NXT TakeOver: New York Results and Recap: Changing of the NXT Guard

Kyle Fowle

There’s nothing quite like an NXT TakeOver, especially during WrestleMania weekend. In New York this time around, there were plenty of feuds to settle. From Shayna Baszler defending her NXT Women’s Championship against three other women to Aleister Black and Ricochet looking to see if they can keep their winning ways going to two NXT stalwarts battling over the vacant NXT Championship, the night was filled with title defenses, so let’s get right to it.

War Raiders (c) defeated Aleister Black and Ricochet for the NXT Tag Team Championship

The night begins with tag team titles on the line. Aleister Black and Ricochet won the Dusty Rhodes Classic, giving them this shot at the War Raiders, and you can tell that they’re feeling confident as the match begins, perhaps riding high on how well they’re doing over on RAW and SmackDown as well. Black starts things off against Rowe, and the pace is slow. There’s a mutual respect here, each team understanding that they’re in the ring with true competitors, and chain wrestling early on in the hopes of avoiding giving away too much. Black and Rowe wrestle to a stalemate,and then bump fists to show respect.

Then, Ricochet and Hanson get their own back and forth moment. Eventually, Ricochet sends his opponent to the outside, Black tosses Rowe out, and the two sit in the ring for their Moment of Zen. It’s pure chaos after that, with War Raiders eventually gaining the upper hand, using their size to take out Ricochet with a double team, leaving Rowe to work over Black.

Rowe and Hanson work the quick tags, but Black counters a double team and lays out both men, making the tag to Ricochet. It’s an aerial assault after that, with Ricochet taking control of Rowe with a springboard clothesline and a running shooting star press. Black tags in and slows things down, keeping Rowe on the mat with one submission after another, and then strikes when the big man gets up.

There’s just no such thing as sustained offense in this match. These teams are at the top of their game, and it’s nearly impossible for one to gain control for very long. Hanson wears out Ricochet and Black by simply running into them again and again in the corner. Then, in an absolutely insane moment of strength, Ricochet catches Hanson in midair and then slams him over his head. While Ricochet and Hanson recover, Black and Rowe exchange blows in the ring, culminating in a German suplex from Black that nearly gets his team the win.

Ricochet and Hanson tag back in. They dodge each other’s attacks with incredible athleticism, and then Hanson lays out Ricochet with a handspring back elbow. Then, the War Raiders work on him together. They slam him in the corner, and then execute a beautiful combination clothesline into a German suplex. They both stack their massive bodies on Ricochet, but Black breaks up the pin with a double stomp off the top rope. Things spill to the outside, and after Ricochet dazzles everyone with a move that I couldn’t even describe because it has too many springboards and rotations, Hanson heads to the top rope and then throws his body to the outside, taking out everyone. Both teams are nearly counted out, but Ricochet and Rowe get back in the ring.

Ricochet gains the advantage, hitting Rowe with strikes, and then keeping Hanson on the outside. It looks like they have the match won, as Black hits Black Mass on Rowe, and then Ricochet hits a shooting star press that truly defies gravity. It’s clearly going to be a win, but Hanson breaks up the pin despite Black’s attempts to keep him at a distance.

That leaves Ricochet prone, and War Raiders hit Thor’s Hammer on him. Hanson flies to the outside, hitting Black with a suicide dive, and then immediately turning back to the ring. He heads to the top rope, and along with Rowe lays out Ricochet with Fallout. Despite their best effort, Ricochet and Black can’t get it done, and the War Raiders retain their NXT Tag Team Championships in yet another classic tag team match at TakeOver. The two teams embrace and show each respect at the end of the match, just as they did at the beginning, and the crowd gives Ricochet and Black a standing ovation, an appropriate send off for them as they look to make their mark at WrestleMania.

Velveteen Dream (c) defeated Matt Riddle for the NXT North American Championship

Just because this match came together quickly doesn’t mean it lacks any intensity. Both Velveteen Dream and “The Original Bro” Matt Riddle are huge personalities, completely full of themselves but with the in-ring chops to back it up. Dream sees himself as bringing prestige to the North American Championship, while Riddle is looking for his first title in NXT after going on a respectable undefeated streak since arriving.

Dream comes to the ring dressed as the Statue of Liberty, so yes, he’s feeling confident. Like I said, they’re both so full of themselves, so they spend the early part of the match just basking in the divided chants of the crowd. Then, they get down to business. Riddle looks to use his MMA skills to his advantage, keeping Dream at a distance with quick strikes and then getting him on the mat with an arm lock that forces Dream to the ropes.

