By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver Night Two
Simulcast live on April 8, 2021 on Peacock/WWE Network
Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE PC)
The pre-show was hosted by Sam Roberts and Jimmy Smith and the show started off with the hosts ran through the Stand and Deliver card. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly were shown entering the WWE PC “earlier today” at different times. William Regal acted pissed at Adam Cole in particular.
The first video package was the teaser for the Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross NXT Championship match. The package was followed by Samoa Joe interviewing Karrion Kross and Scarlett about his upcoming match. After the Kross interview, Joe ended up interviewing Finn Balor on his Takeover thoughts…
After the Joe interview, Arash Markazi offered his thoughts on the Balor vs. Kross match. The panel then discussed the Tale of the Tape between Balor and Kross. Sam Roberts thanked Rob Zombie for providing the song “The Triumph of King Freak” as the theme song for Takeover. McKenzie Mitchell then interviewed Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart, who said they were getting facepaint for their title defense. Blackheart ended the interview by saying “welcome to the ball pit”…
Mickie James joined the panel where she gave her thoughts on the Women’s Tag Team Championship match. Mickie noted that if Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae win the titles, the Gargano Way Family can become the “Golden Garganos”. The panel then discussed the Gargano vs. Reed and Escobar vs. Devlin title matches. A teaser aired to promote the Santos Escobar vs. Jordan Devlin title unification ladder match. Footage from the NXT global press conference aired, which focused on Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin staking their claim for the Cruiserweight title. Devlin noted that the Cruiserweight style was born in Mexico, but perfected in Ireland…
Vic Joseph and Mickie James were on commentary for the pre-show match. Breeze and Dango were cosplaying as pirates this week…
Pre-show Match: “Breezango” Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain. Dain and Breeze started off the match with Breeze trying to wrestle in the pirate coat. Breeze tagged in Dango who got hip tossed by Dain. Maverick tagged in and took a shoulder block from Dango, who subsequently swung around his Dango. Maverick mocked Dango by swinging his Dango in Dango’s face. Dain tagged in and Maverick put Breeze’s pirate hat on Dain. Dango tried to attack the distracted Dain, but Dain shrugged off Dango’s offense.
Maverick tagged in and had a bit of a rally. Dango got control back and tagged Breeze in who hit Maverick with a snap suplex for a two count. Dango and Breeze traded tags to cut the ring in half on Maverick. Maverick managed to get the hot tag to Dain who cleaned house. Dain hit Dango with a slingshot senton. Dain hit Breezango with a simultaneous Samoan Drop and Fallaway Slam. Breeze caught Maverick with a dropkick when Maverick went for a stomp on Dango.
Breezango hit Dain with stereo superkicks for a two count. Dango was shaken up on the top rope and given a Frankensteiner by Maverick. Dain power bombed Maverick on top of Fandango to give Maverick the pinfall win.
Drake Maverick and Killian Dain defeated Breezango via pinfall in 8:38.
The show cut to a highlight package of Night 1 of Takeover: Stand and Deliver…
John’s Thoughts: Pretty missable TV tag match. Breeze and Dango are two great wrestlers along with being good comedians, but at the same time the whole “Breezango” male stripper/cosplayer gimmick is 5 years past its expiration date. As we saw a week or so ago when Breeze wrestled Escobar, Tyler Breeze is way better off in terms of credibility when he’s separate from Dango. If they wanna stay together, maybe they can at least turn Dango to Johnny Curtis and have Curtis drop the Will Farrell act? Speaking of good comedy, Dain and Maverick need more TV time. I’m surprise this guilty pleasuer gets kept off of TV for long stretches of time.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed William Regal who praised Night 1 of Takeover. Mitchell asked Regal for his thoughts on Adam Cole putting his hands on Regal. Regal kept his composure and said that Cole will not be fined. The show then cut to the teaser video for the Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly match. After the video, NXT aired the Samoa Joe interviews with Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole…
Alicia Taylor introduced Poppy who provided a song to open up Takeover. Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary. Entrance took place for the Cruiserweight Championship title unification match…
1. Santos Escobar vs. Jordan Devlin in a Ladder Match to unify the NXT Cruiserweight and NXT Interim Cruiserweight Championships. Devlin had the early advantage with stiff right hands and a shoulder block. Devlin took down Escobar with an arndrag. Escobar reversed a Devil Inside with a headlock. Devlin came back with a Side Slam and standing moonsault. Devlin caught Escobar with an Asai Moonsault. Devlin dragged the first ladder into play and wacked Escobar in the face with it. Escobar pulled Devlin off the ladder and tossed him into it. Escobar Irish Whipped Devlin into the ladder that was set up against the buckle.
