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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: Toronto


NXT TakeOver event never fail to amaze me. In an era where WWE is already over-saturated with content, the only shows that keep me glued to the screen are those which are NXT-related. This weekend's NXT TakeOver: Toronto was another show that not only kept me satisfied, but it also surpassed the main WWE PPV that it preceded. With just five matches, I can say that I enjoyed this one more than Summerslam.

Let's cut right to the chase. Honestly, I feel a little disappointed that my prediction of an "Undisputed" golden era didn't come to fruition. Even so, with the show they put on, they more than made up for it in terms of quality. Looking back, the decisions made were mostly logical (except maybe for the Velveteen Dream's successful defense) and aren't really a step in the wrong direction in terms of booking.



The first match literally stole the show for me and that's saying a lot. Openers are what make or break a card for me. If an opening match is great, then I'm already hooked on the whole show regardless of what happens after it. Montez Ford continued to amaze with his ridiculous feats. I've also learned to appreciate how he and Angelo Dawkins are complementary to one another.

Maybe I enjoyed the bout more because they faced the Undisputed ERA. Kyle O'Reilly seems to shine in any match he participates in and he and Bobby Fish helped madk the Street Profits look like a million bucks in this match even after taking the L.



Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae wasn't as fun as I expected but I'm thrilled that Io got the win to help build up her new persona. The knockout finish adds character to her especially when she stopped LeRae from tapping on purpose to put her to sleep.

I'm still a little iffy about the attire she had on because I already enjoyed what she wore during NXT's TV tapings but she looks good and comfortable with her character. In the end, I think this will also help LeRae gain sympathy so they can build her up into what her husband Johnny Gargano has become for the male division.


Jumping on my point from last week's review, Matt Riddle's stock has plummeted to a level way beyond what I expected. Sure, he looked tough calling out Killian Dain. He also took out a lot of the security personnel during the scuffle. Unfortunately, it was not to be as Dain gained the upper hand by giving us a massive "Holy S#!t" moment of the night by taking the both of them through a stack of tables off-stage.


Next was the triple threat match for the NXT North American Championship. Was it just me or was the Velveteen Dream's Mountie/Toronto Raptors-inspired entrance cringy? That said, the match between him, Roderick Strong, and Pete Dunne was another show-stealer for me. I would happily welcome a rematch between any combination of the three.



My favorite spots for this one were Dream's Coast-to-Coast Purple Rainmaker and Strong's Double Stronghold, the latter of which was painful to watch. Dream barely won and it's safe to say that this feud between them may be far from over because it looked like they still had more left in the tank.

Moving forward, in what was the weakest on the card for me, Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim was the most standard match of the night. It actually felt like it belonged more on weekly programming than a PPV. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't think Yim will be the woman who takes the belt off Shayna. This is not a knock on Yim as she has slowly climbed up the ranks and impressed us during her appearances. It's just that they've built Shayna into this Lesnar-esque character that will be hard to dethrone. I know for a fact that, when it does happen, it will be spectacular.


After what had transpired over the night, you'd think that a viewer would already be tired of watching. Every moment (well, maybe except the NXT Women's Championship match) prior to the main event had built the momentum up to the finale of the show. Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole might not be my favorite match of the night but it damn sure was another classic.

Donning a Wolverine-inspired costume, Gargano showed Toronto why he shares the superhero's "never say die" attitude. He brought Cole to his limits and somehow, this was actually reminiscent of his showdowns with grand rival Tommaso Ciampa. He even got disqualified for the first fall just so he can victimize Cole and win the second fall in a street fight.



The third fall was like nothing we've ever watched on NXT. Not even Johnny's battles with Ciampa were this violent. It was actually similar to Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho's match and almost as brutal. Unfortunately, Johnny's emotions got the best of him again and he and Cole crashed from the top of the cage with Cole retaining the NXT Championship.

I feel Gargano's emotions are both a strong and weak point for his character and this is what makes him a likable underdog. It's so easy for us to root for him but eventually, you see him lose sight of things and from there, he ends up failing. I love Johnny and all, but for this moment, I feel Cole deserved to keep the championship for a long time and that both of them need to move on to different feuds.


The whole show was a blast to watch. I definitely appreciated this more than SummerSlam and I'm looking forward to what all the results mean for the NXT Universe. I'm excited to see what the next episodes of NXT bring to the table especially with what transpired especially because it seems Gargano received a send-off after the show.

Grade: A-
*****

Did you agree with these takes? What was your favorite moment from NXT TakeOver: Toronto? Did you notice something that we missed? Hit us up in the comments section below.

Photos and Videos from WWE

*****

Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your supposed style icon and NXT reviewer at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of everything music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz) as he sets on his journey to completely do things spontaneously. You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE2K19 (or any PS4) skills. When not being a smark, he lives his life being (and trying to be) an awesome architect, musician extraordinaire and armchair fantasy booker.

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