Tonight at NXT TakeOver: Portland, Tommaso Ciampa wants his life back as he wants to recapture his “Goldie” that he never lost from NXT Champion Adam Cole in the main event! Plus, NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley looks to put a potential WrestleMania distraction behind her when she defends against Bianca Belair. All the NXT titles are on the line tonight, plus more at NXT TakeOver: Portland!
Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Mansoor host the pre-show.
We are LIVE from the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix have the call for tonight.
A live performance from Poppy kicks off the show.
NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee (c) vs. Dominik Dijakovic
Lock-up and Dijakovic to the side headlock. Drop-downs and counters exchanged. Lee runs through a clothesline from Dijakovic for a hurricanrana. Lee dusts off his shoulders and they exchange spinning kick attempts. Shoulder tackle stalemate and they get in each other’s faces. Lee gets a wristlock and a straight arm lever lift. Dijakovic chops Lee and counters to a cyclone kick that sends Lee out. Fosbury Flop caught by Lee in powerbomb position, but Dijakovic falls out. Dijakovic counters for a release suplex on that apron that lands sloppily and drops Lee to the floor. Dijakovic works Lee down inside. Dijakovic talks trash while landing clubbing forearms. Lee blocks a release suplex inside and punches out. Lee with a backbreaker and release German suplex that turns Dijakovic inside out for a nearfall. Lee gets Dijakovic up and Dijakovic falls out into the corner. Dijakovic with a boot out of the corner and he lands a cyclone kick that puts Lee down. Dijakovic steps on Lee on the way to the top rope for a corkscrew moonsault nearfall. Dijakovic walks into an elbow from Lee. They exchange spinning back elbows and short-armed clotheslines that put each other down to their knees.
Lee gets Dijakovic up and Dijakovic gets back to his feet for a clothesline that levels Lee out to the apron. Dijakovic and Lee fight to the corner. Dijakovic bounces Lee’s head off the top turnbuckle. Avalanche release Death Valley Driver gets a nearfall on Lee. Dijakovic charges Lee and Lee meets him with a Pounce that bounces Dijakovic’s head off the turnbuckle. Lee and Dijakovic fight out to the announce table. Lee with Grizzly Magnum chops on Dijakovic against the barricade and in an announcer’s chair. Dijakovic with a big boot on Lee in the seat and a springboard Swanton Bomb into Lee’s lap in the chair. Back inside, Lee gets Dijakovic up. Dijakovic lands on his feet out of a Death Valley Driver. Chokeslam attempts see both flip out. Lee with a Spirit Bomb, but Dijakovic rolls through and fires up. Lee with a schoolboy lift into another Spirit Bomb. Dijakovic able to kick out. Lee goes up top and Dijakovic pushes him off the top rope and to the floor. Back up top, Dijakovic with an avalanche Spanish Fly for a nearfall.
Feast Your Eyes sees Dijakovic unable to get Lee up both times as his back gives out. Lee with a Big Bang Catastrophe jackhammer.
Winner by pinfall and STILL NXT North American Champion: Keith Lee
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Good opener that really got the crowd whipped up, but some of the bigger spots didn’t land clean and the finish felt a little flat after the build. Lee and Dijakovic have already set the bar so high with the big men at breakneck pace matches that any attempts to replicate it fall short, especially when they have great power matches on TV each week. A good match, but hopefully they go their separate ways or change up the style if they meet again.
Video package recaps the rivalry between Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai.
Street Fight: Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai
Kai attacks as Nox makes her entrance. Nox runs Kai face-first into a barricade as they fight from the side of the stage into the crowd. Nox tackles Kai through a barricade. Nox lifts Kai, but Kai with a spike DDT onto the fallen barricade for a nearfall back inside to make the match official. Kai throws weapons into the ring and throws Nox into the ring steps. Kai tries to hit Nox with a cricket bat and breaks it across the ring post. Nox with a crossbody off the steps. Trashcan over the head of Kai and Nox with a cannonball senton into it for a nearfall back inside. Nox brings out a table. Kai snaps Nox on the top rope. Kai smacks Nox in the head with a trashcan lid and stomps Nox down inside. Nox with superkicks from the apron and she attacks Kai with a trashcan. German suplex on the trashcan for a Nox nearfall. Kai-Ropractor from Kai lands for a nearfall. Kai jumps into a choke from Nox on the apron. Kai with a Scorpion Kick that glances. Nox sweeps Kai into the mat face-first. They fight up top and Nox with an avalanche Chokeslam. Molly Go Round nearfall for Nox. Kai has her head put on a chair, but she ducks a Nox big boot. Kai kicks the chair back in the face of Nox.
