers and bent them before performing a powerbomb out of the corner for a two count. Walter rolled to the floor. Dunne went up top and performed a double stomp onto Walter on the floor.
Back inside the ring, Walter came back with a dropkick. a suplex, and a powerbomb for a near fall. A short time later, Walter performed a couple of big stomps on Dunne, who then fired back with an enzuigiri. Dunne stepped on the fingers of Walter and then stomped them. Dunne went up top, but Walter was there to cut him off again. Walter went up behind Dunne for a suplex, but Dunne held onto the ropes and then slammed Walter’s hand onto the ring post. Walter regrouped and performed the suplex for another near fall at 16:30.
Dunne performed a rolling crucifix for another near fall. Dunne stomped Walter, who fired back with kicks from his back. Dunne threw more kicks, then Walter put him in a submission, which Dunne escaped before throwing more kicks. Dunne caught Walter’s fingers and wrenched on them along with his arm, but Walter reached the bottom rope with his foot to break the hold. Dunne went to the second rope and Walter clotheslined him to the mat. Walter went up top and dove at Dunne, who tried to catch him in a triangle. Walter blocked it and Dunne tried to break his fingers, but Walter blocked it, then stomped Dunne’s head. They got back to their feet and Walter put Dunne down with a wicked clotheslined. Dunne got back up and performed a couple of strikes and hit the Bitter End for a great near fall at 22:20.
Walter and Dunne got to their feet and met face to face in the middle of the ring as there were dueling chants from the crowd. Dunne and Walter traded forearms and chops. Dunne got the better of it and Walter covered up against the ropes. The ref pulled Dunne back. Dunne looked at the ref to dispute for a moment and ate a big boot to the face. Walter went up top. Dunne got back to his feet and did the finger break bit on Walter, who was seated on the top rope. Dunne tried to apply an armbar, but Walter powered out with a great powerbomb during which he tossed Dunne halfway across the ring. Walter followed up with a top rope splash and scored the clean pin…
Walter defeated Pete Dunne in 25:40 to win the NXT UK Championship.
Powell’s POV: Another gem of a match and very different in style from the the first two matches. While the previous matches were fast paced and nonstop action, this was more of a methodical slugfest. They had the crowd with them every step of the way and this was another fantastic match that was slotted well on the card, as the show needed this after the crazy pace of the first two matches. The broadcast team did a really nice job of putting this over as historic due to Dunne losing after a lengthy title reign. And nothing against Watson, but I cast my unsolicited vote for Joseph joining the Takeover broadcast team for every match.
An ad aired for DAZN streaming service and then a WrestleMania 35 ad focused on the women’s main event…
Edge and Beth Phoenix were shown sitting in the crowd. Edge has longer hair again… A video package set up the NXT Women’s Championship match…
4. Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship. Braxton introduced the women individually as they made their entrances. The early portion of the match was two on two with Baszler and Belair mostly, and a brief tease for Shirai and Sane that was thwarted when Baszler and Belair tripped them from ringside and went back to fighting in the ring. Baszler and Belair went to ringside and Baszler tried to pull her hair first into the post, but Belair blocked it, then pulled her own hair to pull Baszler face first into the post. Cool spot.
Shirai got involved and performed a running double knees on Belair in the corner. Shirai performed a corss body block from the second rope. Belair caught Shirai and swung her legs at Sane and knocked her down, then performed a fallaway slam on Shirai. Baszler returned to the ring and went after Belair again, this time on the ropes. Sane went under them and eventually Shirai joined for a tower of doom spot. Sane let out a big war cry at 7:10. McGuinness scolded Shirai and Sane for not attempting to pin either opponent.
Shirai performed a quick moonsault onto Baszler on the floor. Belair speared Shirai in the ring and went for a pin, but Sane raced back inside the ring to break it up. At 9:55, Belair pressed Shirai over her head in the ring and tossed her onto the other women at ringside. Baszler caught Belair in a rear naked choke in the middle of the ring. Belair eventually got to her feet and powered out of the move, then performed a torture rack into a face first slam and went for a pin, but Shirai broke it up. Sane ended up slamming Shirai onto Baszler, then went up top and dropped an elbow on Baszler and had her pinned, but Shirai broke it up.
At 14:30, Sane went up top again, but Belair returned and whipped her with her ponytail to knock her down. Belair put Shirai and Sane onto her shoulders in torture rack position and performed a double KOD. Damn. Baszler broke up the pin and then put Belair in a rear naked choke, which drew some boos. Belair tapped out.
Shayna Baszler defeated Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kairi Sane in a four-way in 15:45 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
After the match, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke ran out and celebrated with Baszler on the stage…
Powell’s POV: A wild four-way with some great near falls and plenty of big and entertaining spots. The finish wasn’t popular with the live crowd. The only thing that bothers me about it is that I was hoping that Baszler was going to lose the title and move up to the main roster, and this four-way was held to have her drop the title without actually being pinned or submitted. I assume the creative forces set that trap and swerved everyone who suspected a new champion like I did. Well played. If Baszler is stying in NXT then I’m all for her keeping the title, and they can still work to a singles showdown match between her and Shirai. For that matter, I guess there’s no reason she couldn’t go to the main roster as champion.
A WrestleMania ad featuring The Miz and Shane McMahon and then a WWE Hall of Fame ad aired… Triple H’s post show appearance on Facebook Live was hyped…
Powell’s POV: Triple H will also be talking with the pro wrestling media after the show and we’ll have that audio available for you as an All Access Podcast later tonight.
