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We are but days away from NXT TakeOver XXX, a major landmark event with a very sexy name. And here we have the go-home show, in a very prime position as it’s weekly opposition has been pre-empted to the weekend. Here on this page, you’ll see a full recap of the show, set to a color combo that looks very much like a Star Wars opening scrawl. Watch this space~!

We begin with our first of the two remaining NXT North American Ladder Match qualifiers.

Johnny Gargano vs. Ridge Holland

Johnny ducks a clothesline and mocks him. Holland tosses him to the mat, rams him into the corner and nails a european uppercut. Wrist lock cinched in. Arm drag, big hip toss, shoulder tackle and Gargano staggers out of the ring. Holland pursues, Gargano slips into the ring and tries a tope, Holland catches him but Gargano escapes to the apron, kick to the face and stomp to the elbow! Tries to take advantage in the ring but Holland with an uppercut, tries another but a miss and that arm sails into the top rope, unique spot. Selling that arm but hits a clothesline anyway.

Hammer throw into the corner and Gargano explodes, I swear his neck hit the buckle there. Holland tries a choke but Gargano kicks himself free, continues targeting the bum arm. Ridge fights back with a big forearm but Johnny with a leg grapevine trips him up. Ridge kicks himself free. Johnny avoids a high knee and Ridge ends up tumbling to the floor, suicide dive takes him down! Commercial break. In the inset Johnny continues working over that arm with a purpose.

As we come back though we see a replay of a brutal powerslam that sees Gargano land on his head. I’d heard of this. I’m surprised they left it in. Johnny is clearly in a lot of pain, Ridge wants to keep going as Gargano struggles to his feet. As the ref is tending to him, Gargano surprises Ridge with a superkick! Beautifully working the injury into the match there.

Johnny slips to the apron and wants the One Final Beat but Ridge catches him, pulls him to the center, swings him around by the neck in a wild Ken Patera-esque manuever before planting him with a T-Bone Suplex for a nearfall! Forearm, hoists him up but Johnny tries to turn it into the Gargano Escape! Holland breaks it but eats another superkick – stays on his feet! Repeated clotheslines still can’t do it, hits the ropes, Holland POUNCES Johnny to the floor!

He pursues him out there, takes him into the ring, Candice with a slight distraction, Johnny kicks the rope to nail him low and this sets up the One Final Beat! Even as he favors his neck, he covers him for the victory!

Winner: Johnny Gargano

Heel or no, Johnny Wrestling is who he is. Hope he’s alright, they finished the match and had him earn his way into the ladder match so I assume they cleared him.

Off to our next match now.

Dakota Kai vs. Jessi Kamea

Kai with a double leg trip, pummels her. Rams her in one corner, tries another, block but there’s a hair trip for a cover and a 1 count. Few shots get her into the corner, Kaio Kick, snapmare and cover for a nearfall! Straitjacket hold cinched in and going in deep! Kamea fights to her feet and judo throws her to escape, roll-up for two, charging spin kick! Flying forearm, sliding knee, big belly to belly for a nearfall! Kai fights back though, GTK for the victory.

Winner: Dakota Kai

Afterwards Dakota gets on the mic. Says Io must be out of her mind. Everything she said just proves her point even more. Io thinks she’s afraid of her? She’s so focused on the people of her past while she’s focused on her future and at NXT TakeOver, she’ll take that championship from her. Says it’s gonna feel so good when she kicks her in the face over and over and over and over and over – Io Shirai’s music hits!

Shirai hits the ring, trips her down and pummels! Kai bails but Io follows! Charging clothesline. Io screams as Kai backs off… Shirai rushes after her but gets waylayed with a big boot from Raquel Gonzalez! She slipped out from the curtain, making her first appearance in a while. Throws her into the ring, Kai confronts her, Io gets her with a shot but Raquel hits from behind and powerbombs her. Champ left laying.

Tegan Nox is backstage, says her friendship with Candice means a lot to her. Friendship have ups and downs and you have to fix it. She can fix whatever’s going on between them. Wants to sit down and have some wine with her. She didn’t realize she was so annoying to Candice but she’s ready to talk.

Finn Balor has another one of his edgy vignette promos. He says his first encounter with Velveteen was interrupted. Says Finn has earned his place but Dream keeps getting chance after chance, and he’s failed. Tonight, the experience everyone’s been waiting for. Velveteen Dream vs the Prince, but the outcome is the same. Finn over. Hey, that was what I said too!

