By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT Takeover: Toronto
Aired live on WWE Network
Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
Pre-show notes: Charley Caruso, Pat McAfee, and Sam Roberts were on the panel. They aired the same video packages that they aired on the go-home episode of NXT. William Regal announced the third stipulation of the 3 Stages of Hell match. It was a cage match with weapons hanging all over the cage (a la the TNA Lethal Lockdown Match)…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. The lights went out in the arena and slowly lit up to reveal the WWE arena set with the NXT Takeover: Toronto theme playing provided by Slipknot. Mauro noted that NXT was emanating from the home of the NBA Champions, The Raptors. Beth Phoenix said this location was special to her because it’s where she had her WWE Tryout and today NXT is having to women’s matches on a Takeover. Nigel introduced the WWE Spanish Announce team…
The Street Profits and Undisputed Era made their entrances for the opening tag team title match…
1. “The Street Profits” Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford vs. “The Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Dawkins overpowered O’Reilly early on, showing aggression by shoving him in the corner. Dawkins mockingly pat O’Reilly on the head. O’Reilly came back with a slap. Dawkins dominated O’Reilly with power and amateur wrestling early on. O’Reilly grabbed Dawkins by the leg to drag him to his corner and allow Fish to tag in and gain the advantage. Dawkins regained control with a shoulder block. Ford hit Fish with a dropkick.
Dawkins and Ford traded quick tags for quick tandem offense and isolation. Fish gained an advantage with a Muay Thai combination. O’Reilly tagged in and gave Ford a Northern Lariat. O’Reilly hit Ford with a Muay Thai combination. Ford recovered and hit both UE members with armdrags and fast flashy moves. Ford hit O’Reilly with a leapfrog banzai drop while the Profits hit Fish with a flapjack. Fish tripped Ford off the apron. O’Reilly ate an Uppercut. Fish caught Dawkins with a shoulder block. O’Reilly hit Dawkins with a three hit combo, ending with a leg sweep. O’Reilly then went to the ground and knee game on Dawkins. UE traded tags to initiate an iso sequence on Dawkins. Fish floated into a Samoan Drop on Dawkins. O’Reilly tagged in and continued the dominance.
Dawkins managed to get the hot tag to Ford who cleaned house. Ford hit Fish with a Suplex and standing moonsault. Nigel noted that Ford is deceptively tall at about 6’5”. O’Reilly prevented Ford from doing the People’s Elbow. After sending O’Reilly to ringside, Ford hit Dawkins with the Rock Bottom. This prompted Mauro to make a Hobbs and Shaw reverence right on cue. The UE regained control and hit Ford with a Codebreaker German Suplex combo. UE kept Ford trapped in their corner. Ford managed to slap Fish off the top rope but Fish came back and crotched Fish on the top buckle. Fish hit Ford with a Superplex followed by O’Reilly getting a diving knee strike on Ford.
Fish locked Ford in a kneebar. Fish prevented the escape with an elbow drop. O’Reilly locked Ford in an Achilles hold. Dawkins saved Ford by throwing Fish on O’Reilly to leave all four men lying. Ford tagged in Dawkings for the hot sequence. Dawkins hit Fish with a bulldog. O’Reilly went for a pendulum lariat on Dawkins but Dawkins gave O’Reilly a Fisherman Suplex. O’Reilly in a Guillotine Choke but Ford used a blockbuster to get O’Reilly off. Both teams then traded stereo punches in the center of the ring. A slugfest ensued. O’Reilly and Ford were left in the ring. Ford tossed O’Reilly outside and hit both UE guys with a Tope Con Hilo. Dawkins speared both O’Reilly and Fish. Ford hit O’Reilly with a Frog Splash to pick up the victory on O’Reilly.
