HELLO AND WELCOME to The Big Review of NXT Takeover: In Your House!
The power of nostalgia rolls me up and snatches a cheeky three count as Todd Pettengill and company introduce us to one of my favourite ever PPV brands: In Your House. It’s second only to the classic WrestleMania theme music in my personal list of things that transport me back to my parents’ couch in the mid-90s.
I’m so hyped for this show I can’t even tell you, though I’m not excited about the predictions contest. For my money there’s only one banker on this card, while the rest could go either way – which, if we’re honest, is exactly the way we like it.
I’m Mike, and as always, I’ll be doing the written equivalent of live-reacting to the show since I’m about to watch it, start to finish, for the first time. I’m settled down, strapped in and snacked up, so with that said, let’s get cracking!
Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox vs. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
Six Woman Tag Team Match
I wrote earlier in the week that I thought the heels would win this match, but on reflection I’m pretty sure I’ve made an error. I’m going to stick with my original prediction since changing at the last moment would seem suspicious, so officially I’m all in LeRae, Kai and Gonzalez… but I’ll be watching this one from behind the couch.
My Prediction: Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
First of all, huge shout for Shotzi for coming down the ramp in a miniature tank. A few minutes later, after five other entrances that are disappointingly tank-free, we’re underway.
It’s a really competitive six-woman match that ebbs and flows very well. Often in tag matches you see tons of face-in-peril situations, but I’d say that even though there’s obviously a bit of that, the match overall goes back and forth quite evenly with lots of very slick action – especially between Knox and Kai, who know each other so well that their in-ring action looks incredibly convincing.
Mostly, it’s a case of how our heroines can take out the hulking figure of Raquel Gonzalez, who for a long period is the only woman in the match who doesn’t ever really look in trouble – and when Mia Yim and Candice LeRae feud themselves out of the ring, up the ramp and out of the match, the 2v2 we’re left with feels like it’s going to be a feast for Raquel.
In the end, however, the faces don’t need to deal with Giant Gonzalez since her partner takes her out for them. A huge miscue from Dakota Kai sees her hoof her bodyguard right in the chops and out of the match, and after eating a Shiniest Wizard, Teagan Knox picks up the pinfall for a nice, feel-good opening win.
Winners: Teagan Knox, Shotzi Blackheart, Mia Yim (0/1)
I knew it… sort of.
Finn Bálor vs. Damian Priest
All and sundry seem to be saying that The Wrestler Formerly Known As Prince (Devitt) will slingblade and dropkick his way to victory over Damian Priest, but I feel like that’s too simple. In my sideways mind, Bálor’s reputation can survive practically any defeat – and he doesn’t need to win against Priest to still be considered a threat to the NXT championship.
Priest, on the other hand, has been (through no fault of his own) one gigantic misstep since arriving on the black and gold brand and could really do with a marquee three count. As such, it makes much more sense to me for the Archer of Infamy to skewer Finn on his climb up the card.
My Prediction: Damian Priest
Bálor hits a massive dropkick to open the match but Priest won’t stand for that, and for the next five minutes or so, he pummels Finn with rangy forearm strikes, step-assisted backdrops on the apron, and some impressive, athletic rebound strikes inside the ropes. So far, so good for the Archer.
He then makes the classic heel mistake of putting Finn in a submission hold he’ll never quit to, and as such, Bálor escapes and begins his comeback. You’ve got to love a man whose primary form of attack is giving the other bloke a bloody good shoeing, and Bálor does it with the best of them; all I can say is, I hope he’s wearing padded boots, otherwise Priest is going to need a local medical facility after this one.
It’s big old spot time. The Prince gets a very close two count on Priest before launching the big man over the top rope. The Archer, however, leaps straight back onto the apron, toes Bálor in the chops, then picks him up into a Razor’s Edge and just catapults him into the apron! Massive bump from Finn, but despite being launched into the hardest part of the world, it’s only enough for a two count.
Things are seriously picking up now. Priest remains on top before a slingblade-outta-nowhere puts Bálor back in control, and as he goes to the top, it looks like it’s all over – but Priest is up! He has Finn around the throat! TOP ROPE CHOKESLAM, kinda, and that could be it! One! Two!! NO! It’s just two! Blimey, I wanted my W so badly I thought that might be it. I should know better.
Then, the beginning of the end, er, begins. Priest goes for another Razor’s Edge on Bálor onto the steps at ringside, but Finn slides off and hoofs Priest off the ropes and onto the steps back first – it’s a horrible impact from Priest.
After a referee check, Bálor gets the big man back into the ring, and hits one Coup de Grace to the back of Priest’s head, then another traditional rib-breaking one right afterwards, and there’s no getting out of that – Bálor wins.
