Somehow, it’s the go home show for NXT TakeOver XXV. Two of the teams competing in the ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championships face each other tonight, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch take on Forgotten Sons. Kushida faces Drew Gulak. Mia Yim and Bianca Belair have their rematch. And Shayna Baszler is set to ‘respond’ to Io Shirai defending Candice LeRae with a kendo stick last week. Somewhere in there, they’ll be hyping TakeOver as well.
Mia Yim def. Bianca Belair
Kushida def. Drew Gulak
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Forgotten Sons ended in No Contest
Mia Yim vs Bianca Belair
I would really have liked to see this rematch at TakeOver, but it wasn’t to be. It’s clearly a match between two of the most obvious next title contenders, and it was great.
Both enjoy the trash-talking, but Bianca Belair gets carried away with it and it’s to her detriment at times.
Good as it was, I don’t have a lot to say about it. They both played to their strengths, Belair relied on her power advantage, Yim on her superior skillset. The result was a very entertaining, but very even, match. Plenty of chances, but nothing decisive until the end.
Yim caught Belair with Eat Defeat. Belair rolled out of the ring and smashed Yim’s face into the apron with a double chicken wing when she followed. Mia Yim almost got counted out, but made it in on nine.
Mia Yim used Belair’s hair against her to get the result. Payback for Belair using it last time. She grabbed hold of the braid and used it to pull Belair into Protect Ya Neck.
Velveteen Dream started his hype promo for his match against Tyler Breeze, with a selfie stick. He took the easy route of going after Breeze’s time on the main roster and called Breeze a phony. Breeze’s answering thoughts were him talking about rediscovering Tyler Breeze and pushing Velveteen Dream out of his spot.
After a recap of Io Shirai wiping out Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir, there was an interview with them. Baszler was asked if she was worried Shirai would try to use a kendo stick at TakeOver. Baszler said no, the difference is, at TakeOver, Shirai won’t be allowed any weapons and she’s all out of friends, whereas Baszler still has Duke and Shafir and they’re going to be right there with her.
Kushida vs Drew Gulak
This was a lot of fun to watch. It’s not often on WWE programming that you get a purely technical contest, but this was exactly that. It’s impossible to describe without getting boringly wordy, but it’s beautiful to watch and it got a nice amount of time to play out.
It was only going to take one mistake or misstep to make the difference in this one. Kushida got Gulak’s shoulders down while Gulak was trying to reverse a submission and got the pin.
They argued after the match, Gulak is a very bad loser.
Io Shirai was asked if she was worried about the fact she won’t be able to use a kendo stick on Saturday, or about Baszler’s numbers advantage. She said she’s not afraid of Shayna or her friends, so she can bring them all to TakeOver. And she won’t need a kendo stick to beat her. Candice LeRae appeared and said she didn’t get chance to thank Shirai for helping her and she wanted to let her know that she has her back at TakeOver. Shirai thanked her and they left together. LeRae threw, you can let Shayna know that, over her shoulder as she left.
We got a big hype package next, for the NXT Championship match between Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole. Considering there’s a special build show as well (see final word), you get the impression they really want to make this match a huge deal.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Forgotten Sons
The main event of the evening was a match to hype the fatal four-way ladder match. You had to assume the other two teams would be turning up at some point.
While we waited for their arrival, there was a good match starting to happen.
Jaxson Ryker grabbed Oney Lorcan’s leg from the outside, distracting him long enough for Wesley Blake to take advantage. The ref saw him and sent Ryker to the back. He got as far as the stage before he was ambushed by the Street Profits.
The action in the ring had already turned into a brawl by the time Street Profits joined them and threw Forgotten Sons out of the ring. As soon as Burch and Lorcan and Street Profits started to fight, Forgotten Sons came back with chairs. Undisputed ERA joined the fight, all four of them, and fought until they were the only ones left standing.
All of Undisputed ERA picked up a ladder and used it as a battering ram on Ryker, who had just stumbled back onto the ramp. Then they hit him with it and posed on it for Cole to send a message to their competitors.
There was an extra show this week. A 25-minute build to the two main title matches. It featured a look at Johnny Gargano celebrating winning the title with his friends and family, Adam Cole trying to come back from his loss. There was also a look at the history between Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai and their respective preparations for their match. It’s worth a watch if, like me, you’re feeling the rushed nature of this TakeOver.
The card for Saturday is undeniably great.
- Johnny Gargano (C) vs Adam Cole – NXT Championship match
- Shayna Baszler (C) vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match
- Street Profits vs Forgotten Sons vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Undisputed ERA – NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder match
- Velveteen Dream (C) vs Tyler Breeze – NXT North American Championship match
- Roderick Strong vs Matt Riddle
The full preview will be out before the event via @RearViewReviews, and the full review will follow the show.