We’re just a few days from TakeOver, so it’s all about the build-up. There will be some interaction between Ricochet and Johnny Gargano, and probably between Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black. We’ve got tag action in store for both the men and women, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan take on Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner in a match that cannot fail to be spectacular, and Kairi Sane and Io Shirai team up against unnamed opponents. We’re also due a visit from Velveteen Dream who has been acting very oddly on twitter recently.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan def. Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner
Kairi Sane and Io Shirai def. Tanea Brooks and Amber Nova
Velveteen Dream def. Bobby Fish
Ricochet was shown arriving at Full Sail before Velveteen Dream opened the show. He has something special in his sights and The Dream waits for no man. He’s after the North American Championship. He didn’t get any further with his monologue before he was interrupted by Adam Cole and Bobby Fish.
Cole told him 2019 will be the year of Undisputed ERA. They’re going to capture all the championship gold. Strong and O’Reilly are busy preparing for a successful defence of the tag titles, and he and Fish don’t have any gold yet, but soon they’ll have gold around their waists too. And Velveteen can Dream on.
Bobby Fish said, ‘shame on you Dream, coming out here, getting these people’s hopes up’. He needs to learn to live in reality because 2019 will continue to be their era and that’s undisputed.
Velveteen Dream told Fish he was ready to dispute that claim, ‘but only if it’s ok with Adam’. Bobby Fish didn’t take too kindly to the implication Cole was his boss and charged the ring followed by Cole. Velveteen Dream threw them both out of the opposite side of the ring then slithered out and escaped up the ramp before they could get to him.
Velveteen Dream versus Bobby Fish was confirmed for later in the show, during the entrances of the first match.
With it being a go home show, hype packages were always going to be a feature. Shayna Baszler versus Bianca Belair was the first one. That’s going to be a great match, they all are.
A recap of Keith Lee versus Kassius Ohno, and Matt Riddle’s run in after the match led to confirmation that the fifth TakeOver match will be Matt Riddle versus Kassius Ohno.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner
This was awesome. I knew it would be and it didn’t let me down. It was non-stop action from bell to bell and everything looked like it hurt, a lot.
Oney Lorcan spent a while in Aichner and Barthel’s corner early in the match, so when Burch came in he was ready to go. He took both Aichner and Barthel on to start with before he put Barthel down with a headbutt and he and Lorcan tried to double team Fabian Aichner. Barthel prevented that and went on the offensive, but Oney Lorcan threw him out of the ring.
There were regular breakouts of organised chaos with three or four men in the ring, or flying out of it. Aichner got a close two-count on Lorcan. Oney Lorcan came close to submitting Aichner. Lorcan flung himself over the top rope onto Burch and Barthel, closely followed by Aichner launching himself off the top turnbuckle to take everyone down.
Oney Lorcan and Fabian Aichner were still legal. Lorcan got back in the ring. Aichner joined him via the top turnbuckle but Lorcan moved aside then rolled him up and got the pin while Danny Burch was holding Marcel Barthel back.
Hype packages for Tommaso Ciampa versus Aleister Black with plenty of references to Johnny Gargano to lead into advertising the face to face meeting between Gargano and Ricochet later in the show.
Io Shirai and Kairi Sane vs Tanea Brooks and Amber Nova
It wasn’t a squash. It could have been but Brooks distracted Sane and allowed Nova to gain a brief advantage over her. It lasted around thirty seconds before Kairi Sane got to Io Shirai.
It wasn’t a long match, just a chance for NXT fans to see how well, best friends, Kairi Sane and Io Shirai work together. And they did, to absolutely no one’s surprise.
Their tag team finisher was for Shirai to give Sane a boost to do an elbow drop then Sane to assist Shirai into a moonsault.
After the match, recorded during some ads, they said they were going to take care of business together and no one could stop them. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir interrupted to ‘welcome Sane back to NXT’. They told her not to get comfortable because they’d be sending her out to sea.
