TJR: WWE NXT Takeover XXX 2020 Review

TJR: WWE NXT Takeover XXX 2020 Review

It’s time for the third WWE NXT Takeover event of 2020. Congrats to NXT for reaching this point where they are doing their 30th Takeover event. I think it’s fair to say that the NXT brand has done an amazing job of building up a reputation for delivering consistently great Takeover shows over the last six years in this WWE Network era we’re living in. This is the second Takeover event since the pandemic started earlier this year. Last time there was the In Your House theme and now it’s just a celebration of 30 Takeover events. It’s a shame that there’s no crowd at the show because as somebody that has been to two Takeover’s in the past, I know how special the NXT crowd is. Sadly, we’re in 2020 and it’s just not something that is possible right now. They’re doing the best they can given the situation the world is in with the ongoing health crisis. I appreciate the effort and entertainment.

The Kickoff Show match saw Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) win a triple threat tag team match with Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza) and Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan. Breezango won when Breeze pinned Lorcan with a supermodel kick at 6:54. The win means that Breezango will get a future NXT Tag Team Title shot against Imperium’s Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner.

WWE NXT Takeover XXX
From Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida
August 22, 2020

The opening video package showed some NXT highlights over the last 29 Takeover events. They moved on to focus on the matches coming up on this Takeover show. The Metallica song “Moth Into Flame” is a fitting theme song for the event.

The set had the XXX Roman numerals by the entrance to symbolize the 30 number. There was some pyro that went off a bit. There were wrestlers in the crowd behind the plexiglass. The announce team is Vic Joseph with Corey Graves in the arena. Beth Phoenix was calling the action from home. No Mauro Ranallo for this event.

The opener was the last match added to the card. Finn Balor entered first looking ready to go with Graves saying this is the best Finn Balor we’ve ever seen. I don’t know about that, but he said it. Timothy Thatcher made his no-nonsense entrance.

Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher

Balor went after Thatcher with punches as they battled over an armbar with Balor working on the left arm. Thatcher tripped up Balor by grabbing the left leg and then Balor grabbed a headlock. Thatcher slapped on a front facelock followed by a hard forearm to the chest. Balor dumped Thatcher over the top to the floor. Balor stomped on Thatcher, but then Thatcher tripped him up while twisting the left knee. Thatcher with a knee strike to the ribs. Balor was able to counter a submission into a pin attempt for two and then Thatcher stomped on the leg again. Thatcher wrenched on the left leg, which led to knees and kicks to the ribs. Balor came back with punches, then a kick to the face and Thatcher slapped on a kimura arm lock submission. Thatcher put his knee on Balor’s arm/back and pulled back on the right arm leading to a knee to the back. Thatcher let go of that and then hit Balor with forearms/knees to the body. Balor was able to break free and hit a basement dropkick. They exchanged punches, Thatcher with a hard chop to the chest and Balor hit the overhead kick to knock him down. Thatcher blocked a Slingblade attempt, Balor tripped him up and hit a stomp to the body. Thatcher went for an armbar, Balor escaped and slapped on an abdominal stretch. Balor with the lifting suplex into a slam for a two count. Balor with a running dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, he jumped off for the Coup de Grace double foot stomp, Thatcher moved and Balor was grabbing his left knee. Thatcher took advantage of that with a half crab submission as he pulled back on the left knee, but Balor managed to get to the bottom rope to break the hold. Thatcher with hard kicks to the back, Balor got back to his feet and hit a hard kick to the ribs. Thatcher with an enziguri kick and a German Suplex across the ring. Balor hooked the arms leading to a pin attempt for two and then Balor slapped on a submission where he was stretching the arm/shoulder. Thatcher broke free by pulling on the fingers and Thatcher slapped on an Ankle Lock while making a crazy face. Balor rolled through leading to a double foot stomp to the chest. Balor with an elbow drop to the chest. Balor went up top again, he jumped off with the Coup de Grace and this time he connected with the double foot stomp to the chest. Balor hit the lifting 1916 DDT for the pinfall win at 13:31.

Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor

Analysis: ***1/4 This was very good as a physical match with Thatcher doing his usual array of submissions and strikes. Balor sold everything very well, it looked like he might lose due to the knee injury, but then Balor found a way to make the comeback. I picked Balor to win because I think NXT needs to get him into a higher position again and he needed to win a match like this. Thatcher is still on the rise in NXT, but I don’t know if he’s ever going to get over that big because his style of wrestling is so slow and different than what a lot of the NXT guys do. It might be time to push Balor into the main event scene again.

They showed Keith Lee arriving at the building earlier in the day with girlfriend Mia Yim by his side.

There was a shot of “Golden Role Models” Bayley and Sasha Banks watching the show in the crowd. They both had masks on along with their titles.

The Ladder Match is next, so there was a video package showing how all five guys qualified for it.

The entrances took place for the North American Championship match. Damian Priest was up first and he walked under a ladder while doing some Razor Ramon mannerisms since he was a big Razor fan. Johnny Gargano was next and he was a former North American Champion with Joseph noting that this is Gargano’s 19th Takeover event, which is the most all-time. This biggest man in the match was next as Bronson Reed looked ready to go with the announcers noting that his jacket/gear was paying homage to Bam Bam Bigelow with the flames on it. That’s cool to see. Cameron Grimes was next as one of the heels in the match.  The last man up is Velveteen Dream, who really isn’t a face or heel – he just does his own thing. Dream had a gold chain on his head as part of the entrance so that was similar to what Scott Steiner used to do.

Ladder Match for the Vacant North American Championship: Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Bronson Reed

The North American Championship was above the ring. The first man to climb a ladder to successfully retrieve it will be the new North American Champion. This will be chaotic, so if I miss something then I apologize.

Priest and Reed cleaned house by knocking the other three guys out of the ring as the two big men faced off. Dream shoved Reed into Priest. Dream hit a Fameasser on Gargano. Dream managed to hit his DDT on Priest, a superkick by Dream to Reed and Dream sent Grimes out of the ring. Grimes pulled out a small ladder from under the ring, so Priest hit him in the back. Priest got a bigger ladder, Grimes charged, Grimes with a leaping kick to the jaw and Gargano went back into the ring with a Spear on Grimes. Priest rocked Gargano with a kick, then a spin kick on Reed, but Reed caught Priest and slammed him across the ring. Dream sent Reed out of the ring and when Dream and Priest tried to climb, Grimes knocked them both down. They did a spot where Grimes did the splits on the two ladders and Reed ran over Grimes. Dream and Priest slammed a ladder on Reed, but then Reed avoided another attack and Dream knocked Priest out of the ring with a clothesline. Reed with a running attack against the ladder and then hit a splash on Dream and Gargano, who were under a ladder. Cool spot. Priest worked over Reed with forearms, but then Reed came back with a clothesline on Grimes, who did a great flip bump. Gargano tried a ladder climb, Reed caught him and Priest went after Johnny, who tried to climb a ladder. Grimes back in with a German Suplex on Priest, then Dream and Grimes hit a double superkick on Reed. Gargano told Grimes and Dream to work over the other two guys, so there were repeated ladder shots to the body. Dream went up top, but then Gargano threw a ladder at him and Priest crushed both guys with a ladder. Priest jumped onto Johnny with a ladder. Reed hit a running splash onto all four guys and a bunch of ladders. It looked a bit silly, but the other guys sold it, so that makes it okay. They did a Tower of Doom spot with Priest giving Dream a superplex while Reed had Grimes up in a Powerbomb and Grimes hit a German Suplex on Priest at the same time. That was innovative.

