NXT TakeOver Chicago II was a heavily hyped show (for good reason), and the event seemed to live up to all of the hype and then some on Saturday evening.
Not only was the event newsworthy for the results and fantastic matches, but it was also newsworthy for some of the appearances outside of the ring (more on that in a second).
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa continued their feud, which began last year at TakeOver Chicago when Ciampa turned on his then-partner Gargano. Following a big victory by Gargano at this year's TakeOver New Orleans event during WrestleMania weekend, Ciampa came out victorious this weekend.
Gargano seemed to dominate the final portion of the match on Saturday night, complete with hitting a devastating drop on Ciampa through some tables near the entrance way.
JOHNNY!! 😱June 17, 2018
After officials looked to take Ciampa to the back on a stretcher, Gargano's emotions got the better of him and he dragged Ciampa off of the stretcher to continue the match. This section of the bout was beautifully done, as before Gargano gave Ciampa the drop through the tables, Ciampa had peeled off Gargano's wedding ring, spit upon it, and thrown it through the air. As Ciampa was being wheeled off moments later, Gargano felt his empty finger, got angry, and went after Ciampa.
When they got back to the ring, Gargano eventually put some handcuffs on Ciampa, which played into the finish. Earlier in the bout, Ciampa had used bolt cutters to cut the ring apron off the ring itself and peel it back on one half of the ring. He also peeled back the protective padding to reveal the bare wooden boards that support the ring.
The finish of the match saw Gargano on the outside of the ring ropes stumble into a DDT from Ciampa, handcuffed and all, sending him face first into the exposed wooden boards. This allowed Ciampa to get the win and seemingly extend the feud.
Elsewhere on the card, Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream also lived up to the hype. The pair had a fantastic bout, Ricochet's first singles match as part of NXT. Ricochet ended up getting the win following a tremendous 630 splash.
In fact, no titles changed hands at this show as Shayna Baszler successfully defended her championship against Nikki Cross in another very good match. NXT Champion Aleister Black, who seems to be a forgotten man lately (even as champion) given all of the other exciting things happening in NXT, was victorious over challenger Lars Sullivan. Lastly, NXT tag team champions The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong) defeated Oney Loracy and Danny Burch in a very good opening bout on the show.
NXT TakeOver Chicago II also made news outside of the ring as Keith Lee, one of the top independent wrestling stars in the country, was shown sitting ringside as one of the newest signees to WWE NXT. Lee has competed with ROH, EVOLVE, and PWG, among others. Bask in his glory!
My friends, it's time... that I ask each and every one of you to BASK in @RealKeithLee's glory!June 17, 2018
Also shown in the crowd were Kairi Sane and EC3.1comments
Long time TNA Impact Wrestling announcer Jeremy Borash was also visible to fans Saturday night at TakeOver, appearing ringside taking photos and videos during the show. Borash also produced a very good documentary for WWE.com heading into the show on Ricochet's final 10 days of preparation for TakeOver. Borash was signed by WWE very recently.
Lastly, most of the MMA Four Horsewomen (sans Ronda Rousey) were in attendance at TakeOver to watch Baszler defend her title. WWE.com posted a video of Baszler celebrating backstage with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke.