NXT TakeOver has become a constant love for fans around the world due to the ability for every single one to seemingly deliver no matter who moves on from NXT. It’s a credit to Triple H and his teams that have made the term “TakeOver” a household name in the world of wrestling. The number of TakeOvers has gone over the 30 mark and each event has at least one match worthy of your time, so why not take a look at the best of the best from every NXT TakeOver ever?
From the very first inside Full Sail University to the most recent, taking place in the Capitol Wrestling Center. Here’s a look at the best matches from each NXT TakeOver event.
NXT TakeOver – Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd
Everyone likes to talk about who the greatest wrestlers are in the history of NXT lately – considering Finn Balor’s reemergence and Adam Cole continuing his greatness – but, in the early days, it was Adrian Neville’s world when it came to being the best in NXT.
Neville, better known now as AEW’s PAC, was the NXT Champion who really established the brand when it went to the WWE Network and his main event match for the title against Tyson Kidd at the very first NXT TakeOver really shows how great he was. And credit goes to Kidd as well, who found himself as a singles competitor in NXT after an up and down run on the main roster for years. These two had a classic that really helped set the bar of what to expect moving forward when it came to TakeOver.
Fatal 4-Way – Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Sami Zayn
While we are fresh off praising the greatness that was Neville in NXT, we’d be remiss to not talk about Sami Zayn.
“The Underdog from the Underground” became a household name in NXT with his matches with Cesaro and overall relationship with the fans in Full Sail and that translated to when they got to the WWE Network. When the Fatal 4-Way was made between him, Neville, Kidd, and Tyler Breeze, there was hope this would finally be Zayn’s moment to become the NXT Champion.
However, at the finish of an incredible match, it was Neville who managed to steal the win from Zayn and retain his championship in an all-timer.
R Evolution – Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn
Finally, the moment.
Adrian Neville defending his NXT Championship against Sami Zayn was special. Neville, the babyface champion who had taken on a bit of a heel persona against the ultimate babyface challenger Zayn made this one must-see. Zayn put his NXT career on the line, saying he would quit if he were to fail again.
These two went to battle like never before, coming close to winning multiple times. It was Zayn’s moment, however, as the Helluva Kick in the corner to Neville would result in the final three count and Zayn would become the NXT Champion. After the match was magical as well, as the locker room celebrated and Zayn got to enjoy it with his newly signed, Kevin Owens. Of course, the celebration wouldn’t last the rest of the night as Owens decimated Zayn, but that’s a whole other story.
Rival – Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs. Bayley
NXT TakeOver: Rival was the only event where you can see the Four Horsewomen compete in a fatal four-way. Shocking really considering how big of a match that would be now. Charlotte Flair entered as the champion while all four women had a serious gripe at becoming champion.
That night was the night for Sasha Banks as she pinned Flair to win the championship and make it “Boss Time” in NXT. As fans would learn throughout 2015, this was the beginning of WWE’s Women’s Evolution spearheaded by these four women and they would make that abundantly clear at the next three TakeOver events as well.
Unstoppable – Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
NXT has this beautiful trait of a style or feud becoming a theme of greatness on their big shows. Following the massive fatal four-way at NXT TakeOver: Rival, it was a chance for Sasha Banks to leave her mark on the division and she certainly did with her reign.
At Unstoppable, Banks faced former partner Becky Lynch in a singles match for the title that can go down as one of the more underrated encounters in NXT history. It’s crazy to look back at Lynch before she became “The Man,” but the Lasskicker had plenty of fans showing her love back then.
Banks and Lynch had the longest match on the card and for good reason, as they showed the world that they were the future of not only the women’s division but WWE in general.
Brooklyn – Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
There was not a bigger stage than Brooklyn ’til this point when it comes to NXT TakeOver.
This event left Full Sail University for the first time and entered the Barclays Center, giving it that much more importance. Then there’s the story at hand between Sasha Banks and Bayley. Banks was the definitive champion who did not think Bayley, the huggable underdog, could be anywhere close to her level. So when they entered this atmosphere, it was the classic tale of heel vs. babyface but ended up going down as one of the best matches in WWE history.
