We get a recap of the whole TakeOver: Toronto show before a show which will be roughly half recaps of TakeOver: Toronto. Just so you know what you’re getting into...
We come in on a shot from the announce desk, and Tom Phillips & Corey Graves inform us we’re starting things off with some in-ring action. Rich Swann enters to a nice pop, followed by his opponent, Kona Reeves (the latest name given to Performance Center veteran Noah Potjes/Kekoa). Reeves has a major size advantage and uses it, cornering Swann and stopping an early run from the cruiserweight with a pop-up Samoan drop. Rich eventually dodges a clothesline and hits several of his own. A loud enziguri sends Reeves to the mat, and Swann gets most of his standing 450... but the lights go out and SAnitY’s music hits before he can cover.
Eric Young’s quartet hits the ring, as Swann and Reeves stand ready to face them. Rich gets thrown out early and EY, Alexander Wolfe, Sawyer Fulton & Nikki Cross put the boots to Kona. Rich climbs back in and hits a top rope crossbody on Wolfe, but the pack turns on him, eventually resulting in him taking Young’s wheelbarrow neckbreaker.
Following that is our first extended promo for the new faction’s leader. Young says the world is complete chaos, but the current generation will be remembered. After getting nothing by trying to do things “their” way, SAnitY is done asking... they’re going to take.
Following a break, No Way Jose is out to check on his tag partner. SAnitY is headed up the ramp, but Jose gets a microphone and tells them to come back and take a whooping. When Fulton & Wolfe head back to the ring, he says he wants the puppet master, not the puppets. EY comes through the ropes, but the bell never rings and the referee is on the floor. They start to have a match, but when No Way connects with a pop-up punch, the group attacks. Jose ends up taking a drop kick to the back from Cross and Young’s finisher.
Our first extended highlight package is for the Dusty Classic finals. It’s followed by the post-TakeOver interview where Paul Ellering says the Cup was chapter two, and chapter three remains to be seen...
- Toronto’s reception for Swann gives me a bit more hope for the cruiserweights and 205 Live than I had before watching this. They’ve got several guys who are over despite having bad or no stories for the last several months... if the WWE Network show can give them better reasons to fight each other, it may be salvage-able enough to get a good response from Air Canada Centre-sized arenas. Maybe? Right?
- That doesn’t really have anything to do with NXT, except that it seems there’s a chance Rich’s partnership with No Way Jose may be continuing. That’s a good thing, and has to be something that happens on this show - cause Jose ain’t no cruiserweight.
- Still excited about SAnitY - Wolfe’s goofy version of unhinged is especially growing on me - but I was a little disappointed by how generically chaotic evil EY’s promo was.
- Also frustrated that they haven’t developed a broader mid-card. Swann & Jose vs. Young & Co. is a great program, and I’m really looking forward to it. But it should happen after No Way Can You Handle This’ beaten somebody clean and SAnitY’s run through a couple other teams. As it is, it’s like Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode, or Jose vs. Aries... a feud neither team can afford to lose, and one where we all know who’s going over (hint, it’s the team with the more expensive ex-TNA guy on it).
Back to the business at hand for a couple segments, as the video from social media of Billie Kay & Peyton Royce asking Daria Berenato to be their partner - and Daria accepting because it means she gets to punch people - is shown. Then we get a Dasha Fuentes interview with the new team. The Australians say all the geeks & nerds on the NXT roster wanted to be on their team, but you don’t just get to sit at the cool kids table. They invited Berenato to sit with them, and once she’s done rearranging Liv Morgan, Aliyah & Ember Moon’s faces, Kay & Royce are going to make the world prettier.
From there, it’s back to recap city. All of the other matches are covered, and one fallout interview from each airs (Tye Dillinger talking about coming up short again in front of his family, Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa saying how the tag titles validate their careers and vindicate all the times they were doubted or turned down, and Mickie James on what a great experience her comeback was and feeling disrespected when Asuka wouldn’t shake her hand). The only new interview is from Shinsuke Nakamura, who says he wants his NXT championship rematch against Samoa Joe as soon as possible.
Joe will be back on next week’s show from Ottawa, and we’ll also have an official match between Eric Young & No Way Jose.
Main event time, and the babyface trio is out first with Morgan sporting Toronto Raptors-themed gear, Aliyah getting a hometown reception and Moon getting the biggest pop. The heels enter to Kay’s theme, which transitions to Daria’s.
Billie starts with Liv, who fends off some early strikes to work her high-energy offense, including a big flying head scissor takeover. Peyton joins in to try to settle things down, and both Aussies get bulldogged by Morgan. Tag to Aliyah who comes in hot, hitting an axe handle off the top and a backflip into an arm drag. The best friends turn to Berenato, who fights out of a roll-up and scores a vicious spear/double leg takedown as we head to a commercial.
Billie & Peyton are in when we return, and hit a tandem stalling suplex on Aliyah. They work quick tags and hit tandem kicks and leg sweeps for a nearfall. Daria comes in and slows things down, working a body scissor while Graves & Phillips talk up her mixed martial arts training. Aliyah fights out and creates separation with an enziguri to get a tag to Ember. Royce comes in at the same time and is the victim of several kicks, Moon’s handspring forearm and a springboard crossbody. A cover is broken up by Berenato.
Finishing sequence sees Morgan run in and flatten Daria with a STO only to catch a big boot from Billie. Instead of tagging in herself, Kay runs to grab a still woozy Berenato and force her to tag in. She backs into an Eclipse from Ember to wrap our only official match of the night in about five and a half minutes.
Ember, Liv & Aliyah celebrate while Daria seethes alone. Tom announces that Nakamura will get his rematch in two weeks from Osaka!
- It’s been around for a few days, but I got a big kick out of the Daria recruitment video... mostly because Berenato’s delivery makes her NXT’s version of Stephanie Beatriz’s Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn 99, and that tickles me.
- The extended interview with the Best Friends (if that is what we’re still going with, and I hope it isn’t) was... okay. I like Peyton & Billie and their performances, but the act is just as generic as SAnitY’s. It’s early days on both, so I’m not writing them off yet, but nothing here really excited me.
- Don’t have much to say about the TakeOver recaps, which are WWE’s usual well-produced work, or the interviews, which capably reinforce what we already knew and liked about each of the subjects.
- As the main eventers were entering, Phillips reminds that Ember debuted in Brooklyn. Which seems like a long time ago considering she hasn’t even had a feud yet. Something they’re doing is working considering how Toronto welcomed her, but still...
- Nothing really stood out to me about the match. Liv and Aliyah are completely unmemorable, and I already knew Kay & Royce could capably pull off some double-team spots.
- Hear good things about Daria from independent and house shows, but nothing she’s been given to do on NXT moves me, and I’m still struggling to figure out how her MMA gimmick fits into the women’s scene... unless she’s getting a sustained push, along with longer matches and possibly a televised shot at the champ?
- Did really like the end of the match. Moon’s moves of doom are always great (even if Berenato was in an awkward position to take the corkscrew stunner, resulting in a really weak sell) and Billie going out of her way to serve up her new partner was great heeling. Does this start some beef between Daria and the besties?
- Joe/Nak III: The Rematchening is gonna be interesting. Can’t shake the feeling they’ll put the title back on Shinsuke, but I also never thought they’d take it off him, so probably don’t worry about what I’m “feeling”.
Like last week, these hybrid clip shows are hard to judge. Almost all the new material fell flat for me, however, so I can’t really recommend this - and I don’t think it’ll change the minds of anyone who doesn’t feel weekly NXT is worth seeking out.
Share your take below, Cagesiders.