It was as nasty and as vicious as everyone thought it would be. At the end of all the crazy chaos which would have made ECW proud, Tommaso Ciampa retained the NXT Championship over his challenger, former tag team partner and bitter rival, Johnny Gargano at another stellar Takeover show.
Gargano was seething in the ring as Ciampa walked down the aisle. What wasn’t clear was whether Gargano was still furious at Ciampa or at NXT’s inability to change his incredibly irritating, lame, sugary entrance music. Bouncing, bubble gum ‘Rebel Heart’ doesn’t really strike fear in the hearts of opponents, does it?
Whatever it was launched Gargano into a rage before the bell even rang. He attacked Ciampa from behind. The fight immediately went to the floor where Ciampa tossed Gargano into the steel ring stairs. Gargano returned fire hurling Ciampa into the ringside barrier three times. Eying some payback for their last encounter, Gargano ripped up the mat covering the arena floor. Ciampa fought off Gargano’s bad intentions, hung him over the ringside barrier delivering forearms to his back.
Gargano ended the assault by shoving him into the steel post. Gargano tossed Ciampa over the announce table. Ciampa reversed things on Gargano driving him through the Spanish announce table with a tremendous Ciampa Air Raid Crash.
Ciampa and Gargano battle on. Photo: George Tahinos, SLAM! Wrestling.
Ciampa rolled Gargano into the ring and picked up a steel chair. Gargano was in Dreamland after Ciampa hit him with a running knee to the face as he lay collapsed in a corner.
“We are not done by a long shot!” shouted Ciampa in Gargano’s face.
Ciampa placed a chair over Gargano’s face preparing him for another running knee strike. Gargano caught Ciampa by throwing the chair into his knee. Gargano beat on Ciampa with the steel chair.
Gargano set up the chair in a corner taking his eyes off Ciampa. Ciampa switched a lawn dart into a sleeper hold.
“This fairy tale is dead!” yelled Ciampa as Gargano started to fade.
Gargano finally escaped the sleeper hold by lawn darting him into the steel chair in the corner. Gargano stacked two tables, one on top of the other. The one on top though was face down with the legs in the air.
Gargano wanted to suplex Ciampa from the apron through the tables. Ciampa wouldn’t let him. Ciampa planted Gargano with three German Suplexes in a row. It was now his turn to smack Gargano with the steel chair. Following three Project Ciampa finishers, Ciampa sat on the steel chair counting along with the referee. At the count of nine, Gargano got to his feet.
The fight went out to the floor again. Ciampa spiked Gargano into the steel ring steps. Gargano once again beat the count at nine. Scavenging under the ring, Ciampa found a pair of wire cutters. He proceeded to cut all the cables and so he could rip the canvass up exposing the wood underneath just as he did in their last encounter.
When he was done rearranging the ring’s padding, Ciampa reached through the ropes for Gargano. Gargano came up with a fire extinguisher spraying Ciampa in the face blinding him. Gargano smacked Ciampa in and out of the ring with a crutch. Ciampa almost caught Gargano in a DDT through the ropes as he did last time. Gargano punched his way out of the hold. A kick knocked Ciampa out of the ring and onto the apron before he could put Gargano through the stacked tables. Ciampa got a taste of his own medicine and was DDTed through the ropes and into the exposed wooden planks in the ring.
“You deserve it!” chanted the crowd right on cue with the zinger of the night.
Ciampa beat the count fleeing the ring. Gargano laced him with a dive through the ropes knocking Ciampa into the announce desk. Ciampa ducked a Gargano super kick. Gargano hit a “NXT crew member” instead. While Gargano was baffled at what happened, Ciampa snuck up from behind whacking Gargano’s head off a television monitor.
Charging with a steel chair, Ciampa put Gargano through the time keeper’s barrier.
In an epic and unforgettable move, Ciampa buried Gargano under the table, chairs, the broken barrier, the KO’d “NXT crew member”, the ring bell, the time keeper’s table and some steel equipment cases. Gargano rose from the wreckage at nine.
From under the ring, Ciampa pulled out a set of handcuffs. Gargano gained control of the cuffs, locking up one of Ciampa’s wrists. Ciampa positioned Gargano to be driven through the stacked tables. Gargano waved goodbye, super kicking Ciampa off the apron and through the tables. Using the broken crutch, Ciampa stood up breaking the count at nine.
Both wrestlers fought up the rampway which eventually led to Ciampa being handcuffed to part of the rigging. Gargano pulled down his knee pad readying a running knee strike. Ciampa pleaded with him, apologizing again and again.
Gargano hit the knee strike; however, the momentum carried him into a stack of equipment crates injuring his knee. While the official laid in the count on both men, Ciampa just rolled off the stage and onto his feet to beat the count while Gargano couldn’t stand because of his injured knee.
As the broadcast went off the air, Ciampa taunted Gargano with the NXT Championship while officials called for a stretcher for Gargano who was unable to walk on his own.
The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong) (c) Versus Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The War Raiders attack. Photo: George Tahinos, SLAM! Wrestling.
This match was so good it is a shame this feud has to end. The Undisputed Era retain when Tyler Bate bounces off the ropes into a Roderick Strong knee strike. The Undisputed Era caught Trent Seven with their Total Elimination move. The War (Machine) Raiders attacked The Undisputed Era after the match with Thor’s Hammer and Fallout.
Winners: …and still NXT Tag Team Champions…The Undisputed Era at 18 minutes and 11 seconds.
Match Rating: 8.5 / 10
Velveteen Dream Versus EC3
Velveteen Dream flies high. Photo: George Tahinos, SLAM! Wrestling.
Not nearly as good as expected. On the back of Dream’s trunks were the words…”Call Me Up Vince”. Too funny. Dream gets some revenge for being dunked in the pool during their promo by throwing an entire bottle of water on EC3. A Dream Valley Driver and a Purple Rainmaker Flying Elbow drop on the apron notched the win for Dream.
Winner: Velveteen Dream at 15 minutes and 5 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Matt Riddle is seen in the audience.
Adam Cole (c) Versus Ricochet – NXT North American Championship
Ricochet is the new NXT North American Champion. Photo: George Tahinos, SLAM! Wrestling.
The story of this match is that Adam Cole is two steps ahead of Ricochet countering most of his moves while shouting: “You’re not special!” in his face. Ricochet defeats Cole with a 630° Splash.
Winner: …and new NXT North American Champion..Ricochet at 15 minutes and 38 seconds.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Shayna Baszler (c) Versus Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Kairi Sane is the new NXT Women’s Champion. Photo: George Tahinos, SLAM! Wrestling.
Sane has Baszler’s number even locking her in the Anchor submission move several times, including once in the ropes. Baszler injures Sane’s ankle by stomping it and twisting it into a pretzel. After hitting two Insane Elbows, Sane goes for a third. Baszler puts her knees up. Baszler locks on the Ace of Spades. Sane counters it with a rolling bridge pinning Baszler’s shoulders to the mat.
Winner: …and new NXT Women’s Champion…Kairi Sane at 13 minutes and 34 seconds.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Tommaso Ciampa Vs Johnny Gargano – Last Man Standing match for the NXT Championship
Winner: …and still NXT Champion… Tommaso Ciampa at 33 minutes and 40 seconds.
Match Rating: 9.5 / 10
Overall Event Rating: 8.5 / 10