The last NXT before TakeOver!
NXT TakeOver: Portland is days away but there’s still one last stop! Will Angel Garza or Lio Rush grab themselves a shot at the Irish Ace?
- Roderick Strong VS Bronson Reed; Strong wins.
- Candice LeRae VS Dakota Kai; Kai wins.
- Johnny Gargano VS Cameron Grimes; Gargano wins.
- NXT Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s match: Angel Garza VS Lio Rush; Lio wins and will challenge Jordan Devlin for the title next week.
- Bianca Belair VS Santana Garrett; Belair wins.
- KUSHIDA VS Adam Cole; Cole wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roderick Strong heads to the ring!
Fans chant “Velveteen! Velveteen!” because clearly, the return of the Experience left the Undisputed Era’s Savior of the Backbreaker in a bad mood. Strong doesn’t want to insult his friends, but this isn’t about the Undisputed Era, or even about Keith Lee and the Norther American Championship. Strong says this is between him and Dream! This is about Dream putting Strong’s wife and son on his tights! That is disrespectful! But Strong should’ve figured Dream would cross that line. “So Dream, what I’m going to do, is I’m going to hurt you!” Strong will not regret what he does, but he first demands an apology!
But before Dream, here comes BRONSON REED! Reed says Dream ain’t the only man Strong has a problem with. The resident thicc boi of NXT has beef with Strong after last week, too! And they’re going to fight TONIGHT, and NOW!!
Roderick Strong VS Bronson Reed!
Reed rushes the ring and the brawl is on! A ref hurries in and rings the bell, will Strong survive Aussie Strong Style?
Strong clubs away on Reed but Reed throws body shots and forearms! Reed has Strong in the corner but Strong hits back! Fans cheer for “Thicc Boi Jesus!” as Strong pulls Reed’s jacket off. Strong throws the jacket, to get run over by Reed! Reed headbutts Strong over and over in the corner, then grinds in a knee! The ref backs Reed up, but Reed brings Strong up for a scoop slam! And elbow drop! Reed drags Strong up to cub him back down, and Strong flounders to a corner. Strong elbows and BOOTS and CHOPS Reed back! Strong throws forearms and knees then puts Reed in a corner. He CHOPS Reed again, but Reed headbutts Strong back down!
Reed CHOPS Strong in a corner, but Strong CHOPS back! Strong CHOPS again, but Reed knees low. Reed stalks Strong to a corner to whip him corner to corner, and then scoop for a sidewalk slam! Fans cheer as Reed looms over Strong. Reed puts Strong’s shirt over his head to blind him, and cranks the neck! Reed CLUBS Strong hard on his chest! Strong flounders around blindly but Reed headbutts him into a corner. Reed puts Strong on the apron, drags him up by that shirt, but Strong kicks at Reed’s legs. Strong keeps on the knees and Reed hobbles away. Strong hammers and CHOPS in the corner! He climbs up to rain down rights on Reed, but Reed kicks back.
Reed DECKS Strong with a right, then clubs him down to ropes. Reed brings Strong up to fish hook the face! The ref counts but Reed lets up at 4 while fans chant “THICC! THICC!” Reed corner splashes Strong and then stalks him as he crawls. Reed clubs Strong down then whips him corner to corner. Strong bounces off buckles hard but Reed just keeps clubbing him on the back. Reed brings Strong up to wrench and whip again. Strong hits buckles hard and then hits the mat. Cover, TWO, but Reed keeps his cool.
Reed clamps onto Strong with a rear bearhug and squeezes tight. Strong endures and fans rally up. Strong pries at the hands and pulls on fingers. He CHOPS Reed then runs, but Reed DECKS him with a right! Reed brings Strong up to suplex and hold him up! After a count of 30, Reed drops Strong down! Strong is red in the face and wobbly as he gets to a corner. Reed runs in but his hip attack misses as Strong bails out. Reed just goes to the apron for a FLYING shoulder! Auzilla has Strong down and out as NXT goes picture in picture.
Strong crawls back towards the ring but Reed puts him in. Reed gets in but Strong bails back out. Reed pursues, but Strong grabs at the legs! But Reed swats Strong away first! Reed keeps on Strong with CHOPS and headbutts around the way! Reed runs but Strong evades, sending Reed into the steel steps! Strong then RAMS Reed into the steps again! The ref checks on Reed but he’s okay to continue. Strong staggers to his feet and hobbles over to bring Reed up. But Reed is the one who puts Strong in the ring, only for Strong to stomp him down! Strong stands on Reed’s head! The ref counts and Strong lets up at 4.