For many, the best women’s match in the company’s history. It set the stage for how great women’s wrestling is and what they should be doing in WWE. Banks and Bayley left it all out there that night and when Bayley hit that final Bayley to Belly, it was wrestling bliss as the crowd erupted in happiness.
This match changed it all – not only in NXT, but WWE as a whole.
Respect – Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in a 30-Minute Ironwoman Match
When the first is so great, it’s only right a rematch takes place. Bayley and Sasha Banks would be the first women to main event TakeOver in history as they would close the first chapter of their rivalry at NXT TakeOver: Respect.
But to up the ante, the match would be a 30-minute Ironwoman match to see who had enough to walk out the NXT Women’s Champion. From the tears of the Bayley superfan caused by Banks to the sheer brutality brought to one another, this went down as yet another classic battle between the two women.
London – Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe
Finn Balor and Samoa Joe battled over the NXT Championship for what felt to be forever and this was their first bout and their best.
Despite an early miscue that resulted in a bloodied Samoa Joe having to get cleaned up, these two were able to put on a show in front of the London crowd. Balor further established himself as champion while Joe stayed in the picture as this rivalry was only just beginning.
Dallas – Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn
Shinsuke Nakamura’s NXT debut may be the biggest in the history of the brand. The sheer excitement surrounding the New Japan Pro Wrestling legend’s arrival was high enough, add in the fact that he was facing Sami Zayn and the expectations were higher than ever.
Somehow, they managed to not only deliver but have one of the best matches in the brand’s history. Nakamura shared his signature strikes with the world while Zayn played his underdog role perfectly. It was one of the more special nights in NXT history.
The End – The Revival vs. American Alpha
The Revival seemingly started something special in NXT. An overall tag team revival per se in WWE. And they made it the best thing going in NXT for months upon months, giving must-see matches as the champions.
Their rivalry with American Alpha was one many forget because of what happened just two months later with DIY, but this was the feud that really helped awaken tag team wrestling in NXT. Just a great tag team match that had the fans on the edge of their seat from beginning to end.
Brooklyn II – The Revival vs. DIY
Magic is the word to use when it comes to talking about The Revival vs. DIY. They had something special when facing one another. Perhaps it was the difference in talent or the fact that they both wanted to simply show the world how great they were.
DIY was a makeshift tag team that showed that hard work was the only way to get the results you craved. And this first match between the teams at TakeOver set up for an even better bout three months later. But this one, with The Revival coming out on top, is fantastic.
Toronto – The Revival vs. DIY in a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls Match
Without question the greatest tag team match in NXT history. As said previously, these two teams were magical against one another. From the moment they stepped in the ring the first time to this important night in Toronto, it felt special.
The crowd was in the palm of both team’s hands as every near fall and finisher felt like the final blow. The Revival played to their heel persona perfectly, but it took every ounce of DIY to get the final fall to finally win the tag team titles.
One of those moments in NXT history no-one ever forgets.
San Antonio – Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode
Shinsuke Nakamura defending the NXT Championship against Bobby Roode went away from the usual NXT main event style and became a more old school match, as Roode worked over the leg of Nakamura for the majority of the match to weaken him down.
Eventually, Roode hit the Glorious DDT to become the champion and put an effective end to Nakamura’s run on top of the black and gold brand.
Orlando – Asuka vs. Ember Moon
Matches have to be special to make a rivalry where only one competitor wins feel great every single time. And that’s what the rivalry between Asuka and Ember Moon was. Asuka was the never losing champion while Moon was the perfect option for the woman to finally beat Asuka.
Every time they faced off, it felt like the title could switch hands. But every single time, Asuka survived with her title and undefeated streak still intact. Their feud has some of the best combinations of matches in NXT history with this being at the top.
Chicago – Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne
The match where the WWE United Kingdom Championship was made. A special night in Chicago saw Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne square off for that title in the NXT awards Match of the Year in 2017.
Bate and Dunne hit each other with everything but the kitchen sink as they created a rivalry and made themselves stars in one night. Dunne defeated Bate to become the new champion and start his historic reign as champion.