Nox thrown into the ring post outside of the ring. Kai duct tapes Nox to the bottom turnbuckle. Two pump kicks from Kai break the grip of the tape from the turnbuckle. Nox hits the knee of Kai with a laptop and takes a chain to it. Nox punches the knee with the chain and undoes the brace. Nox puts the leg of Kai in a chair and stomps down. Shiniest Wizard from Nox and she looks stunned, but comes to and says she isn’t done yet. Nox brings in the table and puts Kai on it. Raquel Gonzalez comes out and attacks Nox on the top rope. Gonzalez with a push slam that bounces Nox off the table and she slides off. Kai recovers for the cover.
Winner by pinfall: Dakota Kai
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This looked good for Gonzalez and it will be nice to have a new impact player in the NXT women’s division, but this sort of killed the finish to a really exceptional street fight. Kai and Nox brought the intensity needed throughout the match to live up to the rivalry and Nox pushing herself to the limits to get revenge played really well against Kai’s increasingly nasty demeanor in the ring. The finish keeps it just short of a classic.
Post-match, Gonzalez helps Kai up and raises her hand.
NXT UK TakeOver goes to Dublin, Ireland in April.
Video package recaps the rivalry between Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano.
Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor
Balor shoves Gargano down and Gargano rolls Balor for a nearfall to start. Submissions exchanged on the mat as Gargano gets side headlocks and Balor uses headscissors counters. Gargano with dropkicks and a kick off the roll-through. Rolling kick follows and Gargano works Balor down. Balor drops Gargano for a nearfall and Gargano checks his teeth. Balor with forearms and chops in the corners. Gargano counters with a kick and lands chops of his own. They meet on the apron and Gargano with a spear to take both to the floor. Gargano charges Balor and Balor with a Sling Blade on the floor. Big boot from Balor and it goes back inside. Balor works Gargano down for nearfalls. Gargano elbows up and snaps the arm over his shoulder. Gargano works the left arm of Balor. Enzuigiri from the apron caught by Balor and he gets a dragon screw. Balor goes to work on the left leg. Balor works Gargano into the corner. Gargano fights in from the apron and rolls Balor up for a nearfall. Rolling kick caught by Balor and he turns it into a Figure-Four Leglock. Gargano fights up and lands a neckbreaker and front suplex. Clothesline from Gargano puts Balor down. Suicide dive from Gargano caught for 1916, but Gargano drives Balor back into the ring steps. Cannonball senton off the apron wipes out Balor. Slingshot spear inside gets Gargano a nearfall.
Gargano looks for Snake Eyes, but Balor falls out for the inverted overdrive DDT. Balor stomps Gargano over and over and Gargano rolls outside. Wrecking ball dropkick misses for Balor outside and Gargano with a superkick. Slingshot DDT held up by Balor. Gargano counters and the lawn dart blocked by Balor clipping the second rope. Pele Kick lands, but Gargano falls on top of Balor for the nearfall. Gargano on the apron and they exchange forearms. Gargano dropped on the second rope for kicks. Coup de Grace sees Gargano avoid it for the slingshot DDT that gets a nearfall on Balor. Balor and Gargano stand off on opposite sides of the ring. Both come off the ropes and Gargano with a forearm and discus clothesline to drop Balor. Gargano runs into the Sling Blade. Balor hit with a superkick. Another Sling Blade and a John Woo dropkick from Balor. Coup de Grace sees Gargano roll away. Headscissors into the GargaNo Escape. Balor spun back into the middle of the ring. Balor rolls one more time for the double stomp. 1916 blocked and GargaNo Escape reapplied. Balor gets the rope break and goes out to the announce table. Gargano follows with a John Woo dropkick into the barricade.
