NXT Takeover: XXX results – Moore’s live review of Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship, Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee, Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai for the NXT Women’s Championship, a ladder match for the vacant NXT North American Title, Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT Takeover: XXX
Streamed August 22, 2020 on WWE Network
Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

Pre-show notes

Sam Roberts and Scott Stanford checked in from the WWE studio set. Scott Stanford introduced Booker T via Zoom. They cut to outside of Full Sail where William Regal confronted Pat McAfee, AJ Hawk, Darius Butler, and a few unnamed friends of McAfee. Regal reminded McAfee that his match with Cole is one-on-one and both men can’t receive help. McAfee made a snarky remarked and walked away. Back at the studio, Stanford cut to the Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross video package that aired this past Wednesday.

After the video, the panel gave their predictions for Lee vs. Kross. The panel then moved on to Shirai vs. Kai predictions. Scott Stanford then cut to an Imperium promo video that featured Walter, Marcel Barthel, and Fabien Aichner…

The show cut to Full Sail where entrances for the number one contenders match took place. Vic Joseph and Beth Phoenix were on commentary for the pre-show. Breezango made their entrance first and they didn’t do their goofy stripper entrance (though Dango was still swinging his Dango like a stripper)…

John’s Thoughts: Random aside, Joaquin Wilde came out wearing clubbing attire and some bling. It’s actually so refreshing these days not seeing DJZ keep Bromans alive. RIP Bro Mans and Bro Man Air Horn. Wilde looks pretty badass now.

1. “Breezango” Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. “Legado Del Fantasma” Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza to become number one contender to the NXT Tag Team Championships. Dango managed to dump most of his opponents out. Dango lifted up Wilde and gave Wilde a Razor’s edge on the pile of wrestlers outside. Dango tried to swing his Dango in front of Lorcan, but this led to a chop battle between Dango and Lorcan. They brawled to ringside. Mendoza hit Fandango with a beautiful Corkscrew Crossbody on the outside. Legado Del Fantasma hit Lorcan with a Russian Legsweep-Neckbreaker combo for a two count.

Wilde dominated Lorcan and Breeze with strikes. Burch tagged in and grounded Wilde with a missile dropkick. Burch set up Wilde in an electric chair but wilde escaped. Burch staggered Wilde with a headbutt. Lorcan and Burch hit Wilde with their hanging DDT combo. Mendoza broke up Lorcan’s pin. Dango slammed Mendoza to the mat. Dango caught Lorcan with a superkick. Breezango hitMendoza with their Surfboard-legdrop combination to give Breeze a two count on Mendoza.

Mendoza caught Breeze with a Spanish Fly. Wilde hit Breeze with a 450. Lorcan and Burch broke up the pin. Breeze caught Lorcan with a super model kick out of nowhere for the victory.

Breezango defeated Lorcan and Burch and Legado Del Fantasma via pinfall in 6:52. 

John’s Thoughts: That was actually really entertaining for the time given, then it just ended abruptly because I assume this was just to counter AEW programming and they needed to fill time, ultimately to be cut short. Well, at least there’s some talent in the tag division, if only Breezango would reboot themselves. The other expected goal in that match was to protect Legado Del Fantasma, as expected. WWE has been doing a solid job booking Wilde and Mendoza perfectly as henchmen, but not making them cannon fodder henchmen.

An ad aired for WWE ice cream sandwiches…

Back at the WWE Studio, the panel made their predictions for the North American Championship Ladder Match. After the predictions, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong were shown strolling outside of Full Sail. The show then cut to an Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee hype package. Right after the panel made their Cole vs. McAfee predictions, Stanford ended the show to transition to the Takeover main show…

John’s Thoughts: As much as that match was cut for time, I’m totally fine with it if it keeps the length of the pointless pre-show short. Nobody needs one or two hour pre shows where the panel make their predictable kayfabe predictions. This was just fine.

