NXT TakeOver Toronto: Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano Battle for Nearly an Hour in Brutal NXT Championship Match

Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano battled in one of the most brutal matches in NXT history on Saturday night at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. And after more than 40 minutes, Cole walked out as the reigning NXT Champion when he beat the former champion in a Two-out-of-Three Falls match.

The first two falls has stipulations picked by Cole and Gargano, with Cole determining that the first fall would be a standard singles match. The champ stated in weeks leading up to the show that he deliberately chose a standard match because he a) beat Gargano in the first fall in their first Two-out-of-Three Falls match at NXT TakeOver: New York and b) pinned Gargano in a standard match to win the title at NXT TakeOver: XXV.

Gargano wound up losing the first fall via disqualification when he nailed Cole with a chair, but then started mercilessly beating Cole down to start the second fall, which he chose would be a Street Fight.

The fight quickly spilled its way into the crowd, followed by Gargano sending Cole through the Spanish commentary table. Gargano tied the match at one fall apiece when he torpedoed Cole into a steel chair that was slotted between two turnbuckles and locked in the Gargano Escape. Cole quickly tapped out.

The final stipulation, as decided by William Regal, took place inside a steel cage with barbed wire wrapped around the top and weapons attached to the cage. The announcer declared at the start of the bout that there was no escape from the cage, and that only a pinfall or submission would end the bout. The match ended when Gargano attempted to wrap part of the barbed wire around his fist and punch Cole while both men stood perched at the top of the cage, but Cole blocked the punch and caused both men to fall through a pair of tables on the ground below.

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Cole then rolled on top of Gargano to retain the title.

The overall story heading into Saturday night's show was whether or not the Undisputed Era could finally live up to Cole's prediction and capture every championship in NXT. However that dream didn't make it past the first match, as Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish failed to regain the NXT Tag Team Championships from the Street Profits. Roderick Strong didn't have any luck either, coming up short in a triple threat match for the NXT North American Championship against Velveteen Dream (who retained) and Pete Dunne.