Breezango & Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Legado del Fantasma

Babyfaces immediately take control and the brawl goes all around the ring and ringside. Fandango knocking Mendoza around in the ring, they’re legal. Mendoza dodges a corner charge, attacks the arm and drives him shoulder first into the corner. Wilde tags in and comes off the top but ‘Dango clips him, hangs him up on the top rope. Breeze tags in, double kick to the head! Breeze covers for a 2 count. Match spills to the outside, Escobar wants a dive but Swerve stops that with a superkick, and stereo superkicks take out Wilde and Mendoza, commercial break!

We come back to see faces still in control. Fandango with a big kick out of the corner, goes up top. Distraction from Escobar lets Wilde hang him up on the top rope and he collapses to the floor! Wilde takes him into the ring, stomps the arm. Quick tags, Escobar and Mendoza slam Wilde onto ‘Dango, Mendoza with a handspring moonsault for a nearfall! Keeps working over that arm. Isolation intensifies, ‘Dango with some back body drops, makes the tag to Scott!

Swerve is a house of fire and he’s in there with Escobar! Pummels him in the corner, kicks him to the mat. Tosses him, roll-through flatliner! Trips Mendoza to the apron for a kick to the face! Slips to the apron, running kick to the face! Scott up top, goes flying but a wicked high knee catches him out of the air! Escobar hooks him from behind, wants to setup a double team but Scott pulls him around and one of his own partner missile dropkicks him in the head! It sends Swerve knocking into his own partner Tyler Breeze. Scott seems to have Escobar beat but the ref tells him he’s not legal. He commands Breeze come in as he counted their collision as a tag, Tyler rushes in but eats a Phantom Driver for the win!

Winners: Legado del Fantasma

That was a little bit of a trite finish, cool match though.

Now, we see that Pat McAfee has arrived! And he has friends I refuse to name!!!

Imperium doesn’t seem to be available often enough to defend the tag titles at TakeOver so instead we got a three-way No. 1 Contender’s match on the pre-show. Wilde & Mendoza vs. Burch & Lorcan vs. Breezango.

Now, out comes the Undisputed Era! They all want McAfee out here and realize they don’t need mics to be heard. Pat arrives with his entourage and walks up the steps. Greets TUE. Says last week Adam told him to please see him face to face. He’s here and he brought 28 years of NFL experience with him because he knows him better than he knows himself. He knows Cole would never go anywhere without his three stooges and he’d never face down someone like him all by himself. This baits Cole to call his boys down. Pat does the same but still hesitates, eventually enters the ring.

Pat asks if he remembers what happened two weeks ago. He says Shawn Michaels was checking for vitals on his stupid soulless body in front of stupid Tom Phillips. Says Cole worked his way to the top and became the king of this brand but it took him a minute to take him down. Makes some childish insults towards Cole’s buddies and makes mention of the Ignorant Wrestling Community. Cute.

Says he’s gonna have a temper tantrum after he loses because they are different levels of human. He only had two weeks to train and that’s all he needs. Cole is great here in his world but McAfee claims to be on a different level, ‘a different level of human’. Says the match will end with him kicking his head to the moon. Security swarms in on Cole, but this time he lays them all out by himself and McAfee looks shook! TUE and McAfee’s boys converge onto the ring. Cole gets in his face and says this Saturday he’ll make him his bitch.

Robert Stone leads his charges of Aliyah and Mercedes Martinez to the ring for their tag match.

Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Rhea Ripley

Ripley and Mercedes start, Rhea with a takedown, they brawl to the heel corner, Aliyah tags in but gets tossed to the face corner! Shotzi tags in, hits the ropes, senton onto the back of Aliyah! Dodges a charge, Inverted Slingblade! Spreads the legs, yells “Welcome to the ball pit” and hits a Legdrop Lowblow! Cover, Mercedes breaks it up and tags in, snapmare and chinlock as we go to commercial break.

Heels continue working over Shotzi as we come back. Quick tags and isolation. Martinez with a big forearm for a 2 count. Abdominal Stretch from the floor. Shotzi turns it into a cover to break it. Martinez with a Butterfly Suplex for a 2 count. Martinez wants a suplex, Shotzi turns it into a cradle, Sky High DDT plants her! Makes the tag to Ripley just as Aliyah comes in, she tosses her around, basement dropkick, Electric Chair Facebuster! Martinez breaks up the pin! Shotzi gets her with an enziguri though to take her to the floor!

