NXT TakeOver XXV – REVIEW

NXT TakeOver XXV – REVIEW

Just a half hour preshow for TakeOver this time, but WWE did show Target: NXT TakeOver before it. The Pre-show panel was Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Pat McAfee. The Pre-show was mainly video packages and chat with a few references to the fact it’s the 25th TakeOver. Tommaso Ciampa joined them for the final few minutes and the crowd were so loud they couldn’t ask questions for ages. He ended up standing on the panel’s desk to greet them.

Eventually, he said he felt great and he’s cleared for non-contact activity. He’s on his way back and he’ll be coming back for Goldie. He said if anyone was going to look after the title while he’s away recovering, he wanted it to be Gargano. Gargano steps it up a level at TakeOver. Sam Roberts asked if Ciampa wants Gargano to hold the title because he knows he can beat him. Ciampa said it doesn’t matter who has the title when he comes back, he’s taking it.

Results

Matt Riddle def. Roderick Strong

Street Profits def. Forgotten Sons, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

Velveteen Dream def. Tyler Breeze

Shayna Baszler def. Io Shirai

Adam Cole def. Johnny Gargano

Matches

The show opened with a package detailing the progression from the first NXT TakeOver to this one. There have been so many moments created at these events. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuiness, and Beth Phoenix were our commentary team.

Roderick Strong vs Matt Riddle

After an extended feeling-out process, Riddle got the first run of momentum. Strong halted it by dumping Riddle on his back on the apron. And put Riddle down by dropping him midsection first onto the top rope so Riddle fell to the outside.

All the pressure in this match was on Strong. If Undisputed ERA are vying for supremacy in NXT, it really wouldn’t do to have a member lose the first match of the night. But however much he threw at him, Roderick Strong couldn’t keep Riddle down. He did a lot of damage to Riddle’s back while trying though.

Roderick Strong brings Matt Riddle down from the top turnbuckle
Credits: wwe.com

Riddle came back with a suplex and they tried striking it out, but Riddle’s back was clearly an issue. Just not enough of one to stop him. Riddle had the same trouble Strong had. He could get his opponent down, but not keep him there.

It turned into a battle of the closest of close two counts, just waiting for that final fraction of a second more. They both kicked out of enough finishers to end a dozen matches. Matt Riddle got the difference-maker with a cradle jumping pancake driver called the Brostone.

Street Profits vs Forgotten Sons vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Undisputed ERA – NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder match

Street Profits got in among the crowd for their entrance. Forgotten Sons came to the ring without Jaxson Ryker.

This was chaos from the start, as it was always going to be. The match was mainly comprised as hard-hitting brawlers, so it was no surprise it took a few minutes for ladders to come in to play. Undisputed ERA were the first to try. They were carrying a ladder to the ring between them when Wesley Blake delivered a suicide dive to the middle of it and took them both down, and himself. A brawl broke out at ringside and Angelo Dawkins took down everyone with a dive from the top.

Street Profits were the first to try to climb the ladder. Undisputed ERA pulled them down. Blake knocked the ladder over when O’Reilly and Fish were on it and Kyle O’Reilly landed on his back on the edge of the ladder.

Forgotten Sons opted to use a ladder as a battering ram, then wear it. They knocked down Street Profits and Undisputed ERA while wearing it and were still wearing it when Burch and Lorcan suplexed them. It flew off and barely missed Kyle O’Reilly.

Montez Ford leapfrogged Angelo Dawkins to land on Blake who was laid on the ladder Dawkins was holding. Blake rolled out of the ring and Street Profits sent Cutler into the ladder face first. Undisputed ERA prevented a repeat performance from Ford.

Angelo Dawkins dives onto the rest of the teams

This truly was a tag team ladder match. All the teams worked so well together.

Bobby Fish climbed for the titles, but he was knocked off the ladder when a Forgotten Son threw O’Reilly at him. Forgotten Sons got close to the titles, but they were climbing much too slow, having just been brutalised by Fish and O’Reilly. They were lifted from the ladder by Danny Burch and Angelo Dawkins and taken down from the electric chair position by Oney Lorcan and Montez Ford.

Jaxson Ryker invaded to stop Kyle O’Reilly climbing the ladder, and took out as many people as he could. Angelo Dawkins was left crumpled in a corner. Oney Lorcan ended up outside the ring. Eventually, the non-Forgotten Sons competitors in the match worked together and beat him up, then beat him with a ladder. Undisputed ERA finally knocked him off the apron and Montez dived over the top rope onto him. While all that was going on, the titles were forgotten.

In fact, no one seemed in any particular hurry to climb. It’s hard to create enough space to set up a ladder and climb it when there are eight men in the ring.

Street Profits got sandwiched between two ladders by Burch and Lorcan. All three Forgotten Sons were felled at ringside by a ladder thrown from the ring by Burch and Lorcan, but Undisputed ERA were back in time to stop them climbing.

Fish and O’Reilly set up a second ladder and started to climb, as did Burch ad Lorcan. While they were fighting at the top of the ladders, Forgotten Sons got back in the ring and tipped them off in opposite directions.

