The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover Toronto 08/10/19 Review

The 2019 WWE SummerSlam weekend is here and that means it’s time for the 26th WWE NXT Takeover show. I did not watch this live on Saturday night because I was at a party. Let’s get to it.

WWE NXT Takeover Toronto
From Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario
August 10, 2019
The show began with a live musical performance while highlights aired on the video screens.
It was a vocal crowd in Toronto as expected. The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuiness and Beth Phoenix welcomed us to the show. Thank you Mauro for reminding us we are in the home of the NBA WORLD CHAMPION TORONTO RAPTORS! I like to capitalize it. The Spanish announce team was at ringside too.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance to a huge ovation. They had their red cups with them, they jumped into the crowd to party with the friends and the fans loved them for it. The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are heels, so they weren’t cheered as much, but fans don’t hate them either. O’Reilly is from British Columbia, so he’s in his home country.

NXT Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)
The fans were chanting for both teams. Dawkins started with O’Reilly with Dawkins using his power to keep O’Reilly grounded. Fish tagged in, shoulder tackle by Dawkins and Ford showed off his athleticism with an impressive dropkick. Dawkins back in with a double axehandle to the arm of Fish. Ford back in with an elbow smash to the arm. Fish dumped Ford out of the ring. O’Reilly tagged in and Fish with a distraction as O’Reilly hit Ford in the back with a forearm. Ford with two deep arm drags followed by a dropkick on O’Reilly. Double team splash against the ropes by the Profits and a double team flapjack on Fish. Ford to the apron, but he was tripped up and hit the apron hard. Dawkins whipped O’Reilly into the ropes, Kyle left the ring, Dawkins hit him with a forearm, he sent Fish into the top rope, a splash on O’Reilly and Fish hit a forearm on Dawkins to give the heels control. O’Reilly with a running forearm, strikes to the body and a sweep kick. Fish hit a senton dive over the top onto Dawkins followed by a suplex as the heels remained in control. Fish hit a Samoan Drop-like move on Dawkins. O’Reilly worked over Dawkins with forearms to the head. Dawkins nearly got the tag, but Fish tagged in for his team, Dawkins with a back body drop and Ford tagged in. Ford with two clotheslines on Fish, leaping clothesline and a superkick by Ford to O’Reilly. Ford with a belly to back suplex on Fish followed by a moonsault for two. Ford with a spinebuster. Ford teased throwing off an elbow pad like The Rock, but O’Reilly grabbed Ford’s foot and Ford sent Fish out of the ring. Ford kicked Fish down. Ford hit a Rock Bottom (or uranage) on Fish for a two count. O’Reilly kicked Dawkins off the apron. Fish with a chop block on Ford. O’Reilly back in leading to a DDT into a German Suplex combo move for a two count. That was impressive. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Fish tried a superplex on Ford, but Ford slapped him hard in the face. When Ford went up top, Fish knocked him down. Fish hit a super Exploder Suplex on Ford off the top. O’Reilly tagged in with a knee drop to the back. O’Reilly slapped on an Achilles Lock on the left leg/foot of Ford and Fish hit a splash on Ford. Dawkins finally got back into the ring and slammed Fish onto O’Reilly to break the hold. The fans gave them a standing ovation as well as an “NXT” chant.
Dawkins got the hot tag, he tossed O’Reilly into Fish, then a corkscrew splash, punch to the face and Dawkins hit a leg capture overhead belly to belly suplex. O’Reilly with a knee to the face, Ford tagged in, Dawkins held Kyle and Ford hit a Blockbuster off the top for two, but Fish made the save for his partner. All four guys were down selling for about thirty seconds. When all four guys got up, it turned into a slugfest. Ford hit a spin kick on Fish and O’Reilly knee strike on Dawkins, so that left Ford and O’Reilly in the ring. O’Reilly with a forearm to the face, Fish got knocked to the floor and Ford hit a somersault dive onto both UE guys on the floor. That was impressive. Dawkins with a Spear on O’Reilly and a Spear on Fish. Ford went up top and hit a Frog Splash on O’Reilly for the pinfall win at 16:55.
Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits

Analysis: **** A fun opening match with a lot of action and exciting moments. Ford really stood out with his athleticism while Dawkins had some nice spots as the power guy for his team. Ford’s athleticism really makes his stand out because he got so much height on the Frog Splash as well as the dropkicks he was doing. O’Reilly and Fish had a great showing in terms of technical wrestling. They work so well together. The spot with O’Reilly slapping on the Achilles Lock was when the pace picked up and the fans loved everything they did. I thought the Street Profits might lose since they have already been on Raw, but I have no problem with the decision to keep the titles on them because they are great and are on the rise. They are one of the most popular teams in all of WWE, not just NXT.

After the match, The Street Profits celebrated with the fans in Toronto.
A commercial aired for the WWE Universe mobile game. A commercial aired for SummerSlam hyping up Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon.
There was a shot of Johnny Gargano getting ready in the backstage area.
Ricochet was shown at ringside watching the show. Normally WWE just puts somebody there for the camera shot and then they go backstage right after.
The video package aired to set up Io Shirai vs. Candice Lerae. They were friends, but then Shirai turned heel when she was unable to win the NXT Women’s Title.
Io Shirai was up first. There wasn’t much of a reaction for her. Candice LeRae, who is the wife of Johnny Gargano, went quickly to the ring to start the match.

Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae
It started out as an aggressive match right away, which is how it should be considering their storyline. They went to the floor with Shirai hitting LeRae with a suplex on to the announce table. LeRae rolled back in before the ten count and Shirai hit were with a dropkick followed by punches. Shirai with a flapjack on LeRae followed by a low dropkick for two. Shirai with a headscissors and another dropkick. Shirai drove LeRae into the turnbuckle followed by a running Air Raid Crash, which is like the White Noise that Sheamus does, and that got two. LeRae got some momentum with a back body drop, then Shirai sent LeRae neck first into the ropes. Shirai up top with a dropkick, but LeRae moved leading to Shirai hitting the mat. LeRae came back with strikes, a running back splash and a brainbuster for a two count. LeRae with an octopus submission pulling on the arm of Shirai and Shirai got to the ropes to break the hold. Shirai sent LeRae into the ropes, she tried a 619, but LeRae blocked and hit a neckbreaker for two. Shirai kicked LeRae to the apron, then the 619 kick to the back of the neck of LeRae and they were both on the apron. LeRae knocked Shirai to the floor leading to a suicide dive into a DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, LeRae with a double stomp to the back of Shirai for a two count. That was a great flurry of offense by LeRae. Shirai slapped on a Crossface submission, LeRae countered into a pin attempt and Shirai kicked her in the face. LeRae ran the ropes, but Shirai hit her with a running forearm. Shirai with a German Suplex and LeRae came back with a snap German Suplex. Shirai caught LeRae to counter an attack leading to a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Shirai with a double knee strike, then Shirai up top, LeRae tried a slam, but Shirai landed on her feet. Shirai sent LeRae’s neck into the turnbuckle and LeRae hit a reverse Rana for a two count. That was sweet. LeRae hit a swinging neckbreaker off the middle ropes for a two count. That led to “This Is Awesome” chants.
LeRae went up top, Shirai slapped her and Shirai hit an Avalanche Spanish Fly slam off the top for two as Ranallo said that LeRae has the same heart that her husband Johnny Gargano possesses. The fans chanted “Mama Mia” which is a Ranallo catchphrase. Shirai hit a double underhook into a backbreaker. Shirai went up top and hit a moonsault for the pinfall victory…nope…it was just a two count. I thought that was it as Ranallo pointed out that nobody has kicked out of her moonsault like that. Shirai slapped on a leg lock submission around the head of LeRae and Candice was fading, so the referee grabbed the arm of Candice to show she had passed out. Shirai won by submission at 15:02.
Winner by submission: Io Shirai

Analysis: **** This was a very good match that exceeded expectations. I loved the story and the aggressiveness of Shirai as a heel. Shirai made me say “wow” a few times with her heel mannerisms and the way she performed. Candice sold everything perfectly and had some nice comebacks as well. There were plenty of interesting moments where either woman could win with the fans following along closely for everything they did. LeRae kicking out of the Shirai moonsault was a big moment. There were a lot of great spots in the match where it looked like Candice might win, which really helped the match because I think most people assumed Shirai would win her first Takeover match as a heel.

