April 5th, 2019
1) War Raiders (c) vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet - NXT Tag Team Title Match
Tag Title openers at Takeover always rule and this was no different. A red hot crowd and balls to the wall action. It was one hell of a way to send off Black & Ricochet and also give the War Raiders a huge win over a team that features two former NXT singles champions. Awesome stuff and a blazing way to kick off the show.
Match rating - ****
2) Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Matt Riddle - NXT North American Title Match
Despite both of these men having vibrant personalities, stylistically these two are polar opposites and it made for a perfect clash. Riddle came in hard and no non-sense right out of the gate and never let up. It stunned the champion and they played off with Riddle shaking off every little bout of offense Dream tried to throw. Dream fought from under for a while which led to him firing up and getting a huge pop. Riddle keeps hammering him with a fucking second rope deadlift suplex from the apron to the inside of the ring and it RULES. The finish with Riddle locking in the bro-mission and Dream flipping around into a pinning combo to win caught me by surprise, but really was a fitting end to an awesome match and in my opinion, sets the stage for another match between the two since it wasn't a ~definitive~ win for Dream and you know Riddle is gonna have something to say about that. Another banger here.
Match rating - ****
3) Pete Dunne (c) vs. WALTER - NXT United Kingdom Title Match
The Bruserweight has been champion for over 600 days and undoubtedly made his mark in WWE and established himself as an NXT legend. Enter WALTER. The new giant on the block and someone who I've been watching for years. Seeing him get this platform and a push to a title match immediately is so sick so there's a lot of hype for this in every aspect. Dunne & WALTER responded to the hype by delivering just as stiff of a match as you would expect that had a slow, steady build and never stopped thumping. I wasn't as ~blown away~ by this as most, but it was a great match. As I said to Mike post-match, I was hoping for WALTER dominance and more desperation from Dunne. Those two emotional bits could have sent this over the top, but then again these two are fighters so maybe that would've been out of character. Either way, this was a straight brawl and it ruled.
Match rating - ***3/4
4) Shayna Basler (c) vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair - NXT Women's Championship Match
Good little four-way here. I love Shirai and Sane so much, all their exchanges here ruled. They teamed up at first then ended up breaking up each other's pins and it broke down. Bianca got her spots in which included a DOUBLE KOD on Shirai AND Sane. Basler locked Bianca in a choke right after and she SOLD IT LIKE A QUEEN. HOLY FK. The heat on Basler was nuts too as Bianca tapped out.
Match rating - ***1/4
5) Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole - 2/3 Falls Match for the Vacant NXT Championship
This one is gonna draw super mixed reviews. And it even took me a while to decide how I was gonna go with this one because there's so many thoughts. But to me, the bottom line is they had this crowd in the palm of their hand the entire time and the biggest thing to note is how they took it from being a split crowd to being fully 100% behind Gargano. This could've been a huge letdown due to the split in the audience recently with a lot of people feeling they overkilled Gargano and Ciampa and that whole thing (myself included), however, they pulled this shit off phenomenally. I can only imagine what it was like to witness this live. I felt the electricity through my computer screen. So much drama and storytelling in the final 10-15 minutes. Such a battle for Johnny to finally get the NXT Championship. Amazing final chapter to this story, hands down. Candice coming out to celebrate followed by Ciampa was the icing on the cake and enough to get the tears swelling in my eyes. BAD ASS.
Match rating - ****1/2