The Street Profits defeated The Undisputed Era via pinfall in 16:55 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Ford and Dawkins celebrated their win after the match in the crowd…
John’s Thoughts: A really good match. I was hoping for a little bit more energy early on from the Profits, similar to their fast paced matches with War Raiders, but O’Reilly and fish really made things fun in the ending sequence. A finish that goes against expectations due to the Profits being expected to lose due to an impending callup. I thought this were a possibility. Maybe the Profits drop the belts at the next set of tapings?
Ricochet was shown as a guest in the crowd…
The hype video package aired for Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai.
Io Shirai and Candice LeRae made their respective entrances. Io Shirai had a new look. Rather than her Black Lotus look she now had a tight suit with green trimming. Shirai also had red highlights…
2. Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae. LeRae jumpped the gun and attacked Shirai before the bell. The referee rang the bell once she got the two separated. The two women brawled to ringside. Shirai teased hitting LeRae with a sunset bomb from the apron to mat. But LeRae held to the ropes. Shirai then tripped LeRae off the apron. Shirai then gave LeRae a Kiryu-like Suplex on the announce table. LeRae beat the ten count, but Shirai dominated in the ring. LeRae went for a huracanrana but Shirai landed on her feet after a handstand. Shirai got LeRae to the mat into a chinlock.
Shirai hit LeRae with an Air Raid Crash for the two count. LeRae backdroped Shirai for a moment of respite. Shirai slammed LeRae’s head on the rope. Shirai crashed and burned when LeRae dodged Shirai’s missile dropkick. LeRae hit Shirai with her rapid fire flurry of punches in the corner. LeRae hit Shirai with a brainbuster for a two count. LeRae locked Shirai in an Octupus Hold. Nigel noted that the hold wasn’t locked in. Shirai tripped LeRae on the second Rope. LeRae blocked a 619 and turned into a neckbreaker on Shirai for a two count.
LeRae went high risk but was tripped off for an awkward fall after a Shirai dropkick. LeRae was on the second rope which allowed Shirai to hit LeRae with a 619 to the back of the head. LeRae recovered and sent Shirai outside. LeRae hit Shirai with a Suicide Dive into a DDT. LeRae hit Shirai with a double stomp for a nearfall on Shirai. Shirai pulled LeRae by the hair and into the Crippler’s Crossface. LeRae escaped. Shirai sandwiched LeRae between the rope and a forearm smash. LeRae countered Shirai with a Snap German Suplex. Shirai caught LeRae off the springboard into a Deadlift German from Shirai for a two count after a bridge. The crowd started dueling chants for both women.
Shirai hit LeRae with a meteora in the corner. LeRae recovered and tried to German Shirai off the top rope, but Shirai landed on her feet. After a bit of an exchange, LeRae hit Shrai with a reverse Frankendriver for a good nearfall. LeRae hit Shirai with a Super Swinging neckbreaker for a two count. Shirai staggered LeRae on the top rope with a palm strike. Shirai hit LeRae with a Super C4 Spanish Fly for a two count. Shirai let out manic screams after the nearfall. LeRae went for a rollup after a Small Package. Shirai hit LeRae with a Tiger Backbreaker. Shirai hit LeRae with her finisher moonsault. LeRae kicked out at two. Mauro noted that nobody has kicked out of Shirai’s moonsault in NXT and this might get to Shirai. Shirai then gave LeRae wild punches. Shirai locked LeRae in a Koji Clutch with an arm trap. LeRae passed out.
Io Shirai defeated Candice LeRae via ref stoppage in 15:00.
John’s Thoughts: The match started off a bit slow, but it got really good in the end and the crowd reaction reflected the speed and pace of the match. You had to go in knowing that Shirai was going to win given the new character they’re trying to introduce and Shirai is doing a good job all across the board in playing the heel character. Another fun thing, it was refreshing to watch a non-Shayna Baszler match on a Takeover for once. Hopefully we get more chances for two women’s matches on Takeover. (Maybe turn the NA Championship to a TV Title?)