Post match, Shirai celebrated the win while LeRae was getting help from the referee.
A commercial aired for SummerSlam promoting Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Title.
There was a shot of Shayna Baszler warming up backstage.
A graphic was shown on the screen for the North American Title match, but Matt Riddle showed up with the interruption.

Matt Riddle ran in through the crowd and said “bro” repeatedly. Riddle said this is Takeover Toronto and he knows Killian Dain is in the building, so why not fight right here in Toronto? Dain showed up after coming in through the crowd, so Riddle went after him.
Dain worked over Riddle with punches followed by a jumping kick to the face. Referees went to ringside to try to break it up. Dain left, so Riddle went after him with a running forearm. Dain gouged the eyes of Riddle, but Riddle came back with two knees to the face. There were security guys (indy wrestlers) that showed up to break it up, but Riddle beat them up and Dain hit a running cross body block on the stage. When Dain celebrated the brawl, Riddle jumped on his back and Dain drove him into the video screen. Dain ran at one of the security guys while Riddle was on his back and Dain hit a clothesline while taking Dain with him through the tables that were off the stage. Dain stood up first as the winner of this battle.
Analysis: That was an intense brawl. I’m looking forward to Riddle and Dain having a proper match soon. They could have had a match at this show, but NXT likes keeping it at just five matches. Most Takeover shows don’t have an angle advancement segment like that, so it was cool to see something different.

A commercial aired for the WWE 2K20 video game. There was also a commercial for Becky Lynch vs. Natalya at SummerSlam.
They showed replays of the brawl between Riddle and Dain.
They showed Evolve Champion Austin Theory at ringside. There was no reaction to him, but he has a bright future.
The North American Champion triple threat match was next and the video aired to promote Dream vs. Strong vs. Dunne.
Velveteen Dream entered with the North American Championship and he was dressed in the red and white of Canada. They also had him suck up the fans by having a graphic with the Canadian flag as well as a reminder that the Toronto Raptors are NBA Champions. Cheap pops are good. The Mountie’s theme even started to play, but then Dream’s song started. He’s not from Canada, but he likes the colors. Roderick Strong was next with fans popping at the right times in the Undisputed Era song. Pete Dunne was last as a former long-time WWE UK Champion and fans know he is great in the ring, so he got a nice ovation from the crowd.

