NXT Takeover XXX – Pat McAfee Wouldn't Make a Bad Wrestler After All

Now that the pre-show and opening bout is out of the way, it's time for NXT Takeover XXX to get serious. The third match of the night is the big ladder match. A new North American Champion will be crowned. There will be a crapload of crazy spots.

The official logo for NXT.
The official logo for NXT.

NXT Takeover XXX Report – Part 2

The entrances take forever. First out is Damian Priest, followed by Johnny Gargano, then Bronson ReedCameron Grimes, and Velveteen Dream. Bronson Reed is cosplaying Bam Bam Bigelow for this match. I approve.

Velveteen Dream vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Cameron Grimes – NXT North American Championship Ladder Match

  • Dream gets the better of everyone at the start of the match and goes for a ladder first, though Grimes stops him.
  • Grimes pulls out a ring ladder and then is mad about it in a funny little spot.
  • Two ladders eventually make their way into the ring, and lots of ladder spots ensue.
  • In one cool spot, Johnny Gargano climbs the ladder while Reed is holding it flattened, then leaps over a few people in attempts to scramble up it.
  • In another, Dream is climbing the ladder, and Priest hits a springboard kick to his leg, sending him flying to the floor.
  • Grimes hits like a flying powerslam on Gargano outside, which was pretty cool.
  • In maybe the best spot of the match, Priest does a run up a ladder leaning on the ropes and flips off the top onto everyone on the outside.
  • Here's a cool sequence: Cameron Grimes nearly gets the belt, but Candice LeRae, who had run out to check on Gargano, pull shim down and takes down the ladder, then hits him with a bunch of strikes. Grimes picks her up to slam her, and Gargano hits him in the face with the ladder. Then she hits a rope-walk into a hurricanrana on Grimes on the apron to the floor.
  • Reed also gets up to the top and nearly gets the belt only to be stopped by LeRae. He hoists her onto his back, and she rides him down into a splash onto Gargano. That looked like it was probably pretty damn fun for LeRea (not Gargano). I changed my mind. This was the best spot of the night.
  • Dream sets up one ladder resting between the rungs of another ladder and the ropes. Then he puts Grimes on it and climbs a third, taller ladder. He looks like he's gonna hit an elbow drop on Grimes, but then he nearly touches the belt and changes his mind. Too late, as Priest knocks him off the ladder.
  • Priest takes out Reed, but Grimes hits a Cave-In on Priest and goes up top. Gargano climbs the tall ladder next to the one Grimes is on and tries to powerbomb Grimes through the ladder resting against the ropes. But it's a nasty miss. They hit too far to the side, with Grimes's spine landing right on the side of the ladder and both of them falling to the floor.
  • While all of that was going on, someone (Dream?) set up another ladder between the apron and ring barrier. Dream gives the Dream Valley Driver to Gargano on top of Priest on the ladder.
  • Dream climbs the tall ladder, but Reed dumps him off and out of the ring, right over the ring barrier and into some tables and cameramen in the audience. Okay, I changed my mind again. THAT was the best spot of the night.
  • Reed tries for the belt but gets dumped. Grimes nearly gets it, but Gargano stops him at the top and hits him with the belt. Priest gets up there, and the belt comes free, with both Gargano and Priest holding it. Priest wins the tug of war and the belt.

It started out slow, but that was a banger at the end. Lots of cool spots are mostly executed well. I'm glad to see Priest get the win and his first championship in NXT. Maybe now he'll get more attention on TV, and I can finally figure out what part of his gimmick makes him an "archer."

SummerSlam video package for Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt. Good time for me to take a smoke break. Be right back.

Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee

  • I come back having just missed a video package for Adam Cole and Pat McAfee's feud, thankfully.
  • Cole comes out with Undisputed Era but sends them to the back.
  • McAfee cuts a promo from backstage about his football career. He says the match will end quickly with one kick. Then he comes to the ring.
  • McAfee has a theme song and entrance video.
  • Cole's posse of C-list football players come out with him, all the way to the ring. He does not send them back.
  • It would be smart of Cole to call out Undisputed Era here. It doesn't make any sense that he doesn't.
  • McAfee goes into a lockup arrogant, but Cole gets a headlock and won't let go.
  • McAfee looks shocked.
  • McAfee nearly eats a superkick but dodges it. He then works a headlock on Cole and gets a big shoulder tackle off an Irish whip. On the next exchange, McAfee slides outside for a breather when Cole goes for a pump kick.
  • McAfee goads Cole into coming outside after him, and his posse gets in front of him.
  • Undisputed Era comes out, and a bunch of security guards gets in between the two groups. Pay McAfee sneaks in the ring and hits a big senton off the top ropes onto the crowd.
  • McAfee is in control now and hits a bunch of punches and chops and basic wrestling offense. It looks pretty good, or at least as good as it can with the WWE camera cuts and shaky cams.
  • The ref yells at McAfee for playing loose with the rules, and Corey Graves actually claims, "this isn't the NFL, you can't talk back to the NXT officials" as if any NFL official would tolerate one-twentieth of the crap WWE refs do.
  • Cole gets a flurry of offense on McAfee, but McAfee kicks out of everything.
  • McAfee tries for a superplex on Cole. Cole fights him off, and McAfee does a backflip off the top rope and lands on his feet. Cole is shocked. McAfee jumps right back up from the mat to the top ropes and hits the superplex. That was awesome! Cole kicks out.
  • McAfee tries to hit his punt kick on Cole as Cole's head hangs off the apron, but Cole dodges, and McAfee kicks the stairs instead.
  • McAfee sells a leg injury, and now he's begging off Cole. Cole kicks him in the leg and gets a figure four on him. McAfee sells it well for an amateur and eventually reaches the ropes.
  • Cole tries to finish it, but McAfee hits a low kick that the ref doesn't see and then a clothesline. Then the punt kick, which looked great. But Cole kicks out!
  • Cole climbs the ropes and takes his shirt off. He taunts Cole and then goes for a double axehandle off the top, but instead eats a superkick to the face.
  • Cole thinks about going for the knee but decides against it. He climbs the ropes and hits the Panama City Sunrise and gets the pin.

Okay, I have to admit, McAfee was impressive. It helped to have a ring general like Cole with him, but McAfee's athletic talent obviously helped him a lot here. Nothing looked embarrassing with his fundamentals, and he pulled off some impressive moves. I thought this would be bad, and I was worried that McAfee would go over and essentially bury not only Cole but pretty much the entire NXT roster since Cole had such a long run as NXT Champion and beat a lot of people. Neither of those things happened, though. And I can admit when I'm wrong. Sometimes. In any case, we'll wrap all of this up in the third part of this report, so click down below.

 

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About Jude Terror

A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!
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