NXT TakeOver: XXV
June 1, 2019
Webster Bank Arena
Bridgeport, CT

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our reviewers

Kevin Wilson: After the rousing success of his AEW Double or Nothing review, Kevin returns to review this special WWE presentation (really he just wants to gush about Io and Shayna but Voices of Wrestling doesn’t allow one match reviews so here we are). Follow him on Twitter @JoshiPuro!

Suit Willliams: If you’re reading this before watching Takeover, check out the Black and Gold Binge that Suit wrote to see how all of these matches came together. If you’re reading this after Takeover, just click the link and give him the validation he desperately needs. Follow him on Twitter @SuitWilliams, and listen to him on the Smark Sports podcast.

Matt Riddle def. Roderick Strong

Kevin: It’s wild that matches like this are from the same company that produces RAW and SmackDown. I was impressed by the rib/back work by Strong and Riddle never let us forget about it, giving fans something to pay attention to since Strong has so many back-focused moves. Riddle doesn’t always work with me but he did here, his offensive runs were well timed and fire, he had great chemistry with Strong. I feel like I have been throwing around a lot of stars in the last week but this was an intense and captivating match with a killer final stretch. I’m a sucker for body work impacting the end of a match, so Riddle being unable to lock in his finisher and having to use something else to get the win really put it over the top for me. A great way to kick off the show. ****1/2

Suit: They started off with a fantastic match with two stellar athletes. They didn’t hold anything back because this was the opener. You could’ve shown someone this match with no context and they would think this was a main event or for a title shot. I can’t say enough good things about this match. Riddle had control at the start until Strong started working over his back and ribs. Then these two turned it up to 11 and just went balls to the wall. The closing stretch saw Strong have Riddle in the Stronghold with a knee in his back, but Riddle turned it around. Strong goes for a knockout elbow but Riddle caught it into the Bromission, and that got me out of my chair.  Riddle kept control and won with his Tombstone. Red hot start, and a good sign of what’s to come. ****1/2

NXT Tag Team Championship – Ladder Match
The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) def. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch and The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) and The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler)

Kevin: I thought Wesley Blake broke himself on the first big spot of the match, so when you start with that the bar is already set high. I am emotionally over “normal” ladder matches, its a limiting match so the only way you are going to keep me hooked is by being innovative, which this match luckily did. The lack of concern for their well-being is a trait I admire, I won’t just list all the great spots they did but these aren’t normal humans. Interference in ladder matches is almost always awful to me as don’t all the teams have a friend that could come down to help? It breaks the match format a bit and took too long, it made storyline-sense but I’d rather just keep it a straight match as it made everything feel disjointed. They got me back into it at the end and it was a hell of an effort by all of them, I could have done without the Ryker section but otherwise no big complaints.  ***1/2

Suit: The Street Profits came out wearing band major jackets, and as someone who has gone to his share of high school football games, I very much appreciated it. The Bums of Anarchy came out with actual gear now, so I don’t hate them as much. The one that wears cowboy boots torpedoed himself into a ladder that Fish and O’Reilly were holding. I really don’t want to turn the page on them, so I hope that’s the only cool thing they do. Kyle O’Reilly decided that today would be the day that he sacrificed himself for the business, and he repeatedly took spots that looked like they killed him. There was one spot where he got powerbombed into a ladder, and Fish fell dead on top of him. Jaxxson? Jackson? Jared?…fuckin’ Gunner showed up and killed everyone, but then everyone worked together and took him out. Everyone got their spots in before the Bums had the ring to themselves. Montez springboarded onto the ladder, knocked Blake off and grabbed the belts. Great match. I wish the Profits had beaten the Viking Goofs for the belts, but they got their moment in an awesome match anyway, so it worked anyway. ****

NXT North American Championship
Velveteen Dream (c) def. Tyler Breeze

Kevin: I knew that Breeze would have a chip on his shoulder and would be dying to show off in his first real WWE match in a long long time, but this won’t prove to anyone he deserves a second chance. Unlike the first match, where the bodywork was just blown off like it was nothing, and having both matches just an hour apart it made that lack of attention to detail more obvious. They did a lot of… unnecessary things just because they looked cool, like Dream randomly doing rolling fireman’s carry pickups, and at times it felt more style than substance. They lost the crowd a few times when they were struggling to keep things interesting between spots, they just didn’t have the chemistry. It didn’t have a great closing stretch either, the ending felt more bizarre and lazy than innovative. They tried to do something different with this pairing but it didn’t click, the occasional good moment didn’t make up for the general lackluster feel of the match. **3/4