Gargano tried a ladder climb, Reed stopped that and when Grimes tried a ladder climb, he was sent into the ropes. Reed hit a fallaway slam on Gargano. Priest did a climb, Dream stopped that when Dream tried a ladder climb, Priest jumped off the ropes with a kick to stop that. Priest worked over Grimes and Gargano with kick. Priest tried a springboard flip, but Gargano superkicked him to knock him down. Reed knocked down Dream and Grimes with a ladder and Gargano hit a DDT like move on Reed with a ladder. Gargano used a ladder to hit Dream in the head with it. Dream threw a ladder at Priest on the floor and Gargano tossed Dream out of the ring. Gargano with a suicide dive on Reed. Grimes hit a jumping slam on Gargano, Dream off the top wit ha cross body block and Reed hit a running suicide dive on Dream and Gargano on the floor. Everybody was wiped out on the floor after all of those spots. Grimes brought a ladder into the ring, but Priest kicked it in his face. Priest ran across a ladder and hit a somersault dive onto Gargano, Dream and Reed on the floor. There was a “holy shit” chant and I agree with that. Great spot! Grimes climbed the ladder, but Candice LeRae pulled him down – she is Gargano’s wife. Grimes yelled at her for what she was doing as Candice slapped and chopped Grimes. Gargano hit Grimes in the face with a ladder. Candice hit a hurricanrana off the apron on Grimes and knocked down a few guys. Gargano climbed a ladder, Reed knocked him down, Reed headbutted Gargano down when Johnny was back up again and then Candice was on top of the ladder with Reed. That led to Reed jumping on Johnny off the ladder and Candice was on Reed’s back, so Reed and Candice went splashing onto Johnny off the ladder! That was crazy. Cool spot. There were two ladders set up, Grimes knocked Reed and Priest down. Dream knocked Grimes down and Grimes kicked Dream to knock him down. Grimes tried a ladder attack, Dream moved and Dream kicked Grimes to knock him down. Dream set up a ladder bridge off a ladder to the ropes. Dream climbed up a ladder, he nearly had the title, but then Priest went up the other side and knocked Dream down. Priest gave Reed a Chokeslam back first on a ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Grimes hit the jumping Cave In double foot to the chest of Priest. Grimes did a slow climb, but Gargano was there. Gargano jumped off a ladder and tried a Powerbomb off a ladder onto another ladder and only the side of Grimes hit the ladder instead of all of his back. Enough of Grimes hit to make it look bad. Dream kicked Priest onto a ladder by the apron. Dream had Johnny on his shoulders and hit a Death Valley Driver on Johnny onto Priest on a ladder. It didn’t look that impressive. Dream tried a climb in the ring, but Dream went up a ladder, Reed tipped it over, Dream went off the top rope and flipped over the barricade and went crashing through a table that was in the crowd. Reed climbed the ladder, he reached up and Grimes knocked Reed down to stop that attempt. Grimes did the climb up the ladder and he had his hands on the title, but Gargano stopped him. Gargano had the title in his hands, Priest was there, so then Priest and Gargano each had the title. Priest punched Gargano down and Priest grabbed the title to become the new North American Champion! The match went 21:25.

Winner AND NEW North American Champion: Damian Priest

Analysis: ****1/4 This was an outstanding match that went the perfect amount of time. I don’t think it was too long or short. There were plenty of cool spots where all five guys got a chance to show off what they can do and Grimes really impressed me in terms of his toughness as well as his creativity. I liked having Candice there to help Johnny try to cheat to win and nearly was successful. That splash from Reed off the ladder (with Candice on his back) and onto Gargano was an awesome visual. There were a few innovative spots in the match as well.  I also think Priest was the right guy to win and he’s the one I picked because I thought it was time for him to get elevated to where he won his first title in his WWE career. Good stuff here. If you’re into ladder matches, I would definitely recommend this one.

Priest celebrated with the NXT North American Title, which is the first title win in his NXT career.

There was a commercial for SummerSlam that promoted Braun Strowman facing The Fiend in a Falls Count Anywhere Match for the Universal Championship. The Falls Count Anywhere stipulation was just added on Saturday.

There was a long video package to set up Adam Cole against former NFL punter and current sports show host Pat McAfee.

Adam Cole made his entrance. He was joined by his Undisputed Era buddies Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish. They all greeted Cole and then went to the back. Cole did his “Adam Cole bay bay” taunt in the ring and he wanted McAfee to get out there.

