Kayla Braxton jokingly hyped her obligatory emergency exits announcement and prompted regulars in the crowd to gesture toward the exits along with her. She announced Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair, appearances from Keith Lee and Matt Riddle (Lee did not appear), and the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals.
A Full Sail photographer directed and captured “NXT” chants prior to bell time.
(A) Chelsea Green pinned Jessie Elaban in a dark match. The Unprettier put Elaban away.
Triple H came out with the NXT Championship. He called NXT a special place, and said he had planned to announce the long-awaited Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano Takeover match for the championship. He said reality forced Ciampa to currently be laying in a hospital bed in a neck brace, but the dream continues as Gargano will compete for the title at Takeover: New York. He said Gargano’s challenger will be decided when Ricochet, Adam Cole, Aleister Black, Velveteen Dream, and “the undefeated” Matt Riddle compete for the spot. He paused to let the Velveteen Dream chants breathe, and said the match at TakeOver must be definitive and thereby it will be two-out-of-three falls.
Break. The NXT Championship was propped on a pedestal on the stage.
(1) Adam Cole defeated Aleister Black, Velveteen Dream, Ricochet, and Matt Riddle for the right to challenge for the NXT Championship at Takeover: New York.
Adam Cole entered to an updated Undisputed Era tron. Ricochet declared to Cole, “This is why I came here.” Velveteen Dream flaunted his North American Championship at Ricochet. Matt Riddle kicked his sandals at Dream. Aleister Black circled in the ring, glaring at each of his competitors. The wrestlers quickly began pairing off in the ring while three of them would wait for their spot to swap in from the outside. Black and Ricochet shook hands when it was their turn to face off. Black signaled a slash across his throat before attempting a Blxck Mass on Dream. Black and Riddle simultaneously kicked one another in the head and fell at the same time, drawing one of the many “NXT” chants that peppered the proceedings. The continued pairings turned in to a series of near falls broken up by whichever wrestler was reentering the ring. Dream tapped to the Bromission but Cole dragged official Drake Wuertz out of the ring. Black kicked Riddle to the mat. Dream hit Black with a Dream Valley Driver, but Black and Ricochet flung Dream to the outside before Dream could capitalize with a Purple Rainmaker. Ricochet hit a shooting star press on Riddle, but Cole broke up the cover with a Last Shot and pinned Ricochet.
Black and Ricochet stood in the ring in solidarity after Cole posed next to the belt on the stage, but the Forgotten Sons ran in and laid them out.
(2) Punishment Martinez pinned Riddick Moss. Martinez’ tron still reads “Punishment” but he was introduced as Luis Martinez.
(3) Humberto Carillo pinned Albert Hardie, Jr. (AKA ACH). Carillo and Hardie competitively mimicked each others’ moves to start. Hardie screeched as he went for a dropkick in the corner. Carillo got the three after a moonsault.
Break. Kayla Braxton announced a face-to-face between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano.
(4) War Raiders defeated a tag team via pinfall. Hanson & Rowe made quick work of their unnamed fodder.
Rowe said William Regal had allowed them to send a message to their TakeOver opponents. Hanson said those opponents didn’t have to listen, just watch. Rowe invited out a next team.
(5) War Raiders defeated Cesar Bononi & Adrian Jaoude via pinfall. Hanson & Rowe made easy examples of their new victims, with Rowe pinning Bononi after a team finish.
(6) Jaxson Ryker (with Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler) pinned Oney Lorcan (with Danny Burch). Ryker willingly absorbed strikes from Lorcan, and hung Lorcan out to dry. Lorcan tumbled to the floor in front of the other Forgotten Sons. Blake and Cutler didn’t involve themselves, knowing their psychopathic partner had things under control, but Burch still challenged them to try something. Ryker got a near fall off a gut buster. He bearhugged Lorcan, who fought his way out of the hold with a fistful of beard. Lorcan mounted a comeback but soon fell to Ryker’s chokeslam powerbomb.
(7) Bianca Belair defeated Kairi Sane via disqualification. Belair flaunted to begin with, and Sane responded with her own mimed jests before nailing an Interceptor. Belair kicked her way out of the Anchor, visibly frustrated. Sane kicked out of a cocky pin attempt and locked in an octopus stretch. Belair kept fighting to gain an upper hand but Sane wouldn’t stay down, countering several moves in a row and eventually gaining the upper hand herself. Sane scored a near fall with a Kabuki Elbow, then clocked Belair with a spinning backfist. Belair scored three consecutive near falls off a superplex and a standing moonsault, after which Sane tried to grab a triangle hold. Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir ran in and attacked the competitors, beginning with Belair. Io Shirai came in for the save, followed by a swarm of officials. The women’s locker room emptied out as Kacy Catanzaro, Jessie Elaban, Rachael Ellering, Reina Gonzalez, Lacey Lane, MJ Jenkins, Deonna Purrazzo, Mia Yim, and others rushed in and a massive brawl ensued. Belair Gorilla Pressed Lane on to the mob outside the ring, then Shirai slapped the taste out of Belair’s mouth. Shirai hit a moonsault on to the mob, then posed with Baszler’s championship.
(8) Raul Mendoza pinned Brennan Williams. Williams did his “sit” routine before Mendoza’s entrance. Mendoza won with a springboard corkscrew not unlike his occasional tag partner Humberto Carillo’s earlier win over ACH.
Break. The Dusty Classic trophy was placed on the stage, and the NXT Championship was placed on a pedestal in the ring. Jeremy Borash appeared at his usual post on the fan side of the barrier and cupped his ear to liven up the crowd after Kayla Braxton announced Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano’s face-to-face was up next. Borash appeared to be filming b-roll with his own camera.
