NXT TakeOver: In Your House is now days away, and there were explosive confrontations, statements made, and video packages hyping up the title matches that would be taking place this Sunday. Many Superstars aren’t taking part in the PPV, but there were plenty of matches and moments that made up this week’s show featuring many of them, leading up to the main event that would determine the fate of Drake Maverick. For now, though, let’s get started with a match made last week by William Regal.

Candice LeRae vs Mia Yim

The Poison Pixie attacked Mia Yim before the bell, but Yim soon took control. It was an explosive start as Yim landed a couple of pop-up sentons onto LeRae’s back. The action spilled outside as Yim threw LeRae into the barricades via a wheelbarrow. These two went at it hard outside the ring which ended up resulting in a double count-out, culminating with LeRae launching Yim into the Titantron.

Tegan Nox ran out to stop LeRae attacking Yim, then Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai went after Nox. Shotzi Blackheart came out to make the save, with utter chaos erupting on the ramp. Johnny Gargano came out to help his wife, but Keith Lee wasn’t going to leave Yim facing the odds. He went after Gargano, but we were informed that William Regal had now made this match a mixed tag.

Winner: Double count-out Rating: 5.5/10

Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano vs Mia Yim & Keith Lee

Johnny Gargano was not happy about the match being made, complaining he wasn’t ready. Keith Lee military pressed him into the ring, even though LeRae clung on to Lee’s neck. In the ring, Yim hit LeRae with a huge boot in the corner and managed to deliver a dragon suplex into a pin, but Gargano swept Yim’s leg. Lee came in and hit a big splash on Gargano. As the match neared its end, Lee readied up Gargano for the Spirit Bomb, but he reached into his pockets and pulled out his car keys, scraping Lee’s eyes which broke the move.

As Yim was distracted, Candice LeRae rolled her up and picked up the victory. Johnny Gargano vs Keith Lee is guaranteed to be great, but with Gargano’s big heel turn he’s become a bit of a coward, and I hope it doesn’t affect his ability to perform with heart at a TakeOver.

Winner: Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano Rating: 5/10

Tony Nese vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

Swerve went straight at it with Nese, who took him down straight away. After a brief spell outside the ring, Nese took control in the ring, locking in a body scissors. He continued to weaken Swerve with a guillotine, but Swerve reversed it into a brainbuster. Back outside, Swerve kicked Nese in the face as he stood on the apron, then threw him into the steel steps.

As Swerve climbed up to the turnbuckle in the ring, Jack Gallagher came out and distracted him. This allowed Nese to attempt a Sunset Driver, but Swerve reversed and managed to pin him for the victory. It was a decent match between these two. Swerve managed to get some payback, but I’m not a fan of Nese losing so many matches in a row.

Winner: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott Rating: 6.5/10

NXT Tag Team Championship Number One Contender Triple Threat Match: Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish) vs Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan vs Breezango

This was a superb match between the three teams, and it was a pleasant surprise to see Tyler Breeze and Fandango return after all this time, sporting sexy astronaut outfits. Breeze and Burch teamed for a while, but ultimately they got into an argument which led to Burch hitting a missile dropkick. Undisputed Era got in some great teamwork, and Strong delivered an almighty backbreaker on Breeze.

Breeze was in desperate need of a tag, and when he finally matched to do so, Fandango was on fire. He landed a couple of powerslams followed by a tornado DDT on Strong. When Orcan tagged in, he showed his aggression and hit a double blockbuster on Undisputed Era. Things got even more crazy when Fandango threw Orcan over the top rope onto Breeze and UE. Danny Burch then grabbed Fandango and through him over the rope into a bigger pile of bodies.

Dexter Lumis appeared at ringside and left Fish and Strong feeling on edge. This allowed Breeze to hit Fish with a Beauty Shot, setting up Fandango for the Last Dance. Breezango got the win and will be facing Imperium. As Breezango celebrated, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner walked down the ramp and stared them down. Then, out of the blue, Indus Sher accompanied by Malcolm Bivens appeared behind them, leading to an epic staredown. Indus Sher vs Imperium vs Breezango is the match I never knew I wanted, and I hope we get to see all three teams go at it very soon.

Winners: Breezango Rating: 8/10

Aliyah vs Santana Garrett

Before the match, we got a brief recap of what happened between Chelsea Green and Robert Stone from last week. Aliyah showed her familiar aggression once again, but when Stone came down to ringside (looking like an utter mess), she ended up trying too hard. Garrett is a bright star in NXT and has a great future in the company. Thankfully, she managed to pick up the win after a handspring moonsault. I don’t know why NXT insist on her losing in front of Stone, but I don’t much care for his angle either. These two are perfect for each other, but after her loss, this week, will Robert Stone be looking elsewhere?

