In a match as much about the spotlight as it was the NXT title, the challenger Velveteen Dream grabbed everyone’s attention during his entrance. It wasn’t the first time he’s represented Hulk Hogan with his gear, but as is fitting for TakeOver: WarGames 2’s Los Angeles locale, Dream wasn’t doing the yellow and red of Hulkamania. This was the black and white of Hollywood...
The champion, Tommaso Ciampa, didn’t seem fazed by the theatrics, or the crowd’s love of his opponent. He did look a little concerned about losing his beloved “Goldy”, however. And maybe he was right to be worried, as Dream took him down in the early going and clowned the Blackheart.
Sports entertainment was the name of the game, as character-based exchanges took as much time as wrestling ones. Ciampa got his hands on Dream’s “Hollywood” headband, so Velveteen went and grabbed Goldy. When Tommaso chased his rival to the floor and back in, Dream hit a draping DDT. Flying inside and outside the ring, it looked like we might have a new titleholder. But then he took too much time playing to the crowd, and paid for it.
One of the knee strikes Ciampa landed looked to knock Dream onto dream street, but the Blackheart wanted to punish the young upstart, attacking him on the announce table and trying to put him to sleep for real with a choke. Velveteen powered his way to his feet, and round of punches ended with a neckbreaker. There were plenty of Hogan homages in the comeback, including a “YOU” finger point and a trio of leg drops. It was spinebuster that eventually got two.
When the action headed to the apron, Dream targeted the champ’s surgically repaired knee. Ciampa actually tapped while in a ringpost-assisted, hung leg lock, but it wasn’t a legal move. The battled in a Figure Four, and then a Velveteen suplex sent both men flying over the top rope and crashing down to the floor.
Knowing he couldn’t win the title on a countout, Dream got both men back in the ring. A ref bump was teased, then Ciampa went for the roll-up, but the official realized he had the tights. Velveteen hit the rolling DVD, but Tommaso kicked out for a great nearfall. Dream returned the favor with crazy kickouts after taking a knee to the face as a counter to a move from the top, and then a Project Ciampa!
The nearfalls went nuts from there. The belt came in and while Ciampa was stopped from using it, Dream managed to plant Tommaso on it, but that only got two. The champ fought off a submission by kicking off his boot. Ciampa tried to DDT Velveteen on the exposed concrete, but the challenger fought him off and sent both men rolling over the announce desk.
If it wasn’t already bat$#!+ crazy, it got there after that. Ciampa threw something at Mauro Ranallo and started beefing with the lead commentator. The champ turned into a DVD on the concrete and was rolled in for a Purple Rainmaker.
But Tommaso somehow kicked out, then dodged another elbow aimed at him while he was on the apron.
He dragged Dream to the partition between the rings, DDTing Velveteen on the steel to finally end it.
These guys are good.
For all the results from TakeOver: WarGames 2, check out our live blog here.