'NXT TakeOver: In Your House' was on the 25th anniversary of the 'In Your House' event
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NXT TakeOver: In Your House was never not going to be a great show.

The NXT TakeOver name is synonymous with great pro wrestling. And the In Your House monkier added a layer of fun that’s been missing from the black-and-gold brand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unfair to say that NXT hasn’t been good in recent weeks. NXT is and remains the best of WWE’s powerhouse brands.

But NXT needed a show to blow its audience away. And NXT TakeOver: In Your House is what NXT – and WWE in general – has desperately needed.

Raquel Gonzalez goes to choke out Mia Yim at 'NXT TakeOver: In Your House'

HIT – Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim Vs. Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Candice LeRae

Evil Candice LeRae is absolutely tiny compared to Gonzalez and Kai. The juxtaposition just keeps rolling at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

Yim and Gonzalez start, and Beth Phoenix makes “Ninth Wonder of the World” comparisons but doesn’t refer to Chyna by name. Weak.

Gonzalez destroys Yim and Nox for a few seconds before tagging in Kai. Nox goes for the chokeslam early, but Kai counters and gets a pair of near falls out of it.

Blackheart tags in and cleans house on Kai, but Blackheart walks into a scorpion kick for two. Evil Candice tags in and immediately retreats. Blackheart hits all three of the heels with a tope (suicida), followed by another from Yim. LeRae follows with a plancha on everybody before Nox hits a moonsault from the top to clean everybody out.

Back in the ring, Blackheart hits the meteora followed by a senton, but LeRae kicks out. Shotzi Blackheart locks in a submission, but Kai makes the save, and LeRae tags in Kai. The heels keep beating down Blackheart, but Blackheart finally tags in Yim, and Yim beats the hell out of LeRae.

The dragon suplex only gets two for Yim. Raquel and Nox are back in, and that goes about as well for Nox as you’d expect. Gonzalez hits the powerbomb, but Yim breaks up the pin. LeRae takes her out, and they carry their fight back toward the entrance.

The heels miscommunicate, and Kai kicks Gonzalez in the head. Blackheart and Nox dispatch with Gonzalez, and Nox gets the pin over Kai to get the win.

Solid opener for NXT TakeOver: In Your House. For the most part, it was just a lot of things happening at once, but that’s the NXT undercard for you.

Winners: Shotzi Black, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim

Match Rating: *** 1/4

HIT – Retro Commercials

Promotional consideration for NXT TakeOver: In Your House is apparently paid for by WWE ice cream sandwiches.

I mean, if you’re gonna shamelessly peddle your own wares during your own show, this would be the show to do it.

It fits the setting. And it’s absolutely obnoxious, but that’s kinda the point.

Balor sizes up Damien Priest at 'NXT TakeOver: In Your House'

HIT – Finn Balor Vs. Damien Priest

Balor wastes no time, dropkicking Priest out of the ring before the bell even rings at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

While I have time, can I ask why Priest has been raiding Rhea Ripley’s wardrobe?

Balor keeps up the heat and keeps beating Priest on the outside. But Priest whips Balor into the steel steps -hitting the shoulder Balor injured at SummerSlam 2016.

Priest stays on the attack, with a stiff forearm back in the ring. He goes to shove Balor into the corner. Balor blasts back out only to get hit by a flatliner. An Irish whip into a leaping elbow is next, and Priest stomps ye olde mudhole into Balor in the corner. Priest goes for the corner, but only gets one. Mauro keeps saying “punishment.” Like, yeah, we get it buddy. That’s his old name.

Leave the obvious mark comments to the dude in the hat.

Priest cinches in a rear chinlock, but Balor counters with a jawbreaker. Balor hits a crossbody to take Priest off his feet for the first time, but the advantage doesn’t last long. He lifts up Priest, but Balor counters into a vertical suplex that knocks Priest onto the apron. Balor dropkicks him to the floor.

Outside, Balor kicks Priest into the barricade before building up a head of steam for a tope. But Priest rushes back inside and hits a lariat. He sets Priest up for the Razor’s Edge, and Balor counters only to walk into a Broken Arrow. Next, Priest goes for the Edge again, and Balor hits a standing double stop.

Pele kick only gets two for Balor. Balor tries to beat Priest to the outside again, but Priest catches him and goes for a chokeslam. But Balor reverses into a cradle that gets two before clotheslining Priest over the top. But Priest isn’t fazed, as he’s back in the ring to throw Balor back outside. And Priest hits the Razor’s Edge on the edge of the apron!