North American Championship: Velveteen Dream vs. Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong
Click Here: Putters
Dream started the match with some of his taunting antics, so Strong gave him a clothesline over the top to the floor. After some rope running, Dunne with a clothesline on Strong and Dream went back in with a clothesline for Strong. Dunne faced off with Dream and then Dunne was knocked out of the ring. Dream worked over Strong with punches, then a slap to the face and Dunne punched Strong. Dream with a standing dropkick on Strong. Dream held Strong’s arm as Dunne stomped on the left arm of Strong. Dunne sent Strong over the top to the floor. Dunne slapped on a cross armbreaker on Dream, but Dream turned to break the hold. Dream escaped the Bitter End attempt from Dunne, but Strong capitalized by sending Dream groin first into the ring post. Strong followed up with backbreakers on both guys and he slammed Dunne onto Dream. Back in the ring, Strong grounded Dunne by pulling back on an arm and a leg, then when Dunne got up, Strong hit him with a dropkick. Strong with a backbreaker on Dunne for a two count. Dream went back in with a double axehandle on Strong, kick to the face, clothesline and a legsweep for a two count. Dream with a backbreaker followed by an elbow smash off the middle ropes. Dream slapped on the Sharpshooter on Strong, which drew cheers from the crowd. Dunne went up top and hit Dream with a dropkick to the back to break the hold. Dream to the floor, punch to Dunne and Strong with a dropkick to knock Dream down. Dunne went to the middle ropes and hit a moonsault onto both guys. Back in the ring, Dunne with a step up enziguri on Strong and then a German Suplex by Dunne on both guys led to a two count. Dream and Strong temporarily worked together, which didn’t last as they got into it with punches. They got into a three-way slugfest, then kicks that led to Dunne hitting an enziguri kick on Dream. Dunne with a stomp on the hands, then a kick to the head of Strong, Dream with a Dream Valley Driver on Dunne, Strong with an Olympic Slam on Dream and Dunne with a front suplex where he tossed Strong into the air. All three guys were down as the crowd chanted “this is awesome” again.
Dream went up top, Dunne went after him, Dunne grabbed the fingers and Strong joined the party. Strong gave Dunne an Olympic Slam off the top while Dunne did an armdrag that Dream sold as a deadly move. Strong punched Dream out of the ring. Strong hit a backbreaker on Dunne and a Powerbomb attempt, but Dunne countered by grabbing the arm. They were up against the ropes, so Dream went up to top and he hit a Coast to Coast elbow drop on Dunne. That looked cool. Strong with running knee strikes on both guys, forearms, elbows and a spinning slam on Dream. Strong with a Powerbomb on Dunne onto Dream. Strong slapped on the Strong Hold submission (like a Walls of Jericho), but he couldn’t get the win with it. That was a cool spot. Dream with a superkick on Strong. Dream had both guys on his shoulders, Dunne grabbed the fingers and Strong with a running knee on Dream. Dunne snapped the fingers of both guys. Dunne with the Bitter End on Strong, but the referee was checking on Dream and then when the referee counted, Dream grabbed the referee’s arm to stop the count. Dunne slapped on a leg lock and stomped on the back of the head of Dream. Strong got back into it, Dunne landed on his feet after a German suplex and then Strong slapped on the Strong Hold submission. Dream tossed Strong out of the ring. Dream hit the Dream Valley Driver on Dunne, Strong tossed Dream out of the ring and Strong hit a suplex into the double knees. Dream hit Strong in the back with an elbow drop off the ropes and covered Dunne for the pinfall win at 17:24.
Winner by pinfall: Velveteen Dream

Analysis: ****1/4 It was an excellent match as expected. Strong was the most impressive guy in the match, which isn’t that surprising because he’s over a decade older than both guys and has a lot more experience. Dunne was great too while Dream had a nice showing, but he has been better in singles matches in the past. The finish wasn’t that strong because it was the “steal the pin” ending that happens too often in triple threat matches. There were still a lot of great moments with all three guys looking like possible winners. The way it was booked really made it seem like the challengers had a good shot of winning, so that made it more enjoyable. I got this one wrong in the predictions because I picked Dunne to win due to thinking that Dunne was going to be featured more in NXT and putting the title on him would be an easy way to do that. Dream is ready either for the main event push in NXT or a move to the main roster. He’s young, but I feel like he can be a difference-maker too.