Pat McAfee had his NFL buddies (the most well known is former linebacker AJ Hawk) near him wearing “Cole Sucks” shirts and then they left. McAfee did a promo saying he’s kicked off Super Bowls, he’s sold out buildings across the country and tonight is years in the making. McAfee claimed he had the strongest leg in the history of humans and legs in general…hit his music. McAfee entered wearing a tank top and shorts with knee pads. McAfee had “For The Brand” on his shirt and knee pads because that’s one of the things he talks about on his talk show. McAfee’s NFL friends were on the apron, but they were told to go to the floor.

Analysis: If you don’t know much about McAfee, he’s 33 years old, a former NFL Punter that was very good at his job. He made All-Pro teams and when he retired, it was a bit of a surprise because a lot of punters go deep into their 30s. I follow the NFL closely, so of course I know him from his days punting for the Indianapolis Colts. He’s an athletic guy with a big mouth that has also been successful hosting a sports talk show. McAfee is also a long time wrestling fan that has done commentary on WWE shows before, so obviously he was hoping to do this for a while. This was his first televised pro wrestling match.

Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee

Cole grabbed a headlock, Pat sent him into the turnbuckle. When Cole charged, Pat jumped over him and strutted in the ring. Pat almost walked right into a superkick, but then Pat backed away. Pat grabbed a headlock, then a shoulder tackle and when Pat ran the ropes, he bailed to the floor to avoid a kick. When Cole left the ring, the Undisputed Era guys joined him for a face off, so then security stepped in and Pat went up top. McAfee jumped off the top rope with a somersault dive onto a pile of guys on the floor. That was impressive! Back in the ring, Pat stomped on Cole repeatedly followed by some neck stretching against the top rope. Pat with a body slam for a one count. Pat grabbed a headlock, Cole broke free and Pat did a hair takedown, so the referee warned him about it. Cole ran the ropes leading to a dropkick by Pat with Beth saying she wasn’t surprised while Graves continued to support Pat more than any of the announcers. They exchanged punches, Cole with more punches and a pump kick. Cole stomped on Pat some more. Cole picked up Pat leading to a slam off the shoulders into the knee, which hit the back of Pat’s neck and that got a two count. Cole went for a knee, Pat avoided it and got a rollup. Cole with a backstabber to the back for a two count. Cole went to the top rope, but Pat tripped him up to crotch him on the top. When Cole shoved Pat, there was a backflip from Pat and then Pat jumped straight to the top rope, which led to a superplex for a two count. That was pretty cool to see from McAfee as the announcers were freaking out at the athleticism from McAfee. With Cole by the apron, McAfee charged with a running kick, but Cole moved and McAfee hit the steel steps. Cole kicked the right leg of Pat and Cole slapped on the Figure Four Leglock. Pat fought it for a few moments until he got to the bottom rope. Cole was frustrated that it didn’t put McAfee away. Cole with a running boot. The referee was trying to keep Cole back and McAfee hit a low blow kick that the referee didn’t see. McAfee hit a running clothesline with Cole doing a flip bump. McAfee did a put to the chest for a two count in a spot similar to when Pat kicked Cole while Cole was by the announce table three weeks ago. Pat went to the top rope, took off his shirt, said “McAfee bay…bay” and jumped off with the double axe that was going to hit nothing as Cole dropped him with a superkick. Cole was about to lower his knee brace for the Last Shot, but then he decided to get to the turnbuckle and wanted Pat to get up. Cole hit the Panama Sunrise move where he jumps off the ropes leading to a Canadian Destroyer and that was enough for Cole to get the pinfall win at 16:11.

Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole

Analysis: ***1/4 I liked this match a lot in terms of the structure, the length and the story they told. You might think that McAfee shouldn’t be able to go that long with Cole, but I think the timing was just right. The right guy won because Cole should beat McAfee in Pat’s debut match. I’m just really impressed that McAfee can have a match better than three stars in his first WWE match. That’s rare to see. Give Cole a lot of credit for taking a guy in his first match and working with him to have a very good match like this. McAfee deserves a lot of praise too because he worked hard to show that he belonged in there. I’m not that surprised that it was a solid match because I was optimistic about it. This feud also likely worked in terms of turning Cole into a babyface, which is a change for him.

