TORONTO — The Six was ready for a party, red cups in hand as NXT TakeOver: Toronto 2019 kicked off with the arrival of NXT Tag Team Champions The Street Profits. Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford leapt into the NXT Universe to indulge a little themselves, but the party would have to be put on hold for a little bit, as The Undisputed ERA’s Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish arrived, looking to put an end to any good times.
While the challengers came into the battle thinking that The Street Profits were a joke, the champions set the tone for the bout early, letting The Undisputed ERA know that there would be no fun and games in Toronto. Dawkins & Ford put the challengers on their back foot early, but eventually, O’Reilly & Fish would use their supreme striking ability to take Ford out and take control of the match. The Undisputed ERA grounded the hard-hitting Dawkins, pummeling him on the mat with devastating strikes.
Dawkins soon slipped out of their clutches and tagged Ford into the match, unleashing his fiery partner on the challengers. King Tez staggered Fish & O’Reilly with his high-octane offense, but the challengers would soon set their sights on slowing Ford down, targeting his leg. The Undisputed ERA nearly had the titles won as O’Reilly had Ford on the verge of submission with an Achilles Lock, until Dawkins saved their championship by slamming Fish onto his own partner.
The bout eventually broke down into an all-out slugfest as all four Superstars traded blows in the center of the ring. The tides of the bout turned as The Street Profits sent their challengers to the arena floor, in perfect position for Ford to crash down on them with a breathtaking dive. Back in the ring, Dawkins took out both Undisputed ERA members with ring-rocking Spears, leaving O’Reilly prone on the canvas. Ford seized the moment, taking flight on a Frog Splash and landing on O’Reilly to get the three-count and retain the titles. After that, the party was back on, as The Street Profits went back into the NXT Universe to celebrate with the raucous Toronto crowd.
After a battle that had the NXT Universe on the edge of its seat, Io Shirai emerged victorious over her former friend Candice LeRae, and sent a clear message to any woman on the NXT roster that dares step to her.
At the start of the bout, LeRae wasted no time in going right after her former friend, tackling Shirai to the canvas before the bell had even rang. The fray soon spilled out to the arena floor as The Genius of The Sky attempted to powerbomb LeRae to the arena floor. Those attempts would prove fruitless, but Shirai would not be stopped from unleashing her fury. She grabbed LeRae and suplexed her into the announcer’s desk, the thud echoing through the Scotiabank Arena.
LeRae barely made it back to the ring before she was counted out, but she did, which left her susceptible to Shirai’s ruthless offense. LeRae would fight through the pain and go back on offense, wearing Shirai down with an Octopus Hold. The brawl eventually spilled back to the arena floor, capped off by Candice LeRae diving through the ropes, catching Shirai and driving her into the ground with a tornado DDT.
The grudge match saw both competitors throwing everything they had at each other – neckbreakers off the ropes, reverse hurricanranas and a devastating Spanish Fly by Shirai from the top rope. Despite this, neither competitor could put the other away. LeRae’s determination frustrated Shirai to no end, especially when she kicked out of The Genius of The Sky’s patented Moonsault. A furious Shirai unleashed a barrage of strikes on LeRae before locking on a Koji Clutch. Though LeRae fought valiantly, with her arm trapped, she found herself with no way of escaping, and eventually passed out in the hold, ensuring Shirai’s victory.
With that win, Shirai showed just how dangerous a competitor she can be, and how big a threat she may be to the NXT Women’s Championship in the future.
Just days after being mauled by Killian Dain, Matt Riddle made an unscheduled appearance in the ring at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, calling out The Beast of Belfast to fight him face to face. Dain obliged him, leading to a wild brawl that brought the NXT Universe to its feet.
Officials and security tried to keep the two rivals from each other, but Riddle disposed of the crew holding him back with lightning-quick strikes and the Bro To Sleep, while Dain easily fought off the guards tasked with securing him. With them out of the way, The Original Bro and Dain re-engaged. Riddle locked Dain in the Bromission, and The Beast of Belfast did everything in his power to stop Riddle from cinching the hold tighter. But slamming Riddle into the LED boards at the entranceway did little to stop The Original Bro. Fading fast, Dain made a last-ditch move with Riddle on his back, running through a security guard and diving off the stage, sending he and Riddle crashing through two tables.
As officials finally pulled both Superstars out of the wreckage, it’s clear that there may be no keeping Matt Riddle and Killian Dain away from each other for much longer.
The Velveteen Dream made his presence felt immediately, as he made a Canadian-style entrance, accompanied by the North Side Crew dance team of the NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. After the bell rang, Dunne was not in any mood for the champion’s antics, as The Velveteen Dream tried to get into his head. But after an exchange of offense from The BruiserWeight and the champion, it looked as though Dream was solely focused on Dunne, forgetting the third man in the battle. Strong drove the NXT North American Champion into the ring post, then showed the world why they call him The Messiah of The Backbreaker, driving both Dream and Dunne into the ring apron, the guardrail and each other.
The action was fast and furious from there on out, as Dream brought Toronto to its feet with a Sharpshooter, then Strong took the bout to the arena floor, where Dunne turned the tides of the bout with a picture-perfect moonsault. Back in the ring, the match turned into a straight-up fight, as all three Superstars exchanged punches and kicks.
