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Take on a TakeOver - Review an NXT TakeOver thread

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11 minutes ago, gmoney said:

Are we waiting until every event has been assigned, or can we post them whenever? Mine's basically done. 

Go ahead sir. Same goes for all - if your reviews are ready then go ahead and post. We’ll assign the rest at a later date. 

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Takeover Philadelphia January 27, 2018

Percy Watson is in for Nigel McGuinness. Oh great. 

AOP with Paul Ellering vs Undisputed Era (Kyle O Riley and Bobby Fish) (C) for the NXT Tag Team Championship

This feels like an age ago. No mention of Roderick Strong, so this is pre Fish injury and him joining them. AOP clobber them to start and they look hard as fuck. O Riley tries to use his speed and kicking ability, but gets banged for his trouble. He tries some MMA submission attempts while on the ground, but he can’t get anything on the big lads. Fish comes in and gets caught early, so the heels decide fuck this off and try to walk off, but they don’t even get to the aisle before they get banged again. Money Inc used to at least get near the curtain. Fish gets a wheelbarrow into the guardrail. A knee from the top rope sees Akam land awkwardly and injure his leg. Fish smells blood and takes him out from the apron. UE take over with their kicks and strikes. One legged Akam fights valiantly, but they keep the heat. O Riley’s submissions now have some bite, and Akam has to fight to the rope, rather than power out like before. The highlight from the heat; a schoolyard ‘kneel behind the guy/push onto arse’ straight  into a leg lock. Fish hits Rezar on the apron, but eats a body drop for hot tag, Rezar goes wild. He does a fall-away slam to O’Riley with Fish on his back, which gets a 2. However, Akam is still out so it’s 1 on 2, and O Riley manages to get the upper hand on Rezar this time. Doesn’t last long thought and one legged Akam is back. Suddenly though he’s caught in a leg lock and Fish is on the back of the other one, it doesn’t look good for them until he flips Fish onto the pair of them to break it up. More kicks but Akam hulks up and overhead suplexes O Riley, and punches Fish very very hard off of the apron. Vader would have been proud of that one. The go for the Super collider, but Akam’s knee gives out and he gets a hurrucarana for his weakness. He takes it the way you only would if you were setting something up, i.e. he doesn’t flip he goes straight forward like a bull and crashes into his partner, then he gets rolled up for the 3. Good story, good action. O Riley hasn’t quite become the arch dickhead that I love yet, but some flashes of twatishness.  

Asking Alexandria are doing the official theme tune. It’s absolutely dreadful. War Machine are in the crowd. This really feels like a lot longer ago than 2 years.

Kassius Ohno vs Velveteen Dream

VD has guaranteed a 30 second knock out for this bout. He’s beautifully dressed as boxer. He’s got a lady with him, who I don’t think we ever see again. A massive bloke has a mouthguard on a cushion for him. Ohno comes out and looks abysmal. He’s in a shirt and pants so you can see his cottage cheese arse, everything about him looks naff and grim. Compared to VD he’s like slimy cat shit. Dream goes in swinging immediately, flooring him as promised, however instead of a pin he wants a ten count, which you usually don’t get in wrestling. I’ve have seen it though. He gives KO a chance to recover from the KO, and gets a crack to the jaw himself. Mouthguard goes and everything. He gets back in control though, because Ohno is shit, and beats him down for a while, while KO  gurns unpleasantly. Dream is playing heel, but the people love him. How can you not? We end up with a slugfest and Kassius uses his mass for an advantage. Backpocket DDT looks a bit fucked up, and a death valley driver also looks a bit fucked up. Rolling death valley driver looks a bit fucked up. I’m tempted to blame the guy who is an out of shape mess here. Dream gets the win with his elbow drop. If you had asked me to remember what happened in this match before I watched it again, I would have said “Dream knocked him out in 30 seconds and won.” I wish that was what they did do, instead we saw far too much of Ohno.

We see the Liberty Bell, that Muhammad Ali put a crack in, according to the theme tune of his cartoon.