Reed ends up in a corner but Strong is on him with clubbing forearms and CHOPS! Strong clubs, chops but Reed headbutts! Strong comes back with forearms and knees at the ropes. The ref reprimands but Reed hits back. Reed backs Strong into a corner and rams him into the corner. Strong knees back then throws elbows. Reed SLAPS Strong then whips him to ropes. Strong sunset flips but Reed sits on him! Cover, TWO!! Strong survives being squashed under Auzilla’s thickness, but both men stand. Reed throws a forearm and then another. Strong dodges to BOOT and enziguri! OLYMPIC SLAM!? Cover, TWO!! Strong hammers away on Reed out of frustration, and then clamps on with a camel clutch.
Reed endures as Strong cranks him back. Reed powers up and gets to his feet to fight out. NXT returns to single picture as Reed back suplexes Strong down! Both men stir as fans rally up. Strong throws a forearm, Reed ROCKS him with one! Strong tries again but Reed DECKS him! Reed rallies and whips to DECK Strong again! Atomic drop and a bionic elbow send Strong to a corner. Reed corner splashes then hop attacks! Cover, TWO! Strong still lives but Reed brings him up again. Reed suplexes but Strong slips out to throw forearms. Reed back elbows hard but Strong fires off elbows from all sides! Only for Reed to fireman’s carry and snake eyes, LARIAT! Cover, TWO!!
Strong crawls away as Reed stands. Fans are fired up for Reed as he stalks up behind Strong. Reed pulls Strong up but Strong mule kicks back! Strong runs into the spinning powerslam! THICC SENTON! The straps come down! Reed heads up top but Strong throws an uppercut! Strong climbs up to join Reed, but Reed fights back with body shots. Reed shoves Strong down but Strong ENZIGURIS back! Strong climbs up again, SUPERPLEX!! The ring survives the impact as Strong covers, TWO!! Reed still lives and fans are firing up. “This is Awesome!” as Reed bails out and Strong wrecks him with a dropkick! But then Dream makes his presence known! Strong waits but sees no sign of Patrick Clarke, so he turns around, into Reed’s THICC BOI TOPE!!
Reed drags Strong up and into the ring to then head up top! AUZILLA SPLASH GETS A STRONG KNEE!! Cover, Strong wins!!
Winner: Roderick Strong, by pinfall
Strong snatches victory from the jaws of defeat! Dream’s mind games didn’t work, so Dream has a message for Strong. “Do you remember the first time you met your wife, Marina?” Because Dream remembers. Dream also remembers what the Undisputed Bullies did to him. It was brilliant, really. Strong took Dream tot he top of the trailer to throw him off. That nearly broke Dream’s back and nearly ended the Experience. But what if someone took something from Strong? Strong lost the title, that’s fine. But Strong still has his family. A wife and a little baby boy. What if something happened to Strong? Because if anything ever did happen, someone somewhere would fulfill all of Marina’s dreams.
Strong is furious as Dream again shows the airbrushed portrait of the Strong family with Dream on his leg! Strong runs backstage, but will he find Dream before the end of the night?
The Broserweights are headed to NXT TakeOver: Portland!
The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners are very confident they’ll win the NXT Tag Team Championships. But the question is, how do they get the Dusty Cup from Full Sail in Orlando, Florida, all the way to Portland, Oregon? Flying isn’t an option, but Matt Riddle has two words for Pete Dunne: “Road trip!” Oh no…
Riddle loads the cup in the back of their convertible and they take off! Dunne drives during the night, but forgets that this is America, not “Foggy London town!” Drive on the right side of the road, literally. Dunne’s not even from London. Whatever! The point is, after getting near death experiences out of the way earlier, this will be smooth sailing from here on out. Until the cops show up… Ten and two, bro! Let Riddle do the talking.
“This is the last time you do the talking.” Their car gets impounded because neither of them had a license! Riddle expected better from Dunne. Well if Riddle’s so smart, how are they getting to Portland now? They’ll brainstorm that. But with only 4 days left, will they be able to cover the rest of this Broserweight road trip in time?
NXT returns with a backstage interview of Angel Garza.
The former Cruiserweight Champion looks for redemption tonight against the man he dethroned in Lio Rush. The rivals face each other in tonight’s #1 Contender’s match, but Garza points out how Garza didn’t truly lose at Worlds Collide. Jordan Devlin didn’t pin or submit Garza, no, he got the win off Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. And Garza’s already beaten Lio once, so he’ll do it again.
