With NXT’s next TakeOver event it’s 25th, let’s look back at the 25 best matches in the WWE developmental brand’s history.
What started as a simple concept to train and develop talent for the WWE main roster has grown into its own weekly series with a roster full of talent that equals, if not surpasses, its parent company’s programs Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. NXT’s WWE Network show on Wednesday nights has become a must-watch and their frequent TakeOver specials display some of the best wrestling of the year.
On June 1 in Bridgeport, CT the 25th NXT TakeOver will air on the WWE Network. Here’s a look back at some of the matches that led up to this monumental moment. Upon doing the research for this piece I went back and watched several of these matches and I’m still blown away by the athleticism and storytelling these athletes displayed.
25. War Raiders (c) vs Ricochet and Aleister Black – NXT Tag Team Championship Match at NXT TakeOver: New York
On paper, this match looks like it would be very good but not necessarily the amazing match it became. For Ricochet and Aleister Black’s final match at NXT, they left it all in the ring and the War Raiders were more than obliged to return the favor.
Both sides held nothing but respect for each other, even sharing a fist bump in the center of the ring before some classic chain wrestling was displayed. Hard strikes were exchanged between Rowe and Black before Hanson and Ricochet were tagged in to ramp up the action a step further. Ricochet stunned the crowd as he hefted up the bigger Hanson and tossed him across the ring in a fallaway slam.
Not to be outshined, Hanson stole a page out of Ricochet’s playbook and launched himself from the ring with a flying senton that squashed everyone in his path. Black and Ricochet had the victory in their grasp as Black hit the Black Mass on Rowe and Ricochet followed by a 630 Splash. But Hanson interrupted the pinfall attempt, tossing Black from the ring and setting his sights on Ricochet, planting Ricochet him with the Fallout for the win.
This match was non-stop excitement and warranted a mutual show of respect from the competitors as Hanson and Rowe hugged Black and Ricochet and gave them a bow. A visibly emotional Ricochet remained in the ring with Black for a few moments longer to soak in the adulation from the crowd before departing NXT for the last time.