Review: Shirai, Cole shine at NXT Takeover

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Photo Credit: Destina

Maybe the best women’s match I’ve ever seen, and an epic three-fall main event, highlighted the NXT Takeover: Toronto event Saturday night.

Io Shirai got the win over Candice LeRae in a grudge match early in the night, but both walked away winners after their classic.

Shirai, a 12-year ring veteran from Japan, made her WWE debut in the Mae Young Classic in 2017. She’d been working primarily as a babyface until her storyline turn against LeRae after Shirai came up short in her bid for the NXT women’s title in a series with Shayna Baszler earlier this year.

Shirai is clearly much better as a heel, and her chemistry with LeRae, a 17-year ring veteran who also signed with WWE in 2017.

The match was so good that you’d hope that you might get to see it again in the future on the main roster, assuming the folks at “Raw” or “Smackdown” would know what to do with them, and you can’t assume that.

The other highlight of the night was Adam Cole’s successful NXT title defense in a best-of-three-falls match with Johnny Gargano.

The stipulation had each fall being contested under different rules: the first fall being a traditional wrestling match, the second fall a street rules match, and the third fall, if needed, a steel cage match.

Gargano, surprisingly, got himself DQ’d in the first fall by using a chair on Cole, before winning the second fall with a Cole tapout.

The third fall featured not just a steel cage, but also a ladder, chairs, barbed wire, kendo sticks …

Good stuff all around.

Another set of performers who deserve to be main roster, but you also hope maybe don’t get called up, given how bad the booking is at the top level of WWE right now.

Review by Chris Graham

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