As another night great wrestling from NXT at TakeOver: Phoenix on Sat., Jan. 26, it was time for the main event... and for Aleister Black to finally try and regain the NXT championship he lost last summer to Tommaso Ciampa.
Each man was anxious to get their hands on the other and inflict some punishment. That was done methodically, until Black dropped into his patented cross-legged pose. Ciampa didn’t respect that moment of zen, hitting the Dutch Destroyer with a kick to the head. But Aleister shook that off and went hard at the champ... a flurry of offense which included a tope con hilo on which he seemed to tweak his knee.
.@WWEAleister pulling out all the stops!— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) January 27, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/ePt5TzD6sU pic.twitter.com/M2cIqMaPd8
That injury would prove costly later, as it became the focal point of Ciampa’s comeback, first whipping Black into the steel steps, then suplexing him legs first into them.
Suplex into the steps!! @ProjectCiampa #NXTTakeOver pic.twitter.com/0EAZ75jI6A— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) January 27, 2019
As Mauro Ranallo reminded us that Tommy Sports Entertainment called his opponent a “one trick pony” who relied solely on his Black Mass kick finisher, the champ wrapped his challenger’s left knee around the ropes, the ring post and onto the announce desk.
Of course, Aleister wasn’t done. After a couple failed attempts to fight through the pain, Black finally created an opening by kicking Ciampa off the top turnbuckle, sending both men crashing to the floor.
.@WWEAleister lives!— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) January 27, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/ePt5TzD6sU pic.twitter.com/DOkDzmekR8
Nearfalls followed, but with Black unable to use both legs to bridge on a suplex cover, or sit into his side of dueling half-crab submission attempts, the end didn’t come.
An ️ for an ️. #NXTChampionship #NXTTakeOver pic.twitter.com/chRDYI2NSz— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 27, 2019
The champ came back, but couldn’t get three, even after a Tower of London onto the hardest part of the ring.
.@ProjectCiampa is positively ruthless.— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) January 27, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/ePt5TzD6sU pic.twitter.com/uikJa1iD03
A brutal striking exchange was won by Black, and led to a few nearfalls. After a moonsault to the floor, Aleister slipped on some water which was spilled earlier, and rolled into Ciampa’s Fairytale Ending finisher, but the Dutch Destroyer kicked out!
That gave Tommaso the idea to follow in his former tag partner’s lead and expose the concrete at ringside. The idea backfired when Black flew from the apron and delivered double knees to the champ, sacrificing himself when he landed knees first on the concrete.
.@WWEAleister willing to do whatever it takes!— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) January 27, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/ePt5TzD6sU pic.twitter.com/a2q7hLGGDn
Aleister got the champ into the ring and delivered Black Mass, but he was too beat up to cover immediately. Ciampa rolled over, and survived to battle on. Eventually, they traded finishers again, and each man sought to hit their move yet again. Aleister at first countered another Fairytale Ending, but his own knee wouldn’t hold for a second Black Mass, and... after saving himself earlier by using the referee as a shield, the champ was at last able to end it for good.
Then, as the logo showed in the corner of the screen, #DIY reunited on stage with their titles...
That's the end of #NXTTakeOver. pic.twitter.com/LgK4eEQeRv— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) January 27, 2019
... now what?
Find a more detailed blow-by-blow and all the results for TakeOver: Phoenix here.