By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Taped in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Aired April 8, 2020 on USA Network
[Hour One] NXT started off with a video hyping up the Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa match…
Mauro Ranallo was on commentary solo. Io Shirai made her entrance wearing teal and purple colors (as opposed to the Kamen Rider Zero One colors she’s been wearing). Tegan Nox was out next. Before Chelsea Green’s entrance, Robert Stone introduced Green. The rest of the women in the match made their entrance. The NXT Takeover: Tampa graphic was on the video wall…
1. Io Shirai vs. Tegan nox vs. Chelsea Green (w/Robert Stone) vs. Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez) in a ladder match for a future NXT Women’s Championship title shot. Each woman paired off early on. Nox, LeRae, and Yim took turns pummeling Kai in the corner. Shirai took out the women in the ring with a slingshot dropkick. Stone and Green were setting up a table at ringside. Shirai tried to set up a ladder in the ring but she got into a brawl with LeRae. Chelsea Green gave both opponents a bulldog into the ladder to head into the traditional commercial. [c]
Nox and Kai brawled in the ring while Yim and Green brawled at ringside. Kai caught Nox with a scorpion kick while Nox came back with a headbutt. Kai gave Nox a Face Wash in the corner. Nox hit Kai with a choke slam to honor her favorite wrestler Kane. Nox went for a play at the briefcase, but Kai brought her down. LeRae pulled Kai down. The rest of the women ran in to prevent plays at the briefcase. Yim managed to hit LeRae with Eat Defeat. Yim used a chair to hammer Green’s knee into a ladder.
Shirai catapulted Yim into the bottom of a ladder. Raquel Gonzalez tipped over the ladder when Shirai was on it. Shirai jumpped off the ladder to the pile of women at ringside heading into commercial.[c]
Gonzalez was cleaning house and Mauro noted that this was legal due to the No-DQ stipulation. Robert Stone was still checking on Chelsea Green who was selling Io Shirai’s chairshot to her knee. Gonzalez used the fireman carry to put Dakota Kai on the ladder, but Yim came in to get her down. Yim and Gonzalez brawled at the top rope. Two nasty bumps then occurred. Nox chokeslammed Gonzalez from the top rope to the table at ringside (where there was a bad camera angle). Kai knocked Nox from the top rope down to a ladder at ringside.
Shirai, Lerae, and Kai brawled and knocked each other to the outside. Chelsea Green tried to climb up with Robert Stone trying to inspire her. Robert Stone tried to climb to the top of the ladder to grab help Chelsea Green get the briefcase. Shirai and LeRae tilt the ladder to dump Green and Stone off the top. Shirai and LeRae brawled. Shirai raked LeRae’s eyes and then palm shoved LeRae off the top rope to the ladder on the floor.
Io Shirai defeated Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, and Chelsea Green in 11:51 of on-air TV time in a ladder match to earn a future NXT Women’s Championship title shot.
Highlights from the match played. Shirai posed at the top of the ladder with the briefcase. Mauro hyped up Gargano vs. Ciampa for later in the show…
They cut to footage from two months ago where Finn Balor’s challenge was accepted by Imperium and Walter for a future NXT UK Championship title match. Mauro Ranallo hyped up Finn Balor’s next move for after the commercial…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A nice ladder match for the time allocated. A few flaws include the two commercial breaks. It’s tough to take these at Takeover matches when they get cut off by multiple commercials. There were also some odd camera angles that missed spots, which is unlike WWE and you would think they could cover that up due to having the ability to reshoot spots if need be. Past that, Shirai was a good pick to win and my favorite going in. If she is going against Charlotte, that should be an amazing match. Hopefully we get some sort of build as opposed to the opponent-of-the-week build that WWE sometimes resorts to.
They aired footage of Finn Balor attacking Imperium at NXT UK last month. NXT then cut to footage from the Finn Balor vs. Alexander Wolfe match that followed the opening segment. Balor ended up winning that match…
They cut to a Finn Balor dark room promo. Balor talked about being similar to Walter in how they both have creative control in their own worlds. Balor talked about the title that Walter holds is on borrowed time…
Mauro Ranallo hyped up the debut of Indus Sher, the Indian tag team managed by Malcolm Bivens (f.k.a. Stokely Hathaway), for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: So Balor’s next move is the same next move from two months ago. It has been a while so I guess it was ok to give an update. I was just kinda hoping that we’d get a intermediary feud if Walter isn’t able to make it for a match against Balor. Maybe Walter is in the US? Who knows?
The Kevin Kross teaser promo played with the fmale voice in the background. The words “The End is near” and clocks were prominent…
NXT aired footage of Raul Mendoza getting kidnapped by the luchador kidnapper ninjas. They also showed Joaquin Wilde getting kidnapped…
Malcolm Bivens made his entrance with the video wall saying “Bivens Enterprises”. Once he made is entrance, Rinku and Saurav made their own entrance with different music. This allowed Mauro to make a Malcolm in the middle joke (I missed Mauro)…
2. “Indus Sher” Rinku and Saurav (w/Malcolm Bivens) vs. “Ever Rise” Matt Martel and Chase Parker. Martel started off the match against Rinku. Rinku tossed Martel back to his corner. Parker tagged in. Parker hit a flurry of punches but Rinku went with the expected no sells. Martel tagged in. Both men traded quick tags to actually dominate Rinku. Rinku kicked out at two and gave his opponents a lariat. Mauro referenced Rinku having a Million Dollar Arm (due to him being a former MLB pitcher). Saurav tagged in and continued to use power moves on Parker. Sher traded quick tags to dominate Parker.
