The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover In Your House 2020 Review

The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover In Your House 2020 Review

It’s time for the second WWE NXT Takeover event of 2020. The first Takeover this year was in Portland in mid-February back when crowds could go to shows. That Takeover was on a Sunday and that’s what we’re getting here. I’m still used to most Takeover’s taking place on Saturday, but now they are on Sundays sometimes. The WrestleMania weekend Takeover was canceled, so here we go four months after the last Takeover event.

I’m interested to see the nostalgic feel of the show with the “In Your House” theme because it’s 25 years after the first In Your House pay-per-view and with no fans at the show, the only watch is…In Your House. It’s a fitting name. Let’s get to it.

WWE NXT Takeover In Your House
From Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida
June 7, 2020

The show began with some classic In Your House graphics as former WWE announcer Todd Pettengill was standing in front of a screen to welcome us to the show.

There was an opening video that offered a nostalgic feel with Pettengill narrating as they mentioned the big matches coming up on the show. Pettengill teased that a lucky winner will win a house just like they did in 1995, but then said a fan “will not win a house.” That was it for Pettengill in the intro. It definitely reminded me of the original In Your House days.

Analysis: It was nice to see Todd involved in this event. Todd is 54 years old now and those of us that watched the WWF/E in from that 1993 to 1997 period know all about Todd because he was great in the hosting role. I’m glad they utilized him for this show even though it was just standing in front of a screen as graphics were shown behind him.

The band Code Orange sang the song “Underneath” by the stage set up in the arena. It’s not my type of music. I’m just being honest.

The WWE Performance Center trainees were shown in the crowd behind the plexiglass. They were full of energy and making a lot of noise. They were at Full Sail University in Orlando for this show. The announce team was Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix and Tom Phillips.

The babyface trio of Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox and Mia Yim made their entrance. Blackheart entered on a unique tank type of vehicle. The heel team was next with Dakota Kai joined by Raquel Gonzalez and Candice LeRae was last.

Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Mia Yim, Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart

Yim wanted to start with LeRae, but then LeRae tagged in Gonzalez and Gonzalez shoved Yim down. Yim grabbed a tight headlock, but Gonzalez managed to shove her into the turnbuckle. Gonzalez with a running shoulder tackle on Nox, who was legal. Kai tagged in with Nox getting a rollup, then Kai managed to get a two count of her own. Kai and Nox exchanged more nearfalls. Nox hit a running uppercut on Kai followed by a cannonball splash on Kai for a two count. Blackheart hit a facebuster on Kai, but a charge into the ropes missed as Kai hit a rising kick to the head of Blackheart for two. LeRae tagged in, she missed a splash and Blackheart kicked LeRae out of the ring. Blackheart tried a dive onto the floor on the heels, but Gonzalez caught her. Yim hit a suicide dive onto Kai. LeRae hit a springboard cross body block onto a few women. Nox went up top and hit a somersault dive knocking down the other five women, even some of them that weren’t touched, but they fell down anyway to sell it. Blackheart went back into the ring with a double knee attack off the top on LeRae and a running senton splash on LeRae’s back for a two count. LeRae missed an enziguri kick and Blackheart with a bridging submission, but Kai went back in with a kick to the ribs on Blackheart. Gonzalez went in the ring illegally with a clothesline and LeRae pinned Blackheart for two. Kai with a boot to the throat of Blackheart, Gonzalez tagged in with stomps and there was some hair pulling from Kai. Kai tagged back in and missed a running kick to the face when Blackheart moved, Blackheart with a jawbreaker and an enziguri kick. Yim got the hot tag with a dropkick on LeRae, a neckbreaker and a Dragon Suplex for a two count. Yim hit Gonzalez with a forearm, so LeRae capitalized with an overhead suplex. Nox faced off with Gonzalez with Nox going for strikes, but Gonzalez managed to hit a Powerbomb for two as Yim broke up the pin. Yim may have missed it, but that was the idea. LeRae grabbed Yim and they went fighting to the backstage area. Kai got the tag, she accidentally kicked Gonzalez in the head when the others moved and Nox hit a Chokeslam on Kai. Blackheart hit the Sliced Bread neckbreaker and a dropkick sent Gonzalez out of the ring. Nox hit the Shiniest Wizard knee to the face of Kai for the pinfall win at 9:50.