Dream hasn’t really had an opponent with this skill set before, and it isn’t long before he starts to take his opponent seriously. He locks up with Riddle, but once again the Bro flips Dream into an armbar. Dream looks genuinely worried, unsure of how to combat his opponent’s offense. So, he goes to the one move guaranteed to work: stomping on Riddle’s bare feet. The momentum doesn’t last long, as Riddle fights back with a flurry of suplexes before Dream counters with a dropkick and a pair of double axe handles off the top rope.

Riddle escapes to the outside, and Dream goes for broke with another double axe handle off the top, but Riddle catches him and then hits him with a German suplex on the outside. It’s nasty stuff, and it gives Riddle control of the match. “The Original Bro” hits Dream with chops to the chest, an exploder suplex, a kick to the chest, and a senton that gives Riddle the first near fall of the match, nearly giving us a new champion.

Dream comes back with a suplex of his own, but Riddle just pops back up and hits a running knee, getting another near fall off that move. Dream has truly never been in this position before, so overwhelmed by an opponent for such a long period of time. Riddle gets close to a win again when he locks in a triangle submission, which he follows up with a knee to the face, a Go To Sleep, and a German suplex with a pin. And yet, Dream still kicks out, and still stays in the match.

Dream, dazed and confused, gets hit with a number of kicks to the chest, but they only seem to motivate him. He starts to feel it. He Hulks up, hits Riddle with punches, and lays him out with a big boot. This time he hits his double axe handle on the outside, and then a Famasser in the ring gets Dream his own near fall, the momentum shifting in his favor.

Finally, it’s looking like either man could win. Riddle gets Dream with a knee in the face, and Dream hits back with a Codebreaker. Then, Riddle locks in an ankle lock worthy of peak Kurt Angle, which Dream somehow gets out of. Then, he nails a superkick and the Dream DDT, followed by the Dream Valley Driver. He goes for the Purple Rainmaker, but Riddle catches him in the Bromission on the way down. Dream gets to the ropes though, but there’s no safety there. Riddle somehow deadlifts Dream from the apron into the ring and then hits a twisting senton off the top rope. Dream kicks out with the ref’s hand just near the mat. Riddle isn’t deterred though. The North American Championship is in his sights, and he locks in the Bromission one more time. Dream looks real close to tapping, but in a last ditch effort, he uses all his energy to roll Riddle into a pin that gets Dream the win after getting worked over for the majority of the match. The Bro’s undefeated streak is over, but this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of Matt Riddle going after Velveteen Dream.

WALTER defeated Pete Dunne (c) for NXT UK Championship

Walking into TakeOver, Pete Dunne is approaching 700 days as the NXT UK Champion. That’s a massive feat, but he’s never quite had a massive opponent like WALTER looking to snatch that title away. WALTER is a force like no other, and this is easily Pete Dunne’s most difficult challenge in a reign filled with worthy opponents.

Dunne is nearly 100 pounds lighter and significantly shorter, and WALTER uses that size early. He’s not afraid to lock up with Dunne like a lot of Superstars are, taking Dunne to the mat early. After Dunne tries to manipulate his opponent’s joints, WALTER decides to just play with Dunne. He throws him around a few times, and Dunne just barely dodges a chop from WALTER, whose chops are known to be the deadliest in the business.

He doesn’t dodge the next one though. It’s a chop that knocks Dunne to the mat, so WALTER decides to deliver another one. It’s all WALTER from there. He leapfrogs an attacking Dunne, then lays him out with a boot. He take Dunne to the outside and throws him on the apron. He doesn’t suplex him on the apron, he literally tosses him in the air and just lets him land there. It’s brutal.

Dunne knows if he wants to stand any chance he has to keep WALTER grounded, so he goes to the leg submissions. It’s a smart tactic, but it only works for a bit. WALTER is just too strong. He simply chops his way out of the submission and goes about pummeling Dunne with forearms. Dunne gets fed up, and tries to find some momentum. He goes right after WALTER with a barrage of fists, sending the big man to the outside where Dunne hits a flip off the ropes.

WALTER rolls back in the ring, and Dunne goes up top. WALTER meets him there, but Dunne twists his fingers into absurd directions, and then follows through with a sitout powerbomb off the top rope, getting a near fall in the process. WALTER tries to get a breather on the outside, but Dunne follows him, coming off the top rope with a double stomp into WALTER’s chest.