Main Show

The NXT Takeover intro video played with Metallica’s Moth into Flame playing in the background…

The NXT Takeover XXX set had three giant X’s with pyro flame cannons shooting fire from the ground. No Mauro tonight. The commentary team was Beth Phoenix, Vic Joseph, and Corey Graves. Joseph and Graves were calling the action from in the arena…

1. Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher. Balor timed his punch to happen right after the bell. Both men then rolled on the ground trading ground submissions. Joseph said it was unique to see Balor getting the upper hand at points given that Thatcher is a chain wrestling specialist. Thatcher got control after giving Balor a clubbing blow to the chest. Balor backdropped Thatcher and then gave Thatcher a few stiff boots. Balor went for a ground submission,but Thatcher managed to heel hook Balor. Balor tried to escape with a boot, but Thatcher yanked at the heel.

Balor adjusted and escaped by grabbing the bottom rope. Thatcher adjusted and locked Balor in a Bow and Arrow submission. Balor escaped by getting Thatcher’s to the mat for a two count. Thatcher worked on Balor with a Wishbone Submission. Balor gave Thatcher a boot, but Thatcher immediately went to knees to Balor’s kidneys. Balor got to his feet and got to a strike rally. Thatcher caught Balor’s arm and rolled him down into a Kimura. Thatcher transitioned to a Rings of Saturn for a bit, and immediately gave Balor a knee to the kidney.

Thatcher locked in a crossface, keeping Balor under control with knees to the lower back. Thatcher locked Balor in a Double chickenwing. Balor went for a bridge suplex pin. Thatcher kicked out while still holding the butterfly. Balor escaped with a front dropkick. Thatcher and Balor traded strong style strikes. Thatcher got Balor to the mat with a chest chop and Finn took Thatcher down with him with a Pele kick. Balor gave Thatcher a running chop. Thatcher blocked a sling blade with a clinch knee. Balor escaped Thatcher with a double stomp.

Balor and Thatcher traded counters with Balor ending in the submission. Balor hit Thatcher with a Reverse Front Suplex. Thatcher rolled aside to avoid the Coup De Grace. Joseph pointed out that Balor was selling the knee due to Thatcher’s focus on the ankle early in the match. Balor got to the rope, but Thatcher got more damage in with shortarm kicks. Thatcher kicked and Suplexed Balor. Balor rolled Thatcher to the mat for a pin. Thatcher kicked out, but Balor kept the seated Crossface locked in.

Thatcher got a hand under the arm of Balor to get into a ankle lock. Balor rolled through into a double stomp. Balor managed to hit Thatcher with the Coup De Grace. The commentators pointed out that Balor was still hobbling on his knee. Balor hit Thatcher with the 1916 (Bloody Sunday) for the victory.

Finn Balor defeated Timothy Thatcher via pinfall in 13:32. 

Highlights from the match aired…

Sasha Banks and Bayley were shown in the crowd with face masks and their four belts. This was the the usual “guest” spot we get on Takeovers…

John’s Thoughts: Again, the Pseudo-MMA may not be for all, but I personally really like the practical style that happens in Thatcher matches. I know there’s still pro wrestling work going on, but as a martial arts and kickboxing practictioner myself, I like it when I can actually see moves that actually hurt as opposed to theatrics that I have to suspend my disbelief for. Another nice aspect of the match was the continuous injury threads, notably the Balor ankle “injury”. Balor was expected to win, given he’s the big name and former WWE champion. Thatcher has looked great in NXT, but has taken a few losses in a row. Hopefully this is one of his last losses and NXT eventually puts him in a position to win a feud.

A North American Championship Ladder Match hype package aired…

Entrances for the ladder match took place. Beth Phoenix noted that Priest’s gear is a homage to Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels. Johnny Gargano came out wearing what might have been Punisher themed gear. Bronson Reed has new upgraded music (you know you’re getting pushed when they take away the royalty free music away from ya). Beth pointed out Reed’s gear was an homage to Bam Bam Bigelow.

Corey Graves said Grimes has a shallow gene pool and said that Grimes may have a moonshine distillery. Velveteen Dream came out wearing a bath robe and a Scott Steiner-like chain mail head gear…

2. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Velveteen Dream in a Ladder Match for the vacant NXT North American Championship. Grimes was quickly disposed off by strikes from Reed and Priest. Reed and Priest tried to brawl, but Dream shoved Reed into Reed. Dream hit everyone with signature moves. Reed ended up hitting Priest with a Fisherman Suplex. Dream tossed Reed to ringside. Priest and Dream tried to climb for the belt, but Grimes shoved Dream and Priest off to separate ladders. Grimes tried to climb two ladders, but Priest and Dream pulled Grimes into the splits.

