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Kevin’s NXT TakeOver: Toronto Review

August 10, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Shayna Baszler NXT
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Kevin’s NXT TakeOver: Toronto Review  

We open on a shot of the stage. The lights go out and we get a video package set to the show’s theme song. Oddly, it’s the same video package that ended the pre-show and we see it from the perspective of a fan watching on the tron.

NXT Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits [c] vs. The Undisputed Era

Original Toronto Raptors colors for the Profits tonight. Dawkins starts with Kyle. Split crowd but I’d say a bit more Undisputed. Kyle kicks Dawkins and calls him a joke. Dawkins aggressively threatens him in the corner and then playfully pats him on the head. Kyle slaps him. Dawkins manhandles Kyle on the mat. Shoulder black by Dawkins but Kyle goes to the leg and tags Fish who enters with a series of right hands. Dawkins leaps over him and turns him inside out with a shoulder block. Tag to Ford for a dropkick. Wrist lock, tag to Dawkins, and he comes off the middle rope with an axe handle to the forearm. Wrist lock and tag to Ford for the same move but with an elbow instead of an axe handle. They trade strikes but Fish uses a kick to gain control. Tag to Kyle as Ford is sent outside. Ford sneaks in and fights off both men but a forearm from behind puts him down. They go into a quick exchange that Ford wins out on and ends up sending both men outside with a dropkick. Profits hit the World’s Greatest Tag Team signature move and then a tandem flapjack on Fish. Dawkins gets his neck snapped on the top rope. Ford is kicked in the leg and lands hard on the apron. Kyle makes Dawkins chase him but eats an uppercut. Fish is hung out dry. Discus splash in the corner but Fish takes Dawkins down. Now UE isolate Dawkins in the corner. Quick tags and keeping Dawkins grounded is the strategy. Kyle lays into Dawkins with mounted forearms. They trade shots until Kyle kicks Angelo to the mat. Fish enters but misses a cheap shot on Ford. That allows him to get taken out and Dawkins makes the hot tag. Ford enters, leaps over everything in sight and hits a back suplex into a front roll into a standing moonsault for two. Spinebuster and Ford busts out the People’s Elbow but Kyle cuts it off by grabbing his leg. Ford sends FIsh out onto him and then takes out Kyle with a PK. Fish eats a Rock Bottom inside for a near fall. The challengers take over and hit their lungblower/wheelbarrow suplex combo for two. Ford gets set up on the top. Fish wants a superplex but it is blocked and he is slapped to the mat. Kyle is kicked away. Fish kicks his legs out as he stands up top. Fish with an avalanche Exploder. Kyle comes off with a diving knee drop to the back of Ford’s leg. He immediately slaps on a kneebar. As Ford gets close to the ropes, Fish drops an elbow on him and they pull him to the middle. Fish fights off Dawkins, who just lifts him with a football move and slams him onto the submission, breaking it up. Ford makes the tag and Dawkins launches Kyle into Fish. Discus avalanche in the corner followed by a bulldog. Kyle hits Ax but Dawkins hits him before Smash. Dawkins counters the Nigel into a leg capture suplex. Dawkins charges right into a knee. He bounces back into Ford for the tag. Kyle applies a guillotine but Ford goes up and hits a massive Blockbuster. Fish breaks up the pin. All four men trade blows in the middle of the ring. Ford takes out Fish with a heel kick and Kyle delivers a knee to Dawkins. Ford and Kyle trade shots. Blind tag as Kyle knocks Fish outside by mistake. Ford sends him out and follows with a tope con hilo. Dawkins spears both men and Ford hits an absurd frog splash on Kyle to retain.

Winners: The Street Profits in 16:57

This was very good. it started a bit slow but picked up enough down the stretch for me to really get into it. Montez Ford is an absolute star and this was the best I’ve seen Angelo Dawkins look. Just not quite on the level of some other TakeOver tags. [***3/4]

Ricochet is shown in the crowd.

Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai

Candice charges at Io and attacks before the bell. They get separated by the referee and the bell sounds. Io takes a powder so Candice nails her with a baseball slide. As she goes back in, Io clock her and tries a sunset flip bomb to the outside. Candice blocks but is dropped onto the apron. Io suplexes Candice onto the announce table. Io heads in and Candice is down. Candice beats the countout so Io wails on her. Flapjack by Io followed by a shotgun kick. Cocky cover gets two. Crowd is kind of split as Io works a chinlock. Candice breaks it by back into the corner. Io lands on into a handstand to counter Candice’s flying headscissors. She gloats and stomps on Candice. Io adds an Air Raid Crash for a near fall. Candice sends Io to the apron but takes a shot on the top. Io takes a wild bump as she whiffs on a missile dropkick. Candice fires off strikes and chops. Brainbuster by Candice gets two. Candice applies an Octopus to a pop. Io finds a way to the ropes to get free. Drop toe hold sends Candice to the middle rope. Candice blocks the Tiger Feint Kick and hits a draping neckbreaker for two. She sets Io up top and adds a chop. As Candice goes up, Io dropkicks her off. She falls to the apron, where Io hits the Tiger Feint Kick to the back of the neck. Io nearly suplexes Candice but she blocks and heads inside. Candice sends Io to the floor and hits a tope tornado DDT. Inside, she adds a double stomp to the back of the head for two. Io pulls hair to block a neckbreaker. Candice swings and is pulled into the Crippler Crossface. Candice counters into a pin for two. Kick to the head by Io. Candice comes back with a forearm. Io with a huge one of her own. German suplex hits but Candice doesn’t stay down. She avoids a shot and hits a snap German of her own. Io catches a springboarding Candice and hits a bridging German for two. Double knees in the corner by Io. Io climbs up and wants a super German but Io lands on her feet again. She msises the double knees and hits the turnbuckle. Candice goes up and is tripped, landing neck first on the top. Candice counters Io into a reverse rana for two. Swinging middle rope neckbreaker also gets Candice a near fall. Candice climbs up where Io stops her with a strike. She joins Candice and hits an avalanche Spanish Fly for a near fall. Io can’t believe it. Io slaps Candice who pulls her into a smacll package for two. Candice with a backslide but Io reverses and pulls her into a butterfly backbreaker. Io steps on Candice as she walks to the corner. Up goes Io and she hits the moonsault for two. The fans are unglued. A pissed Io just rags Candice and lays into her. She rolls Candice over into a Koji Clutch style submission. Candice  wants to tap but Io grabs the arm and ties her up more with it. Candice passes out.

Winner: Io Shirao in 15:01

Incredible. Easy match of the night. I loved how Io was just confident in everything she did. Candice showed perfect babyface fire. They continued to up the ante and build to something incredible. The finish was sick too. Io realized Candice was too resilient and just trapped her in a brutal submission, not even giving her the chance to tap. [****1/2]

It is supposed to be time for the North American Title match but Matt Riddle interrupts. He comes in through the crowd and hits the ring. Riddle calls out Killian Dain’s hairy ass for a fight Dain comes out through the crowd and the two immediately brawl. Riddle lays into him with strikes but Dain has a lot of power. Dain with a pump kick and he sends Riddle to the ground. Officials arrive as Riddle fights back. As it gets broken up, Riddle charges and hits Dain. Dain gouges Riddle’s eyes but then eats a ripcord knee. Another pump knee takes Dain down. Riddle with forearms until security pulls him away. Riddle starts laying out security guards and hits one with a GTS. Dain squashes him with a cross body and gets taken away by guards. He beats on them and taunts until Riddle jumps on his back. Dain drives him into the LED screen a few times to get free. Riddle hops back on until Dain runs at a guard and clotheslines him off the stage and through a table, taking Riddle with them.

EVOLVE Champion Austin Theory is in attendance.