Nigel McGuinness thanked Slipknot for providing the song Unsainted for Takeover…
Shayna Baszler was shown shadow boxing in a hallway…
They were about to cut to the NA Championship hype package but Matt Riddle was yelling “Bro bro bro” and he interrupted the show. Matt Riddle said he knows Killian Dain is in the building. Riddle told Dain to get his hairy ass out here and meet Riddle face-to-face. Dain tried to attack Riddle from behind again but Riddle saw it coming. Riddle was dominating with strikes but Dain managed to get some shots in. Referees ran out to separate Dain and Riddle. Riddle broke free and gave Dain a superman punch. Riddle gave Dain a V-Trigger and running Knee. The independent wrestling security guards ran out to separate the two to no avail.
Riddle beat up all the security guards including giving Impact Wrestling’s Indiana Jones Cosplayer, Stone Rockwell, a Go To Sleep (he wasn’t wearing cosplay for WWE). Riddle locked Dain in a sleeper. Dain leaped off the stage into a set of tables and even took an indie security guard with him… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A nice and unexpected brawl. Interesting that they gave Riddle and Dain TV time given how crunched they usually are for keeping Takeover under two and a half hours. Another simple and effective progression of their budding feud and a clever way to get Dain and Riddle on Takeover without giving them a 15+ minute match. Also, fun to see Impact’s weird cosplay guy Stone Rockwell make a WWE cameo and get GTS’d
Evolve Champion Austin Theory was shown as the next guest in the crowd..
They cut to the North American Championship hype video package…
WWE’s Mountie Theme played as a dance troupe walked out to the stage in darkness. The lights went on and revealed Toronto Raptors logos. The dancers were wearing Raptors theamed gear. This was to set up Velveteen Dream’s entrance. Dream wore a mountie hat. as a part of his entrance. He also had white suspenders which gave him a bit of a male stripper look. The dancers then danced to the beat of Dream’s theme (nice touch!). Mauro then educated the viewers on some Canadian facts. I was lost. Mauro then went on to brag about Kawhi Leonard bringing a championship to Toronto (I can get down with that). Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne had more traditional entrances…
3. Velveteen Dream vs. Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong for the NXT North American Championship. Dream did his pose at the beginning of the match and also mocked Dunne’s fist pose. Strong tossed Dream over the top rope and brawled with Dunne. Nigel reminded viewers that Strong turned on Dunne in the Dusty Classic to join the Undisputed Era. Strong avoided getting his elbow stomped on by Dunne. Dream tossed Strong away. Strong pulled Dunne out to brawl with Dream. Dream took off his suspenders to awe the crowd. Dream hit Strong with a spinning axe handle strike.
Mauro noted that Dream adopted Canada as a home. Dream gave Strong a dropkick. Velveteen Dream then held Strong’s arm in position to allow Dunne to get his signature stomp in on it. Once Strong was tossed out, Dream then did his rick rude hip swivel. Drem then tried to plead with Dunne with puppy eyes. Dunne got a submission on Dream. Dream escaped midair from the Bitter End. Strong then crotched Dream on the ringpost which caused Mauro to yell “Nothing but Nuts!!!”.
Strong got Dunne outside and backbreakered Dunne on the back of Dream. Strong locked Dunne in a bow and arrow stretch but Dunne fought out. Strong came back with a dropkick, making sure to also knock Dream off the apron. Dunne and Strong had a chop battle in the center of the ring. Strong gave Dunne a backbreaker. Dream came back in and hit some rally punches on Strong. Dream hit Strong with a Russian Legsweep for a two count. Dream then gave Strong a backbreaker. Dream gave Strong a Sharpshooter to pop the Canadian crowd.
Dunne broke it up with a missile dropkick to Dream. Dream dodged a plancha. Strong dropkicked Dream. Dunne hit both opponents with a Triangle Moonsault. Madnesss ensued. Dunne German Suplexed Strong on top of Dream to lead to a nearfall on Dream. Strong and Dream then formed a temporary alliance to take down Dunne. They then turned on each other. Dunne recovered and DBZ punches commenced. They took each other out with enzuigiris. Dunne stompped on the hands of both opponents. Dream gave Dunne a DVD. Strong gave Dream an Angle Slam. Dunne gave Strong an X-Plex. All three men fought to the top rope and all crash and burned.
