Wrestling Review: NXT TakeOver: XXV (2019)

The Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut will play host for the 25th NXT TakeOVer event, not-so-originally entitled TakeOver XXV. Every championship in the promotion will be on the line, including Johnny Gargano defending the NXT Championship in the main event against the leader of the Undisputed Era, Adam Cole. Cole’s stablemates in the Undisputed Era, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, will be one of four teams vying for the currently vacant NXT Tag Team Championships, and they wil be joined by The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford), The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler) and the hard hitting duo of Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan. Shayna Baszler will defend her NXT Women’s Championship against Io Shirai, and Velveteen Dream will put his NXT North American Championship on the line against a former member of the black and yellow brand, as Tyler Breeze makes his triumphant return to NXT. The final member of the Undisputed Era, Roderick Strong, has a huge grudge match against Matt Riddle, with championship contendership implications.

+ Matt Riddle vs Roderick Strong: this was a really good match between two of the better wrestlers in NXT. The final stretch in particular was something special, and the fluidity in which each man went from offence to offence was simple proof of how good they are. Riddle is going to be a huge star if he can stop himself from angering the higher ups, and Strong will probably fall into that Benoit type role of ‘really good worker that will get the thankyou run eventually’

Johnny Gargano (c) vs Adam Cole (NXT Championship): this was match the exact Triple H/HBK “epic main event” style match that PWG has made so prominent, and I couldn’t stand it. Adam Cole has the fans on his side, but to say that I am not a fan of either guy right now would be a huge understatement. A billion kickouts were exciting, sure, but at some point it just gets silly, and in many ways it was a dissservice to both guys, that so much offence was unable to beat the other; rather than maker the other seem resilient, I felt it made the attacker just look incompetent. I can’t really state how little I Cared for this match
Shayna Baszler (c) vs Io Shirai (NXT Women’s Championship): this was fine, and perhaps even really good, but it didn’t feel like a PPV match. Io is great, no doubt, and probably the best in NXT at the moment, but this match just never clicked for me. Shayna is at her best when she can bully her opponents, or is suddenly forced to contend with someone who isn’t scared of her, but Io was not the right opponent for her
The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch (Ladder Match for the vacant NXT Tag Team Championships): even with the Undisputed in this match, I can’t even think of a bigger group of nobodies to fight for what was once the top title on NXT. Why did War Machine/War Raiders/Viking Experience/Viking Raiders even leave NXT, because they’ve done nothing at all since going to Raw, and none of these four teams get the moment of being the ones to defeat them. This match was a dangerous spectacle, but never particularly good

Should you watch this event: I had no idea this show was even on (it aired over a week ago, as of this review), and I only stumbled across it as I saw discussion of it on a forum, and I realised I had no idea what they were talking about. I absolutely could not stand this show. Outside of (an admittedly incredible) opening match, this show was as by the numbers and devoid of creativity you could get.

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