WWE brought back an iconic PPV after more than two decades, as the nostalgia-filled theme of Takeover saw several callbacks and references to the original In Your House PPVs.
The brilliant theme of the event aside, the show was filled with some great matches, as is the case with almost every Takeover card.
However, it is safe to say that there were a few matches that didn’t live up to the expectations, and overall, this Takeover was much below the standards of a Takeover event. The NXT team is to be blamed for setting such high standards with the previous events, which made this one seem subpar in comparison.
The show had a total of six matches and breezed by, as was the case with the In Your PPVs in the late 90s.
We look at how the show went down and give our thoughts and analysis on the PPV.
Six-Woman Tag Team Match: Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, Mia Yim vs Candice LeRae, Raquel Gonzalez, Dakota Kai
The show kicked off with an introduction from Todd Pettengill, and a performance from Code Orange, with Blackheart entering the arena in a mini-tank. The fast-paced action saw several big moves poured out early in the match, with Gonzalez using her size to keep her team in advantage.
Mia Yim broke up a pin attempt by Gonzalez, which led to a brawl between her and LeRae, which took both of them out of action. Nox took advantage and hit the Shiniest Wizard on Kai to secure the win for the babyfaces.
Result: Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, Mia Yim def. Candice LeRae, Raquel Gonzalez, Dakota Kai
Analysis: There was nothing standing out in the match due to the lack of stakes involved, and the build for the match being just a week-old.
The parallel storyline of Yim-LeRae overshadowed the actual matchup, which had its moments but nothing memorable. Takeovers are usually known for its high-quality singles matchups, and a six-man tag on the show felt straight out of a random RAW or SmackDown episode.
Finn Balor vs Damian Priest
Finn Balor tried to overpower the much bigger frame of Priest early on in the match, but Priest quickly recovered with the introduction of steel steps. Priest demonstrated some hard-hitting moves, such as a Broken Arrow and a Razor’s Edge onto the apron.
Another attempt at Razor’s Edge onto the steps was countered by the former Universal Champion which led to Priest taking a nasty back bump on the steps.
Inside the ring, Balor hit the Coup de Grace for the three count.
Result: Finn Balor def. Damian Priest
Analysis: The match was a perfect hard-hitting encounter, and despite the contrasting wrestling styles of the individuals involved, it managed to be a standout of the evening.
Priest has received great booking on the NXT roster but hasn’t had any big wins to show for it. He looked like an absolute star in this matchup, and WWE must find ways to keep him in action around the title scene on Wednesday nights.
NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee(c) vs Johnny Gargano
Johnny Wrestling made yet another Takeover appearance, this time, taking on the Limitless Keith Lee. Keith Lee’s injured arm was a major part of the story in this match, as Gargano used his A+ wrestling skills to keep the monster and his powerful offense in check.
Lee dumped Gargano through the plexiglass to find some momentum. Candice LeRae and Mia Yim entered the ring and Gargano used the distraction to poke Lee’s eye with a key.
A series of superkicks couldn’t keep the Champion down, and Lee recovered to deliver a Spirit Bomb and the Big Bang Catastrophe for the win.
Result: Keith Lee retains
Analysis: Lee seemed legit injured in this matchup, as Gargano carried most of the offense inside the Squared Circle. Gargano is known as Mr.Takeover for a reason but this was a notch below the rest of his sublime encounters over the years. Even Lee is capable of much better bouts, and it will be interesting to see who he squares off with next.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole(c) vs The Velveteen Dream
NXT’s first attempt at a cinematic matchup saw the Backlot Brawl take place with the ring surrounded by several cars with Performance Center trainees cheering on.
Cole made his way to the ring in a truck, while The Dream arrived in a Lamborghini. Cole decided to leave the ring early on, but Dream caught him and blasted his car with several shots with a baseball bat.
Dream introduced a ladder but Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish’s untimely appearance took the momentum away from the challenger. Cole was thrown onto the windshield of a car, as TUE started introducing several chairs into the ring.
Dexter Lumis chased off both the TUE members, and Dream hit the Death Valley Driver and Purple Rainmaker, but still couldn’t secure the win.
Cole hit a low blow followed by a Panama Sunrise onto the chairs for the win.
Result: Adam Cole retains.
Analysis: The match had so much potential, as WWE has proved its prowess with cinematic matchups over the past few months. However, this idea failed in execution, as lighting issues and weird spots took the fun out of the match.
Dream and Cole have given phenomenal Takeover performances over the years, but this was surely not a part of that list.
Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett Bordeaux vs Tommaso Ciampa
Karrion Kross’s Takeover debut saw Ciampa try to keep the bigger man down but failed in his attempt. Kross manhandled the former NXT Champion, delivering a flurry of suplexes. Ciampa countered with a few running strikes and a Widow’s Bell but it wasn’t enough.
Kross countered the Fairytale Ending and put Ciampa to sleep with the Kross Jacket for the win.
Result: Karrion Kross def. Tommaso Ciampa
Analysis: The match was a surprising change to the way things function on Takeovers, as it felt straight out of a main-roster PPV. Ciampa is one of the biggest names on the roster, and him being squashed by the debuting star is clear signs of Triple H and his team having big plans for the former IMPACT star.
NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair(c) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai
The women of NXT main-evented a Takeover for the first time in five years, with three of the best female wrestlers working currently, facing off in the main event.
Flair let the two stars go at it but quickly joined the fray herself and applied a Boston Crab on Shirai. The match went at a fast-pace as a Figure Eight attempt by Flair was broken up by Ripley, as the action moved to the ramp. Shirai delivered a huge crossbody from top of the set taking both her opponents.
Shirai broke up a pinfall attempt after Ripley delivered a Riptide from the second rope. Ripley locked in Shirai in the Prism Trap, but Flair joined the fray with a Kendo Stick and destroyed both her opponents.
Flair locked in the Figure Eight on Ripley, but a moonsault from Shirai onto Ripley was enough to see a new champion crowned.
Result: Io Shirai becomes the new NXT Women’s Champion
Analysis: The match lived up to the expectations, and was a pure fight instead of a being a traditional wrestling encounter. The three women demonstrated their abilities very well in the match, and all of them looked equally good in this bout.
Shirai finally bagging gold was the correct decision, and will allow Flair to move back onto the main roster, leaving the highly talented Women’s Division of NXT to compete for the title in the coming months.