By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Takeover: XXV
Aired live June 1, 2019 on WWE Network
Bridgeport, Connecticut at Webster Bank Arena
A video package opened the show and included hype for all five matches… The broadcast team of Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix checked in from their desk at ringside. Ranallo noted that it was Phoenix’s first time calling a Takeover event…
1. Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong. There were loud “bro” chants as Riddle made his entrance. The bell rang and the ring was dark. They quickly adjusted the spotlight to focus on the ring rather than the crowd. Riddle started with three suplexes. They went to ringside. Riddle leapt from the steps and hit Strong with a forearm. Strong came back with a backbreaker on the ring apron at 3:10.
Back inside the ring, Strong used a ground and pound. The live crowd had dueling chants with one for Riddle along with “Undisputed” for Strong. Riddle came back with a suplex. The wrestlers traded strikes. Riddle got the better of it and then laid down while throwing a kick to the head of Strong. Riddle performed an exploded suplex. Riddle had a nice sequence that concluded with a running kick, which led to a two count at 8:20.
At 10:25, Strong performed a superplex for a near fall. The wrestlers got to their feet and traded forearms. Strong went for a clothesline, but Riddle flipped over his arm. Strong caught him with more strikes and then blasted him with a running knee and a few running forearms before performing a backbreaker that led to a near fall at 11:50. Riddle went for a moonsault, but Strong put his knees up. Riddle came back with a knee to the head, a powerbomb, and another knee to the head for a near fall at 12:45.
Strong performed a powerbomb for a good near fall at 13:20, then countered right into a Boston Crab. Strong rolled Riddle over, then drove his knee into Riddle’s back. Riddle got to his back and threw kicks at Strong, then applied a submission hold. Strong got to his feet. Riddle blasted him with elbows and then performed a cradle tombstone and scored the clean pin…
Matt Riddle defeated Roderick Strong in 14:45.
Powell’s POV: A terrific opening match. The wrestlers delivered big time and the crowd was red hot and appreciative. Top notch work from both men. From a production standpoint, the live crowd could not be darker. You can barely make out the faces of the fans in the front row and its pitch black behind them. I like the throwback look. The ring actually has WWE turnbuckle pads rather than the usual NXT turnbuckle pads, and the barricade has NXT and WWE logos on it.
After some advertising, Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg were shown in the crowd. The DX duo compared WWE Hall of Fame rings… A video package set up the ladder match for the vacant NXT Tag Titles…
2. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly vs. “Street Profits” Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. “Forgotten Sons” Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler in a four-way ladder match for the vacant NXT Tag Titles. Both NXT Tag Title belts were shown hanging above the ring. The Street Profits walked through the crowd and in front of fans in the front row rather than walk out through the entrance area. The Street Profits walked through the crowd and in front of fans in the front row rather than walk out through the entrance area.
The referee called for the bell and immediate rushed to ringside. All eight men fought while McGuinness noted that there were no disqualifications or count-outs in ladder matches. The Profits and Burch and Lorcan ended up at ringside quickly, then Fish and O’Reilly worked over the Sons and cleared them from the ring. Lorcan and Burch returned to the ring and fought with Fish and O’Reilly.
Blake performed a big suicide dive onto Fish and O’Reilly, who were holding a ladder at ringside. Dawkins followed up with a dive from the top rope onto the pile. The Profits made the first attempt to go for the title belts, but Fish and O’Reilly cut them off. Fish and O’Reilly made a play for the belts. Blake pushed the ladder over and O’Reilly landed hard on the side of the ladder. Damn. Blake and Cutler put the ladder around their heads and rammed into opponents. Burch and Lorcan grabbed them from behind and suplexed both men, who sent the ladder flying.
The Profits launched Blake into a ladder inside the ring. O’Reilly returned to the match despite having a gash on his back from the ladder spot earlier. Fish and O’Reilly teamed up for a combo move that drove one of the Profits onto a ladder. Fish made a play for the belts. O’Reilly was powerbombed into the ladder, then Fish fell from the ladder and onto O’Reilly. At 11:25, Burch and Lorcan performed a Doomsday Device style move on one of the Sons, then the Profits performed a Doomsday Device Blockbuster on the other. Wow.