Shayna Baszler vs Ember Moon (C) for the NXT Women's Championship

It seems to be the thing to do to slag off Baszler these days, but I thought she was fantastic from the get go in NXT. Natural heel and carried herself like someone from day one. I remember liking Ember as well, but her mic skills leave a lot to be desired in the pre-match promo. Presumably that was the best stuff of the feud as well. Ember has baby blue contacts. Who talked her into that? Sure sign she’s dropping this belt. Lots of heat for Shayna as smacks fuck out of Ember. She makes a comeback with a ring dive, lots of impact there. Didn’t do much though as Shayna goes back to kicking the shit out of her and standing on her fingers. She does the arm breaker spot and puts her in an arm lock, wrenching it about and driving her knee into it. More arm and joint manipulation. People used to pay a lot for videos like this in the back of Bizarre. The champ fights back with one arm, but can’t put Baszler away. She hits the Eclipse with one arm, but her arm is so bollixed that she can’t get a pin. Medical crew come down which draws boos because the crowd think this is going to get called off. She’s back in the fight though, but gets caught in an armbar. It’s tense, but she gets to the rope. She’s dragged away and gets caught in it again. Lots of near tapping, rolling around and it seems like they are just delaying the inevitable, but Moon rolls Shayna onto her shoulders and gets the pin! The baby blues were a red herring! No memory of this finish either, in my mind Shayna was undefeated until she dropped the title. Celebrations are short lived though as on her way out Moon is blindsided and gets put in the Gary Fuji clutch. I enjoyed this.

Ricochet is shown the crowd. Nice suit.

Aleister Black vs Adam Cole Extreme Rules match

I think this match as the spot that made me appreciate that Adam Cole was more than just an indyriffic spot monkey, which is ironic as this is a bit of a weapons based spo-fest if I remember rightly. They battle for a while, and Black does his chilled out hardman routine, getting a chair off of Cole and taking the opportunity to sit on it, rather than his usual cross legged bit. Good spot. They get some plunder from under the ring, they both end up with Kendo sticks. Black decides he can get the upper hand without one though, causing Cole to call him stupid, before Black avoids his swings and kicks shit out of him. He goes for a rope-assisted moonsault, but gets caught in the fucking belly with a big swing of a stick. Looked brutal. Stick assisted backstabber gets a 2. Cole sets up a table outside and tries to suplex Black from the inside onto it, but doesn’t get it. Blood is coming from somewhere, I think Cole’s hand. Maybe from setting the table. Black sets up another table next to the other one. This is a bit fucking silly, as he’s clearly setting up a set piece for later. A ladder comes into the mix. Cole now looks like he’s dipped his hand in ketchup. Black lobs AC arse first into the ladder and the medics take this opportunity to try and clean his hand up a bit with tape. They continue to battle, and Black wants to Pillmanize his head, which would kill Cole, but gets a chair assisted superkick instead, and falls into the tables he luckily had prepared earlier. Here it comes. Cole gets the notion to set up two chairs in the middle of the ring, so he can slam Aleister onto them. He gives the chairs a look and smiles at them, happy with his diabolical plan. He looks at the prone Black, and then slowly back at the chairs, another thought forming in his mind. He rotates the chairs so the backs are together, forming a terrible spike. So delighted is he with this extra evil twist, he grins to himself and evilly strokes the steel. However, before he can finish the job, and break his opponent in two, Black recovers, hoists him on his shoulders and FU’s him onto the backs of the chairs. Now, that is a fucking stupid spot, and I’m amazed Cole isn’t crippled. However, that build up was 24 carat gold. That turned me on this guy. Here come Fish and O Reilly though, and they take out Black and drag him by the legs to the announcers table. Sanity make a save though. Sanity? I guess this was near a War Games or something. Fat lad Killian Dane wipes the run in boys with a dive to the outside. Cole attempts to suplex black through the desk, but ends up taking a double knee drop through it. That looked fantastic. Black’s got a nasty bloody graze on his back. Back in the ring Black eats a superkick, but Cole’s too knackered to do much about it. He makes it to his feet with a chair but gets a Black Mass and gets pinned for the 3 count. This was a lot of fun, better than in my memory.    

EC3 in the crowd. A shame Vince apparently hates him, I think he’s great.