Nigel noted that Strong got the Angle Slam on Dunne and Dream tripped off in the scuffle. They aired a replay with the better camera angle. Strong reversed a triangle on Dunne with a power bomb. Dunne reversed a bomb into a triangle right after. They went to a turnbuckle and Dream caught Dunne in the triangle with a Coast to Coast elbow drop. Strong caught both opponents with high knees. And then steamrolled through both opponents like a train with a running stiff punch. Strong got both opponents on the mat and locked them in the Stronghold (more Walls of Jericho than Liontamer here).
Dream kicked Strong in the back of the head. Dream tried to get both opponents in a DVD but couldn’t Dunne hit both opponents with a finger snap. Dunne hit Strong with the Bitter End and had the visual pinfall but Dream held the Ref’s hand from counting to three. The commentators noted that there was no DQ in triple threats. Dunne curb stomped Dream to the mat. Dunne nailed Strong with a PK. Strong countered into a Boston Crab on Dunne, to the Liontamer. Dream tossed Strong away. Strong went back and tossed Dream away. Strong hit Dunne with End of Heartache. Dream hit Strong with the Purple Rainmaker to take the pinfall away from Strong and onto Dunne for the win.
Velveteen Dream defeated Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong via pinfall in 17:24 to retain the NXT North American Championship.
Mauro compared Dream to Beth Phoenix’s husband in being an opportunist.
John’s Thoughts: Very fun triple threat to really fire up the crowd. Lots of fun triple threat spots here. With O’Reilly and Fish losing in the opening match, that took away the storyline of the Undisputed Era sweep, so you didn’t have to lean Roderick Strong winning and distracting you from this compelling match. A bit shocking to see Dunne get pinned but a good credibility booster for Dream.
Still shots were shown of the Toronto Raptors winning the Championship. Adam Cole was then shown getting ready backstage…
The Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim hype video package aired…
A group of people wearing bandannas as facemasks formed a line to introduce Mia Yim to the ring for the next match. Mauro noted that Mia was bringing the streets to the match. Mauro also noted that Yim was quoting the Boondocks in “game recognizes game” in regards to Yim’s divide and conquer strategy with the MMA Horsewomen. Alicia Taylor handled formal ring introductions for the championship match…
4. Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim for the NXT Women’s Championship. Mauro noted that Yim’s family was in the crowd. Baszler locked Yim in a chickenwing early on to work on Yim’s elbow. Yim escaped and tripped up Baszler. Baszler went for an armbar but Yim escaped with a fish hook. Baszler didn’t relent, and Yim didn’t relent with the cheap moves. Yim got the rope break. Yim landed an armrdrag on Baszler. Yim then hit Baszler with a huracanrana. Yim hit Baszler with a helluva kick and cannonball.
Baszler blocked a suicide dive with a club to Yim’s back. Yim tossed Baszler into the steel steps. Yim trapped Baszler’s arm in the steps and ringpost and then drove the steps in the shoulder of Baszler with a dropkick to the steps. Baszler gained come recovery time by dropkicking Yim. Baszler sold the shoulder injury. Baszler was fighting Yim one armed for a sequence with kicks. Mauro noted that Baszler was trained by Josh Barnett. Baszler managed to trap Yim’s arm and hit Yim with her signature elbow stomp.
Baszler locked Yim in a key lock suplex. Baszler then worked on Yim’s now injured elbow. Baszler locked Yim in joint manipulation. Yim escaped by pulling Baszler’s hair. Baszler came back with a lariat, but using the injured shoulder. Nigel was irate about Yim’s constant dirty tactics. Yim escaped a key lock with an eye jab which caused Nigel to get more angry at the referee for not stopping these dirty moves. After a bit of an exchange Yim hit Baszler with a Belly to Belly. Yim hit Baszler with a Suicide Dive. Yim then hit Baszler with a Tornado DDT to get a two count.
