Okay, so I was LIVE at Takeover last night, and had to take a train, to take a train, to drive another hour and a half to get home, so I wound up in bed at about 3AM. That's why you're getting this report now, instead of at any kind of timely interval.
So, y'all probably saw the show, but it is an experience live. We had pretty good seats on the floor, far right corner away from hard camera. We had one opportunity to be on TV, but we were sitting down like dopes, and so instead you get a great shot of a super cool German guy who was standing up in front of us. We were actually in a pretty international section, with a bunch of folks from different countries who came in for the full four-show weekend. Everyone was super excited for the start of Mania weekend, too, so it wasn't surprising that the noise came through on TV.
The dark matches will probably all see air on NXT tv, so I won't go into them, but it was fun to be a part of that part of the show, too.
The first match saw the War Raiders go over the departing team of Ricochet and Aleister Black. War Raider's entrance is very cool to see live, and I can't believe that anyone knows the words to Black's theme, let alone that many people. The match was BANANAS. In what would be a trend for the rest of the evening, the crowd (and me, too) bought EVERY false finish. I'm glad that they pulled the camera wide after the match so that it caught the whole arena sending off Black and Ricochet. We were actually close enough on the floor to visibly see Ricochet's tears after the match. I think his time in NXT really meant a lot to him.
Despite the fact that the first match was exhausting, the next one up was Dream/Riddle. The camera didn't quite catch how loud the crowd was for this one, especially the section we were in. The dueling chants were so loud and so clear in the arena. Dream's entrance was great on TV, but was even better live, and the one thing the camera didn't catch was when Dream tossed his Statue of Liberty headband, it went back about 25 rows. It was a perfect toss. The crowd was half-deflated when Riddle grabbed the Bro-mission, but turned electric when Dream reversed for the roll-up. The guy two seats over from me was the happiest person on the planet when he won.
Next was Dunne/Walter. Crowd sounded fine on TV, but was actually a little quiet in the arena versus the previous match. I think everyone was still into it, but were just a little bit burned out from the first two matches. Well, everyone except me and the German dude in front of me. We were super into it, and he was, of course, pulling for Walter, while I was pulling for Pete Dunne. I knew that now was the time, if there was ever going to be, for Dunne to lose, but also, I feel like Pete Dunne should never lose. Ever. This was a super violent match live - we could hear every hit. German dude was ecstatic when Walter won. I hope Pete Dunne winds up on 205 Live to fight Buddy Murphy.
Oh, I forgot to mention our special guests, and I'm not sure how many of them got mentioned on TV. I know that Kushida did, but Toni Storm and Piper Niven(!) were both there, too, as were Edge and Beth Phoenix. Edge and Beth actually walked right past us on their way out - Guy who loves Velveteen Dream actually managed a perfectly timed selfie with Edge as he went by! He had a pretty good night.
Anyhoo, the women were up next, and frankly this was my least favorite match of the night - 7 thumbs up. Muli-person matches are always kind of a cluster, and this wound up being a little rushed. The only spot anybody's going to be talking about is the double KoD that Bianca hit on Io and Kairi. Shayna retains, and I assume she shows up on Monday with the NXT title in hand.
Main event. This one was BONKERS. The crowd was, shockingly, shockingly partisan for Adam Cole. TV kind of reflected this, but it was even louder live. I literally couldn't cheer for Johnny at the start of this, because the Adam Cole chants drowned me out, even in my own ears. I'm not joking. I couldn't hear myself cheer for Johnny. As the match went forward, the Johnny Wrestling chants got louder and louder, until we finally got to the finish. Honestly, 2 out of 3 falls isn't my favorite stipulation, and I don't think this match was particularly great until the last 20 minutes. It was essentially Shawn Michaels vs. Shawn Michaels, as agented by the actual Shawn Michaels, so the math on that kind of checks out. Crowd bought every nearfall at the end, and fucking lost their minds every time Johnny kicks out. We were all still talking about how mentally exhausted we all were trying to take the subway out of Barclays. Anyhoo, Johnny fought off the Undisputed Era, and almost lost, ate a Last Shot, and almost lost (and HOLY SHIT did I think it was over there), and finally, finally got the submission with the Gargano Escape. Crowd lost it. EVERYONE was cheering for him then, even all the guys around me positively draped in UE merch. There was a guy in the row in front of me who'd been shit-chanting Johnny the entire match, and he STARTED the "Johnny Johnny" chant that you can hear the crowd doing at the end of the show. I, of course, am dying at this point - you may remember that Johnny Wrestling is now my favorite wrestler, it was a whole thing, that's why I was in the crowd in the first place. I was even fortunate enough to get one of those Iron Man Johnny emojis at the start of the show - there was a girl handing them out before we even started taping. So this was a great moment for me, but even greater was when Ciampa came out on the ramp and we got the hug, which more than the fight was something I wanted to see back when I got the tickets. That's right; you heard me.
So, that was the show. I don't know if it was the greatest Takeover of all time, but it certainly was the best (only) one I've ever been to. It was a killer show live, and I hope everyone at home loved it too.
So what, now they move them to RAW as punishment? Poor Joey Mercury ... that guy has been one of the unsung heroes for the SD roster. Provided that the MNM team is done, maybe he'll at least get a chance to go to ECW as Joey Matthews.