NXT once again had the task of kicking of WrestleMania weekend and this year they returned to what many have called the ‘holy ground’ of NXT, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. How was it you say? Incredible… that’s one of the many words to describe Takeover New York!
The show kicked off in major style as NXT tag team champions the War Raiders defended the gold against the soon to be departing NXT combo of Aleister Black and Ricochet. The action that followed was frantic and intense as all four men came with their A games and produced one of the finest tag team matches you will see anywhere on the planet. The NXT tag titles have seemingly, and in a way quietly, become the most prestigious tag titles in all of wrestling and have become the measuring stick for all tag teams to aspire to in NXT and beyond. After the Raiders retained and had a moment of respect with the challengers, Black and ‘Chet seemingly had a little send off moment in front of the NXT faithful before heading up to the main roster full time. An amazing way to start the show.
Up next was the NXT North American title defence for the truly mesmerising Velveteen Dream as he defended against ‘The king of Bro’s’ Matt Riddle. A lot of hype went into this one and the question was could it live up to the high expectations set? Another resounding YES! Riddle entered his best NXT performance to date here, whilst the retaining champion continues to pave the way for a future that could ultimately end up making him one of the true future greats if he stays on this path. This writer still predicts a long reign here for the Dream as NA champion.
The biggest NXT UK title match took to the ring next as the champion of 685 days Pete Dunne defended the title against the enigma that is Walter. In one of the true hard-hitting matches that we have come to expect from both men, this slow-burning classic was everything a title match should be and more. The changing of the guard with Walter leaving as champion felt like a game-changing moment as the direction of NXT UK has had a major shift. Surely it is now time for Dunne to take his rightful place on the main roster?
The penultimate match of the night was the fatal four-way tussle for the ever sought after NXT Women’s Championship. The women in NXT continue to be overlooked next to their main roster counterparts, so once again here they came with something to prove and created what was perhaps the most underrated bout of the entire WrestleMania weekend. Baszler retaining was a slight surprise here but shows that there are still things left for her to do on the Black and Gold brand.
The main event for the Vacant NXT title was everything we thought it would be and more. Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole delivered career-defining performances here and gave the NXT fans a title match that will indeed go down in the history books as one of the most emotional and gripping encounters we will ever see. Seeing Gargano lift the title and then share a moment with his wife Candice LeRae and former champ and longtime friend/foe Tomasso Ciampa ended what was another epic night of NXT action.
As repetitive as it sounds, NXT truly is the hottest brand in all of wrestling and sports entertainment. AEW take notice and be prepared!