Post match, Dream celebrated with the title while the other two guys sold like they were hurting even though it was a match with a close finish.
There was a commercial for the FX TV show Mayans on September 3. A commercial aired featuring Roman Reigns that plugged WWEShop.
Adam Cole, the NXT Champion, was shown getting ready backstage.
A video package aired for the NXT Women’s Championship match between Shayna Baszler and Mia Yim. The story was that Yim had strong fan support while Baszler was a dominant champion. Yim also attacked Shayna’s friends Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir to prevent them from interfering.
Mia Yim made her entrance after some wrestlers appeared on the stage wearing bandanas on their faces the way Yim does. This is Yim’s first Takeover match. Shayna Baszler was up next as the NXT Women’s Champion. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim
Yim kicked Baszler in the back of the leg to take her down. Baszler slapped on an armbar to counter and Yim got to the ropes to break. Yim with two armdrags followed by a headscissors and a kick to the face. Yim with a running cannonball attack on Baszler against the turnbuckle. Yim charged and Baszler hit her a forearm to the face. Yim whipped Baszler into the steel steps and drove her arm into the steps. Yim trapped Baszler’s arm against the steps followed by a dropkick into the steps. That was clever. Baszler tripped up Yim and then there was a kick to the head. Baszler with a running, step up knee and a kick to the arm. Baszler with a kick to the back of Yim. Baszler trapped the left arm of Yim and then she stomped on the left arm of Yim. Baszler with a wristlock takeover into a key lock and a kick to the chest got a two count. Baszler pulled on the left arm of Yim while pulling on the fingers. Yim pulled the hair of Baszler to take her down and Baszler came back with a clothesline for two. Baszler was selling the right arm while Yim was selling the left arm. Baszler with a dropkick that knocked Yim for a two count. Yim gouged the eye of Baszler, McGuinness said the referee should do something about it and Yim with a backdrop driver. Both women were down selling arm injuries. Yim got going with a clothesline, roundhouse kick and it looked like they messed up a spot as Baszler hit the ropes. They did the same spot this time leading to Yim hitting an overhead suplex to send Baszler out of the ring. Yim with a suicide dive onto Baszler. Back in the ring, Yim hit a DDT for two. Baszler with a knee to the jaw, then a kick to the face and that got a two count. The crowd was dead for this match, which is rare for a NXT match. Yim sent Baszler into the turnbuckle followed by the tarantula submission against the ropes. Yim up top, Baszler kicked her and Yim blocked a Baszler move. Yim got onto the back of Baszler for the Avalanche Code Blue for a two count. It was sunset flip Powerbomb out of the corner. Yim worked over Baszler with kicks, but Baszler trapped her with the Kirifuda Clutch. Yim broke the hold by grabbing the injured right arm. Yim stomped on the right arm of Baszler. Yim with a kick to the chest followed by a cross armbreaker submission, but Baszler countered. Baszler slapped on the Kirifuda Clutch although Yim grabbed the right arm to break the grip again. Baszler slapped on a leg lock submission around the neck of Yim and Yim tapped out at 14:37.
Winner by submission: Shayna Baszler
Analysis: **1/4 The match was just average. The fans didn’t get behind Yim that much other than the move off the ropes. Baszler matches are repetitive and boring at this point. I just don’t think her style of matches are working especially when we have seen so many of them. The women’s division needs something fresher than Baszler continuing to hold the title. The finish was done to show how skilled Baszler is as a “submission magician” because she wasn’t able to use her arms for the finish, so she used her legs. The crowd barely reacted to it, though, because that’s not a move we see as a finisher. It just didn’t come across as a great title match.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam promoting Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton. A commercial aired for NXT UK Takeover Cardiff on Saturday, August 31.
The WWE UK Champion Walter was at ringside. He’s impressive. Tyler Bate was also shown at ringside because he’s facing Walter at Takeover Cardiff. That will be an awesome match.
There was a long video package for the 2 out of 3 Falls match main event with Adam Cole defending the NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano.
Johnny Gargano made his entrance with some Wolverine themed gear. Since Wolverine is Canadian (I know that much), it makes sense. Adam Cole was next as the NXT Champion. The fans cheered both guys because it’s NXT and that’s what people do except when Tommaso Ciampa was the top heel. Fans like doing the “BAY-BAY” thing for Cole especially during his entrance.
Analysis: This is their third NXT Takeover match this year for the NXT Championship. The first two matches were rated five stars out of five by me and by a lot of others, I’m sure. Can they do it again? Going into the show, it’s what I expected, which shows how high expectations were. Normally, expecting a match to be at that level would be too much, but with these two guys, it is fitting.

