NXT TakeOver: Phoenix results, Jan. 26, 2019: Championships held high, Gargano and Ciampa stand side-by-side
In the first TakeOver of 2019, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa strengthened his grip on “Goldie,” defeating Aleister Black in a brutally hard-hitting clash, while Johnny Gargano dethroned NXT North American Champion Ricochet. Yet, following a night of high-octane action, nothing took away the NXT Universe’s breath quite like seeing Gargano join his former nemesis in celebration.
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The War Raiders def. The Undisputed ERA to become NXT Tag Team Champions
PHOENIX – Where there’s war, there’s an undisputed claim waiting to happen. Despite having never actually conquered The War Raiders – a chair-wielding Bobby Fish on the Oct. 17 edition of NXT allowed them to skate away – The Undisputed ERA spent the last few months walking and talking like they had. But it was put up or shut up in The Valley of the Sun, and Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly met a reality they didn’t anticipate.
Using the fiery real estate of Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena to their advantage, Hanson & Rowe unleashed their scalding disdain for Strong & O’Reilly by using their incredible power to fling the titleholders all around the canvas. After a vicious start from the Undisputed ERA duo, Rowe & Hanson fired back with their double-team prowess; Rowe scooped up Hanson while positioned on the ring apron and slammed him onto their opponents, flattening them both on the outside. The battle-hardened, modern-day Vikings were more than ready for the champions’ trickery, but the irreverent champions used their tenacity to prolong the action. Strong lived up to his Messiah of the Backbreaker moniker, cracking Rowe with a few spine-tingling backbreakers to shift the momentum, and O’Reilly followed up with his own cache of painful submission holds.
ERA’s finely-tuned tandem offense forced the juggernauts on defense, but Hanson & Rowe refused to allow their raid to be snuffed out this night. Strong superplexed Hanson from the top turnbuckle for O’Reilly to follow up with a diving knee, but it wasn’t enough for the 1-2-3. The nefarious duo then delivered their devastating High-Low, a move that has seen Undisputed ERA defeat just about everyone in their path, but The War Raiders refused to go down. Hanson & Rowe recouped soon after to raid the NXT Tag Team Titles, snagging O’Reilly for the Fallout to reign, pillage and spoil Strong & O’Reilly’s undisputed 2019 plans.
Matt Riddle def. Kassius Ohno
In the threequel to their heated rivalry, which started with a six-second KO of Ohno at TakeOver: WarGames II and then a Bromission finale in fight No. 2 on the Jan. 2 edition of NXT, both heralded strikers exhausted their pent-up animosity toward one another by exchanging a series of wallops inside and outside the ring. Where Riddle sought retribution, Ohno aimed to inflict more treachery on his opponent.
The King of Bros exploded out of the starting blocks, striking Ohno with a running knee before deadlifting his opponent for a suplex. But The Knockout Artist wasn’t going down like that. In between back-to-back slaps across Riddle’s face, Ohno also served up déjà vu to his recent post-match attack by driving him into the steel steps. The treachery continued with Ohno pulling out all stops against The Original Bro – attacking (and biting!) Riddle’s barefoot, slamming him with a Liger Bomb and delivering a heavy-duty moonsault.
But Riddle absorbed the onslaught and returned it with fury. When Ohno attempted to extend his arm for a fist bump, Riddle refused the olive branch by tossing him across the mat with a sleeper suplex before forcing him to tap out to a Bromission filled with pummeling elbow strikes.
Johnny Gargano def. Ricochet to become NXT North American Champion
At one point during an electric NXT North American Title matchup, Ricochet looked at his opponent and genuinely asked, “Which Johnny Gargano am I going to get tonight?” What he failed to notice was the Johnny Gargano from yesteryear was no more, and 2019 had welcomed Mr. “wins and championships.” What followed was a moment to behold.
For more than 20 minutes, The One and Only and Johnny Wrestling fought tooth and nail over the NXT North American Championship in a mesmerizing bout. But where Ricochet fought to prolong his long-standing championship reign, Gargano had no plans of leaving TakeOver without his first singles title. In his quest for championship gold, Gargano even reached into his old bag of tricks, striking his signature #DIY pose before clobbering the titleholder with a brutal superkick that sent Ricochet flying out of the ring.