But Lio comes in, not to fight but to talk. “You know that guy that you beat for the Cruiserweight Championship back in December? That’s not the same guy that you’re facing tonight.” Lio has been thinking about the title, and has become faster and stronger, believe it or not. And whether Garza likes it or not, Lio is the one getting that title back. Lio leaves but Garza grins. Who steps up to then face The Ace down the road?
Candice LeRae VS Dakota Kai!
Before the Team Kick Civil War takes place in a Street Fight, Dakota must face someone else she betrayed in Mrs. Wrestling! Will Candice get her pound of flesh from Dakota before Tegan Nox gets the rest?
The bell rings and #CapKota runs at Candice! Candice avoids the bicycle boot to hop on for a Code Breaker! Dakota goes to a corner, Candice runs in but Dakota gets clear. Dakota goes Around the World to BOOT Candice down! She goes side-to-side but Candice BOOTS back! Dakota bails out, Candice builds speed, and DIVES! Direct hit sends Dakota into the barriers and Candice gets back in the ring. But Dakota trips Candice up, spins her around, only for Candice to kick first! Dakota is down again as Candice builds speed and DIVES again! Another direct hit and fans fire up!
Candice keeps going, and she DIVES! The hat trick is complete and fans are loving this! Candice grins, she wants to start a new trilogy, and DIVES for a fourth! Candice puts Dakota in then climbs up top. Missile dropkick hits! Cover, TWO! Dakota crawls but Candice stalks behind her. Candice grabs a leg but Dakota pushes her away. Dakota yanks Candice into the ropes! Dakota goes to the apron to KICK Candice back in! Then she grinds a boot into Candice’s chest in the corner! The ref backs Dakota off but Dakota comes back for more. The ref counts, Dakota lets up at 4, then puts Candice in the corner. Dakota chokes with her hands, then runs in, to get an elbow!
Candice checks her face while Dakota staggers away. Candice climbs, Dakota rocks her first! Dakota climbs from the apron side, and fans fear what Dakota is aiming for. Candice resists the superplex and clubs Dakota down. Dakota BOOTS back and Candice tumbles to the apron! Dakota pulls Candice in to choke against ropes, but she lets up at 4. The ref warns Dakota as she pulls Candice in, but it’s just for a cover. TWO, and Candice crawls to the apron. Dakota stomps Candice then puts her through ropes. Dakota runs but Candice dodges, the boot goes into buckles! Candice ignores her bloody nose as she goes up from the outside. Dakota forearms Candice away and then YANKS her into buckles! Candice is down as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns and Candice runs corner to corner to back elbow Dakota! Candice snapmares and dropkicks Dakota down! Fans fire up as Dakota flounders to a corner. Candice puts Dakota up top and then climbs up to join her. Candice takes Dakota on Mrs. LeRae’s Wild Ride! The SUPER swinging neckbreaker hits, but Candice isn’t done there! LIONSAULT FLOPS! Dakota hops on, but Candice pushes her off. Dakota sweeps the legs, but the buzzsaw misses! Candice pump handle GERMAN SUPLEXES! Then borrows a move from husband Johnny Wrestling, the GargaNO Escape!! Dakota endures the submission as fans rally and chant! Dakota drags herself over to ropes, but Candice rolls her away! But Dakota keeps trying, and then pulls hair to get the roll up! DAKOTA WINS!
Winner: Dakota Kai, by pinfall
Candice is furious, she pursues the captain! Dakota backs down, but then throws Candice into the ring bell! Candice’s bell is rung, but then Dakota takes the actual bell to JAM Candice in the ribs! Fans boo as Dakota gets dark. But here comes Tegan! Tegan decks Dakota and then rains down angry fists! Security rushes out but fans want to “Let Them Fight!” Dakota doesn’t want none, but Tegan CLOBBERS her at the ramp! The Street Fight is coming and Dakota will have to face retribution! Will the Shiniest Wizard rid Tegan of Dakota’s darkness?
NXT shares backstage footage of a live event from this past Sunday.
Cameron Grimes got in the face of Johnny Gargano, arguing about that while Gargano is facing Finn Balor in Portland, the Carolina Caveman would not be overlooked. Grimes has Gargano’s attention, but will he regret riling up the Rebel Heart?
Johnny Gargano VS Cameron Grimes!
NXT TakeOver: Portland will see two men who carried the brand on their backs battle it out, but tonight is no mere tune-up for #JohnnyTakeover. Will Gargano avoid a Cave In? Or is this the night Grimes finally breaks out?
