As Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole came face-to-face less than two weeks before their bout for the vacant NXT Title at TakeOver: New York, The Undisputed ERA leader claimed to have “a million reasons” why he will leave the Barclays Center as the new champion. Yet, by the time they parted ways, it seemed like only one reason was needed to convey Cole's true point.
The Panama City Playboy knocked Gargano for his uneven TakeOver record (adding “Johnny Participation” to Gargano's ever-growing list of monikers) and bragged about his own numerous accomplishments in NXT. Cole then pressed Gargano to justify why he deserves such an NXT Title Match. Johnny Wrestling obliged and rallied the NXT Universe by recounting the many trials and tribulations that have paved the road to the biggest match of his career. Saying the NXT fans “fought for me and I fight for them,” Gargano vowed to finally fulfill his destiny at TakeOver.
Gargano's speech fired up his supporters, but as Cole retreated up the entrance ramp, he gave one final reason that he'll be victorious at TakeOver: New York, and out came the rest of The Undisputed ERA. Before dropping the mic, Cole reiterated that the NXT Championship Match on Friday, April 5, will be nothing short of “Undisputed.”
The much-anticipated NXT TV debut of Mae Young Classic alumnae Kacy Catanzaro & Lacey Lane, against the aggressive combination of Aliyah & Vanessa Borne, ended in painful fashion for the newcomers, thanks to NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler.
Flanked by Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir, The Queen of Spades barged in as The Vision and her bougie teammate were doing a number on Lane, before Catanzaro even tagged into the match. Having witnessed the brunt of Baszler's force firsthand not long ago, Borne & Aliyah immediately got out of Dodge, but Lane & Catanzaro were not so lucky.
Baszler kicked Lane out of the ring and went to lock the Kirifuda Clutch on Catanzaro, but the nimble former American Ninja Warrior star escaped. With the NXT fans cheering her on, Catanzaro dropkicked Baszler and did the same to Duke & Shafir before returning to the NXT Women's Champion. By that time, however, Baszler was waiting for her. Without much hassle, Baszler clamped on the Kirifuda Clutch and put Catanzaro to sleep. Afterward, the angry champion — who was entered into a Fatal 4-Way Match against Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and Kairi Sane at TakeOver: New York after her last outburst — stomped her way to the announce desk, where she informed the broadcast team that this type of mayhem will continue for as long as Baszler “keeps getting mistreated.”
Velveteen Dream is a master of mind games, but the NXT North American Champion may have met his match in his TakeOver: New York opponent, the unshakable, unflappable Original Bro.
After Matt Riddle gut-wrench suplexed Kona Reeves during their one-on-one match, The Dream's music hit, and a purple couch carrying a lounging Dream was rolled onto the entrance stage by two women. The distraction temporarily derailed Riddle, allowing Reeves to pulverize the former UFC fighter with a back suplex and wear him down with a Cobra clutch, but Riddle soon regained the advantage. The Original Bro made sure The Dream was watching closely before he tore into Reeves with a series of elbow strikes and made NXT's Finest submit to the Bromission.
Dream then took it upon himself to handle the match announcement from the comfort of his couch, declaring “Matthew” Riddle the victor over the microphone. Unfazed by Velveteen Dream's antics, Riddle approached the couch, took a chalice from Dream's hands, took a swig and threw the goblet aside before telling Dream that he'll see him in New York ... “bro.”
Just when it seemed like Aleister Black & Ricochet's 2019 couldn't get any better, the electrifying alliance of The Dutch Destroyer and The One and Only notched yet another milestone victory.
In an incredible action-packed fight that capped off the tournament honoring the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, Black & Ricochet overcame The Forgotten Sons’ Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake to not only win the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, but also earn an NXT Tag Team Title Match against The War Raiders at TakeOver: New York.
Throughout the contest, Black & Ricochet remained acutely aware of The Forgotten Sons’ heavy hitter at ringside, Jaxson Ryker. Despite their supreme caution, Ryker found a way to interfere, clobbering Ricochet in the lower back while the referee was distracted. That opened the door for Cutler & Blake to take over and dismantle Ricochet with a slew of backbreakers. Ryker's luck ran out later in the match, however, when the referee caught him pushing Black's foot off the bottom rope during a pin attempt by Blake, resulting in Ryker's ejection from ringside.
With the playing field finally leveled, Black escaped a subsequent powerbomb attempt by Blake, tagged Ricochet and hit Blake with a vicious Black Mass before The One and Only finished the job with a 630 Splash for the win!
Confetti rained down from the ceiling as Black & Ricochet celebrated with the coveted Dusty Cup that will soon bear their names, but they didn't have long to savor the victory, as Hanson & Rowe marched to the ring to stare down the team that will challenge them on Friday, April 5. Will Black & Ricochet's momentum from the Dusty Classic carry over to TakeOver: New York, or will the supercharged duo be the next to fall to NXT's modern-day Vikings?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Aliyah & Vanessa Borne vs. Kacy Catanzaro & Lacey Lane ended in a No Contest (2:51)
- Matt Riddle defeated Kona Reeves (3:52)
- Aleister Black & Ricochet defeated The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake) (w/ Jaxson Ryker) in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2019 Final Match (14:24)
Other on-screen talent