NXT Takeover Philadelphia Review 01/27/2018
Hello Misfits! It’s the Wrestling Classic here with my NXT Takeover: Philadelphia. NXT Takeover never lets us down and always give the main roster PPV that follows it a run for its money. I didn’t expect anything less from this event. If theres one thing I can say about NXT, its that it is stacked with talent. Theres a ton of guys who didn’t even make this card such as Roderick Strong and Lars Anderson who got a huge win over Ohno last month. I’ve been watching NXT more since War Games even though I miss episodes some weeks. Therefore, I am much more aware of the storylines and angles that have been going on. All the championships in NXT were on the line and this truly ended up being an unforgettable event. Lets get into my thoughts on each match.
NXT Takeover: War Games
Image via WWE.com
NXT Takeover: Philadelphia comes to us from the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, PA.
– There was an awesome video package to open the show which featured and had a voice over of Paul Heyman in it. Which makes total sense considering they are in Philadelphia which was the home of ECW. Mauro Ranallo and Percy Watson are our commentary team of the night. Nigel McGuinness is out with an illness. It would have been cool to see Corey Graves return to the announce table for the night or to get General Manager William Regal out there or something, but its been a while since we’ve had a two man commentary team.
NXT Tag Team Championship
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) (C) def. Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering
in 14:50 via pinfall
This was a great way to kick off the show. The story being told was simple but executed perfectly. The story was that the Undisputed Era weren’t just trying to deafeat Akam and Rezar but they appeared to just be trying to escape them. Early on, Kyle and Bobby took out Akam’s knee which played a huge role for them ultimately being to able to pick up the victory. Adam sold the knee so well, it made you wonder if it actually was hurt. Rezar looked like a monster who could have handled both these guys by himself at times. However, I loved O’Reilly and Fish looking like the heels that were trying to use their brain to overcome these two monsters. For a moment it really looked like AOP had made a comeback and were going to take the W but they cut down and suffered a loss to a quick roll-up. The champions were just smarter with their gameplan, and managed to sneak away with the win and did so without any shenanigans. This was a solid tag match and I enjoyed the story. I’m glad the Undisputed Era are still on top but this really makes me curious of what happens to AOP. They are in great shape and still monsters so maybe the main roster soon?
Rating – ***3/4
– War Machine were shown in the crowd
– Vega and Almas shown backstage prepping for the main event
Velveteen Dream def. Kassius Ohno
in 10:45 by pinfall
Velveteen Dream vowed to defeat Kassius Ohno in 30 seconds. Dream is slowly growing to be one of my favourites and I think its because its over the top character. If you look at all the other characters on this card, there isn’t any that is as out of this world, colourful and over the top as the Velveteen Dream. He came out in boxing shorts and was given a mouth piece from one of his entourage members. He was in full charismatic “Muhammed Ali” boxer mode. I absolutely love it. Ohno came out to a great reaction as well. Both guys were over with the crowd. Some point during their entrances I was wondering why they just didn’t let these two box or something considering their attires for the entrances. The match itself was decent and had a few sloppy moments but overall was solid. It was a back and fourth battle but in the end Dream picked up the victory with a purple rain elbow drop. He didn’t beat Ohno in 30 seconds but still walked out victorious. I’m curious if Ohno was just borough back to help put younger talent over because if thats the case, I dig it but I do think he has potential to do more. Dream is a star in the making with two great showings at back-to-back Takeovers.
Rating – ***1/2
– Johnny Gargano shown backstage with his family
NXT Women’s Champions
Ember Moon (C) def. Shayna Baszler
in 10:06 by pinfall
This match was good but I just couldnt get myself into it. If one thing seems to be lost in the water on NXT, its the womens division. They lost Asuka and crowned a new champion but havent really found their next big angle yet. Popular acts such as The Iconic Duo, Kairi Sane and Nicki Cross are nowhere to be found. Shayna Baszler quickly gets shot up to the number one contender spot and gets the opportunity to prove herself. I think Baszler did a tremendous job in her first showing in a big match. It was a solid match built around the story of Baszler working on the left arm of Moon for the majority of the match. The spot with Moon hitting the Eclipse and then selling for a couple minutes made me think that Baszler was going to win the title. They really played into Baszler’s bully mentality with her not wanting to let go of holds and just torture her opponents. It helped making you feel empathetic to the resilient babyface, Ember Moon. The finish was clever with Moon countering an arm bar that Shayna didn’t want to let go of into a pin for the win. Thus showing that Shayna wasn’t actually defeated but just outsmarted and caught off guard. Shana had that arm bar on for some time and they really made you think Moon was going to tap. Following the match Shayna choked Moon out on the ramp way being a sore loser. We’ll see what happens next but this could be a great start of revitalizing the NXT Women’s Division.