NXT Championship (Two Out of Three Falls): Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano
The first fall is a regular match.
They did some mat wrestling early on with neither guy getting the advantage followed by a routine where they each went for signature moves, but they couldn’t connect. It showed that they knew eachother so well. Cole kicked the knee of Gargano, but Gargano moved, he kicked the knee of Cole and Gargano with a hurricanrana followed by a clothesline over the top rope. Gargano with a running low dropkick on Cole to knock him down on the floor. On the other side of the ring, Gargano picked up Cole and sent him knee first into the side of the apron. Gargano slapped on a leg lock, but Cole got to the ropes to break the hold. Gargano went for an attack while Cole was on the apron, but Cole caught him and slammed him back first into the corner of the apron. Back in the ring, Cole with a neckbreaker. Cole hit another neckbreaker for a two count. Cole grounded Gargano with a leg scissors around the throat. Gargano grabbed the foot, so Cole sent Gargano into the turnbuckle. Cole was selling a right leg injury leading to Gargano hitting an overhead belly to belly suplex into the turnbuckle. Gargano with two clotheslines, a kick to the leg, corner chop and a rolling kick to the face. Gargano tried a Spear off the apron, Cole caught him, Gargano hit the knee and Gargano hit a sitout slam for two. Gargano hit a double foot stomp to the back of the right knee of Cole followed by a Figure Four Leglock by Johnny with Cole getting to the ropes to break. Cole with a wheelbarrow German Suplex for a two count. Cole kicked Gargano in the back of the head, Gargano with a kick, Cole with a kick to the knee, Gargano blocked the Panama Sunrise and hit a Sunset Driver for a two count. They battled on the top rope, Cole grabbed his knee again, but when Gargano jumped off the top, Cole hit the double knees and Cole hit a Michinoku Driver for a two count. They did a double clothesline, double forearm, double block kick, and double running clothesline collision. Cole on the floor, Gargano charged at him and kicked Johnny in the head. Gargano sent Cole face first into the barricade followed by a leaping DDT back in the ring for a two count. Cole hit two superkicks and the Ushigoroshi (fireman’s carry into the knee) for a two count. Cole’s right knee selling stopped at this point after those moves. Cole left the ring and grabbed a steel chair. Cole tossed the chair in the ring, the referee grabbed it, put it to the apron and that allowed Cole to hit a kick to the groin for a two count. That was a clever spot. Cole grabbed the chair that was on the apron, he opened it up in the ring and sat on the chair. Cole argued with the referee and then walked right into a superkick from Gargano. That led to Gargano grabbing the chair, the referee told Gargano not to use it and Gargano hit Cole in the back. That led to Cole winning the first fall by disqualification.
Adam Cole leads 1-0.
Analysis: That meant that Gargano was willing to lose a fall just to cause some damage. The announcers did a good job of explaining the strategy and if he may regret it later.

The second fall is a Street Fight.
Gargano worked over Cole with several chair shots to the back. That’s when they announced the second fall is a Street Fight where anything goes. Cole left the ring, so Gargano threw the chair at him and hit a suicide dive into the barricade. Cole jumped into the crowd, so Gargano went after him and beat on him with punches. Gargano jumped off the hockey boards with a double axehandle. Gargano even took a selfie with a fan’s phone. Cole with a punch, but Gargano came back with a superkick. The fans chanted “We Want Tables” as Gargano wheeled Cole into some part of the staging area. They were back at ringside as Gargano hit a cross body block that took out Cole through the barricade at ringside. Gargano yelled, “Mama Mia” which is a Ranallo catchphrase. Gargano set up Cole on the announce table, Cole gouged the eyes to avoid a move and Gargano gave Cole a back body drop onto the Spanish announce table that wasn’t cleared off. That led to a “Mama Mia” chant. Gargano grabbed a table from under the ring and put it into the ring followed by another table that Gargano put in the ring. Gargano also tossed two chairs into the ring. Cole with a running knee to the face followed by another Ushigoroshi onto the knee for two. Cole wedged a chair between the top/middle turnbuckle. Gargano with a kick to the head, Gargano put Cole on his shoulder and hit a running lawn dart that sent Cole’s head into the chair. No chair shots to the head in WWE, but you can throw a guy into a chair? Sure. Gargano slapped on the Gargano Escape submission and Cole tapped out to give Gargano the second fall by submission.
The match is tied 1-1.
Analysis: I don’t think they needed to go ten minutes for this fall. Gargano was dominant for most of it and if he won within a few minutes it would have been fine.