He goes for the cover back inside, but Balor kicks out. More beating from Priest, and Balor hits the sling blade, only to walk into a pair of 360 roundhouses. But Balor reverses to an inverted DDT followed by a running dropkick.

Balor goes up top for the Coup De Grace, but Priest catches him and hits a second-rope chokeslam. He drapes an arm over, but Balor kicks out. I agree with the NXT TakeOver: In Your House crowd – this is awesome.

Priest tells the ref to stop the match, but the ref declines. So Priest picks up Balor and goes for the Razor’s Edge onto the ring steps from the apron. Balor escapes and clotheslines Priest onto the steps. Holy hell!

Somehow Priest climbs back inside, and Balor hits the Coup De Grace. He gets greedy and goes for a second for the pin and the win.

I wasn’t expecting much from this NXT TakeOver: In Your House match. And I’m very pleasantly surprised. That’s up there with some of the best TakeOver matches I’ve seen in quite some time.

Winner: Finn Balor

Match Rating: **** 1/2

Johnny Gargano challenged Keith Lee for the North American Championship at 'NXT TakeOver: In Your House'

HIT – North American Championship Match – Keith Lee (C) Vs. Johnny Gargano

I’m continually scared seeing how awesome Keith Lee is. Because I’m terrified that WWE is gonna screw him up horribly.

Also, Gargano wears a cape now. Keith Lee comes out wearing a hoodie with “Black Lives Matter” on the back, and they cut away from it every time it’s visible in full. Fortunately his tights also bear the phrase. Eat it, WWE.

Keith Lee breaks out his cat-like best at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, and it’s all Gargano can do to keep up and dodge it. Gargano runs at Lee and gets himself literally kicked out of the ring.

He goes for a tope, but Lee catches him in midair and goes for a powerbomb, but Gargano breaks free and his a superkick on the apron. Gargano tries to rush Lee again and gets set up for another powerbomb, but Gargano goes for the eye.

Johnny Wrestling tries to crawl away and escape through the house set, but he locked himself out. So Lee starts slamming him head-first into the door. This NXT TakeOver: In Your House is kinda how I imagine a fight between a brown bear and an elderly man in a wheelchair might go.

But more entertaining.

Back in the ring, Gargano tries to go for the eye, but Lee keeps swatting him away. Lee hits Gargano with the injured hand, and Gargano is able to take advantage, stomping at the injured hand. Johnny has Lee down in the corner and bends his fingers backward against the turnbuckle.

Gargano cinches a rear chinlock. Lee finally gets up to his knees, so Gargano starts literally stomping on the injured eye. He goes for a cover, and Lee brushes him off. After what feels like an hour, Lee finally mounts his comeback. Gargano keeps gripping the injured hand, so Lee starts clubbing him with forearms. Lee hits a snapping knee to Gargano’s back and neck, but it only gets two.

The Limitless One pulls Gargano up for a powerbomb, so Gargano goes for the hand again. Gargano lets the punches fly, so Lee just flicks him off. He leaps at Lee, but Lee catches him in a powerbomb position. So Gargano goes after the hand again, and Lee lifts him back up with one hand. Clotheslines from Gargano won’t put Lee down, so Lee hits a clothesline. It only gets two.

As the NXT TakeOver: In Your House crowd chants “Gargano sucks” to the tune of Cena’s theme song, Gargano tries to fight his way back up. He tries to transition at Satellite DDT into the Gargano Escape before finally landing a superkick for two. The challenger rolls to the outside for a respite. Lee goes for a tope, but Gargano reverses into a DDT.

He can’t lift Lee into the ring, so he rolls back inside to restart the referee’s count. During which time, Lee comes back to life and throws Gargano through the plexiglass! Okay, this match has gone a little long with the injury-and-recovery spots. That one spot made it all worth it.

Lee carries Gargano back toward the ring, but Candice comes out to interfere, but Mia Yim comes from behind to fight her off. The champion reaches over the rope to pull Gargano off the apron, but Gargano stabs Lee in the eye again! He hits the Satellite and goes for the pin, but Lee kicks out. Two more attempts, and two more kick-outs.

Gargano goes for three straight superkicks to Lee’s head, and Lee kicks out every time. Lee finally hits the Spirit Bomb, but Gargano kicks out. So he hits the Big Bang Catastrophe for three to retain.

This match was a roller coaster at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. The awesome spots were just that – awesome. But I don’t think we needed that many “how do I keep Keith Lee down?” spots.