Brooklyn III – Asuka vs. Ember Moon
The final singles match between these two surely felt like it was going to be the one Ember Moon would finally defeat “The Empress of Tomorrow.” It got so close to that reality as Moon hit her finisher, the Eclipse, on Asuka for the first time and every fan in Brooklyn bought into it being the finish.
Yet, the undeniable champion managed to kick out and ultimately retain her championship in what would be her final defense of the NXT Women’s Championship before relinquishing not long afterward.
WarGames – The Undisputed Era vs. Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong vs. SAnitY in a WarGames Match
The first-ever WarGames match in WWE history happened to also be the first-ever match for The Undisputed Era on an NXT TakeOver, carrying a lot of history for the future.
This match was insane from start to finish, as the makeshift tag team of AOP and Roderick Strong proved to entertain while SAnitY showed their own greatness. In the end, it was The Undisputed Era who walked out as the winners and it was the shift that changed everything in NXT forever.
Philadelphia – Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano
If you ask ten people, at least half will probably say this match is the greatest in the history of NXT – and for good reason.
Andrade “Cien” Almas as NXT Champion was something no one had expected when he won the title from Drew McIntyre, but the champion proved it was the right decision very quickly.
When he had a challenger like Johnny Gargano, the underdog that all the fans cheered for, it felt like a perfect time to officially crown Gargano. That was not the case, as Almas put Gargano down and out to retain in an instant classic.
New Orleans – Adam Cole vs. EC3 vs. Ricochet vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Velveteen Dream in a Ladder Match
To crown the first-ever NXT North American Champion, six men entered into a ladder match. New signings Ricochet and EC3 had a chance to shine for the first time and win gold while monsters Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan were presented a unique opportunity and young Velveteen Dream could push forward his future quickly.
Too bad for all of them, it was Adam Cole’s night to shine. Cole won the title following a ladder match that saw insane athleticism, impressive crash and burns, and simply ranks as one of the best ladder matches of the past decade in WWE.
Chicago II – Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano in a Chicago Street Fight
The feud between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano was one of great value as it main evented over the NXT Championship on both occasions due to how serious the break-up was between the former DIY team.
Their second bout of the rivalry was a Chicago Street Fight with both men determined to end the other’s career. This would be the time Ciampa came out on top and sparked his rise to the NXT Championship soon after.
Brooklyn 4 – Adam Cole vs. Ricochet
Ricochet in NXT was one of the better fits in recent memory. His overall ability mixed with the fact that fans loved him made for the perfect opponent to take on NXT North American Champion Adam Cole.
It clearly worked, as not only was he the perfect opponent but the right choice to take the title off of Cole to become the second-ever North American Champion. This match has one of the more memorable moments in NXT history as the moonsault by Ricochet into a superkick by Cole remains one of the most jaw-dropping exchanges the brand has seen.
WarGames – The Undisputed Era vs. Pete Dunne, Ricochet, & The War Raiders in a WarGames Match
It’s difficult to outdo a WarGames match and, while the second WarGames TakeOver had some incredible singles matches on the card, it was the WarGames match between The Undisputed Era and their unique team of rivals that was the best that night.
The idea of Ricochet entering that type of atmosphere was enough to have anyone excited. The Undisputed Era came out on the losing side in this one unlike the first.
Phoenix – Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano
When Johnny Gargano went down a dark path to eventually team with Tommaso Ciampa, it was more so to finally win some championship gold than anything. He would become a thorn in the side of NXT North American Champion Ricochet, leading to an exciting bout between the champion and “Johnny TakeOver.”
This would make Gargano’s first singles title in NXT and was one of the best matches all year in WWE. To only think Gargano would up the anty the next two TakeOver events.
New York – Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match
When Tommaso Ciampa had to relinquish the NXT Championship due to a neck injury, it opened the door for someone else to step in to face Johnny Gargano for the vacant title. That man was Adam Cole, who had long been considered a future NXT Champion.
They ended up having a 2-out-of-3 falls match that many would agree was the match of the year in WWE for 2019. It was also the culmination of hard work as Gargano won the NXT Championship for the first time after a year-long chase for the title. It also sparked a new rivalry between these two men.