Andrade “Cien” Almas (C) vs Gargano for the NXT Championship

So from the video, Johnny’s been on a losing streak (I think this is after an aborted heel turn? Hard to remember because this tale got quite convoluted) but he turned it around and earned a title shot. Even though there’s been a few of wrong turns in his NXT career, I still find him to be a great babyface. Very likeable. Andrade’s got a masked mariachi band. Excellent. He comes out with his own mask before taking it off. Must be a Killer Bees mark. He looks shit hot. The challenger comes out last. His theme is total dogshit shit. He’s got a nice face though. They do some of that amateur/technical stuff early, and it looks good. Both guys are evenly matched. Candice LeRae is shown in the crowd, apparently she is a recent signing. More wrestling where no one gets the upper hand, before Gargano finally uses his superior skills to take the advantage briefly. The end up outside and this time neither can do any flippy shit, because the other has it scouted, but Johnny does a somersault and lands like a big slab of gammon when he misses.  At some point Andrade goes to do that dumb move that Alberto Del Rio used to do when the other guy is in the tree of woe, but he actually holds Johnny in place by the arm, and when he has to let go, Gargano moves. Good. That’s exactly how that would go. Johnny overhead belly to bellys him into the turnbuckle, which looks brutal. He gets a 2 count with a top rope spinning hug, which looks better than it sounds. Another 2 count with a slingshot spear. When Almasis back on top, he does a moonsault which Johnny avoids, but immediately does a standing moonsault. They begin to trade near-falls, then slap each other at the same time and both collapse. Imagine if you saw that in a pub. Gargano tries a sunset flip from the top rope, but Almasdoesn’t go over and drives his knees into his head. He gets a run up to do it again with velocity, Johnny moves and goes for a slingshot spear, he’s caught and driven into the mat, dragged up for an inverted tornado DDT for a near fall. It’s breathless stuff. You can imagine some of the older guys shaking their heads. “Slow down, brother.” They crowd are going insane though. After a double down, they’re slugging each other with proper strikes, not wet slaps and Johnny gets a DDT onto the apron, drags him in the ring for a near-fall. The story throughout the match is that every time one of them gets on top, they’re countered pretty swiftly, because they’re both so evenly matched. A superkick out of nowhere gets another near fall for Johnny, and they end up tangled in the corner. Gargano is the that shitty Del Rio move position again, except this time he’s on the outside of the ring and if he lets go, he’ll smash his head on the apron. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Almas gets it this time. He also gets the running knee strike in the corner. He doesn’t get a 3. Johnny’s doing the old Randy Orton concussion selling, but he can still throw a punch. A weak superkick turns Andrade around, leaving him open for a reverse frankensteiner, then he runs at him for some reason, gets caught in a tilt-a-whirl, but manages to lock in the Gargano Escape. If that sounds a bit confusing to read, it was to watch as well. Now Vega distracts the ref, and after Johnny ends up outside, she hits him with a hurricanrana. Hammerlock DDT for the super-near fall. Almas wants to cry. Johnny rolls all the way to the outside and Vega strides over with purpose, but she’s intercepted by Candice LaRae! Feel good moment right there. She pastes her and they brawl off into the crowd. Gargano Escape, and no Vega to rescue him, but Almas gets to the rope with the toe of his boot. They’re both on the apron, groggy as fuck. Andrade pushes Johnny back and he cracks his head on the ring post. Andrade knows what to do! Running knee smash into the post. Looked incredibly brutal, and made me think of Ed Leslie and the parasailing accident. In my memory that was the finish, but he pulls him up and does a draping hammerlock DDT for the win and retains the belt. It’s a bit of a flat ending, one; because the knee smash should have been the last move, and two; because once Candice took out Vega, you would have thought Johnny Gargano would win given the even odds, but he ends up losing pretty clean. I watched it with my old housemate at the time and he was very deflated by it, after being on the edge of his seat throughout. No amount of me saying stuff like “he put up a good fight though” would convince him that Gargano didn’t come off looking like a gimp.  As he sadly looks into the crowd, a returning Chiampa brains him with a crutch and looks on as they go off the air. Yeah, why didn’t they have him interfere in the match? That makes it even odder. Feels like they had a better story in their back pocket.  Oh well!