Burch, Lorcan, and Undisputed ERA are tipped off the ladders by Forgotten Sons

Blake started to climb but Dawkins speared Cutler before he got chance. Montez Ford leaped onto the ladder opposite Blake and punched him off. Ford retrieved the title belts to make Street Profits the new NXT Tag Team Champions.

Velveteen Dream (C) vs Tyler Breeze – NXT North American Championship match

Prince Pretty is home, and he has new ring gear. The bright colours have been replaced with black, and a few sparkles. Velveteen Dream kept it subtle, all in gold sparkle with some kind of chain arrangement that was always going to get broken. Velveteen Dream ripped most of it off after about a minute.

There was a lot of ego in this ring, but not without cause. It’s been a while since Breeze had a match this important, and Velveteen Dream has a TakeOver reputation to uphold. Breeze wasn’t messing. He’s back to make an impact. Velveteen Dream came into the match thinking Breeze would be an easy defence. He was wrong.

It was Breeze who got the first big advantage. He smashed Velveteen Dream’s leg into the ringpost then launched himself off the apron with a forearm. He tried for a second, but Velveteen was ready and punched him in the face.

Velveteen Dream’s leg was obviously giving him trouble and Breeze attempted to capitalise with a single leg crab, but Velveteen got to the ropes.

Breeze caught a superkick on the outside and it looked like Velveteen might take a count out victory. Instead, he followed him out and smashed Breeze’s head into the announce desk repeatedly. Then Velveteen Dream got the title belt and Breeze’s phone and took a selfie with Breeze laying on the desk. He was so busy posturing he didn’t see the supermodel kick coming.

Velveteen Dream takes a mid-match selfie with a semi conscious Tyler Breeze

Breeze kicked out of a Dream Valley Driver and rolled away from the Purple Rainmaker and came back with an enziguri.

Breeze was bleeding from the ear, which is always a worry, and commentary started to talk about his equilibrium being affected.

Breeze crotched Velveteen Dream on the top turnbuckle, but Breeze waited too long and didn’t make anything of it. They both tried to go for tombstones, which resulted in them doing a kind of acrobatic rollover.

Velveteen Dream delivered an Unprettier and Breeze barely kicked out. Velveteen Dream went for the Purple Rainmaker, but Breeze got his knees up. Tyler Breeze got a two count with a supermodel kick and an Unprettier.

Velveteen Dream looked to be down and out but he tried for a small package when Breeze was trying to get him to his feet. Breeze responded with a Beauty Shot and Velveteen rolled out of the ring. Breeze tried to drag Velveteen Dream back into the ring but he was dead weight and the ref was counting. Breeze got back in the ring to break the count, but argued with the ref instead of getting straight back out.

Tyler Breeze grabs the title from Velveteen Dream

Velveteen Dream had the title in his hands when Breeze turned back around. He took it off him, then the ref grabbed it and Breeze took a Dream Valley Driver followed by a Purple Rainmaker. Velveteen Dream remains the NXT North American Champion.

After the match Velveteen Dream had Breeze’s phone. He handed it back with a dismissive gesture. Breeze grabbed his arm and, after some negotiation, they had a selfie together. Velveteen Dream still left with a flounce, but there was something resembling respect there.

Shayna Baszler (C) vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match

Shayna Baszler left Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir backstage and came to the ring alone, not that that really means anything. Shirai was also alone, but Candice LeRae was shown earlier telling Shirai she had her back.

Shirai went straight for the champion and Baszler put her down and gave her a rather dismissive and disrespectful kick, more of a nudge with her foot. When Shirai got Baszler down a few moments later, she answered that kick by slapping Baszler across the face. Baszler left the ring, and Shirai followed with a baseball slide.

Baszler landed a kick to Shirai’s left arm, which gave her a limb to focus on. She followed that with a stomp on that arm and some joint manipulation. And from then on Baszler was focused in on the arm.

The arm injury gave Baszler a clear advantage, but she still struggled to keep Io Shirai down.

Shayna Baszler works over Io Shirai's arm

Shirai managed to suplex Baszler, even with the damaged arm, but it let her down on the bridge. She landed a tiger feint kick though and got a two count from a springboard dropkick. She tried for a crossface submission but couldn’t get it tight enough and Baszler stood up and dropped her.

Shirai dropkicked Baszler off the top turnbuckle to the floor and delivered a moonsault from the top to put her down. She was still guarding her arm when she rolled Baszler into the ring and landed a missile dropkick and double knees in the corner.

Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir made their way to the ring but Candice LeRae caught up with them, holding a kendo stick, and proceeded to hit them with it until it broke then dived on them from the steps.

Shirai was so busy watching she nearly got pinned when she returned to Baszler. She kicked out and fought out of the Kirifuda Clutch twice. She tried for a submission of her own but got caught in the Kirifuda clutch again. Io Shirai struggled hard to get to the ropes. Baszler even tried rolling her around to stop her, and more than once it looked like she was fading out.  She was so close but she couldn’t get there and had to tap.

