Welcome to Ringside News’ coverage of NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.
The headline bout on tonight’s show is the NXT Championship match between Tommaso Ciampa and Aleister Black. This feud reignites the rivalry between Black and Ciampa, which culminated almost one year ago with Ciampa defeating Black on NXT TV for the Championship. Now we’re back and Black has his opportunity to regain the title in Phoenix, Arizona.
The second big match tonight is the North American Championship between Ricochet and Johnny Gargano. The two former allies turned into enemies when Gargano superkicked Ricochet and began taunting and teasing the Champion. This match could very well steal the show tonight.
The other matches on tonight’s card is Shayna Baszler Vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s Championship, The Undisputed Era Vs. The War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Championships, and Matt Riddle Vs. Kassius Ohno. Join the conversation for tonight’s show by following us on Instagram and downloading the Ringside News app. Enjoy the show!
The pre-show panel consists of Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Pat McAfee. The panel promote the WWE Network and tomorrow night’s Royal Rumble. They throw it backstage to Sarah Schreiber, who will be giving out the Year End Awards throughout the kick-off show.
The first match we see a hype video for is Johnny Gargano Vs. Ricochet for the North American Championship. Sam Roberts says the story of Johnny Gargano is that he comes to TakeOver events, has the best match every time, but loses every time. So tonight he needs to be better than that. Pat McAfee says Gargano puts on a show everytime he comes into the arena, and tonight Johnny Focused will win.
They throw it back to Sarah Schreiber for the Breakout Star of the Year Award, and the winner is Ricochet. The North American Champion steps into the picture, wearing a sweet suit and donning the belt. Schreiber gives him the award and asks him how he plans to follow-up his breakout year in NXT. Ricochet says he plans on starting off the year how he finished, and aims to show the fans tonight why he is the North American Champion.
After a few promo’s and commercials, it’s time to dish out the Match of the Year Award, which is given to Johnny Gargano Vs. Andrade Cien Almas. Gargano says him and match of the year kind of go hand-in-hand. Before he says much however, Zelina Vega appears holding the same award as Gargano, and she says the reason the match won the award is because Andrade was in it. She reminds Gargano that he didn’t win and says his ego is out of control. She asks what Gargano has done since, considering Andrade is beating Rey Mysterio on SmackDown Live. She says he’s been Johnny TakeOver, having great matches but coming up short, and beating people up in parking lots. She says 2018 may have been the year of Johnny TakeOver, but 2019 is the year of Tranquillo. She walks away and Gargano says that she was right, but tonight he will have another match of the year, and the result will be different. Back with the panel and Sam Roberts says Gargano is proud of being a loser, then says if Johnny were Batman, Gotham would be run by the Penguin.
The next match to be discussed is Matt Riddle Vs. Kassius Ohno. We see a video package of Ohno being pissed-off that he has been overlooked so many times since coming back to NXT, and taking out his frustrations on Matt Riddle. Charly Caruso says tonight could be hostile because Matt Riddle feels disrespected. Roberts says he thinks that Ohno is the one who feels disrespected and overlooked. Roberts agrees with Riddle, when he told Ohno not to be bitter, but to be better. Roberts says Ohno might be desperate, which makes him dangerous. They all agree that they want a match to go longer than six seconds.
We’re back with the awards and this time it’s the Male Superstar of the Year. Schreiber announces that Tommaso Ciampa is the winner and he comes to accept the award. He takes it in his hand, then looks at his NXT Championship and hands it back to her and walks off. Clearly he has all the gold he needs.
Now it’s time to award the NXT Female Competitor of the Year, for which the nominees were Kaira Sane, Bianca Belair, Nikki Cross, Ember Moon, and Shayna Baszler. The award goes to Kairi Sane, who walks-up with her award, singing her theme song. Schreiber asks what she has to say to the NXT Universe, to which she says thank you and that she is so happy. 2018 was a great year for her and she will do her best in 2019. She finishes off by saying she loves NXT and loves wrestling.
We’re back with the kick-off panel and Bobby Fish interrupts them, holding his newly won Tag Team of the Year Award. Everytime Pat tries to speak, Fish rings the bell to stop him. They bicker back and forth, with Fish making fun of McAfee’s jean shorts.
