Thursday, April 25, 2019

NXT: Takeover New York

So after what seemed like an eternity through the fifty circles of Hell... it felt like fifty circles, at least... I was able to finish my long-rambling Ramblemania write-up. Unfortunately, you won't be reading it until this Saturday, so in lieu of that, I decided to watch a couple other shows that took place during that weekend and do quick write-ups for them. We'll look at a couple this week before Ramblemania 35, but others will pop up along the way when I'm short on material.

So we begin with the NXT Takeover show from Brocolli Center in New York. This took place on a Friday, so as to not interfere with the ROH/NJPW G1 show from MSG... which I have NOT seen, but have heard mixed reactions to. No banner for this one.

NXT Tag-Team Champions War Raiders defeated Aleister Black and Ricochet to retain the titles. in a pretty high-impact, fast-paced, and otherwise energetic opening contest. All four would eventually see themselves on the main roster, with the War Raiders being redubbed "The Viking Experience" because Vince suffered a brainfart and then being redubbed once more as the "Viking Raiders", which also sounds stupid, but at least doesn't sound like a name for an amusement park ride.

NXT North American champion The Velvetor Dream defeated Matt Riddle to retain the title. Dream is the former Tough Enough guy who sniffed some Vasoline and ended up with this purple rain gimmick that has him dressing up like the Statue Of Liberty, while Matt Riddle is a former MMA guy who goes "bro" and shit. People like Dream, and so Riddle shows more intensity and arrogance more associated with a cocky heel wrestling. It was a pretty good back and forth match, told a pretty straightforward story in its physicality, and left me satisfied that I had seen a great fight between two hungry fighters... which is what you're supposed evoke in wrestling, but nobody ever does because everyone knows it's all phoney-baloney.

Then there was the NXT UK title match, which saw WALTER (one name, all caps) defeated UK champion Pete Dunne to win the title. Amazingly, this was the first time I've watched anything related to NXT UK and I've got to say that I honestly don't get the whole "finger-breaking" deal that Dunne does. If you break your fingers, you can't do much with them until they heal, but apparently, finger breaking means nothing in the world of WWE. Other than that, this was such a hard-hitting, in-your-face spectacle that I quickly overlooked that minor quibble.

Women's champ Shayna defeated Blanka Belair (via submission), Io Sharai, and Kairi Sane in a Fatal Four Way match to retain the title. Good to see that if someone was going to take the fall, it wasn't going to be either of the Joshi. This would be the Pirate Princess's swan song in NXT, as she would soon herself on Smackdown paired up with Asuka as a team to feed to the geek tag champions, the 2Cons. This was fine women's wrestling, Shanya continues to look like the kind of "legit badass" that makes "legit badass" an apt descriptor and not just some cutesy thing you say because she does a bored expression somehow mistake for a mean face, and the Japanese ladies do their solid effort... and Blanka's okay, too, I guess. I don't get her thing, though, but I attribute that to not watching enough NXT.

Some backstory, the main event was supposed to be Johnny Gargano challenging then-NXT Champion Tomassa Ciampa for the title here, but Ciampa's neck got hurt bad and he was stripped of the title, necessitating a new challenger for the title.

Johnny Gargano defeated Adam Cole in a Best-Of-Three falls match to win the vacant title in what could very well be the best WWE match I've seen this year... perhaps even better than the World Title match at Mania. People were rooting for Cole, who was supposed to be the heel, but eventually the crowd were behind Gargano and you know what? At the end of the day, when Gargano won the title, everyone was happy, Candice was happy, even former champ Tomasso Ciampa was happy for his former former friend... or maybe he was happy that Gargano won it because he'd be easier to take the title off of at a later time.

No words can properly convey the amount of fun I had watching this show, so I'm not going to bother. Top-notch quality wrestling action from this here NXT program and highly recommended.

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