Sitting outside the ring, Shirai got her hands on a kendo stick and attacked Baszler with it from behind. After wearing the stick out on Baszler and landing a moonsault on her, Shirai ascended to the top turnbuckle and got LeRae to pass her a chair. She delivered another perfect moonsault to Baszler, but with the chair ending up between them. It clearly hurt Io Shirai too, but Baszler couldn’t get up and was still laid in the middle of the ring long after Shirai had left with Candice LeRae. Baszler was sporting some angry looking welts from the kendo stick shots as well, and the crowd chanting ‘You Deserve It’ probably didn’t help.

Io Shirai moonsaults off the turnbuckle with a chair

Johnny Gargano (C) vs Adam Cole – NXT Championship match

Adam Cole was rapped to the ring by Josiah Williams.

Adam Cole took a breather on the outside after the initial exchanges and Gargano held the ropes open to invite him back in. They got back into it, but it wasn’t long before he slipped out of the ring again, only this time Gargano followed him out.

The trouble with knowing each other so well now is they kept dodging each other’s offence. Gargano finally took Cole down with a dive off the apron and tossed him back into the ring. Cole rolled straight out the other side but took a kick from Gargano, and a double stomp which left Cole with a weakened left arm for Gargano to target. Which he did.

Cole had Gargano’s right knee to focus on after Cole kicked it out from under him. That became the primary focus of the match, Cole’s arm versus Gargano’s knee. Adam Cole had a long period of control with the knee as a focus, until Gargano caught him coming off the turnbuckle and delivered a sit out powerbomb.

Gargano built some momentum, but he couldn’t get more than two on Cole, even with a slingshot spear. Cole got a two count with a backstabber as the near fall trade began in earnest.

Adam Cole kicks Gargano in the stomach

After a Gargano superkick sent them both out of the ring, they took each other down with simultaneous superkicks and only made it back into the ring at eight. A slingshot DDT put Cole down for two, but they were both getting desperate. Cole tried for a chop block, but missed and took a double stomp to the back of the neck.

Gargano hesitated to follow Cole out of the ring because of his knee. Cole punished him with a neckbreaker on the outside, then another when they were back in the ring.

Gargano dragged Cole off the turnbuckle and Cole landed on his shoulder. Johnny Gargano locked in the Gargano escape, but Cole powered out and got Gargano in a figure four. Gargano spent a long time in the hold before he managed to grab Cole’s arm and somehow flip them over. Adam Cole got to the ropes almost instantly.

Johnny Gargano rolled his kneepad down and was clutching his knee. Cole took a few moments to recover, clearly guarding his arm then went back to working over Gargano’s knee.

Gargano delivered a DDT, but Cole rolled out of the ring. Gargano followed with a suicide dive, but Cole caught him full in the face with a kick. Cole followed up with a Panama Sunrise and hauled Gargano back into the ring, but Johnny Gargano kicked out.

Cole missed with the Last Shot but got Gargano in the Gargano escape. Gargano reversed the hold and hit Cole with a Last Shot. Cole kicked out.

We’d got to the moment of desperation. They exchanged punches, then kicks, then superkicks. Gargano delivered a reverse-rana, Cole connected with a Last Shot, but Gargano still kicked out.

Cole had had enough and got out of the ring to grab a chair. Gargano tried to take him out with a suicide dive while he was arguing with the ref and hit the ref instead. Adam Cole tried to hit him with the chair and Gargano superkicked it into his face.

Cole drives Gargano into the mat from the ropes

Gargano had Cole pinned for as many as you’d care to count, but the ref was still down on the outside. Gargano rolled the ref back into the ring, but Cole was beckoning as if he was calling the rest of Undisputed ERA out. Gargano got ready with the chair, but it was mind games and Gargano almost got pinned when he got in.

Gargano kicked out but couldn’t stay upright for Adam Cole’s Last Shot and fell face first to the mat. When Cole bent to pick him up, Gargano got him in the Gargano escape. Cole fought out by elbowing Gargano in the knee.

Cole’s next attempt at a Panama Sunrise was thwarted and almost ended in him being pinned, But he landed the next one and another Last Shot, and we have a brand-new NXT Champion.

The rest of Undisputed ERA celebrated with Cole in the ring after the match.

Undisputed ERA celebrate Adam Cole's victory

Final word

TakeOver XXV delivered in the same way the previous 24 have. I was a little too optimistic in my predictions and only got two out of five this time. I should resign immediately, but I almost certainly won’t.

We were guaranteed new tag champions, and Street Profits were the right choice. I’m less keen on the new NXT Champion, but the match was great. I still firmly believe Io Shirai will be NXT Women’s Champion, sadly, tonight was not her night. She certainly made her point after the match though.

Triple H confirmed in his post-show Facebook interview that Tyler Breeze’s loss does not mean he’s done in NXT. He’s back for good, which is great news. It sounds like there are long term plans in place, but time will tell if anything comes of it.

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