Rating – ***
– Trevor “Ricochet” Mann was shown in the crowd
Extreme Rules Match
Aleister Black def. Adam Cole
in 22:02 by pinfall
These are two guys I’m really big on. I’ve been an Adam Cole fan since like 2011 and really got into Tommy End aka Aleister Black in 2016. I was excited to see these two go at it at a NXT Takeover knowing its the show where everyone involved tries to be the best match on the card. These two guys would do whatever it takes to deliver. The idea of them being in a Extreme Rules match in Philidelphia was just the cherry on top. It was very clear that the live crowd was into this match before it even started. It started off kind of slow but once it picked up it never really slowed down. It was an awesome brawl. Just over four stars out of five. I loved the weapons they used, they came up with some creative spots and tried some different things. The table bump off the super kick was planned well and it drew a huge reaction. It reminded me of the super kick Shawn Michaels laid Mankind at Mind Games in 1996. Then there was the second table bump of the match with the double knee attack by Black, which was really cool. The bump that Adam Cole took on the chairs back first from an AA was hard to watch but I couldn’t stop looking. It had to be the most gruesome bump of the night followed by the one Cole took on a ladder. There was a run in where O’Reilly or Fish tried save Adam Cole from losing which brought out SaniTy to attack them to even the odds. I would have avoided run-in but considering it was a extreme rules match and Cole is apart of a stable, it made complete sense. It also further develops on the rivalry between the Undisputed Era and SaniTy. The match ended when Cole planned on taking Black out with a chair to finish him but got caught with a Black Mass from Aliester, who picked up the win. I thought this match told a great story, was entertaining and have different layers of drama which I enjoy. I thought either one of these guys could win but I see where NXT is going with Black as the next biggest good guy on the NXT roster and he’s undefeated. I would not be surprised to see the next Takeover headlined with Black challenging Almas for the NXT Championship.
Rating – ****
– EC3 is shown at ringside
NXT Championship Match
Anrade “Cien” Almas (C) w/ Zelina Vega def. Johnny Gargano
in 32:19 by pinfall
This match. Wow. It had it all from grand entrances, suspense, drama, storytellings, technical wrestling, brawling and angle development. If you ever needed an example of why I call professional wrestling the greatest form of art and athleticism, watch this match. this was a fantastic wrestling match with everything looking flawless the entire time. The pacing was just right. I liked how it was more of a back and forth match rather than something where one guy controlled too much of the action. The story was about Gargano taking an ass kicking and finding a way to keep coming back for more. Alma getting frustrated that he couldn’t keep Gargano down. Vega’s involvement and facial expressions outside the ring just added more the story. When she got physically involved hitting a hurricarana on Gargano, I just anticipated Candice getting involved which she finally did. The concussed lifeless expression on Gargano’s face for most of the end half of the match just had you feeling sympathetic for him. Every time Almas looked like he was going to put him away, Gargano kept coming for more. There were multiple times where I thought Gargano was going to win while using his submission move towards the end, but they planned those spots so well with Almas close to the ropes the one time where Vega helped him and then the other time with Almas getting his foot on the rope. The fans being so involved added to the match as well, just rooting for the lovable babyface in Gargano while getting stressed out every time the arrogant Almas looked close to picking up the win. These two played their roles perfectly and told a brilliant classic story. It was technical at the beginning where both guys couldn’t catch the other and get the upper hand and the second act told a story where they both hit their best shots but couldnt put the other one away. The near falls and teases had me on the edge of my seat. This was simply an amazing effort from both guys, from Vega & Candice, as it all came together perfectly as they put on the best WWE match since Bate vs. Dunne last year. This was truly Almas best performance on NXT thus far. If it didn’t feel like he was a top guy who should be champion before this, tonight he solidified his spot. I’m glad he retained as it feels like he just won it and I’m sure Johnny Wrestling’s time will come. Patience is a virtue. If the fans weren’t already behind Gargano and finding themselves just wanting to see him succeed, after watching this match, they’ll be on the bandwagon. I didnt really have any expectations for this match besides that I thought it would surely be good. I never thought it would be this good. If you didn’t watch this…GO WATCH IT NOW.
Rating – *****
– Almas and Vega were on the ramp with the NXT Title while Candice was in the ring checking on her husband Gargano in the ring. Almas went to the back with Vega. Gargano was shown getting back to his feet in the ring with the fans giving him a huge ovation. When Gargano got to the top of the ramp, he turned around to look at the fans, the copyright logo was on the screen and Tommaso Ciampa was there to hit Gargano in the back with a crutch. The show ended with Gargano selling in pain with Candice checking on him. I was expecting to see Ciampa but almost gave up on it happening at the time it did. I thought it would have happened during the match or cause Gargano the match but I’m glad it played out this way. I loved the cold and empty stare Ciampa had. I’m looking forward to his return.
This was an awesome show and didn’t disappoint. I did not expect anything less. The undercard matches were solid and quality wrestling matches. The final two matches were spectacular and the main event being an early candidate for match of the year. The Ciampa appearance was a great final image for the show foreshadowing the future and continuing his rivalry with Gargano. Talking about the future of NXT, finding out that War Machine, EC3 and Ricochet are all coming to NXT is promising for the future of the brand as well. I really enjoyed this show and I recommend it to everyone. Everything is so entertaining it all kind of goes by really fast. Check it out.
Final Rating – 8.5/10
What were your final thoughts on NXT Takeover: Philadelphia? What final grade would you give the event? Where would you rate it on a scale of ten? Do you agree with my review? Leave your comments, opinions and thoughts below in the comments section.
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