Amin’s NXT TakeOver: Toronto Review: Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai


[Note] I attended NXT TakeOver: Toronto live so my review and ratings will come from both watching the show on the WWE Network and my live reactions from attending NXT TakeOver: Toronto.


Undisputed ERA came out to a big reaction. There were loud chants of Street Profit and Undisputed as the match began. Dawkins delivered a flying axe handle smash to Fish and Ford followed with a flying elbow. There was a great sequence of counter exchanges between Ford and O’Reilly. Dawkins and Ford delivered a double team flapjack to Fish. Dawkins delivered a corkscrew splash to O’Reilly in the corner. O’Reilly delivered a leg sweep for a near fall. Fish delivered a Samoan Drop to Dawkins and O’Reilly followed with palm strikes. Ford delivered standing moonsault to O’Reilly for a near fall. Ford delivered a Spinebuster to Fish, went for the People’s Elbow which got a big reaction live but O’Reilly stopped him by grabbing his leg. Ford backdropped Fish onto O’Reilly on the floor. Ford delivered a Rock Bottom but Fish kicked out as the fans chanted Rocky.” Fish and O’Reilly delivered a combo Death Rider DDT/Wheelbarrow suplex but Ford kicked out as the fans chanted This is Awesome.” Fish delivered a Super Exploder to Ford as O’Reilly followed with a diving knee drop. O’Reilly applied a Knee Bar as the fans chanted “Tap” live as Fish delivered a diving elbow. Dawkins made the save by dropping Fish onto O’Reilly as the fans chanted NXT.” Dawkins got the hot tag as delivered a Corkscrew Splash to Fish and followed with a running bulldog. O’Reilly delivered an Axe Kick but Dawkins responded with a T-Bone Suplex. O’Reilly placed Dawkins in flying guillotine as Ford made the tag. Dawkins and Ford delivered a combo Flying Blockbuster/Spinebuster to O’Reilly but Fish made the save. There was a big strike exchange between both teams. Ford delivered a Tope Con Hilo to O’Reilly and Fish on the floor. Dawkins delivered a pair of spears to both Fish and O’Reilly. Ford delivered a Frog Splash too O’Reilly for the win.


(Amin’s AnalysisFans were a bit disappointed with the finish as they wanted to see Undisputed ERA leave with all the championships. This was a very good match as everyone worked hard as there were some great sequences leading to the finish. Undisputed Era are the best tag team in WWE. A good showing by the Street Profit especially Dawkins who stood out in this match.)


Io Shirai entrance was awesome to watch live. LeRae charged the ring and tackled Shirai as the match began. Shirai teased a Sunset Flip Bomb but LeRae blocked. The first crazy spot came as Shirai suplex LeRae on the announcers table which got a big reaction. Shirai was awesome here as she posed inside the ring which got a big reaction live. Shirai delivered a flapjack and followed with a sliding dropkick but LeRae kicked out as the fans chanted “Let’s go Io.” The next cool spot came as LeRae delivered a tilt-a-whirl head scissors but Shirai landed on her feet which got another big pop live and then delivered a running dropkick. Shirai delivered a running Air Raid Crash but LeRae kicked out. Shirai went for a missile dropkick but LeRae moved. LeRae delivered chops and strikes the corner. LeRae delivered a Brainbuster but Shirai kicked out. LeRae delivered a tilt-a-whirl and then transitioned into an Octopus Hold but Shirai grabbed the ropes. Shirai went for a 619 but LeRae caught her which got a big reaction live and delivered a neck breaker in-between the ropes for a near fall. There were loud chants of “Let’s go Candice” and “Let’s Go Io.” Shirai delivered a standing dropkick and followed with a 619 which got a big reaction. The next crazy spot came as LeRae delivered a tope transitioning into a Tornado DDT to Shirai on the floor. LeRae delivered a flying double stomp but Shirai kicked out. Shirai applied a Crossface but LeRae countered into a cradle for a near fall. Shirai delivered a Superkick. The next great spot came as LeRae and Shirai exchanged German Suplex spots. The next awesome came when LeRae went for  a Lionsault but Shirai caught her and delivered a deadlift German Suplex for a near fall which got a big reaction as there were more chants of Let’s go Candice andLet’s go Io.” Shirai delivered a running double knees to LeRae in the corner. Shirai went for her Moonsault but LeRae stopped her. There was another great spot as LeRae went for a Super German Suplex but Shirai landed on her feet which got another big reaction. Shirai went for a Death Valley Bomb but LeRae countered by delivering a Poison Hurricanrana which got a big reaction and then transitioned into a reverse European Clutch but Shirai kicked out for a close near fall as the fans chanted NXT.” LeRae delivered a middle rope Swinging Neckbreaker but Shirai kicked out as the fans chantedThis is Awesome.” The next AWESOME spot came when Shirai delivered an Avalanche Spanish Fly but LeRae kicked out for another close near fall. Shirai’s facial reaction were awesome throughout the match as the fans chanted “Mama Mia.” LeRae applied a small package but Shirai kicked out. The next great spot came as LeRae applied a backslide but Shirai rolled through, maintained wrist control and delivered a Butterfly Backbreaker. Shirai climbed the turnbuckle, posed on the turnbuckle (which got a huge reaction in the arena) and delivered the most beautiful looking Shirai Moonsault but LeRae kicked for an awesome near fall as there were loud chants of NXT.” Shirai delivered strikes to LeRae. The finish was great as Shirai applied a Koji Clutch as LeRae passed out. 