Overall this was a very fun watch, which I knew it would be, but not blow-away like some of them have been. No matches felt like false finish overkill, which was nice and I definitely got a sense of that with later ones. It felt a hell of a lot longer ago than 2 years though. Time moves fast in developmental. Another thing, the commentary made absolutely no impression on me throughout. That’s not a good thing, but it’s not a bad thing either. When I saw Percy Watson my heart sank, but really he was absolutely fine.

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NxT_Takeover.jpg

The first-ever NXT Takeover took place in May 2014 at Full Sail, just two months after WrestleMania 30. I don’t remember ever watching this in full, as I think I began to watch NXT properly the following year, but I’ve definitely seen the women’s championship match. Let’s see if I missed anything else.

On commentary were Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and William Regal, who introduced himself with a cheeky “hello!” and could be seen dancing away at the desk after the first match. Which was a huge one.

The show kicks off with Adam Rose and his Rosebuds entering the arena from outside, heading to the ring for the opening contest. Some of those trailing behind Rose included Braun Strowman, Becky Lynch, and the twat from the Vaudevillains.

Adam Rose took on Camacho, who was released from the company just a couple of weeks after this. Camacho, whose career highlight was probably getting beat up alongside a bunch of other people by the Undertaker and Kane at Raw 1000, was not happy with Rose having fun at his job. But Rose couldn’t help himself. He was loving it.

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After a minute or so of comedy, a beatdown, then a quick comeback, Adam Rose was your victor after 5 minutes. A Takeover classic.

After Rose and his gang fuck off back to their bus, we go back to the ring to Eden Stiles. Eden who?

Eden Stiles! Whatever happened to her? What a babe.

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She even still has her own WWE profile page: WWE.com Eden profile

However, on this show, I thought she looked so BORED.

Next up, we get The Ascension against Kalisto and… El Local?? Who the hell is this?

06_EL_LOCALE_05262014sb_00060--27c3b6cdb

I had to search for El Local online, and lo and behold it’s Ricardo Rodriguez, the personal ring announcer of Alberto del Rio!

El Local was released about two months after this show. Judging by this match, it’s no surprise. It was a quick 6-minute tag, but El Local seemed sloppy. He almost stomped on Kalisto’s face jumping into the ring after the hot tag, flailed a nasty-looking kick at one of the Ascension lads, and almost missed completely with a jumping slingshot… thing off the ropes. The Ascension quickly took advantage and smashed them up. Entirely forgettable.

Next up is Tyler Breeze vs Sami Zayn, in a number one contendership match. There’s a fun pre-match video package, highlighting that Sami is struggling to win matches. Tyler Breeze is great getting his character over in this. I always thought he was a decent hand. The match was good also.

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At 16 minutes or so, it didn’t outstay its welcome. And there was a unique ending that I didn’t see coming - Sami went to hit the Helluva Kick, but Breeze put his fists up across his face in an X shape to protect his beautiful face and Sami basically went balls first into said fists. One Beauty Shot spinning heel kick later, and Tyler Breeze became the number one contender!

WWE has actually provided the last two minutes of the match here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jjda9pO1PfE

Before the next match, the Ravishing Russian Lana comes out and introduces her main squeeze, Rusev! He comes out waving his flag around, then Mojo Rawley comes out with an American flag! And hilariously, even though this was six years ago, even back then Mojo was treated like a pure loser. Rusev battered him immediately. Good stuff.

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I could not find a photo online but shown in the crowd was KRIS KRISTOFFERSON! A bit mad I thought, at first. The country singer-songwriter has a special place in my heart as he was the star in 1978 movie Convoy, a film about trucks just moving along on the motorway, one after the other. Honestly, it’s great. My wee brother, who wanted to be a trucker like our dad, would put this on all the time, using a thing called a video cassette. I preferred to watch Twins, but oh well. But there’s no mistaking that the theme tune to Convoy is amazing.

Convoy by C.W. McCall

Anyways it turned out Kris’ son Jody was in NXT for a little bit at the time.

Paige here! The new WWE Divas Champion returned to NXT to show off her belt. Beating AJ Lee on her Raw debut just prior to this, then-NXT General Manager JBL stripped Paige (just of her belt, not anything else) and put the NXT gold on the line in a tournament, with the final taking place RIGHT NOW! Oh, and already I don't remember a thing Paige said.

Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs Natalya (w/Bret Hart)

It’s a 17-minute match and it’s not bad. I just don’t get invested in any Natalya stuff. I don’t know - I’ve always wanted to like her, there’s just something off or missing all the time. So yeah it’s a good exhibition of what the women can do, but it’s nothing special, especially when you compare it to upcoming NXT battles involving the likes of Sasha Banks and Bayley.

Bret Hart and Ric Flair don’t do much during the bout, but having them there of course helps the match have a big-time feel. Charlotte and Natalya trade some submissions towards the end, especially a back-and-forth figure four, and I don’t think Charlotte had the figure-eight yet because she escaped the submission attempts and finished Nattie off with Natural Selection. We have a new Women’s Champion, and Charlotte better start getting used to carrying those heavy belts around…

nxt-takeover-charlotte-ric-flair.jpg

Tyson Kidd v Neville

Your main event, for the NXT Championship, is between champion Adrian Neville and Hart member Tyson Kidd. A video package shows how we got here, with Neville successfully defending the gold against Bo Dallas, before winning a mini-feud with Brodus Clay (although Neville got a few teeth knocked out in the process). Now we have Tyson Kidd, in what they say is maybe his last chance for a title and an opportunity to get back to the main roster. Neville does his best to put over Kidd as a danger to his title reign. I’m not buying it though.

Tyson and Natalya have an awkward embrace before Tyson heads out to the ring, and this one is on. 

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Quick highlights of the match are below, including an impressive jumping-middle-rope-Russian-leg-sweep thing, top rope huricanranna, and some other flippy stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAtFCKX5gmY

Ultimately, Neville retains the gold with his superb Red Arrow finish. A decent 20-minute match. Again, I was just not that invested in Tyson Kidd, but it was interesting to see Neville at this point in his career. It’s obvious he’s a machine, they just gotta get the character to shine through.

And that was that. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch any of this again, and it must be very low down on the Takeover list, but it wasn’t offensive. There was a buzz about the show, the fans were supportive, it was nice to have Regal on commentary (although I hate Saxton’s over-the-top enthusiasm, bloody hell there’s been six years of this!)

As an aside, in case anyone is still unaware, the WWE Network is currently offering free access to every single NXT Takeover show, along with a bunch of other WWE pay-per-views, and the Ruthless Aggression series, which I'm working through now, it's worth a watch. Stay safe everyone :)

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Just been furloughed so have done this to try and take my mind off it.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, I attended this live in what was my first ever wrestling show in the flesh! What I didn’t mention though, was that I’ve actually already done a write up of this TakeOver for the forum already, posting a review literally the day after it happened (eat it Meltzer).

I’ve watched the show in full again just now, which I think is for the first time since being there on the night. Therefore, I’m going to be casting 2020 eyes on not only on the wrestling itself, but my own UKFF write up of the show as well, in order to find out what I make of both things five years on. Enjoy!

------

2015: Having attended last night’s show and then my work Christmas party I’ve spent a very hungover morning writing this up, it’s long but I hope you guys enjoy it.

2020: Heh, alcohol – classic. No change there in the last five years.

2015: A quick scan of the ticket and a pat-down later I bought a couple of pints of Fosters (£5 each) and made my way to my seat, six rows from the front with a superb view of the ring although the entrance way was a bit out of sight.

2020: Fosters? Ergh. I tried but couldn’t see myself in any of the footage on the Network unfortunately.

2015: In terms of the card:

Tag team opener was decent, Jordan and Gable were the stars of the show and got the Yaya/Kolo Toure chant in addition to “we want Jordan/Gable” whenever neither of them were in the ring. They need a bit of fine-tuning but I can’t wait until they get called-up as I can see them being main-eventers in the future.

Bullfit v Elias. “You’re a hipster” chants were richly deserved, the Macho Man elbow didn’t seem like it was going to be the finish and a few people were surprised it was over so quickly. I guess they’re pushing this guy.

2020: These matches were on the pre-show so weren’t part of the main card on the Network and I couldn’t watch them again, but I remember how fucking OVER Jordan and Gable were. If you’d have told me Jordan would be Kurt Angle’s storyline son a few years later it would’ve got me very excited and led me to believe he’d be doing huge things in 2020. Not really turned out like that has it? Elias looks like he stinks currently so can’t imagine why this would’ve been different in 2015.