Saurav gave Parker a lariat in the corner. Rinku tagged in and the big men cut the ring in half on Parker. Rinku gave Parker clubbing blows. Rinku punched Martel off the apron. Saurav tagged in. Saurav gave Parker a big boot. Indus Sher hit Parker with a double team Top Rope Elbow Drop backbreaker move for the victory.
Indus Sher defeated Ever Rise via pinfall in 4:42.
The show cut to Adam Cole poolside. Cole talked about being the greatest NXT Champion of all time. He addressed Velveteen Dream and said Dream doesn’t deserve a title shot. Cole teased that one day he’ll challenge Dream, but that’s not now. After the promo, Mauro hyped Gargano vs. Ciampa. Mauro also hyped Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair footage for after the break…[c]
John’s Thoughts: A decent introduction, I guess, but not quite dominating for what was supposed to be a new dominating tag team. For some reason, I remember Authors of Pain making a bigger impression than Saurav and Rinku. The most impressive part of this act is already Malcolm Bivens who exudes a lot more charisma than his clients just by standing there. It’s understandable, these two big men are green. Maybe they’ll get better. They have the WWE performance center for that.
[Hour Two] Mauro announced the beginning of the NXT Interim Cruiserweight Championship tournament for next week. He then transitioned to a highlight video package from WrestleMania with highlights from the Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair Championship match. Flair ended up winning that match…
They aired footage of Charley Caruso interviewing Charlotte Flair after her championship win. Flair talked about Ric Flair’s custom cars and suits. Charlotte talked about how Ric said it’s the man that makes the suit. Charlotte said it’s the woman that makes the title. Flair talked about retiring the Diva’s title and now she’s the NXT Champion again. Flair said Ripley was alright, but she did what everybody else does, bow down to the queen.
The show cut to Ripley looking emotional backstage. Ripley said Flair was a lot better than expected. Ripley ended her interview by saying “well”…
Mauro hyped up Black Heart vs. Rebel Heart again…
The show cut to the Gargano vs. Ciampa match five minutes after the top of the hour. It looks like they’re giving the Gargano vs. Ciampa match the cinematic treatment. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae were shown exiting an SUV. LeRae handed Gargano something before leaving in the SUV. Paul “Triple H” Levesque was shown sitting down in the corner. Hunter introduced the match and laid down the rules before leaving. Drake Wuertz was the referee for the match…
3. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an empty arena match from an unknown location (cinematic). Gargano and Ciampa brawled to start the match. The match was pretty much even and they quickly cut to commercial.[c]
Gargano and Ciampa continued to brawl. Ciampa dominated Gargano and there was bleeped out cursing from Gargano. Gargano turned the tide by slamming Ciampa’s knee into the ringpost several times. Ciampa rolled to ringside to recover. Gargano trashed talked about Ciampa having a torn ACL before. Ciampa countered a suplex with a front suplex into the ringpost on Gargano. This allowed Ciampa to rest and clear a wooden table of the stuff on top. Gargano gave Ciampa punches and a suicide dive.
Gargano rested on the apron while mocking Ciampa’s signature self back pat. Gargano then tossed several cardboard trash containers on Ciampa. Gargano beat up on Ciampa against a trash can while mocking Ciampa for calling himself the new heart and soul of NXT. Gargano slammed the trash can on the back of Ciampa. Gargano put the boots to Ciampa while mocking Ciampa’s surgeries, like the ACL and neck surgeries. Gargano took a chair and jabbed it into the spine of Ciampa. Gargano then rested on a chair to gloat over Ciampa a bit.
Gargano set up a chair in the corner. Ciampa turned the tables and tossed Gargano into the set up chair. Both men were left lying heading into break. [c]
Ciampa caught a flying Gargano off a plancha with a lid shot. Ciampa then followed up on Gargano with a chop block. Ciampa pilmanized Gargano by wrapping a chair around his neck and throwing Gargano into the ringpost. Ciampa brought out his signature crutch and used it to choke Gargano while Ciampa yelled at Gargano about the things that Gargano just brought up while trash talking. Gargano sprayed a fire extinguisher at Ciampa which he found in one of the supply baskets. Ciampa fought through the pain and power bombed Gargano through a table.
Ciampa found wire cutters and he cut off the ring skirt. After cutting off the skirt, Ciampa started pulling off the ring padding. Drake Wuertz tried to convince Ciampa to end the match now, but Ciampa kept saying that everything Gargano does is a charade. Ciampa got out the ring to keep Gargano on the ground with a running knee. Gargano crawled to the exit door. Gargano recovered and slammed a roadie trunk into Ciampa. Gargano then tossed Ciampa several times into the WWE Supply Semi Truck. Ciampa ran away and then climbed to the top of the WWE truck.
Ciampa said this was Ciampa’s world and he dared Johnny to join him up there. They cut to drone shots of Gargano and Ciampa brawling on top of the truck (Hey! It’s probably OG Vanguard 1!). Gargano got the upper hand and tortured Gargano at the edge of the truck, asking if this was fun. Gargano recovered and put Ciampa in the GargaNo Escape. Ciampa got to his feet, but Gargano put Ciampa back to his knees after hitting him with a series of superkicks. [c]
Ciampa made his way back to the building with Ciampa following him. Gargano caught Ciampa with a diving lariat which sent Ciampa through a table and water bottles. Gargano rolled Ciampa into the ring which was half exposed wooden planks. Gargano put the boots to Ciampa on the wood planks. Gargano and Ciampa brawled at the top rope. Ciampa got the upper hand with back elbow strikes. Ciampa gave Gargano an air raid crash from the top of the rope to ringside (hopefully there was creative editing to that, just because they can). Ciampa rolled Gargano in the ring and then got a two count. [c]
Ciampa brought his camo clutch in the ring. Gargano whacked Ciampa’s knee with a trash lid. Gargano tried to use the crutch to lock in the GargaNo Escape, but Gargano used the lid to escape. Gargano hit Ciampa several times with the lid. Gargano used the crutch to help him nail Ciampa with a back kick. Gargano was telling Ciampa that Ciampa is a failure as a man, husband, and father. Gargano held up Ciampa’s head with the crutch and said that Ciampa is a monster. Ciampa fired up and beat up on Gargano with the crutch. Ciampa kept saying that Gargano is a piece of shit. [c]
Ciampa pulled Gargano’s head back with the crutch. Gargano got out, but Ciampa ran at Gargano with a knee. Gargano recovered and was about to go at Ciampa, but Ciampa hit Gargano with the Willow’s bell onto the exposed wooden ring boards. In a compassionate moment, Gargano put his hand softly on Ciampa’s hand which Ciampa shrugged off with emotion. Ciampa was about to hit Gargano wtih teh broken handle of his crutch, but Gargano gave Ciampa a superkick. Ciampa and Gargano then knocked each other out with different parts of the crutch.
Candice LeRae walked into the ring looking worried. She was crying over the prone bodies of Ciampa and Gargano. She begged for Gargano and Ciama to stop fighting. Ciampa got to his feet first. LeRae cried and asked Gargano who is Gargano now. LeRae said she hates Gargano now and told Ciampa to “finish it”. LeRae said “I’ll finish it”. LeRae punted Gargano in the testicles. This caused Gargano to roll in pain and Ciampa to sit down on the ropes in shock. Ciampa then got on his knees and tried to get a hand on Gargano, but was conflicted.
Gargano then said “it’s over as he allowed Gargano to get to his knees. Gargano was on his knees. Ciampa got to his feet and said “I’m sorry”. Candice LeRae showed up from behind and then kicked Ciampa in the balls. Gargano was laughing as he pulled out a nut cup from his pants. Gargano said “you lose” as he hit Ciampa with the Fairy Tale ending for the pinfall win.
Johnny Gargano defeated Tommaso Ciampa via pinfall in 48:16.
LeRae helped Gargano to the outside as Gargano said he felt better than good. As Gargano was walking to his car you could see the lights bright in a car they were passing with a woman and man inside (Kross and Bordeaux?). Gargano and LeRae then drove away, passing by the black car…
John’s Thoughts: Mixed thoughts here. It was a good match. In fact, I think this match would have worked better if they didn’t go with the cinematic camera setup given the uncut format they went with. I’ll give them this, while they did use cinematic cam shots, they did treat it like a live show ultimately. Not necessarily the movie production we got at Mania. What I ultimately thought held this match back was the length of this match along with the usual slow starts to Gargano matches. Where I thought the cinematic format could have helped is if they brawled in some hallways a bit, but we only got 80% in-ring and 20% parking lot. Because they had cutting and commercial powers, I felt like they could have streamlined this to about 30 minutes. In fact, if they wanted to, they could have played the match uncut next week for an hour like a cool DVD extra.
As for the actual match, when you get past a lot of the slow points, I thought it was a good chapter in the Gargano and Ciampa never ending feud. Triple H said this is the last match, but given LeRae’s involvement in the end kept this feud alive to go on for months, or maybe even a year if these two are fated to fight forever. They set up the viewer to expect a finish to happen whenever whatever LeRae handed Gargano at the beginning of the match came into play, and I thought it was clever that it was a nut cup. I didn’t expect it to be a nut cup. I thought it was going to be a mug or knuckles or something. Anyway, a Takeover match, a Jeremy Borash Cinematic, but I still think it went too long in uncut form (at least for a first viewing). I’ll be by tomorrow with my member’s exclusive audio review and Jason Powell will be by with his hit list.