NXT North American Championship Qualifying Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Ridge Holland
Interesting clash of styles here. Johnny talks smack and gets overpowered for it but he uses his smarts to send Ridge into the post. Ridge still gets in shots but his arm is heavily damaged. Whenever Johnny gets momentum, Ridge can just send him back. He misses a knee in the corner and spills outside, where Johnny follows with a tope head into the break. Returning, Johnny gets dropped on his head on a powerslam attempt that looks like it might have broken his neck. IHe looks out of it. Johnny then pops out with a superkick for two. Ridge targets the neck and gets two on a powerslam. A battered johnny uses help from Candice LeRae holding Ridge’s leg. He then hits a kick and One Final Beat to advance.
Winner: Johnny Gargano in 12:13 [There’s potential in Holland but he’s clearly still green. Johnny did well to work with him. **1/2]
Dakota Kai vs. Jessi Kamea
Most of this is Dakota being aggressive. Kamea uses her long legs to hit a big kick and corner avalanche but her sliding knee in the corner looks weak. Dakota weathers the storm and wins with the GTK.
Winner: Dakota Kai in 2:56 [The squash it needed to be. NR]
Dakota cuts a post-match promo that everything Io Shirai said last week proves that she’s in her head. Io is focused on the people in Dakota’s past while she’s focused on the future as the new NXT Women’s Champion. As she says she’s going to kick Io in the face over and over, the champion runs out. Dakota doesn’t run but misses her swing and Io beats her up, sending her packing. She follows and continues the assault until Raquel Gonzalez comes from out of nowhere and big boots her down. She carries the champion up the steps and dumps her inside. Io tries to get going but is again taken down by Raquel, who adds a chokeslam.
Tegan Nox is interviewed about what Candice LeRae had to say about her. It took her by surprise since they’ve been friends for a long time. Since she’s the one who apparently causes the rifts in her friendships, she wants to talk it over a glass of wine and fix it.
A Finn Balor vignette runs. He says he’s earned his spot here while Velveteen Dream keeps getting opportunities handed to him. This ends tonight the way it always does. With Finn over.
Breezango and Isaiah Scott vs. Legado Del Fantasma
All six men collide to start, giving this a brawling feel. Things calm down with Breezango working over Wilde. They deliver stereo superkicks after Scott uses a kick to stop a dive, heading into commercial. Returning, Legado del Fantasma get going, working a trio of offense on Fandango, who plays the face in peril. Swerve get the hot tag and continues to cause problems for Escobar. He kicks away at Wilde and Mendoza but comes off the top right into an Escobar pump knee. Swerve catches Escobar with a great move but they missed a Tyler Breeze blind tag. The pin fails because Swerve wasn’t legal. Wilde and Mendoza work tandem offense to take out Swerve. Breeze takes care of them but gets a neck snap and the Phantom Driver to lose.
Winners: Legado del Fantasma in 11:59 [Energetic tag that was fun and filled with action. Just what I wanted. ***]
Pat McAfee arrives with former teammates.
On the TakeOver Pre-Show Saturday, Legado del Fantasma, Breezango and Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch will meet for a shot at the Tag Team Titles.
The Undisputed Era comes out for the Adam Cole/Pat McAfee faceoff. McAfee walks out with 28 years of football experience with him. When Pat says Cole can’t handle a one-on-one, Cole asks UE to leave. So do Pat’s guys but everyone remains at ringside. Pat runs him down for complaining a ton, saying Pat wasn’t special, and being knocked out two weeks ago. Cole was untouchable for over 400 days but Pat could knock him out in a minute. Pat says he’s made over $1 million in seven professions. If he sticks with wrestling, it’ll be eight. He’s sure Cole will throw a temper tantrum after losing. Pat says Cole is great in the ring but Pat will win because he’s above him as a human. He promises to punt him on Saturday and drops the mic. Cole walks forward to talk and officials step in between them. Cole takes them out with various kicks and Pat seems scared. Cole dares Pat to let his boys in the ring but they don’t. Cole gets in Pat’s face and says he will make Pat his bitch. That’s it. No other fluff. This was great.
Aliyah and Mercedes Martinez vs. Rhea Ripley and Shotzi Blackheart
Rhea is aggressive but gets Aliyah instead of Mercedes. She tosses her around with ease before tagging in Shotzi, who comes in hot. A handful of hair helps Aliyah turn the tide and tag in Martinez. She wears down Shotzi going into break. Returning, Shotzi is still in trouble as Martinez beats on her. Shotzi finally manages to make the tag as Aliyah also comes in. Rhea destroys her with dropkicks and slams. She adds the Electric Chair Drop before tagging in Shotzi. Rhea hits Riptide as Shotzi goes up. A Strone distraction allows Martinez to crotch Shotzi. Rhea brings Martinez in but misses in the corner ad hits the post. She still powerbomb Martinez from the apron over the guardrail and onto the concrete. It looked great. Shotzi still hits the senton and wins.
Winners: Rhea Ripley and Shotzi Blackheart in 9:52 [Another good tag as the women of NXT continue to be a highlight. ***]
A video package runs to preview Keith Lee vs .Karrion Kross.
NXT North American Championship Qualifying Match: Finn Balor vs. Velveteen Dream
Finn is the aggressor but Dream is the coky one. Finn gets the upper hand and points the double guns at him. Commercial as Dream takes a powder. Returning, Finn lights him up with chops. Dream takes over and even lets out a howl like he’s Shotzi Blackheart or something. They move to the mat for a bit of work there, with neither man gaining an upper hand. As Dream heads outside, Cameron Grimes comes out to talk smack heading into a second break. Returning, Grimes sat atop a ladder outside while holding the North American Title. He talks trash and Dream keeps stopping to focus on him in between offense. The fight goes outside where Finn stomps on Dream by the ladder. Another Grimes distraction allows Dream to slap Finn on the apron. John Woo dropkick connects but Finn focuses on Grimes and takes a superplex. Johnny Gargano shows up and knocks Grimes’ ladder over, sending him into the referee in the ring. Finn and Dream take turns knocking him out before they collide. Gargano has the title and scatters from the arrival of Bronson Reed. Inside, he also bumps into Damian Priest. Johnny tries to swing but is dumps out by them. Priest takes out Reed and Dream hits both before Finn takes them out with a tope con hilo. Timothy Thatcher arrives and runs over Finn. He sends him in for the Dream Valley Driver and Purple Rainmaker.
Winner: Velveteen Dream in 20:26 [Too long, too dull, and when it wasn’t boring, it was focused on everything else going on. Plus, booking Dream to win with everything surrounding him now is tone deaf. **]
Gargano interrupts the celebration by taking out Dream and picking up the title, only for Cameron Grimes to super kick him. Priest with a move on him and Reed takes him and Dream out. Reed gets to stand tall to close the show.
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