I don't recall Motorhead's Ace of Spades being used as the theme song for this, its cool though, and much better than the "IT COULDA BEEN MEEEEEE" tune they also lined up as an official theme.

2015: Asuka v Evil Emma – A great effort, I didn’t think Emma had it in her but she was taking Asuka’s wicked offence like a soldier. Asuka did a lot of screaming and shouting towards our section and got a good response from the crowd in doing so. She has an awesome look.

2020: This was a good watch, Asuka’s offence looked brutal at times, have to admit I enjoyed Emma heeling it up and wouldn’t mind her seeing her back in either AEW or WWE at all. I wouldn’t mind her front either (sorry for the Lawler/Boydy).

2015: Tag titles match – How over are Enzo and Cass? Christ it was like the second coming. I sincerely hope that Big Cass chant to Hey Jude follows him back to Full Sail and beyond, loved the little touches on their outfits too especially London Bridge on Amore’s trunks. Dawson (or is it Dash?) reminds my mate of Perry Saturn, not sure on that shout myself.

2020: With hindsight Enzo and Cass have probably fallen the furthest out of anyone on this card. I don’t think it was known what a gobshite Enzo was by this point and Cass hadn’t discovered Krispy Kreme burgers yet, they’re with Carmella which I’d completely forgotten about somehow. She’s done the best out of all of them which would’ve been very weird to hear back then. Their entrance and pre-match promo (everyone goes nuts for Enzo having, and referencing, a Pound coin) was very good though and you could see why they were so over, charisma overload.

The match itself was decent, some good NXT Formula tag fare which I always enjoy, loads of football chants including the one I referenced above, which did not catch on in the States or elsewhere if I remember rightly. Dawson and Dash retain thanks to some Cheat 2 Win, the crowd aren’t wankers and don’t cheer the heels retaining.

One last thing on this, Carmella looks like she got her hat (a red pleather baseball cap with a Union flag on it) from one of those PRIDE OF LONDON gift shops in Covent Garden, not exactly “fabulous”.

2015: Corbin v Crews was the disappointment of the night, the match didn’t get going. Crews has wicked offense and a great look but is missing that “X” factor, I hope he can find it. Corbin is boring and got a LOT of swear words aimed him but he made a point of brushing them off with gestures and staring daggers at the neckbeards. His tattoos look worse in person than on telly.

2020: This was boring then and it is boring now, Corbin still sucks, and I can’t believe he’s got a match with Smelly Elias on a two-day WrestleMania that will have an attendance figure of 0. That would sound mental in 2015 or even two months ago but hey, thanks Coronavirus… Next!

2015: Jax v Bayley – Jax’s music sounded great over the arena sound system. I liked the story of this match, Nia is about twice the width of Bayley and I was actually struggling to imagine how Bayley could win. I don’t think they’ve built Nia that well, it’s just she’s massive and looks mean. Bayley adding a bit of steel and nous (ie, hang in there and hook this hold in as many times as I can until it works) is going to add layers to her character that she’ll need. She also seems like such a sweetheart, no wonder she’s over – her entrance had me clapping like a seal, I was giddy!

2020: Nia’s entrance jacket is pretty sweet and Bayley is over like rover, I remember clapping like a seal as I mentioned above, and in hindsight she was probably my favourite person on this card. I remember punching the air a few months later having come in from a night out when she beat Sasha in Brooklyn (can’t wait to see the UKFF’s review of that one) which is a testament to how over she was.

The match here was a bit plodding but told a simple story, giant versus smaller underdog was the right move here. The finish does a good job of protecting Nia too who would go on to big things, and who is an example of a decent success story from NXT really. The atmosphere is incredible all night but in this match in particular I think, the variety and volume in the chants is again more football than wrestling. Many of us love to self-flagellate and get annoyed with each other but I do think UK people just “get” how to create an atmosphere and enjoy ourselves at shows like this, the talent looked chuffed whenever they got a chant and I’m all for it.

Two hindsighty notes before the main event - Nia’s theme music is still on my gym playlist, and I got to meet Bayley in Orlando when I went to WrestleMania 33, and she remains the only wrestler I’ve ever met. She was lovely.