Winners by pinfall: Mia Yim, Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart

Analysis: *** It was a standard WWE tag team match with Nox getting one of the biggest wins of her career as she beat her former friend Dakota Kai. Most of the match saw the heels working over Blackheart for an extended period of time and then the last few minutes were fast paced. I thought that spot where they all hit dives on the floor was a bit contrived and just a way to do some big spots rather than something meaningful. They all worked together and it was fine as an opening match. I picked the heel team to win because I figured they wanted to give LeRae some momentum as a heel, but I don’t mind what they did. It was big for Nox and I think she’s got a very bright future, so I hope it leads to a bit of a push for Nox.

There was a “Promotional Consideration” commercial with William Regal doing the voiceovers kind of like Lord Alfred Hayes used to do them. Videos were shown of wrestlers like Drake Maverick, Isaiah Scott, Rick Bugez and Dio Maddin eating WWE Good Humor ice cream sandwiches. They are not the old ice cream bars, but they look pretty good.

There was a commercial for WWEShop merchandise.

Rhea Ripley was shown getting ready backstage for her match coming up later. The women got to be in the main event.

The video package aired setting up Finn Balor against Damian Priest. The story was that Priest did a cheap attack on Balor to try to get some attention and Balor was confident that he would teach Priest a lesson here.

Damian Priest entered first for the match doing his cool “shooting the arrow” thing. I like the presentation of his entrance. Finn Balor’s entrance continues to be one of the best in WWE although it’s hurt by no actual fans in attendance to react with their arms spread out during the song. Balor hit a running dropkick on Priest before the bell began. The bell rang after that.

Finn Balor vs. Damien Priest

Balor was aggressive as he took down Balor with a chop block and kicks to send Priest out of the ring. Balor hit a running forearm to the face, but then Priest came back with a hard whip into the steel steps. Priest sent Balor face first into the edge of the ring apron. Priest took off the top half of the steel steps, Balor charged and Priest gave Balor a side slam onto the edge of the apron, so it was like a backbreaker into the apron. Priest with a punch, then forearms, Balor with a kick and Priest hit a leaping flatliner. That was an impressive looking move that could be a finishing move. Priest sent Balor into the ropes leading to a jumping back elbow followed by Priest grabbing a chinlock. Balor with a jawbreaker, Priest hit a kick into the ropes and Balor got the feet up followed by a running forearm to the face. Balor countered a suplex into a vertical suplex of his own. Balor hit a running dropkick while Priest was on the apron, so that sent Priest to the floor. Balor worked over Priest with hard kicks, but then Priest went into the ring with a running clothesline. Priest set up for a Razor’s Edge, Balor got out of it and Priest hit a Broken Arrow slam (like a Falcon Arrow). Balor with a trip leading to a double foot stomp to the chest. Balor and Priest exchanged strikes, Priest with a jumping kick and then Balor with a Pele Kick for a two count. The fans were rooting on Balor, who hit two running forearms to the face. Priest went for a slam, but Balor countered into a pin for two. Balor with a clothesline to the floor, Priest landed on his feet and hit a kick to the body. Priest sent Balor into the barricade. Priest gave the Razor’s Edge to Balor on the ring apron and that got a two count. Priest hit a running back elbow on Balor against the corner. The referee D.A. Brewer talked to both guys saying six minutes left in the match or until the match and the post match celebration.

Priest hit another running back elbow against the turnbuckle. Balor came back with the Slingblade neckbreaker. Priest came back with two 360 roundhouse kicks, but Balor came back with an elbow drop to the chest. Balor charged with a running dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, but Priest stopped that with a choke and Priest hit a Chokeslam off the second rope. Priest covered with his arm across the chest for the two count. Priest looked out to the bottom half of the steel steps again as Priest picked up Balor on the apron, but Balor slipped out of that and Balor hit a forearm to the face to knock Priest off the apron and back first into onto the steel steps. That was a big bump in a spot that was set up very well. They replayed the bump from Priest. Back in the ring, Balor with a double foot stomp to the back of Priest. The crowd was really getting into it. Balor went up top and he hit the Coup de Grace double foot stomp to the chest. Balor covered for the pinfall win at 13:07.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

It was noted by Ranallo that Balor set the record for most wins at Takeover events with 11 wins in his career.