A video package set up the main event. It was a top notch video that showed both men training and clips of Gargano going back home to Cleveland where he started…
5. Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole in a best of three falls for the vacant NXT Championship. Braxton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Gargano received more cheers than boos, and seemingly everyone yelled “Bay Bay” when Cole was introduced. There was a loud “Adam Cole” chant before the bell. Gargano caught Cole with a dropkick through the ropes as Cole was standing at ringside at 6:05. A few minutes later, they went for simultaneous cross body blocks.
At 10:55, Gargano leapt off the second ropes and performed a DDT style move for a two count. Cole caught Gargano in the corner and spun him around on the middle rope and gave him a Backstabber for a two count. Watson marveled over the fact that there hadn’t been a pinfall yet even though they were just over 12 minutes into the match. Ranallo spoke about Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels going an hour without a fall. At 13:00, Cole caught Gargano with a jumping enzuigiri. Gargano rolled him up for two, then Cole countered into a pin for a two count of his own. Cole rolled through a sunset flip, ran the ropes, hit the Last Shot, and pinned Gargano to take the first fall.
Adam Cole pinned Johnny Gargano in 13:55 to win the first fall.
Cole performed another Last Shot and went for a cover. Gargano kicked out as Ranallo noted it was the first time that anyone in NXT had kicked out of the move. Gargano came back with a spear on the apron, then performed a cannonball off the apron. At 18:20, Gargano performed an Tommaso Ciampa move from the ropes for a near fall. A short time later, Gargano applied a crossface and got the submission win. There were boos from the pro-Cole fans. The broadcast team noted that Cole tapped immediately for strategy reasons.
Johnny Gargano forced Adam Cole to submit in 20:50 to win the second fall.
Gargano bled from a cut above the right eye. Gargano caught Cole on the ropes with a step-up enzuigiri and then picked him up and threw him face first into the opposite turnbuckle. Gargano performed a full nelson into a face first slam for a near fall. Both men threw simultaneous superkicks. Cole superkicked the back of Gargano’s head and then performed a straight jacket suplex for a good near fall. Cole showed frustration over not being able to put him away. Gargano rallied with a reverse huracanrana and a superkick, but Cole rolled to the floor before Gargano could pin him.
Gargano went to the floor only to have Cole perform a German suplex onto the edge of the ring. A “this is awesome” chant broke out and a lot of fans at ringside were standing. Gargano performed a couple of DDTs for a near fall at 29:23. Cole rolled to the floor. Gargano performed a suicide dive and rolled him back in the ring. Gargano followed and ate a superkick. Cole jumped off the second rope and performed a Canadian Destroyer for a great near fall.
With both men at ringside, Cole talked smack and called Gargano a failure. Gargano blasted him with a forearm and then tossed him over the broadcast table. Cole fought back and performed a Fairytale Ending on the table, which did not break. Cole returned to the ring. Gargano barely beat the ref’s count. Cole drilled him with a superkick and covered him for another great near fall at 33:35. Cole freaked when he didn’t get the three count.
There were dueling chants for the wrestlers that were very even. Gargano and Cole traded superkicks. Cole went for another Canadian Destroyer, but Gargano avoided it and applied his crossface. Roderick Strong ran out and distracted the referee while Cole tapped. Kyle O’Reilly ran in and raked the eyes of Gargano, who released the hold. Cole kicked Gargano into the referee. REF BUMP!!! Bobby Fish and O’Reilly performed their finisher on Gargano and Cole made the cover for another near fall.
Cole fought off the other Undisputed Era members, then ran into a superkick and a flurry of offense from Cole, who went for a pin only to have Gargano kick out again. Cole jawed at Gargano and then went for a Last Shot. Gargano ducked it and applied the crossface. Cole tried to roll out of it, but Gargano held on until Cole tapped out…
Johnny Gargano defeated Adam Cole in 38:25 two falls to one to become the new NXT Champion.
Ranallo noted that Gargano is the first NXT Triple Crown Champion. Candice LeRae ran out and hugged her husband in the ring. Gargano and LeRae celebrated with family and friends who were in the crowd and then went to the stage. Tommaso Ciampa walked out behind them sporting a neck brace. Ciampa hugged Gargano and LeRae to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A sensational match with the live crowd buying into so many of the near fall. There were a lot of boos for Gargano before and during the match, but I didn’t hear any afterward. In other words, the strategy of making him show so much heart by kicking out of everything paid off in terms of him winning over the detractors. For that matter, it made his title win feel epic, which it needed to be to overcome the fact that he didn’t beat Ciampa to win it. That post match scene with Ciampa was wonderful and they can easily spin that any way they want to once he returns from his neck surgery. Overall, this was an awesome show. The G1 Supercard and WrestleMania will have a hard time topping this, but I look forward to seeing both shows try.
Dot Net Members will hear my audio review of this event coming up later tonight. And we will also have the Triple H media call audio available later tonight. Join me tomorrow night for live coverage of the ROH and NJPW G1 Supercard.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest John Thorne, who discusses promoting the AIW Slumber Party Massacre from the Thursday of WrestleMania weekend (available via VOD on FITE TV), being a small fish in the big WrestleMania weekend pond, his long history with Johnny Gargano, and much more.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...