It’s the return of the then-WWFs infamous live event style, as this time it’s NXT TakeOver: In Your House. All three singles championships will be on the line, including the longest running NXT Champion in history Adam Cole (bay-bay!) defending his gold against the Velveteen Dream in NXT’s first ever Backlot Brawl. The top three women in NXT also go head to head to head, as new champion and NXT original, Charlotte Flar returns to where she made her name to face off against the top two women in NXT, Rhea Ripley and Io Shiari. Following weeks of potshots and a viscous attack with car keys, Johnny Gargano will get a chance to win back the NXT North American Championship as he faces off with “Limitless” Keith Lee. Also on the card, Tomasso Ciampa will face off against the newcomer Karrion Kross; Finn Balor looks to get a win over the dark and mysterio Damien Priest; and six of NXT’s up and coming women will do battle in a six women tag team match.
+ Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai (NXT Women’s Championship): this was good, but it felt like it never got going. I am not a fan of Charlotte, but she was good as the bad guy champion here, even if she was completely outmatched, character-wise, by the NXT women. Io is simply put one of the best women wrestlers on the planet right now, and at only 23 years old, Ripley has an unfathomable upside. I can’t say this felt like the main event of a TakeOver, but it was good enough
+ Adam Cole (c) vs Velveteen Dream (Backlot Brawl for the NXT Championship): this was somewhere between the ‘cinematic’ approach several companies are taking of late and a traditional match, and in that regard I think it worked better than the previous Gargano/Ciampa ‘event’. Dream looked good and Cole is good as always, and this style lets both men talk some trash as they fight. A few confusing comentary botches did mar the final moments, but overall this was a lot of fun, and something different to what we’ve seen before. I liked this a lot
+ Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox & Mia Yim vs Daokota Kai, Raquel Gonzales & Candice LeRae: the parts of this that were clearly rehearsed and prepared were a lot of fun, and Gonzales, in particular, finally looked like the moster she is meant to be. Kai, Nox and Blackheart all looked good, and of course Yim and LeRae are already veterans of this game. This was hardly a show-stealer, but I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would
– Tommaso Ciampa vs Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett): this was interesting, but it felt like a standard TV match, which is the worst criticism I could give to one of my favourites and a newcomer looking to make an impression. I like what happened, but I don’t much care for how it happened
– Keith Lee (c) vs Johnny Gargano (NXT North American Championship): this was fine, but something about it just felt off to me. Keith Lee should be absolutely murdering Gargano any time Lee gets Gargano in close quarters, but for some reason this was a very even match up, and in my opinion, that just makes Lee look bad. I dont’ quite buy Gargano as a bad guy yet, but I guess there is a lot of life yleft in this run, For now, though, I’m not a fan
– Finn Balor vs Damien Priest: I am sad to say this did nothing for me at all. Both men looked smooth and precise, particularly the several trades of kicks between the two, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care. Priest is a perennial loser, and Balor is just not the special character he was. In some ways, I’d have preferred this to have the North American Championship attached, or melded it with that Lee/Gargano match to be a four way instead. And, unless I’m mistaken, this was two bad guys (Balor being the more good, but still a bad guy)
Should you watch this event: Everything on this show was average at best, if not a waste of time. This was probably the weakest TakeOver of all time, and whether you think that’s to be extended in this new era of wrestling, it’s just a fact. Still, with the show over in well under three hours it was an easy watch, and maybe worth time as a background noise as you play some video games or finish that DIY project.