06th Apr2019

‘NXT Takeover: New York 2019’ Pay Per View Review

by Nathan Favel

NXT-Takeover-NY-2019-art

Welcome to this review of NXT Takeover: New York 2019. I’m Nathan Favel and we have five big matches on one of the biggest WWE cards of the year. Let’s see how well this card did and if could escape the shadow of Wrestlemania.

Match #1: NXT Tag Team Champions The War Raiders def. Aleister Black & Ricochet – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

He who hesitates in war is he who has lost. Unfortunately for Aleister Black & Ricochet, that lesson was learned in the final minutes of a full-throttle tag team showdown against NXT’s barbarous throne, The War Raiders. After overcoming every conceivable combination in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, including a well-oiled #DIY reunion, Black & Ricochet brought the storm to the much-grizzled Hanson & Rowe. But, in the midst of their fast-paced, both sides shared nothing but respect. A fist bump was shared between Rowe and Black, as they started the bout with excellent mat-wrestling, followed by a stare down between all four Superstars that presented quite the stalemate. For all the fire thrown by the swift and fierce challengers, the champions’ unrelenting offense helped repress extensive dents in their armor.

In the early goings, as Black torpedoed Rowe with blistering strikes around the ring, the modern-day Viking responded with a punishing knee strike to the jaw. The action intensified once Hanson tagged in, as he rammed both challengers into the turnbuckle like a battering ram. The crowd went into a tizzy after Ricochet flung the super heavyweight across the canvas with an astounding fallaway slam. From there, the 82nd airborne would’ve had a hard time controlling the action. After War Raiders sought to pin Ricochet following a series of tandem offense, The Dutch Destroyer thwarted the attack with a diving kick, which later culminated with the action spilling out of the ring and from there welcomed a flying senton by Hanson that squashed everyone on the outside.

Black & Ricochet appeared to be moments away from victory when The Striking Man from Amsterdam struck Rowe with a Black Mass that was then followed by a 630 Splash from The One and Only. Hanson prevented the three-count, leading to the mighty duo tossing Black out of the ring and planting Ricochet into the canvas with the Fallout to claim victory. The valiant effort by Black & Ricochet resulted in a mutual show of respect, as Hanson & Rowe hugged their challengers and gave them a bow. As the fast-and-furious tandem prepare to go for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania, they delivered one heck of a pre-game. Still, in the fight for the throne, Hanson & Rowe retained the crown to maintain their rule over the black-and-gold Tag Team division.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – This was a fantastic match that did as much for the WWE’s tag team as any match in the past several years. This match had a bit of everything, from technical to aerial to brawling and anything else you can think of just shy of ECW blood and guts carnage. The action was like a rapid-fire machine gun blasting you in the face. I almost sound like I’m taking this seriously…almost. This whole thing was a blast from bell to bell, which is what a big match should be.

Match #2: NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream def. Matt Riddle – NXT North American Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

And as the stars aligned over Barclays Center, two words lit up the Big Apple skyline: “Dream TakeOver.” To quote a legendary Brooklyn, N.Y. native, Matt Riddle realized his plans of leaving TakeOver as champion “was all a dream.” Following a truly epic showdown that pulled the best out of both competitors, Velveteen Dream dashed his opponent’s plans like the MTA subway line at rush hour. But that’s not to say Riddle didn’t go down swinging. Following a showstopping entrance that added new meaning behind Billie Eilish’s “you should see me in a crown,” Dream sought to teach Riddle a lesson in sharing his spotlight. Riddle put his educated feet to work early, introducing the champion to his mixed martial arts background. From there came a test of strength stalemate, as they locked into each other like a game of “Centipede,” before Riddle saw his armbar attempt spoiled by a counter from Dream. As Dream took a moment to bask in his greatness, an aggressive Riddle answered back with back-to-back powerslams before the champion reversed a third attempt with a roll-up pin. The counter exchanges spilled outside the ring, as Dream saw his diving double axe handle reversed into a German suplex.

Riddle continued his aggressive onslaught, folding Dream with a few more German suplexes in the ring. The physical contest soon evolved from show of strength to a full-on melee, as Riddle remained committed to keeping his opponent down with a flurry of excruciating submission holds and punishing grapples. Dream, however, went for broke as well, even going as far as dropping his challenger with a Dream DDT and Dream Driver. Refusing to go down, the ever-resilient Riddle bounced back stronger. As Dream attempted to climb the turnbuckle for another aerial attack, The Original Bro hopped up and latched on another spine-tingling German suplex followed by a Floating Bro (a moonsault turned senton) from the top rope, that put the entire NXT Universe in a frenzy. But the spotlight belongs to one Superstar. As Riddle countered a Purple Rainmaker for another Bromission, the Dream remarkably pulled off a unique reversal of his own, rolling up the challenger to score the 1-2-3. Besides succeeding in turning the Big Apple into Dreamland, The Dream later acknowledged the hard-fought effort from Riddle by accepting a fist bump, which the NXT North American Challenge refused to do at the start of the title fight.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – This was another fantastic match that gave Dream his best bout yet, while Riddle exceeded all expectations. Everything was smooth and fluid, which made each stunt that much easier to believe in. This was great stuff and it held up in comparison to the first match on this card, which is a real compliment.