The bell rings and Gargano circles with Grimes. They tie up, Gargano wrenches to a wristlock but Grimes slips around to a waistlock. Grimes slams down Gargano but Gargano reaches back to snapmare. Gargano chinlocks but Grimes gets the ropebreak. The ref has them break and fans duel. Grimes and Gargano circle and tie up, Gargano gets the leg to trip Grimes up. Gargano shifts from the toehold to a deathlock to a Trailer Hitch leglock! Grimes endures and reaches for ropes, going around the ring to then back up and pull on Gargano’s ear. Gargano wrenches the hold so Grimes gets the ropebreak instead.
Fans duel as the two men circle again. Grimes shoots in, waistlocks and slams Gargano again! Grimes floats to a facelock but Gargano turns it around to his own. Gargano holds on as Grimes rolls around, and keeps his legs out of reach. They roll together again, but Grimes powers up to power out of the headlock. Gargano arm-drags then wheelbarrows to another arm-drag! Drop toehold and mount to a body scissors. Grimes escapes that but gets caught into a crossface! Gargano cranks back but Grimes goes around, only for Gargano to grab the other arm and a chinbar! Gargano is showing off his submission game, but Grimes keeps fighting.
Grimes rolls but no cover, as Gargano chinlocks again. Gargano wants his signature hold but Grimes powers up and out again. Grimes kitchen sink knees Gargano down! Grimes clamos onto Gargano with an armlock of his own. Fans chant “That Was Grimy!” as Grimes grinds knuckles into Gargano’s head. Gargano fights his way up but Grimes whips. Gargano slips out of the scoop and waistlocks. Grimes standing switches but Gargano bucks him off. Gargano runs in to huricanrana! And a dropkick! Grimes staggers but Gargano clotheslines him out! Grimes is still on his feet so Gargano slingshots over. Gargano lands on the apron when Grimes evades, and then Gargano hops over the sweeping clothesline to mule kick!
Grimes staggers around, Gargano CANNONBALLS! Fans fire up as Johnny Wrestling rests against railing. Gargano takes his time returning to Grimes and bringing him around the way. He puts Grimes on the railing to CHOP! Gargano refreshes the count to give the fans “One More Time!” CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Grimes can barely stand as Gargano CHOPS him again! Gargano sits on the apron to shout out Ciampa then puts Grimes back in. Gargano shoulders and slingshots, but no DDT! Grimes THROWS Gargano then LARIATS! Grimes is back in control as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns as Grimes drags Gargano up. Gargano headbutts and headbutts then whips. Grimes reverses, Gargano tumbles up and back into a GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Grimes grits his teeth as he watches Gargano go to the apron. Grimes stalks over but Gargano throws forearms. Gargano slingshots but his spear is caught! Grimes gut wrenches but Gargano rolls him up, TWO! Gargano boots from the corner then hops up, TORNADO COMPLETE SHOT! Fans fire up as Gargano stands and avoids Grimes’ punches. Gargano bobs ‘n’ weaves with Grimes to then full nelson and spin into a dragon sleeper. Backbreaker to suplex, gourd buster to BUZZSAW! Gargano runs as Grimes staggers, Gargano LARIATS Grimes inside-out!
Full Sail fires up as Grimes rolls out of the ring. Gargano builds speed to go to the corner. Grimes gets back in, but turns around into the slingshot SPEAR! Cover, TWO! Gargano keeps his cool and he drags Grimes up. Gargano full nelsons but Grimes grabs the ropes, so Gargano kicks Grimes’ arms away. Grimes whips Gargano away but Gargano goes up and over to roll, but the kick misses! Dead lift but Gargano victory roll counters, TWO! Gargano runs, tilt-o-whirls, but into Grimes’ SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Grimes can’t believe it, but fans rally up as he slowly stands. Grimes drags Gargano up, whips again, but Gargano ROCKS him with a forearm! But Grimes comes back with a SUPER forearm!
Both men stagger about, Gargano enziguris! Gargano runs, avoids a kick, avoids Grimes and redirects. They both keep following, COLLISION COURSE! Cover, TWO!! Grimes almost had Gargano there, but fans are loving “NXT! NXT!” for this one. Grimes rains rights on Gargano as fans rally and duel. The Technical Savage whips Gargano again, but Gargano holds ropes to avoid the stomps! Gargano SUPERKICKS Grimes, but Grimes SUPERKICKS back! Gargano rebounds and spins, into a scoop and swing, that Gargano turns into a DDT! Grimes flounders about and Gargano fires up in the corner! Fans fire up with him, but Grimes ROUNDHOUSES!
