Last night I watched my first NXT TakeOver. While I’ve always been enamored with the concept of NXT (rising stars working a more old-school style of wrestling reminiscent of the studio days), I’ve found it impossible to sit through an episode of the weekly TV. Whether it was the super-marks in attendance, the shitty production values, or the fact that with few exceptions, I had no idea who was wrestling whom or what the story was behind their match.
Whatever the case, I wanted to watch TakeOver because of the In Your House theme, having watched many of the WWF’s In Your House pay-per-views back in the 90s. I was also interested in the women’s triple threat match.
NXT TakeOver: In Your House delivered, throwing in some nostalgia such as former interviewer Todd Pettingill and a bunch of throwback ads including the WWE’s ICO-PRO nutritional supplements (legendary for reportedly giving a young Curtis Axel the drizzling shits). The nostalgia wasn’t overdone, but it added to the fun (as did the WWE recreating the vintage In Your House set (which naturally was used in some of the matches including Io Shirai diving off the top of the house set).
This isn’t an NXT TakeOver review other than to say every match rocked except the Backlot Brawl, which was a major disappointment as it was poorly shot and lit, evoking the experience of watching the night scenes from Billy the Kid vs. Dracula
After watching it, I’m impressed. The biggest takeaway is that NXT has the best female wrestlers I’ve seen in the WWE or AEW (although AEW still has a long way to go with its women’s division and that’s being charitable). What’s particularly impressive is the sheer number of excellent women wrestlers and that NXT gives them time to put on matches.
Six Women Tag Match: Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart, and Tegan Nox defeated Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, and Raquel González when Tegan Nox pinned Dakotai Kai.
Finn Balor pinned Damien Priest.
North American Championship Match. Keith Lee (Champion) pinned Johnny Gargano
Backlot Brawl for the NXT Championship. Adam Cole (Champion) pinned Velveteen Dream
Karrion Kross (with Scarlett) defeated Tommaso Ciampa by referee stoppage
Triple Threat Match for the NXT Women’s Championship. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai vs. Charlotte Flair (Champion). Io Shirai pinned Rhea Ripley to become NXT Women’s Champion.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to watch NXT every week as the TV shows obviously aren’t going to be the same caliber of matches as the TakeOver. Knowing who some of the stars are though, I’m willing to give it another shot. Like AEW Dynamite, NXT needs to not only put on matches that hold my interest but feature storylines that are engaging. If it can do that, I’ll be watching the show more often. Kudos to NXT for putting on a great show that has me awaiting the next TakeOver and hopefully, the weekly TV.