Baszler caught Yim clean with two stiff knee strikes to the jaw of Yim. Yim locked Baszler in a tarantula after Baszler crashed in the corner. Baszler and Yim fought to the top rope. Baszler couldn’t suplex Yim due to the injured shoulder. Mia Yim hit Baszler with a Super Code Red for a two count. Yim went for a running move but Baszler caught Yim in the Kirafuda Clutch. Yim escaped using a headbutt to Baszler. Yim stood up and hit Baszler with Baszler’s signature elbow stomp move. Baszler kept her hands locked to prevent a Yim armbar.
Baszler countered the armbar and floated into the Kirafuda Clutch. Yim fought her way out taking advantage of Baszler’s shoulder injury. Baszler then converted the submission to a headscissors triangle on Yim. Yim tapped out.
Shayna Baszler defeated Mia Yim via submission in 14:35.
Baszler sold her injury after the match…
John’s Thoughts: I guess you just can’t bet against Shayna Baszler, Ever! She always wins. That said her formula of matches are really entertaining, usually built around shoulder injuries and submissions. They twist the formula each time enough to not make these matches very stale. What is a bit disappointing is we’re probably due for more Shayna Baszler women’s matches in NXT Takeover going forward. Not a bad thing per se, but it was refreshing to get LeRae vs. Shirai to mix things up. Can we get LeRae and Shirai at takeover again next time at War Games? Yim looked good in defeat and NXT has done a good job repositioning her character to the point where they made it believable that Yim could beat Baszler.
WWE UK Champion Big Daddy Walter was shown in the crowd. Tyler Bate was shown in a different part of the crowd…
Mauro hyped Triple H’s Facebook recap after the show on Facebook…
NXT Cut to the Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano [3 Stages of Hell Match] hype video package…
Johnny Gargano made his entrance. His Marvel Comic’s tribute of this Takeover was a tribute to Wolverine. Adam Cole made his usual UE entrance. During the Pre-show Regal announced that the third stipulation was a Cage match with a ton of weapons in it. Similar to the TNA Lethal Lockdown or Lucha Underground Haunted House match. Alicia Taylor handled the formal ring introductions…
5. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano in a Best-of-Three falls match for the NXT Championship (Wrestling Match, Street Fight, and Weapons Cage Match). An easier name for this match would be to call it Three Stages of Hell but for some reason they decided to go with the longer title of the match. The first fall was Adam Cole’s selection, the regular wrestling match. Gargano and Cole started off the match with chain wrestling. Gargano dominated and Cole backed off. Nigel reminded viewers that Cole beat Gargano before in a wrestling match which is why he picked this stipulation. Gargano and Cole avoided many holds in the next sequence.
Cole and Gargano then paused and chambered their superkicks, only to back off. Gargano saw Cole’s Canadian Destroyer attempt coming and got out of the way. Gargano hit Cole with a huracanrana. He sent Cole outside and hit Cole with a baseball slide. Cole crashed and burned in kicking only steel step. Gargano suplexed Cole’s knee into the apron which Mauro noted would handicap Cole’s Last Shot Shining Wizard. Gargano focused his offense on Cole’s knees. Once Cole got the advantage, Cole sent Gargano back first with a wheelbarrow suplex. Cole hit Gargano with a neckbreaker in the center of the ring. Cole gave Gargano a neckbreaker and then locked Gargano in a legscissors Triangle.
Gargano escaped and went for an ankle lock. Cole sweeped Gargano into the second turnbuckle. Cole landed awkward on a Canadian Destroyer attempt. Gargano gave Cole a suplex into the corner. Gargano hit cole with a rally of strikes and a Listo kick on the mat. Gargano went for a slingshot spear but Cole caught Gargano. Gargano countered Cole and hit Cole with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Cole escaped the punches in the corner. Gargano dodged Cheeky nandos. Gargano got Cole on the mat and locked Cole in the Figure Four Leg Lock. The match was at 12:00 at this point.
