Saturday sees the landmark 30th NXT TakeOver event, headlined by a championship match between Keith Lee and Karrion Kross.
There is no question that in terms of average event quality, there is no greater event brand in wrestling history. The standard of the 29 previous editions has been staggeringly high, with an incredible amount of excellent matches.
We’ve asked our team to pick their all time favourite matches. Favourite is an important distinction, rather than best (We will be doing our top 10 ‘best of’ list later in the week). We want to know which of this tremendous list of matches grabbed you by the britches and shook your wrestling fandom the most.
Here’s the list. Tell us yours by getting in touch on Twitter at @HO_Wrestling.
Paul Benson: Objectively I know it is not the greatest TakeOver match ever, there are a number better, but my favourite by far is American Alpha vs The Revival for the Tag Team Titles at TakeOver Dallas.
I was just such a massive fan of these teams and both had been built superbly. The no-nonsense heel champions who ground out victories in a manner that you just loved to hate against the likeable, fresh-faced babyface team with a real coming together story, amazing in-ring skill and all the momentum in the world.
It was so fitting the match was in Dallas, such a historic location for tag team wrestling as this match was an amazing example of old-school values and storytelling meeting new-school athleticism and creativity. The Freebirds and the Von Erichs would have doffed their legendary caps to these four guys.
The finish was the perfect one to start what is arguably the best pure wrestling card the WWE have ever produced. I remain heartbroken I was given a free ticket by WWE but was unable to attend. My biggest wrestling regret.
Jason Auld: I am going to go for Velveteen Dream vs Aleister Black at Takeover: War Games.
For me, it is the first time Dream really stood out as a performer to watch. It’s rare to see people get over in defeat nowadays but here’s a perfect example of it.
The clash of styles, with Black’s dark, occult character meeting Dream’s flamboyant, effervescent one was wonderful to watch. It showed more personality from Black and showed Dream could have a strong style match with a great worker.
Those Rick Rude inspired tights, though!
All capped off with Black finally saying Velveteen Dream’s name.
Liam Happe: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Johnny Gargano from TakeOver Philadelphia. I was there live for this one, which makes it one of the few times I would consider myself to have been there in person for what was a concensus five-star wrestling match (along with Bret-Bulldog at Summerslam 92 and CHIKARA’s Dark Ciberknetico match). I completely forgot I was watching a pre-determined entertainment show in this NXT Championship belter, which coming from me is massive as I very openly watch most wrestling, TV and movies with a full view of what’s under the hood, so to speak.
Charlie Charles: The multi-man Ladder Match from Takeover:New Orleans crowning the first NXT North American Champion was something truly to behold. There were some insane spots and bumps taken in this time, and regardless whether you watched it live in the arena, or on TV the energy was transparent throughout the bout, and is my favourite NXT TakeOver match.
Cameron James Bennett: Tyler Bate Vs Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover Chicago.
Instant Classic. British wrestling at its finest. two of the best showing the world what British wrestling is all about. Making an American crowd chant ‘UK, UK, UK’ is the most patriotic I’ve ever felt and all called by Jim Ross! Perfection.
Christopher Napier: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn. That weekend was kind of my comeback to wrestling after a while not paying that much attention and that match – between two guys I had almost zero stock in beforehand – stood out on an excellent TakeOver: Dallas card and blew the next day’s Wrestlemania out of the water. I’ve rewatched it a bunch of times and it still gives me chills.
Joshua Chapman: Adam Cole v Johnny Gargano II from TakeOver 25. The story telling was immaculate with the near falls, the tease of Gargano going to that dark place, the Undisputed Era no show that threw Johnny. It was a classic old school wrestling match that just enthralled and had you going through all the emotions possible before crowning the greatest NXT Champion of them all, Bay Bay.
Dane Nielsen: Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville was a great story and I loved how big a deal was made of both of them. I wish they’d have had more of that on the main roster. The Kevin Owens angle at the end really put it over the top for me.
Mike Paul: I’ll go Sami Zayn v Shinsuke Nakamura – Shinsuke’s debut. So much hype for Shin, his entrance (on first viewing) almost took me out of my chair, and boy, what a match.
Justin C: I think I have to go with Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks. If I take out the being there live factor, I wouldn’t have as big a connection to it. Seeing Becky Lynch win over the Full Sail crowd and arrive as a future player in the women’s division was great. I was already behind her but seeing everyone else finally jump on board was great.
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