Code Orange kicked off the show with a performance of the theme song for NXT TakeOver: In Your House, and Todd Pettengill was back to provide a bit of humour before the matches got underway. Right from the start, WWE capitalised on what made the In Your House shows enjoyable, and throughout the night we got funny adverts featuring cookie sandwiches, more segments from Pettengill, and even DX popped up. For saying this was in the Performance Center, WWE and NXT managed to make it feel like a proper PPV.

NXT TakeOver: In Your House had some fantastic matches on paper, and whilst many lived up to the hype, there were some that didn’t quite match the reputation of other TakeOver matches throughout its ten-year history. The main event was outstanding, and it’s no understatement to say it could be one of the greatest of all time. The Backlot Brawl was fun, but I was hoping for a different outcome. Tommaso Ciampa and Karrion Kross acted as more of a statement for the newest member of NXT, and Johnny Gargano and Keith Lee wasn’t as explosive as I thought it might be, but overall I enjoyed the PPV. Finn Balor and Damian Priest had a superb match, and I wasn’t expecting it to be as electric as it was. The opening match was only made last Wednesday, but it had been building for some time, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

Quick Results

Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim def. Raquel Gonzalez, Dakota Kai, & Candice LeRae via pinfall

Finn Balor def. Damian Priest via pinfall

Keith Lee def. Johnny Gargano via pinfall

Adam Cole def. Velveteen Dream via pinfall

Karrion Kross def. Tommaso Ciampa via submission

Io Shirai def. Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley via pinfall

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

It was an explosive start to the night as both teams had scores to settle. Gonzalez was worked on by both Nox and Yim, but she proved tough to takedown. The action escalated early when Shotzi dived outside the ring, but Gonzalez managed to catch her in mid-air and tossed her aside like a rag doll. Candice LeRae then jumped over the ropes onto everyone. Nox wanted to go one better and jumped off the top rope to the outside, flooring all the competitors.

Tegan Nox tried to bring Gonzalez down, but she was too powerful, hitting a powerbomb on her, but Mia Yim managed to break it up. Mia Yim and Candice LeRae continued their rivalry from Wednesday night in and out the ring, but after a dragon suplex by Yim, they both fought to the backstage area, leaving their teammates to finish the match on their own. After the remaining Superstars battled, it was Nox who delivered the Shiniest Wizard on Kai, who picked up the win with a three count. It was a fun match but felt a little rushed at times. I hope Nox and Kai can put their rivalry on the back burner as I feel it’s run its course.

Winners: Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim Rating: 7/10

Finn Balor vs Damian Priest

Damian Priest is slowly rising to the top of the pile in NXT, and although he lost to Finn Balor, his performance alone has put the NXT roster on notice. Both men took a hell of a beating, and neither one wanted to give in to the other. Balor attacked Priest before the bell had rung, then went after him with a vicious assault of strikes. Priest got his bearings and threw Balor into the steel steps. He then stood on the steps with Balor in his arms and launched him onto the apron.

Priest showed a lot of heart in the match, and when he dropped the leaping flatliner, he began to gain a bit of control. He followed it with a leaping elbow and headlock, but Balor fought back with a suplex and dropkick to Priest. Balor and Priest were consistent with their offence, and although they were wearing each other out, high impact moves kept coming. Priest hit a Broken Arrow, Balor hit a double stomp – it never slowed down.

After a war of kicks and a failed pin attempt by Balor, Priest hit the Razor’s Edge on top of the apron. Inside the ring, he levelled Balor with two big splashes, but The Prince refused to quit. Priest dropped Balor with a chokeslam off the top rope and then attempted to deliver another Razor’s Edge onto the steps outside the ring. Balor managed to reverse it and punched Priest off the apron onto the steel steps.

This was the turning point Balor needed. He hit the Coup de Grace on the back on Priest’s head, but to cement his win he delivered another on Priest’s chest. This was enough to get the pin, and Balor reigned victorious. These two had an incredible match, and I’m happy Priest got a chance to go up against one of NXT’s finest. Balor is clearly up there to get a title shot soon, so hopefully, we’ll see him go after Adam Cole in the coming weeks.

