Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole went to war for NXT's richest prize at TakeOver: Toronto, but only one man could leave the show as champion.
NXT has often been defined by its iconic rivalries. In 2019, the latest of those rivalries has been between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano. The two men have been putting on match of the year contenders as they both vie to be NXT Champion. At NXT TakeOver: Toronto, they did so yet again, in a Three Stages Of Hell match.
The first fall was a run of the mill wrestling match. A stipulation Cole chose in an attempt to show up his opponent at what Gargano claims he does best. Cole actually did win the first fall, but not in the way he would have wanted. The challenger got sick of not being able to punish Cole in the way he wanted and wound up getting disqualified when he used a steel chair on the champ.
Not only did that render Gargano 1-0 down, but it also signalled the beginning of fall number two, a Street Fight. That meant Johnny Wrestling was able to continue using the steel chair to his heart's content. The former champion punished Cole as much as he possibly could before using the Gargano Escape on Undisputed ERA's fearless leader, forcing him to tap.
That meant the match had to be decided with a third and final fall. For that, NXT GM William Regal opted to have the two Superstars battle inside a steel cage. It was no ordinary cage either. The top of it was surrounded by barbed wire and weapons for the competitors to make use of. Plus, the only way to win was by pinfall or submission. No escaping the cage on this night.
The almost-hour-long match culminated with both men stood atop the cage, Gargano with barbed wire in hand. It ended with both men falling from their lofty position and crashing through a table below. Cole then used the very last of his energy to drape an arm over a motionless Gargano to pin him and win the last fall, thus retaining his title. You can stop competing for 2019's match of the year everyone, as there is no topping this.