RODERICK STRONG vs. ERIC YOUNG
Result: Roderick Strong gets the pin with the End of Heartache.
Reaction: This match, plus the #1 contenders match with Itami last week and the recent vignettes, helped Roddy Strong immensely. The booking of the match was great as Strong found inventive ways to fend off Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe on the outside in order to keep the match one-one-one. This should help Strong get involved in a program with Roode for the NXT Championship over the summer even though the likelihood of him ever winning the title is slim. On the other hand, Sanity needs a big win here soon as they’ve lost a lot of matches now. Dain and Wolfe should become a tag team, and Young needs to get a couple big wins.
TYLER BATE (c) vs. PETE DUNNE for the UNITED KINGDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: Dunne wins the UK Championship after the Bitter End.
Reaction: This was, without any doubts, match of the night and a serious match of the year contender here. It’s truly astounding that a 20-year-old and 23-year-old could deliver this type of match. Bate’s ability to get fans to cheer him without being gullible or silly is reminiscent of the babyfaces of old just as Dunne’s bending the rules, “bruiserweight” gimmick is classic villain material. Dunne has the ability to leverage this in the future for a WWE main roster run, but in the immediate, he will make one of the better heel champions in recent WWE memory. Tyler Bate, in the long term, might be limited due to his size, but his future in the UK extension of WWE is still bright as evidenced by this match and the match with Mark Andrews at the UK special.
ASUKA (c) vs. NIKKI CROSS vs. RUBY RIOT for the NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: Asuka pins both Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot after hitting Riot with a Shining Wizard.
Reaction: Like most Takeovers, even the worst match on the card is still damn good and enjoyable. This was the worst match, but that didn’t stop these women from putting on a solid performance. The match had some good spots, particularly Cross trapping Asuka in the ring apron, and some hard-hitting strong style in it. Asuka’s victory continues her dominant undefeated, year plus title reign. This will allow Ember Moon to again attempt to dethrone Asuka, probably at Takeover: Brooklyn in August and Riot and Cross to continue their own more personal feud.
BOBBY ROODE (c) vs. HIDEO ITAMI for the NXT CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: Bobby Roode retains the title after two Glorious DDTS.
Reaction: Understandably, Itami probably has some ring rust, but it feels like his moment has passed. While he has always been an innovator, his constant injuries and the hiring of other talents that do similar things as him have made him redundant and simply not very exciting. The match itself had some good moments and some great selling by Roode. In the end though, Roode looked like a star and Itami didn’t. HHH said the other day that if this match didn’t work out, it might necessitate a conversation between he and Hideo to look at his future options. At this point, Itami might be better served by going back to Japan for more money and acclaim.
THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (c) vs. DIY in a ladder match for the NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: The Authors managed to retrieve the belts after a Super Collider on DIY.
Reaction: This match was one of the more fun spotfests in a long time. It allowed Gargano and Ciampa to execute fast-paced offense against the two monster opponents, and the ladder match, even if the stipulation was unnecessary, provided an extra layer of high stakes to the match. The match was physically devastating with some parts hard to watch, especially Gargano’s head snapping back when he was hit with a ladder in the face. The ending was appropriate; the ladder stipulation benefitted the smaller and quicker team, and it looked like they would win until the very last second, and it was ripped away. The crowd’s boos were intense and justified as the Authors of Pain survived another defense. What this match will really be remembered for though is the aftermath. Gargano and Ciampa played it as if it could be their last NXT match, but it ended with Ciampa turning on Gargano in the most brutal way possible. This was always coming at some point, but it still hurt to see. This feud will light the brand on fire through the summer.
The Final Analysis: Takeover specials never disappoint. Even weaker cards on paper deliver an engaging, exciting product. Nothing seemed extraneous in the show, the booking decisions strong, and the matches themselves all of a high quality. The commentary team, especially Nigel McGuinness help these matches so much by focusing on the action in the ring and the storytelling taking place. Ross and McGuinness together, just as with the UK Special from last night, are a great pairing. This show will be remembered for a long time if only for the Bate/Dunne match and the Ciampa turn. NXT is in the best place it has been for a long time. There is no one who obviously needs to be on the main roster ASAP, which makes the brand feel more exciting. The Dusty Rhodes Memorial should start soon, and there are some extremely interesting feuds coming down the pike.