Dream gave Priest a lariat to the outside. Dream and Gargano used a ladder to take down Grimes. Reed knocked down Gargano and Priest under the ladder and gave the ladder a senton. Grimes gave Reed a superman forearm. Reed gave Grimes an inside out lariat. Gargano tried to quickly climb up a ladder reed was setting up. Reed tried to power bomb Gargano but Gargano escaped not only Reed, but Priest. Reed and Priest got control of Gargano. Dream and Grimes tripped Reed and Priest up.

Gargano ordered Dream and Grimes to take care of the big men. Dream and Grimes caught Gargano climbing up the ladder and made him come down. Dream and Gargano used ladders to pin down Priest and Reed. Gargano chucked a laddder at dream in the corner. Priest choved a ladder into Gargano. Grimes put a Ladder on top of the three men in the corner. Reed gave Grimes an atomic drop on the ladders and people in the corner. Reed splashed the pile of ladders and people in the corner. Reed hit the pile of people in the corner with a Tower of Doom power bomb.

Gargano set up a ladder, but Reed was standing. Grimes scaled the ladder after Reed grabbed Gargano. Priest yanked Grimes to the top rope. All of the men fell with Priest getting to the top of the ladder. Dream punched Priest in the back and dragged him back down. Beth noted that Priest has a height advantage in the match. Priest tripped Dream off the ladder with a Beautiful Disaster kick to Dream’s calf. Gargano caught Priest with a superkick while Preist went for a springboard cannonball.

Reed tried to use the ladder as a weapon wrapped around his neck like a hellicopter. Gargano gave Reed a One Final Beat into the ladder. Gargano dumped Dream outside and hit Reed iwth a suicide dive. Grimes hit Gargano with a Spanish Fly Power Slam. Dream hit Grimes and Gargano with a dive. Reed hit the three men outside with a suicide dive. Grimes recovered and brought a ladder into the ring, where Priest was. Priest punched the tall ladder into Grimes.

Priest ran over the top of the ladder bridge he set up for a Shelton Benjamin-like ladder-running Tope Con Hilo. Cameron tried to scale the ladder, but Candice LeRae ran out to pull Grimes down. Graves joked “Maybe Candice wants directions to the Moon”. LeRae gave Grimes a series of chops and punches. Gargano hit Grimes with a ladder to the face. Gargano helped up LeRae to hit Grimes with a huracanrana which made him land on the wrestlers at ringside. Gargano and Reed climbed to the top of the ladder, with Reed knocking Gargano down.

Reed kept fending off Gargano. LeRae got to the top of the ladder and swatted the title away from Reed. Reed let LeRae piggy back on his back (for safety) and then gave Gargano a diving splash from the top of the ladder. Reed and Priest climbed to the top of one ladder while Grimes climbed to the top of a taller ladder. Reed shoved down Grimes’s ladder, but Grimes jumped to the smaller ladder. Grimes knocked down Priest and avoided a kick from Dream, tangling Dream in a ladder.

Dream avoided a battering ram ladder from Grimes. Dream softened up Grimes with strikes and laid him on a ladder bridge he set up. Dream climbed to the top of an adjacent ladder and was going for a Purple Rainmaker on Grimes, but then noticed he could go for the belt. Priest knocked Dream down. Priest got down and chokeslammed the recovered Reed. Grimes came out of nowhere and hit Priest with a Cave In.

Joseph wondered if Grimes was going to the moon. Grimes and Gargano climbed up adjacent ladders. Gargano then Sunset Bombed Grimes into the ladder bridge (which looked scary). Gargano caught Priest with a Gamengiri. Dream was taken down with a superkick. Gargano tried to One Final Beat Dream, but Dream countered into a Dream Valley Driver onto Priest, who was on a ladder bridged at ringside. Dream got to the top of a ladder and was dumped 6 feet into the crowd area onto some tables and production people at ringside.