Winner: Finn Bálor (0/2)
Good match, I thought. Entertaining. Just what Priest needed – I just wish he’d gotten the win that could have catapulted him towards a title picture. Never mind; if he keeps on like that, I think he’ll be okay.
Keith Lee (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
Singles Match for the NXT North American Championship
In pro wrestling’s latest ocular assault, Johnny Gargano jammed his car keys into the eye of Keith Lee on NXT this past Wednesday before booting the ring steps against his trapped left hand. I already had a feeling that the former North American champ would beat big Keith for the belt so that Lee can move on to other things – perhaps a main roster callup? – and that attack cements it. Gargano for me, Clive.
My Prediction: Johnny Nicknames
After leaving the house at the top of the stage and dropping the front door key in with his chipolata, Gargano’s entrance attire includes a classic bad guy cape – meaning that if Keith Lee can find a jet engine laying around backstage, this one could be over fast. It seems he can’t, however, and probably for the best, we’re underway.
Lee generally dominates the opening stages, but the story of this match is Gargano going after the left eye and hand that he injured on NXT TV. After feigning that he’s going to escape through the door he’s locked and now can’t find the key for – it’s next to your old chap, old chap – Gargano takes control of Lee with some textbook heelishness and keeps him grounded for a very long time. Even when Keith tries to mount a comeback, Gargano seems to have an answer to everything.
He eventually hits a huge lariat on the challenger for a two-count that momentarily floors both men, and for a while afterwards, neither man can gain a proper advantage. After some joint manipulation that’d make even Pete Dunne raise an eyebrow, Gargano eats a massive chokeslam from Lee before recovering on the outside to smash the champion with a tornado DDT that leaves Lee prone on the floor.
OR SO WE THINK. Gargano goes inside to break the count, comes back out to get Lee… and Keith Lee is up! He charges Gargano THROUGH THE PLEXIGLASS and into the crowd at ringside!! Keith Lee with the Quarantine Buster! SOCIAL DISTANCING LADS, COME ON.
The champion isn’t interested. He hoists Gargano onto his shoulder to finish the match; Candice LeRae appears to interfere but Mia Yim is there, and with the ladies continuing their spat through the ring, Gargano takes the chance to retrieve the sweaty keys from his coin purse and jam it into the other eye of Keith Lee! The champion is now surely blinded, and Gargano hits a DDT followed by several kicks to the side of Keith Lee’s head… but he can’t keep the champion down!
Two count after two count frustrates Gargano as the crowd hammer on the remaining plexiglass – careful everyone. Gargano goes for one too many finishers, Keith Lee counters into the Spirit Bomb but doesn’t attempt a cover – instead he hits another powerbomb before hoisting Gargano onto his shoulders and destroying him with Big Bang Catastrophe, and despite being blind and only having the use of one hand, the champion retains!
Winner: Keith Lee (0/3)
I might start calling my predictions the Big Bang Catastrophe after this third successive incorrect pick, but it’s a decent match. On one hand Gargano failing to beat a blind man makes him look a little incompetent, but on the same side of that, it does make Lee look like a monstrous champion that can overcome overwhelming odds. Good win for Lee. Bloody love the bloke, so I’m happy to be wrong.
Adam Cole (c) vs. Velveteen Dream
Last Chance Backlot Brawl Match for the NXT Men’s Championship
The fun stipulation that comes with this match is thus: if Dream loses, he can no longer challenge for the NXT Championship while Cole holds the belt.
Plenty of people are taking that stip, plus the news that Cole’s contract is coming up shortly and he’s being eyed by AEW, as a dead cert for Dream to finally end the longest-ever NXT Men’s Championship run. However, I’m of the mind that it’s all a massive ploy to make us root for a big babyface win that doesn’t quite happen.
I said in my earlier prediction that I think Cole will only lose the title in front of a huge, hot live crowd, and while we’re still in The Pandemic Era and particularly since this match is a pre-recorded “cinematic” experience, I don’t think he’s dropping squat here. Cole to retain… for now.
My Prediction: Adam Cole retains
In Your House has gone very much outside the house for this special Backlot Brawl. To set the scene, there’s a ring in a huge carpark that’s surrounded by vehicles with their headlights on, creating a cool atmosphere.
It’s not the car park at the arena, though – it seems to just be in some random street, meaning there are front doors, shop fronts, garages, trash cans, and probably all sorts of other goodies just waiting to be exploited. I’d be rubbing my hands together with glee if I wasn’t furiously typing all this out.
Cole arrives in a bloody great UE monster truck, while Velveteen Dream – sporting a lovely new hairdo – arrives in what my primitive car knowledge identifies as a Lamborghini Murcielago, but do feel free to correct me on Twitter.