At 12:30, the third Forgotten Sons member Jaxson Ryder came to the ring and attacked the members of the other three teams. Dawkins made a play for the belts, but Ryker knocked the ladder over. Ranallo noted that no one could stop Ryker because there were no disqualifications. Ryker backdropped Lorcan onto a ladder that was set up in the corner. Ryker started to set up a ladder. Ford hit him from behind, but Ryker knocked him down. O’Reilly returned to the ring and attacked Ryker, then Fish and both of the other teams joined in to beat him down and then stomped him repeatedly. The teams grabbed a ladder and slammed it onto Ryker several times, then went back to fighting one another.
Fish and O’Reilly set up a ladder in the middle of the ring. Ryker got back to his feet on the apron, so Fish and O’Reilly opted to slam their ladder into the face of Ryker, which knocked him off the apron. Ryker got back to his feet at ringside. Ford performed a running leap and leapt over Fish and O’Reilly ladder and the top rope and onto Ryker at ringside. Lorcan followed up with a dive onto Ryker. Burch and Lorcan targeted the arm of Fish, then sent him through the ropes and into the post, and then he tumbled to ringside. Burch and Lorcan worked over O’Reilly.
At 19:15, Burch and Lorcan set up a ladder in the ring and made a play for the belts, but Fish and O’Reilly returned to cut them off. Fish and O’Reilly set up a ladder next to the other ladder. Both teams climbed the ladders while exchanging blows on the way up. They continued to trade punches at the top of the ladder until Blake and Cutler pushed them over. Blake and Cutler started to climb the ladder to boos. Dawkins took out one of the Sons. Ford came out of nowhere with a leap onto the ladder, knocked off the other Son, and pulled down the belts to win the match.
The Street Profits defeated Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, and Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler in a ladder match in 21:30 to win the vacant NXT Tag Titles.
The Street Profits went into the crowd and celebrated with the fans, who had red cups and celebrated along with the new champions…
Powell’s POV: Kyle O’Reilly deserves to have at least one extra zero added to whatever his payoff is for this match. I can’t believe he got up from the bump that opened the gash on his back, let alone worked at the level that he did the rest of the way. This was ladder match insanity from bell to bell. The Ryker interference was well done in that they made him look like a badass without having him factor into the finish. The Profits winning was very well received by the live crowd.
Io Shirai was shown preparing for her match inside her locker room. Candice LeRae showed up and told her that she was there for her and offered her words of encouragement…
A video package set up the NXT North American Title match…
3. Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Breeze for the NXT North American Championship. Breeze performed his usual selfie entrance. Dream had a pair of small hand fans and a Prince style shirt on during his entrance. Dream’s tights were glittery and did not have any messages or images. Dream removed the shirt after the opening bell. Dream also removed gloves, which he threw at Breeze. Dream started the match wearing a gaudy necklace that wrapped around his neck and back. After the initial exchange with Breeze, Dream ripped off the portion of the necklace that wrapped around his back. Breeze clotheslined Dream to ringside, and the rest of the necklace was gone.
At 4:30, Breeze performed a single leg crab on Dream, who cried out in agony until he reached the ropes to break the hold. Breeze remained on the offensive and dropkicked Breeze to ringside. Breeze followed and ended up eating a superkick from Dream, who returned to the ring. The referee started to count out Breeze, but Dream stopped him, then went to ringside and slammed the head of Breeze into the broadcast team’s table repeatedly at 6:15. Dream grabbed his title belt and Breeze’s phone, then filmed himself with the title belt in front of Breeze. The photo appeared on the big screen. Funny.
Back inside the ring, Dream performed a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Dream went up top, but Breeze rolled to the apron. Dream went after him, which led to Breeze catching him with an enzuigiri. Breeze caught Dream with his Supermodel Kick a short time later for a near fall. Ranallo went crazy, but the live crowd didn’t buy it as a possible finish. At 10:15, Dream caught Breeze with a DDT for a near fall. Breeze had a small cut on or near his ear.
