It’s 2019, and the start of the year is always a great time in WWE and NXT, as the Road to Wrestlemania weekend begins at Royal Rumble weekend. Tonight NXT took over Phoenix and matches were as hot as the desert heat. Before I begin with my thoughts on the evening here are the results of Takeover:
-War Raiders defeated Undisputed Era to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions
-Matt Riddle defeated Kassius Ohno
-Johnny Gargano defeated Ricochet to become the new NXT North American Champion
-Shayna Baszler defeated Bianca Belair to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
-Tommaso Ciampa defeated Aleister Black to retain NXT Championship
The opening match of the night was for the NXT Tag Team Championships between the War Raiders and Undisputed Era. The War Raiders got a Triple H like entrance to start the show, which always adds to the element of the entertainment. The early part of the match was dominated by the Undisputed Era and the psychology was perfect for this match. The War Raiders and considerably larger the O’Reilly and Strong, so what better way to get an advantage by taking one of them out. This was incredible storytelling and really told a story of how a tag team match should be. The Undisputed Era have been great tag team champions, but for Strong, O’Reilly and Fish I am not sure where they go from here. Roddy could go back to being a singles star and Adam Cole is already a singles star. It’s one of those wait and see things. We go from War to Bro in a rematch from last Takeover between Matt Riddle and Kassius Ohno. I am so glad that this match lasted longer than a minute this time around, because Ohno is still a great performer. I love how Riddle’s feet were targeted considering he doesn’t wear boots. The finish of this match played right into Riddle’s MMA background as Ohno tapped out to strikes. I hope to see more of those type of finishes from Riddle in the future.
I can tell you as someone who loves these Takeover events, the match I was excited the most about was Johnny Gargano versus Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship. These two brought their A game to this match. It was as entertaining and intense as any match could get. This match was a very early Match of the Year Candidate that honestly could have gone either way. In the end, Johnny Gargano pulled out his inner Tommaso Ciampa to become the new NXT North American Champion. I am genuinely excited for Gargano to have his first singles title under the WWE/NXT umbrella. I hope this is the start of another great run for Johnny Wrestling. Someone who has been off to great a start in their career is Bianca Belair. She finally got put into the spotlight tonight against Shayna Baszler. Belair has had an interesting year but tonight her undefeated streak ended as she passed out to Baszler’s chokehold. My theory for Wrestlemania season was debunked, because I thought for sure Baszler was getting moved up to the main roster to slowly start the two Four Horsewomen stables feud. Even though Belair lost, I think she has a very bright future ahead of her.
In the Main Event, Aleister Black finally got his one on one match for the NXT Championship against Tommaso Ciampa. Black and Ciampa absolutely tore the house down with their match. I really enjoyed how the focus of Ciampa’s attack was on the weapons Black uses to attack. This is another match that could have gone either way. Now that Aleister Black failed to recapture the NXT Championship, one has to what’s next? I personally feel that he has nothing left to prove down in NXT, which means that Raw or Smackdown better beware. With another Takeover in the books it just blows my mind how they keep getting better and better. I usually say the main roster has a lot to live up to, but the Royal Rumble is the only exception. You can’t go wrong with the Royal Rumble. This is not a negative remark on NXT, but the Royal Rumble matches take a lot of pressure off the main roster. Tonight the rumbled at Takeover and now the Road to Wrestlemania weekend begins for NXT.