Gargano undoes an announce table, but Balor with a front suplex onto it. John Woo dropkick running across the tables from Balor sends Gargano into the barricade. Coup de Grace inside lands and 1916 DDT follows.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This had a similar long, epic feel to it as the first match, but played it a little safer than Lee and Dijakovic did. The big spots really didn’t deliver on the buildup to them, like the dropkick spot off the table for example. Matches have a certain ceiling when they go as long as this without a big highlight, though it was consistent enough to be a very good match and not too over the top like Gargano outings can get.
Cathy Kelley with Undisputed Era backstage and she asks Roderick Strong about his match with Velveteen Dream on Wednesday night. Strong says Dream is a dead man, but that’s Wednesday. Strong says NXT Tag Team Champions Undisputed Era will show the “LoserWeights” who they are and NXT Champion Adam Cole will beat the delusional Tommaso Ciampa. Cole tells Kelley she can leave now.
Video package recaps the rivalry between NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair.
NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Ripley with arm wrenches to start. Belair with the waistlock takedown. Ripley misses Belair in the corner, but lands double boots to kick out. Clotheslines from Ripley and dropkick corners Belair. Ripley stomps Belair down and lands chops. Ripley gets reversed in the corner and tries to kick out again, but Belair snaps her to the ground. Stomps and cravate applied by Belair. Belair suplex blocked initially by Ripley, but Belair gets it a second time with a sloppy landing for a nearfall. Half nelson in for Belair. Ripley fights up and lands a back body drop. Ripley with clotheslines and knees. Snapmare and dropkick by Ripley. Electric chair facebuster gets a nearfall for Ripley. Belair fights up and kicks Ripley into the ring post on her shoulder. Schoolboy nearfall and a spinebuster nearfall for Belair. Ripley put up top and they exchange slaps. Belair whips Ripley with her braid and lands a military press. Handspring standing moonsault crashes into the knees of Ripley. Riptide blocked. KOD blocked. Ripley with a big boot to knock Belair out of a leapfrog. Belair with a spear to put both down.
Ripley with a superkick and she runs into a forearm from Belair. Ripley avoids the braid whip and doubles Belair over. Ripley runs into a back body drop over the top rope from Belair. Flip dive tope from Belair lands to the outside. Belair tries to get Ripley back in, but gets run into the steps. Belair kicks Ripley away back inside and pulls down the second rope on her. Ripley drives Belair into the turnbuckle from the apron. Ripley up top and she tries a front superplex. Belair blocks and Ripley tries a sunset bomb. Belair holds the top rope, but Ripley grabs one arm and uses it to land the Riptide off the second turnbuckle.
Winner by pinfall and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Rhea Ripley
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Ripley finally has a great performance on a pay-per-view show after this one. The similarity in power styles for both made for great exchanges and some of the dives to the outside made for good moments, as they aren’t something you see too often from Ripley and Belair. This had the feeling of two stars in the making throughout.
Post-match, Charlotte Flair drops Ripley from behind and asks for a microphone. Flair says she will see Ripley at WrestleMania and hits her with Natural Selection. Flair throws Belair into the steps on her way out.
NXT Tag Team Championships: Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) (c) vs. The BroserWeights
Before the match, The BroserWeights on their golf cart and Matt Riddle with the microphone. Riddle and Dunne with “How much fish could Bobby Fish fry if Bobby Fish could fry fish?” shirts and Riddle gets the crowd to chant it with him as graphics of Fish on a Big Mouth Billy Bass play on the screen and a bouncing ball singalong on s. This did not translate well outside of Full Sail and this was your classic neutering of something that felt organic by WWE. Send it to the gimmick graveyard with Fandangoing.