After a hype video for Shayna Baszler Vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s Championship, the panel discuss the match. Sam Roberts says this is a waste of a match on tonight’s TakeOver, because we all know Baszler will win. Pat heavily disagrees but Sam reckons he is just saying that to be the company man.
It’s time for the final award for the night, which is Overall Competitor of the Year, and the winner, inexplicably, is Kairi Sane. How? Regardless, Sane accepts the award and she seems genuinely very happy to have won two awards. Back with the panel, they promote the Royal Rumble and rundown the entire card.
That’s it for the kick-off show, and TakeOver: Phoenix is about to begin! Enjoy!
NXT TakeOver: Phoenix opens with a video package hyping the matches.
The lights in the arena go out and Viking war music kicks-in. Guys dressed in battle armour come out onto the stage, shrouded in smoke, and it’s time for The War Raiders!
No Cole or Bobby Fish accompanying The Undisputed Era tonight, so O’Reilly and Strong will do things by themselves.
As soon as the bell rings Strong and O’Reilly run across the ring and attack Hanson and Rowe. They toss Hanson from the ring and Strong connects with a dropkick through the ropes. They double-team whip Rowe into the ropes but he comes back with a clothesline to both and they roll from the ring.
No rest for the wicked though, because they rolled right into the path of Hanson, who beats them down. Rowe then scoop slams Hanson from the apron onto both Strong and O’Reilly. They get Strong back into the ring and Hanson bats him out of mid-air like a fly, before squashing him in the corner with splashes.
Hanson and Rowe look to double-team Strong but O’Reilly kicks Rowe from behind and they toss him from the ring. Strong and O’Reilly beat-down Hanson with kicks until the referee forces Strong from the ring. O’Reilly kicks Hanson repeatedly in the corner before tagging Strong, who looks for a suplex but is reversed. Strong tags O’Reilly and they whip him into the corner, before connecting with kicks. O’Reilly takes Hanson down with a front headlock.
Hanson tries to throw Kyle off but the Champion transitions into a guillotine. Hanson powers through to tag Rowe and Strong comes running in to help but the big man knocks them both down with shoulder tackles. He hits Strong with a gut buster, and no sells a punch from O’Reilly, before throwing Strong into him! Rowe gets knocked from the apron to the floor, where O’Reilly takes him out with a flying knee. Hanson then knocked Strong out of the ring and looked to hit a suicide dive but nobody was home and he landed hard on his back.
Inside the ring, Rowe and O’Reilly are the legal men. Rowe connects with a huge STO, before dropkicking the returning Roderick Strong. A chop-block from O’Reilly takes Rowe down and allows the heels to take a breather. Strong tags in and catches Rowe off-guard with a backbreaker. Strong keeps the big man down with a submission before tagging O’Reilly. The two Champions hit a double-team suplex to Rowe, landing him on the top rope. O’Reilly unleashes palm strikes to Rowe and looks for the cross armbar but can’t release his hands. Strong tags in again and lands another backbreaker for a two count.
Quick tags continue from the Champions as they keep the big man isolated from his partner, who is back on the apron. Hanson is finally able to make the tag and he comes in like a wrecking ball. He slams O’Reilly and Strong in opposite corners. A sidewalk slam, followed by a crossbody splash to Strong. Hanson somehow jumps from his feet to a seated senton to Strong, then a cartwheel to dodge O’Reilly and a huge clothesline. The crowd are on their feet now.
Strong manages to regain some momentum by clotheslining Hanson, before both O’Reilly and Rowe are tagged. Bedlam ensues as every man starts connecting with big punches and kicks to each other. War Raiders hit their finisher – a pop-up powerslam – to O’Reilly, then Hanson hits a suicide dive to Strong as the referee pins 1…2…no! O’Reilly kicks out! Loud “NXT” chant from the fans. Rowe hits O’Reilly with a backbreaker, gutbuster, then slams him down, and Hanson hits a splash from the top rope but Strong breaks the pin.