Escobar followed up on Devlin with a running meteora into the chain link fence at ringside. Escobar dropkicked a ladder into Devlin before he attempted to climb up the ladder. Escobar gave the ladder a shotgun dropkick into the gut of Devlin. Devlin held on to Escobar’s leg to prevent him from escalating, which caused Escobar to put the boots to Devlin to get Devlin back down. Escobar called Devlin a “cabron”. Devlin gave Escobar an Irish whip into a ladder and Escobar came back with a shotgun dropkick. Devlin went for the belt when he was catapulted on the ladder, but he was pulled back down.
Escobar was then hit with a DDT from Devlin. Escobar hip tossed Devlin to ringside. Escobar hit Devlin with his Arrow from the Depths of Hell Suicide Dive. Escobar toyed with Devlin by giving him boots. Devlin reversed Escobar by backdropping him on the edge of a ladder. Devlin rocked Escobar with a right hand. Escobar came back with a high knee. Devlin then hit Escobar with a Spanish Fly and Tornado DDT. Escobar and Devlin climbed up a ladder that was set up close to the buckle instead of the titles. Escobar was knocked off and Devlin hit him with a top of the ladder moonsault.
Devlin shoved Escobar to ringside and escalated the ladder. Queue Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza to run out and knock Devlin off the ladder, leading to a nasty fall at ringside. The Legado duo tossed Devlin into the ring steps. Escobar made a play for the titles, but Devlin recovered and chucked a ladder at Escobar to stagger him. Escobar and Devlin escalated adjacent ladders. This led to Devlin hitting Escobar with a Spanish Fly from the ladders to the mat. Devlin was shown bleeding around the shoulder area.
Devlin climbed to the top of the ladder and got a hand on the title, but Escobar met himup at the top. After exchanging blows, Escobar gave Devlin a headbutt, which sent Devlin falling through a ladder that was set up against the turnbuckle. Escobar unhooked the belts to become the unified Cruiserweight Champion.
Santos Escobar defeated Jordan Devlin in a ladder match in 18:08 to unify the NXT Cruiserweight Championships.
Escobar went to the top of the ramp to celebrate with Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. Escobar also celebrated with a random kid (his son? El Hijo de Hijo Del Fantasma?)…
Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole were shown entering the WWE Performance Center at different times of the day…
John’s Thoughts: A different type of ladder match than most people are used to seeing these days. It was a really good tag team match, but I can see it being very divisive because it was more methodical of a match than you would usually see these days (for me personally, that’s refreshing). Santos Escobar was the person who really stood out here and he really controlled the pace of the match. Devlin didn’t stand out too much, but he did have enough big moments like that beautiful moonsault off the top of the ladder. What I felt wasn’t necessary was the Wilde and Mendoza interference, especially since it was extra and didn’t really add much to the match. I’m also not the biggest fan of Escobar retaining, mostly because I think the 205 Live title is holding him down and he should be a star in the heavyweight division.
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Wes Lee and Nash Carter on winning the Tag Team Championships. McKenzie noted that Drake Maverick and Killian Dain became number one contenders to the tag titles on the pre show. Carter said they faced Maverick and Dain in the Dusty Classic and aren’t losing the titles this soon. McKenzie then asked MSK on their thoughts on who will win the Cole vs. O’Reilly and Kross vs. Balor match. Both MSK members couldn’t agree on who they thought would win…
Entrances for the women’s tag team championship match took place. Moon and Blackheart drove Blackheart’s toy tank to ringside. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the tag team title match…
2. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart vs. “The Way” Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. Hartwell went for an early pin after a sidewalk slam. Hartwell and LeRae traded quick tags to isolate Blackheart from her partner. This isolation lasted about 4 minutes before Blackheart hit LeRae with an enzuigiri which allowed her to tag in Ember Moon for the hot tag. Ember Moon did the Road Dogg punches on LeRae complete with a “Suck It” (That will definitely appeal to the creative team of Hunter, Dogg, and Michaels).