Good but not great.

Winner (And STILL Champion): Keith Lee

Match Rating: *** 3/4

Velveteen Dream challenged Adam Cole for the NXT Championship at 'NXT TakeOver: In Your House'

 MISS – NXT Championship, Backlot Brawl: Adam Cole (Bay-Bay, C) Vs. Velveteen Dream

And it’s time to go cinematic.

Adam Cole enters in an Undisputed Era pick-up truck. Dream arrives to NXT TakeOver: In Your House in a yellow Lamborghini and steps out dressed as Negan.

Um. Okay. A little dated.

The referee says anything goes but the match has to end in the ring. Cole refuses to fight unless Dream ditches “Lucile.” The Dream finally agrees, and we get underway. Lighting for the match is supposed to look like it’s all coming from the cars parked at ringside, and it’s distracting.

I don’t know if WWE is trying to make this look like a CZW show or make it look as “indy” as they can, but it’s not really working.

After some back and forth in the ring, Cole decides he’s done and gets into a car. So Dream climbs on top of it and starts swinging at the windshield. And now we’re fighting further away from the ring. An SUV pulls up, and it’s apparently a lost Uber driver. Cole and Dream damage her car before the referee explains she should probably drive away.

WWE has “crowd” noise coming from somewhere. It’s supposed to sound like there are spectators, but there are decidedly not.

Cole brings the fight back toward the ring and beats Dream against a truck, telling him he should just give up. But Dream fights back and sends him to the other end of the backlot. Cole gets back to the ring and goes for a dive off the apron, but Dream hits a superkick.

With Cole spread out on a car hood, Dream sets up a ladder. Before he can dive off, the Undisputed Era pulls up for the distraction, but Dream manages to punch him off the ladder through the windshield.

Cole is bloodied on the car, so the UE gangs up on the Dream, pounding him into the pavement. With Dream unconscious, the UE starts tossing a plethora of chairs into the ring. They go to get more chairs from under the ring, but Dexter Lumis pops up and swings away at Strong and Fish before tossing them in the trunk.

The champion peels himself off the windshield and onto the top turnbuckle, with the Dream splayed out on the pile of chairs. He hits the Panama Sunrise, but it only gets two. Dream hits Purple Rainmaker, but he also only gets two. The challenger pulls Cole up, but Adam hits him in square the Bay-Bays before hitting another Panama Sunrise on the chairs for the pin to retain.

Of the four cinematic matches in wrestling to date – this, the Boneyard and Firefly Funhouse Matches from WrestleMania, and the Stadium Stampede at AEW Double Or Nothing – this was easily the weakest.

Winner (And STILL Champion): Adam Cole (Bay-Bay)

Match Rating: I don’t rate cinematic matches

Tommaso Ciampa battled Karrion Kross at 'NXT TakeOver: In Your House'

HIT – Tommaso Ciampa Vs. Karrion Kross (W/ Scarlett)

Ciampa starts his NXT TakeOver: In Your House match with fists blazing. But Kross throws Ciampa into the corner.

Kross takes a couple of chops from Ciampa before scoring with a kick and throwing Ciampa outside the ring. Then, to make everyone in the universe cringe, he slams Ciampa neck-first onto the apron. Yeesh.

Back in the ring, Kross suplexes the living crap out of Ciampa. After more beating, Ciampa fights his way back into the match and goes for the Fairy Tale Ending, but he eats another suplex.

Kross locks in the Kross Jacket, and Ciampa is out.

That’s how you blow off the first big feud for a new, big name. Ciampa, along with Gargano, defines NXT. And Kross just destroyed him in under 10 minutes.

Solid action, perfectly-booked.

Winner: Karrion Kross

Match Rating: ***

Charlotte Flair put the NXT Women's Championship on the line against Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai at 'NXT TakeOver: In Your House'

HIT – NXT Women’s Championship – Charlotte Flair (C) Vs. Rhea Ripley Vs. Io Shirai

So Charlotte murders everybody to start off the match. The NXT TakeOver: In Your House “fans” start a “You don’t go here” chant at the Queen. Is that a t-shirt for Bianca Belair yet?

Charlotte pulls both of her opponents up by their heads and threatens to do a Three Stooges head-butt. But Shirai and Ripley team up to force Charlotte into the corner. Okay, Ripley has size, height and weight, over Charlotte. Why does she need help from Shirai?

