NXT Tag Team Champions Undisputed Era Interrupted The BroserWeights
You pretty much know what you're getting when it comes to a Matt Riddle promo, but this was entertaining and I love the dynamic he has with Pete Dunne. Even more noteworthy was the entrance Riddle and Dunne made with the golf cart and the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy in the back. This was a fun back-and-forth that set the stage for their NXT Tag Team Championship clash at TakeOver: Portland.
Angel Garza def. Isiah "Swerve" Scott
Garza came across like a total star on Monday's Raw and I love that NXT didn't waste any time in following up on his hot debut. He and Scott had a solid albeit uneventful match a few weeks ago on the TakeOver: WarGames III pre-show, but this was a vast improvement as both guys had great performances. I was surprised to hear Garza call out new NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin post-match and demand a rematch for the title he technically never lost at Worlds Collide (just because I figured he was being fast-tracked to the main roster), but I guess that's how much it means to him.
Dominik Dijakovic def. Killian Dain
I like how Dijakovic is running through all of NXT's resident big guys before he faces Keith Lee for the NXT North American Championship at TakeOver: Portland (which is now official, by the way). This was a hard-hitting affair that showcased the athleticism of both men. They worked a nice pace and Dain looked good in defeat as Dijakovic picks another victory heading into his heated clash with Lee. Their confrontation on the stage afterward was enough to get me hyped.
Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor Engaged in a War of Words Ahead of TakeOver: Portland
It was smart to make this a side-by-side interview to ensure that they don't get physical before they collide at TakeOver. It didn't overstayed its welcome and both guys proved their point. Balor was intense, but Gargano taking shots at Balor's main roster run was hilarious (and accurate). This feud has been built up brilliant over the last few months and their match at TakeOver has the potential to steal the show (which will be a tall task given how stacked the card is).
Mercedes Martinez def. Kacy Catanzaro
I'm elated that they're not wasting any time with Martinez. She just signed with WWE last month, appeared on NXT TV less than a week later, competed in the Royal Rumble, and is now being spotlighted in singles competition. Catanzaro was the perfect opponent for her because of the significant size difference and how well Catanzaro sold Martinez's offense. This was a short and sweet squash for Martinez that established her as dominant right from the get-go.
The BroserWeights Saved Tommaso Ciampa From Undisputed Era
Undisputed Era had been attacking people backstage all night up to this point (including Kushida and Bronson Reed) in an attempt to find Ciampa, but Ciampa found them first and took their fight into the ring. It wasn't long before The BroserWeights made the save and all hell broke loose. William Regal announced that Ciampa and The BroserWeights would meet Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish later on in the night, but they continued to brawl much to the delight of the crowd. This was a strong set-up for the night's six-man tag team main event.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin def. Tyler Breeze (Non-Title)
Devlin has gradually become of my favorites to watch on NXT UK over the last year and I'm looking forward to him making appearances across NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live from here on out now that he's the NXT Cruiserweight Champion. Like Garza, he has a much higher ceiling than the Cruiserweight division, but at the very least, it's awesome to see him hold gold in the meantime. As for Breeze, he never ceases to make his opponents look excellent and this match was no exception. He and Devlin worked well together and were given plenty of time to produce an enjoyable affair. More of Devlin on NXT, please.
NXT Champion Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair Attacked Charlotte Flair
Although Flair never outright said she wants to challenge for the NXT (Women's) Championship at WrestleMania 36, but it's pretty obvious she will at this point. This was a hell of a segment with all three ladies cutting quality promos and doing an effective job of getting fans excited for Charlotte versus either woman following TakeOver. Ripley and Charlotte are going to have a must-see feud heading into WrestleMania and it's cool that Belair is involved for the time being.
Tommaso Ciampa and The BroserWeights def. Undisputed Era by Disqualification
Undisputed Era don't team up in multi-man tag matches often, so it's exciting whenever they do. They almost always go all out, but it was especially important that they did so here since there wasn't much television time remaining. The non-finish was slightly disappointing, but I understood they did it to protect both trios. The real focus was on what happened at the end of the episode with Velveteen Dream returning after a five-month layoff to get revenge on Undisputed Era (who put him on the shelf in the first place). TakeOver: Portland is already filled with six matches, but Dream vs. Roderick Strong would make sense at some point.
I figured TakeOver: Portland would be a filler show before whatever they do over WrestleMania weekend, but it's shaping up to be one of their best in recent memory. On top of that, Flair will seemingly be a part of NXT on the road to WrestleMania and Dream is back, too. Between all the top-notch wrestling and successful storyline advancement, this was an above-average episode even by NXT standards. I can't wait for what else the black-and-gold brand has in store in the weeks ahead.
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