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WWE NXT TakeOver Phoenix results, recap and grades for the Royal Rumble weekend pay-per-view event

WWE NXT TakeOver Phoenix results, recap and grades for the Royal Rumble weekend pay-per-view event
Johnny Gargano winning his first title was a huge part of the WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix PPV. Pic credit: WWE

The first major WWE NXT TakeOver special of the year took place over Royal Rumble weekend with NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.

The event was expected to be huge as all the matches looked fantastic on paper. As with all NXT TakeOver events, this one exceeded the expectations and delivered on almost every front.

Here is a look at the WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix results, recap and grades for all the matches.

WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix results and grades

WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix didn’t waste any time when they kicked off the show, with a title match opening the show.

NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders

The War Raiders got a huge elaborate entrance with Vikings coming out onto the stage while drums beat. Then, from the middle, The War Raiders came out and had the crowd excited starting the show.

The Undisputed Era then came out next and the crowd went nuts. It seems that these two tag teams are more over than any tag team on the WWE main roster.

The match was amazing.

The War Raiders are huge, massive wrestlers but they can move like guys half their size. The Undisputed Era are possibly the best technical tag team in wrestling today (it is Roddy Strong and Kyle O’Reilly for this match).

The match was long, both teams looked like a million bucks, and it was the War Raiders who won the titles, ending the Undisputed Era reign at 219 days (421 between two reigns) to become the new WWE NXT tag team champions.

The end came when Hanson hit a handspring double back elbow to Kyle. He and Rowe hit their powerslam/powerbomb combo and then connected with the Fallout for the win. 

Winners and New Champions: The War Raiders (**** 1/2 stars)

Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno

In a susprising addition to NXT TakeOver: Phoenix last week, Matt Riddle fought Kassius Ohno in their third match. Riddle won the first two.

It was Riddle’s UFC training against the massive girth of Kassius Ohno and the two guys know each other well enough to work well together (they were in Evolve at the same time before coming to NXT).

There was a great moment where Ohno stepped on Riddle’s bare feet and even one point where he bit Riddle on the toes. However, Riddle is the future star and Ohno is the grizzled veteran, so this one was never in question.

Matt Riddle won when he started hitting Ohno with rapid fire elbow strikes until Ohno tapped out to stop the beating.

Winner: Matt Riddle (** stars)

NXT North American Championship: Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano

This match saw Ricochet as the North American Champion who can do anything against Johnny Gargano, the best wrestler in NXT for two years but someone who had never won a title match.

Gargano has gone through a conflict of faith the last few months and has been more of a heel although he claims to still consider himself a babyface.

This match was as different from the first two matches as you might expect, the high flying Ricochet against the technical Johnny Gargano and it was an amazing match that told a truly great story.

This was going to be a great match based on moves and everyone knew that heading in. However, the story told here was Gargano almost making the same mistakes that kept him from ever winning the NXT title in the past, always refusing to cheat and take shortcuts and losing as a result.

This happened at the end when he pulled back the ring mats to expose the concrete. He refused to drop Ricochet on his head on the concrete and almost lost as a result.

Then, Gargano said screw it and hit a big suplex onto the concrete, rolled Ricochet into the ring and then pinned him with the slingshot DDT.

Winner and New Champion: Johnny Gargano (***** stars)

NXT Women’s Champioship: Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair

The story of this match was Bianca Belair coming into NXT TakeOver: Phoenix undefeated and trying to prove herself against Shayna Baszler.

Baszler really dominated the match but Belair proved to be a resilient challenger. Belair actually looked really impressive here.

The most impressive moment came when the referee was knocked down and two of the Four Horsewomen of UFC showed up to try to help Shayna Baszler.

Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch and somehow Bianca Belair stood up while locked in the hold and dropped Baszler. She went up and the Horsewomen tried to interfer again. Baszler locked it in again and Belair stood up again, proving how strong and resilient she is.

Baszler ended up knocking out Belair to retain her title. However, even in a loss, Belair looked like a massive star. This is how a wrestler can get a push even in a losing effort.

Winner: Shayna Baszler (*** 1/2 stars)

WWE NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black

This is a rematch for the WWE NXT title. Tommaso Ciampa won the title from Aleister Black after Johnny Gargano interfered by attacking Black.

While Black did not get an immediate rematch, as he needed to settle the score with Gargano, he is now finally getting a shot at winning his title back.

The match was hard-hitting, with the two beating the hell out of each other. Just like all Tommaso Ciampa’s title matches, this one delivered in spades.

This match had a call-back to the Johnny Gargano match where Ciampa pulled back the mats on the floor to expose the concrete but in this case, Black was able to hit Ciampa and drive him into the concrete.

The was an amazing moment where Black hit Black Mass but Ciampa rolled onto his side so that Black couldn’t pin his shoulders to the mat. I have never seem that before.

After that Ciampa hit a series of reversals and then hit his Fairy Tale Ending in an amazing sequence. Black then kicked out. Ciampa hit it again two more times to finally get the pin on Black to retain his title.

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa (**** stars)

The NXT TakeOver: Phoenix show ends with Tommaso Ciampa going to the top of the ramp when Johnny Gargano walked out. Gargano then held his title high and Ciampa smiled and held his title up too, as DIY seems to be back on the same page.

WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix final reaction

As always, NXT delivered a show that will make the WWE main roster struggle to match up to it on Sunday night at the Royal Rumble.

There were two title changes at WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix and both were in amazing matches that told a great story. The two title defenses were also amazing, with Bianca Belair looking like a star in her loss and Ciampa proving to be one of the best in the world in his title defense.

This match didn’t have a bad match, with Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno the only one that remained simply above average. WWE NXT TakeOver: Phoenix was a great show and a perfect start to 2019 for WWE NXT.

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