The WWE has had a pretty special week as they head into the Royal Rumble PPV. Everything started out with the 25th Anniversary special for Monday Night Raw. On Saturday night, we had the NXTTakeover special and this one I was looking for, like all the rest of them. With all the recent, major signings the WWE have made over the last week, could they show up? Riccochet, War Machine and Candice LeRae are all confirmed to have signed with WWE and rumor has it that EC3 is on his way also. Aleister Black and Adam Cole are two of my favorites, which made me look forward to this match. They remind me of new versions of C.M. Punk and Shawn Michaels. The main event between Almas and Johnny Wrestling should be fun as they’re two of the best wrestlers in the world. Let’s see how things turned out!
We kicked things off with the Undisputed Era taking on the Authors of Pain for the NXT tag titles. Ever since the Undisputed Era arrived, they have been running things in NXT. This was going to be a challenging match as they faced two of the most powerful guys in wrestling. The match saw Authors of Pain use their power, while the Undisputed Era use their quickness and technical skills. Akam had his leg worked on throughout the match, but he still used his power. Fish jumps on Rezar’s back and slaps on a sleeper. Rezar gets to his feet and slams Fish on to O’Reilly to break both submissions holds. O’Reilly and Akam get to their feet. O’Reilly lays into Akam with leg kicks. Akam fires up and suplexes O’Reilly. Fish tries to attack Akam from the apron. Akam catches Fish’s leg and destroys him with a clothesline.
In the end, The Authors of Pain try the Super Collider but O’Reilly hurricanranas Akam into Rezar. O’Reilly rolls up Akam for the win! Winner and Still NXT Tag Team Champions: Undisputed Era
Match Rating: 3.5/5- This was a good opener and War Machine was shown in the crowd!
This match saw Kassius Ohno take on the newest NXT sensation, Velveteen Dream. The last NXTTakeover special saw the coming out party for Dream when he battled Aleister Black. Coming into this match, Velveteen Dream promised to knock out Ohno within 30 seconds. During this match, they beat the hell out of each other in this physical match. I’ll be honest, these two seems like they didn’t click with each other for the most part. Dream rolls through and Death Valley drivers Ohno. Ohno kicks out again. Rolling elbow by Ohno. Ohno hits the Ripcord elbow. Dream somehow kicks out. Ohno sets up the Knock Out Shot. Dream ducks and hits the rolling DVD again. Dream goes up top and hits the Purple Rain Maker for the win. Winner: Velveteen Dream
Match Rating: 3/5
This match saw Ember Moon defend her NXT Women’s title against Shayna Baszler. Ever since Shayna entered the scene, she has terrorized everyone in her destructive path. Baszler even took out Kairi Sane for a couple months. The match was perfectly booked as Baszler was the dominant challenger who used her MMA skillset to control the entire match. During the match, it seems like Baszler was trying to break the arm of Moon, but the champ was resilient. She battled back with one arm and even hit her finisher, but it hurt her arm even more. After hurting her arm after hitting the Eclypse, Baszler applied her armbar submission maneuver. Moon fought off the move for a long time, but Baszler continued to apply the hold as the champ continued to fight off submission. After a while, Moon rolled up Baszler for the surprise win. Winner and Still NXT Women’s Champ: Amber Moon
Match Rating: 4/5- This was a perfectly booked match between these two. After looking distraught in the ring, Baszler attacked Moon as she lay on the aisle in pain. She applied the reverse chokehold onto the champ while officials tried to break it up. After all that took place, Riccochet was shown in the audience as the crowd went crazy.
This is an Extreme Rules match with Aleister Black taking on Adam Cole. The Undisputed Era has been a thorn in the side of Black in his quest for the NXT title. This lead to their extreme rules match and the Philadelphia crowd ate it up. They brought out kendo sticks, ladders, tables and trashcans to the crowd excitement. Aleister Black went through tables, Cole had his back worked on and they just beat on each other. During the match, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly attacked Aleister Black as he was about to finish Cole. Sanity made an appearance to take out Fish & O’Reilly and Killian Dane hit a sick suicide dive on all of them. Adam Cole went to attack Black while he was out on the outside, but was met with double knees through the table. In the end, Black hit his finisher to beat Cole. Winner: Aleister Black
Match Rating: 4.5/5- What a freaking match! As the camera turned to the crowd, we saw it was none other than EC3 in the crowd.
We have the main event as Andrade “Cien” Almas defending the NXT title against Johnny Gargano. The match started out slow, but things picked up really quick between these two. Ever since becoming champ, Almas is on another level. These two pulled out some incredible moves on each other and a couple of times Gargano looked like he was out of it. One thing I’ll say about Gargano, he knows how to sell anything in these matches. This match had nearfalls, crazy moves and even Zelina got involved almost helping Almas retain the title. The last time she tried to get involved, newest WWE signee Candice LeRae, who’s also the wife of Gargano got involved attacking Zelina. After running her off, these two continued their classic as both almost walking away with the win. In the end, Almas hit his double knees on Gargano against the steel post and hit his finisher for the win. Winner and Still NXT Champ: Andrade “Cien” Almas
Match Rating: 5/5- This was a PHENOMENAL match! Early MOTY candidate as both men did their thing in this match. After Almas left, LeRae checked on Gargano and they left to a round of applause as they walked up the aisle. As they turned to the crowd, Tommaso Ciampa appears on the stage and hits Gargano in the back with a crutch.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10- This was an AWESOME PPV! This ranks up there with any other NXTTakeover ever, especially the final two matches. Below are the top 3 matches of the night!
- Andrade “Cien” Almas© vs. Johnny Gargano
- Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole
- Ember Moon© vs. Shayna Baszler
Did you check out the NXTTakeover special? What were your thoughts about it? What was your match of the night? Leave a comment below.