Though it doesn't feel like it, NXT is still a developmental brand for WWE. It's a place where new wrestlers learn the ropes, while veterans get familiar with WWE's way of doing things. Takeover is often a chance for some of these athletes, whether they're new or just new to the WWE universe, to make a name for themselves.
These events usually take place during the weekends of major WWE pay per views. They've developed a reputation for stealing the weekend, so with NXT Takeover: New York set the night before Wrestlemania, we've got the best NXT Takeover matches of all time.
10 ASUKA VS EMBER MOON - NXT TAKEOVER: BROOKLYN III
Throughout her record setting championship reign, Asuka faced nearly every woman in NXT, but none presented the threat of Ember Moon. At the previous Takeover, the War Goddess came very close to defeating the Empress of Tomorrow, so she felt she could get it done this time.
The second time around she started aggressively and never took her foot off the gas. Even as the champion fought back and took control, Moon was able.to counter. Unfortunately for the challenger, no one is ready for Asuka. The Empress retained and retired from NXT as an undefeated champion.
9 SASHA BANKS VS BAYLEY (30 MINUTE IRON WOMAN MATCH) - NXT TAKEOVER: RESPECT
Following their classic at Takeover: Brooklyn, it seemed like Sasha and Bayley couldn't possibly give fans another epic chapter in their feud. However, at Takeover: Respect Sasha looked to get her title back and prove she was better in WWE's first ever 30 minute Iron Woman match.
Both women exceeded all expectations with their in ring performance, but really took things to a new level with the storytelling. Over 30 minutes, Sasha's spectacular heel work, alongside Bayley's gutsy, never say die hero elevated their rivalry to all time great status.
8 SAMI ZAYN VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA - NXT TAKEOVER: DALLAS
In his debut match in NXT, Shinsuke Nakamura took on the brand's best in Sami Zayn. Everyone knew that pairing up Nakamura's strong style with Zayn's speed and power would lead to a fantastic match, though no one could have predicted the amazing classic we got.
With many fans seeing him for the first time, Nakamura’s rock star charisma was on full display. For Zayn this was the beginning of his transition to the main roster, so he definitely wanted to put on a show. In the end, Nakamura got the win, but this match also cemented Sami's NXT legacy.
7 SAMI ZAYN VS CESARO - NXT ArRIVAL
In its very first special event, NXT opened with two of its best in Sami Zayn and Cesaro. The pair had previously put on a match of the year candidate during a 2 out of 3 falls contest on NXT TV. This contest was the culmination of a feud where Zayn just wanted the respect he felt he'd earned.
The story of Zayn fighting through an injured knee as the powerful Cesaro executed various surgical strikes on said knee was brilliantly told. Watching this leaves no doubt as to why the two went on to championship success.
6 THE REVIVAL VS DIY (2 OUT OF 3 FALLS) - NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO
Honestly, we could have done a whole list of matches that featured either Johnny Gargano or Tommaso Ciampa. From tag team to singles competition, everytime these guys are at Takeover, it's a match of the year nominee.
During their feud with The Revival, Gargano and Ciampa made themselves household names among wrestling fans. Like most 2 out of 3 falls matches, this came down to the third fall, which on it's own could have been a match of the year. It ended with a spectacular double submission from DIY, and Gargano and Ciampa’s names etched in the Takeover history books for the first time.
5 ALEISTER BLACK VS VELVETEEN DREAM - NXT TAKEOVER: WARGAMES
Two of WWE's most fascinating characters battled it out when Velveteen Dream challenged Aleister Black. The up and coming Dream wanted Black to say his name, even if he had to beat it out of him.
What helped make this match so good was the great story these two told leading up to it. Every encounter made this seem like the most important match on the card. High impact moves combined with what announcer Mauro Ranallo called a “striking smorgasbord” made this culmination of the rivalry of the year unforgettable. This was just a remarkable showcase that advanced both their careers.
4 BAYLEY VS SASHA BANKS - NXT TAKEOVER: BROOKLYN
NXT is full of defining moments for its stars, however Bayley vs Sasha at Takeover: Brooklyn was a defining moment for the company and the entire women's division. Bayley and Sasha put on a five star instant classic that demanded the wrestling world's attention.
Sasha threw everything she had at Bayley, even attempting to re injure her hand. Bayley countered by locking Sasha in her own finisher. Eventually Bayley won, becoming the new women's champion, but the celebration of all four horsewomen made it clear this was more than just another wrestling match. It was the start of a revolution.
3 JOHNNY GARGANO VS TOMMASO CIAMPA (UNSANCTIONED MATCH) - NXT TAKEOVER: NEW ORLEANS
Former tag team partners Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa had a rivalry a year in the making. When a knee injury forced him to leave, Ciampa brutally attacked his partner, violently ending their friendship.
Upon his return, Ciampa did some of the greatest heel work we've ever seen, pushing Gargano past his limits. Everything came to a head in an unsanctioned match, where anything goes. Despite the brutality of the contest, what quickly became clear was that their chemistry as partners made them even better enemies. Though this feud has been temporarily put on hold due to Ciampa's neck surgery, we think it will just go on for the rest of their careers.
2 JOHNNY GARGANO VS ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS - NXT TAKEOVER: PHILADELPHIA
In recent months Johnny Gargano has been calling himself Johnny Takeover. Considering he's on this list three times, we can't really argue with him. That being said, his match versus Andrade Cien Almas is the best of the best.
It took Almas awhile to find himself in NXT, but once he did, fans discovered why he was one of WWE's best rising stars. The story of whether Johnny could actually beat Andrade was even tied back to his ongoing issues with Tommaso Ciampa. For over 30 minutes these men left everything in the ring during what became 2018’s NXT match of the year.
1 PETE DUNNE VS TYLER BATE - NXT TAKEOVER: CHICAGO
Fresh off the battle they had in the finals of the United Kingdom Tournament, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate came back even better in the rematch.
This match had everything. The strength of Bate, the joint manipulation of Dunne, submissions, near falls and straight up fighting. It's the kind of match you can't look away from for a second, because you will miss something amazing. With a Bitter End Dunne won the UK championship and as of this writing has held it for well over 600 days. It was no surprise when this was voted 2017’s NXT match of the year.