Tonight was the the thirtieth Takeover event that NXT has held. Even though we are living in unusual times they had another stacked card per usual. This event kicked off Summerslam weekend, which was originally suppose to take place with in Boston. Before we get to the heart of the show, here are the results of Takeover 30:
-Kickoff Show: Breezango defeted Legado del Fantasma and Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch
-Finn Balor defeated Timothy Thatcher
-Damian Priest defeated Johnny Gargano, Cameron Grimes, Bronson Reed, and The Velveteen Dream in a Ladder Match to become the new NXT North American Champion.
-Adam Cole defeated Pat McAfee
-Io Shirai defeated Dakota Kai to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
-Karrion Kross defeated Keith Lee to become the new NXT Champion
The opening match was between Finn Balor and Timothy Thatcher. This match came about because this past Wednesday Thatcher cost Balor a shot at being in the Ladder Match for the North American Championship. Going into tonight, I had a feeling this was going to be a dog fight. Thatcher is a throwback similar to a combination of William Regal and Dean Malenko. He’s also got a very nasty personality that amplifies his in-ring style. Even though Finn Balor won the match, you got to see just how great Thatcher he is and what he’s capable. I feel like Timothy Thatcher has a very bright future in NXT.
Speaking of bright futures. Five men were given the opportunity to become the new NXT North American Champion. Damian Priest, Johnny Gargano, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes and Velveteen Dream. This match had a ton of chaos including Candice Lerae getting involved. Any one of these five could have won the match and would have been deserving of the championship. At the end of the match, it was Damian Priest who stood tall high on the ladder as the new North American Champion. Priest has made strides this year and showed himself as a main event player when took on Finn Balor at Takeover In Your House. I also think Bronson Reed is coming into his own as well. I loved Reed channeling his inner Bam Bam Bigelow with his ring gear tonight. I will be intrigued by what happens next with these five competitors considering all of them performed very well.
One match I was very hesitant about tonight was Pat McAfee versus Adam Cole. It felt like a Vince McMahon move you would see at Wrestlemania. Cole is a word class professional wrestler who has done it all. He has been the face of NXT for well over a year. I knew this was not going to be a five star classic but Pat McAfee really put on a show. I’ve seen Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Greene, Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White all try to get in a wrestling ring but none of them did what Pat McAfee did tonight. I really think if McAfee wanted to wrestle more matches, he absolutely earned that right and opportunity tonight.
Nine months ago, Dakota Kai turned heel on her best friend Tegan Nox and it was one of the things that could have happened to her. So many have tried to follow the character that Bayley once had and it doesn’t work anymore. Even Bayley had to turn heel to refuel her career and dominate Smackdown. It’s taken Io Shirai to get to where she is but ever since she’s been NXT Women’s Champion she has turned up another level. This was a hard fought match between both women. It’s just another shining example of how great the NXT Women’s Division. It has a ton of depth and a ton of talent. At any given time, we can see a new challenger emerge and it wouldn’t be a surprise. After Shirai retained the title, Rhea Ripley showed up to save her from a beat down and seemingly set her sights back on the NXT Women’s Champion. Look for a showdown between Ripley and Shirai at some point.
The Main Event was for the NXT Championship with Keith Lee defending against Karrion Kross. I really feel NXT booked themselves into a bad position with this match. If Karrion Kross would have lost then critics would have said they squashed his momentum. Now that Keith Lee has lost, he was nothing more than a transitional champion. I have a gut feeling Vince McMahon wants Lee on Raw or Smackdown. He got his one big moment being a double champion and now it’s his time to shine elsewhere. This match went a lot longer then I thought. We saw a lot more out of Karrion Kross tonight than we have in his previous matches. With Kross as champion, it will be interesting to see what challengers come his way. These two monsters went to war, but it still doesn’t eliminate the fact this match happened way too soon. As I said, Keith Lee is going to Raw or Smackdown.
Some other notes from tonight’s show are that Corey Graves was commentating in absence of Mauro Ranallo. It was also announced that NXT UK would return on September 17th and Tommaso Ciampa is returning to NXT this coming Wednesday. Both announcements will give their respective brands a much needed boost. NXT Takeover 30 was great from start to finish. Even the Kickoff Show match was awesome. I am going to give NXT Takeover and 8.5 out of 10. I don’t like that the Tag Team Championships and the Cruiserweight Championship hasn’t been defending on a Takeover in quite some time. Those two divisions need some attention and focus again. NXT was on fire tonight in more ways than one. They brought the heat on this Summerslam weekend and we will be feeling the effects from this Takeover for quite awhile.