Tonight at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, Johnny Gargano tries to realize his dream after realizing who he is. Johnny Wrestling looks to become a world champion as he takes on NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas in the main event. Will Almas continue to keep his focus with business partner Zelina Vega by his side or will Gargano finally reach the mountaintop? Plus, Adam Cole of Undisputed Era looks to use Extreme Rules to his advantage against Aleister Black. All that and more at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia!
We are LIVE from Philadelphia, Pa. Mauro Ranallo and Percy Watson have the call for tonight.
NXT Tag Team Championships: The Undisputed Era (c) vs. The Authors of Pain (w/Paul Ellering)
AOP ambush Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly before the bell and send them outside. Fish gets in and gets shoulder tackled by Rezar, sending Fish back outside to think. O’Reilly in with leg kicks and he gets shoved to the mat. Rezar tries to get in his guard, but gets a takedown and lands ground and pound before O’Reilly gets a triangle and armbar. O’Reilly with ground and pound before he gets thrown out. Fish in and he gets run into the corner. Akam in with a flapjack and shoulder tackle on O’Reilly and AOP run Era over outside with shoulder tackles before sending Fish into the steps. O’Reilly dropped off the apron and Fish wheelbarrowed and dropped onto the barricade. O’Reilly worked down by AOP inside. Akam injures a leg lifting O’Reilly and Fish chop blocks it on the apron. Fish tackles Rezar through the ropes and Akam worked in the Era corner. Akam fights out and Fish crotches him and tweaks the left leg on the rope with a dragon screw. Akam tries to kick O’Reilly away in the ring, but gets taken down into a kneebar. Era ground Akam and work the left leg. Fish attacks Rezar on the apron with a forearm and allows Akam to recover to land a back bodydrop.
Rezar in like a house of fire on the hot tag and he lands a spinebuster and ground and pound. Fish jumps on him for the sleeper while he holds O’Reilly and a Samoan Drop and electric chair drop combo from Rezar gets a nearfall. Powerbomb attempt on O’Reilly turned into a guillotine, but Rezar flips him off of him. Rezar dives at O’Reilly and catches a knee to the head and shoulder area. Fish in with an exploder suplex on Rezar for a nearfall. Rezar gets up with a big boot and lariat to drop Era. Rezar brings in Akam and Last Chapter attempt blocked by a Fish knee. Fish gets a sleeper in and O’Reilly gets a leg lock in on Akam, but Rezar breaks it by tossing Fish onto O’Reilly. O’Reilly unloads leg kicks on Akam and Akam powers up to land an exploder suplex and knees in the corner. Fish clubbed with a lariat off the apron. Buckle bomb by Akam and knees continue in the corner. Fish sideswiped with a big boot and Super Collider set up. Fish powerbombed down, but Akam stumbles on the bad leg and O’Reilly with a hurricanrana that ends him into Rezar. Schoolboy roll-up on Akam.
Winners by pinfall and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: The Undisputed Era
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Great opener with work that made sense for Era to go with MMA style submissions and striking against their bigger opponents. Just about all you can ask for in the David vs. Goliath tag team matches.
Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream
Dream walks Ohno into the corner and drops him with a right hand, but Ohno gets up and lands an elbow in return. Ohno knocked the mouthpiece out of Dream and he kicks him out of the ring. Dream catches Ohno on the apron, but Ohno with a big boot and Dream with a spinebuster. Dream uses boxing punches in his boxing shorts while Ohno wears Rocky colors in Philly and Dream works Ohno down. Dream does the grind over top of Ohno and lands a knee drop as he continues to work Ohno down. Ohno fights up with chops, but Dream drags him down into an abdominal stretch. Dream works him down in the corner and tells him “DREAM OVER!” Ohno starts eating the strikes, but Dream drops him with an axhandle and applies a Camel Clutch. Dream gets Ohno up in a fireman’s carry, but Ohno elbows out and lands a release suplex. Dream with uppercuts and Ohno with forearms. Ohno starts the comeback and lands a senton. Cyclone kick gets a nearfall on Dream, but Dream comes back with a backslide for a nearfall. Ohno blocks a superkick and Dream gets it the second time around. Spike DDT gets a nearfall on Ohno and Dream comes down into a kick from Ohno. Elbow to the back of the head lands for Ohno, but he runs into a Death Valley Driver for Dream that gets a nearfall.
