NXT TakeOver XXV was the 25th TakeOver event to stream on the WWE Network since May 2014. It also was the first TakeOver to not proceed a WWE PPV event since June 2016. It featured four championship matches plus a match showcasing one of NXT brightest stars in Matt Riddle. Some fans wondered how this event would compare to the first PPV from AEW the previous weekend Double or Nothing. I’ll compare my two grades at the end but for now, here’s the report card for TakeOver XXV
Match 1: Matt Riddle defeated Roderick Strong in 14:45
Grade: 3.75 stars (A-). This was a really good opener. These two guys just beat each other down with a lot of solid shots. Riddle seems to be a future superstar and Strong put in another solid performance even though he lost.
Match 2: The Street Profits defeated The Undisputed Era, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, and The Forgotten Sons in a Ladder Match for the Vacant NXT Tag Team Championship in 21:30
Grade: 4.25 stars (A). What a Ladder Match, I think the real winner is Kyle O’Reilly’s chiropractor after the shots he took in this one. The third member of The Forgotten Sons, Jackson Ryker interfered about halfway through, but he looked strong here as it really took the six other men to stop him from helping his team win the championship. The ending sequence was really breathtaking as The Profits won the championship in their first TakeOver event.
Match 3: NXT North American Champion The Velveteen Dream defeated Tyler Breeze in 16:50
Grade: 3.25 stars (B). Tyler Breeze is making his return to NXT after being criminally misused on the main roster after Fandango’s injury. This was Dream’s first TakeOver match that he was the heavy favorite in. These two had a fun match but it seemed a little off and didn’t really hit the great level. I want to see Breeze stay in NXT even if WWE wants him to be in the “player-coach” role.
Match 4: NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Bazler defeated Io Shirai in 12:15
Grade: 3 stars (B). Arguably Bazler should have been called up to the main roster already. I personally would have liked to see Bazler attack Rousey the night after WrestleMania. That might have happened if Rousey weren’t injured at WrestleMania and it was a guarantee that Rousey would return to complete the angle. As for this match, it was okay to above average but I never thought Io was going to win which took away from my enjoyment of the match.
Match 5: Adam Cole defeated NXT Champion Johnny Gargano to win the championship to win the title at 32:00
Grade: 4.5 stars (A). Wow! What a main event. Watch this match now. There were a few flaws in this match though. I didn’t like the referee bump even though it didn’t really play a factor into the finish. I also wished Johnny Gargano should have won his first title defense; however, I believe we’re going to see one final match between the two either on NXT TV or at TakeOver Toronto. While still not as perfect as the TakeOver New York Match, it’s still great
Overall Show Grade: 3.75 stars (A-). Another great TakeOver event NXT continues to outshine the main roster. I feel it’s mainly because NXT is for the diehard fans where RAW and Smackdown is mainly designed for the casual mainstream audience who don’t always watch wrestling.
So I gave this show an A- and Double or Nothing a B+, but both shows are must see. I personally liked Cole vs. Gargano better than the two best matches from Double or Nothing, but I think Cody vs. Dustin will have the better long term appeal. The other main difference is that the “worst” of TakeOver was better than the “worst” of Double or Nothing. That being said, both shows are must see and have been better than the majority of content on RAW and Smackdown