Match #3: WALTER def. Pete Dunne to become WWE United Kingdom Champion

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

In the words of MF Doom, “Just remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man’s name.” WALTER, who wasted no time setting his sights on NXT UK’s top crown at TakeOver: Blackpool, pulled the rug out from under Pete Dunne’s 685-day reign to become the new WWE United Kingdom Champion, marking the first time in nearly two years that the championship changed hands. The Austrian Anomaly outlasted The BrusierWeight in a classic heavy-hitting clash that left the Barclays Center in awe. The epic proportions of this match were immediately felt once Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 ushered WALTER to the ring, all as the whispers of whether Dunne could overcome his greatest in-ring test to date fluttered throughout the arena. It wasn’t long before this instant classic revved into high gear, as the title fight began with a grappling fest that saw Dunne indulge in his joint-manipulating tendencies and WALTER unload his armored tank-like offense.

The rivals spent most of the first half feeling each other out with their respective in-ring styles, including Dunne’s sophisticated mat game and WALTER’s grueling strength. When The BruiserWeight locked in a painstaking leg lock, the moving Austrian tank answered with a vicious Boston crab. Moments after, as WALTER attempted to thrust Dunne across the ring with a superplex from the turnbuckle, The BrusierWeight slipped away and dropped the walking freight train with a powerbomb. Both Superstars showed off explosive power, demonstrating why their respective paths collided here at TakeOver. WALTER was undone by his decision to ensure that Dunne recognize he was facing his biggest threat. He pulled out all stops and attempted a body splash from the top rope, before The BrusierWeight trapped him in with a triangle submission hold. The Brooklyn crowd responded with a gallant roar, as the champion’s tenacity and resilience combated the challenger’s overbearing power. Dunne looked to be closing in on victory when he delivered a Bitter End, but Walter responded with a miraculous kickout. After savagely exchanging blows, the two once again found each other at the top of the turnbuckle, where WALTER drove Dunne across the ring with a larger-than-life powerbomb that could have shaken the Barclays pavement to its core.

The deciding moment came within seconds when WALTER wasted no time and returned to the turnbuckle, where he flattened Dunne with a mega-sized body splash to claim the WWE United Kingdom Title. It was far from easy, but as the dust cleared on this epic collision, there stood the newest king to the NXT UK throne and the most destructive force to spar with Dunne.

My Take: 4.5 out of 5 – This was some mean, nasty $#!@ that made me feel like it was a New Japan show instead of a WWE event. WALTER is very much in the same vein as Goldberg, in terms of his aura and his personality. Dunne did great here as a champion that looked desperate to win and fought in defiance until the end. Overall, this was a fabulous bout that gave this title an important moment in its history.

Match #4: NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler def. Bianca Belair, Io Shirai and Kairi Sane (Fatal 4-Way Match For The NXT Women’s Championship)

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Shayna Baszler may not have been too happy after receiving the news that the odds would be stacked against her in Fatal 4-Way competition, as she didn’t need to be pinned to lose her prized NXT Women’s Title, but as she’s shown over the last two TakeOvers, adversity is the champion’s energy drink. Previous battles against Kairi Sane at TakeOver: WarGames II, Bianca Belair at TakeOver: Phoenix, and a brush with Io Shirai in Six-Woman Tag Team action on the Feb. 6 installment of NXT prepared The Queen of Spades to survive the madness.

At the start of this frenetic brawl, all four competitors laid into each other with unbridled fury. Almost immediately, Baszler squared up with Shirai, while Belair slugged it out with Sane. After tossing out their rivals, Baszler and Belair soon went at it, picking up where their previous one-on-one battle left off. But like New York traffic, things soon got out of hand. At one point, there was a double powerbomb superplex by all four competitors from the top of the turnbuckle, and then there was a Gorilla Press Slam from Belair that tossed Shirai over Sane and Baszler. Then there was tandem offense by Shirai and Sane, which included an alley-oop In-Sane Elbow that launched The Pirate Princess over the top rope to the outside onto Belair and Baszler, the latter of whom was folded with a dazzling moonsault by The Genius of the Sky.

After a frantic back-and-forth that even saw Shirai and Sane put their friendship to the backburner, Belair delivered the must-see moment of the night when she used her overwhelming strength to elevate both Sky Pirates over her shoulders and land a K.O.D. Though The EST looked seconds away from a victory, The Queen of Spades once again silenced the noise by vacuumed Belair into a Kirifuda Clutch. Belair did everything she could to escape the deadly maneuver, thrashing on the canvas frantically clawing at the titleholder’s face, but The EST of NXT eventually had no choice but to submit, allowing The Queen of Spades to retain her title with a gritty victory.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – This was a real barn-burner of a bout and proof that Bazsler has got the goods. This match felt like an appropriate to have her pass the strap on to someone else, but her three opponents aren’t ready for being the star of the show. Overall, you can’t beat a match that gives all the athletes a fair shot greatness.