Analysis: **** This was an awesome hard-hitting match that felt like a fight the moment the match began. I think it was Priest’s best singles match in NXT while Balor has hit the four star range many times. Priest got in all of his big moves and there were a couple of times where he hit moves that a lot of wrestlers could be using as finishers. I’m impressed by Priest in terms of moves and this was also one of the best matches I’ve seen him in due to the story they told. Balor’s a tremendous ring general that can have a great match with anybody and he showed it here with some believable selling throughout along with a lot of cool looking moves. It looked like either man could get the win, but I liked that Balor went over because I think it made sense in the storyline. It wouldn’t surprise me if Balor is in the NXT Title hunt soon and he may be the next champion.

Post match, Balor stared at Priest, who was up against the ropes and did the double gun salute to him.

Analysis: This was right around six minutes after the referee told them six minutes left, so when he told them that, he meant the post-match interaction too.

There was a commercial for Monday’s Raw as the final Raw before Backlash.

They did a brief commercial with Adam Cole mentioning Icopro as if it was a sponsor in 2020 like it was in the mid-1990s. Love that nostalgia.

They showed Io Shirai getting ready for her match later in the show.

A video package aired setting up Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano for the North American Title. The feud had a personal touch to it with Gargano and wife Candice LeRae having a rivalry with Keith Lee and girlfriend Mia Yim. Gargano was looking to win the title for the second time.

Johnny Gargano entered first as the challenger with Keith Lee up next as the champion.

NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano

Lee had “Black Lives Matter” on the back of his trunks. Lee used his power to shove Gargano down a couple of times and then Gargano backed away from a Lee kick. Gargano left the ring, then Lee followed, Gargano kicked him and Lee caught Gargano during a dive attempt. Gargano with a kick on the apron, Gargano with a running attack, Lee caught him and Gargano gouged the eye. Lee avoided a charge, Johnny hit the steps and Lee continued the attack. Lee with a hard forearm to the chest. Gargano tried to leave out the door by the entrance, but Lee went after him with a chops. The referee was counting in the ring although if it was a regular count then it was more than ten seconds. No countout here as they went back into the ring with Gargano working over Lee with punches. Gargano worked on the injured left hand of Lee, who came back by tossing Gargano across the ring and Lee punched him in the face as Lee sold the left hand injury again. Gargano hit an enziguri kick to the head followed by punches. Gargano used palm strikes to work over the injured eye of Lee. Gargano drove Lee’s face into the ropes as the crowd chanted “Johnny sucks” and Johnny stretched the left hand against the steel of the turnbuckle. Gargano told the crowd that they were lucky to get to see him perform. Gargano slapped on a headlock where he also pulled on Lee’s hand. Gargano continued to work over Lee with punches as there were more “Johnny sucks” chants from the crowd. Lee was able to come back with two lefty forearms, but then Gargano avoided a clothesline, step up enziguri and Lee hit him with a punch to the back. Lee with a modified backbreaker. They exchanged forearms to the face with Lee knocking Johnny down with a lefty elbow to the face. Gargano charged and slapped on an armbar on the left arm with his legs wrapped around the shoulder. Lee was able to take control with a big clothesline as the fans cheered him on. Gargano was able to hit a sunset flip for a two count. They each got strikes, Lee went for a slam off the shoulders and Gargano got a cradle counter for a two count. That was cool. Gargano with another kick, but then Lee came back with a spinebuster. Gargano left the ring, Lee followed, but Johnny managed to hit a dive out of the ring into a DDT. Lee was out on the floor, so Johnny realized he had to get Lee into the ring, the referee was counting and Gargano went back in the ring to break the count. When Gargano was walking outside the ring, Lee hit a running shoulder tackle through the plexiglass. That was cool and made me miss hockey with that kind of hockey check.

They took some time to recover from that to show some replays. That led to Candice LeRae showing up, Mia Yim went after her and the referee was busy with that. Gargano pulled something out of his trunks – it looked like a key – and he gouged Lee’s eyes. Gargano jumped over the top with a DDT for a two count. Gargano with two superkicks for two kickouts with Lee powering out. Gargano hit another superkick to the face this time for a two count. Lee lifted up Gargano and hit the sitout Spirit Bomb, but Lee was too hurt to cover right away. Lee with a Powerbomb and the Big Bang Catastrophe for the pinfall win at 20:35.

