NXT has built up a reputation of delivering excellence at each Takeover Special. And Takeover: Phoenix only added to that notion. But instead of continuing to ramble on let’s get to the action. Here is your NXT Takeover: Phoenix Recap. And be sure to listen to today’s installment of The Laracuente Ledger Podcast for a coinciding look at NXT Takeover: Phoenix as well as the WWE Royal Rumble.
NXT Tag Team Championship: War Raiders vs. Undisputed Era
Laracuente Ledger Rating: 5/5
Predicted Winner: War Raiders
Actual Winner: War Raiders
As a warning shot to open the weekend, the War Raiders was exhilerating to witness. This match was a great way to start off the show. And much like NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool it delivered in a big way early. And the two teams had the crowd hot right from the start. Undisputed Era would jump out to an early start but it wouldn’t last long at all. Undisputed Era are fun to watch because of how smooth each member is in the crew.
This match would be a beautiful battle of power versus technique. The four men in this match would all add a unique element. And each man would help to elevate the already incredible quality of the match. The Undisputed Era would put their tag team effeficency on full display. When the “Hot Tag” got made the crowd erupted for Hanson. And Hanson would deliver an awesome display of power and agility. This was an incredible match to start off NXT Takeover: Phoenix.
Grudge Match: Kassius Ohno vs. Matt Riddle
Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4/5
Predicted Winner: Matt Riddle
Actual Winer: Matt Riddle
Kassius Ohno and Matt Riddle are wonderefully matched. The strike game of both men are some of the best in the buisness. The crafty and vile nature that Kassius Ohno displays is a great bit of story telling by the ring veteran. The strike in this match were so stiff. You would have thought that you were watching a New Japan Pro Wrestling show with how stiff and strong style-esque the strikes were by both men. Matt Riddle would put all his skills on display. Riddle’s strikes and power game would be matched by Ohno’s do anything to win nature. The closing of the contest was such an interesting and different finish. Most of the time a wrestler taps out it is because of a submission. This time however Kassius Ohno would tap out because of an unrelenting set of elboe strikes by Riddle.
NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet
Laracuente Ledger Rating: 10/5
Predicted Winner: Ricochet
Actual Winner: Johnny Gargano
This match was the main matchup I was looking forward to this Royal Rumble weekend. The two men would exchange some beautful lock ups and transitions. The ground wrestling advantage would go to Johnny Gargano. But when the pace picked up, Ricochet is the king. This was awesome!!! I don’t have words to express the how great this match was to watch. I could watch Ricochet versus Johnny Gargano, five times a week and twice on Sunday.
NXT Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Shayna Baszler
Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.25/5
Predicted Winner: Bianca Belair
Actual Winner: Shayna Baszler
Bianca Belair versus Shayna Baszler is a battle of power versus technique. Belair would
NXT Championship: Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Laracuente Ledger Rating: 6/5
Predicted Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
Actual Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa and Black would lock up like bulls in the middle of the ring. There would be a fire that would be put on display from the get go. The technical prowess of Aleister Black would make an early showing. Aleister is known more for his strikes and those too would make a big showing. Black would dominate much of the early part of the contest. But Tommaso would use a slight opening to his full advantage. And Ciampa would focus his assault on Black’s legs, in order to take away the Black Mass finisher of Aleister Black.
Tommaso Ciampa would show off the viciousness that has become a staple of his best character work. Ciampa would focus his assault on the leg of Black. The emphaical attack by Ciampa on Black’s left leg was incredible to watch. Aleister, however, would fight out at seemingly every turn.
In an identical sight to earlier in the evening, Ciampa would expose the floor much like Johnny Gargano did with Ricochet. Aleister would hit a diving meteora onto Ciampa on the outside. These two men put on an incredible display. Ciampa would put his vicious nature on full display hitting four Fairy Tale Endings in order to pick up the victory.
NXT Takeover: Phoenix Overall Rating: 5.85/5
Let me start by saying the crowd was red hot all night. But the closing moment with Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano nearly blew the roof off. As a starting off point for this highly anticipated Royal Rumble weekend, NXT Takeover: Phoenix set an extremely high bar. And we’ll have to see if the WWE’s “main roster” can match it.