Grimes runs, but Gargano gets under the Cave-In! Tilt-o-whirl takedown, GargaNO Escape!! Grimes taps right away, Gargano wins!!
Winner: Johnny Gargano, by submission
Johnny Wrestling got a gritty fight out of Grimes, but he comes out on top! “Finn, I hope you’re watching!” This Sunday in Portland, the Prince will learn why Gargano IS Johnny TakeOver. Will Gargano be able to keep February 16th from becoming a Bloody Sunday?
Backstage interview with Adam Cole!
With just days before he defends the NXT Championship against Tommaso Ciampa, Cole faces Kushida in the main event. Cole tells Strong, who paces in the background, to not worry about Velveteen Dream. The Undisputed Era will settle things with Dream soon enough. As for Kushida, Cole will teach him a lesson, and then will teach Ciampa that same lesson in Portland. Cole is sick and tired of “the same song and dance” that Ciampa never lost the title and that he “wants his life back.” This is Cole’s life! Cole’s life is being the greatest NXT Champion ever!
But Cole gets it. Ciampa will do whatever he has to in order to become NXT Champion again. But Cole will do whatever he has to in order to stay NXT Champion. But will Cole keep his focus on the Super Junior tonight?
The Broserweight Road Trip continues.
So apparently, Riddle’s “brilliant plan” to get to Portland is on a boat? Don’t be a silly goose, Dunne. Mostly because they’re in a paddle powered swan boat. The plan isn’t for a boat, this is just Riddle chilling. They need to chill, relax and rethink their travel plans. Riddle starts thinking, and he gets an idea! But what is that idea?
NXT hears from The Robert Stone Brand.
“Power is earned through commitment, vision and a god-like confidence.” And not in another million Wednesdays would Kayden Carter get lucky enough to defeat Chelsea Green again. So next Wednesday, there is a rematch of Carter VS Green as the Robert Stone Brand relaunches. And Green herself promises that it will be “the resurgence of NXT’s most captivating superstar.” But will the brand suffer another mishap on the Road to WrestleMania?
NXT Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s match: Angel Garza VS Lio Rush!
El Latino es en la casa, baby, but the Man of the Hour says it’s his time again. In another rematch of this already storied rivalry, who wins out to then put it all on the line against the Irish Ace?
The bell rings and Garza decides to take the pants off NOW! That’s how serious Garza is taking Lio after their multiple matches. The two stare down, and then Lio speeds things up! Lio turns on a dime and hops over Garza to then slide under. Garza gets around to shove, but he avoids the Come Up! Things keep moving fast, Lio suddenly stops, only to run into a dropkick! Garza grins as he gets the better of Lio with his faster mind. Garza puts Lio in the corner to pull on the arms and CHOP the chest! He whips Lio to ropes and pops him up for a kick! Garza puts Lio up top backwards and then climbs up to club away from all sides! The ref reprimands but Garza puts Lio in the Tree of Woe, for a corner to corner Penalty Kick!
Lio is down and Garza almost sends himself out of the ring. Cover, ONE, but Garza keeps his eyes on Lio. Lio is on the apron and Garza stomps him down. Garza toys with Lio a little before dragging him up. Lio shoves but Garza boots him down. Garza drags Lio up to club him over and over. Garza brings Lio up but Lio holds on for his life! Lio headbutts and kicks a leg out! Lio kicks Garza from the apron, then moonsaults! Garza gets clear but Lio lands on his feet! Lio leaps but into Garza’s arms, and Garza uses that to RAM Lio into a post! Then the steel steps! Garza shifts his grip on Lio for a cradle to hang him on the railing. Garza Penalty KICKS Lio down! Lio is down and out as NXT goes to break.
NXT returns as Garza flops out of the ring. Lio builds speed to DIVE! Direct hit sends Garza to the ramp but Lio gets up on the apron fast. TORNILLO SENTON! Direct hit again and Lio puts Garza in the ring. Lio spins for the basement enziguri! Cover, TWO! Garza survives and Lio grits his teeth in frustration. Lio gives Garza a swift kick to the chest! And again! Garza blocks the third and flips Lio but Lio lands on his feet! Lio avoids Garza’s kick to mule kick a leg out, then rewind heel kick! But Garza avoids it to KNEE Lio back! Lio staggers back, but comes back with the HEEL! SUPERKICK from Garza! Lio staggers, Garza shoves him, COME UP gets a dropkick to the back! Garza drags Lio up, pump handle flip for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Lio still lives!