Ripley tags Shotzi in, Riptide to Aliyah! Shotzi’s up top, Stone distracts the ref, Mercedes crotches Shotzi, Ripley pulls Martinez into the ring and charges but Martinez sends her into the post! They both go to the apron, Mercedes charges but Ripley slips beneath it, hooks her and powerbombs her all the way over the barricade! Back in the ring, Shotzi is back up top and hits a Senton Bomb for the win!

Winners: Rhea Ripley & Shotzi Blackheart

Cool finish there.

Dramatic vignette for Keith Lee vs. Killer Kross plays.

Main event time.

Finn Balor vs. Velveteen Dream

Lock-up, Finn with a headlock takeover. Another one, Dream wants the headscissor but Finn is preventing it. Dream rolls him over for a cover for a quick count. Whips him, Finn ducks under, sunset flip but Finn rolls through and gives him the double guns. Dream slips to the outside and acts like he’s blowing it off. Commercial break, match continues in the inset. Finn follows him out there but this lets Dream take over, he drags Finn into the ring and clobbers him in the corner. He fights back though, another headlock now. A particularly long one. Feel like the inset added very little this time.

We come back and Dream gets him with a jawbreaker to escape. Finn ducks a rolling heel kick but Dream gets a Thesz Press and gets some mounted punches. Does a wolf howl at the camera. Takes him to the corner, charging big boot, chop to the chest. Mocks Finn with the two sweet gesture. Balor starts a comeback though, kicks him around the ring, keeps flipping him as he sweeps the leg. Elbow drop to the leg and tweaks it. Works over the leg, sends his weight crashing down on it. Inside trip and elbow drops it again but Dream manages to transition into a Cross Arm-breaker, brings his leg down onto his face repeatedly to break the hold!

Finn comes in but eats a big knee to the face, flying heel kick for a nearfall! Clobbers him with a sweeping lariat! Finn trying to fight back but a single punch drops him! He takes Finn to the corner, starts the ten punches. He gets on the crowd for not giving him a count. He wants another heel kick but Finn ducks it, trips him down and stomps him. Dream with a back elbow, goes up top, spinning double axe handle. Hot Shot! Dream lands between the two ladders and stares up at the North American title.

As he admires it, Cameron Grimes appears and cackles saying that title belongs to him. Both competitors are distracted but Dream does slide back into the ring as we go to presumably our last commercial. We come back to see Grimes is now atop the ladder and already holding the title, seems like bad luck. Meanwhile Dream and Finn have continued their fight, Dream with a Pendulum Backbreaker. He swivels his hips towards Grimes. Velveteen with a big uppercut to Finn. Dream with a sunsrt flip, Finn rolls through for a Basement Dropkick.

As he fights back, power whip to the corner takes him to the floor. He stomps him and then starts climbing the ladder to get at Grimes! Dreams drags him down though, gets him back into the ring. Looking for the Dream DDT, Balor counters to try for the 1916 but Dream turns this into a Dream Valley Driver attempt, finally Finn counters into a Final Cut! John Wu Dropkick sends Dream barreling off the buckles! Finn starts to go up top but he lets Grimes distract him as they’re eye-to-eye Dream pop-ups for a superplex!

Johnny Gargano comes out to confront Grimes, he tips the ladder and Grimes goes flying into the ring and right into the ref! Hilarious! Now Cameron’s stuck between both wrestlers, Finn takes him down for a double footstomp, Dream with a Famouser to Grimes! But Finn with a Slingblade, stalks but Dream with a superkick! Johnny grabs the North American title and wants to leave with it but Bronson Reed appears behind him!

He chases him into the ring, where Damian Priest has already marerialized. Suddenly Johnny’s surrounded by the big bois. They both clobber him, Priest with a high kick to Reed, Dream superkicks him though and Reed with a Cactus Clothesline sending him to the floor. Balor with a top onto them but Timothy Thatcher finally appears to attack Balor and sends him into the ring. Purple Rainmaker brings an end to this match.

Winner: Velveteen Dream

That was overbooked to high hell. Kinda fun though. Afterwards, everyoen takes turns attacking each other and touching the title. Bronson Reed is the one who stands tall with the title at the end. That’s all for tonight, folks.

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