Reed tried to climb to the top, but was dumpped off the ladder by Grimes. Gargano chased Grimes to the top and knocked him off the ladder. Priest prevented Gargano from getting the title. Gargano almost got the title because he unhooked it. Priest knocked Gargano off the ladder and took the unhooked title to pick up the win.

Damian Priest defeated Johnny Gargano, Cameron Grimes, Bronson Reed, and Velveteen Dream in 21:24 to become the new NXT North American Champion. 

Highlights from the match aired…

John’s Thoughts: The match started off with your usual formula indie spots that you would expect in a ladder match, but I think the match got more creative once it past about 8 minutes or so. Each man played to their style and strength to add unique aspects to the match, keeping it from just looking like a bunch of spots for no rhyme. Each person gained from this match in some way and it looked nice for them going all out in the end to get that gold. Grimes in particular continues to show that he can elevate the end of his matches to upper-card levels with his solid work and intensity. Hopefully they flip the serious switch on him someday because the guy is way too talented to stay as a comedy goofball (and given the plot armor that Grimes seems to carry from NXT creative, I have a feeling they see big things for him down the road too). Good match and I can see everyone in this match being potential opponents for Priest in upcoming months until he drops the title.

Corey Graves thanked Metallica for providing the song “Moth into Flame” as the theme song for Takeover XXX…

A hype package aired for the Pat McAfee vs. Adam Cole match…

Adam Cole made his entrance first with Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong escorting him to the ring. The rest of UE left after Cole entered the ring. The camera cut to Pat McAfee and his NFL friends backstage. McAfee fist bumped his buddies and they walked away. McAfee then cut a promo about how great his punting leg was. McAfee then made his entrance to his own entrance theme and video wall. McAfee’s NFL friends then joined him at ringside. McAfee’s friends wore “Cole Sucks” shirts…

3. Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee (w/his friends).  Cole kept McAfee under control with a side headlock. McAfee managed to get a backdrop on cole, but then he cowered in fear when Cole teased a superkick to Pat. Pat then locked Cole in a side headlock. Cole escaped and McAfee hit Cole with a shoulder tackle. Cole ran the ropes and McAfee retreated to ringside. Pat trashed talk at ringside, doing the UE pose and saying he’s better than Cole. The rest of UE ran to ringside to have Cole’s back. Security guards got in between the two opposing teams. Pat McAfee took out the pile of people with a good top rope Swanton to ringside.

McAfeegave Cole punches and boots in the corner. McAfee fishhooked Cole in the center of the ring. McAfee then dropped Cole with a right hand, going back to gloating after the punch. McAfee hit Cole with a basement boot (that barely hit). McAfee hit Cole with a delayed body slam (w/Squats). McAfee kept Cole under control with a ground headlock and right hand. Cole tried to rally back, but McAfee hit him with a dropkick. McAfee tried to slap Cole around, but Cole came back with stronger slaps. Cole punched Pat to the mat. Cole then pulled McAfee’s shirt and gave him hockey fight punches.

Cole then kicked and put the boots to McAfee in the corner. Cole hit McAfee with a DVD onto the knee. McAfee tried to give Cole a lariat, but Cole ducked it and gave McAfee a reverse Codebreaker to the back of Pat’s neck. Cole went high risk but was crotched off the top rope. McAfee got to the top. Cole shoved Pat off and Pat did a backflip to over half way past the ring. Cole sold this with shock. Pat came at Cole with a superplex for a nearfall. Pat had Cole draped off the apron.

Pat went for a Punt Kick but Cole avoided it and Pat punted the steel step, to cause Pat pain. Pat sold a foot injury. Cole hit Pat with a kick to the shin, which led to a figure four. Pat tried to “reverse the pressure” but Cole rolled through. Pat got to the bottom rope for the rope break. McAfee continued to trash talk Cole, causing Cole to give Pat punches in the corner. The referee went for the separation and Pat snuck in a low blow to Cole. Pat hit Cole with the Punt Kick to the chest. Cole kicked out at two.

McAfee took off his shirt and went for the top rope. Pat mocked Cole’s Bay Bay catchphrase. Cole blocked the Axe Handle dive with a superkick. Cole told Pat to get up so he could knee his stupid mouth. Cole teased a Last Shot, but then went to the top rope. Cole ended up hitting Pat with the Panama Sunrise (Canadian Destroyer) for the victory.