Fans rally as both men stir. Garza is up first and he drags Lio up. Garza brings Lio to a corner and drags him up. Fans duel as they reach the top rope. Garza underhooks but Lio fights out! Lio headbutts and headbutts and headbutts! Lio cravats, for a SUPER STUNNER!! But Garza flops out of the ring! Lio doesn’t care, he climbs up top, for a SUPER FINAL HOUR!! A double-edged impact but Lio puts Garza in the ring. Fans rally for “NXT! NXT!” as Lio is up again, for another FINAL HOUR onto knees!! Cover, TWO!! SUPERKICK!! Garza isn’t done there, he drags Lio up by his head and underhooks, but Lio cradle counters, LIO WINS!!
Winner: Lio Rush, by pinfall (NEW #1 Contender to the NXT Cruiserweight Championship)
Incredible! Garza was so determined to clip Lio’s wings that he didn’t think about Lio’s legs! Lio snatches the victory from the jaws of defeat, but can he take back the title?
Wait! The Irish Ace is here! NXT UK’s Jordan Devlin tells Lio, “Congratulations, mate. Hell of a match.” Devlin is impressed, but says Lio is just the next stop on the Jordan Devlin Cruiserweight Championship Tour. To tell Lio now, before he gets too excited, Devlin doesn’t fancy Lio’s chances. Devlin will show Lio next week why you never bet against the Ace. Will Devlin continue his own takeover of the Cruiserweight Championship?
NXT looks back on the saga that is Dijakovic VS Lee.
WWE Hall of Famer and World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry, knows how great big men in wrestling are. Their size and strength are truly larger than life, like something out of comic books and movies. But today in NXT, there are two incredible athletes that defy what big men are in wrestling. Keith Lee is 320 but moves like he’s under 205. “Every time he steps in the squared circle, the guy is a moment maker.” If you don’t believe Henry, just watch Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble. “He almost seems unstoppable at times. But if there’s one guy that can stop him, it’s Dominik Dijakovic.”
At 6′ 7″, 260 pounds, Dijakovic can step over the top rope like The Undertaker, then springboard off it like Rey Mysterio! The human arsenal and the Limitless One have had a mind-blowing rivalry already. Henry can’t wait to see what they do with a title on the line. Either way, he’ll happily feast his eyes and bask in the glory of these two big men bringing out the best in each other and things we’ve never seen before, all to become NXT North American Champion. “Because that’s what they do!”
Bianca Belair VS Santana Garrett!
The EST wants to make sure she’s ready to go for Portland and her shot at Rhea Ripley’s NXT Women’s Championship. But will she be getting more than just a tune-up from the real-life Wonder Woman?
The bell rings and Belair SPEARS Garrett! Belair clubs away on Garrett’s back then stomps, too! Belair handspring moonsaults onto Garrett, then uses the double chicken wings to Glam Slam Garrett on buckles! Torture rack, KISS OF DEATH! Cover, Belair wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
Was that the fastest win in NXT? It was certainly one of the most dominant! Belair isn’t done, as she grabs a mic. “So Rhea Ripley keeps going to Raw, worrying about Charlotte, acting like I’m not even here.” Is Bianca invisible? Hello? She’s right here! But y’know, Rhea, you keep playing. Because come Portland, Bianca is going to walk out the NEW NXT Women’s Champion. But the current NXT Women’s Champion appears! Rhea heads to the ring, giving a nod as if to say, “Get a load of this.” Rhea joins Bianca in the ring and gets herself a mic.
“Bianca. I assure you that I’m not looking past you.” Rhea is looking right at Bianca, and is telling her that in Portland, she will go through her. Bianca drops her mic, but so does Rhea! Rhea dodges Bianca to ROCK her, but Bianca ROCKS Rhea back! Torture rack, KISS OF DEATH! The EST is certainly the boldest challenger you’ll see in NXT. Will she keep her promise of becoming the newest champion in NXT?
The Broserweight’s plan comes together.
“There she is!” A Leer jet! Is it for them? Yeah, bro, it is. Flying private! How did he pull this off? Riddle knows a guy. Now let’s put this loot in the boot. Please don’t do a British accent, Riddle. And why are they the ones loading their own luggage? Because, bro, the luggage guys would break the cup. Riddle and Dunne get the cup loaded, then Riddle shoves Dunne in!? This isn’t their plane after all. It’s HHH’s private jet!! “Bro, we’re going to Portland!” Will the Game let this one slide?
Tommaso Ciampa watches old NXT footage.