Winner by pinfall: Keith Lee

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a pretty good match with Gargano getting a lot of offense and dominating most of the match until Lee was able to make the big comeback to keep his title. I liked the cheap heel tactics by Gargano throughout the match, including the old school cheating with a key to the eye. The spot where Lee body checked Gargano into the plexiglass was a nice spot that was fitting for a match like this. I’m still not sure about Gargano as a heel because he was such an incredible, natural face, but I understand wanting to try something different. Lee is a great babyface, so they were able to tell a story that made sense. I thought Gargano was going to win the title to give him some more momentum as a heel, but I like Lee a lot and have no problem with him getting the win.

Post match, Lee celebrated with the NXT North American Title as his reign continues.

There was a commercial for the WWE 24 documentary on WWE Network on Ric Flair. I haven’t watched it yet, but I will check it out soon.

There was a promotional consideration video (narrated by William Regal) where some wrestlers were eating some WWE ice cream sandwiches by Good Humor. They are the new version of the WWE ice cream bars.

Charlotte Flair was shown warming up backstage. She was looking good. Camera angles matter. Just saying. I’m sure Andrade would agree.

There was a video package about the NXT Title match focusing on Adam Cole as the NXT Champion for over 365 days. They showed that Velveteen Dream had Cole beat, but he was screwed out of it. That set up the Backlot Brawl match.

The Backlot Brawl was set up outside Full Sail University with a ring that was outside the lot and they were surrounded by cars that had wrestlers in them. Adam Cole drove an Undisputed Era truck out to the ring and it said “Shock the System” on it. There were reports that there was some rain there and you could see it on top of the cars. Velveteen Dream was shown driving up with a yellow Lamborghini that looked amazing. Dream was wearing a black leather jacket that said Hollywood on it.

NXT Championship Backlot Brawl: Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream

The referee Drake Wuertz was in the ring telling them that anything goes, but the match finishes in the ring.

Dream was wrestling in a t-shirt and jeans with Cole in an Undisputed Era tank top and jeans. Dream got three rollups to start the match, but then Cole came back with a boot to the face followed by punches. Cole said that Dream didn’t deserve the title, so he’s leaving. Cole jumped into a car and he tried to leave, so Dream went after him with a baseball bat. Dream smashed the car a bit, then Cole left and they were slugging it out with forearms. A car was shown driving up to the fight and they asked if somebody called for an Uber. It was a girl driving, the guys went in and out of the car quickly and the referee told the girl to leave. That was funny at least. Dream threw Cole into a trash can and then Cole avoided the can when Dream threw it at him. Cole sent Dream into a parking meter that was there. Cole ran away from Dream and we didn’t see where he went, so Dream went looking for him. A door opened and Cole sprayed a fire extinguisher into Dream’s face. They went back towards the ring that was surrounded by cars. Cole with a pump kick to the face as Cole told Dream to quit and called him stupid. Dream managed to get a hold of Cole and sent him face first into the ring post. Dream with a double axe off the apron on Cole. They went into the ring again, but Cole bailed again. Dream jumped off the top with nothing as Cole met him with a superkick to the face. Cole jumped off the apron with nothing and Dream hit a superkick on him. There have been a lot of superkicks on this show. It looked like an edit at this point just based on a camera cut. Dream slammed Cole onto the hood of a car. Dream brought a ladder around the ringside area as he worked over Cole with punches. Dream set up the ladder by the hood of the car that Cole was laying on. Dream did a slow climb up the ladder, then another car drove up and was honking with bright lights. It was Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish of the Undisputed Era, so Cole went up the ladder with Dream. Cole celebrated and Dream punched Cole off the ladder as Cole went back first onto the hood of the car and crashing into the windshield. Cole had a big gash on his right arm from the fall. That led to Strong and Fish attacking Dream with punches and kicks. Cole told his buddies: “You know what to do.” Strong and Fish grabbed some chairs from the back of the Undisputed Era truck and they tossed all of those chairs into the ring. It was about 20 chairs in the ring. Dexter Lumis showed up from under the ring and he beat up Strong and Fish with a steel chair. Lumis worked over Strong and Fish with punches. Lumis put Strong and Fish in the trunk, so then Lumis drove away to take them out of the match…literally.

Cole was favoring his injured right arm as he crawled into the ring and Dream was already in the ring that was filled with chairs. Cole went to the middle ropes and jumped off with a Panama Sunrise attempt, but Dream caught him and hit the Dream Valley Driver for the two count. Dream went up top, jumped off and hit an elbow drop on Cole onto a pile of chairs and that got a two count. Dream told Cole that “every era is meant to end” and he said “dream over” to Cole as well. As Dream said that, Cole hit a low blow uppercut punch to the groin. Cole followed up with a Panama Sunrise piledriver onto the steel chairs for the pinfall win at 15:01.

Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole

Analysis: I don’t rate the cinematic matches like this. If I did, maybe around **1/2 or so, but it’s hard to really compare it to a regular match when it’s edited so heavily. This was okay, but not great compared to some of the other cinematic matches we have seen. I thought they had some good moments like the big bump onto the windshield and then using Lumis to take out Undisputed Era. Some of it dragged on too much and wasn’t that interesting. The finish could have been better because it was just a low blow and the finisher. They could have done more in terms of nearfalls to build it up a bit. I get the story they tried to tell with Cole trying to run away at times, but it led to some boring parts. Cole winning is what I expected. Dream going to Raw or Smackdown soon is definitely a possibility now.

The title reign for Adam Cole continues as Mauro said it was 372 days and counting for him. It also means that Dream can’t get a NXT Title shot as long as Cole is the champion.

There was a video with Todd Pettengill shilling some WWE Shop merchandise. Todd mentioned a 1-900 number, then he was told no 900 numbers anymore and shilled it at WWEshop.com for all your WWE merch items. Todd plugged all the social media and mentioned the AOL chat. They showed Degeneration X members Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg typing on an old computer. They were very over the top in their actions.

D-Generation X’s fruitless attempt to log on: NXT TakeOver: In Your House (WWE Network Exclusive)

Analysis: That was pretty funny. Nice throwback to the 90s days with the 900-number reference, which was the main way to order merchandise items from home until the internet took over.

There was a brief video package showing the story between NXT newcomer Karrion Kross and Tommaso Ciampa.

Karrion Kross made his entrance joined by the lovely Scarlett, who is Karrion’s girlfriend. It was in black and white. I really like how creative it is because it makes him stand out and look different from everybody else. The wrestlers in the PC were chanting “Fall and Prey” that is part of the Kross entrance. Tommaso Ciampa entered as the opponent in what is his 13th match at a Takeover compared to Kross in his Takeover debut.

Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett) vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa with hard strikes to the head, Kross no sold it a bit and Kross hit a full extension kick to the head. Kross with an overhead suplex across the ring. Ciampa with hard kick, then a clothesline over the top to the floor and Kross followed him out of the ring. Kross picked up Ciampa and sent him back first into the edge of the ring apron like a Chokeslam into the apron. Back in the ring, Kross with another belly to belly suplex across the ring. Kross continued the attack with another belly to belly suplex across the ring as he smiled at the violence he was causing. Kross with repeated knees to the face against the turnbuckle. Kross dared Ciampa to hit him, then Kross hit a Northern Lights Suplex into a clothesline. Ciampa with hard chops and strikes to the face, then a kick that sent Kross out of the ring. Kross was on the apron and Ciampa hit a DDT for a two count. Ciampa with a running knee to the face, then another running knee to the face, but Kross blocked a move from Ciampa. Kross put Ciampa on the shoulders and hit a spinning slam off the shoulders. Kross slapped on the Kross Jacket submission with a choke around the neck and leg scissors. Ciampa passed out, so the referee called for the bell at 6:12.

Winner by submission: Karrion Kross

Analysis: **1/4 A dominant showing from Kross. I expected him to win, but I thought it would be a bit longer than that. Ciampa is one of the most successful NXT wrestlers, so it’s a big deal for Kross to run through him as quickly as he did. The bump that Ciampa took on the edge of the ring apron looked nasty. I’d rather not see a guy that has had major neck surgery taking a bump like that. I think Kross is either going to win the NXT Title very soon or he’ll be on Raw or Smackdown by early next year. I don’t see Kross as a long term NXT guy – maybe a year at most. Ciampa is one of the key NXT guys, so he’ll likely remain there and move on to another feud.

Post match, Kross and Scarlett celebrated in the ring while Kross stared at Ciampa and the announcers put over how impressive Kross was.

Analysis: I think they should have shown Scarlett more. I’m not saying that just because she’s a very attractive woman. I just think when you have somebody at ringside, you need to show them more often than they did here and show their reactions to moves. On Raw, they cut to shots of Zelina Vega a lot. They should have showed Scarlett more. That’s just my opinion.