Winner: Santana Garrett Rating: 5/10

Cameron Grimes vs Bronson Reed

Bronson Reed dominated Grimes right from the start. He hit a Manhattan drop, bionic elbow, military slam, and a standing senton in succession. Reed tried to continue his momentum with a big splash off the top rope but missed, allowing the sneaky Cameron Grimes to finish him with the Cave In. After the match, Karrion Kross came to the ring and hit Reed with a Doomsday Saito. He looked at the camera and said his match with Ciampa would be special. Tick Tock!

Winner: Cameron Grimes: Rating: 4/10

NXT Interim Cruiserweight Championship Match: El Hijo del Fantasma vs Drake Maverick

After weeks of build-up, controversy, and speculation as to whether this was a work or not, Drake Maverick somehow managed to reach the finals. Earlier in the night he spoke with McKenzie Mitchell telling her he was excited, but coming to the ring he looked nervous as hell. I still have no idea whether his firing was a work, but I’m still uncomfortable about the whole debacle.

Fantasma was in control for most of the match, but every now and again Maverick clawed back. Fantasma hit a sit down powerbomb on Maverick outside of the ring, and this caused a lot of problems for Maverick. Fantasma worked on Maverick’s back, who locked in a surfboard. After a backdrop, Boston Crab, and another sit down powerbomb, Maverick wouldn’t quit. This was a solid match. Maverick played on his career being on the line, and Fantasma was relentless.

The masked superstars who have been hounding Fantasma over recent weeks came down, but Maverick hit a Tope Con Hilo on both of them and continued to attack them outside the ring. As Maverick came back in the ring, Fantasma hit a Phantom Driver on him and picked up the three count. Fantasma is the new NXT Interim Cruiserweight Champion!

After the match, Drake Maverick sat in the ring trying to hold back the tears. He took a slow walk to the top of the ramp to take one final look at the ring when HHH appeared. He opened a clipboard he was holding to reveal an NXT contract. Maverick burst into tears as he signed his contract, and to me, it felt genuine. Maybe this wasn’t a work in the beginning, but after WWE saw his response they saw something in him. I’d love to see WWE Chronicle cover it and shed some light on this angle because I still feel unsure what to think. Regardless, Drake Maverick is still part of WWE. I just feel bad for others that never got this chance.

What Else Went Down?

– To build up the match between Tommaso Ciampa and Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, a video package aired hyping the match. It doesn’t need hyping because it’s already the standout match for me, but I still enjoyed hearing Ciampa deliver one of his cutthroat promos.

– Dexter Lumis was asked backstage by McKenzie Mitchell about Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream’s match this Sunday, but in true Lumis fashion, he didn’t say a word. Instead, he brought in an easel and began drawing something. We returned to Lumis who had drawn a caricature of himself driving a car with Undisputed Era in the back. It’s also worth noting that the NXT TakeOver: In Your House logo was in the corner, so does it mean we may see Lumis make an appearance?

– The first Prime Target video package aired featuring Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream. Adam Cole was celebrating being NXT World Champion with his Undisputed Era buddies. They went to a restaurant and had a meal, with Cole toasting to his title reign and how much he loves his best friends and UE teammates. Velveteen Dream was reminiscing about his encounters with Cole over the years. Back on his couch, he looked into a mirror, where someone cosplaying as Prince said Dream will be the best NXT World Champion of all time. It was weird, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from The Experience.

– The second Prime Target started off with Io Shirai delivering an amazing promo underwater. Sounds weird, but believe me it worked. Rhea Ripley was talking about how 2019 ended so well, but in 2020 everything went downhill (tell us about it!). Flair was rather humble in her video, saying her career was made in an NXT ring. This did a great job of putting their match into perspective, with different journalists and Superstars giving their opinions on who was going to win.

– A final match was added to NXT TakeOver: In Your House. Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, and Mia Yim will be teaming up against Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, and Candice LeRae.

After The Bell

I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s NXT. The Prime Target videos were superb, and the build-up to both matches has been excellent. I was surprised we saw nothing from Finn Balor or Damian Priest tonight, but we did get more from Johnny Gargano and Keith Lee. Ciampa and Kross may not have had a lot of screen time on this week’s show, but they didn’t need it.

Drake Maverick’s underdog story has ended, and although he didn’t capture the championship, he’ still a part of NXT. I’m glad Fantasma won because he’s an incredible athlete, and it would’ve been unfair if he’d lost. The triple threat tag match was one of the better tag matches in recent months, and it acted as a great reminder of the division’s calibre. We’ve seen little from Indus Sher, so I’m hoping they get a high profile match soon. Imperium are deserving champions, and their match with Breezango should be a fun one.

Star of the Show: Drake Maverick Overall Rating: 7.5/10

NXT TakeOver: In Your House – Final Match Card

– Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, & Raquel Gonzalez vs Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim

– Finn Balor vs Damian Priest

– Tommaso Ciampa vs Karrion Kross

– NXT North American Championship Match: Keith Lee (C) vs Johnny Gargano

– NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai vs Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair (C)

– NXT World Championship Match (Backlot Brawl): Adam Cole (C) vs Velveteen Dream

All images and videos courtesy of WWE