Strong took control of the bout temporarily as Dunne focused on Dream atop the ropes, climbing up and slamming both men to the canvas. The BruiserWeight was not incapacitated, though, as he trapped Strong in a triangle hold, but inadvertently positioned them perfectly for Velveteen Dream to leap coast-to-coast with an elbow drop to break the hold. Afterward, Strong went on a tear, clobbering his two opponents with a flurry of elbows, then locking both men in the Stronghold simultaneously. Dunne escaped, then targeted the fingers of his rivals, snapping their digits to the delight of the NXT Universe.
The battle was back-and-forth as it wore on, with it looking as though any of the three Superstars would emerge victorious. Strong came closest, as he devastated Dunne with End of Heartache. However, The Velveteen Dream came crashing down as Strong attempted to make the pinfall, connecting with the Purple Rainmaker, then pinning Dunne to retain his title.
Though Dunne and Strong both looked primed to take the title, the NXT North American Champion made sure their dreams stayed just that, showing that as long as he’s champion, there’s one inevitable thing: Dream Over.
Mia Yim was not afraid to trade underhanded tactics with NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. However, that would not be enough to dethrone The Submission Magician, who retained her title by showing off a deep arsenal of submission moves.
The NXT Women’s Champion looked to assert her dominance from the opening bell, locking on submissions to torture Yim. However, the challenger would not be deterred, as she fought back against Baszler, eventually trapping the champion’s arm between the steel ring steps and the ring post, using the steps to crush Baszler’s arm.
Though Yim’s attack left her in clear pain, that didn’t stop Baszler from exacting a measure of revenge, wrenching Yim’s arm back and ruthlessly stomping it into the canvas. That move effectively put them on equal ground, each with an injured arm. Yim also gave the champion a taste of her own medicine, pulling hair and gouging eyes to keep this an evenly-contested battle.
Yim fought through everything Baszler threw at her, even as the battle moved to the top rope, where The HBIC sent the champion crashing to the canvas with Code Blue. The challenger continued to target the champion’s arm, relentlessly stomping on it while shouting “This is karma!” Yim then tried to provide Baszler with the ultimate embarrassment, locking on an armbar. However, Baszler showed exactly why they call her The Submission Magician, quickly twisting out of the hold and ensnaring Yim in the Kirifuda Clutch. However, with a weakened arm, Baszler could not cinch the hold in tightly, but was able to transition into a leg triangle hold that forced Yim to tap out.
Even with one arm hurt, Baszler showed that there are few competitors as dominant as her. Will anyone be able to dethrone her and take the NXT Women’s Championship?
In one of the most brutal NXT Championship matches ever, Adam Cole emerged victorious over Johnny Gargano by the slimmest of margins, surviving a death-defying fall from the top of a steel cage and draping his arm over Gargano to win the third and deciding fall of a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match.
Cole won a coin toss and got to select the stipulation of the first fall, choosing a classic wrestling match. Both men showed that they had the other scouted incredibly well as they each went for similar moves at the same time. Gargano would take the early advantage after evading a running knee strike by the NXT Champion, sending Cole knee-first into the steel ring stairs. Cole would not quit, though, with momentum in this all-important first fall hanging in the balance. The NXT Champion fought back and slammed Gargano back-first into the ring apron.
Cole took control of the bout from there, but Gargano would not stay down. Eventually, a frustrated Cole would introduce a chair into the battle, though he could not use it without losing the fall. The NXT Champion first used it to distract the official to hit Gargano with a low blow, then to taunt Johnny Wrestling. However, Gargano seemed to be ready to move onto the next fall, as he grabbed the chair and clobbered Cole with it, giving the NXT Champion the first fall by disqualification and advancing the match to Fall 2 – a Street Fight, where anything goes.
Johnny Wrestling continued to attack Cole with the chair, then took the NXT Champion on a tour of the Scotiabank Arena, pummeling Cole along the way. Gargano let out his dark side as the battle made its way to ringside and atop the announcers’ desk, eventually slamming Cole through one. The plunder flowed freely from there, as Gargano hurled tables and chairs into the squared circle. The challenger continued to punish Cole, eventually launching the NXT Champion face-first into a chair, then locking on the Gargano Escape to win the second fall by submission.
With each Superstar having one a fall each, NXT General Manager William Regal’s chosen stipulation would take effect. A Steel Cage bordered in barbed wire ominously lowered over the ring, with all manners of punishing objects dangling from it – chains, Kendo sticks, steel chairs, ladders and more. Neither man could claim victory by escaping the cage – only by pinfall or submission.
As the fall started, both Superstars scrambled for whatever they could get their hands on, eventually settling on Kendo sticks, both wailing away on each other until they could no longer stand. Cole threw everything at his challenger – quite literally, in some cases, like when he tossed a ladder at Gargano – and even hit him with two devastating Panama Sunrises, though nothing would keep him down. Gargano eventually regained control of the battle, but turned his attention toward punishing Cole even further, grabbing a pair of wire cutters and snapping off a piece of the barbed wire that wrapped around the top of the cage. Cole scrambled to a platform atop the corner of one cage to escape from Gargano, but the challenger followed him, barbed wire in hand.
However, the challenger would never get the chance to use it. In the throes of combat, both men plummeted from the top of the cage, crashing through a table, sending splinters flying through the cage. Somehow, through the carnage, Cole had the wherewithal to drape his arm over Gargano and get the three-count to retain his title.
Adam Cole had his hand raised in victory, but he did not look like his usual confident, boastful self as the rest of The Undisputed ERA helped him out of the ring after the chaotic battle. If Cole could survive this war and still hang onto the NXT Title, one has to wonder what it will take to knock the champion off his perch.