(Amin’s AnalysisLet me say Io Shirai is my favourite wrestler and the reason I got tickets to NXT TakeOver: Toronto was to see Io Shirai wrestle live. This was my favourite match of SummerSlam weekend as was just incredible to experience live as the fans were going crazy with every big spot leading to the finish. Candice LeRae is an incredible wrestler as she plays an amazing babyface as she worked really hard and sold like crazy in this match. Io Shirai was simply amazing as she has the best facial reaction and everything she does inside the ring was perfect. She plays a heel but has the fans cheering because of everything she pulls off inside the ring is perfect. If people had any questions there’s no doubt as Shirai showed why she’s the best female wrestler in the world. An incredible match.)

Matt Riddle came out through the crowd which got a huge reaction live and called out Killian Dain to a fight. They brawled around ringside and up the entrance ramp. WWE officials and security came out to break up the brawl which got boos in the arena. Riddle gave one of the guards a Ripcord Knee. The brawl ended with a Dain delivered a Emrald Flosion sending Riddle and security guard crashing through a table which got a big reaction


The Mountie music played but then switched over as Velveteen Dream came out dancing with the Toronto Raptors cheerleaders. Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne also got nice reactions. Dunne applied a flying armbar but Dream broke free. Strong backdropped Dream on the ring apron and Dunne on the barricade. Strong delivered a Uranage to Dunne onto Dream. Dream delivered a middle rope elbow drop too Strong. Dream placed Strong in a Sharpshoot which got a big reaction but Dunne broke the hold by delivering a springboard dropkick. Dunne delivered a reverse moonsault to Dream and Strong on the floor as the fans chanted “NXT.” Dunne delivered an enzuigiri to Strong and a German suplex to Dream. Dunne delivered a release German suplex to Strong onto Dream for a near fall. Dunne stomped on both Dream and Strong’s hand. Dream delivered a Dream Valley Driver to Dunne. Strong delivered an Olympic Slam to Dream. Dunne delivered an X-Plex to Strong. There was a scary spot as Strong delivered a Super Olympic Slam to Dunne as Dream also leaped off the turnbuckle. There was a cool spot as Dunne placed Strong in a Triangle Hold but Dream broke the hold by delivering a Coast-to-Coast Purple Rainmaker. Strong delivered rolling elbows to both Dream and Dunne at the same time. Strong delivered a reverse Uranage Slam to Dream. Strong delivered a Tiger Driver to Dunne onto Dream. There was a cool spot as Strong placed both Dream and Dunne in the Strong Hold which got a big reaction. Dream delivered a Superkick too Strong. Dunne snapped both Dream and Strong’s fingers. Dunne delivered the Bitter End too Strong, had the match won but Dream held the referee’s hand before he can make the count. Strong went for German Suplex but Dunne landed on his feet and delivered a Roundhouse Kick. Strong placed Dunne in the Strong Hold but Dream made the save. Dream delivered the Dream Valley Driver to Dunne as Strong followed by delivering the End of Heartache. Strong had the match won but off camera Dream delivered the Purple Rainmaker. Dream pinned Dunne and got the win.


(Amin’s AnalysisThe match lacked crowd reaction early as there were some unique spots which wasn’t pulled off smoothly. But this was a very good match as everyone worked really hard as there were some great sequences leading to the finish. Dream, Dunne and Strong are all great wrestlers as it was very fun to see this match live.)


