With WWE NXT TakeOver XXV concluded, 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:
Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong:
Right out of the gate with a rock solid match makes me a happy camper. I was thinking this crew was going to take it as a personal pride to start off with a bang and prove they are the brand to watch more so than AEW, and I feel like I wouldn’t have pegged Strong vs. Riddle to be the match to set that tone, but they did a great job.
NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Brit-Am Bruisers vs. Forgotten Sons vs. Street Profits vs. Undisputed ERA:
BRUTAL and AWESOME. This was so much better than I had given it credit, which is exactly what I was hoping would happen. I set my expectations lower due to folks like The Forgotten Sons and they proved me wrong and put on a great show.
Jaxson Ryker looked like a beast. Kyle O’Reilly is a treasure. Montez Ford is so fun to watch. Everyone did a great job and this was my favorite match of the night. Big fan of the massive pop for Street Profits winning at the end.
NXT North American Championship Match: Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Tyler Breeze:
I got pretty much everything out of this match that I had been hoping for, and even a little more, maybe. Velveteen Dream is one of my favorite performers to watch and I love that he not only excelled here, but that he didn’t sacrifice Tyler Breeze’s time in the spotlight in order to do so.
Breeze looked better here than he has in years, and that’s great. Hopefully, this is the start of a renewal for his career, as he’s proven tonight that he’s too talented to just be pushed aside.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Io Shirai:
My “least favorite” match of the night, and yet, still really good, so that’s great when an event’s lowest point would be a high point on another night.
Shayna Baszler is one of the best in the company as far as working her character with the whole “ring psychology” aspect of entertaining. She always seems like she’s doing what she would be doing if she were trying to win the match, rather than just choreographed spots, and when she works on a body part, it carries on throughout the rest of the fight.
It’s a bit strange they booked Shirai to do the whole post-match flip-out, but maybe that angle is meant to keep them feuding for a few more weeks while Mia Yim is set up to become the next challenger (and then, eventually, Candice LeRae). I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
NXT Championship Match: Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole:
It took a few minutes to really get started, but eventually, this was just so good. I don’t know if I like it more or less than their previous match, or if it’s just on par with it, but it’s certainly the type of match that speaks to the quality of what NXT TakeOver events have to offer.
I know it’s upsetting that Gargano lost the title already, but I think this was the smart move. If he’s injured, that will play a big part in future booking, and even if he isn’t, Gargano as champion isn’t the same as Gargano chasing the champion. Meanwhile, Cole has been in NXT a long time and it took this long for him to win the belt. He needed it, and he has a lot of challengers ahead of him that will be interesting, like Kushida, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Velveteen Dream, etc.
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 XXV with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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