A commercial aired for Backlash, which airs next Sunday on WWE Network.

The band Code Orange was at ringside watching the show. They did the theme song for the show.

They showed some of the superstars in the WWE PC as Robert Stone was there looking sad since Chelsea Green quit as his client.

Renee Young was shown backstage hosting the Watchalong and she plugged an interview with Triple H after the show.

The video package aired for the main event for the NXT Women’s Championship with Charlotte Flair defending against Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai.

Rhea Ripley entered first. She is the former champion that lost the title two months ago to Flair. Io Shirai has yet to win the NXT Women’s Title, but she has come close a few times and is a very impressive in-ring performer. Charlotte Flair was out last wearing one of her robes and the NXT Women’s Title around her waist. Phillips mentioned Shirai has been in four title matches, Ripley has been in eight titles and Flair has been in 66 title matches in her WWE career. That’s impressive.

NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai

Flair started the match by going to the floor, but then she went back in and dominated the women with a backbreaker and a fallaway slam. Flair told them that this was her house and her opponents are the guests. Flair worked over both women with hard chops to the chest. Flair told them they couldn’t beat her as Ripley and Shirai worked over Flair with punches. Ripley with a headbutt on Shirai. Ripley sent Flair into the ropes, Flair with a forearm to Ripley, then Ripley pulled Flair off the apron. Flair came back by sending Ripley hard into the barricade/plexiglass. When Flair turned around, Shirai hit a hurricanrana off the apron. Flair whipped Shirai into the ribs of Ripley. Flair sent Shirai into the ring with a hard forearm to the back. Flair avoided some Flair moves and then Flair slapped on a Boston Crab submission. Shirai got out of that, she hit some up-kicks and then Ripley went back in with knees to the Flair followed by a running kick to the head. Ripley with a running dropkick on Flair. Shirai jumped up and hit a kick to the head of Flair. Shirai hit a 619 kick on Flair. Shirai off the ropes, Flair moved and Shirai with a double foot stomp. Shirai with a running dropkick to the head for two. Shirai charged, Ripley got a hold of her and the women punched eachother in face to knock them both down. Flair was also down in the corner.  Flair hit a running Spear on both women leading to two counts for Flair. That was a cool spot. Some fans were booing Flair, so she did her own version of a DX chop to the crowd. Flair went up top, she jumped off with the moonsault, Shirai moved and Ripley got the knees up. There were two two-counts after that and Shirai countered a Ripley move into a DDT variation. Shirai with a crossface on Flair, then Ripley with a kick and Flair hit a kick to the face of Ripley for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Ripley countered the Natural Submission, then she hit a kick and hit a spinning front slam. Shirai hit an impressive springboard dropkick off the top onto Ripley. That looked great. Shirai with a running double knee attack on Ripley and Flair hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker on Shirai for a two count with Flair looking shocked that it wasn’t enough to win the match. That’s a move that Flair has won with a lot in her career.

Shirai hooked the arms of Flair and got a pin for a two count. Flair came back with a Figure Eight submission attempt, but Ripley pulled Flair out of the ring. Ripley and Flair got into an exchange of punches on the floor. Shirai ran the ropes leading to a suicide dive into a cross body block on Ripley on the floor. Flair came back with a running forearm to the head of Shirai. Flair grabbed Shirai and threw her through a “window” that was part of the set. Ripley through a plant at Flair and then Flair tackled her. Ripley went after Flair with punches. There are no countouts in a triple threat, so the referee told them to go back in the ring. Flair sent Ripley into the plexiglass while taunting the PC superstars. Shirai climbed on top of the house that was part of the set and Shirai jumped off with a cross body block on both women. The crowd was chanting “holy shit” for that. It was an impressive dive from about 12-15 feet high. That was a great spot. Shirai sent Flair into the ring, but then Ripley punched Shirai while she was on the top rope. Flair charged, Ripley avoided it and sent Flair into the turnbuckle. Ripley went for a superplex, Shirai blocked it and shoved Ripley into the turnbuckle. Shirai went for a Frankensteiner off the top, but Flair went back in with a boot to the ribs. Flair with chops on Ripley on the turnbuckle, but then Ripley got a hold Flair and gave her a Riptide slam off the turnbuckle for a two count as Shirai broke up the pin. Shirai with punches, then she went for a pin, but Ripley blocked it and slapped on the Prism Trap submission. Flair brought in a kendo stick that she used to hit Ripley and Shirai in the body two times each. Flair hit Ripley three more times in the back with the kendo stick. Flair followed up with a Spear on Ripley and Flair put the Figure Eight submission on Ripley. While Flair had it locked in, Shirai went up top and hit a moonsault on Ripley and Shirai pinned Ripley to win the title while Flair was tied up with Ripley to break it up. Shirai finally wins the NXT Title in a match that went 17:35.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Io Shirai