Suit: Dream came out wearing the Seinfeld puffy shirt. I guess he wanted to be a pirate. Breeze did much less schtick and was acting a lot more like a straight-up wrestler. He performed well enough. This felt like an NXT TV main event. It isn’t bad by any means, but it’s fine. Coming after two high octane matches like the opening two were hurt this match more. It got long in the tooth, to the point where I really was begging for it to end. I swear I saw Breeze duck Dream and send him into the corner like five different times. Dream tried to hit Breeze with the belt, but Breeze caught it. Breeze then turned into the DVD and the Purple Rainmaker for the win. Shave 10 minutes off of this and stick it on NXT TV, and we’ve got something good. As it stands now, this was as average as it gets. **1/2

NXT Women’s Championship
Shayna Baszler (c) def. Io Shirai

Kevin: Shirai and Baszler had a great title match back in 2017 so I knew they had it in them, and they delivered here again. The story was basic but well told, with Baszler focused on the arm and Shirai using her speed and high spots to even the score. I’m a big Baszler fan, she comes across as such as badass and her arm work is both convincing and relentless. We knew the match couldn’t end until the Four Horsewomen and Candice got involved, but they kept it very to the point so it didn’t hurt the flow of the match at all. Obviously, I love Io Shirai but I can’t get mad at Baszler winning as she’s arguably the most convincing wrestler in NXT and judging from the end, this match was just a setup to something bigger coming down the road. I do wish Shirai had more of a hope spot/heat at the end but this has been the formula for many of Baszler’s matches, she generally ends them before they get to that point. It wasn’t the happy ending that many may have wanted but still a well executed and entertaining match. ***3/4

Suit: Baszler took control when she did the armbreaker stomp on Io’s arm. She tried to do it to Io’s other arm before Io moved it and hit an awesome bridging suplex. The match built to Io hitting her big moonsault to the floor. The other two Horsewomen came out but got taken out by Candice LeRae, who Io had saved from the Horsewomen on TV. Io went for the moonsault before Baszler moved. They wrestled around for a bit before Baszler caught her in the Kirafuda Clutch. Io held on and held on and held on before weakly tapping out. Not as heated as the Kairi/Baszler matches, but still pretty good. After the match, Io laid out Shayna with a kendo stick and a pair of moonsaults, one with a steel chair. ***1/4

NXT Championship
Adam Cole def. Johnny Gargano (c)

Kevin: These two are great, there is no way around that. They have chemistry, killer moves, and keep a pace so frantic that you can’t help but keep your eyes on the screen. Cole’s different ways of killing Gargano was a sight to behold, and while I wouldn’t go as far as say Garano has non-human DNA I will say he certainly has a high pain threshold. The leg work being the focus for the first half gets thumbs up from me since it was done well, even if they did eventually go to their usual ‘series of big spots’ methodology. You know what you are getting with Gargano, lots of 2.999 kickouts, drama, angst, and eventually someone’s death. I enjoy the style so you won’t hear a complaint from me as its just brutal and exhilarating, a great match to end a really solid event.  ****1/4

Suit: They got the Wrestle and Flow guy to do Cole’s entrance, which is awesome. Check his stuff out on Youtube, he does really good raps over wrestling samples. These two wrestled at a pace that made me think they’re going to go 30+ minutes. They did, and man did I have trouble getting into it. Johnny Gargano’s big time rematches have diminishing return issues. It happened with Ciampa the 81 times they wrestled, and it happened here where we already got the moment of triumph with him. Then he just loses again. The match got good toward the end, even if Cole needs to learn a move that isn’t a superkick. I’m not a stickler for that, but good lord how many times can you watch guys trade superkicks? Cole worked over Gargano’s knee, and that played into the finish where Gargano’s knee gave away. That allowed Cole to hit the Panama Sunrise and the Last Shot for the win and the title. The match was good, but I really couldn’t get into it and see it into that next gear. As much as I like Gargano, I do hope this is the end of the Gargano/Ciampa era of NXT. ****