Once the two stop posturing and get in the ring, Dream goes for a quick rollup! One! TWO!! Thr- not really. Just the two. That would have been funny though, eh? To be fair, Dream doesn’t stop – he goes for a couple more quick pinfalls before Cole decides he’s had enough, grabs his title, and tries to drive off in what must be someone else’s car.
Dream intercepts him with a baseball bat, destroys this random Toyota that’s done nothing to deserve all this, then smashes Cole into an SUV with an open side door and a lady in the driver’s seat shouting to ask if anyone called an Uber! Hah! Two fingers for in-match corporate sponsorship!
Cole escapes inside one of the buildings and blasts Dream with a fire extinguisher when he goes to find him, handing the advantage back to the leader of the Undisputed Era. There’s some disappointingly non-car-based action for the next little while before Dream manages to get Cole out of the ring they’re inexplicably using and dump him back onto the hood of that poor Toyota from earlier.
Dream gets a ladder and climbs to the top, preparing to splash onto Cole on the car, but he’s interrupted by another vehicle suddenly arriving on the scene, horn blaring – of course, it’s Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish. Cole climbs to the top of the ladder, tries to take advantage, but Dream shoves him off… AND COLE SMASHES INTO THE WINDSHIELD OF THE TOYOTA!!
I don’t know where the geography teacher who owns that car has gone, but he’s going to be very upset when he gets back.
The rest of the Era take out Dream as Cole lays, bleeding, on the front of the car. They launch enough chairs to seat an entire WWE crowd into the empty ring, but when Strong goes outside, a strange noise from underneath the ring distracts him. He looks worried as the apron skirting moves… it’s Dexter Lumis! He’s been under the ring this whole time for some reason!!
He takes out Strong, then Fish, dumps them into the trunk of a car, and drives away… and we’re back to a one-on-one backlot brawl, with Dream struggling in the ring and Cole crawling off a wrecked car with a torn apart right arm.
Cole gets to the top, spots the chance for a Panama Sunrise… but Dream reverses into a Dream Valley Driver! One! Two!! Ooooohhh no, that’s not enough – just two. Dream goes to the top, goes for the Purple Rainmaker through the chairs! He hits it! That could be it! Dream labours to a cover, one, two, oh my goodness it’s just two! Cole kicks out! My god. That was surely the end.
Dream takes waaayyy too long to taunt Cole with his “dream over!” catchphrase, allowing Adam Cole to hit a brutal low blow followed by the Panama Sunrise onto the huge stack of chairs, and there’s no getting up from that! One, two, three – I’m off the mark! I mean Cole retains!
Winner: Adam Cole (1/4)
Well, that was fairly fun. I did think they could have used the environment a little more given everything they (potentially) had at their disposal, and there weren’t as many big spots as I thought there’d be, but it was still a decent little cinematic experience. And I’ll take my one with great pride and relief.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett
The only real lock on the card, this just has to be a win for PPV debutant Karrion Kross. It’s a brilliant first feud for the former killer to get; Ciampa is a NXT mainstay whose position on the roster, when not chasing the top title, is to test any pretenders who dare to enter his airspace. I’m really excited for this match, which Kross could win rather quickly to properly establish him as the new top predator in NXT.
My Prediction: Karrion Kross
Ciampa chucks the kitchen sink at Kross in the early going, not literally – I realise there is an entire house on set – but Kross pretty much no-sells the whole thing and proceeds to brutalise the Psycho Killer.
A wicked bomb onto the apron, Brock Lesnar-style suplex dominance, so many knees to the face in the corner that I think Ciampa might have brain damage, then a vicious clothesline that removes whatever’s left of Tomasso’s head. Ciampa looks out, but he’s far from it – and soon after, he recovers to hit a knee to the skull and a draping DDT that gets a two count on a stunned Kross.
He goes for the Fairytale Ending, which would surely lead to a massive upset – but oh no. That’s not how this is going down. Kross reverses, gets Ciampa in a fireman’s carry, and launches him with that huge release F5 that leaves Ciampa sprawled on the mat.
He then wraps himself around his challenger like a boa constrictor with the Kross Jacket, and within moments, the referee is waving the match off! Ciampa is out!
Winner: Karrion Kross (2/5)
Wow. Six minutes is all it took for Karrion Kross to annihilate one of NXT’s top stars. I hoped they might do this, and they did – so effectively. What a monster Kross is. Can’t wait to see what’s next for him.