Post match, Cole was celebrating the win while staring at McAfee, who was selling it by sitting up against the turnbuckle. Cole posed to end it.

Analysis: It will be interesting to see when and if we see McAfee in the ring again. Based on Triple H comments after the show, it sounds like McAfee will be back although they didn’t offer any specifics. I think in terms of promos, he is very good as a heel. I think he enjoyed it too.

There was a commercial for the WWE Supercard mobile game with Samoa Joe talking about it. There was also a WWEShop commercial.

The announcers were joined at the announce table by the WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Drew did not have the WWE Title with him. Drew talked about how Randy Orton is a piece of crap that’s very talented and he deserves to get his ass kicked. Drew picked Keith Lee to retain the NXT Championship in the main event.

There was a clip of Karrion Kross warming up backstage.

The video package aired for the NXT Women’s Championship match with Io Shirai defending the gold against Dakota Kai, who won a number one contender’s match to earn the title shot.

Dakota Kai made her entrance first as the challenger with her buddy Raquel Gonzalez by her side. The NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai was up next looking ready to go. Shirai won the title at the last Takeover event in June and that match was the main event of the show. The women stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai (w/Raquel Gonzalez)

Shirai went after Kai with punches and kicks, but then Kai got in some punches of her own. Shirai did a backflip to avoid an attack, Shirai landed on her head a bit, but she was fine and kicked Kai against the turnbuckle. Kai bailed to the floor, Gonzalez got in Shirai’s face and Kai sent Shirai face first into the ring post. Shirai was grabbing her left arm after the whip into the post, so Kai worked on the left arm by stretching it against the ropes. Shirai sent Kai into the ropes, Kai avoided a 619 kick and Kai hit a kick o the face. Kai worked on Shirai’s arm again by pulling on it against the ropes and Kai followed up with a pump kick to the face for a two count. Kai continued to work over the left arm for several minutes while slapping on an armbar. Beth did great in terms of talking about the history of both women in NXT. When Shirai broke free, Kai hit her with a clothesline. Kai slapped on armbar on the left arm while using her legs for more pressure, Shirai got out of that and Shirai hit an uppercut palm strike to stun Kai. Shirai with two shoulder tackles, then a flapjack and a 619 kick against the ropes. Shirai with a springboard missile dropkick for a two count while Shirai continued to sell the arm injury. Shirai rolled through to counter a slam leading to a double foot stomp to the chest. They went to the apron with Kai wanting to do a German Suplex off the ropes, then she tried a Powerbomb on the floor, but Shirai did a double foot stomp to the chest. Shirai fired up with punches, but then Kai stomped the momentum with a Scorpion Kick. Shirai avoided a kick against the turnbuckle and Kai slammed Shirai back first into the turnbuckle. Kai missed a kick against the turnbuckle again, so Shirai hit three running knee attacks in a row. Shirai continued to sell the left arm. Kai was able to set up Shirai on the top rope, then Shirai punched her down and Shirai hit a double stomp to the chest while Kai was against the turnbuckle and Shirai got a two count out of that.

Kai came back with a headbutt and then two knees to the back for a two count. Kai went back to working on the left arm with an armbar, but Shirai was able to get out of that predicament by getting her foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Shirai was going for a springboard attack, but Kai kicked her. Shirai sent Kai into the turnbuckle. Kai managed to get Shirai on her shoulders and hit a GTK jumping kick to the face for a two count as Shirai got her left leg on the bottom rope. You could tell that was coming based on how Kai covered her. Kai went for a running boot to the face, Shirai moved and Kai hit the referee by mistake. Shirai hit a German Suplex on Kai. Shirai went up top and hit the moonsault off the top for the pin, but there was no referee to count it. Gonzalez got in the ring and gave Shirai hit a huge spinebuster into a slam. Gonzalez put Kai on top of Shirai and that only got a two count because Shirai got her left shoulder up. Kai went for the GTK again, but then Shirai slipped out of that and slapped on a Crossface submission. Kai rolled out of that and Shirai hit her with a vicious knee strike to the face. Kai went to the floor, so Shirai hit a moonsault off the top onto both women on the floor. Shirai hit the Over the Moonsault off the top rope and covered for the pinfall win at 17:13.