Undisputed Era run up to the BroserWeights and they brawl at ringside. Matt Riddle starts with Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish follows. Fish gets isolated by the BroserWeights. Pete Dunne comes in and stomps the arm of Fish into the mat. X-Plexes onto the ring apron by Dunne for both members of Undisputed Era. Dunne drags Fish to the mat and works the fingers. Dunne tries to moonsault out of the corner and Fish crotches him up top. O’Reilly comes in with a kick combo to put Dunne down. Fish and O’Reilly with quick tags. Dunne knocks O’Reilly down, but Fish with a Samoan Drop. O’Reilly in with palm strikes to keep Dunne down. Dunne worked in the corner by strikes from Undisputed Era. O’Reilly pulls Dunne down by his hair, but misses a knee drop. Dunne fights Fish outside and O’Reilly with a dragon screw on the second rope. Fish with a chop block and Dunne favors the right leg. Fish works both legs back inside. Dunne held in the corner and O’Reilly accidentally kicks Fish off the apron as Dunne sidesteps. Riddle gets the hot tag and lands kicks and exploder suplexes on Undisputed Era. Brotons and O’Reilly hit with a Bro 2 Sleep and German suplex for a nearfall. Riddle runs into an O’Reilly knee, but O’Reilly hit with a double-team powerbomb and kick combo for a Dunne nearfall.
Riddle tags back in. Dunne moonsault onto Fish outside and Bro Derek from Riddle inside on O’Reilly. Dunne with a double stomp to the hands of Fish outside, but he ends up kicking the ring post. O’Reilly with German suplexes on Riddle. Riddle fires up for one of his own and they lay each other out with knees inside. Riddle up with spears on Fish and O’Reilly. Riddle gets a suplex attempt, but Fish chops blocks. Wheelbarrow butterfly DDT into a German suplex combo from Undisputed Era gets a nearfall. Riddle kicks away to get Dunne in. Dunne runs into an arm triangle from O’Reilly. Ax kick lands on Dunne, but Dunne fights up with forearms. O’Reilly rebounds into a flying armbar from Dunne and Dunne The BroserWeights turn it into ankle locks in stereo. Fish with a guillotine counter on Riddle and O’Reilly with a Sharpshooter on Dunne. Fish transitions to a sleeper, but Riddle hits a knee on O’Reilly to break that submission and falls back on top of Fish to lay all four out.
Dunne and Fish inside. Dunne with a German suplex and double stomp to the hands. Kick to the back of the head and Riddle in. Doomsday Device blocked and Dunne gets run into the corner to crotch Riddle. Dunne taken out ringside and Fish with a superplex. O’Reilly with a knee drop off the top to the knee of Riddle. Heel hook in on O’Reilly. Dunne snaps the fingers of Fish and comes down with a stomp on the wrist of O’Reilly to save Riddle. O’Reilly and Dunne now and O’Reilly gets Dunne to run into Riddle in his own corner. O’Reilly gets his fingers snapped by Dunne. Bitter End blocked and Riddle runs in, but spears Dunne. Dunne left for Chasing the Dragon, but he is able to kick out. Riddle returns and Final Flash lands on Fish. O’Reilly sent out and the Bro 2 Sleep with enzuigiri combo connects on Fish.
Winners by pinfall and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: The BroserWeights
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Unbelievable back-and-forth between these teams to close the match. The rallies and saves from Dunne and Riddle were able to overcome Undisputed Era’s usual divide-and-conquer plays for the advantage, highlighting the strengths of both teams in the match throughout. This one delivered to already high expectation.
Video package recaps the rivalry between NXT Champion Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa presses Cole against the ropes and taunts him off a clean break. Ciampa with a side headlock and he keeps going back to it. Shoulder tackles send Cole out and Ciampa looks for Willow’s Bell. Cole leads him on a chase at ringside, but misses an elbow drop as Ciampa slides in. Ciampa reapplies the side headlock. Cole fights up for a shoulder tackle and looks for a superkick, but Ciampa snaps him back down for the side headlock. Cole fights up in the corner, but gets dropped by Ciampa. Cole tries a backstabber after spinning Ciampa in the corner. Cole finally gets control outside with a pump kick after Ciampa stops short on being run into the post. Cole does the Ciampa taunt and Ciampa goes off, sending Cole into the steps, post, and barricade. Cole put in a chair and hit with a knee. Ciampa does his taunt and breaks the count. Cole rolls to the opposite side of the ring and tries a head kick from the floor, but Ciampa pulls back. Cole hit with a kick on the apron and he rolls back outside once again. Ciampa with a front suplex on the barricade. Running knee knocks Cole off the barricade. Ciampa chops Cole into a chair ringside and lands a running hip attack. Ciampa kisses a bald head ringside and stares at “Goldie.” Ciampa tries to put Cole through the announce table, but Cole falls out. Wheelbarrow lift into a German suplex smacks the neck of Ciampa off the edge of the announce table. Cole with a nearfall back inside.