Back in the ring though, WALTER takes advantage of a rare mistake on Dunne’s part, hitting him with a dropkick, a deadly suplex, and then a powerbomb that normally puts his opponents away, but fails to get the three count on Dunne. Dunne fights back as the two men exchange chops and punches in the middle of the ring. WALTER gets the upper hand by getting him to the mat and stomping his face, but Dunne hits back with a step-up enzuigiri that sends both men to the mat.

They get up and head to the top rope, and that’s a bad place to be. WALTER throws Dunne halfway across the ring with a belly to back suplex off the top, but even that’s not enough to end the 685-day reign of the UK Champion. Dunne gets up, blocks a chop, and then snaps fingers on both of WALTER’s hands. Dunne kicks him in the face a few times. WALTER kicks Dunne in the face a few times. Dunne hits back with more kicks to the face.

The champ is running out of options. He goes to the top rope again, but WALTER nails him with a clothesline that sends Dunne to the mat. WALTER, despite his size, tries his own top move, but Dunne catches him in a submission, one that WALTER fights out of by, you guessed it, just kicking Dunne in the face a bunch of times. No matter how many times WALTER kicks him though, Dunne holds on to his fingers. That keeps WALTER close and allows the champ to hit the Bitter End. For any other opponent, that’s it, that’s the end of the run. For WALTER, it’s not enough. He kicks out, and Dunne has to keep fighting to keep his UK Championship.

The two men rise in the middle of the ring, staring each other down. They trade blows, forearms, and chops. Dunne starts to counter the chops, and delivers strikes of his own. But then the referee pulls Dunne away from the ropes, and WALTER hits “The Bruiserweight” with a big boot. They fight to the top rope again, and Dunne goes for a triangle hold from the top turnbuckle. It’s a terrible idea because that allows WALTER to throw Dunne off the top rope with a powerbomb. As if that’s not enough, WALTER follows it up with a giant splash off the top rope. The ref counts 1-2-3, and Dunne’s incredible streak as UK Champion ends, and WALTER’s reign begins. Good luck to anyone with eyes on that championship.

Shayna Baszler (c) defeated Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, and Kairi Sane, in a Fatal 4-Way match for the NXT Women’s Championship

For weeks Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir have been interfering in every women’s match in NXT, attacking the entire division to put them “on notice” that they run the show. They made plenty of significant statements along the way, but they also earned quite a few enemies. Thus, Baszler was told that she’d be defending her title at TakeOver not against one woman, but three. Did those odds work against Baszler, or did she overcome and continue her reign as champ? You can read all about that match here.

And don’t forget: You’ve got until April 10th to cop this new LIMITED EDITION Ronda Rousey shirt.

Johnny Gargano defeated Adam Cole, in a 2 out of 3 Falls match for the vacant NXT Championship

The main event that wasn’t supposed to be. For months on end, Johnny Gargano had been waiting for his chance at not only the NXT Championship but at revenge against Tommaso Ciampa. They were all set to square off in New York with “Goldy” on the line. Then, Ciampa had to have neck surgery and vacate the NXT Championship. Gargano held his spot, and Adam Cole won his right to compete at TakeOver. It’s not the main event we all had in mind, but there’s no arguing with a 2 out of 3 Falls match between two of the current longest-serving members of NXT.

The two clearly want to snag a fall early, chain wrestling in the hopes of gaining an early advantage that could carry them to a two-fall victory. There’s a lot of submissions and pin attempts from the get-go, but no pinfalls. They trade forearms in the middle of the ring, and then Gargano sends Cole to the outside. Cole walks away, but Gargano finds him with a dropkick through the ropes, to which Cole responds with a dropkick. It’s back and forth before the first fall, as expected.

Back in the ring, Cole slows things down, locking Gargano in a few submissions to try and wear his opponent down. “Johnny Wrestling” fights back with a speedy offense, throwing Cole off the ropes with some suplexes and then getting close to the first fall with a springboard spear through the ropes.

So many 2 out of 3 Falls matches contain an early fall, but that’s not the case here. Both Cole and Gargano are at the top of their game, scouting everything they’re throwing at each other. They both go for a superkick and then stall. They both go for a pin and cancel each other out. Then, Cole exposes his knee and hits Gargano with a running knee to the back of the head, and that’s it. That’s the first fall, going to Cole, which means he’s just one fall away from winning the vacant NXT Championship.