A steel cage was lowered above the ring. There were weapons on the side of the cage along with barbed wire at the top of the cage. There were referees and ring crew on hand to set the cage up in the right position. As the cage was set up, replays were shown of the first two falls of this match.
The Barbed Wire Steel Cage had weapons on the side of the head and on top of the cage, they had weapons there too. It was a unique sight as fans chanted “ECW” for this. It was announced that there was no escape from the cage. The only way to win is via pinfall or submission.
The third fall is a Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match.

There was a slugfest, Cole with two kicks and Gargano with a clothesline that led to spinning bump by Cole. Gargano grabbed a kendo stick, Cole got a kendo stick and they hit eachother in the back with kendo sticks followed by a double superkick spot. The fans gave them a big ovation for that sequence. Gargano with a reverse rana followed by a superkick while Cole was on the chair for a two count. That led to a “fight forever” chant. Gargano set up a table, Cole jabbed Johnny with a chair to the ribs and then a chair to the back from Cole. There was another chair on the cage, so Cole grabbed one and then he whipped Gargano into another chair that was against the cage. Cole with a Backstabber double knees to the back (while holding a kendo stick) for a two count. Cole set up Gargano on the top rope, but Gargano got hold of a fire extinguisher and sprayed it in Cole’s eyes. Gargano hit a Tornado DDT off the ropes onto the top of the steel chairs, which led to a two count. It didn’t look great, but it was effective. Gargano worked over Cole with kendo stick shots to the back. Gargano climbed up the cage and grabbed a sledgehammer, which was Triple H’s main choice of a weapon in his career. Cole went after Johnny, so Johnny hit a sunset flip Powerbomb off the ropes for a two count. Gargano got a hold of the sledgehammer, but Cole came back with two superkicks to prevent an attack. Cole to the top rope, he tossed a ladder, Gargano escaped and Cole hit the Panama Sunrise (a Canadian Destroyer with a leap before it) for a two count. The crowd bought that as a potential finish. Cole set up the ladder in the ring, he climbed up, jumped off and hit another Panama Sunrise for a two count. Where he jumped off was not much higher than the top rope, but it was different at least. The fans chanted “Yowie Wowie” briefly, which is a Bray Wyatt phrase. When Cole ran the ropes for a kick, Gargano collapsed to the mat. Cole put Gargano on the chair, he ran the ropes, Gargano moved and Cole’s knee hit the chair, so it was back to selling the knee. Gargano slapped on the STF submission with a kendo stick and Cole bit Gargano to break free. They got up to a standing position with Gargano hitting Cole in the ribs with the sledgehammer. McGuinness did the over the top announcer commentary saying somebody needs to stop this. Gargano set up a table underneath a ladder while there was a platform on the cage. Gargano put another table beside the first table. Gargano put Cole on a table, Gargano climbed a ladder, Cole rolled off a table and Johnny climbed back down. Gargano with a kendo stick to the back. They went up top with Gargano hitting the Panama Sunrise off the top rope for one…two…and no. Great nearfall! That was crazy. The fans chanted “fight forever” for them again. Gargano had a bag, dumped them out and fans wanted thumbtacks, but they were pliers. Gargano climbed the cage and he cut the barbed wire, so he had barbed wire in his hands. Cole saw what was happening, so he climbed up the cage and went up the platform on the top. Gargano climbed up the ladder onto the platform that was above the two tables. Gargano had the barb wire with him. They got into a slugfest, then Gargano tried to punch him, but Cole blocked it. They grabbed a hold of eachother, then jumped off the platform through the tables in the ring! That was huge. Ranallo: “Mama Mia! Mama f’n Mia!” The fans were screaming about this and going crazy about what they just saw! Cole rolled over with his left arm on the chest and the referee counted the pin to give Cole the win at 51:03.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole (2-1)
Analysis: ****1/2 It was an outstanding wrestling match. I admire the stamina of Cole and Gargano because they don’t get tired and they almost never make mistakes. It’s incredible. I’m not going five stars this time like I did for their first two Takeover matches. It’s just a notch or two below that. I think going nearly one hour makes it a lot tougher to have that special kind of match. The story of Cole selling the right knee injury went away during the match as well. If they went around 35 minutes it would have been better. The second fall didn’t need to be as long as it was. If the second fall was five straight minutes of Gargano on offense with nothing from Cole, that would have told a better story. The first fall could have been shorter too. I loved the third fall because it felt like a fitting way to end this rivalry. Now that I got the minor nitpicking out of the way, this was a f’n great match. That finishing spot was very creative, it looked brutal and I hope both guys are okay after that fall. They set it up well. There were several believable nearfalls throughout the match, especially when each guy hit the Panama Sunrise and also the many superkicks that took place. I don’t know if I’ll get “heat” for not rating Cole/Gargano at five stars as I did for their last two matches, but I feel like I explained myself well. If somebody gives it five stars or more, I’m not going to argue that. It was a lot of fun. If I had to rank the Cole/Gargano trilogy I would put April in New York at #1, Takeover XXV in June at #2 and this match at #3.