Specifically, he watches the day he had to come into Full Sail to relinquish the NXT Championship. He had to give away his “life.” He vowed to everyone that he’d be back, bigger, stronger and better. But the reality was, he was scared. Ciampa can see it in his own eyes, all those “What If” questions. What if he never got to even step into the ring? But now, Ciampa has come full circle, and is only four days away from Portland. Cole VS Ciampa for the NXT title Ciampa never lost! What if Cole wins? What if Cole becomes the longest reigning champion in NXT history?
Or what if Cole loses? What if there’s one guy that wants it that much more? What if there’s one guy who’s been through that much more?! And what if that guy is Ciampa? What if the bell rings in Portland and Ciampa is back as NXT Campion!? What if it’s Ciampa who goes to NXT TakeOver: Tampa for WrestleMania weekend? And then all the eyes of the world are back on Ciampa. “They say a man is most dangerous when he has nothing to lose.” Ciampa wants Cole to look into his eyes and know exactly how true that is.
KUSHIDA VS Adam Cole!
The Time Splitter was just minding his own business when The Undisputed Era stormed up looking for Tommaso Ciampa. Kushida didn’t have any answers, so he got trashed for it, literally! Will Kushida trash Cole’s momentum towards TakeOver in return?
The bell rings and Kushida circles and ties up with Cole. Cole wrenches to a wristlock but Kushida wrenches back. Cole pushes Kushida to ropes, and the ref calls for the break. Kushida doesn’t take kindly to Cole’s shove so he DECKS and waistlock slams Cole down! Kushida facelocks Cole and rams in knees, showing that MMA background. Cole rolls but Kushida stays clamped on. Kushida floats all over Cole, but Cole avoids the buzzsaw! Cole bails out but Kushida wrecks him with a dropkick! Kushida rains down rights on Cole at the ramp! Fans rally and duel as Kushida whips Cole, but Cole reverses to send Kushida into steel steps!
Cole refreshes the ring count and watches Kushida get up. Cole leaps, into Kushida’s takedown! Kushida has the armbar! Cole endures but it wouldn’t matter if he taps on the outside. Kushida lets go as the ring count climbs and he puts Cole back in. Kushida climbs up top to leap for the ax handle! He drags Cole up to give the arm a shoulder breaker and a KICK! Cole backs to a corner, Kushida drags Cole up for another shoulder breaker. Kushida kicks the bad arm again, then wrenches. Cole denies the third shoulder breaker but Kushida puts him on the apron. Kushida runs to handspring heel kick Cole to the ground! Fans fire up as Kushida runs and slides, but misses! Cole BOOTS Kushida down! NXT goes picture in picture as Kushida is in a daze.
Cole drags Kushida up to put back in the ring. Cole drags Kushida up and turns him for a neckbreaker! The NXT Champion dusts off his hands before sitting Kushida up. Cole rams his knees into Kushida’s back, and hard! Kushida writhes but Cole keeps driving in those knees. Cole drags Kushida up for another neckbreaker! Kushida writhes but Cole climbs up the ropes to mock Ciampa’s patting on the back. Cole clamps onto Kushida with a chinlock and he grinds Kushida down. Kushida endures and fights his way up, throwing body shots. Cole knees low then brings Kushida in for a suplex. Kushida slips out and ducks the punch. Things speed up, double clotheslines wipe both men out!
Cole and Kushida flounder to opposite corners as NXT returns to single picture. Cole runs in but gets a boot! Kushdia runs and rallies with big forearms! Kushida whips, Cole reverses, Kushida handspring back elbows! The rally continues with a mule kick, but Cole avoids the Penalty Kick to his arm. Cole runs, Kushida hip tosses and handspring dropkicks! Fans fire up as Cole goes to the apron. Kushida stalks over but the ref keeps him back to check on Cole. Cole is okay and Kushida goes to buckle bump. Cole blocks to buckle bump back. But Kushida comes back with another handspring heel kick! Cole is stunned on the corner and Kushdia climbs up to join him. Kushida grabs the arm but Cole denies the Hoverboard hold.
Cole knocks Kushida away, but Kushida comes back for a SUPER DDT, and roll through to the ARMBAR! ROPEBREAK! Kushida lets go reluctantly, and Cole gets to a corner. Fans rally and duel again as Kushida runs to dropkick the bad arm! Kushida drags Cole up, Cole elbows free. Kushida still waistlocks, but then ducks the Pele, to Penalty Kick the arm out! Wristlock but no tornado armbar DDT as Cole powers out. Cole Shining Wizards! Cover, TWO! Kushida survives and Cole clutches the bad arm, but fans still rally and duel. Cole stands first, but Kushida sits up. Cole drags Kushida up and throws big forearms. Kushida gives forearms back! They go back and forth, and Kushida adds kicks! Kushida gets the edge but Cole knees low.