Winner: Finn Balor Rating: 8.5/10 

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

Back when we had Johnny Wrestling, there’s not a doubt in my mind that this could have been an incredible showdown. However, this isn’t the same Gargano. This version of the man chooses dirty tactics and deviousness to pick apart his opponents. It’s weird seeing him act this way, and I’m not a fan. Keith Lee had two injuries going into the match – his left hand and his eye – and Gargano attempted to go after both throughout.

Gargano tried everything to hurt Lee more. He wrenched his fingers into the turnbuckle, locked in a cobra clutch that hurt both injuries, and caught Lee in an armbar after a failed powerbomb attempt. Keith Lee was resilient throughout the match. Despite his bad hand, he delivered a one-armed spinebuster and various punches, but Gargano was always ready to take advantage.

Gargano hit a tope con hilo into a DDT. It looked as though Lee was weakening, but out of the blue he charged at Gargano and knocked him through the plastic perspex at ringside. Candice LeRae ran out, but Mia Yim had not finished with the Pint-Sized Pixie. They fought each other as Gargano sat on the apron. Lee went to grab him but he pulled out the house key he’d stuffed in his trunks to jab it into Lee’s other eye.

Gargano hit One Final Beat, but only managed a two count. He followed it up with three superkicks to Lee, attempting a pin after each one, but he failed to get the win. Keith Lee then hit the Spirit Bomb. He hit another powerbomb on Gargano, following it up with the Big Bang Catastrophe for the victory. There were times in the match that the action dragged, and Gargano’s new approach to wrestling isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Regardless, I’m glad Keith Lee retained the title.

Winner: Keith Lee (Still North American Champion)  Rating: 7/10

NXT Championship Match: Adam Cole (C) vs Velveteen Dream In A Backlot Brawl

As Adam Cole drove to the match in a monster truck emblazoned with Undisputed Era decals, Velveteen Dream pulled up in a Lamborghini. Dressed like Negan from The Walking Dead, Dream swung around his baseball bat, but Cole shouted, “Fight me like a man – put it down!” Dream responded with, “anything for you, bay-bay,” and the match got underway. A lot of the action took place outside the ring, with Cole and Dream fighting on top of cars, and even in the back of an Uber.

Cole disappeared into one of the houses, and when Dream found him he got a cloud of mist from a fire extinguisher in his face. Both men went back and forth with various strikes until Dream threw Cole onto a car bonnet. Dream got a ladder out and they both fought on top of it. Undisputed Era drove in which distracted Dream temporarily, but Cole ended up being launched onto the car below, cutting his arms on the broken windscreen. UE attacked Dream, with Cole saying to his boys, “you know what to do.”

Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong picked up loads of chairs from the back of Cole’s truck and threw them in the ring. One of the chairs vanished under the ring, which led to Dexter Lumis sliding out. He attacked UE and threw them into the back of the white car they arrived in, driving them off into the distance. Dream and Cole climbed into the ring, now covered with tons of steel chairs. Dream hit a Dream Valley Driver on Cole but missed the chairs. He followed it up by sitting Cole on a chair and jumped off the top rope, landing a Purple Rainmaker. This only managed a two count. Adam Cole hit an almighty low blow, then rocked The Experience with the Panama Sunrise to pick up the win.

It wasn’t as good as other cinematic style matches WWE has done since the pandemic, but it was still a lot of fun. Dexter Lumis appearing from under the ring was expected, and now I want this mysterious obsession with UE to be addressed, maybe with another drawing. Adam Cole has reigned as NXT Champion for 372 days, and it will continue thanks to his win over Dream.

Winner: Adam Cole (Still NXT Champion) Rating: 7/10 

Tommaso Ciampa vs Karrion Kross

It pains me to say it, but I was a little disappointed with this one. I’ve seen Karrion Kross and Tommaso Ciampa have some excellent matches with other guys before, but this wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped. Expectations were very high going into their match, and as much as I understand why Kross picked up the win relatively quickly, I’d have liked to have seen more of a war.