2015: Joe v Balor – Just a superb back and forth match, their blows were incredibly stiff – you could see the sweat fly off them each time a chop landed. Joe looks hard AF in real life. Can’t wait to see Finn’s entrance on TV.

2020: Joe does indeed look like a double hard bastard, even when he’s wearing “yer da’s” WWE branded black polo in the video package. This beef doesn’t come across as personal as they’re trying to make it, but this may be because I’m not in the moment. Finn’s entrance was cool, they got it right here when they definitely didn’t in Dallas in 2016 which I remember actually laughing at. The NXT belt they use is here is a lot better than the current one – the centre plate is lovely big golden “X”. It just occurred to me it must have been really cool for those long-time ROH/TNA fans to see Joe in a main event of a WWE show like this.

Finn looks muscular but still feels about half the size of Joe – it’s a bit weird, but once they get going you can definitely get into this and it doesn’t particularly look a mismatch. This develops into a right hard-hitter as I mentioned above, something akin to a modern NJPW match, and is free of the finisher spam fests that have become a bit of a hallmark of NXT in recent years. Balor wins via coupe de grace after escaping a couple of Joe’s coquina clutch attempts and avoiding a muscle buster off the top. Good match, good show – except for Baron fucking Corbin. 

I had a few other things to say about the crowd and my Christmas party in my 2015 post, as well as the fact I missed Sami Zayn’s return, but I basically used a lot of words to explain the atmosphere was ace and I had a good night out with my work lot, so I’ve left it out :D. I had fun here though and watching it brought back some nice memories, I would love to go to another one of these one day whether that's here or in the US (I went to TakeOver: Orlando too but I think this was more enjoyable) and look forward to the day it comes.

Edited by Otto Dem Wanz

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Great reviews so far guys. Will update the OP with links tomorrow. My own entry is about 70% there and I’m off tomorrow for the first time in over a fortnight so I have more time to get it over the line. Keep ‘em coming. 

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                                        takeover-chicago.jpg.941342783cd41c636c593ecb5f3c3e9a.jpg

(20/5/2017)

Right, this is my thread and I’m going to cheat slightly. Not out of laziness, but rather appreciation. 

Because while there isn’t a bad match on the show - one bout in particular stands head and shoulders above the rest. Not just from this TakeOver, not just from any WWE show in 2017…Because from a pure in-ring perspective, I genuinely believe this one match I’m referring to is one of WWE’s best of the last decade. 

Yes, Roderick Strong’s opener with Eric Young was perfectly serviceable, and Asuka did what Asuka did best in her triple threat with Ruby Riott and Nikki Cross by making a match appealing despite the lack of credible challengers for her by this point. Bobby Roode retained the NXT title in a solid if unspectacular affair with Hideo Itami (who never reached such heights in NXT again). DIY vs AOP in the main event is also a banger - though not on the level of other NXT tag title matches, and the match itself is overshadowed by the surprise heel turn at the conclusion. 

But in this humble poster’s opinion, this is a one match show. 

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The Big Strong Boy. The Bruiserweight. 'Kin 'ell! 

The opening package features footage from the Norwich tapings, immediately making it one of the best packages they ran that year. While you're watching this back, keep in mind that Dunne is just 23 years old here. As for Bate? He was 20. Fucking 20!

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They don’t swan about, sliding right into some chain wrestling with a noticeable flair. They’ve been going less than a minute and the show is already the #1 worldwide Twitter trend. That’s how good it is already. 

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Pete bends up his foe like he’s playing with a Stretch Armstrong, before Bate recovers and sends him packing. They spar on the outside before Bate leaps into Dunne with a spinning uppercut off the stairs - a bit like the one D’Von Dudley used to do when he needed to add a singles move to his arsenal to make it look like he did anything other than get tables and do part of a flapjack, only better. Dunne retorts by nailing Bate with an X-Plex and the poor champ lands on the apron with authoritah. Chicago loves them some Bruiserweight and he’s eating it up. 

They grimly cut to a close up as Dunne bends Bate’s fingers and makes them more closely resemble Quavers. He then just leathers Bate and kicks him in the head repeatedly. But this just awakens Bate’s babyface fire, as he catches Dunne, scoops him up and hits a delayed Xploder suplex. Oooooossssh.