Hartwell hit Moon and Blackheart with a Tower of Doom spot to give Hartwell a two count over Moon. Hartwell hit Moon with a pop up power bomb for a two count. Moon shoved Hartwell into LeRae to tag in Blackheart. Blackheart hit the Way with a crossbody. Blackheart hit LeRae with a Tiger Suplex. Shotzi Blackhart then went for a suicide dive on The Way, but then had her “Shotzi Blackheart almost died moment of the week” by suicide diving her own head into the barricade. They actually gave this a replay. Oof.
Moon hit The Way successfully with a top rope cannonball. Blackheart and Moon hit LeRae with a double team slam for a two count. LeRae rolled up Blackheart for a two count. Hartwell tagged in and hit Blackheart with an assisted Flapjack Neckbreaker for a two count that Moon broke up. Blackheart tossed LeRae into Hartwell. Moon tagged in and hit both Way members with a singular Eclipse. Blackheart hit Hartwell with a diving senton for the win.
Shotzi Blackeart and Ember Moon defeated Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae via pinfall in 10:34.
John’s Thoughts: A pretty standard tag team match by Takeover standards. Not bad, but just another notch in the belt of the tag team champions. Hartwell is someone who stands out as someone who is still a work in progress in the ring. What also stood out during this match, in a negative way is Shotzi Blackheart’s regularly scheduled botch of the week. Honestly, she is already a big star due to her look, personality, and solid in-ring. She really has to tone down those daredevil moments because they always end up with Blackheart hurting her head, neck, or other limbs.
Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix checked in from the commentary table and went over Olympian and NCAA Amateur Wrestler Gable Stevenson was shown in the celebrity’s section of the crowd. Entrances for the North American Championship match took place. Gargano’s Marvel themed ring gear of the night was of Iron Man/War Machine. Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the title match..
3. Johnny Gargano (w/Austin Theory) vs. “The Colossal” Bronson Reed for the NXT North American Championship. Reed blocked a huracanrana with a cartwheel which Phoenix noted was an ode to Bam Bam Bigelow. Reed shoved Gargano to the mat and followed up with a fallaway slam. Gargano rocked Reed with a slingshot spear, but couldn’t get Reed off his feet. Reed swatted Gargano down with an open hand chop to the chest. Gargano tried to take down Reed with strikes but couldn’t get Reed off his feet initially. Gargano got Reed to the mat with a chop block and leg lariat.
Gargano gave Reed a baseball slide at ringside. Gargano went for a Plancha but he was caught. Reed escaped the hold and shoved Reed into the announce table. Gargano staggered Reed with an uppercut to the kidneys. Gargano gave Reed a crossbody for a two count. Gargano focused his attack on the back of Reed. Gargano gave Reed Muay Thai knees while Reed was in a Cravate. Gargano continued to focus his attack on the lower back of Reed. Reed ended Gargano’s momentum by catching a diving Gargano into a seamless power slam. Reed hit Gargano with a front hip attack and corner splash.
Reed planted Gargano with a chokeslam. Reed went for a vertical suplex. Gargano almost escaped with knees to Reed’s head, but Reed adjusted the move into a Death Valley Driver for a two count on Gargano. Gargano crotched Reed on the second rope. Gargano hit Reed with a Gamengiri and Lungblower which Joseph noted still focused on Gargano’s lower back focus. Gargano landed a feint Superkick on Gargano. Reed reversed Gargano’s DDT with a nice Suplex. Reed got out of a GargaNo Escape. Reed hit Gargano with a Razor’s Edge.