Winner by pinfall: Io Shirai

Analysis: ***3/4 This was an awesome match with Shirai reminding us once again that she is one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world and Kai was right there with her the whole time. Shirai sold that left arm injury the whole match, she kept on selling it when she was on offense (that’s how you are supposed to sell moves) and then Shirai made the believable comeback showing the heart of a champion, which led to the win. I liked the drama after the ref bump because it made it look like Kai might steal the cheap win thanks to Gonzalez, yet Shirai was able to overcome that and get the win. This was probably Kai’s best singles match that I have reviewed. Shirai will get a lot of the credit because of how great she is, but Kai did a nice job as the aggressive heel in this match.

Post match, Gonzalez attacked Shirai with a clothesline from behind. Rhea Ripley got into the ring for the save. They had a staredown without touching eachother. Gonzalez backed away with Kai and they left to the back.

Analysis: Ripley has been feuding with Mercedes Martinez of late, but I think Ripley was the right one to save Shirai since Ripley respects Shirai as a fellow babyface. It should set up a match with Ripley and Gonzalez soon while Ripley can continue to feud with Martinez and maybe go after Shira’s NXT Women’s Title as well.

There was a commercial letting us know that the NXT UK brand is returning on September 17. They have not had any new shows since the pandemic started in March.

A video package aired about Tommaso Ciampa returning to NXT this Wednesday. He has been off for a few months.

They showed Smackdown Tag Team Champion Cesaro in the crowd watching the show and he was wearing a mask just like everybody there.

Damian Priest was shown outside the arena with the NXT North American Title and there was McKenzie Mitchell trying to get an interview with him. Priest had some champagne and jumped into a hot tub with some attractive ladies – Brandi Lauren and Jayme Jameson. They drank some champagne to celebrate his win. Triple H posted a pic on Twitter with Priest and the ladies. It’s #ThePoint in a hot tub. Brandi is the one on the left. You’re welcome for your Google searching endeavors.

A video package aired to set up Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross for the NXT Title. This only Karrion’s second Takeover event after he easily beat Tommaso Ciampa at the last Takeover. Lee won the NXT Title from Adam Cole on the July 8 edition of NXT. Kross targeted Lee after that, so here we are.

Karrion Kross made his entrance with the lovely Scarlett (his girlfriend) by his side. She was dress in a full-body black leather outfit. The entrance is really cool with the darkness, the “fall and prey” phrase being repeated and the pyro going off in the arena. It’s definitely a superstar entrance.

Keith Lee made his entrance with the NXT Title in his hands. Joseph noted that this has been the summer of Keith Lee and then Beth ran down all of the great things that Lee has done in 2020, which was a good point by her. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

NXT Championship: Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross (w/Scarlett)

Lee was aggressive with a shoulder tackle followed by punches to the body. Lee ran the ropes leading to a running cross body block to knock Kross down. Kross to the floor, Lee went after him and Kross hit him with forearms. Lee avoided punches, so Kross punched the plexiglass. Lee went for a hammer fist, Kross moved and Lee hit the plexiglass. Lee missed another move, so then Kross kicked the left arm against the barricade/glass. Kross worked on the left arm for a few minutes, which slowed down the pace a lot. Kross drove the left arm/shoulder into the turnbuckle. Kross whipped Lee left shoulder first into the middle turnbuckle/ring post area for a two count. Kross kept on working on the left arm with an armbar for a few minutes. When Lee broke free, Kross jumped up to hook the left arm again, but Lee held his hands together to prevent the extension on the elbow. Lee powered out of the armbar with a huge Powerbomb that put Kross down and they were both down for a few moments. Lee with punches and forearms to the face to knock down Kross. Lee with a running splash against the corner, then a left forearm and Lee hit a spinning powerslam for a two count. Kross with a forearm to the face and he tried a slam, but Lee blocked it. Kross with two kicks to the face and a kick to the back of the head followed by a DDT for a two count.