NXT North American Championship: Velveteen Dream [c] vs. Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong

The Mountie’s theme hits as a bunch of mounties high step onto the stage. They take off the jackets and reveal Raptors jerseys. They start dancing as the screen celebrates the Raptors’ NBA Title. It cuts into Velveteen Dream’s theme, as he arrives ina a mountie hat and does a bit of dancing with the group. Once the match starts, Dream mocks Dunne and completely ignores Roddy. When Dream silences him, Strong attacks both men. He sends Dream outside and chops Dunne. They do a quick exchange where Dunne hits a lariat. He wrenches on Roddy’s fingers but misses the stomp. Dream clotheslines Strong outside and bumps into Dunne. Dream rips off his suspenders and squares up for their first encounter. Strong pulls Dunne outside and heads in. Dream with corner punches and a spinning axe handle. he does the Bret Hart taunt but Strong blocks a Sharpshooter. Strong is up in between both opponents. They take turns hitting him. Dunne sends Strong into a Dream dropkick. Dream then holds Roddy’s arm in place for Dunne to stomp on it. Roddy is sent out and Dream does the Rick Rude grind. Dunne stares him down so he waves and then they go into action. Dunne applies a cross armbreaker. Dream escapes the Bitter End and backs to the corner where Strong pulls him crotch first into the post. Strong with a wrecking ball dropkick on Dunne. He slams Dream back first onto the apron, slams Dunne onto the guardrail, and then drops Dunne on Dream.Strong hits a back suplex on Dunne inside for two. He keeps Dream at bay and beats on Dunne. They trade shots until Strong gets two on a backbreaker. Dream with a diving axe handle. Clothesline and Russian leg sweep for two. Backbreaker from Dream and a Bret Hart elbow. Sharpshooter locked in but Dunne comes off the top to break it up with a dropkick to Dream’s back. Dunne misses a pescado on Dream outside. Strong hits Dream with a wrecking ball dropkick. Dunne takes out both with a moonsault. Everyone heads back in. Dunne is in control with an enziguri and a pair of German suplexes, including one that sends Strong onto Dream. Dunne grabs both of them and stomps them out. They retaliate with kicks and strikes. Everyone gets up for a trifecta of attacks. Strong and Dunne both cap it with eniguris. Dunne stomps on the hands of both guys. DVD on Dunne, Olympic Slam on Dream, Explex on Roddy, and everyone is down. Dream and Dunne fight up top. Dunne works the digits but Strong gets involved. Avalanche Olympic Slam on Dunne, who holds Dream’s hand and sends him flying over both of them. Strong knocks Dream outside and gets caught in a Dunne triangle choke. He breaks it with a sick backbreaker. Dunne counters a Tiger Driver into a triangle. Strong gets to the corner but Dunne doesn’t let go. Dream climbs to the opposite top and hits a coast to coast Purple Rainmaker. As they get up, Strong fires off knee strikes and running forearms. He powerbombs Dunne onto Dream and then puts both in a double Stronghold. Dunne gets Strong’s digits but Dream superkicks Strong into him. Dream picks up both for a double DVD but Dunne breaks it and gets his fingers. Strong with a jumping knee on Strong. Dunne grabs both of their hands and snaps them. Bitter End hits but Dream holds the referee from counting. He still does and Dream leaps to hold his hand before counting three. A furious Dunne starts kicking away at Dream. Dunne turns him over for the old Super Dragon style Curb Stomp that the camera completely misses. Strong lays into Dunne and avoids another Bitter End. Dunne lands on his knees on a German. Kick to the head. Strong rolls through a charging Dunne into the Stronghold like he’s Lance Storm. Dream returns and throws Strong outside. DVD on Dunne but Roddy tosses Dream aside. End of Heartache connects and Dream hits Strong before covering to retain.

Winner: Velveteen Dream in 17:24

At first, I wasn’t feeling this. Everything they did worked well, it just didn’t get me engaged. That changed as it went on and this really went into a whole different level by the time the coast to coast Purple Rainmaker hit. The finish was one I’ve seen before in theory, but the switch of having Strong and Dream do it to each other added drama. [****]

NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler [c] vs. Mia Yim

Mia Yim gets an entrance with a lineup of people wearing similar bandanas to her. Shayna goes for the arm and Mia tugs at her ear to break it. They go again and Mia pulls on her nose. Shayna is frustrated and Mia kicks her to the ground. Shayna looks for an armbar but Mia blocks. She fish hooks Shayna and pulls her hair before reaching the ropes. Shayna is pissed and Mia laughs. Arm drags from Mia into an armbar. Shayna fights out but eats a rana. Corner big boot from Mia. She slides away and comes back with a cannonball. Shayna catches Mia with a shot when she tries a tope suicida. Mia reverses a whip and sends Shayna shoulder first into the steel steps. She slams her shoulder into it again, then traps it in the steps and kicks the steps into the ring post. Inside, Shayna uses kicks to regain control. Shayna holds Mia’s arm in place and stomps on the elbow. Shayna wears down Mia’s arm to even the playing field. Mia breaks another submission with a handful of hair but takes a shoulder block. Shayna can’t capitalize quickly and only gets two. Shayna stops the handful of hair and is rolled up for two. Shayna gets kicked in the arm but comes back with a dropkick. Mia with lariats, kicks, and chops. She throws jabs and they have an awkward moment where nothing connects. They then hold on as they clearly explain the spot to each other and the crowd boos. Snap belly to belly by Mia sends Shayna outside and she follows with a tope suicida. Shayna avoids a corner boot and hits a pump knee that nearly knocks Mia out. Mia blocks a suplex and flapjacks Shayna into the turnbuckle. Mia locks in the Tarantula. She goes up top but Shayna cuts her off. They’re both up there and Shayna’s arm prevents a gutwrench suplex. Mia with a super Code Blue that gets a near fall. My feed messes up a bit and returns to see Shayna apply the Kirifuda Clutch. She uses headbutts to break the hold. Mia gives Shayna a taste of her own medicine and stomps on the injured arm, calling it karma. A running kick connects and she wants an armbar. Shayna blocks but Mia facewashes her to get it. Shayna counters out into the Kirifuda Clutch. Mia grabs the bad hand and wrenches on it to get free. Shayna uses her legs to trap Mia’s head. She forces Mia to tap.

Winner: Shayna Baszler in 14:35

The story these two told was wonderful. I loved the idea of Mia playing dirty and giving Shayna all sorts of problems because of it. That’s exactly what the storyline called for. The selling by Shayna was also top notch. There was just something about this that didn’t quite click the way I wanted it to. Something felt off even if all of the ingredients were there. [***1/4]

After an ad for TakeOver: Cardiff, WALTER and Tyler Bate are both shown in different spots of the crowd.

NXT Championship Two Out Of Three Falls Match: Adam Cole [c] vs. Johnny Gargano

Wolverine inspired Johnny Gargano gear tonight. The first fall is a traditional wrestling match. Their first exchange comes to a stalemate. The next exchange sees both men go for their finishers but fail and both men try each other’s finishers before coming to a stalemate where both try superkicks but stop. Cole kicks Johnny in the knee and sends him down. He hops up for Panama Sunrise but Johnny backs away. Johnny sets up for it and Cole backs away. Johnny with a leaping rana, clothesline to the outside, and dropkick through the ropes. Cole avoids a Johnny move on the apron but runs his knee into the steel steps. Johnny drives it into the ring apron for good measure. Inside, Johnny locks in a submission but Cole reaches the ropes. Johnny stomps on the leg and continues to focus on it. Cole catches Johnny with a shot, avoids the draping DDT and pulls Gargano outside for a wheelbarrow suplex into the apron. Inside, Cole with a neckbreaker. Cole keeps the focus on the neck. Johnny breaks free of a submission and applies an ankle lock but Cole sends him into the corner. Cole misses Panama Sunrise and lands on the bad leg. Johnny with an overhead belly to belly into the corner. They trade shots in the middle of the ring. Johnny with clotheslines and a kick to the bad leg. Running corner chop. He sends him into the corner and hits the rollup kick. Cole sends him to the apron and blocks the slingshot Spear. Gargano blocks a brainbuster and hits a modified 2K1 Bomb for two. Johnny with corner punches. He drapes Cole’s leg on the rope and dives onto it with a double stomp. Cole elbows out of an ankle lock attempt and avoids an enziguri. Wheelbarrow German from Cole gets two. They start trading kicks. Cole tries Panama Sunside again and Johnny counters into a Sunset Driver for two. Chops from Johnny in the corner. Johnny takes things up top where Cole wants an avalanche Panama Sunrise. Johnny blocks and Cole lands badly on the leg. He catches a leaping Johnny with a Codebreaker and adds a Michinoku Driver for two. Double clothesline puts both men out in the middle of the ring. Cole stops a diving Gargano with a kick. He wants another wheelbarrow suplex but Johnny counters and sends him into the guardrail. Thunderstruck DDT inside for two. Cole goes back outside. Johnny to the apron with a superkick. He sends Cole back in but eats a superkick on his slingshot spear attempt. Another superkick. Brainbuster on the knee for two. Cole gets into an argument with the referee after barely breaking the count at 5. He seems to get an idea and heads over to grab a steel chair. He slides it in and argues more with the official. As the chair is tossed outside, Cole kicks Gargano low and gets two. Cole sits in the chair and taunts. More arguing with the ref. Johnny with a superkick. He grabs the chair and uses it, getting disqualified at 20:55.

