NXT Takeover: Toronto airs tonight exclusively on the WWE Network, live from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
We’ve got five matches on deck, all of which will be trying their hardest to steal the show, live up to the impossible (yet always-delivered-upon) standards of the Takeover name, and put on the best matches of the entire weekend.
In addition to the five-match main card, there will be two matches taped prior to Takeover including the finals of the NXT Breakout Tournament, and the in-ring return of Breezango as a tag team, so make sure you still with us throughout the entire day as we’ll be bringing you complete live coverage of everything Takeover, as well as up-to-the-minute news.
Now, let’s dig into the show…
Click Here: custom product designADAM COLE (c) vs. JOHNNY GARGANO IN A TWO-OUT-OF-THREE FALLS MATCH FOR THE NXT CHAMPIONSHIP
The storied rivalry between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano goes back further than we have time to really cover here, so we highly recommend checking out the lengthy “Prime Target” video package that WWE put together above, that sort of recaps the whole program and gets comments from tons of WWE stars who have associated with both Superstars.
The gist of it is this. When Tommaso Ciampa was forced to vacate the NXT Championship due to injury, the entire NXT Takeover: New York card had to be rewritten, with Cole and Gargano put in a Two-Out-of-Three Falls match to determine the new champion. While Cole won the first fall, he ultimately lost the match and “Johnny Takeover” won the title for the very first time.
He had very little time to celebrate, however, as Cole took the title back from him at NXT Takeover XXV in an even more incredible main event match – this time in a simple one-fall wrestling match, where Cole simply used better psychology, and played the superior mind games to outwit his opponent and win the title.
Now the two will finally settle the score in another Two-Out-of-Three Falls match, but to make sure things are fully settled, each fall will have a completely different stipulation. As decided by Gargano, the first fall will be a Street Fight, and Cole opted for a straight-up wrestling match in the second fall. If a third fall is necessary, a stipulation will be announced on the spot by NXT General Manager William Regal.
VELVETEEN DREAM (c) vs. PETE DUNNE vs. RODERICK STRONG FOR THE NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
This is going to be an absolute war. All three of these men have been integral to building up the NXT brand at one time or another over the past two years. Dream is innately familiar with both of his upcoming challengers, while Dunne and Strong traded fists numerous titles, including some instant classic Match of the Year candidate brawls between the former WWE UK Champion’s British Strong Style group and the Undisputed Era. That’s really all there is to this one – Dream is ready to take on all comers, and he’s got two of the best in the world to mix it up with. It’ll be shocking if this isn’t one of the best matches of the entire weekend.
SHAYNA BASZLER (c) vs. MIA YIM FOR THE NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
At this point, the “Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler has carved out a name for herself as the undisputed greatest NXT Women’s Champion ever. Nobody has come close to the amount of consistently great, not to mention dominant title defenses that she has had over the course of two distinct title reigns. No, not even Asuka, who largely reigned over a down period for the brand, and outside of Ember Moon rarely had the stand-out Takeover matches that the division has become known for.
I’m a big fan of Mia Yim. She has been a force of nature over the past few months, genuinely working her way into a shot at the title, and methodically taking out Baszler’s friends in some nasty backstage and Performance Center segments. I genuinely want her to be THE ONE to finally beat Shayna for the title (again), but literally every time I think it’s going to happen, here we are at the end of another Takeover special as she yet again taps out another challenger and retains. Io Shirai. Kairi Sane. Bianca Belair. Toni Storm. Nikki Cross. Ember Moon. Name after name after name.
CANDICE LERAE vs. IO SHIRAI
When Io first debuted in NXT she was brought in as the best friend of the “Pirate Princess” Kairi Sane, an already developed and super popular star who had won the women’s championship, the Mae Young Classic, and had established herself as a force to be reckoned with. But Io largely took a back seat.
Ever since Sane jumped to the main roster earlier this year, her former BFF has shown a whole new side of aggression, which came to a head after losing a steel cage match to Shayna Baszler on NXT television, coming up short yet again with the women’s title on the line. She took out her frustrations on the closest possible individual, which just so happened to be a friendly Candice LeRae.
Here’s the thing – anyone who followed Io in Japan knows she’s one of the best villains in women’s wrestling, if not THE best. But you also just don’t mess with Candice LeRae. Period. I know she’s been largely relegated to the role of “Johnny’s wife” while in NXT so far, which is a damn crime in wrestling if we’re being honest, but she’s been in some absolutely bloody and brutal wars in her time. This match should be outstanding.
THE STREET PROFITS (c) vs. THE UNDISPUTED ERA (KYLE O’REILLY & BOBBY FISH) FOR THE NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
While this may seem like the most straight-forward match on the card, things between the Street Profits and the Undisputed Era go back a long time by NXT standards. Both teams have a long tenure on the black-and-gold brand, longer than most in fact, but for the reigning champions this is really the first time they’ve been on the mountaintop, in the spotlight of the NXT tag team division, while the Undisputed Era has done nothing but rack up wins and win titles since arriving.
This is also an interesting match to keep an eye on. While I’ve long since given up on trying to predict when Adam Cole and his small private army are going to debut on the main roster, the Street Profits have been appearing in backstage segments on Raw for over a month now. On one hand they have a lot to prove, as they want to be seen as more than transitional champions. Not to mention, those belts have already taken a beating lately with the War Raiders getting the same treatment – winning the titles, then immediately having to vacate them because of moving to the main roster.