WWE NXT TakeOver: XXV Results: Star Ratings for Gargano vs. Cole, Each MatchJune 2, 2019
WWE NXT TakeOver: XXV Results: Star Ratings for Gargano vs. Cole, Each Match
It's hard to believe there have been 25 NXT TakeOver events, and looking back on the lineage of this series is a reminder of just how great the NXT brand is.
Saturday's NXT TakeOver XXV was the next step in that process, featuring just as great of a card as any before it with a ton of potential to deliver.
All four titles were scheduled to be defended, with the vacated NXT Tag Team Championships quite literally up for grabs in a Fatal 4-Way ladder match.
Now that it's over and the dust has settled, let's break down all of the matches and see what parts of the night fell short of expectations and which segments were worth the hype.
Star Ratings Explanation
As with any scale or system that is based on opinion, everything is subjective.
Star ratings can have a wide variety of approaches. Some hold strict that a five-star rating should only be used in the absolute rarest of cases that are nearly impossible to obtain. Others throw the term "Match of the Year" around like it's nothing.
Ratings are also a product of their time. What was a classic decades ago might be boring to some now.
It's important to keep in mind that everything in this review will be based on personal preferences with as much of a mix of public opinion as possible, but if you happen to disagree and think a match should be rated higher or lower, you have the power to give your ratings in the comments below.
For this particular review, here is an explanation of what this scale equates to in terms of its representation and purpose:
- ***** = 10/10. A classic that will be remembered forever.
- ****½ = 9/10. Amazing. Just shy of perfect. A potential Match of the Year.
- **** = 8/10. Very good.
- ***½ = 7/10. Good.
- *** = 6/10. Above average.
- **½ = 5/10. Average; just OK.
- ** = 4/10. Below average.
- *½ = 3/10. Bad.
- * = 2/10. Very bad.
- ½* = 1/10. Terrible. Effectively worthless.
- 0 = 0/10. This is reserved for rare worst-case scenarios.
Matt Riddle def. Roderick Strong by Pinfall
Despite being the one match on the card with nothing on the line, Roderick Strong and Matt Riddle kicked off the show with a fantastic opening contest that set the tone for the evening.
At no point in their match did things slow down. Everything was hard-hitting, intense and came off as though these two wanted to not only prove their own talent but also make the NXT brand proud.
They did just that, and whether it was the knee strikes, the powerbombs or the reversals, Riddle and Strong sold everything as brutal.
Riddle has won back some of the momentum he lost after coming up short against Velveteen Dream at the last TakeOver, and now that he's wrestled perhaps his best match so far, his stock should continue to rise even further.
Fatal 4-Way Ladder Match: The Street Profits Won the NXT Tag Team Championships
NXT is typically the best source in WWE for great technical skills and mat wrestling, but the ladder match for the vacant tag titles was glorious in an entirely different way.
This was a vicious spot-fest that gave everyone involved multiple chances to shine.
Each team had its moments to make it believable that any of them could win, and that was played into perfectly with teases of The Forgotten Sons coming out on top.
That was the one team the audience wasn't behind, so the surprise of Montez Ford springboarding onto the ladder to knock them off and win resulted in one of the biggest pops in a long while.
But all along the way, there were amazing moments of athleticism that proved these Superstars have a high pain threshold.
Wesley Blake's suicide dive head-first into the ladder was one of the first of many spots where the sickening crack of the ladder was met with everyone twitching on the ground, and it only got worse from there—but in the most entertaining way possible.
Jaxson Ryker was dominant, taking out all the competition until all three opposing teams ganged up on him. The Undisputed ERA showed its synergy, as Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish executed maneuvers like a combination codebreaker German suplex onto the ladder.
This was quite the spectacle of pure fun and something that you have to check out if you missed it.
North American Champion Velveteen Dream def. Tyler Breeze by Pinfall
Since coming up to the main roster, Tyler Breeze hasn't accomplished much of anything, but he always had it in him to do so much more. If you had any lingering doubts about his talent, this match proved his skill.
Velveteen Dream is always a treat to watch too, so pairing them together made sense in terms of performance quality and gimmicks.
Despite only having a short amount of time to build this story, these two managed to make it feel like a feud that had been going on for months. They also knew what roles to play and balanced that out perfectly.
Breeze was the more sympathetic character here. Dream played the heel by default and stood on the line between being the more arrogant of the two and even trying to cheat to win, but not so much to have the crowd fully turn on him.
Fans cheered for a selfie between the two after the match and gave both Superstars a round of applause for putting on such a fun fight.
Dream continues to rise in the hierarchy, and even in a loss here, Breeze has re-established himself by coming home to where his strengths lie. Both are in a great position going forward.
NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler def. Io Shirai by Submission
Shayna Baszler's best asset in matches is her incredible talent for ring psychology. As a heel champion, she has one of the best minds for telling the story of dominating her opponent with a strategy that comes across as a logical progression for the match.
Case in point, working on Io Shirai's arm and having that come into play with The Genius of the Sky unable to fully execute moves like her German suplex made this incredibly believable.
Baszler showed off how cold and calculated she is while Shirai exhibited a lot of heart and passion to keep fighting on.
When Baszler kept it grounded, she was in charge. When Shirai could perform high-flying offense that suits her more, the tide turned.
Another victory here further illustrates how great of a run Baszler is having in NXT. However, Shirai still managed to get her moment by attacking the champion after the match with a kendo stick, followed by a moonsault with a chair.
Adam Cole def. Johnny Gargano by Pinfall to Win the NXT Championship
Following the four stellar matches that preceded it was a tough task, but the NXT Championship match between Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole managed not to fall short.
Of course, that isn't shocking, given the level of talent in both Superstars. They perpetually prove they are two of the best performers not just in NXT, but the entire WWE.
"Fight forever" chants had the fans in attendance standing on their feet for nearly the entire match, particularly as virtually every pin attempt felt as though it could be the end.
For those comparing TakeOver XXV to All Elite Wrestling's Double or Nothing, it's safe to say Gargano and Cole, as well as the rest of the Superstars on this card, proved that AEW isn't the only source of quality professional wrestling.
This match was exemplary of this whole card in that it was a showcase of great action, immense passion, fun surprises and all you could possibly ask for.
How many stars would you give the matches from NXT TakeOver: XXV? Tell us your ratings in the comments below!
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.