Ciampa went in hard as soon as it got underway, but Kross delivered a huge boot to Ciampa’s face in the corner. Kross then hit a succession of suplexes, followed by a massive clothesline. Ciampa fought back with some slaps to Kross’ chest, an enzuigiri, and a big knee, but this only angered Kross. Ciampa’s biggest opportunity came when he hit Willow’s Bell for a two count, but after a failed attempt at the Fairy Tale Ending, Kross dropped him with a modified F5.

Kross then locked in the Kross Jacket for the win, forcing Ciampa unconscious and unable to tap out or move. Karrion Kross has shown utter dominance since appearing on NXT, and I’m scared for anyone else that steps foot in the ring with him. If he can do this to Ciampa, I dread to think what’s in store for everyone else.

Winner: Karrion Kross Rating: 6.5/10

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

NXT deserves a huge congratulations for putting this match as the main event. In fact, this is the first women’s match since Baley and Sasha Banks’ Iron Match in 2015 to headline a TakeOver. The expectations were high, and there wasn’t a single moment that didn’t disappoint. It was pointed out that this was Charlotte Flair’s 66th Championship match which is crazy, but there’s a reason she’s known as The Queen.

The action was thick and fast, and each Superstar put on one hell of a performance. Ripley missed an opportunity to land on Flair outside the ring, which led to her being thrown into the barricades by Flair. Shirai jumped on Flair and delivered a Frankensteiner, but Flair got up and whipped her into the post, following it up by launching her into Ripley who was lying against the barricade.

Back in the ring, Flair locked in the Boston crab on Shirai, but Ripley came in and hit two clotheslines on the champ, followed with a big boot. Io Shirai then took Ripley out with a basement dropkick and went after Flair with a 619. Her offence continued with a Quesadora, double stomp, and basement dropkick on Flair. Ripley and Shirai then went at it, both knocking each other to the mat after two heavy punches. Flair hit a double spear and tried to pin both Superstars, but both kicked out. In an attempt to finish them off, Flair went for a moonsault on Shirai and Ripley but failed after Ripley got her knees up.

Shirai hit a springboard dropkick and a bullet train on Ripley, but Flair came in and delivered the Natural Selection for a two count. Flair went for the Figure Eight on Shirai, but Ripley pulled her outside. At the entranceway, Flair threw Shirai through the window, and Ripley launched a pot plant in Flair’s face. As Ripley and Flair brawled, Shirai appeared on top of the set and launched herself off it on top of them.

Back in the ring, Ripley tried to hit the Riptide off the turnbuckle on Flair, but Shirai broke it up. Charlotte Flair had had enough. She grabbed a kendo stick and struck Shirai, then continued to beat Ripley with it. Flair then locked in the Figure Eight on Ripley, but Shirai landed a moonsault on Ripley and picked up the victory. The action never slowed down, and each woman performed to the best of their ability. There’s a reason why the NXT women’s division is regarded as the best in WWE, and tonight was no different.

Winner: Io Shirai (New NXT Women’s Champion) Rating: 9.5/10

Overall Opinion

As TakeOver‘s go, this one had some incredible matches. Obviously, the main event was incredible. Shirai conquered Japan, and now she’s taken over NXT. I’m so happy she picked up the win. She deserved it, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for The Genius of the Sky. The NXT Championship match was entertaining, but I’d rather have just seen them go at it without the novelty of the Backlot Brawl. Adam Cole is still champion, but who’s next for him? Dexter Lumis seems like a possibility, maybe Karrion Kross.

Johnny Gargano and Keith Lee match was better towards the end, but I wasn’t a fan of Gargano’s new style. As excited as I was for Tommaso Ciampa and Karrion Kross, I feel it didn’t deliver the kind of match I was expecting, however, I know why it was necessary for Kross to win in such a dominant fashion.

The opening bout was a nice taster of things to come, and I hope we get to see these six women go in different directions now. As for Damian Priest and Finn Balor, it was easily my second favourite match of the night. Overall, the PPV delivered all the hallmarks of a classic In Your House, courtesy of Todd Pettengill and William Regal’s advertisements, and even though not every match was historic, it was still better than most In Your House shows from the nineties.

Star of the Show: Io Shirai Overall Rating: 8.5/10

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

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