Adam Cole defeated Pat McAfee via pinfall in 16: 12.

John’s Thoughts: A good match. I expected this match to exceed expected low expectations because Pat’s an athlete and a die hard wrestling fan who probably put in effort over the years to learn the art given that the guy got professional training and a personal ring. Not your “Adam Cole main event” that we’re used to with Cole as champion, but it didn’t have to be. McAfee was a solid heel. DeAngelo Williams was a bit more dynamic in his wrestling debut, but I thought Pat McAfee shined in a different way in that he was working heel and had to be methodical. The best part of this match was the pacing. The match went 15+ minutes and didn’t feel like 15+ minutes (I didn’t yawn, so there’s that). McAfee was so solid as a heel pro wrestler, that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him down the road. In actual matches no less!

Vic Joseph and Corey Graves checked in from the commentary booth and welcomed Drew McIntyre to Takeover. Joseph asked Drew about his match the next day. Drew talked about how Orton needs his arse kicked. Karrion Kross was shown boxing into pads backstage…

A video package aired to hype Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai…

Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez made their entrance first. Kai wore gear that looked like a cross between her babyface and heel attire (with the tie dye). Io Shirai made her entrance next, wearing her usual Kamen Rider Zero-One gear. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the championship match…

4. Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez) for the NXT Women’s Championship. Shirai quickly pummeled Kai early on. Kai tried to gain control with a foot hold, but Shirai did a backflip away. Shirai took down Kai with a Dragon Screw leg whip. Kai rolled to ringside to hide behind Gonzalez. Shirai was distracted, jawing with Gonzalez, which allowed Kai to run around and toss Shirai into the ringpost. Kai hyperextended Shirai’s arm into the second rope. Shirai escaped and went for a 619. Kai rolled to ringside and avoided the kick, kicking Shirai. Kai hit Shirai in the head with a pump kick for a two count.

Shirai sold an arm injury while Kai went for the pins. Kai got Shirai to her feet and continued to hyperextend Shirai’s left shoulder. Kai then locked Shirai in a Fujiwara armbar. Kai alternated between working on Shirai’s shoulder and pins. After a few minutes, Shirai got a moment of respite after hitting Kai with a rising palm. Shirai rallied at Kai with strikes and a backdrop. Shirai hit Kai with the 619 (which feels odd typing given Shirai doesn’t come from San Diego). Shirai gave Kai a Slingshot Dropkick for a two count.

Shirai used a victory roll to counter Kai into a double stomp. Shirai held on to the ropes to prevent being sunset flipped into the plexiglass. Shirai escaped by stomping on Kai. Got to a vertical base and booted Shirai in the face several times. Shirai did her fighting spirit fire up sequence. Kai surprised a running Kai with a Scorpion Kick. Shirai avoided a face wash in the corner. Shirai schoolgirled Shirai’s head into the bottom buckle. Shirai slammed Kai’s head into the bottom buckle and hit a plethora of knee strikes into Kai in the corner.

Kai and Shirai brawled to the top rope. Shirai tripped Kai into the Tree of Woe and hit Kai with the double stomp. Shirai got a two count on Kai. Kai escaped double underhooks and hit Shirai with a Sideways Code Red backbraeker. Shirai blocked a Juji Gatame attempt by holding her fingers together. Kai maneuvered to roll Shirai away from the ropes. Kain managed to get the fingers released, but that allowed Shirai to stretch into a rope break. Shirai went for a slingshot move, but she ate a roundhouse. Shirai recovered and slammed Kai into the top buckle. Kaistaggered Shirai on the top rope with a roundhouse.

Kai hit Shirai with the Go To Kick. Shirai got a foot on the bottom rope for the break. Shirai was whipped in the direction of the ref to cause him to cower. Kai accidentally gave the referee a Face Wash. REF BUMP!!! Shirai slammed Kai and hit Kai with her moonsault finisher. There was a visual pinfall, but the referee was bumped. Gonzalez intered the ring and gave Kai her signature Uranage. Gonzalez recovered the referee. Shirai kicked out at two for the nearfall (kinda ruined due to Vic Joseph doing the “We got a new champ” routine). Shirai countered Kai into a crossface.

