February 3, 2019 – Orlando, Florida
After Takeover: Phoenix had ended, the top stars of the brand got into a brawl, mostly stemming from two-thirds of them wanting to be the North American Champion, and the other two being involved tangentially thanks to the overspill of the Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa saga. This coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the Rock vs. Mankind Halftime Heat match, so WWE decided to put on this little ditty in front of a super-hot little crowd at the WWE Performance Center.
Amsterdam Black, Ricochet & Velveteen Dream def. Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano & Adam Cole
Dream pinned Cole with the Purple Rainmaker in 16:16. This was Dragon Gate triangle wrestling done better than Dragon Gate, which isn’t entirely surprising given that you have a former Dream Gate Champion, two former Freedom Gate Champions, and all but one (Dream) DGUSA/DGUK alumni in this match. This was bell-to-bell insane action. It began as a rather straightforward six-man tag team match, which was important because it established that Gargano was still hesitant to team with Ciampa, opting to cooperate more with Cole. Things quickly broke down into a more lucha-style tag match, which would bother me except that Jessika Carr was the referee. That’s important, because it was her first time officiating a major men’s wrestling match and it stands to reason that she’d be hesitant to push these angry fellas too hard. Later in the match, Gargano was very careful not to fire-friendly on Ciampa, showing both his trajectory as a character and leading to the bad guys losing ground in the match. All of that was enough to have me marking out like a dork in the middle of a bar full of football fans as I watched this on my cell phone, but on top of that you had Dream cementing himself as a main eventer on this brand. You also had frequent shots of Oney Lorcan marking out in the crowd, which isn’t technically a part of the match but it made me really happy. *****
Tags: Halftime Heat, johnny gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Velveteen Dream, WWE