XXV – Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole
The Golden Prophecy begins. At NXT TakeOver: XXV, it was Adam Cole who shocked the system of NXT by ending Johnny Gargano’s run as champion less than two months after it began.
The crowd that night was heavily behind Cole who would begin his record-setting championship reign with a number of Last Shot knees to Gargano. While it wasn’t up to the par of their first match, it still dazzled as Cole proved he was the better professional wrestler that night.
Toronto – Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae
It felt it took longer than many expected for Stardom legend Io Shirai to find herself in NXT, but NXT TakeOver: Toronto in 2019 was the exact event she showed everyone how great she was. “The Joshi Judas” fought her former friend Candice LeRae in a singles match that tested the two of them in a major way.
Shirai picked up the win, which could be considered the win that propelled her to the eventual NXT Women’s Championship win she had in 2020. It was a classic that kicked off a streak for the women in NXT.
WarGames – Team Ripley vs. Team Baszler in a WarGames Match
The first-ever women’s WarGames came at the right time as Rhea Ripley was rising through the ranks of NXT and had her star-making performance when she helped power her team to win over Shayna Baszler’s team.
This was one of the more physical women’s matches you will see in WWE history as every woman put on great performances to make history that night.
Portland – Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox in a Street Fight
Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox were once best friends but when Kai destroyed Nox on the night of WarGames, everything changed. It led to their Street Fight at NXT TakeOver: Portland, the final TakeOver in front of a full live crowd before the pandemic hit.
Kai and Nox put on a show that led to a win for Kai when Raquel Gonzalez debuted, aiding her to a win over her former friend.
In Your House – Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai
NXT had to take advantage of the odd situation they were in and they did by bringing back the “In Your House” theme with no crowd to feed off of. And they saw the women main event for the second time in TakeOver history as Charlotte Flair defended the NXT Women’s Championship against former champion Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai.
This seemed like a match that could go any of the three ways but saw Shirai rise like a phoenix to the top of the NXT women’s division with the stunning win that was celebrated by fans around the world as a long time coming.
XXX – Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai
Shirai didn’t stop there, as her first TakeOver defense saw her take on focused challenger Dakota Kai. It was one of the more underrated matches of 2020, as these two traded blow after blow.
As we have learned with Shirai, it was going to take a lot to take the championship off of her as she used this win to solidify her spot on top of the NXT mantle and show the world how great she truly was as one of its best.
31 – Finn Balor vs. Kyle O’Reilly
There may be no more physically grueling encounter than the one between Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Championship. As O’Reilly looked to prove he was worthy of this title shot, he brought Balor to the limit.
The champion suffered a broken jaw in this match but was able to fight through to walk out still champion. It’s one of those matches you vividly remember from 2020 and is considered by some to be the best match in all of WWE last year.
WarGames – The Undisputed Era vs. Team McAfee in a WarGames Match
After his NXT debut saw him come up just short against Adam Cole, former NFL All-Pro Pat McAfee formed a team to take on the entire Undisputed Era and show once and for all that they were the new top dogs.
Unfortunately for McAfee, challenging The Undisputed Era to a WarGames match, something that has become their “cup of tea” ended up being foolish as Team McAfee came out on the losing end. This one was certainly highlighted by the heroics of McAfee who dove off the top of the cage onto all of the competitors.
Vengeance Day – Johnny Gargano vs. KUSHIDA
KUSHIDA signed with WWE in April of 2019 but it wasn’t until February 2021 that he would get his first title match on a TakeOver show and he made sure to shine his brightest against “Johnny TakeOver” himself.
It was a huge match for both men, as it marked KUSHIDA’s true arrival to NXT while it showed Gargano could still put on classics. These two had one of the best matches the North American Championship has seen as they destroyed each other. Gargano was able to survive and successfully defend his title in this one.
Stand & Deliver – WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa
When a former NXT Champion wrestles on NXT TakeOver, it almost always is a major match. And that could be said about Tommaso Ciampa, who returned to his championship form from 2018 to take on the NXT United Kingdom Champion, WALTER.
It wasn’t a battle but instead a war, as the two men brutalized each other in a match that will do down as one of the best in NXT history.
Every NXT TakeOver is available to watch via WWE Network.