Gargano avoided a Tsunami Splash. Reed kicked out of Gargano’s pin attempt at two. Reed recovered and took down Gargano with a clothesline. Reed went for a Tsunami Splash, but was distracted a bit by Austin Theory. This distraction allowed Gargano to crotch Reed on the top rope. Reed escaped a Frankensteiner attempt and hit Gargano with a power bomb for a two count. Reed got a two count because Theory put Gargano’s foot on the bottom rope. Reed sent Gargano into Theory at ringside. Reed hit Theory with a suicide dive. Gargano tossed Reed in the ring. Reed blocked a One Final Beat with a backdrop and got a two count.
Gargano got to his feet and shook up Reed with two superkicks. Couldn’t get Reed off his feet. Reed knocked Gargano down with a superkick. Reed crash and burned when Gargano avoided a top rope moonsault from Reed. Gargano hit Reed with a One Final Beat DDT. Gargano waited until Reed got to his knees so he could hit Reed with another One Final Beat DDT for the pinfall win.
Johnny Gargano defeated Bronson Reed via pinfall in 16:23 to retain the NXT North American Championship.
An ad aired for the Randy Orton vs. Fiend match for WrestleMania…
John’s Thoughts: A good match but less conclusive than I would expect from a Takeover match. It’s a bit odd. We had two championship matches so far on this show involve a good amount of outside interference and that’s very unlike Takeover shows, even compared to Stand and Deliver Night 1. For some reason I felt like this match was the first match in a series of matches between these two because Reed was so dominant and they gave Reed the out of Austin Theory being at ringside. If done right, they can build to some sort of cage or cell match down the road to crown Reed as NA champion if that’s the way they want to go. As far as the overall takeover so far, Night 1 was definitely a better show for the first 3 matches than Night 2.
Beth Phoenix thanked Rob Zombie for providing the song “The Triumph of King Freak”. Adam Cole was shown psyching himself up in a locker room. Kyle O’Reilly was shadowboxing in a waiting area. Both men were surrounded by Security Guards. Highlights aired of the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Walter match from Night 1. A teaser aired for the Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross title match…
Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch (the former stooges of Pat McAfee) were shown watching the next match from the crowd. Burch’s arm was in a sling…
Entrances for the world title match took place, complete with the cameras following both men through the corridors. Kross had his usual big entrance. Balor’s entrance had an elaborate introduction where the fan LED wall showed still shots of Balor’s WWE and NXT Career highlights.
This included his NXT Title wins, WWE Universal Title win, and appearances as “The Demon”. Balor’s entrance was his usual entrance after that. Balor had a giant red X painted on his chest while Kross had gladiator flaps on his ring gear (reminds me of that time where Nick Aldis was the “Wrestling Gladiator” as Brutus Magnus). Alicia Taylor handled the formal in-ring introductions for the world title match. Joseph noted that Balor has never lost the NXT title on a Takeover show and that Kross is 12-0 in singles matches in NXT…
4. Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) for the NXT Championship. Kross dominated the initial Test of Strength by yanking Balor to the mat. Balor got Kross to a knee with a cravate. Kross escaped the hold and gave Balor a shoulder block. Balor played footsies by using his limbs to keep his distance from Kross. Kross got his hands on Balor and chucked Balor across the ring. Balor got up and mockingly no-sold Kross’s toss. Balor gave Kross a disrespectful slap to the face. This fired up Kross and caused Kross to be enraged, nailing Balor with quick power moves. Balor sidestepped the enraged Kross and sent Kross into the ringpost.
Barrett pointed out how Balor was taking advantage of Kross’s rage. Balor kept Kross in the mat with an armbar and Triangle Choke. Kross made sure to keep his elbow in between him and Balor to give himself breathing room. Kross gave Balor shoulder strikes in the corner and a snap suplex. Kross put Balor in the Tree of Woe and then gave Balor a few boots. Kross gave Balor a running knee to the gut to shake Balor off the Tree of Woe. Kross tried to lift Balor, but Balor reversed Kross into a Juji Gatame.
Kross used a Jackknife flip to escape the armbar. Balor hurt Kross’s arm with a slam to the mat. Balor locked Kross with a grounded hammerlock on the injured arm. Balor toyed around with Kross with strikes as Kross was walking around in pain, selling an injured shoulder. Balor tangled in the ropes and went to town on Kross’s ribs with gut punches. Kross slowed down Balor’s momentum with a Yakuza Kick. Kross rammed Balor buckle to buckle. Balor quickly reversed the move into an Eye of the Hurricane in the center of the ring.
Kross hit Balor with a Northern Lights and quickly went into a lariat. Kross hit Balor with a power bomb for a two count. Balor reversed a Doomsday Saito into a Guillotine Choke. Balor hit Kross with a few PKs. Balor then locked Kross in an abdominal stretch. Kross escaped, but Balor came right back with a Slingblade. Kross blocked the Shotgun Dropkick with a lariat. Kross planted Balor on his neck with a Doomsday Saito. Kross blocked the Northern Forearm with a Pele Kick. Balor gave Kross shotgun dropkicks against two turnbuckles.
Balor hit Kross with the Coup de Grace. Kross kicked out and then went for the Kross Jacket. Balor blocked the Jacket by getting to his feet. Balor rolled up and gave Kross a double stomp. Balor gave Kross a punt kick and a few knees to the gut. Balor locked Kross in a modified Koji Clutch. Scarlett was firing up Kross by saying something in a foreign language. Kross escaped the submission and pummeled Balor in the back of the neck with rapid fire forearms.
Kross followed up with a German Suplex to Balor. Kross hit Balor with a Saito Suplex. Kross hit Balor in the back of the neck with a Northern Forearm, which Kross has been using as a finisher. Kross gave Balor a 2nd Northern Forearm for the pinfall win.
Karrion Kross defeated Finn Balor via pinfall in 17:05 to become the new NXT Champion.
Kross and Scarlett posed in the center of the ring with the NXT title…
John’s Thoughts: This was a good title match and one of Kross’s better matches in NXT, but it was also a bit odd in terms of the story they were trying to tell. I get that Kross is coming off a shoulder injury, but his last few matches have involved him working from behind to beat his opponents. This one had Balor dominating 75% of the match and I thought Balor came out of the match looking strong with the monster Kross looking plucky. Not bad, but I almost expect Kross to be presented as the aggressive superman. Kross still needs to have that standout match that he used to have in Impact or other indies. I guess he has time to do that now that he’s at the top of the mountain. Maybe he can have his standout match against Kyle O’Reilly in a Fight Pit? (Unless WWE sees the Fight Pit as a Timothy Thatcher exclusive)
Taya Valkyrie and John Morrison’s cute Pomeranian was shown running around in the WWE Performance Center. This was another teaser for Taya Valkyrie (now named Franky Monet) debuting on the next episode of NXT next Tuesday…
McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Santos Escobar about his win and pointed out that Wilde and Mendoza helped him win the Cruiserweight title. Escobar said that LEgado is family, Escobar is the Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion, and Escobar is the emperor of Lucha…
NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez was shown watching the show in the celebrity section of the crowd. The teaser aired for Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly…
Cole and O’Reilly got the main event entrance treatment with both men having the cameras follow them through the corridors. Kyle O’Reilly made his entrance first with new entrance music. O’Reilly’s new guitar-based entrance theme allowed him to mosh and air guitar as he entered the ring.
O’Reilly’s shirt had “Axe and Smash” written on it (not as and ode to Demolition, but as a reference to his axe kick and forearm smash). Adam Cole also had new entrance music. Indie Security Guards were forming a barrier in the ring to separate Cole and O’Reilly before the match begins. Vic Joseph noted that this is the 2nd unsanctioned match in NXT history (the other being one of the Gargano vs. Ciampa matches). Alicia Taylor handled formal in-ring introductions for the unsanctioned match…
5. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly in an unsanctioned match. Cole and O’Reilly had a slugfest to start the match. O’Reilly and Cole then traded pump kicks with each other. O’Reilly pulled down the top rope to dump Cole to ringside. O’Reilly hit Cole with a Plancha and went right for a armbar, but Cole quickly got out of the way. Cole tossed O’Reilly into the chain link plexiglass. O’Reilly used a double leg takedown for ground and pound. O’Reilly catapulted Cole into the plexiglass. O’Reilly used his muay thai kicks to soften up Cole on a chair.
Cole got up to his feet. O’Reilly reversed a pile driver into a backdrop. Cole tripped off O’Reilly from the top rope to ringside, with O’Reilly selling the neck. Cole whipped O’Reilly into the plexiglass. Cole worked on O’Reilly’s gut and back with a chair. Vic Joseph noted that Cole was playing mind games by putting Undisputed Era logos on the chair. Cole jammed a chair into the neck of O’Reilly. O’Reilly was then turned inside out with a power whip to the corner. Cole gave O’Reilly a neckbreaker on the UE chair.
O’Reilly reversed Cole’s hold with a hammerlock. Cole escaped using knees. Cole hit O’Reilly with the Ushigoroshi which the commentators noted targets O’Reilly’s injured neck. Cole trash talked O’Reilly, saying “I made you!”. O’Reilly fired up and slammed Cole to the mat after a series of strikes. O’Reilly went for a heel hook, but Cole rolled to ringside. O’Reilly hit Cole, who was seated on a chair at ringside, with a shotgun dropkick from the apron. Cole went for a chair shot, but O’Reilly punched the chair into Cole’s face. Joseph actually acknowledged that the chair “bounced” off Cole’s face.
O’Reilly brought a metal chair into the ring, but Cole recovered and gave O’Reilly a neckbreaker on top of the metal chain. Cole got a two count. Cole tied up the chain on the top rope for some reason. O’Reilly and Cole traded blows with O’Reilly knocking Cole to the mat with a forearm. O’Reilly tied up the chain to his boot and used it to assist his flutter kicks. Cole tripped up O’Reilly when O’Reilly went to adjust the chain. Cole locked O’Reilly in a Figure Four. Both men took each other out with stereo punches while in Cole’s Figure Four.
The punches allowed O’Reilly to get out of the submission. O’Reilly went for a running move but he ran right into the limbo line that Cole set up by putting the chain. Cole then used the chain to hit O’Reilly with a lungblower for a two count. Cole teased making a chair bridge but then put the chairs back to back to set them up with the big spine at top. After trading counters, Cole gave O’Reilly a German Suplex. O’Reilly fell on the chair. Cole hit a seated O’Reilly with a Shining Wizard for a two count.
Cole tried to suplex O’Reilly on the steel steps, but O’Reilly reversed it into a Guillotine Choke. O’Reilly teased DDT’ing Cole into the steel steps, but O’Reilly had second thoughts. This allowed Cole to slam O’Reilly into the plexiglass. O’Reilly came right back with a running boot. O’Reilly cleared the announce table. O’Reilly suplexed Cole on the table, but the table didn’t break (“I am the table!”).
The match hit the 20 minute mark at this point. Cole got his hands on a flat screened TV and slammed it over the head of O’Reilly. Cole emptied out a toolbox and grabbed a pair of pliers. O’Reilly blocked being jabbed in the eye, but Cole came back with a kick. O’Reilly hit Cole with strikes to block a shot from a tire iron. Cole gave O’Reilly a strike which sent him into the rope. O’Reilly used the momentum to hit Cole with a rebound lariat. O’Reilly wrapped a chain around Cole’s arm and locked Cole in a Juji Gatame. Cole tried to escape, but got locked in a Triangle. Cole was about to pass out, but he escaped because he jabbed a tire iron into the gut of O’Reilly.
Cole and O’Reilly set up chairs to help them crawl to their feet, at least to sit down. Cole and O’Reilly took seats in front of each other. Cole trash talked O’Reilly and O’Reilly gave Cole a kick. Cole and O’Reilly traded Fighting Spirit forearms. O’Reilly had momentum from the forearms, but Cole won the skirmish with a low blow. Cole hit O’Reilly with a superkick for a two count. The replay showed that the kick was a clean shot. Cole wrapped a chair around O’Reilly’s neck and attempted to pilmanize O’Reilly. Cole got into a verbal match with the referee. Cole then punched out the referee and told him to shut up. REF BUMP!!!