Baszler applied an armbar but Yim placed her foot on the ropes. Yim delivered a hurricanrana. Yim delivered a running boot and followed with a Cannonball. Yim sent Baszler into the ring steps. Yim placed Baszler’s arm in-between the steps and then delivered a sliding dropkick. Baszler delivered a roundhouse kick and then stomped on Yim’s hand. Baszler delivered a mid-kick for a near fall. Baszler applied a standing Kimura but Yim broke free by grabbing her hair. Yim applied an inside cradle for a near fall. Baszler delivered a dropkick for a near fall. Yim placed her thumb in Baszler’s eye and then delivered a backdrop suplex. Yim delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and followed with a tope. Yim delivered a slingshot Tornado DDT but Baszler kicked out. Baszler delivered a rising knee lift and followed with a Regal Knee but Yim kicked out. Yim applied a Tarantula against the ropes. The crowd picked up here as Yim delivered a Super Code Blue but Baszler kicked out for a close near fall. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch but Yim broke free by attacking her injured arm. Yim stomped on Baszler’s arm. Yim delivered a PK. Yim applied an armbar but Baszler countered into the Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler transitioned into a Triangle Head Scissors as Yim tapped. 


(Amin’s AnalysisLet me say this Baszler and Yim are great wrestlers and I respect their wrestling style. The problem is Baszler works a very unique style which is perfect for her character but doesn’t standout if you don’t know the style as her matches lacks crowd reaction. The other problem is the expectations for a TakeOver show is so great that any match that doesn’t hold up to expectations will stand out. I liked the match as they told a great story of both Baszler and Yim working over a specific body part which led to the finish as both Baszler and Yim worked hard.)


[First Fall] Adam Cole came out to a huge reaction. Johnny Gargano got a big mixed reaction. The match started with some nice mat wrestling. There was a great sequence as they smoothly countered each other’s signature spots. Gargano delivered a flying hurricanrana and followed with a swinging slide to Cole. Gargano moved as Cole kicked the ring steps. Gargano delivered a shin breaker onto the ring apron. Gargano applied a reverse Figure-4-Leg Lock but Cole grabbed the ropes. Cole avoided a draping DDT and delivered a Wheelbarrow German Suplex sending Gargano into the ring apron. Cole delivered a pair of neckbreaker’s for a near fall. Gargano delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex sending Cole into the turnbuckle. There was a back-and-forth strike exchange. Gargano delivered a Koppo Kick and followed with a Fisherman’s Driver but Cole kicked out. Gargano avoided a Cheeky Nandos Kick and delivered a double stomp to Cole’s knee. Gargano applied a Figure-4-Leg Lock but Cole grabbed the ropes. Cole delivered a bridging Wheelbarrow German Suplex but Gargano kicked out. Cole delivered a Bicycle Kick and followed with an enzuigiri but Gargano responded with a Superkick. Cole went for the Panama Sunrise but Gargano caught him and delivered a Sunset Driver for a close near fall as the fans chanted “NXT.” Gargano leaped off the turnbuckle but Cole caught him with a Lung Blower and followed with a Michinoku Driver but Gargano kicked out. Gargano went for a tope but Cole caught him with a jumping enzuigiri. Cole went for Wheelbarrow but Gargano countered by sending him into the barricade. There was a cool sequence as Gargano delivered a Thunderstuck DDT but Cole kicked out. Gargano went for a Slingshot Spear but Cole countered by delivering a pair of Superkicks and followed with an Ushigorishi but Gargano kicked out. Cole grabbed a chair but the referee stopped him. With the referee distracted Cole delivered a low blow but Gargano kicked out for a great near fall. Cole sat on a chair which got a big reaction live Cole put the chair away. Gargano delivered a Superkick and then whacked Cole with a chair which got thunderous boos inside the building as the referee called for the bell. Gargano’s sat on the chair and his facial reactions was awesome. 


(Amin’s AnalysisThe pacing was terrific as this was a great opening match with some awesome counters and near falls. I liked the finish of the first fall as they teased a double turn because Cole was the babyface inside the arena.)

