The first event of WrestleMania Weekend 2019, NXT TakeOver: New York, has wrapped up, meaning it’s time to look back on what happened and assess the damage, praise the positives and talk about what went down.
Per usual, at the end of this post, you’ll see my regular Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast, which reviews the event in more detail, but for those who want a more condensed version of my thoughts, I present to you my “quicker than a hiccup” reaction to the different parts of the evening:
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: War Raiders (c) def. Aleister Black and Ricochet:
Phenomenal way to start the night. This match was one of my two favorite of the whole show and I have it down as a potential Match of the Year candidate in my notes for the end of the year awards on Smark Out Moment.
I loved the signs of respect both at the beginning and the end (particularly the end). I’m consistently amazed at what Ricochet and Hanson are able to do, especially, since they do things that are astonishing, and I can’t say anything bad about this. Major thumbs up.
NXT North American Championship Match: Velveteen Dream (c) def. Matt Riddle:
This fell short of its predecessor, but it wasn’t bad, just above average. It was strange to see the crowd start off pro-Riddle and then turn so much on him during the match without this actually being a heel turn kind of scenario. Riddle has a bright future.
So does Velveteen Dream, who is easily one of my more favorite people to see perform. He’s having so much fun and you can tell that every match like this means a lot to him. It comes through with every performance.
How many axe handles did he do? Does anyone have a counter for it?
On a grading scale, if I were to give the first match an A, this would be a B.
United Kingdom Championship Match: WALTER def. Pete Dunne (c):
This took a little time to get going, but I ended up enjoying it more than the match before it, so that was a plus.
I liked how this wasn’t just a squash and they told a story that needed to be told, of Dunne being the scrappy champion who is doing everything he can to even the odds without resorting to cheating and heel tactics. He was more like the fly you’re trying to hit and it just keeps narrowly avoiding its death.
However, that death knell had to ring and we needed a new champion, with WALTER being a very legitimate successor, so while I’m sad to see Dunne’s title reign come to an end, I’m happy with the outcome and interested to see what WALTER has in store for us in the future.
NXT Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: Shayna Baszler (c) def. Bianca Belair, Io Shirai and Kairi Sane:
Unfortunately, the more I think about this match, the less I’m happy with it. I was really excited to see it and I feel disappointed.
That’s not necessarily any of these women’s fault, as they’ve all proven themselves to be very talented. Rather, I feel the problem was with the format of this being a Fatal 4-Way.
Shirai and Sane acted like a tag team more than they probably should have, which threw the dynamic of the match off as Baszler couldn’t work her dominant heel style that she’s better at than just being another cog in the wheel like she was here.
I also feel underwhelmed in that Baszler has now beaten Sane twice as well as Belair twice and since Shirai lost this, we’re left with nobody set to step up and properly challenge Baszler. That means they’ll need to hype someone up specifically for that task, rather than letting it naturally happen. Or, they’ll do Shirai, in which case, I won’t care as much because I know she’ll lose and I’ve already seen it.
It just felt like we ended in exactly the same spot we were at the last TakeOver and the past 2 months have been a waste of time.
The match wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really all that it was cracked up to be.
NXT Championship 2-out-of-3 Falls Match: Johnny Gargano def. Adam Cole:
The other best match of the night and something that I would definitely recommend everyone check out if they slept on it, for whatever reason.
This was good from start to finish, but it really picked up once the second decision happened. That’s when the there was an energy boost and the near-falls became real nail-biting moments.
I loved it. I’m so glad Gargano is champion. I loved Tommaso Ciampa coming out at the end. I loved all of it, and it made it so by the end of the night, I was really happy with what I had watched at this TakeOver event.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews NXT TakeOver: New York with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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