At 12:00, Breeze leapt up and caught Dream with a knee. Both men fought for position on a tombstone attempt. Neither man ended up hitting the move. Dream went to the ropes. Breeze threw a dropkick even though Dream was nowhere near him. Ranallo chalked it up to his equilibrium being off due to the ear injury. AT 14:20, Breeze caught Dream with the Unprettier for a good near fall. Breeze caught Dream with a Beauty Shot, but Dream rolled to ringside before Breeze could cover him. Breeze stopped the referee from counting Dream out. Dream tried to hit Breeze with the title belt, but Breeze ended up with it. Dream performed a Death Valley Driver, then followed up with the Purple Rainmaker elbow drop and scored the pin.
Velveteen Dream defeated Tyler Breeze in 16:50 to retain the NXT North American Championship.
After the match, Dream posed while using Breeze’s phone. Breeze approached him. Dream gave him the phone and said it belongs to him while the title belt belonged to him. Dream tried to leave, but Breeze stopped him. They posed for a selfie style photo together while the fans cheered, then Dream left the ring…
Powell’s POV: A quality match and yet it fell shy of my admittedly high expectations. The finish seemed to leave the door open for a rematch, but the post match scene with the two men posing made it feel like Breeze was okay with the way that Dream won the match. Paul Levesque made it seem like Breeze was an NXT regular again during his conference call earlier this week. And while that may actually be the case, it’s also possible that he was telling a white lie to make the outcome seem less predictable.
A Damian Priest (formerly Punishment Martinez) video package aired… A video package set up the NXT Women’s Championship match…
4. Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship. The ring announcer delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Baszler took Shirai down and wound up for a kick, then opted to taunt her with a light boot nudge to the face instead. Shirai returned the favor moments later by teasing a kick, then slapping a seated Baszler’s face instead. Baszler came back and targeted Shirai’s left elbow. Shirai rallied and performed a bridging German suplex, but McGuinness told the story that she was unable to hold onto Baszler due to her bad elbow.
A short time later, Baszler stood on the ropes and pulled up on Shirai’s bad arm. Shirai broke free and kicked Baszler to ringside. Shirai went up top and performed a moonsault onto Baszler on the floor. At 9:20, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke walked tor ringside. Candice LeRae came out and attacked them with a kendo stick. LeRae dove at the duo from the ring steps. In the ring, Baszler avoided a Shirai moonsault, hit Shirai with a forearm, and applied her submission hold, but Shirai turned it into a pin for a two count. Baszler came right back with her Kirifuda Clutch finisher. Shirai tried to fight out of it, but she eventually tapped out.
Shayna Baszler defeated Io Shirai in 12:15 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
After the match, Shirai picked up the kendo stick that LeRae brought out and beat Baszler with it. Shirai performed a moonsault onto Baszler in the ring. McGuinness called it a terrible showing of sportsmanship. LeRae handed Shirai a chair. Shirai performed a moonsault with the chair onto Baszler. The crowd chanted one more time. Ranallo justified Shirai’s antics by saying sometimes enough is enough. Baszler had a nasty welt on her back from one of the kendo stick shots, and she eventually rolled out of the ring while clutching her title belt…
Powell’s POV: A good match. I’m usually disappointed to see Baszler win of only because that means she won’t be going to the main roster where she belongs. But with Ronda Rousey on hiatus and the main roster booking being so atrocious, I’m just fine with Baszler staying put. Baszler has plowed through nearly every meaningful female on the NXT roster. The live crowd wasn’t happy about seeing Baszler retain, but it will really pack a punch whenever someone finally beats her for the title. Well, that’s assuming Vince McMahon doesn’t call her up to the main roster and have her vacate the NXT belt. Ugh.
A video package featured the announcement of NXT Takeover: Cardiff for Saturday, August 31… Stephanie McMahon was shown standing and applauding in the crowd…
Powell’s POV: Yes, that’s the same day as the AEW’s All Out event, but the time difference makes it a one-two punch rather than a head-to-head battle. It will be very interesting to see if WWE reverts to their old ways by eventually running directly opposite AEW events.
A video package set up the NXT Championship match… Adam Cole made his entrance and was accompanied by Josiah Williams, who sang while Cole walked to the ring. Gargano made his standard entrance…
5. Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship. The ring announcer delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Drake Wuertz was the referee. A loud “NXT” chant broke out. There were also dueling chants for Gargano and Cole. Gargano targeted the left arm of Cole early in the match. Gargano had Cole on the ropes and went for a standing armbar, but Cole slipped under him and kicked his left leg out from under him. Cole went to work on the left leg at roughly 8:00.
