Five huge championship matches are on the card for the bigest NXT show of the year, as the Barclays Centre hosts NXT TakeOver: New York. Johnny Gargano and Adam COle will go one on one in the main event for the vacant NXT Championship in a two out of three falls match, whilst Pete Dunne will defend his NXT UK Championship against the monstrous Austrian, big WALTER. The NXT Tag Team Championships are on the line when Ricochet and Aleister Black, fresh off winning the Dusy Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, must go to War with Raymond Rowe and Hanson, better known as the War Raiders. Matt Riddle will seek to take the Velveteen Dream’s NXT North American Championship in a match which has become more than personal, whilst Shayna Baszler must defend her NXT Women’s Championship against three of NXT’s top women contenders, Io Shirai, Kairi Sane and Bianca Belair.
+ Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole (2-out-of-3 Falls for the NXT Championship): this really didn’t need to be a three-fall match, because everybody knows that the first two don’t matter (and no, this match was never going to end on a 2-0 winner). As you can expect, things picked up right towards the end, ad the crowd was hanging on every single moment, but it was clear where things were going, and I can’t say that the ending was a shock. As good as this ended up when the final bell rang, this stood out as easily the weakest match on the show, going on too long, and frankly that is something that has permeated the NXT main event scene for a while now
+ Shayna Baszler (c) vs Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane vs Io Shirai (NXT Women’s Championship): I wasn’t thrilled with the build up to this match, because it just makes no sense that Belair should have been in the match in the first place, and Shirai hardly earned it either. Even with all of that, Baszler has been a dominant champion, but anybody could tell it was time for a change, so really a multi-person match was the best way to go. Sane and Shirai working together worked well against the dominant champ and the strongly-position Belair, and it made for some great moments. By the time this was over, I was satisfied, but I still can’t say it wouldn’t have been better as just Shirai/Baszler
+ Pete Dunne (c) vs WALTER (NXT UK Championship): holy shit I love WALTER. Dunne has had a long title reign, sure, but with only a handful of defences, and even fewer great matches, I was certainly well behind my big Austrian boi for this match. WALTER’s chops have reached almost meme status in wrestling, and for once the WWE was on top of the trend, and let him absolutely cut loose. This was an absolute banger, and I loved every second
+ Velveteen Dream (c) vs Matt Riddle (NXT North American Championship): this one started a bit slower than the tag titles before it, but once this reached its groove, this was a fantastic contest. Both guys seemed to flip between underdog and supervillain throughout the match, depending on who was on offence. Dream has been great in these big matches, but this was absolutely Riddle’s time to shine, and boy did he hold nothing back
+ The War Raiders (Ray Rowe & Hanson) (c) vs Ricochet & Aleister Black (NXT Tag Team Championships): this match started the show, and lord it started thing off hot. I love the War Raider’s aesthetic, and their big boi stylings. Hanson flipping around with Ricochet and Rowe trading strikes with Black were fantastic scenes, and the crowd was hanging on every moment. This was absolutely fantastic
– I am really disappointed we didn’t get the Keith Lee/Dijak match on this show, and there is a real absense of people like Oney/Burch and the Street Profits. I guess things will have to be this way, now that Black, Ricochet, Heavy Machinery etc are all going or gone
Should you watch this event: Every match was good, and you really should watch this show. NXT’s tag team division is just a step above the rest, and that opening match was the highlight of the show. Seeing WALTER chop Dunne’s chest into mincemeat was great, and the women’s four way was good, but it just should have been better. Overall, this was another great, nearly-perfect show from NXT.