NXT TakeOver: Phoenix Review! Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black
- Show: NXT TakeOver: Phoenix
- Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona
- Date: Saturday January 26, 2019
- Review by: Amin Ajani
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) vs. War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe)
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/4
O’Reilly and Strong attacked Hanson and Rowe as the match began. Hanson delivered a double clothesline to O’Reilly and Strong on the floor. Rowe scoop slammed Hanson from the ring apron to O’Reilly and Strong on the floor. Rowe delivered a Woo dropkick and then rammed Hanson into Strong for a near fall. O’Reilly and Strong double teamed Hanson in the corner. O’Reilly applied a side headlock and then transitioned into a guillotine. O’Reilly delivered a running knee to Rowe from the ring apron. Hanson went for a tope but Strong pulled O’Reilly out of the way. O’Reilly delivered a chop block as Strong followed up with a backbreaker for a near fall. O’Reilly delivered palm strikes and then Strong followed up by delivering a half Nelson backbreaker to Rowe for a near fall. Rowe delivered an Exploder suplex to O’Reilly into the turnbuckle. O’Reilly delivered a jumping kick but Rowe countered by delivering a clothesline and then followed up with a straight knee strike as Hanson tagged in. Hanson delivered a sliding crossbody to Strong and a lariat to O’Reilly. Hanson delivered a spinning slam to O’Reilly. Hanson delivered a spinning slam to O’Reilly. Strong delivered a fireman’s carry into a lung blower to Rowe. Hanson delivered a tope to Strong. Rowe delivered a powerbomb to O’Reilly and then Hanson followed up by delivering a Super Splash from the top turnbuckle but Strong broke up the count. Strong delivered a superplex to Hanson and then O’Reilly followed up with the King Kong knee drop for a close near fall as the crowd chanted “This is Awesome.” Strong delivered an Olympic Slam but Hanson kicked out. O’Reilly and Strong delivered a combination High/Low but Hanson kicked out for a great near fall. Hanson delivered a handspring back elbow to both O’Reilly and Strong. Rowe tagged in, delivered a double powerbomb to both O’Reilly and Strong at the same time. Finish off the match came when Hanson and Rowe delivered the Fallout to O’Reilly to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
- Winners: Hanson & Rowe won the NXT Tag Team Titles
(Amin’s Analysis: A terrific match to open the show as both teams worked really hard. There was some great creative spots and the closing sequence of the match was well done.)
Kassius Ohno vs. Matt Riddle
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/4
Riddle delivered strikes to Ohno as the match began. Riddle delivered a flying forearm off the ring steps and then followed up with a back senton. Riddle delivered a deadlift gutwrench suplex to Ohno. Riddle went for the sunset flip bomb but Ohno countered by grabbing the ropes. Ohno delivered a rolling elbow for a near fall. Riddle delivered palm strikes but Ohno countered by delivering a running boot into the turnbuckle. Ohno rammed Riddle into the ring post and then into the ring steps. Ohno stomped on the foot of Riddle. Riddle delivered a German suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Ohno bit the foot of Riddle, delivered a knee strike and followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Ohno delivered a reverse moonsault for a near fall. Ohno delivered a big boot, a back senton, went for a second back senton but Riddle countered by applying the rear naked choke. Ohno grabbed the ropes to force a break. Ohno held his fist out. Riddle responded by delivering a knee strike. Riddle delivered a sleeper suplex. Riddle then applied the Bromission and delivered elbow strikes as Ohno tapped out.
- Winner: Matt Riddle won via Submission
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a very good showcase match for Riddle who has great charisma and has the potential to become a huge superstar on NXT and WWE’s main roster.)
NXT North American Championship Match: Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The match started with some chain wrestling. Gargano delivered a head scissors but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet delivered a head scissors and followed up with a dropkick. Ricochet delivered a moonsault quebrada from the middle rope to the floor. Ricochet went for a standing moonsault but Gargano got his feet up. Gargano applied an inverted body scissors. Ricochet avoided a slingshot spear and delivered a standing moonsault. Ricochet delivered a head scissors, a 619 and then followed up with a springboard European uppercut. Ricochet delivered a Norther Lights suplex and then followed up with a brain buster for a near fall. Ricochet charged but Gargano countered by delivering a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Gargano applied a crossfire but Ricochet countered into a cradle for a near fall. Ricochet delivered a Fosbury Flop to Gargano on the floor. Ricochet delivered a running Shooting Star Press and followed up with a reverse moonsault for a near fall. They battled on the top turnbuckle as Gargano delivered a top rope head scissors but Ricochet landed on his feet which got a big reaction. Ricochet went for a handspring but Gargano countered by transitioning into the Gargano Escape. Ricochet broke free by deadlifting Gargano and delivered an Exploder into the turnbuckle. Ricochet went for the 450 Splash but Gargano rolled to the floor. Ricochet ran at full speed and delivered a flip dive over the ring post to Gargano on the floor. Ricochet delivered a Springboard 450 but Gargano kicked out for a close near fall. Ricochet went for the Shooting Star Press but Gargano countered by getting his knees up. Gargano applied an inside cradle but Ricochet kicked out for another close near fall. Gargano delivered a DIY Superkick as Ricochet rolled to the floor. Ricochet went a fireman’s carry but Gargano countered by delivering a reverse hurricanrana. Gargano followed up by delivering a slingshot DDT but Ricochet kicked out for an AWESOME near fall. Gargano removed the ring padding on the floor. Gargano teased a draping DDT but stopped. Ricochet went for a Phoenix Splash but Gargano moved and delivered a Superkick. Ricochet countered a tilt-a-whirl and transitioned into his version of the Gargano Escape. The hold wasn’t fully applied as Gargano grabbed the ropes to break the hold. They battled on the floor as Gargano delivered a stalling suplex to Ricochet on the exposed floor. Gargano followed up by delivering a slingshot DDT to Ricochet and won the NXT North American Title.
