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Good evening ladies and gentlemen! It’s the first major weekend of the year for WWE, and things are getting kicked off now with our first NXT TakeOver (in North America) of the year. Will the NXT roster be setting Phoenix on fire? That’s the plan of course. If prior TakeOvers are any indication, they should be successful in that effort. The show has shaped up nicely, with each major NXT title on the line, headlined by Tommaso Ciampa defending against Aleister Black. In addition to all the title matches, we have another clash between Matt Riddle and Kassius Ohno. Lets see how things unfolded in the dessert and crack open this Nutshell!

Best Match of the night:

I have to go with the tag title match. For starters, I am a sucker for great tag team action-and this match delivered in droves. Both Undisputed Era and War Raiders brought their A games tonight. There were good matches afterwards, but this one kicked off the show, set the tone and deserves the honor.

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I will give an honorable mention to Gargano and Ricochet. That was a superb match as well

Worst match of the night:

The women’s title match disappointed me to an extent. I know the outside interference was needed and will likely play out and pay off down the road…but it was another check mark against this match. Honestly I was less than looking forward to this from the beginning, as I just wasn’t feeling the Bianca Belair push. It wasn’t horrible, but it was not one of the four best matches on the card…so by the numbers, this one came in fifth.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

War

Undisputed

NXT

This is awesome

fight forever

bro

Johnny Wrestling

Ricochet

E-S-T

Star of the Night

I could go in several directions here…but I will go with 1a and 1b.

1a? That happens to be War Raiders. They opened the show with a stellar match that had the fans into it right out of the gate. And of course, they became new tag champs in the process.

TakeOver In A Nutshell: Setting Phoenix On Fire

1b? That goes to Johnny Gargano, who had a great match with Ricochet and became the new North American Champion in the process.

Spot of the Night:

How about Rowe delivering a body slam to one and a power bomb to the other…at the same time. Impressive power.

Lots of nice spots in the Ricochet/Gargano match. Too many to single out.

Jobber of the Night:

It’s hard to say there was one…but I feel like giving this one to Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, as they were on the wrong end of things…though their interference was useful for Shayna Baszler.

Upset of the Night:

I suppose Gargano winning was a mild upset? Maybe? Beyond that, I can’t say anything really came close to being an upset.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Perhaps not such a big one, but after being the feud of 2018, to have Gargano and Ciampa, former tag champions, stand on the TakeOver stage-each holding singles gold and reuniting as heels…that was a big moment. I think it’s worthy of landing here.

TakeOver In A Nutshell: Setting Phoenix On Fire

Botch of the night:

Granted it was still an impressive move…but Kassius Ohno mostly whiffed on his moonsault.

Noteworthy Moment:

On a night where every NXT title was on the line, two changed hands. War Raiders defeated Undisputed Era to become new tag champions. Johnny Gargano claimed singles gold by winning the North American title.

Watch the Rumble tomorrow…with Undisputed Era losing, I have a feeling this is their time to move up.

Overall lowlights:

Overall, the card was good. My complaints were with the women’s match and the main event. Both actually underwhelmed. I was disappointed particularly with the women’s title match, if only because Bianca Belair just didn’t seem like much of a threat. Maybe she will be eventually, but heading into this match she didn’t feel like she was.

Maybe saying the main event underwhelmed is unfair…but I think I went in being ready for a new face to challenge Ciampa. I see guys like Velveteen Dream and Adam Cole not working this show and thinking they could have been in that main event instead. Or too, who knows.

Speaking of Velveteen Dream, it was a bummer seeing him show up in the garage, but that was it.

Overall highlights:

The entrance by War Raiders was just awesome

Ricochet and Johnny Gargano was pretty awesome too.

After the final bell:

It was a good, not great, TakeOver. I am used to these shows having most of the card be awesome. This one, rather than four or five great matches, gave us two great ones. Not bad overall, but felt like a step down from past TakeOver cards.

Results:

War Raiders defeat Undisputed Era, becoming the NEW NXT Tag Team Champions

Matt Riddle defeats Kassius Ohno

Shayna Baszler defeats Bianca Belair, retaining her NXT Women’s Championship

Johnny Gargano defeats Ricochet, becoming the NEW NXT North American Champion

Tommaso Ciampa defeats Aleister Black, retaining the NXT Championship

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