Dream looks for a finish and Ohno counters with a ripcord rolling elbow that almost wins it. Ohno looks for another elbow and Dream ducks it for the rolling Death Valley Driver. Purple Rainmaker elbow drop off the top lands for Dream.
Winner by pinfall: Velveteen Dream
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The crowd was hot for Dream throughout and he has all the makings of a star with his character work. The match was good back and forth and Dream can keep up with the best of them like Ohno, but some sloppy and perhaps improper spots cost some momentum at the end.
NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
Baszler works Moon into the corner and takes her down as she grinds the forearm in Moon’s face. Moon clips the leg to drop Baszler and lands single-leg dropkicks to send Baszler outside. Suicide dive from Moon, but Baszler with knees back inside and a head kick to drop Moon for a nearfall. Baszler stands on the left hand and stomps the elbow into the mat. Baszler works the left arm and manipulates the fingers before driving the knee into the elbow for a nearfall. Baszler goes to work on the left arm. Moon fights up and lands a springboard crossbody for a nearfall. Right forearm in the corner by Moon and she goes up top, but struggles to make the climb on one arm. Eclipse lands for Moon, but she lands on the left arm and is in pain, forcing the referee to call on the medical staff. Moon able to continue after examination, but she walks into a cross armbreaker from Baszler. Baszler works the submission and Moon walks herself over to get the bottom rope. Baszler pulls her away and reapplies the submission in the middle of the ring. Moon struggles and Baszler keeps finding ways to transition into another submission. Baszler kicks her legs up for an armbar transition and Moon pops up to land on top of the back of her legs and stack her.
Winner by pinfall and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Ember Moon
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-match, Moon being escorted by referees and medics up the ramp and Baszler attacks from behind with a sleeper to choke Moon out.
The crowd was not really digging Baszler’s submission wrestling and that may be her hardest balance to strike going forward, but a testament to both to working around it for a really good match that centered on the bullying submissions of Baszler on the weak point of Moon. Expect mixed reactions on this one.
Extreme Rules: Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole
They exchange forearms and Black sends Cole out with a roundhouse kick to the chest. Cole brings a chair into the ring and Black meditates and Black ducks under a chair shot to chase Cole out of the ring. Cole charges in and gets sent back out. Forearm from Black outside and Cole with a knee to the midsection before he sends weaponry into the ring. Cole works Black against the barricade and brings out a kendo stick. Black with one of his own, but he tosses it away and tells Cole to bring it on. Black keeps away and lands a forearm, but a springboard moonsault sees Cole crack him in the midsection in midair. Cole works Black down and lands a backstabber with the kendo stick for a nearfall. The crowd asks for tables and Cole obliges by setting one up ringside. Superplex blocked by a press slam from Black on a garbage can in the ring. Running knee from Black gets a nearfall. The referee clears up blood on Cole and it allows Black to set up a table next to the one at ringside and try to bring a ladder inside. Cole dropkicks the ladder back into Black at ringside. Ladder bridged in the corner and suplex attempts shared, but Cole with an enzuigiri. Cole punches Black in the corner and Black with a drop onto the ladder that bounces Cole off on his tailbone.
The medics again check for blood and Black charges Cole, but Cole with a chair to the midsection. Rolling kick attempts on the mat exchanged and Black with a double stomp. Cole lays his head on a chair in the ring and Black goes up top. Cole throws the chair at Black and Black catches it, but Cole with a superkick to send the chair into Black’s face and Black falls through the tables outside. Cole only gets a nearfall back inside. Cole sits two chairs spine to spine and Black gets up to land a Death Valley Driver on the chairs. Cole tries to prop himself up on a chair, but Black with a running knee to send the chair into his face. Black covers Cole and Undisputed Era come out to make the save. Total Elimination at ringside and they undress the announce table, but SAnitY come out to take out Fish and O’Reilly. Killian Dain takes out the field with a suicide dive and Black still laid out on an equipment trunk outside. Cole looks to take advantage, but Black with double knees to drive Cole through the table. Cole sent inside and Black walks into a superkick inside. Cole gets a chair and winds up, but walks into Black Mass.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
Brutal brawl, properly booked interference, some notable spots, a little blood…what more could you ask for?