O’Reilly fights back as they look to double-team him again, and Strong comes back to clear Rowe from the ring. Strong meets Hanson on the top rope and hits a superplex, followed by a leaping knee from O’Reilly from the top rope but Hanson kicks out! Strong gets Rowe on the apron and hits a backbreaker onto the apron! O’Reilly makes the tag to Strong and the duo hit Hanson with kicks and elbows, followed by an Olympic Slam from Strong for a near-fall. O’Reilly and Strong hit the High/Low to Hanson but he kicks out!
They look to hit the High/Low again but this time Hanson dodges it with another cartwheel, before hitting a springboard double back elbow! Rowe tags in and he hits a powerslam/powerbomb to O’Reilly and Strong at the same time. They hit Viking Fallout on O’Reilly for the win!
The era of The Undisputed Era is over! Hanson and Rowe have emerged from NXT TakeOver: Phoenix as the new Tag Team Champions, and that match was insane!
We get a hype video for the next match, which sees the new blood face the old guard. We see the WWE United Kingdom Champion and the United Kingdom Women’s Champion, Pete Dunne and Toni Storm, in the front row.
The bell rings, and Riddle runs right at Ohno. Riddle punches away but Ohno gets out of the ring. Riddle gets out of the ring and jumps off the ring steps with a flying forearm to Ohno.
Back inside the ring, Ohno avoids a standing moonsault, but Riddle connects with a senton splash instead. Riddle then deadlifts Ohno with a gutwrench suplex to get the fans on their feet. Ohno gets on the apron and knees Riddle. Riddle reverses a whip, but Ohno flips over the ropes onto to the apron. Riddle goes for a sunset bomb, but Ohno holds onto the ropes. Ohno covers Riddle’s face with the apron and stomps him!
Riddle slowly gets in the ring but Kassius catches him with a legdrop. Ohno picks up a two count. Ohno applies a neck vice, but Riddle fights up. Ohno connects with a back elbow and picks up a two count. Ohno calls Riddle a bum while he stomps away at him. Riddle responds by slapping him in the face, but Ohno turns him around and connects with some stiff forearms. Ohno follows up with a big boot, and Riddle falls out of the ring.
Ohno follows after and shoves Riddle headfirst into the ring post. Ohno then tosses him into the ring steps. Riddle gets on the apron, and he is bleeding from the mouth. Ohno kicks him, but Riddle gets fired up. Ohno goes for a suplex, but Riddle counters into a sleeper hold. Ohno gets to the ropes, so Riddle kicks the hand. Riddle goes for a German Suplex, but Ohno stomps the bare foot of Riddle. Riddle manages to come back with a German Suplex with a bridge for a near-fall.
Riddle kicks the chest of Ohno, but Ohno blocks one and bites Riddle’s big toe! WTF?! Ohno kicks him right back, then hits a running powerbomb for a near fall. Ohno goes to the top rope and hits a moonsault for a near fall. Ohno takes off his elbow pad, but Riddle avoids the elbow. Ohno takes him down and hits a senton splash. Ohno looks for a second one, but Riddle counters into a rear naked choke. Ohno gets to the ropes to force the break. Ohno is on his knees, begging for mercy and even asks for a fist bump. Riddle viciously knees him and hits an incredible half nelson suplex that landed Ohno on his head! Riddle follows up with some mounted elbow strikes, and Ohno taps!
We see highlights from the match as Riddle celebrates his third and presumably final win over Kassius Ohno. Worth noting, Ohno has never won on a TakeOver show.
We see a black SUV pull up backstage and out steps two unknown ladies, followed by The Dream!
Next Saturday on the WWE Network we get the first-ever World’s Collide Tournament, which sees NXT, 205 Live, and NXT UK Superstars compete to see who is the king…of the ring.
The match gets underway and the crowd is split down the middle. Gargano and Ricochet lock-up and it’s the former who controls the holds and executes some pin attempts before taunting Ricochet to bring it.