Johnny shrugs and wails on Cole with a chair to start the Street Fight fall. He sits in the chair and taunts like Cole. Cole runs outside and Johnny launches the chair at him, following with a tope suicida. Cole escapes through the crowd and Johnny wails on him. Johnny smashes his head into the railing a few times and leaps off of one with an axe handle. Superkick by Gargano. As they get back near the ring, Johnny leaps onto Cole with a cross body that breaks the barricade. They fight on the announce table where Cole rakes his eyes. He hooks Johnny but is back body dropped through the announce table. Not done, Johnny gets two tables from under the ring. His wasted time leads to a Shining Wizard by Cole. USHIGOROSHI onto a chair gets two. Cole blocks Johnny and kicks him to send him down. Johnny takes Cole off the top with a Lawn Dart into a steel chair. Gargano Escape makes Cole tap at 29:32 to tie things up.

The cage comes down for the third fall. There’s no escape as it has barbed wire surrounding the top. Johnny grabs Cole and they trade shots before Johnny lays him out with a clothesline. They grabs kendo sticks and stop each other with superkicks. They then just swing them and wreck each other with the kendo sticks. Both men drop them and we got double superkicks. Both men are down. Johnny goes after the ladder draped across a top corner of the cage. he hangs from it for a rana and then does another that puts Cole into a chair. He hits a superkick that gets two. Cole comes back with chair shots. He climbs and pulls down another chair. He counters a counter and sends Gargano into the chair, which was leaning on the cage. Kendo stick assisted Back Stabber gets two. Cole opens two chairs facing each other. He takes Johnny up top in front of them. Johnny fights him off and uses a fire extinguisher to blind him. He adds a tornado DDT onto the two open chairs for a near fall. Both men go for a sledgehammer on top of the cage but Johnny hits a sunset flip bomb off the cage for two. He retrieves the sledgehammer but eats a pair of superkicks. Cole launches the ladder at Gargano and he avoids it but he doesn’t move out of the way of Panama Sunrise, which gets two. Using the ladder, Cole hits another Panama Sunrise for two. Cole gets a chair and places Johnny’s head on the top. He misses Last Shot and the knee hits the chair instead. STF with a kendo stick for assistance by Johnny. Cole bites the thumb to prevent the hold from getting fully applied. My feed skips and I miss the next move but it seems to have both men in serious trouble. Johnny sets up the two tables next to a ladder. He lays Cole across one of the two tables and climbs the ladder. Cole easily rolls off because Johnny’s a dummy. Johnny whacks him with a kendo stick. Johnny climbs up with Cole for an avalanche Panama Sunrise that gets two. Johnny gets pliers from a bag that also had brass knuckles. He uses the pliers to remove barbed wire from the top of the cage. Cole climbs to the top onto a table set up across a corner of the top. Johnny follows and they trade shots up there. Johnny tries using the barbed wire but Cole blocks and they both go flying off the top and through the second table. Adam Cole drapes an arm and wins.

Winner: Adam Cole in 47:25

Such a hard match to rate. I loved that first fall. They played incredibly well off of their past. Johnny getting himself disqualified was a fine idea in theory but not one that worked. It didn’t really help him in the grand scheme of things. The second fall was fun and kept short considering the way the last fall went. They had a lot of strong ideas late but this did the same thing the rest of their matches have done. It went way into overkill territory. There’s only so many things I can buy as a false finish before it all starts to feel hollow. Still, what they did was great. It just didn’t need to be so ridiculous and over the top. [****]

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Somehow, this is one of the lesser TakeOver in the past few years. NXT has set such a high bar so they have to deliver big time each chance they get.