Kairi Sane and Io Shirai versus Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir is happening on next week’s show (so will probably be a dark match for the lucky TakeOver crowd).
Bobby Fish vs Velveteen Dream
An interesting and unexpected match. Velveteen Dream was very aware of Adam Cole on the outside at the start of the match, he kept looking around to see where he was. He still managed to grab the early momentum though, and Fish was soon taking refuge with Cole on the outside.
Velveteen Dream’s springboard dropkick sent Bobby Fish back to the floor after he got onto the apron. The double axe handle from the top turnbuckle he followed it with, laid Fish out.
Of course, Velveteen Dream was right to be wary of Cole. It was Cole’s distraction techniques that allowed Fish to take out one of his legs and drag him out of the ring and into the barricade by it.
It was the first real advantage Bobby Fish had found, and he worked hard on the injured leg. He got Velveteen Dream in a kneebar after Velveteen Dream had been unable to capitalise on the Purple Rainmaker. Adam Cole grabbed the rope and pulled it out of Velveteen’s reach. The ref spotted him and Fish had to break the hold to plead with the ref not to either disqualify him or send Cole back to the locker room. Velveteen Dream tried for a roll up off the distraction but only got two.
The first attempt at the Dream Valley Bomb didn’t work because his injured leg gave way. His second attempt succeeded, and he went to the top for the Purple Rainmaker. This time it landed with no issues and Velveteen Dream secured the victory.
Velveteen Dream managed to escape the ring before Adam Cole could get in there and grab him, so he even avoided the beatdown.
There was a recap of Forgotten Sons beating up Street Profits before the announcement that the two teams will face each other next week (so that’s the other TakeOver dark match then).
Fish and Velveteen Dream might have been the main event of the night, but Ricochet and Johnny Gargano got the final segment. Ricochet came to the ring first and said Gargano came out two weeks ago and talked about being better, then blindsided him with a superkick. 2019 Johnny Gargano is the same as 2018 Johnny Gargano. As far as he’s concerned, in 2018 Gargano just showed his true colours. He showed that he’s a liar and only cares about himself.
But Ricochet showed his true colours in 2018 as well, when he won the North American Championship. He showed the NXT universe that he’s the one and only, and something that Johnny Gargano is not, a champion.
Gargano turned up then and said he knows that Ricochet is trying to use his emotions against him and if it was 2018 it would have worked. But 2019 Gargano has a plan. The plan turned out to be much the same as rushing the ring would have been.
There was a brief exchange of blows before Ricochet threw Gargano out of the ring. While Ricochet was looking down at Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa attacked him from behind.
Gargano and Ciampa looked at each other for a few moments then Gargano went back to pounding on Ricochet. While that was happening, Aleister Black attacked Ciampa. Gargano spotted Ciampa being beaten up and threw Ricochet into the steps then went to his aid.
He superkicked Black to the mat then watched Ciampa beat him until Ricochet got back in the ring. Side by side, Gargano and Ciampa put their TakeOver opponents down and out. They left the ring on opposite sides but met at the bottom of the ramp and looked each other over while the crowd chanted at them to hug it out. Ciampa looked wary and held up a hand to Gargano to indicate he wanted no trouble, then held his hand out to shake. It looked like Gargano was going to take his former best friend’s hand, until Candice LeRae ran out and got between them and pushed him backwards trying the whole time to talk some sense into him.
The final card for NXT TakeOver Phoenix is:
Tommaso Ciampa (C) vs Aleister Black – NXT Championship match
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Bianca Belair – NXT Women’s Championship match
Undisputed ERA (O’Reilly/Strong) (C) vs War Raiders – NXT Tag Team Championships
Ricochet (C) vs Johnny Gargano – NXT North American Championship match
Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno
It has to be said, that’s a damn good card. There isn’t a weak match, or even a possibly weak match, on there.
There are going to be some shenanigans, there is no way there can’t be after the end of tonight’s show. Will we see a DIY reconciliation?
Check in to read the full TakeOver preview here on Rear View Reviews tomorrow, and the full show review a few hours after the event.