Analysis: ****1/4 Great match with a lot of cool spots including the Shirai dive off the house. That was the best high spot of the entire show. I’m genuinely happy for Shirai winning the title because she has been in the mix for a long time and now she’s finally the champion. It would have been nice if Flair was the one to take the pin, but that’s WWE always wanting to protect her whenever they can. It doesn’t bother me that much because I get why it happens. I just think it would have meant more if Flair was the one that was beaten. The finish with the moonsault looked brutal because Shirai’s body hit Ripley in the head and that’s not the ideal landing spot. Shirai usually hits it perfectly, but was likely thrown off a bit since Flair was doing her submission at the same time, so it’s a little tougher to land it. Anyway, I thought the action was great and they all worked hard. I like how many believable nearfalls there were throughout the match. It looked like any of the women could win while Flair had some dominant moments as well. I picked Ripley to win, but I have no problem with Shirai getting the title because she has deserved it for a long time.

Shirai celebrated with the Women’s NXT Championship. Flair and Ripley looked sad about their losses in the match. They showed replays of the finish. The moonsault was a bit rough on Ripley’s face, but apparently Ripley is okay from it. No injury.

Analysis: I assume that’s the end of Flair in NXT for now although WWE obviously likes using her a lot. It was two months and that’s likely all for her, which is fine because they need to focus on the other women in NXT. Flair will probably be used on Raw only going forward. Shirai has a lot of women she can feud with while Ripley will continue to be in the mix.

There was confetti and streamers in the ring for Shirai as Ranallo mentioned it looked like Japan with all the streamers in the ring with Shirai. That’s why they did it and it looked great. That was the end of the show.

This event had a run time of 2:20:37 on WWE Network.

Analysis: I liked the length of the show. It felt just right to me. Money in the Bank was around the same too, so I figure Backlash will be around that mark. Most of the Takeover events in the last six years have been around 2 hours, 30 minutes with some of them topping three hours.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Io Shirai
  2. Charlotte Flair
  3. Finn Balor
  4. Rhea Ripley
  5. Damian Priest/Johnny Gargano/Keith Lee

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.75 out of 10.

This was a very good Takeover event as usual, but not at the level of the best Takeover shows. While it’s nice to have the WWE PC recruits at ringside for the shows making noise, it’s not the same as a hot NXT crowd going crazy for everything. With that said, I still really liked the main event with Io Shirai beating Flair and Ripley to win the NXT Women’s Title for the first time. Should Flair have taken the pin? Probably, but WWE always wants to book her strong. From a performance standpoint, no complaints from me because Flair delivers in these big matches. The finish was a bit rough with the moonsault on Ripley’s head, but apparently Rhea is fine. I enjoyed Balor vs. Priest a lot in what was likely Priest’s best singles match while Balor is consistently great as a veteran that can have an awesome match with anybody. The Lee/Gargano match told a nice story throughout with some cool spots. I liked Johnny’s old school heel tactics.

The rest of the card was just okay. Obviously the Kross/Ciampa match was about booking Kross to look dominant over one of the best NXT guys ever, so it worked in that sense. The Cole/Dream Backlot Brawl match was just average to me. There were some decent things that they did, but by the end of it I was losing interest in the match. The opening women’s tag team match was fine with Tegan Nox getting a much-needed big win for her. I missed seeing the men’s tag team division because they oftentimes steal the show, so their absence was felt.

I really enjoyed the nostalgia feel of the show from the look, the old IYH set design, Todd Pettengill being involved in some pre-tape segments, the “Promotional Consideration” ads and of course using the house for a spot in the main event. Triple H and the team running NXT really know how to present a different kind of show that’s fun to watch.

Here are my ranking of NXT Takeover events in 2020 so far (out of 10):

NXT Takeover Portland (February 16) – 9

NXT Takeover In Your House (June 7) – 7.75

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John Canton

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