NXT TAKEOVER XXV [Review]: Triple Or Everything.

Matt Riddle v Roderick Strong – Was there any surprise that these two independent wrestling legends would have a great match? You had the “King of the Backbreakers” versus the the “King of the Bro’s”. This would be a WWE PPV-level main event.. except that the main roster’s “creative” is trash and would absolutely have no idea what to do with these two. Thankfully, NXT does and the brand let them have a 15-minute, absolutely blistering affair. While the right bRo won, Strong still looked really strong in the fall. – 4.25/5

Vacant NXT Tag Team Championship – Fatal Four-Way: The Street Profits v Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch v The Forgotten Sons v Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish – Despite the NXT tag division taking a huge hit over the past 6 months, this was a well planned tag ladder match that exceeded expectations. I knew there’d be great spots, but I never expected The Forgotten Sons to look awesome in the process. Hell, their flying ddt/stomp combo may have been the move of the match. The Street Profits were clearly made for this kind of thing, showcasing Montez Ford’s irresistible athletic ability (that springboard onto the ladder tho!) and even Angelo Dawkins took to the skies on more than one occasion. Lots of wild bumps here. The only minus was the overbooked Jaxson Ryker interference crap, but I get it and you knew it was coming. At least everyone ganged up on him. In the end, Bridgeport went insane when the Profits won and rightly so. – 4-4.25/5

NXT North American Championship: Velveteen Dream v Tyler Breeze – Not sure what happened here, but this “Dream” (pun surely intended) match felt long at just under 17-minutes. Maybe anything in this spot would take the red hot crowd got down following those two opening blazers, or the pretty pairing lacked chemistry tonight (despite reports that their house show matches were lit), or maybe Tyler had some nerves, not having a legit big match like this in quite a long time. Regardless of all those little excuses, this was still quite good, and full of drama. – 3.5/5

NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler v Io Shirai – I was furious at the finish until my baby Io was furious at the finish. Shirai went straight ruthless! Despite Shayna holding onto the strap, I loved the match — a great showcase for Shirai’s outerwordly talents. Even with wifey havin’ her way throughout the majority of the 12 — it took the Horsewomen to come down to stop the momentum — Shayna still looked like a legit, super tough champion, winning via clutch. So far, the Women’s title has been the least “hot potato” in all the NXT (unless you count the WWE UK strap), and I can respect that. – 3.75/5

NXT Championship: Adam Cole v Johnny Gargano – This match was absolutely bananas. And is it just me, or did the workrate of both of these guys just go through the roof here in NXT? I know there’s a lot of talk about WWE buying wrestlers from other promotions and stockpiling the talent and yadda yadda. That’s all true. But what about the guys like Cole and Gargano who have improved? Cole has always been a solid wrestler, but he never had the type of quality of singles matches he’s having here in NXT. Anyway, this was the follow-up to  the match (TakeOver: New York) they were never gonna be able to top. I think they just did it. At the very worst, this main event matched it.. and for fans of ADAM COLE BAY-BAY, they did it in style. Look. There were a million wonderful spots, 800 perfectly timed superkicks, an F’N panama sunrise on the concrete(!!!), a bunch of wild Gargano slingshot ddts and other evasive maneuvers only Johnny Wrestling can do. They teased the UE coming out to interfere, with mindgames from Cole. He punished Gargano until both guys reached their finish-attempting, hitting, false finish climax. It was everthing you want in a WWE match and it should absolutely drive you crazy that we are getting this NeXT-level stuff on the “lower” brand. Fucking Vince. – 5/5

Overall = 4.25/5 Bibles.

“Monsignor” Travis Moody

Just another phenomenal TakeOver. Even with a recent “superstar shake-up”, losing a ton of talent to the main rosters — especially on the tag side of things — this brand can seemingly do no wrong. We should be comparing AEW to this brand.. not WWE. That said, this may have topped Double or Nothing; although, again, TakeOver has the advantage of showing only 5 matches at a brisk 2.5-hours plus (saving the prelim stuff for the following week on the Network). Either way, one thing’s for certain: we’re spoiled marks living in this Undisputed Era of mind-blowing classic matches.

-Travis Moody

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