Anyway, the comeback doesn’t last long, as Charlotte throws Ripley into the plexiglass barricade on the outside. But with the champ distracted, Shirai hits a Frankensteiner from the apron, only to have Charlotte throw her into the ring post and then into the barricade.

Back in the ring, Shirai does more flippy floppy stuff, but Charlotte catches her and cinches in a Boston crab. But Shirai reverses, just in time for Ripley to run in and go wild with clotheslines before a barrage of knees to the champion’s face.

Another knee puts Charlotte on the mat, and Ripley follows up with a dropkick before taking a facebuster from Shirai. Shirai hits the 6-1-9 on Charlotte before heading up top. Charlotte moves, but Shirai lands on her feet and rolls through into a double foot stomp. A dropkick to Charlotte’s head gets two.

Ripley runs back in, and she and Shirai do the double-knock out punch, as Charlotte recovers on the outside. The champion runs back inside once the challengers get to their feet. She hits a double spear on Ripley and Shirai, but both of her challengers kick out.

So far, this is the second best match of NXT TakeOver: In Your House, behind Balor vs. Priest.

Charlotte lines Ripley and Shirai side-by-side on the match before heading to the top for the moonsault, but Shirai moves and Ripley gets the knees up. Shirai rolls her up for two, but Ripley breaks it up. Ripley lifts Shirai for the Riptide, but Shirai counters. She crawls up Charlotte and locks in a crossface, but Charlotte breaks it up and gets a two-count on Ripley.

That was a pretty good sequence.

The champion goes for Natural Selection, but Ripley avoids it just to eat a dropkick from Shirai. Shirai rushes Ripley in the corner and hits a running double knee, but Charlotte hits Natural Selection from behind for two.

While Charlotte stews, Shirai sneaks up on the champ, but Charlotte locks in the Figure Eight. But Ripley pulls her under the ropes and commences to fight on the outside. Shirai hits a plancha through the ropes and takes out Ripley, but Charlotte punks her out from behind.

It’s been a while since WWE put on a triple threat match this good. Back at the stage entrance, Charlotte throws Shirai through the window of the house, but Ripley throws a potted plant at the champion.

While Ripley and Charlotte stare each other down, Shirai has climbed to the top of the roof. And when they notice, it’s too late, as Shirai launches from the top and takes out everybody. Back in the ring, Shirai goes up top for a moonsault, but Ripley pulls her down. Charlotte tries to spear Ripley from behind, but Ripley moves, sending Flair into the ring post.

Ripley goes for a superplex, but Shirai slips under her and crotches the Nightmare. She goes for a Frankensteiner, but Ripley catches her, and Charlotte hits the Queen’s Boot to Shirai’s gut.

Charlotte chops at Ripley before climbing up top for the moonsault, but Ripley reverses and hits a super Riptide. She goes for the pin, but Shirai breaks it up at 2.9999.

Ripley goes for a big boot on Shirai. Shirai escapes it but ends up in the Prism Trap. But Charlotte runs in with a kendo stick and smacks her opponents mercilessly with it. With Ripley reeling, Charlotte hits the spear and locks in the Figure Eight, but Shirai hits a moonsault on Ripley while the hold is still locked in. She goes for the pin, with Charlotte literally tied up, and wins the title!

That was the best NXT women’s match they’ve done in years. On a fairly middling NXT TakeOver: In Your House, this was a saving grace.

Winner (And NEW Champion): Io Shirai

Match Rating: **** 1/2

The Breakdown

So here’s the thing. I know I’m a big AEW fan. But I also love me some NXT.

But NXT TakeOver: In Your House proves the point that NXT is a product that desperately needs a crowd. Generally speaking, your average AEW: Dynamite match – crowd or no crowd – tells a story in and of itself.

The NXT style demands a crowd to ooh and aah at. With a crowd, NXT TakeOver: In Your House would be a near-perfect show. Without one, it’s still really, really good. But it just isn’t the same.

All images courtesy of WWE.

NXT TakeOver: In Your House

8.6

In-Ring Action

8.8/10

Booking

8.5/10

Promos/Video Packages

8.0/10

Entertainment Value

9.2/10

Pros

  • The women's triple threat was fantastic
  • Balor and Priest put on a clinic
  • Keith Lee is the future of pro wrestling - WWE, NXT, AEW, doesn't matter. Keith Lee's the future
  • That sweet, retro feel

Cons

  • The Backlot Brawl was disappointing
  • There were a few gaps in the Lee vs Gargano match that needed filling or cutting
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