Almas comes out in his La Sombra mask and with a mariachi band playing him in.
NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) (w/Zelina Vega) vs. Johnny Gargano
They exchange submissions to start and Gargano with a wristlock. Almas with the go-behind and Gargano with a side headlock takeover and they exchange. GargaNo Escape blocked and they reset. Gargano with a headscissors and dropkick into the arm drag and armbar. Gargano tries to float over in the corner and turns around into a chop from Almas that drops him. Almas with chops in the corner, but Gargano with a headscissors off the top and a clothesline to send him out. They exchange jumping on the apron and counters, but Gargano kicks Almas away. Cannonball misses Almas and Gargano splashes to the floor. Almas takes advantage inside stomping Gargano on the back. Almas with a Dragon Sleeper over the top rope and a single-leg dropkick on Gargano for a nearfall. Headlock in for Almas and Gargano fading. Gargano fights up and avoids a suplex to land a rolling kick. Almas sent to the apron, but he ties Gargano in the tree of woe. Stomp misses and Gargano gets up to land a belly-to-belly suplex in the corner on Almas. Gargano and Almas go back and forth and Gargano with an enzuigiri and a corner forearm. Tornado STO from Gargano gets a nearfall. Almas sent to the ropes, but he catches himself in them to send Gargano out. Almas charges right into a slingshot spear and Gargano gets another nearfall.
Gargano looks for a headscissors and Almas turns it into a facebuster. Almas up top and he misses on a moonsault, but turns it into a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Almas with forearms and Gargano returns, but a spinning back elbow from Almas gets a nearfall. Superkick from Gargano gets the same and both land lariats and slaps that put both down. Almas sat up top and he kicks Gargano away to land a knee. Gargano sat up top now and Almas looks for the hammerlock DDT. Gargano slips out and lands a superkick between the legs. Sunset flip powerbomb misses and Almas with knees. A second time misses and Gargano looks for a slingshot spear, but Almas catches for a facebuster and DDT. Tornado inverted DDT gets a nearfall for Almas. Almas on the apron and they exchange strikes. Gargano rocks Almas and lands a slingshot tornado DDT on the apron. Gargano gets a nearfall back inside and looks for the GargaNo Escape, but Almas holds the hand and lands a jawbreaker. They exchange strike attempts until Almas lands a back elbow. Double knees miss for Almas and Gargano lands a lawn dart into the second turnbuckle. Vega sweeps the leg outside and allows Almas to land a dropkick in the corner. Hammerlock DDT blocked and Gargano lands a superkick on a downed Almas for a nearfall. Gargano goes up top and Almas grabs an ankle to drop him into a seated position. Almas goes up top and lands a double stomp that drops Gargano to apron and floor. Almas throws Gargano into the apron and slams his head against the LED board.
Double knees inside land for Almas, but Gargano able to kick out. Almas slaps at Gargano and Gargano pops up from his knees to land haymakers and slaps. Almas fires back with a chop and Gargano with a superkick and reverse hurricanrana. Gargano spins Almas into the GargaNo Escape. Almas spins Gargano and Vega grabs Almas’s hand. The referee catches them and Almas rakes the eyes. Almas looks for the hammerlock DDT, but Gargano back bodydrops him outside. Suicide dive lands to Almas who is turned around and Gargano sends him back in. Vega comes off the apron and lands a hurricanrana to send Gargano into the steel post. Hammerlock DDT lands inside and Gargano able to kick out. Gargano rolls outside and Vega walks towards him, but Candice LeRae comes in from the front row and spears her. LeRae tosses her into the barricade and chases her through the crowd and to the back. Gargano lands a head kick from the apron and lands the slingshot spike DDT. Almas kicks out and GargaNo Escape applied. Almas fights and slides back to get his foot on the bottom rope. The two get to the apron and Almas tosses Gargano back on the back of his head against the ring post. Double knees against the LED board ring post for Almas. Almas with the draped hammerlock DDT off the top rope.
Winner by pinfall and STILL NXT Champion: Andrade “Cien” Almas
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The best match in NXT history. Period. And words can’t do it justice.
Post-match, Tommaso Ciampa comes out and breaks his crutch across the back of Gargano as Gargano turns back to look at the crowd with LeRae helping him up the ramp.
- Live report: Philly fans embrace Gargano & underdogs