[Second FallGargano whacked Cole with a chair which got more boos. Gargano threw a chair into Cole’s face and followed with a tope. They brawled in the crowd which got a big reaction live. Gargano delivered a Superkick. Gargano delivered a flying crossbody as both he and Cole went crashing through the barricade. They battled on the announcers as Cole teased a Fairytale Ending. Gargano countered by backdropped Cole who went crashing through the announcers table which got a big reaction as the fans chanted “Mama Mia.” Gargano grabbed a table from underneath the ring. There was a funny moment as the fans chanted “Johnny Tables.” Gargano brought chairs into the ring as well. Cole delivered a flying Shining Wizard and followed by delivering an Ushigorishi onto a chair but Gargano kicked out. Cole delivered a Superkick but Gargano countered with a jumping enzuigiri. Gargano long-darted Cole into a chair which was placed in-between the turnbuckle. Gargano applied the Gargano Escape as Cole tapped which got a big reaction. 


(Amin’s AnalysisAnother fun match as the intensity picked up another level as there were some great spots leading to the finish as Cole and Gargano worked very hard.)

[Third Fall] This was awesome inside the building as a cage with weapons began to lower. There was thunderous chants of “Thank You Regal” and then a loud chant of “ECW” broke out. Cole and Gargano had a huge strike exchange. Cole delivered a pair of Superkicks but Gargano responded with a discus clothesline. There was a great spot as Cole and Gargano whacked each other with Kendo Sticks. They delivered stereo Superkicks as the fans loudly chanted “NXT.” Gargano delivered a swinging hurricanrana and followed with a Poison Hurricanrana. There was a cool spot as Cole was seated on a chair as Gargano delivered a Superkick for a close near fall as the fans chanted “Fight Forever.” Cole rammed Gargano into a chair against the cage. Cole placed a Kendo Stick over Gargano and delivered a Backcracker but Gargano kicked out. Gargano sprayed Cole with a fire extinguisher. Gargano delivered a flying Tornado DDT in-between two chairs but Cole kicked out. There was a big pop inside the building as Gargano went to grab the Sledgehammer which was on top of the cage. They battled on top rope as Gargano delivered a springboard Super Sunset Flip Bomb but Cole kicked out. Gargano went for a Sledgehammer but Cole countered by delivering a pair of Superkicks. Cole dropped a ladder from the top of the cage. Cole delivered a Super Panama Sunrise but Gargano kicked for a close near fall as the fans chanted “NXT.” There was an AWESOME spot as Cole delivered a Super Panama Sunrise off the ladder but Gargano kicked out for a great near fall as the fans chanted “Mama Mia.” Cole placed Gargano onto a chair, went for Last Shot but Gargano moved. Gargano placed a Kendo Stick over Cole’s face and applied an STF. Cole broke free by bitting Gargano’s thumb. Gargano whacked Cole with a Sledgehammer in the ribs. Gargano set up a ladder and two tables side by side. Gargano delivered a Super Canadian Destroyer but Cole kicked out for a great near fall. Gargano grabbed a bag which had pliers inside.  Gargano climbed the cage and cut a piece of barbed wire off. There was an awesome moment as Cole and Gargano climbed to the top of cage as the fans chanted “Please don’t Die.” The finish was breathtaking to watch as Cole and Gargano yanked each other off the cage as they went crashing through a table. Cole rolled on top of Gargano, pinned him and got the win. 


Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong came out and helped Adam Cole to the back which got a big reaction. Undisputed ERA posed on the entrance ramp as the WWE Network version of the show came to a close. Johnny Gargano was shown inside the ring as Candice LeRae came out. The fans loudly chanted “Johnny Wrestling” and “Thank You Johnny.” Candice and Gargano walked up the ramp as William Regal came out which got a big reaction. Regal hugged and raised Gargano’s hand which got a huge reaction. Gargano led the fans inside the arena to one more huge chant and was teased Gargano was getting called up to either RAW or SmackDown

(Amin’s AnalysisThis was just incredible to watch live as there were so many amazing sequences, counters and transitions. Cole and Gargano are amazing wrestlers as they worked extremely hard and delivered an incredible performance for the fans in the arena. I liked the stipulations of all the matches and how they played out. The finish of the cage match was just jaw dropping as you had to be their live to see how amazing that sequence was. I also want to give huge credit to Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuiness and Beth Phoenix as they did a terrific job calling the show and especially the main event.)

[Overall Thoughts] NXT TakeOver: Toronto was an absolute joy and incredible show to watch live. The show was filled with some great wrestling matches from beginning to end. Was awesome to see Cole and Gargano wrestle live as they put on a show for the fans. My highlight of the show was seeing my favourite wrestler Io Shirai wrestler for the  first time as she’s simply amazing and was so fun to watch. I loved that match and the whole show. Huge thumbs up to the whole team of NXT.  After watching NXT TakeOver: Toronto I will say We Are NXT.”

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