Dueling “Adam Cole” and “Johnny Wrestling” chants went long after Cole invited Gargano to the ring for their face-to-face, claiming he could list a million reasons he was going to win at TakeOver. Cole finally shut down the chants by saying, “For the record– shut up!– I don’t need any of you!” Gargano briefly revived the chants by saying he likes them. Gargano was in full babyface mode and hurled barbs from a perch atop the turnbuckle, goading Cole in to making good on this alleged list of a million reasons, but then he got serious and got in Cole’s face. He said he’s going to show Cole why he’s known as “Johnny TakeOver, bay bay.” Cole responded by comparing his many TakeOver milestones to Gargano’s TakeOver loss record, suggesting the alternate nickname “Johnny Participation.” Gargano called back to his 15-year history as an “undersized” wrestler that led to his fateful makeshift tag team with Tommaso Ciampa. Gargano said he fights for everyone who’s ever been told they can’t make it, and that he’s had to earn everything he has. He accused Cole of conversely being handed a top spot and a group of cronies from day one. Gargano said he will become NXT Champion, and his theme played as he and Cole glared at one another. As Cole left up the ramp, he waved off the music and said he found Gargano’s story as inspirational as a Lifetime movie. He said he is going to win the 2/3 falls match at TakeOver, “and here’s why.” Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong appeared behind Cole. He concluded, “Triple H said this 2/3 falls match will be definitive. Well Triple H was wrong. It’s going to be undisputed.” Cole posed with the rest of the Undisputed Era as the segment ended to his theme.
Referencing Jeremy Borash, Kayla Braxton told the crowd to be loud so “a representative” can give t-shirts to the “loudest fans.”
(9) Kacy Catanzaro & Lacey Lane defeated Aliyah & Vanessa Borne via disqualification. Catanzaro received a huge pop upon her entrance. The heels played chicken to lure Lane in to their trap. Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir sauntered to the ring, and Aliyah and Borne sheepishly walked away up the ramp. Duke elbowed Catanzaro from the apron. Catanzaro then tried to get the better of Baszler, but Baszler caught her in the Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler posed with the title in the ring, and then on the commentary desk as Lacey Lane and official Jessika Carr attended to Catanzaro.
“Bugenhagen” chants, which had been intermittent throughout the night, got louder than ever but became agreeably silenced when Matt Riddle’s theme hit.
(10) Matt Riddle submitted Kona Reeves. Reeves looked more confident than ever and got loud heat upon his entrance. Early in the action, Velveteen Dream’s music hit and Dream was wheeled out on the stage on a purple sofa. Reeves took advantage of the distraction exactly as he had when Dream interrupted his match with ECIII last year, and just like with that match the advantage did not last long. Reeves eventually scored a desperate two with a handful of tights. Riddle responded with a knee to Reeves’ face and a decisive Bromission. Velveteen Dream cut off Kayla Braxton’s victory announcement in order to deliver it himself, saying “Matthew Riddle” would get to journey to TakeOver to contend for the North American Championship. Riddle got in Dream’s face and said, “I’ll see you in New York, bro.” Dream’s sofa attendants looked disgusted.
(11) Aleister Black & Ricochet defeated Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler (with Jaxson Ryker) to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and earn the right to face War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Championships at TakeOver: New York. During his entrance Ricochet said to the crowd, “You guys are why I do this.” The action started furiously, with Black and Ricochet looking every bit the superior team and then some. Ryker clubbed Ricochet in the back when the official was looking the other way. Jeremy Borash made himself scarce, possibly so to avoid repeating the crowd domination of last year’s otherwise exemplary Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era match (he reappeared to hand out the prize shirts after the match ended). Ricochet fought for the hot tag but Blake yanked Black from the apron. Finally Ricochet leapt over his opponents to tag Black, who got a great reaction. Cutler found a near fall on a backbreaker. The Sons swung clotheslines to intermittent success as they fed in to Black and Ricochet’s fired-up offense. Ricochet fought to stay alive, landing on his feet after a reverse hurricanrana attempt off the top by Blake. He wagged his finger at the stunned Blake. Cutler chucked Ricochet in to the ring steps after Ricochet tagged out, and he landed an assisted flying elbow to Black’s gut but Ricochet recovered and broke up the pinfall. Ryker was sent to the back after shoving Black’s foot from the rope during another pinning attempt. Black hit a moonsault on to Cutler on the outside, and guarded the ring as Ricochet hit a 630 on Blake for the win. The winners looked happier than they ever have, embracing and playing to the crowd with incredible enthusiasm. Red, white, and blue confetti rained as they celebrated, and War Raiders hit the ring for a staredown.
Ricochet took the microphone. A fan yelled, “Please don’t leave me!” Ricochet smiled and replied, “I think you’re going to hate the news I’m about to give you.” He said this will be his and Aleister Black’s final NXT taping. When fans responded with a “fight forever” chant, Black quipped “My cardio is good but not that good.” He said he and Ricochet are going to leave a part of their souls in NXT. The crowd lovingly mocked his pronunciation of “Reek-ochet” and he said, “I say everything with a little flair.” He said the NXT fans and his love for them is “bar none.” Ricochet said despite his long career pre-NXT, the past year has been his best. He said the fans made him fall in love with the art of wrestling again, and said thank you. Ricochet began listing other NXT wrestlers we’ll still get to see on the yellow brand, and when he mentioned his girlfriend Kacy Catanzaro Black told the crowd, “He’s bad.” The crowd chanted “Bugenhagen” and Ricochet said, “I’m getting there” (he didn’t get there, but claiming he would was a fine way to move things along). Ricochet began listing things that will “forever be NXT,” even naming specific fans. Ricochet appeared emotional as he waved his final goodbye. He and Black greeted fans as the crowd filed out.