After the match, they replayed the finishing spot where both guys went through two tables.
Adam Cole, who is still the NXT Champion, was helped to his feet by his Undisputed Era buddies Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. Meanwhile, Gargano was still out in the ring. Cole posed on the stage with his Undisputed Era buddies. The show ended there, right around the three-hour mark.
Analysis: The win from Cole meant that he won two of the three NXT Title matches with Gargano, so the heel Cole won the feud. Is this the end of the feud? Probably. At least for now. Gargano had the feud of the year in 2018 with Tommaso Ciampa in my WWE Johnny Awards. Right now, I think Gargano and Cole are clearly in the lead in 2019. Two five star matches plus this performance? As my guy Larry David says…pretty, pretty good.
This event had a run time of 2:59:52 on WWE Network.

After the show, Gargano received a standing ovation from the Toronto fans while his wife Candice LeRae joined him in the ring. The fans chanted “Thank You Johnny” for him. When Gargano made it to the top of the ramp, he was greeted by NXT General Manager William Regal, who shook his hand and raised his hand. The fans cheered loudly. The fans chanted “NXT” as well.
Analysis: Since Gargano lost the feud and they gave him that kind of post show ovation, there are a lot of rumors that this could be his NXT farewell. It makes sense if that happens because Johnny has done it all in NXT with the most Takeover appearances, most Takeover main events and there’s not much more he can do there. The concern is what happens when he’s on Raw or Smackdown because he may not be used right since he’s just a regular looking down. When you are on Raw or Smackdown, you don’t get 30+ minute matches like his last three Takeover main events were. I hope he gets to face off with greats like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan soon, but I don’t know if he’ll start lower down the card if he’s on the main roster. We’ll see what happens over the course of the next three WWE shows in Toronto.

Final Thoughts
It gets a 9 out of 10.
It was a great Takeover as usual. Four matches around the four-star level or better is very impressive. We have gotten spoiled by it when we watch Takeover shows. The main event was a fitting end to NXT’s best rivalry this year between Cole and Gargano. It hasn’t been the best because of the storyline the way Gargano/Ciampa was, but it was still a special rivalry due to the match quality. It was an outstanding match and one of the best in WWE this year. No doubt about it. I was really impressed by the Street Profits, Io Shirai and Candice LeRae, who all stepped up big in their matches.

My predictions sucked because I thought all four titles would change hands. Nope. No title changes. I did get Shirai’s win right. I just figured there would be some title movement because it’s rare to see all four champs retain, yet that’s what we got. We got plenty of good matches, but in terms of storyline progression, there wasn’t much on this show aside from building to a Riddle/Dain match.
The next NXT Takeover is over three months away during Survivor Series weekend, so they will have a lot of time to build up to that. There are also rumors that NXT is going to get two hours and be moved to Fox Sports 1 in the United States in October to go head to head with AEW. It’s going to be a very interesting couple of months for NXT if that happens.

Here are my rankings of NXT Takeover events so far this year on the 1-10 scale:
NXT Takeover New York – 10
NXT Takeover Toronto – 9
NXT Takeover XXV (Bridgeport) – 9
NXT Takeover Phoenix – 8.5

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John Canton

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