Cameron Grimes def. Damian Priest
Priest was shown injured outside before the bout began, and despite medical personnel advising him to not go through with the match, he competed anyway. It was pretty obvious from the get-go that Grimes would win, but Priest was protected in defeat, so I have no complaints. This didn't last long at all and I'm sure they could have a killer match, but this was designed to be more of an angle to give Grimes another notable win.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar def. Jake Atlas (Non-Title)
Atlas is a close friend of Drake Maverick (who the heel trio has been targeting lately), so this match made sense. This was meant to be all about Escobar, but at least Atlas looked good in defeat and scored some offense before eating the loss. I can't say enough about Escobar and how he comes across like a complete star. The theme song may sound generic to some, but I dig it and thinks it fits his mafia-esque gimmick nicely.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez def. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter
This "feud" has been fairly one-sided in favor of the heels, but that's exactly what it should have been as Kai sets her sights on Io Shirai's NXT Women's Championship. Catanzaro and Carter are both works in progress, but they held their own here and it was a decent match on the whole. If Kai fails in next week's number one contender's Fatal 4-Way, I could see her and Gonzalez challenging for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship eventually.
Karrion Kross def. Bronson Reed
I was hoping for a hoss fight from these two, but it just ended being an extended squash for Kross. Don't get me wrong, he should still be beating people with relative ease at this point in his run, but it would have been cool to see what Kross and Reed could do against each other. Reed is too talented for a guy his size to settle for being midcard fodder, so hopefully he'll rebound soon and start stacking up victories again. As for Kross, he remains firmly planted in the NXT Championship chase, but it may be a while before he gets his shot at the strap.
Rhea Ripley def. Aliyah
Aliyah is apparently Robert Stone's new client and Ripley disrespected Stone a few weeks ago on the show, so that's how this bout came to be. Part of me feared that Aliyah would pick up the fluke win, but thankfully, that was not the case. Ripley dominated a majority of the match before putting Aliyah away. Unfortunately, the feud isn't over yet, as Ripley will face both Aliyah and Stone in a 2-on-1 Handicap matchup next week on NXT. Is this what Triple H meant when he said that Ripley losing the title to Charlotte Flair back at WrestleMania 36 was all a part of the plan? Ugh.
Dexter Lumis def. Roderick Strong by Count-Out
The last match Strong and Lumis had was actually enjoyable and Lumis gained something in defeat, but this was total throwaway. Strong acted scared the entire time before running off to the back, leading to his count-out loss. For what it's worth, Lumis teamed forming an alliance with Velveteen Dream last week, but Dream was nowhere to be seen here. In other words, I'm not sure what this was supposed to accomplish.
NXT North American Champion Keith Lee def. Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano in a Triple Threat Match
This was worthy of being a TakeOver main event, and I almost wish it was so it could have been given more time and so the flow didn't have to be interrupted by the commercial breaks. Other than that, this was a terrific Triple Threat while it lasted. The action was entertaining and they constantly kept things moving. Any one of these guys realistically could have won, so that added to the suspense surrounding the outcome as well. Lee retaining the title was the correct choice as he moves on to face Adam Cole in a Winner Takes All main event in two weeks. Personally, I'd have Lee go all the way and win both belts.
I'm happy that several of the storylines in NXT are clicking at the moment and that they aren't wasting any time in between TakeOver specials. The main event on this episode was great and set the stage for the huge title vs. title main event in two weeks (which will be airing opposite of Night 2 of AEW Fyter Fest). I didn't care much for the Ripley vs. Aliyah and Lumis vs. Strong matches, but the rest of this rock solid show was easy to sit through.
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