Bate charges at Petey with a couple of European uppercuts in the corner. Before he can do it a third time, Dunne charges at him like he’s Gordon with the express and nails an enziguri. He tries for another X-Plex, but Bate lands on his feet and hits a standing shooting star press while Dunne lies stomach first on the mat. We’ve barely started and we’ve had chain wrestling, brawling and flippy do’s. Variety is truly the spice of life. Bate quickly shows off his strength AGAIN with a delayed backdrop suplex for two. 

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Pete teases us with a bit of nipple as we wind down from an intriguing first act. We hear the first NXT chants of the match - a standard reaction and occurrence on an NXT card to the point where the audience chants almost by default rather than out of spontaneous delirium. However, this is then quickly taken over by ‘UK! *clap clap* UK! *clap clap*’ chants. A feat in itself considering NXT UK had only ran a few shows by this point, and our two combatants hadn’t appeared many times in the regular NXT prior to this. 

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The velocity ramps up now, as Bate tries another standing SSP only to land straight into a triangle choke, where Dunne batters him with rights and elbows. Bate though powers out, showing off leg strength not seen since Famke Janssen in Goldeneye, and hits a makeshift powerbomb. Dunne was initially the crowd favourite, but Bate has won over the locals with his sizeable cojones. He then busts out an airplane spin and defies science by making time stand still as the crowd - and not for the first time - really start to lose their minds over this. 

Bate goes for a German, but Dunne lands on his feet. Bate tries to charge him, ducks a clothesline and leaps off the top rope, but Dunne yells  ‘…’AVE THIS’ and TWATS Bate on the way down, then nails him with some kind of delicious looking suplex into a powerbomb for a near fall. Look at Dunne’s reaction….

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…And look at the crowd reaction. 

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A standing O, and deservedly so. 

Next comes another superb sequence. They catch their breath and continue to land blows on the mat, before they rise to their feet and just unload on each other with frantic lefts and rights, and the crowd is going INSANE by this point. 

They trade blows again, bringing their fucking dinner in the process. Bate with a rolling spin kick. Dunne with a penalty kick, which Bate then rolls out from and charges into his springboard clothesline, which Dunne sells like he’s been rammed at both ends on the dodgems and forgot to put on his seatbelt, and the crowd stands AGAIN because this match is absolutely fucking brilliant. 

Bate goes for the Tyler Driver, Dunne counters and tries for the Bitter End, only for Bate to drop him with a DDT that looked so good it made my perineum jump. Extra gold star for Bate there selling the wrist from Dunne’s earlier tomfoolery during the initial Tiger Driver attempt. 

We’ve had everything you could possible want from a myriad of styles in a wrestling match except for high-flying. So of course Bate does a moonsault to the outside, then chucks Dunne back in and hits corkscrew 450 splash on him, landing right on his cock, for two. Yeeeerrrsss. Another standing ovation as the crowd realises how sick this is. 

Bate goes to the well once more and goes for an Undertaker-dive to the outside, but Dunne dodges and lays him out on the way down. Back in, Bitter End, job done. Lovely stuff. 

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Quite simply, that was liquid wrestling. A match that had everything and two young, hungry Brits that produced some absolutely liquid wrestling. Just brilliant bell to bell. It drew some strong praise from the wrestling fraternity on the night, and it still holds up well three years on. 

He's not wrong. 

Other brief observations

The promos in the opening montage are so wooden. Even though this was almost three years ago the standard in NXT in particular has gone way up in that regard.

Rocket League are the principal sponsor. Is that still a thing? 

I think I’ve already become pre-conditioned to the Covid-19 era shows, because watching shows now in front of packed crowds already feels really strange for some reason. My brain has accepted the new normal. 

Interestingly (or, rather, quite uninterestingly), Chris Jericho’s AEW theme is also one of the themes for this show. INTERTEXTUALITY. 

It's a great show as with most TakeOvers, but the Bate/Dunne bout remains my favourite since Rock/Austin at Wrestlemania X7. 

Edited by Fatty Facesitter

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Such a great match. I'd forgotten all about it! Might put it on this afternoon. 

Will be watching my shows over the weekend. 

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