Cole performed a missile dropkick into the knee of Gargano, then followed up with a dragon screw leg whip. Cole went to the ropes and leapt at Gargano, who caught him with a powerbomb on the way down. At 11:30, Gargano performed a twisting DDT that led to a two count. Gargano speared Cole through the ropes moments later and got another two count. Gargano sold knee issues as he got to his feet. Gargano seated Cole on the top rope and fought him on the ropes. Cole slammed Gargano’s face on the top turnbuckle. Cole went for a powerbomb, but Gargano avoided it, only to leap into a Backstabber from Cole, which led to a two count at 13:15.
Cole went to the ropes. Gargano cut him off and they fought. Cole knocked Gargano down, then leapt into a superkick. The wrestlers traded superkicks. Cole connected with another superkick, then went to the ropes and jumped into a Gargano superkick. They went to ringside and threw simultaneous superkicks, leading to both men being down at ringside briefly. Once the wrestlers were back inside the ring, a “fight forever” chant broke out. They ended up back at ringside where Cole performed his Last Shot. Back in the ring, Cole performed the move again. Gargano came back with crossface. Cole escaped and applied a figure four that got him a two count.
Gargano and Cole traded punches and kicks in the middle of the ring. Cole clipped Gargano’s bad knee. Gargano kicked Cole to ringside. Cole returned to the apron, and was DDT’d through the ropes. Gargano went for a suicide dive, but Cole caught him with a superkick in mid-air at 2:45. Cole performed a Panama’s Sunrise at ringside, then rolled Gargano back inside the ring where he picked up a near fall. Cole jawed at Gargano and told him that he had his special moment and now it’s time for his. Cole went for a running knee, but Gargano avoided it. Cole applied Gargano’s own Gargano Escape on him. Gargano broke the hold and then threw a knee to the back of Cole’s head that led to another near fall.
At 25:40, Gargano and Cole traded punches and forearms on their knees and continued as they got to their feet. Gargano knocked Cole down with a lariat clothesline. Cole came back with a superkick, then ran into a superkick from Gargano, who followed up with a reverse huracanrana. Cole came right back with a knee to the back of Gargano’s head for a great near fall. The crowd popped huge and chanted NXT. Cole barked at the referee. Cole went to ringside and pulled a chair out from underneath the ring. Referee Wuertz went out and tried to take the chair away. Gargano performed a suicide dive and ended up taking out Wuertz rather than Cole. REF BUMP!!!
Cole swung the chair at Gargano, who ducked it and caught him with a superkick. Gargano rolled Cole inside the ring and picked up the visual pinfall. The live crowd counted, but the referee was still down. Gargano checked on Wuertz and rolled him back inside the ring. Cole motioned for help. Gargano picked up the chair and looked at the entrance ramp. When no one came out, Gargano dropped the chair and tried to return to the ring, but Cole caught him coming through the ropes with a piledriver that led to a good near fall at 29:30.
Cole set up with another running knee, but Gargano fell over. Cole picked him up and jawed at him, only to have Gargano apply the Gargano Escape. Cole tried to roll out of the hold, but Gargano held on. Cole punched his way free, then kicked Gargano’s bad knee twice and followed up with a Panama’s Sunrise attempt. Gargano stuffed it, but Cole hit the move on his second attempt and then performed his running knee to the back of Gargano’s head and pinned him.
Adam Cole pinned Johnny Gargano in 32:00 to win the NXT Championship.
Undisputed Era members Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong came out and celebrated with Cole after the match to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A fantastic match. This will a match of the year contender. The title change is interesting in that Gargano is the NXT version of Sasha Banks in that he wins titles and then fails to defend them. Will this drive his character nuts again? Is he going to the main roster after all? I guess only time will tell. Expectations were sky high for this match and these two somehow exceeded them. This was terrific. I will have a lot more to say about this show in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight. Plus, we’ll have the Paul Levesque post show media conference call available as a free podcast. In the meantime, you can grade the show and vote for the best match in our polls on the main page.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Alexander Hammerstone, who discusses his background, how the underdog story has been overplayed in pro wrestling, the Dynasty faction, and more.