Cole and Gargano got to their feet. Cole planted Gargano with a deadlift German with a bridge for a two count. Cole tagged Gargano with a boot to the back of the head. Both men traded kicks. Cole went for the Canadian Destroyer but Gargano countered into a Sunset Driver for at two count. Gargano and Cole brawled to the top rope. Cole went for another Canadian Destroyer but he fell due to the injured knee. Cole caught Gargano with a Codebreaker. Cole hit Gargano with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Cole and Gargano hit each other with fatigued punches. They then took each other out with stereo lariats.
John’s Thoughts: This is a great match, and they haven’t gotten out of the first stage of hell yet?
Cole rolled outside. Gargano went for a suicide dive but Cole caught Gargano with a enzuigiri. Gargano countered Cole by rolling Cole’s head into the barricade. Gargano hit Cole with the Slingshot DDT for a nearfall. Cole recovered and after an exchange Cole hit Gargano with a Suplex and Ushigoroshi Last Shot for a nearfall on Gargano. It’s 18:00 minutes and we’re still in the first fall. Cole brought a steel chair to the ring. The referee took the chair away from Cole. Cole punted the balls of Gargano. Gargano kicked out of the pinfall. Beth Phoenix hated this move and Nigel yelled that Mia Yim was using dirty moves that Beth was praising earlier.
Cole struck a pose while sitting on the chair. The referee and Cole then jawed at each other. Gargano caught a distracted Cole with a superkick. Johnny Gargano then hit Adam Cole in the back with a steel chair to invoke a DQ for the first fall.
Adam Cole defeated Johnny Gargano via DQ in 20:50 to win the first fall 1-0.
Gargano hit Cole a few more times before the bell rang. Cole rolled to ringside after the bell and Gargano chucked the chair at Cole’s head (protected). Gargano then manhandled Cole to to the crowd area. Gargano gave Cole an axe handle strike. Gargano then took a selfie picture with fans. Cole managed to get a few shots in but Gargano came back with a superkick. Mauro noted that falls count anywhere. Gargano put Cole on a wheeled chair and rammed the chair into some crates. Gargano hit a flying crossbody on Cole through the timekeeper barricade. It looked like Gargano took some of the pain too.
Gargano cleared the announce table. Cole and Gargano traded butterfly hold positions. Gargano then backdropped Cole, sending Cole through the Spanish announce table. The crowd cheered because Gargano brought a table into play. Gargano also brought a second table into play. Cole recovered and surprised Gargano with a Shining Wizard and Ushigoroshi Last shot on a Steel Chair. Cole picked up a two count nearfall. Cole hit Gargano with a chambered kick. Gargano countered and tossed Cole like a lawn dart into a chair in the corner. Gargano then locked in the GargaNo Escape to pick up the tapout win.
Johnny Gargano defeated Adam Cole via submission in 28:52 of total match time to win the second fall and tie things 1-1.
The weapon covered cage lowered to set up for the third stage of hell. The top of the cage had barbed wire on it. Because weapons were involved, the crowd chanted EC-Dub, as you would expect. Alicia Taylor announced that there is no escape from the cage to pick up the win. The bell rang and Cole went right for the weapon. Gargano pulled Cole back and the two men just brawled. Gargano took down Cole with a drag down lariat. Cole blocked a cane shot with superkick. Cole and Gargano then wailed at each other with kendo sticks. Both men took each other out with superkicks.
After getting to their feet, Gargano hit cole with a reverse frankendriver. Cole landed on a chair. Gargano hit Cole with his signature DIY superkick for a two count. Gargano set up a table. Cole took down Gargano with two chairshots to the back. Cole tossed Gargano’s head into a chair that was hanging on the cage. Cole hit Gargano with a cane assisted backstabber a two count. Cole opened up a few chairs next to each other. Gargano held on to the ropes to block a Superplex through the chairs. Gargano found a fire extinguisher in the corner and sprayed it in Cole’s face. Gargano then hit Cole with a Tornado DDT for a two count (nasty looking because it looked like Cole’s eye caught the spine of the chair).