They lock-up again and Gargano takes the Champion down with a side headlock. Ricochet gets to his feet and shoots Johnny to the ropes. Gargano knocks Ricochet down with a shoulder tackle but the Champion kips right back up. Gargano, unimpressed, just slams him right back down, harder this time. They exchange unique reversals until Gargano locks-in a crucifix pin but Ricochet stands up with him on his back, however Johnny slides down the back or a roll-up. Both men back on their feet and exchange more reversals until Gargano tries to land a hurricanrana but Ricochet lands on his feet. The crowd chant “NXT” as the Champion offers to help Gargano to his feet.
Ricochet asks Johnny which Gargano are we gonna get tonight, babyface or heel, but Johnny punches him in the face to answer the question. Gargano gets caught with a headscissors takeover and a dropkick and rolls from the ring. Ricochet hits the ropes and leaps over onto the apron. Gargano tries to swipe him off the apron but Ricochet jumps that and springboards off the ring post for a moonsault to Gargano on the floor.
Both men get back in the ring and Ricochet connects with a open-palm uppercut to Gargano on the top rope. Ricochet meets him up there for a hurricanrana but Gargano slips out from underneath and drops the Champion face-first on turnbuckle! Gargano takes full mount and unloads some right hands. He hits Ricochet with a snapmare, followed by a dropkick to the back of the head. Gargano ties Ricochet up with a unique submission but the Champ escapes with elbows. Ricochet sweeps the leg of Gargano and looks for a standing moonsault but Gargano kicks him in mid-air!
Gargano slams Ricochet down by the head for a two count. Gargano ties Ricochet up again on the mat, and digs his elbow into his ribs. Gargano releases the hold and hits Ricochet with a knife edge chop. He places Ricochet against the ropes and lands more chops to the chest. More reversals, followed by Gargano looking for his slingshot spear, but Ricochet dodges and hits an immediate standing moonsault to the back of Johnny.
Champion and challenger trade shots in the centre of the ring, until Ricochet takes him down with a lariat, followed by a headscissors. Ricochet hits a back elbow in the corner, followed by a springboard European uppercut. Northern Lights Suplex, roll through, and Brainbuster from Ricochet for a near-fall. Ricochet springboards but no-one is home, he then rolls forward, looks for a dropkick, but Gargano catches him in mid-air with a powerbomb. Gargano looks for his DDT from the apron to the ring, but Ricochet holds firm and doesn’t fall. He tosses Gargano over the ropes and he hits the apron hard on the way down. Ricochet follows-up with a huge twisting moonsault over the ropes and onto Gargano!
Back inside the ring, Ricochet hits a standing shooting star press, immediately followed by a springboard moonsault for a near-fall. Ricochet takes to the top rope, looking for his finish, but Gargano grabs his leg. Johnny climbs the ropes and looks for a hurricanrana but Ricochet lands on his feet! Gargano can’t believe it. They trade reversals and random shots in a nice sequence, including a superkick from Gargano and a backflip kick from Ricochet. The Champion springboarded off the ropes but got caught in mid-air with the Gargano Escape! Ricochet stands to his feet, holding Johnny in his arms and hits a fallaway slam of sorts into the turnbuckles. Both men are down.
Ricochet takes to the top rope and looks for the 630, but Johnny rolls out of the way, across the ring, and right out. Ricochet pauses for a minute before leaping over the ringpost, from the ring, and onto Gargano! “Holy $hit” from the fans. Ricochet gets him back inside the ring and hits a springboard 450 but Gargano kicks out! Ricochet takes to the top rope and leaps with a shooting star press but Gargano got the knees up and reversed into a small package to no avail.
Gargano hits Ricochet with the DIY superkick and the Champion falls from the ring. Gargano looks for a suicide dive but Ricochet caught him on his shoulders, however Gargano leaps up and hits a reverse frankensteiner on the floor! Gargano tosses him back inside and hits the slingshot DDT but the Champion kicks out! Incredible!
Every fan is on their feet chanting “NXT”. Gargano rolls Ricochet to the apron, then slides out, and begins pulling up the floor padding. He looks like he’s lost it. He drags Ricochet out of the ring, looking to DDT him on the concrete, but Gargano stops himself and shoves Ricochet back inside. Ricochet grabs him for a small package but only gets a two count. Ricochet then catches Johnny’s foot and spins him around for a huge lariat. Ricochet takes to the top rope and looks for a Phoenix splash but nobody’s home. Gargano hits a superkick and looks for the tilt-a-whirl into the Gargano Escape but Ricochet tosses him off and applies it himself! The challenger gets to the bottom rope and Johnny rolls onto the apron.
