5 years ago WWE started doing NXT Takeover events. 25 events later they are the go to brand to showcase TALENT on the WWE roster. These shows have always been wrestling first, show second. Impress. Impress. Impress. Every Takeover has had people talking about them for weeks afterwards and NXT Takeover XXV will be no different.
The night started strong (pun intended) with Roderick Sting v Matt Riddel. They have been teasing that “The Original Bro” would be on RAW this Monday. This guy is on a rocket ship rise right now and I really think he deserves it. He clearly has the total package and should be onto the main roster soon. That’s kind of a shame for NXT because every one of his matches have been impressive and this match was no different.
Mauro very accurately called the tag team ladder match “a human demolition derby”. These teams pulled out some of the most daring and dangerous spots I’ve seen from WWE/NXT superstars. Literally an all out performance from every wrestler in the match. Kyle O’reilly took some brutal ladder shots early on that set the tone for the rest of the match. I thought the NXT tag team division was getting thin after some key departures, but this match turned that idea right around. The NXT tag team division is setting up to become very strong and exciting, but really when hasn’t it been?
Aggressive is a word that was used many times over the whole night for good reason. It’s clear that the heat is getting turned up in the wrestling world.
The North American Championship match was a misstep for me. Velveteen Dream is usually always impressive in the ring, but this match didn’t quite get into a rhythm. The surprise aggression of Tyler Breeze was kind of wasted after the match ended. I might be reading into body language a little too much, but Velveteen Dream looked annoyed with the selfie stuff. Maybe he was as dissapointed with his match as I was.
The NXT Womans Championship match was much better than the North American Championship match. It told a better story, had more meaning, and the ending kept the rivalry red hot. Io Shirai and Shayna Baszler had a flow to it that great matches do. Big moves, injury focus, and the expected outside interference. This match lived up to the legacy of the NXT womans division. Love her or hate her you have to respect the reign of Shayna Baszler. Io Shirai is poised to be the future face of this division. Her chase for the gold continues to be impressive.
Adam Cole v Johnny Gargano
I’ll just let those two names sit there on their own for a bit. If you watched the show you know why. This match went far and above any expectations. This was exactly the championship match NXT needed right now. I’m not a big fan of match ratings or stars, but the ones being thrown out for this match are correct. I could open up the thesaurus and throw all the adjectives possible describing this match but I won’t. I’ll just say this…
Gargano and Cole were in a word…perfect.
The way I saw it the so called “war” between WWE and AEW isnt really a thing. In reality, this is going to be a hopefully long term shot for shot battle between AEW and NXT. The first shot was fired last weekend. The return volley from NXT was exactly what wrestling fans were looking for from RAW and Smackdown. Most NXT fans knew that the real reply from WWE would come from NXT Takeover XXV. If this is what this era of pro wrestling has in store, it’s going to be a very fun time to be a wrestling fan.
That’s the way I saw it anyway.