Cole runs, into the rolling elbow! Kushida spins into a BOOT! And a SUPERKICK! Cole runs, but into the FAST BALL! Kushida brings Cole up, but Cole suplexes for the Ushigoroshi! Cole suplexes again, for another! Cover, TWO!! Kushida survives and both men are down. Fans rally up as Cole goes to one end and Kushida to the other. Cole brings the knee pad down and runs, but Kushida ducks the Last Shot! Kushida waistlocks but Cole bucks the O’Conner roll off. SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!! Cole grows frustrated but fans rally and duel. Kushida crawls but Cole heads to the corner. Cole hops up, leaps, but no Sunrise as Kushida has the HOVERBOARD! Kushida cranks hard but Cole reaches for ropes! Kushida rolls him away!
The Hoverboard is in deep, and Kushida even knees Cole in the head! Cole rolls Kushida for a cover, TWO! Cole is free, he fireman’s carries but Kushida sunset flips. ONE and Cole matchbook covers, TWO as Kushida pops it back to the sunset! TWO!! That was a close one! Kushida keeps his focus as Cole gets to a corner. Kushida ducks the clothesline to PELE! Cole is down, Kushida brings him up. Cole resists the whip but the arm gives out! The ref checks on Cole but Kushida gives him Kowata kicks over and over to the face! Kushida whips Cole but Cole reverses, Kushida handsprings into a SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!! Cole runs, LAST SHOT!! Cover, Cole wins!!
Winner: Adam Cole, by pinfall
The Super Junior was a lot to handle this close to TakeOver, but Cole managed to come out on top! 256 days as champion will become 260 by Sunday, but will that be the last day for Adam Cole, BAYBAY?
Wait! Here comes Ciampa! The Blackheart glares at Cole as he heads down the ramp. There’s no back-up for Cole now, with reDRagon already in Portland to prepare for their tag title match and Strong exhausted and obsessed with his own issues. Ciampa takes his time circling the ring and climbing the steel steps. Ciampa eyes “Goldie” on Cole’s shoulder as fans duel. The two circle, and Cole holds the belt up high. Ciampa promises that in Portland, he takes his life back. Cole says, “Over my dead body you do!” When Cole and Ciampa battle, what are the chances that, as the song says, no one will survive?
A really good go-home for TakeOver: Portland while also setting up some great stuff for next week’s post-TakeOver episode. Firstly, it is clear that as great as Dream VS Strong and the NXT Cruiserweight Championship matches are going to be, the tradition of keeping TakeOvers to a 6 match card is staying strong as they don’t put everything on the show. The only downside is that a lot of the matches tonight were pretty easy to call. Cole, Dakota, Gargano and Belair were all building momentum for their respective TakeOver matches, so of course they were going to win. But even so, NXT knows how to make even a predictable outcome a lot of fun. Strong VS Reed was incredible! Certainly the best match of Reed’s NXT career, and it really propels Strong towards his match with Dream.
Candice VS Dakota was really good, and kudos to Candice for powering through a bloody nose. Dakota getting a quick win works so as not to really weaken Candice. Hopefully Candice can find herself in her own story, especially for the NXT Women’s Championship. Bianca squashing Santana was pretty surprising, and her getting the better of Rhea was equally surprising. Charlotte gave Bianca a huge rub on WWE Backstage, so who knows? Charlotte and Bianca could put on a killer feud in the post Mania 36 run, regardless of who is NXT Women’s Champion by then. I’m rather surprised Lio beat Garza, but I suppose this is still the age old tradition of Face VS Heel. As fun as Garza VS Devlin would be for next week, I suppose saving that for WrestleMania weekend wouldn’t be so bad.
NXT did a great job with Mark Henry narrating a highlight reel hype package for Lee VS Dijakovic, which is going to be just as great as all their other matches. Ciampa’s promo in the classroom, Cole VS Kushida and then the final stare down of Ciampa and Cole was all great stuff, and THE NXT Championship match might be the hardest to call. Ciampa does make a good point that the next stop would be Tampa, but I’m thinking looking that far ahead sways it back in Cole’s favor. There are more Faces that could step up to Cole, while Ciampa winning might bring on Balor as the top Heel.
My Score: 9.1/10