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Earlier this year, I released a post detailing why I believed the seemingly bulletproof NXT brand had taken a sharp decline in quality in 2019. Unfortunately, NXT TakeOver: Toronto II confirmed my opinion on the yellow brand's malaise. Compared to the brilliance of 2018, let alone 2014-15, the decline in quality is easy to see. TakeOver: Toronto II was the most disappointing NXT live special I've seen in years.
That's not to say the show was entirely bad, of course. The wrestling itself was for the most part on point (more on that later), with an intensity you just don't see on the main roster.
Velveteen Dream was as good as ever. Io Shirai is nothing short of a revelation in her new heel persona. She was the star of the entire show, putting on a match with Candice LeRae that was as brilliant as it was brutal. It was easily WWE's best women's match of 2019 so far, and the best women's match in NXT since Asuka's departure.
Unfortunately, the rest of the show didn't deliver the way it could have. From bizarre booking to disappointing bouts, TakeOver: Toronto II didn't feel like NXT's biggest show of the year. Instead of shaking things up, the same stale status quo continued.
Here are three reasons the latest TakeOver didn't live up to the hype.
#3 The Undisputed Era chokes again
One thing's for sure, they didn't live up to the hype.
Don't get me wrong, no one is happier to see Velveteen Dream remain as North American Champion than I am. He's easily NXT's MVP of 2019. Yet, the Undisputed Era have been proclaiming all year that they would be draped in gold. Their words have been rendered hollow. Now, it looks like they will never come true.
The result is that NXT's midcard needs repair, because thanks to something we'll get to next, the Undisputed Era isn't going away. Yet, the other members failed to live up to their hype, so there's not much room for them to maneuver. That won't stop them from taking a lot of airtime, though, even though they're basically zombies at this point.