Gargano hit Cole a few times with the kendo stick until the stick broke. Gargano then went for a sledgehammer at the top of the cage. Mauro noted that “Johnny Gargano wants to play the game” (that made me chuckle). Gargano Sunset Flip Bombed Cole off the top rope. This allowed Gargano to get the sledgehammer. Cole caught an incoming Gargano with two superkicks. Cole unlocked and chucked a ladder at Gargano. Gargano dodged. Cole hit Gargano with a Canadian Destroyer for a two count. Mauro noted that it was a Canadian Destroyer in Canada (somewhere out there, Petey Williams is smiling, or shedding a tear?).
Cole went to the top of the ladder and hit Gargano with another Panama Sunrise/Canadian Destroyer for the two count. Nigel said Gargano isn’t human. Cole softened up Gargano with a kendo stick. Cole went for a Last Shot Shining Wizard but Coel faceplanted to the mat to avoid the move. Cole used a chair to prop up Gargano. Gargano got out of the way and Cole gave the chair a shining wizard. Gargano used a stick to lock in a STO on Cole. Cole bit Gargano’s hand to escape. Gargano kicked Cole’s ribs to send Cole writhing in pain. Gargano set up tables next to each other.
Nigel noted that Cole was nursing a rib injury. They hit the 43:00 minute mark of total match time. Cole rolled off the table as Gargano went for a high risk move off the ladder. Gargano hit Cole’s back with a kendo stick. Gargano hit Cole with a Super Canadian Destroyer for a really good nearfall. Cole kicked out. Gargano opened up a bag to reveal knuckle dusters and tools. The crowd booed because they expected thumbtacks. Gargano took the sheers and cut off a segment of the barbed wire. Cole then retreated to the top of the cage to avoid Gargano. Gargano and Cole then brawled to the table bridge on the top of the cage. A “please don’t die chant ensued.Cole blocked getting punched by the barbed wire. Cole and Gargano then fell off the to top of the cage and through the tables. Cole got his hand on top of Gargano to pick up the pinfall win in the Third Stage of Hell.
Adam Cole defeated Johnny Gargano via pinfall in 46:41 of total match time to win the third and final fall and retain the NXT Championship.
Gargano and Cole were still on the ground in pinfall position a few minutes after the pinfall and after the cage was lifted. Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong all ran out to carry Adam Cole to his feet and up the ramp. Cole held up his championship as the quartet made their way up the ramp. The WWE signature went on the screen to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: A sick match in all the good ways. Definitely living up to expectations as NXT Takeover main events usually do. I like the first fall not ending in just a few minutes and instead we got the time frame of three full matches here. Different from their last best of three falls match because of the three stages of hell designation. The three stages of hell stipulation also allowed each fall to be different and fresh. I talked about how their last three fall match gave the viewers everything they could wish for, but this one was the expansion pack of that in that we got a crowd brawl and a hardcore match. One benefit of WWE PG Hardcore matches is that the stories they tell are a bit more practical as opposed to a lot of gratuitous and formula setpieces. This was great.
Going into the main event, I thought the show was a pretty good show, but not as top to bottom great as some recent takeovers. The Triple Threat match was a treat to watch. The other matches were great too, let’s not downplay them as well. But dat main event doe! That was some fun stuff. Easy to say, I know it’s becoming a cliche, but nothing on Summerslam can top that Takeover main event? Maybe something in the G1, but WWE puts too many matches on their PPVs. Good show in the end as usual. I’ll be by tomorrow with a NXT Takeover Hit List. We’ll also be by later tonight with a member’s exclusive NXT Takeover Audio Review and Paul Levesque conference call audio.