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai
Triple Threat Match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Let me start by saying that I love Charlotte Flair. I really do. Having said that… has there been any point to this NXT Championship reign other than ticking her one closer to her esteemed father’s 16 World Titles record? I don’t think so – and as such, I think she should drop the belt here so she can return to the main roster that, let’s face it, she never really left. Rhea Riply should have won at WrestleMania, so I’m pushing all my chips towards her reclaiming the title tonight.
My Prediction: Rhea Ripley
Rhea’s ring attire is all black apart from one white boot that looks dreadfully out of place to me, like she ran out of paint before she got to it. Maybe this is her Michael Jackson moment, or maybe she just forgot her gear and has had to piece an outfit together from scraps she found around the locker room. Either way, her whole look has gotten a little out of hand.
Charlotte starts the match by rolling to the outside and inviting the two full-time NXT stars to begin the match – and as soon as they do, she’s back in to boot them both to the mat. Shithouse Flair, more like.
The action spills to the outside where Charlotte tries to Johnny Gargano a limp Ripley through the plexiglass, but whoever installed this particular pane has done a great job and it doesn’t budge. She gets Io back into the ring and eventually puts her in a Cloverleaf, but Rhea’s recovered, and she returns to clean Charlotte out.
The three ladies then go around the (in your) houses: Shirai hits the Tiger Feint Kick on Flair, and after some rolling around, she catches Ripley with a punch at the same time the Aussie cleans her clock, and for a moment, all three women are decked.
Shirai and Ripley return to their feet just in time to eat a double spear from Flair, who only gets a two-count on each of them. A crotch chop later, Flair lines up her challengers on the floor and goes for a double moonsault, but eats Ripley’s knees! Shirai rolls up Flair, two! Ripley rolls up Shirai, two! Riptide attempt, countered, Shirai with the crossface on Flair! Ripley hoofs Io in the chops, Flair crushes Ripley with the Queen’s Boot!! One! Two!! Oooohhh, just two. For a moment, that felt like the closing sequence. Great match.
And it’s not over yet! Shirai with Bullet Train knees on Ripley, but Flair catches Io with Natural Selection for two. She gets Shirai into the Figure Eight but she’s close to the ropes. I wonder where Rhea Ripley is… THERE she is! She drags Flair out of the ring and gives her a good shoeing, just long enough for Shirai to recover and wipe her out with a massive dive through the ropes!
It’s a spotfest as we head up the ramp towards the IYH set. Flair simply launches Shirai through the sadly non-sugar glassed window before getting soiled, courtesy of Rhea Ripley and a local potted plant. What did you think I meant?
While the current and former champion battle it out below the front door… Io Shirai has climbed up on top of the house! The Genius of the Sky poses for a moment, before launching herself around 15 solid feet onto both her opponents below! Huge spot, very well done, and This is awesome! rings out around the Quarantinarena.
Back in the ring, Ripley sidesteps a Spear that smashes Charlotte face-first into the turnbuckle. Ripley and Shirai engage in some top rope back-and-forthery just long enough for Charlotte to recover, boot Shirai out of the ring, head up for a superplex on Ripley… but she’s caught! She’s caught! Ripley with an AVALANCHE RIPTIDE from the top! That’s got to be enough! One! Two!! SHIRAI POUNCES TO BREAK IT UP!
Ripley pretzels Shirai into the Prism Trap while Charlotte is down on the outside… but is she actually down? Oh no. She hunting under the ring, and when she returns, it’s avec Kendo stick. She splinters it over the bodies of her challengers before deciding that Ripley will be the recipient of her final Figure Eight.
After some struggling to get her in position, Flair transitions into the eight… but Shirai is on the top rope! Shirai with the moonsault onto Ripley’s face! Ripley is out! CHARLOTTE CAN’T RELEASE THE FIGURE EIGHT!! Shirai covers Ripley!
THREE!! IT’S THERE! IT’S THERE! IO SHIRAI IS THE NEW NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION!!
Winner: Io Shirai (2/6)
Brilliant main event and an excellent example of a triple threat match too. Constant non-stop action, lots of back and forth, great big spots courtesy of, mostly, Io Shirai, and a brilliant finish that heralds a new champion in NXT. I’m happy to have gotten this one wrong. Well done Io Shirai.
She gets the full confetti and streamers celebration, Japan style, and that’s how we close the show.
Well, that was a lot of fun, just as I thought it would be. I’m surprised to say that the NXT Men’s Championship match was probably the weakest on the card; the cinematic experience had its moments, but overall was a let down compared to what it could have been. Loved the other two title matches, though, and Kross/Ciampa was very effective in making Karrion look like a proper maniac.
That’s all from me, thanks for being here, and I hope you enjoyed NXT Takeover: In Your House! I’ll be back for WWE Backlash in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, look after yourselves, and maybe I’ll see you on Twitter soon.