Kross wanted a suplex, Lee elbowed his way out of that and Lee hit a suplex for a two count. Kross managed to get some momentum going with a running clothesline for a two count. They exchanged strikes, Kross hit some forearms and then Lee bounced off the ropes with a running clothesline. Both guys were down selling. Kross with more strikes to the face, he avoided a forearm attack and Kross hit a Doomsday Suplex. It appears that’s where Kross hurt his shoulder because he looked like he was in a lot of pain and might have said something to the referee. Kross slapped on the Kross Jacket submission where he choked Lee and brought him to the mat. The referee checked on Lee, but Lee still had some fight left in him as he managed to crawl to the bottom rope to break the hold. Graves did a nice job of putting over Kross by saying he has been an absolute terminator in this match. Lee came back with a double chop to the chest, then a headbutt that knocked Kross down and Lee hit a Spirit Bomb for the sitout pin for the two count. Lee slowly tried to go to the ropes for a move, but Kross stopped him on the middle turnbuckle. Kross grabbed Lee off the middle ropes and gave him a belly to back suplex off the ropes that they call a Doomsday Suplex and covered for the pinfall win at 21:52.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW NXT Champion: Karrion Kross

Karrion Kross is the new NXT Champion and that meant that Lee’s title reign lasted only 52 days. It was noted by Triple H after the match that Kross had a separated shoulder and he was going to get an MRI after the match to see how serious it is.

Analysis: **1/2 This was just average and I think it was hurt by the fact that it went over 20 minutes. It was not the epic NXT Title match that you would have liked to see. I think if they went around 12-15 minutes in a more hard-hitting, fast-paced match it would have been better. The slow pace to the match hurt because it was tough to get into the match with Kross working on the left arm so much of it. There just wasn’t a lot of action. Lee’s comeback certainly helped, but the match wasn’t that exciting and I think if there was a crowd, I doubt they have cared that much either. The way Kross has been pushed has been as a dominant heel and if you’re going to go all the way with somebody in a matter of months then this is the way to book them. Kross has had one of the strongest pushes in NXT for a newcomer, perhaps ever. The only one I can think of that was pushed as fast was Kevin Owens. They have done a great job in booking Kross as a dominant superstar, but this was not a classic title match.

Analysis x2: I’m surprised about the title change a bit just because I thought Lee might have a longer run, but it makes sense if Lee is moved to Raw or Smackdown in the near future. Lee impressed a lot at the last Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, so it’s obvious that WWE has high expectations for him. Maybe this is about moving Lee onto other things.  It could happen as soon as this week on Raw or Smackdown. We’ll find out soon.

Kross was presented with the NXT Championship as Scarlett celebrated with him in the ring. They showed replays of the key spots in the match.

Kross and Scarlett celebrated by the entrance as the pyro went off and they made serious faces towards the camera. That was the end of the show.

This event had a run time of 2:23:37 on WWE Network. That’s three minutes longer than the last Takeover was.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. The five guys in the ladder match. I think Gargano and Grimes stood out the most.
  2. Io Shirai/Dakota Kai
  3. Adam Cole/Pat McAfee

I’m bad at picking just five people. Sorry. I’m just spreading the love.

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.5 out of 10.

It was a typical very good Takeover event thanks to the Ladder Match, the women’s match and I enjoyed the Cole/McAfee match a lot too. However, it was not an epic Takeover that is up there with the best Takeover shows. The main event between Kross and Lee wasn’t that interesting because it went on for too long. Kross winning the NXT Title is a bit of a surprise although I think if it leads to Lee moving on to Raw or Smackdown soon then it’s understandable why they did it.

If the main event was better, it would have been an 8 or higher, but I can’t go that high when the main event match was the worst of the night and just an average match overall. I think the NXT brand misses crowds a lot because they are such a big part of why NXT is so much fun.

Here’s a highlight video that WWE posted on Youtube.

Karrion Kross, Pat McAfee and more highlight NXT TakeOver XXX

Here are my rankings 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

NXT Takeover XXX (August 22) – 7.5

===

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email [email protected]

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook