By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT Takeover: In Your House Hits
Karrion Kross vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano in a five-way for the NXT Championship: A fun five-way match where everyone got a chance to shine. The two gripes I had were I think they didn’t need as many people as they put in inside this match. Gargano was great, but he was also a bit extra. They also hit a stretch were people were kicking out of finishers. False finishes involving finisher kickouts are good and all, but here I thought they lacked the impact we’ve seen in other Takeover matches that have kicked out finishers. Cole, O’Reilly, and Dunne got to have their moments and those moments enhanced each wrestler. Dunne continues to be extremely protected and he got to have visual pinfall and submission moments over the champ to have him be credible.
Cameron Grimes vs. LA Knight in a ladder match for the Million Dollar Championship: This was my favorite match of the night, mainly because it was arguably the only match on the show that hit that right spot of being a “true” Takeover match (good in-ring action, an outcome that can go either way). I noted in my NXT weekly television reviews that I expected this match to potentially be an unexpected gem because Grimes is one of NXT’s best workers and Knight is a deceptively good worker who holds back what he’s truly capable of (I still recommend Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron for the Global Force Championship as the match that proved to me that Drake can work at a main event level). The effort was put in by both men, especially Grimes, who got over with the crowd as a babyface and as a person willing to push his body through some extreme spots. The last few weeks of build to this match were a bit wonky, but the finish ultimately makes sense with presumed babyface Grimes being the one who should be chasing Knight as opposed to vice-versa.
Xia Li vs. Mercedes Martinez: Li is not quite at that “Takeover Level” work level yet, but she’s damn good and every time she gets TV time she impresses with a unique moveset (her kicks and MMA influence reminds me a bit of Low Ki). Martinez on the other hand is a top-tier talent already and there’s an argument that she may be one of the top women in WWE in terms of overall wrestling ability. She’s just as good as Natalya is in the ring, plus she portrays a badass and credible character. What more can you ask for? Xia and Mercedes had a fun match. Again, not that Takeover-level work, but quick and efficient to be a good NXT TV match (NXT Takeovers just set such a high bar). The bonus from this match is finally we get to see some action from Mei Ying, the mythical character on the throne who watches Xia’s matches. I’m curious where Tian Sha goes in NXT’s still over-saturated women’s division.
Bronson Reed and “MSK” Wes Lee and Nash Carter vs. “Legado Del Fantasma” Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza for the NXT North American and NXT Tag Titles: I was just about to put this in the Miss section due to the random ass build and illogical stipulation; but the in-ring quality during the short amount of time (by Takeover standards) saved the match. It was a fun trios match with Reed adding a nice amount of contrast to all the Agile wrestlers. MSK are a creative tag team, so it was fun to see them do tandem moves with the agile, but powerful Reed. Wilde and Mendoza have been extremely entertaining over the past few months, putting in great in-ring performances and coming off as more than just Santos Escobar’s goons. Again a minor Hit, and I was actually more excited for Bronson Reed vs. Santos Escobar in a singles match.
NXT Takeover: In Your House Misses
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship: I usually have trouble finding Misses for Takeover events. That’s how you know that this wasn’t one of the greatest Takeovers, because it was uncharacteristically mundane at points. Let’s not fault the wrestlers, both women were really good here. This was more a fault of the booking of this match that lead to it being missable. There was just no reason to buy into Moon’s nearfalls and pin attempts. If you watch Impact Wrestling, Moon in this role reminds me of Willie Mack to Rich Swann where Mack is always the setup fall-guy for Swann’s main events. This felt like a setup for a more meaningful Raquel Gonzalez vs. Shotzi Blackheart (if that’s where they decide to go). If they do go that direction, I have higher hopes that Gonzalez vs. Moon would be more meaningful because Shotzi has been given way more development and television time than Moon, who is still not fully redefined since returning to NXT.
Overall Show: So a lot of Hits and one Miss, so why is this show getting an “overall show” miss? It’s because Takeovers are consistently top-quality and this one didn’t quite meet the usual standards. There’s an argument that can be made that this is one of the worst Takeovers of all time (again, this wasn’t a horrible show, it just didn’t feel like a full on Takeover). If anything, this felt like it could have been a weekly NXT TV show with a theme attached to it.