NXT TakeOver: New York
Date: April 5, 2019
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, NY
NXT TakeOver: New York was a wrestling fans dream. During WrestleMania weekend, WWE's developmental brand may have put on the best show. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the two highest rated matches of the evening were title changes. All five matches on the show were strong, each receiving a minimum of 3.5 Stars of David.
Here's everything that happened at TakeOver and our Star of David Ratings for each of them.
NXT Tag Team Championship: War Raiders (C) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black
Hanson and Rowe hit the fallout on Ricochet to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship. After the match, Ricochet and Aleister Black said goodbye to the NXT fans.
Aleister Black and Ricochet have been incredible on the main roster. They even got a spot on the WrestleMania card. So, going into this match, they weren't expected to win. That didn't stop them from putting on an incredible match.
Rowe and Hanson showed respect throughout the match through little nods and teases. It was almost as if they were honored to be passed the torch by two of NXT best in 2018.
Ricochet is typically the slam-dunk pick for highlight of the match, but Hanson decided to try and match his athleticism. Hanson tried cartwheeling, backspringing and flipping off the ring post—all of which were jaw-dropping.
The match was great, but the crowd fell into the trap of cheering too hard too early. It didn't ruin the match by any means, but there seems to be an excitement amongst fans in the venue that doesn't translate well over television, where most people watch the show. One huge and rather random pop was warranted, though. A light was beaming into the audience for the first few minutes of the show, blinding fans. Fans are right to cheer for being able to see a show they paid tons of money for.
War Raiders def. Aleister Black and Ricochet to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship (4.25 Stars of David)
Piper Niven and Toni Storm were shown in the front row.
NXT North American Championship: Velveteen Dream (C) vs. Matt Riddle
The Velveteen Dream eeked out a win by reversing a bromission attempt into a pin on Matt Riddle.
For most of the match, Riddle looked dominant. A true monster. It was only after multiple kickouts that people began to believe Dream was going to win. Riddle's facial expressions are so good it's easy to believe he's actually distraught Dream kicked out.
Riddle could go to the main roster this week if Vince wants to call him up. Based on the way he put over Dream and blew a kiss to the crowd, the idea isn't so absurd. He proved in this match that he's ready for the push. Meanwhile, Dream can go on and have the traditional NXT title reign until he's called up, possibly around SummerSlam.
The Velveteen Dream def. Matt Riddle to retain the NXT North American Championship (3.75 Stars of David)
Kushida was in the front row. They showed a video of him signing.
WWE UK Championship: Pete Dunne (C) vs. WALTER
WALTER dethroned Pete Dunne as the WWE UK Champion, ending a near two-year title reign.
Dunne has been nothing short of phenomenal since he first won the title. Every time a challenger emerged during his reign, they seemed unworthy of winning the title. Well, until WALTER. The Austrian big man was chopping Pierre Carl Ouellet's chest purple at Joey Janela's Spring Break 2 only a year ago. Now, he's the WWE UK Champion.
WALTER's size and thunderous chops are what's talked about most, but during this match he showed exactly what makes him so special. He's a heel through and through. His character forces fans to hate him. And while they may not have wanted Dunne to lost the championship, they certainly understand the shift.
Dunne was no slouch. Both men stretched and bludgeoned one another to the point that legitimate injury was a concern. Dunne fought until the very end, targeting fingers and utilizing more aerial attacks than usual. In the end, WALTER's brute strength proved to be too much for Dunne.
Dunne can now go off to the main roster, where he belongs, and WALTER should be set to lead NXT UK for the next year or so.
WALTER def. Pete Dunne to become the new NXT UK Champion (4.75 Stars of David)
NXT Women's Championship: Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Kairi Sane vs. Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair
Shayna Baszler submitted Bianca Belair in a fatal four way to keep her second title reign alive.
Belair had things all but won with a double KOD on Io Shirai and Kairi Sane. Then, Baszler ran back into the ring and locked in the kirifuda clutch on her. It was rather shocking to see Baszler retain because the three on one mentality seemed to take her out of the match. Of course, that was the swerve.
Shirai and Sane worked together for most of the match, turning on each other when it was only necessary. Ultimately, it was when they focused on one another that they became most vulnerable. Regardless, both women proved they're worthy of a main roster spot. A programme between them and the Boss and Hug Connection would get over well.
Obviously, Baszler is staying in NXT, but what will happen to Belair? They could continue this programme, but it's far more likely she'll be a top contender for the woman who does take down Baszler.
Shayna Baszler submitted Bianca Belair to retain the NXT Women's Championship (3.50 Stars of David)
NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole
Johnny Gargano completed his year-long quest to become NXT Champion.
While it was supposed to be Gargano-Ciampa in the main event, Gargano-Cole proved to be more than an okay substitute. The same energy was in the building as if this were the same blood feud. In a way, Cole was the guy taking Gargano's place with Ciampa injured. But WWE chose to go the same route they would've with Ciampa, putting Gargano over.
Cole got the first fall, setting the stage for a dramatic Gargano comeback. He could've evened things up with a countout, but in true babyface fashion, Gargano stopped the ref's count. Things paid off for him as Cole tapped quickly to the Gargano escape, but it looked like a mistake for a moment.
The last fall wasn't easy. Gargano had to withstand all of Cole's attacks and fight off the rest of the Undisputed, who came out to help their leader when things were all but hopeless for him. This lead to the ref taking a bump and missing Cole tap out to the Gargano escape. A run-in earlier would've felt cheap, but Gargano emerging victorious over four guys this late in the match drew a huge pop.
Cole, of course, got some intense near falls before getting locked into the Gargano escape again. He tapped out and the crowd embraced Johnny Wrestling as their champion.
After the match, Ciampa crept up behind Gargano to give him a hug and raise his arms in victory. It was supposed to play out differently, but this is the scene everyone wanted to see.
Johnny Gargano def. Adam Cole ina 2-out-of-3 falls match to become NXT Champion (5 Stars of David)