Ricochet climbs out of the ring and onto the apron with Johnny. Gargano shoves him into the ring post, then looks back down at the exposed concrete floor. He grabs Ricochet and hits a suplex onto it! Gargano rolls him back into the ring, then looks for the slingshot DDT again, and he lands it for the win!
He did it! Johnny finally won the big one! And he did so in a serious contender for 2019 match of the year. Yes already.
They circle the ring before locking-up. Baszler applies a side headlock but the referee forces the break. They again lock up and Belair powers her to the corner again before talking trash. Baszler turns her around and punches her down. Baszler mocks her taunt, so Belair takes her down. They shove each other before Baszler goes to a side headlock. Belair fights out and shoulder blocks her down. Belair quickly slingshots over her and takes her down. Baszler rolls out of the ring to recover.
Belair goes outside after Baszler, and slams her into the apron. Belair tries gets back in the ring, but Baszler pulls her to the ring post, grabs the ponytail, and pulls Belair shoulder-first into the ring post. Baszler gets in the ring and looks for a count-out. Belair grabs the ropes to get in, but her shoulder is too hurt. Belair just barely gets back in the ring at the count of nine.
Baszler punches away at her and stretches the injured shoulder out. Baszler bends the arm back and stomps it! The referee checks on Belair, who is cryin gin the corner. Baszler continues to targets the injured shoulder and applies an armbar. Baszler then hits an arm breaker before going back to the armbar. Belair makes a brief comeback, but Baszler grabs the hair, forearms her, and knees her down for a near fall. Baszler smirks as she gets to her feet.
Baszler says she is overrated, so Belair makes a comeback. Belair hits a thrust to the midsection and connects with some shoulder blocks. Belair dropkicks her and connects with a spear for a near fall. Baszler grabs the arm, but Belair fights out. Baszler quickly stops her by getting the knees up on a splash. Baszler follows up with a big knee to the face for a near fall. Baszler gets to her feet and punches the shoulder. Belair fights back, but Baszler stops her. Baszler easily avoids some strikes, but Belair connects with a hair whip! Baszler has a cut on her midsection. Belair gets her up for a double-chickenwing slam, but Baszler rolls through and sends Belair into the referee! Belair quickly connects with the KOD and covers, but the referee is down.
Marina Shafir runs down, but Belair takes her down immediately. Jessamyn Duke comes behind her, but Belair hits a double-chickenwing slam onto Shafir! Baszler then catches her with the Kirifuda Clutch. The referee comes to and checks on Belair. The challenger fights up with Baszler on her back and, still with Baszler hanging around her neck, Belair hits a deadlift suplex!
Belair goes to the top rope, Duke comes back but she gets kicked off the apron. Belair goes for a 450 splash, but Baszler moves and grabs her for the Kirifuda Clutch again. Belair fights up, but she collapses. Belair tries again and gets to her feet, then slowly falls over and the referee calls for the bell.
There you have it, Bianca Belair is now defeated! She put up a valiant effort but she couldn’t hack it with the Champion and her cronies.
It’s main event time and Aleister Black is out first, followed by the Champion. We get ring introductions for both men.
The bell rings and the two lock-up. They struggle with the lock-up and fall out of the ring. They both get back in and Black takes the Champion down with a slam. They separate, before locking-up again. This time Ciampa takes him down with a wristlock.
They continue to trade reversals and holds for the first few minutes of the match. Black flips Ciampa onto his back and takes control with a side headlock. They trade shots in the corner, then Black rolls through a back body drop before kicking Ciampa in the chest. Black then springboards off the ropes, faking a dive to the outside. He kicks Ciampa in the chest again and then sits down beside him. Ciampa kicks him in the face. Black reverses a whip before throwing Ciampa out of the ring and hitting a tope!
Back inside the ring, Ciampa begs for mercy, but Black sweeps him off his feet, before connecting with a springboard moonsault. Black knocks Ciampa from the ring and kicks him again. Ciampa blocks a kick from Black and slams his leg into the steel steps, followed by throwing him right into them. Ciampa grabs holds of Black and suplexes him, leg-first, into the steel steps.
Ciampa gets the challenger back into the ring and attacks the knee. Ciampa applies a submission to the knee, almost like a heel hook. Ciampa gets Black in the corner and kicks the leg, before draping it over the ropes and hitting a leaping knee onto it. The Champion continues the attack, wrapping it around the ringpost, and driving his knee into it.
Ciampa gets Black out of the ring and drops him knee-first onto the announce table. Ciampa sits down on the table and begins drinking a bottle of water, but then Black kicks him and the bottle of water. Both men get back into the ring and Ciampa sucker kicks the knee. Ciampa takes him Aleister down with an STO before setting him on the top rope. He hands Black in the tree of woe and continues the attack. Black swings his leg and manages to kick Tommaso in the face as he’s standing on the middle rope. Black took the opportunity to run up the ropes and connect with a kick that knocks both men to the floor.
Champion and challenger get back into the ring near the end of the referee’s count and trade shots in the middle of the ring. Black connects with huge superkick, followed by multiple clotheslines and another kick to the chest for a near-fall. Ciampa looks for Fairytale Ending but Black dodges and swings for Black Mass and Ciampa dodges. Ciampa tries for Fairytale Ending again but Black flips him over and sits down for a failed pin attempt. Two roundhouse kicks from Aleister, followed by a snap German suplex for a near-fall.
Black tries to lift Ciampa using his boot but his knee won’t allow it. Ciampa takes advantage and hit a dragonscrew. Ciampa applies a deep single leg Boston crab but Black kicks him off. Black tips Ciampa over and applies a single leg Boston crab of his own, but his knee quickly gives out. Black looks to flip over the ropes to the apron, then moonsault to the floor, but Ciampa isn’t there. Ciampa runs around the other side and grabs Black, draping from the top rope, and hits a cutter on the apron!
Black rolls into the ring and rest on the ropes, but Ciampa runs and connects with a running knee to the back of the head for a near-fall. Ciampa begins to lift Black using his foot, but the challenger connects with a jumping knee. Ciampa responds with a jumping knee of his own that drops Black.
They meet each other in the middle of the ring and trade wild punches. Ciampa hits a nice roll-up on Black, after being clocked with a big kick. They trade pin attempts before Ciampa hits a clotheslines. Black trips the leg of Ciampa, then hits a nice double stomp to the chest. Black hits a running knee to the back of the head, followed by a brainbuster for a near-fall. Ciampa rolls from the ring and Black hits a springboard moonsault to him.
Black sends him back into the ring but then slips on the spilled water at ringside from earlier. The momentary slip allows Ciampa to land the Fairtyale Ending inside the ring, but Black kicks out! Ciampa leaves the ring and rips up the floor padding, just like Gargano did earlier tonight. He’s wandering around ringside when Aleister Black comes from nowhere with a flying knee on the floor. Black sends him back inside, and hits a surprise Black Mass. As Black crawls to make the pin, Ciampa rolls onto his side to avoid being pinned. Both men climb to their feet but Black looks in control, he looks for Black Mass but Ciampa grabs the referee and pulls him between. He tosses Black through the ropes onto the apron, and hits the draping DDT, followed by the Fairtale Ending… but Black kicks out!
Ciampa gets frustrated and lifts Black, looking for the Fairytale Ending again and lands it. Rather than pin however, he lifts Black up and looks to hit it again, but Black pulls out and looks for Black Mass but his knee gave out, allowing Ciampa to hit another Fairytale Ending and score the pinfall.
The Champion retains! Ciampa leaves the ring very slowly after the match, and we see highlights. When Ciampa gets to the top of the ramp, he holds the belt high, then Johnny Gargano comes out and the two Champions stare at each other. Then Gargano holds his title up and Ciampa stands beside him, doing the same. Is this a formal reunion?!
That’s it for NXT TakeOver: Phoenix! Let us know what you thought of the show, and be sure to come back tomorrow night for the Royal Rumble!