Squared Circle Thoughts | NXT Takeover: Chicago

It’s that time again. Time for Triple H’s performance center children to put on another spectacle and one-up the main roster yet again. This time, taking things to the windy city Chicago, Illinois. There was bound to be a Takeover there at some point, and here it is… and holy shit. I wasn’t sure how this show would turn out, as recent Takeovers have been pretty lackluster, but this one has absolutely broken that streak. This was a phenomenal show. Easily the best one in over a year. I was blown away by the time it was over. Every match delivered on all cylinders, the crowd was hot and it was just super fun all around. Fantastic, fantastic, fan-fucking-tastic.

So, yeah. Let’s get right into the action.

Roderick Strong vs Eric Young

Takeover 1

First up, we get a very good opener between a guy who’s finally been picking up some steam as of late after floundering for a while in Roderick Strong and a guy who I was never big on but is quite good at most gimmicks he is assigned in Eric Young. Very entertaining bout that told a pretty good story. No one came out to help Roddy, which I expected, this was a straight singles match with a lot of sneaky interference from Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe that led to Roddy fighting them all off and picking up the win. Good opener for what would become a great show.

Tyler Bate (c) vs Pete Dunne (United Kingdom Title)



Only 2 matches in and we already have the match of the night! Possibly of the year as well. This is the the match that came about a few nights ago after Pete Dunne defeated Trent Seven and became number 1 contender for the UK title. This was the match I was looking forward to the most on this card… and sweet Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick, did it ever deliver! This was a fantastic match that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. There is a reason the UK indies are doing so well and killing it right now, and the reason is what these two put on tonight. This match was intense, hard-hitting, dramatic, suspenseful, and everything else that makes for an exiting experience of a match. Tyler Bate busted out some moves we’re not used to seeing him do, like a very well executed spiral tap, there was a very cool punching exchange that ended in ”Bop & Bang” being busted out. That was really cool, Pete Dunne was as intense and brutal as ever, he just fucking rules and he’s another reason I’ve been meaning to check out Progress. This was all around a great fucking match and if I try to get everything I want to say in here, this will be a mile long paragraph, so i’ll just leave it here. Fantastic match, match of the year contender (and I don’t just say that for any good match) and we crowned a new UK champion in Pete Dunne. Splendid!

That weekly UK show is coming soon and I can’t wait for it. Everything these guys have been doing in WWE since the tournament back in January has been fantastic, so the show should be as well.

Asuka (c) vs Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riot (NXT Womens Title)


I fucking love Nikki Cross.

On to honestly the weakest (but still good) match of the night. This was supposed to be a fatal 4-way, but unfortunately Ember Moon got injured and had to be removed, so it became a triple threat. I’m 100% certain that Ember Moon will be the next champion so I knew right away that Asuka was going to win it. There was no way either of these other two were winning. I like Ruby Riot (her name is terrible, but she is good) and I fucking love Nikki Cross, but I just couldn’t see them winning it. Anyway, it was still a fun match.Very entertaining and good for what it was. Definitely not the best womens match NXT has ever put on but certainly not the worst. Short story short, Asuka retains, as expected with a pretty vicious shining wizard to Ruby and a pin on both of them. That was all she wrote. Again, nothing too spectacular but surely not bad at all. I expect Ember Moon to be the next challenger and win it at Takeover: Brooklyn III in August.

By the way, I fucking love Nikki Cross.

Bobby Roode (c) vs Hideo Itami (NXT Title)


I was surprised to see this match as the semi-main event, although it would make sense later, but nonetheless, this match was nothing short of glorious! This, while not quite as good as the UK title match, was another excellent match and perhaps one of the best NXT title matches in recent history. It was another great match full of suspense and near fall after near fall. Hideo is awesome and it was good to see him finally get his shot after all this time being in NXT and being set back by injury twice in a row. He could have been champion already, but shit happens. Anyway, again, great fucking match and one of the best title matches they’ve done. Bobby Roode wins and retains, as expected. I wasn’t big on him at first, but he’s really grown on me. I didn’t see much of him in TNA so I didn’t think too much of him initially, but he is really good and a sure fire main roster main eventer. I expect Drew McIntyre to be the next challenger. Looking forward to it.

Ladder Match: Authors of Pain (c) vs DIY (NXT Tag Team Title)


Main event time… and once again, HOLY FUCK!

Going into this one, I wasn’t expecting much and didn’t care too much for it because it’s a match we’ve seen a number of times already, but this time with the ladder match stipulation. So it was whatever for me. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. These four tore the fucking house down. This was a crazy good match filled with sick, brutal spots, including a scary one to Johnny Gargano where AoP are ready to ram a ladder into Tommaso Ciampa’s face, but Gargano pushes him out of the way and he get’s the hit instead and it looks fucking brutal. Gargano sold that thing like death. Another sick spot was Ciampa delivering a German suplex to one of the AoP guys through a ladder. The thing snapped in half. Holy shit. Then you had a double splash through AoP through two ladders that looked like they resulted in both Gargano and Ciampa landing on their heads, which was also scary. This was just an insane match that totally surpassed my expectations and absolutely topped this already great show off. It was exiting and exhilarating to watch and made for an excellent main event. Authors of Pain retrieve the belts after hitting a Super Collider and retain. Just a great damn match with great storytelling. Awesome main event.

Now, you would think this would be the end of it. Well, post-match, DIY are soaking in the adulation from the Chicago crowd, there are still about 8 minutes left to the show, so I already know something is up. They walk up the ramp, soak it in a little more, the little signature thing shows up in the corner of the screen… and BOOM! We get the shock of the night. Tommaso Ciampa turns on Gargano and unleashes a vicious assault. Knees to the face, clubbing blows, throwing Johnny into the tron, the whole nine yards. Basically the destruction of Johnny Gargano. The biggest spot of this attack was the last blow. An airaid crash off the stage through a series of tables on the floor. Wow. Pretty brutal shit. Ciampa stands on the announcers desk and soaks in the boos and chants all dead-faced. One of the best heel turns I’ve seen in a long time. Possibly the best I’ve seen since Seth Rollins turning on Roman and Dean in 2014. Just awesome. I look forward to what they do going forward with this. Should be very interesting.

Other points:

No Adam Cole. Boooooooo. Oh well.

Overall, this was an incredible show. Easily the best Takeover show since Dallas last year. If this new era of NXT wasn’t already exiting (it was), then it sure as fuck is now! Hopefully this gives NXT back the buzz it had a couple years ago. After this show, it’s surely deserved. Phenomenal show all around. I can’t praise it enough. There is no way Backlash is topping this one. Or any other main roster show this year. You can bet on that.

Until next time.



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