Shirai escaped and fended off Kai with a knee. Shirai caught Kai and Gonzalez with a moonsault. Graves pointed out that Shirai caught Gonzalez clear in the face with her knees off the moonsault. Shirai hit Kai with a moonsault in the ring for the victory.

Io Shirai defeated Dakota Kai via pinfall in 17:13 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship. 

Shirai posed with the title belt in the ring, but was clocked by a Gonzalez lariat. Gonzalez was about to plant Shirai in the ring. Rhea Ripley made her entrance to stand face to face with Gonzalez. The two women had an epic standoff. Kai pulled Gonzalez aside to head into retreat mode. The spectator wrestlers booed and chanted the na na na na goodbye song. Gonzalez backtracked while keeping a glare on Ripley. Shirai’s theme played to head into the replays.

John’s Thoughts: A great and well wrestled match, but they didn’t do enough of a job to make Kai seem like someone that was a threat to Shirai’s title reign. I kinda expected more Gonazlez involvement, but they kept it pretty minimal aside form her getting involved after the ref bump. Here’s hoping Shirai’s next opponent gets built up stronger as a threat to Shirai’s title reign. Also, I have no clue why they’re setting up Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Gonzalez. Weren’t we supposed to get Rhea Ripley vs. Mercedes Martinez? Ripley vs. Martinez has top tier Takeover Match written all over it so it’s confusing that they’re teasing Ripley pivoting to Gonzalez.

Cesaro was shown in the NXT Guest Star section…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Damian Priest in front of Priest’s Hummer. Priest put the belt in the car and then jumped into a hot tub with a couple of women (one of the women is former Impact Wrestling Knockout Brandi Lauren/Ava Storie. Lauren is NXT’s resident “extra” because every time NXT needs a female extra, they have Lauren play that role). Priest drank champagne with Brandi and the other woman…

A Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross hype video aired…

Karrion Kross and Scarlett [Bordeaux] made their usual ominous entrance. Kross wore his signature trench-coat to the ring while Scarlett was wearing a skin-tight catsuit. Kross had his entrance enhanced by the fire cannon pyro. Keith Lee made his entrance next. Beth Phoenix compared Keith Lee to a superhero with Kross as a super villain. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the championship match…

5. Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) for the NXT Championship. Lee started the match with an early tackle. Lee and Kross then had a hockey brawl. Lee ended off cornering cross with a flurry of punches. Kross held on to Lee’s head and landed a forearm. Lee ran the ropes and grounded Kross with a crossbody. Lee pursued Kross to ringside when Scarlett checked on Kross. Lee and Kross then brawled at ringside with Kross gaining the upper hand. Kross made sure to break the referee’s ten count. Kross punched Lee against the barricade and plexiglass. Kross missed Lee and punched Plexiglass. Lee tossed Kross into the plexiglass. Kross avoided Lee, sending Lee into the ringpost.

Lee’s leg got caught between guardrail and plexiglass. Kross took advantage and booted the rail into the hamstring of Lee. Kross locked Lee into a double wrist lock. Kross kept Lee under control with elbows to the bicep. Lee got Kross’s shoulders apart so he could get to a vertical base. Kross then shoulder tackled Lee’s left arm. Kross followed through with a yank to the ground, off the hurting left shoulder. Kross put the boots to Lee and went back to the joint manipulation. Kross avoided Lee’s comeback attempts and then slammed Lee’s shoulder into the top buckle.

Kross continued to attack Lee’s shoulder by throwing Lee’s shoulder into the ringpost. Kross locked Lee in a high guard wristlock. Kross floated over into a grounded hammerlock on Lee, keeping Lee pinned into the mat. Kross Legsweeped Lee’s shoulder into the mat. Kross went back into the hammerlock ground control. Lee managed to get to a knee. He shrugged off Kross with a shoulder. Kross flipped into a cross armbreaker on Lee. Lee kept the arms grasped to prevent the submission.