Once the ref lets the second fall begin, Cole is all over Gargano. He wants to end this, and he’s feeling confident. He beats down Gargano in the corner and wipes his hands like this is the end. “Johnny Wrestling” isn’t going away that easily though, and he kicks out of Cole’s offense and spears the Undisputed Era leader on the apron. Then, he launches himself into Cole on the outside, finding some momentum just when he needs it.

Gargano goes for broke, but his slingshot DDT is countered, and Cole takes Gargano to the top rope. He goes for a powerbomb, but “Johnny Wrestling” counters with Tommaso Ciampa’s Air Raid Crash, a beautiful move that still doesn’t get him one of the falls. The two fight to the apron, where Gargano finally hits a slingshot DDT. He tries to drag Cole back in the ring, but when he can’t he decides to break the refs count, refusing to snag a fall through count out.

That’s admirable, but Cole doesn’t care. He attacks Gargano, not giving a damn about respecting the sanctity of the match. They fight back into the ring, and Gargano locks in his Gargano Espace. Cole taps quickly, perhaps wanting to conserve his energy, and that gives Gargano his first fall. That means we’re on to one final, deciding fall.

The two men exchange fists in the middle of the ring, and Gargano goes for one half of the DIY finisher with a superkick, but Cole dodges and lands a neckbreaker of his own, a move that Gargano kicks out of. It’s going to take a lot to get this final fall, and both Cole and Gargano are giving it everything they have to win the NXT Championship.

Gargano hits a step-up enzuigiri, a lawn dart in the corner, and then a flatliner to almost get the win. Cole fights back with fists to the face and forearms to the neck. It’s back and forth until both men connect with superkicks, sending each of them failling to the mat. When they fight back up, Cole hits Gargano with a superkick to the back of the head and then a straight jacket suplex, but that’s not enough for the win.  

Cole is feeling confident though, and he heads to the top rope for a move, but Gargano counters with a superkick to the jaw. That should be it, but Cole rolls outside the ring, not giving Gargano any opportunity to go for the pin. While Gargano gets frustrated, Cole capitalizes, hitting his opponent with a wheelbarrow suplex into the apron, a move that might signal the end for “Johnny Wrestling.”

Back in the ring though, it’s all Gargano. He hits a DDT out of nowhere and then a slingshot DDT, but Cole somehow kicks out of the move that Gargano has used to put away multiple superstars. Then, when Gargano goes for another slingshot DDT, Cole hits him with a superkick and follows up with Panama Sunrise, but that’s not enough either. Both men keep kicking out of finishers, and that means they’re both desperate to find a way to end this match.

On the outside, Gargano exposes the announce table, but Cole uses that to his advantage, turning the move around and hitting Gargano with Ciampa’s Fairytale Ending. With Gargano down, Cole crawls back in the ring, not above winning by countout. But Gargano beats the count, just barely. Cole doesn’t care. He hits Gargano with a superkick, and that should be it. But it’s not! Gargano kicks out again, and Cole can’t believe it. The two trade superkicks until Gargano counters one into the Gargano Escape. “Johnny Wrestling” would have the win, but Undisputed Era come to the ring and distract the referee and attack Cole. Everything goes off the rails. The ref ends up down, and Undisputed Era lay out Gargano so that Cole can get the final fall. That’s it, that’s the ball game…but Gargano kicks out of a double team from Undisputed Era!

Gargano throws Cole into his Undisputed buddies, then cleans house by attacking all the members. It’s distraction enough to let Cole catch Gargano off guard. He hits him with a few superkicks back in the ring, and then a running knee to the back of the head. I can’t even begin to describe how this should be the end. Nobody gets beyond this point. But Garagno does, and Cole has nothing left. Gargano counters his next move, with Undisputed Era down and out on the outside, and locks in the Gargano Escape. Cole thinks he can get to the ropes, but Gargano flips Cole over and locks in the submission with even more force. With help not coming, Cole has to tap. Gargano gets the last fall, and he finally, finally wins the NXT Championship. The ultimate underdog ends the night with gold held high over his head, a dream come true in New York. And to cap it all off, Candice LeRae and Tommaso Ciampa join Gargano on the ramp, hug him, and raise his hands above his head. What a moment. What a TakeOver.

You can watch this NXT TakeOver: New York on the WWE Network.

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