The dynamic Superstars showed no mercy, as they meticulously tried to one-up each other with just about every move in their arsenal, including one breathtaking instance where Ricochet countered one of Gargano’s attacks to perform his own Gargano Escape. Though he narrowly escaped, the submission attempt fueled Gargano’s fire into a phoenix.
After stripping the floor mat outside the ring, Gargano plunged Ricochet with a suplex right on the bare concrete before dragging him back into the ring to finish the job with a wicked Slingshot DDT. If 2018 was the birth of Mr. Johnny TakeOver, 2019 has officially become the era of Johnny Champion.
NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler def. Bianca Belair
The highly anticipated confrontation between NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler and white-hot challenger Bianca Belair ended in historic fashion when Baszler put an end to The EST of NXT’s un-de-fea-ted streak to retain her crown.
Despite vowing to put a r-est to Belair’s streak, Baszler almost ate her words when Belair stunned her opponent with her dazzling athleticism and impressive agility in the early goings. But when Baszler locked onto a limb, all things spelled out danger. After pulling Belair by the ponytail and forcing her to hit the ring post head-first, The Queen of Spades clutched onto the left arm of The EST before stomping her elbow into the mat. From there, Baszler continued her domination with more limb-twisting maneuvers and strikes, but the willpower of Belair would not allow her opponent to snatch an easy win.
When Belair gathered enough strength to get back on the attack, she fought back with an unrelenting resolve. Feeling the pressure, Baszler pushed Belair into the referee, but she was soon surprised with a waiting KOD by Belair. As the pressure mounted, Baszler’s pals Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke jumped in to lend her an assist, but Belair thwarted the interference with a spear to Shafir and sit-out facebuster to Duke. The distraction was pivotal, however, as Baszler took advantage by clasping onto her undefeated rival with a Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler miraculously countered the submission hold with sheer strength by twisting Baszler into position for a suplex, but she whiffed on a 450 splash before The Submission Magician ensnared the challenger in another Kirifuda Clutch, forcing The EST of NXT to pass out in the hold and dealing Belair her first loss.
NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa def. Aleister Black
In the weeks before TakeOver: Phoenix, Tommaso Ciampa delivered a shrewd sentiment about his NXT Championship run: The title doesn’t make the man; the man makes the title. After defending his coveted championship in a grueling clash against Aleister Black, the self-proclaimed Greatest Sports-Entertainer Alive has a newer idiom that’s more fitting: Can you stand the reign?
In a fight that will go down as one of NXT’s most hotly anticipated championship rematches, Ciampa and Black fought each other with pure fury. For Ciampa, he wanted nothing more than to preserve his sweet union with “Goldie” – the nickname given to his coveted NXT Championship. For Black, it was correcting the sins committed on the July 25 edition of NXT. The culmination of these storms made way for a wild collision in which The Dutch Destroyer and The Blackheart brutalized each other with every weapon in their arsenals. Black struck Ciampa with more strikes than a bowling lane, lacing him with an assortment of kicks across the chest and jaw. As hard as Black’s hits were, The Blackheart endured, forcing his opponent to exhaust all the maneuvers in his toolbelt.
Ciampa exposed the left knee of Black, dropping him knee-first into the announcer’s table and even locking in a single-leg Boston Crab submission hold to further tenderize the limb. But like Ciampa, Black pushed back. When Ciampa dropped him with the Fairytale Ending, The Dutch Destroyer avoided a pinfall. Infuriated, Ciampa stepped out of the ring to expose the mat on the outside and was met with a knee strike from the flying Dutchman, but the tide swung once the action spilled back into the ring. After kicking out of an impact DDT, Black followed up by clocking the NXT Champion with a Black Mass. But when Black attempted to close the fight with another devastating blow, his wounded knee gave out and left Ciampa the opening to secure the Fairytale Ending and retain “Goldie.”