Lee got to a knee, but Kross wouldn’t let go. Lee got to two feet and lifted Kross. Lee planted Kross with a Uranage to give himself a long needed moment of respite. Lee fended off Kross with tight punches and forearms. Lee managed to rock Kross with a right hand, causing him to go spaghetti legged. Lee gave Kross a splash and forearm in the corner. Lee planted Kross with a Power Slam for a kicked-out pin. Kross staggered lee with strikes. Lee used a wide base to block the Doomsday Saito.

Kross caught Lee with a Yakuza and Savate Kick to get Lee to the ground. Lee kicked out at two. Lee adjusted his weight and gave Kross forearms to block another Doomsday Saito attempt. Lee got Kross staggered with a headbutt. Lee hit Kross with a vertical suplex for a two count. Kross staggered Lee with an elbow and took Lee off his feet with a lariat. Lee kicked out at two. Lee and Kross traded forearms and punches for a strong style exchange. Kross got Lee to a knee with snug forearms. Lee got a second wind and tore through Kross with a desperation lariat.

Kross no sold Lee’s strike. Lee no sold Kross’s Yakuza kick. Kross ducked a Grizzly Magnum and hit Lee with his finishing hold, the Doomsday Saito. Lee kicked out at two. Kross managed to drag Lee down into a Kross Jacket. Graves noted that Lee’s neck is thicker than most of Kross’s opponents. Lee milked the hand drop sequence and kept from passing out. Lee managed to roll to his chest. Lee got a left hand to the bottom rope for the rope break.

Lee met Kross in the center of the ring and gave him a headbutt. Lee hit Kross with his Spirit Bomb finisher. Kross kicked out at two. Lee went to the top rope, but Kross bet him in the corner. Lee dragged Kross to the top rope. Both men traded punches on the ropes. Lee went for a suplex, but he got right into positon for a Saito Suplex. Karrion Kross hit Keith Lee with a Super Doomsday Saito for the victory.

Karrion Kross defeated Keith Lee via pinfall in 21:51 to become the new NXT Champion. 

Highlights from the match aired. Kross and Scarlett did their ominous pose at the top of the stage surrounded by pillars of fire. NXT Takeover XXX closed. The show lasted about 2 hours and 25 minutes…

John’s Thoughts: As usual, I get afraid sometimes that the main event can’t live up to the undercard matches on a Takeover due to the high quality of Takeover undercards, but give it to Kross and Lee to put out a great one. Again, I can see some people not liking the more practical style of people like Kross or Thatcher, but it’s moves like that that actually hurt people. Kross took Lee to maybe Lee’s best match in WWE. Lee’s matches against Dijak were great, but this was a clash of titans. I also seen something different from Kross. I’ve watched Kross wrestle for years, even before WWE, and this is the most I ever saw him sell to anyone. It makes sense. It’s Keith F’n Lee.

I thought it was a risk to have Lee false-finish Kross’s two finishers, but Lee’s the superman of NXT. He needs to be presented strong and it makes Kross look stronger overcoming such an opponent. The only thing I would have done beforehand with Kross’s presentation, is present his MMA prowess a bit more. NXT has done an amazing job presenting the nihilist aspect of Kross’s act that it’s a bit jarring also seeing that the guy is a martial arts expert. That’s just a small nitpick though.

Another Takeover in the books, and another five stellar matches. The McAfee vs. Cole wasn’t the usual climax match we get at Takeover, but McAfee was pretty damn good in his first televised match. McAfee, in fact, was way better than a lot of the wrestlers we see weekly from WWE Developmental. Every other match on the show, solid. What may be holding this back is the build to some of the matches. Thatcher vs. Balor was booked in the last two days and the Women’s match could have done a better job making Dakota Kai seem like a treat. Again, I’m picking nits, Takeovers are solid and NXT always does a good job keeping these things under two and a half hours.

 

 

 

 



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...


Readers Comments (5)

  1. “Pat’s an athlete and a die hard wrestling fan who probably put in effort over the years to learn the art”

    He trained quite a bit under Rip Rogers while he was in Indy.

  2. Gives up one belt and loses the other, is this reason to think Lee is on the main roster really soon (maybe tomorrow or Monday)?

    • Yeah, maybe, but to do what? Vince is stupid enough to make him the new Akeem or Sexual Chocolate. He gets sent to the major leagues` as it is right now, it’s a step back.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.