Match #5: (Main Event) Johnny Gargano def. Adam Cole in 2-out-of-3 Falls Match to win the NXT Championship

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

And your new NXT Champion is…

The journeys of Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole, although different in their routes, reached a parallel when they intersected at the Barclays Center. As both trails are steeped in blood, sweat and tears, so is their ambition of capturing the top prize in NXT. Where Cole aspired to make his NXT Title desire reach a full circle inside Barclays, the same location of his statement-making debut at TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Gargano simply wanted it more. Like a Billy Joel concert at The Garden, a standing ovation filled the arena as Gargano defeated Cole to become the newest NXT Champion. A tour de force was bestowed on the NXT Universe, as Gargano and Cole put it all on the line in one of the most emotionally-stirring NXT Championship Matches of all time. The setting was electric, as chants of “Adam Cole (BAY BAY!)” and “Johnny Wrestling” bellowed across the arena. To kick off the bout, the expert competitors delivered a textbook display of fundamental mat-game wrestling, constantly trading holds and reversals. At one point, Gargano almost locked in a Gargano Escape before Cole reached for the rope. Later, Cole locked in his own set of submission maneuvers, switching from a headlock to a dragon sleeper. As the offense tradeoff continued, Cole soon found himself on the receiving end of a slingshot spear that nearly caught the first pinfall. Seemingly using that as fuel, The Panama City Playboy eventually scored the first pinfall after knocking Gargano down with the Last Shot.

The pin-count put a battery into Johnny Wrestling, as he connected with a flurry of strikes before spearing Cole out of the ring. Johnny pulled out all stops, borrowing a page from his former #DIY tag team partner, Tommaso Ciampa, by driving Cole on his back with an Air Raid Crash from the top of the turnbuckle. Bringing the fight, Gargano then followed up with a Slingshot DDT on the unforgiving ring apron. As the two traded submission holds in the middle of the ring, Gargano clasped onto his opponent with a Gargano Escape that forced Cole to tap out. At that point, the fire of this competitive battle intensified. Where Cole plugged in an echoing superkick to the back of Gargano, followed by a Straight Jacket German suplex, the resilient Gargano delivered a reverse hurricanrana that forced his opponent to the outside. The fight turned ugly when Cole flung Gargano onto the ring apron with another hard-hitting German suplex. The ever-resilient Gargano remarkably synced in a slingshot DDT that blew the roof off Barclays Center, but Cole regained the upper hand by launching himself off the second rope to drop his opponent with a Canadian Destroyer.

The Big Apple showdown then spilled outside with Cole going as far as insulting Gargano by stealing a page from Ciampa’s textbook, dropping him with a Fairytale Ending on the announcer’s table. Surviving a count-out, Johnny Wrestling hopped back in the ring and was met with a Meeting in the Middle. Once Gargano kicked out, Cole followed up with even more intensity. He carried out another Last Shot that saw another pin attempt foiled by a kickout. Unloading his cache of offense, Cole later attempted an aerial attack that was countered by a Gargano Escape. Undisputed ERA joined the fray to provide their comrade with strength in numbers. Despite Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly sneaking in a High & Low on Gargano as the referee was down, the black-and-gold brand’s superhero rose above the odds. After leveling Roderick Strong, O’Reilly and Fish with a flurry of attacks, Gargano hopped back into the ring where he encountered another swift Last Shot that resulted in another mindboggling kickout. Gargano then countered another rushing attack from Cole to fasten a Gargano Escape, and after several tense seconds, Cole frantically tapped out to give Gargano his first-ever NXT Championship win.

The emotional victory left many with tears of joy, including Ciampa, who emerged at the stage to stand alongside the new champion and Candice LeRae and surprise his former foe with a hug that further emphasized the heartwarming nature of Gargano’s win. This latest chapter pins 2019 as Gargano’s year of “wins and championships.” So long to that bucket list.

My Take: 4.5 out of 5 – Despite being marred by too many interference spots, this match delivered what a main event is supposed to deliver, which is incredible action at a tremendous level of quality. This match made great use of the 2/3 Falls stipulation and milked everything of what it’s worth. Look for an even contest that allowed both men to appear as legitimate and formidable as you can in a wrestling match. Overall, this was among some of the best wrestling out there.

News Of The Night:

  1. Kushida is now an NXT member.
  2. Edge and Beth Phoenix were at the show.
  3. Tommaso Ciampa and Johny Gargano celebrated the latter’s title win in such fashion that it makes you think that both have been turned face.

Final Verdict: 5/5

The individual matches made this event the best from the WWE in quite some time.

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