O’Reilly got to his feet and Cole hit him with a Panama Sunrise (Canadian Destroyer). Cole got the visual pinfall, but the referee was bumped. Cole slapped around the referee and called him stupid. The referee remained knocked out. Cole chucked a chair at O’Reilly at ringside. Cole slammed O’Reilly several times into the plexiglass. O’Reilly got a moment of respite by tossing Cole into the plexiglasss. Cole escaped a Guillotine Choke by slamming O’Reilly into the plexiglass. Cole dragged O’Reilly to the elevated ramp.
O’Reilly locked Cole in a Guillotine Choke. Cole ended up slamming O’Reilly through the elevated ramp (which looked like it could easily be gimmicked). Cole was the first to recover. Cole showed that his hand was bleeding. Cole destroyed the drywall that was holding up the ramp so he could drag O’Reilly through it. O’Reilly’s back was sporting bruises. Cole dragged O’Reilly back to ringside and suplexed him on the steel steps. Cole went for the pinfall, but O’Reilly barely wiggled his shoulder up for the kickout.
Cole set up O’Reilly on his knees for the Last Shot, but O’Reilly crumpled to the mat. O’Reilly was in a daze, but he ducked a second Last Shot attempt by Cole. O’Reilly locked Cole in a heel hook. Cole found the chain, wrapped it around his hand, and then punched out O’Reilly. Cole went for a Panama Sunrise but O’Reilly reversed it into a Death Valley Driver onto his knee which targeted Cole’s neck. O’Reilly hit Cole with a running kick. O’Reilly then hit Cole with the Last Shot. Adam Cole kicked out at two.
O’Reilly tried to go high risk, but Cole knocked him off the top rope with a steel chair. Cole set up a chair with the feet facing up. Cole trash talked O’Reilly on the top rope and O’Reilly knocked Cole off the top rope with a low blow. O’Reilly wrapped the chain around his foot while Cole was tangled in the legs of the chair (the camera caught Cole adjusting into position). O’Reilly hit Cole with a diving knee with a chain wrapped around the knee for the pinfall win. Cole sold the move by shivering.
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Adam Cole via pinfall in a unsanctioned match in 40:19.
Cole was motionless on the ground while O’Reilly was also lying on the ground. The referee called for medics to run out. After the highlights, O’Reilly got to his feet while Adam Cole was dragged onto a stretcher. The camera followed Kyle O’Reilly slowly walking up the ramp to the stage area. The final shot of the show was Kyle O’Reilly struggling to raise his hand while also staring back at the ring while Cole was being set up for the stretcher…
John’s Thoughts: An epic match that went over half an hour. Best match of the night hands down and it’s hard not to be the best match of the night when you throw everything and a box of tools into play. That said, I honestly would have preferred more wrestling and less “tools” because sometimes those tools can lead to some contrived spots and setups. Again, my criticism is coming from someone who prefers a drag-out and more realistic fight between shoot fighters where practical moves are more relatable. At the same time, O’Reilly and Cole went as far as they could in a WWE hardcore style match. Could have used a bit of blood though.
I’m surprised Roderick Strong didn’t play the role of moody teenager and run out after the match to clock O’Reilly given how long they milked O’Reilly walking up the ramp. I actually prefer Strong not getting involved because that would have just been very hokey and unnecessary. One more thought, I’m not sure if it was just me, but Vic Joseph reminding me of the Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa unsanctioned match took this match down for me because I couldn’t help but compare this to that match. Both matches were good, but I just remember Gargano and Ciampa being able to get away with more violence combined with Ciampa’s mega heat in the sold out sports arenas of his takeovers.
So, this was a really good show. Takeovers are always good and WWE is just about 1.000 in terms of batting average when it comes to not having a crappy or even average Takeover. That said, I feel like the two night thing weakened this Takeover over all. Too much of a good thing can lead to diminishing returns, and I felt like night two suffered a bit due to Night one being so hot. On top of that , despite the 40 minute main event, I liked Night 1 start to finish better, maybe just due to Takeover fatigue. I’ll be joining Jason Powell this week on the Boom podcast to review this show and we’ll definitely talk about this experiment to go with two nights WrestleMania weekend.