Cole goes to work on the neck of Ciampa inside. Knees to the spine by Cole and a triangle headscissors applied. Cole with a kick to the head and he goes up top. Ciampa meets him up top. Cole falls out for a sunset bomb attempt. Ciampa holds on, but Cole superkicks the leg and hits a backstabber out of the corner. Cole looks for a neckbreaker, but Ciampa with a backslide nearfall. Willow’s Bell attempt avoided by Cole. Counters see Cole land an enzuigiri. Panama Sunrise countered by a dropkick from Ciampa that puts both down. Ciampa with clotheslines and a German suplex follows. Knee against the ropes and a Blue Thunder Bomb follows for a nearfall on Cole. Cole gets Ciampa up and a crucifix drop turns into a sloppy pinning predicament. Cole with a flying knee and an Ushigoroshi gets a nearfall. Ciampa and Cole fight up top. Avalanche Panama Sunrise blocked by Ciampa seizing Cole’s head. Avalanche Air Raid Crash lands for a nearfall on Cole. Cole outside and he lands a superkick on a seated Ciampa inside. Powerbomb from Cole blocked. Ciampa powerbombs Cole onto the announce table and it cracks the table cover. Ciampa gets Cole up again and powerbombs him through the table.
Back inside, Cole hit with a running knee. Ciampa runs into a superkick. Cole runs into a clothesline. Project Ciampa follows for a nearfall on the champion. Strike exchange and Ciampa wins. Cole follows with two bicycle kicks that send Ciampa falling outside. Suicide dive from Cole runs into a dropkick that drops him to the floor. Ciampa gets hit with an X-Factor coming into the ring. Ushigoroshi nearfall for Cole. Cole gets in Ciampa’s face and lands Last Shot. Ciampa rolls under the bottom rope to avoid the cover. Panama Sunrise attempt sees Ciampa lift and land the Air Raid Crash on the apron. Both down on the floor. Ciampa tries Fairytale Ending on the floor, but Cole with a back body drop. Cole to the top of the table and a Panama Sunrise connects on the floor. Cole gets in, but Ciampa with Willow’s Bell as he comes in. Fairytale Ending follows, but Cole kicks out. Ciampa cries and tries to get Cole back up. Cole seizes the arm and locks in a crossface. Cole pulls him back to the middle of the ring, but Ciampa ducks under and locks in a crossface of his own. Cole struggles, but gets the bottom rope.
Roderick Strong runs in and gets to the apron. Strong rolls Cole back in and the referee distracted as Undisputed Era runs out. Total Elimination on Ciampa. Ciampa rolled back in, but kicks out of the Cole cover. Ciampa throws Cole into Undisputed Era outside. Strong hit with Willow’s Bell. Cole hits Ciampa with superkicks inside. Last Shot lands. Ciampa able to kick out. O’Reilly gives Cole the NXT title and distracts the referee. Ciampa fights the title away from Cole. Cole runs Ciampa into the referee and the referee sent outside. Cole with a low blow and he goes up top. Cole comes down into a kick below the belt from Ciampa. Fairytale Ending lands. No referee as the crowd counts and Ciampa sits down. Johnny Gargano comes to ringside and cheers Ciampa on. Ciampa goes for the NXT title. Gargano snags it away and stares at Ciampa ringside. Ciampa asks him for the belt and Gargano gives it to him with a shot to the head. Ciampa laid out inside for Cole.
Winner by pinfall and STILL NXT Champion: Adam Cole
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
Not necessarily a bad match, but really drawn out and just too much going on by the end of it. The match had already peaked by the time the Undisputed Era interference came and having fatigue is never a good thing if you are trying to deliver a big moment like the Gargano turn at the end. NXT’s main events and title bouts could really learn to do more with less at this point.
Overall, a good night of wrestling that you can always expect from TakeOver events, but the women’s and tag divisions stole the show with intensity and consistent pace compared to the attempted epics in the singles matches.
Nolan Howell can be reached at email@example.com for any questions or comments.