- Winner: Johnny Gargano wins the NXT North American Title
(Amin’s Analysis: This match was just fantastic and off the chart. There was so many creative spots and the story telling was just awesome. The closing sequence was just awesome. Gargano and Ricochet are just amazing wrestlers as they worked really hard and stole the show. An instant classic and will be in the running for best WWE match of 2019.)
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca BeLair
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The match started with some chain wrestling. BeLair delivered back-to-back shoulder tackles. Baszler yanked BeLair by the ponytail and then rammed her into the ring post. Baszler delivered ground and pound strikes. Baszler stomped on the hand of BeLair. Baszler pulled on the arm of BeLair and then delivered a knee strike for a near fall. BeLair made a comeback by whipping Baszler in the ribs with her ponytail. BeLair went for the double underhook Chicken Wing but Baszler countered by pushing BeLair into the referee. BeLair delivered the K.O.D., to Baszler, had the match won but the referee was down. Marina Shafir ran down as BeLair gave her a spear. BeLair delivered a double underhook Chicken Wing to Jessamyn Duke onto Shafir. Baszler made a comeback by applying the Kirifuda Clutch but BeLair broke free by delivered a suplex. BeLair went for a 450 Splash but Baszler moved and reapplied the Kirifuda Clutch. BeLair tried to break free but Bazler switched arms. Bazler reapplied the Kirifuda Clutch as BeLair passed out.
- Winner: Shayna Baszler retained the NXT Women’s Title via Submission
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a good match as both Baszler and BeLair worked really hard. Story was making BeLair look like a strong challenger by battling Duke, Shafir and breaking free of the Kirifuda Clutch.)
NXT Championship Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2/4
The match started with some aggressive chain wrestling. Black and Ciampa exchanged strikes in the corner. Ciampa delivered ground and pound. Black delivered a nice looking flip dive to Ciampa on the floor. (They showed a couple of replays of this as Nigel McGuiness mentioned that Black might have tweaked his ankle on the landing.) Black delivered a leg sweep, a sliding knee and followed up with a quebrada for a near fall. Ciampa rammed Black’s knee into the ring steps. Ciampa delivered a suplex into the ring steps. Ciampa delivered a running knee into the leg of Black. Ciampa delivered a knee breaker to Black on the announcers table. Ciampa was sitting on the turnbuckle as Black delivered a running kick. Black delivered kicks and then followed up with a German suplex for a near fall. Ciampa delivered a dragon screw and then applied a single leg crab but Black rolled through. Black applied his own single leg crab. They battled on the ring apron as Ciampa delivered the Tower of London for a near fall. Black and Ciampa exchanged jumping knee strikes. Black delivered rapid fire strikes but Ciampa countered with a lariat. Black delivered a double stomp and followed up with a jumping knee. Black delivered a brain buster for a near fall. Black delivered a middle rope moonsault to Ciampa on the floor. Ciampa made a comeback by delivering the Fairytale Ending but Black kicked out. Ciampa exposed the floor mat. Black delivered a running double knees from the ring apron to Ciampa on the floor. Black delivered Black Mass but couldn’t make the cover. Black went for a second Black Mass but Ciampa pulled the referee in-front of him. Black delivered a knee strike but Ciampa rolled through and delivered a draping DDT. Ciampa followed up by delivering the Fairytale Ending but Black kicked out for a great near fall. Ciampa delivered another Fairytale Ending, maintained control went for another Fairytale Ending but Black countered by delivering the Black Mass. Black went for another Black Mass but his leg gave out. Finish off the match came when Ciampa delivered the fourth Fairytale Ending of the match for the win.
–Post-Match: Ciampa posed with the NXT Championship on the entrance ramp as Johnny Gargano came out. Ciampa and Gargano had a stare down as both held their respective championships as the show came to a close.
- Winner: Tommaso Ciampa retained the NXT Championship
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a terrific match as both Black and Ciampa worked really hard. The amount of detail and storytelling throughout the match was just superb. Black was the highlight of the match as he did a terrific job selling his leg injury. The announcers were great as the pointed out every detail of Ciampa attacking the leg of Black rewinding back to when McGuiness mentioned that Black landing on the flip dive. This was just a tremendous match.)
–Overall: This was another terrific show as every match on the show was good in a different way. I would highly recommend everyone watch both the NXT Championship and North American Championship match as they were both amazing matches but in completely different ways. Overall, NXT TakeOver: Phoenix gets a huge thumbs up.
Image Credit – WWE