NXT North American Champion Keith Lee def. Cameron Grimes
This was the perfect match to open the show with. Grimes has been very impressive lately and had a shot at taking the title. Although he fell short, he looked good in defeat. These two worked wonderfully together and I liked the dynamic they had. Post-match, Damian Priest struck Lee from behind, but since Lee didn't see who attacked him, he assumed it was Dominik Dijakovic and laid him out when he came out to make the save. A Triple Threat for the NXT North American at TakeOver: Tampa seems likely.
Mia Yim def. Dakota Kai to Qualify for the NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match at TakeOver: Tampa
I'm surprised this wasn't given more time given the women involved and what was at stake. What we got from them was solid, but I wasn't fond of the finish. I realize Kai's cheating backfiring was designed to protect her in defeat, but I wouldn't have had Yim lose coming off her two straight wins over Tegan Nox. Yim will be a quality addition to the Ladder match at TakeOver, but if Kai and Nox are going to have some sort of blow-off matchup on that same show, it would have made more sense for Nox to cost her the victory here.
Kushida def. Raul Mendoza
We haven't seen much of Kushida lately and it's a a shame because he's so talented and has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, he's largely floundered since signing with NXT a year ago. I honestly can't remember the last time he won a match on NXT TV, so this was crucial. He and Mendoza had an enjoyable outing that allowed both men to showcase their skills. I'd love for Kushida to enter the NXT North American Championship picture, but he'll have to score a few important victories first.
Charlotte Flair Attacked NXT Women's Champion Rhea Ripley
Ripley got the better of Flair on Monday's Raw, so I figured it was only inevitable before Flair returned the favor. However, I didn't think it would be so soon. Both of them cut quality promos that set the stage nicely for their WrestleMania match. Flair, who is totally in her element as a heel, received terrific heat from the crowd, This bout has been built up very well so far and I'm very excited for it.
Tegan Nox def. Deonna Purrazzo to Qualify for the NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match at TakeOver: Tampa
I feared Purrazzo would be joining WWE's main roster after she made a handful of appearances on Main Event earlier this year, but thankfully, that doesn't appear to the case. I've always been a fan of hers, but she's barely scratched the surface in NXT and should stay longer until she finds her footing. This was a fine matchup, but I don't think the outcome was ever in doubt. It's so bizarre that Nox will be in the TakeOver Ladder match but not Kai despite Kai (seemingly) winning their feud last week.
NXT Tag Team Champions The BroserWeights def. Undisputed era (Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish)
Before the bout, Velveteen Dream interrupted Undisputed Era's entrance, which was where Adam Cole announced a celebration for becoming the longest-reigning NXT Champion of all-time next week. I'm slightly disappointed he isn't defending the title before he's supposed to break the record, but oh well. At any rate, these teams stole the show at TakeOver: Portland and delivered another excellent outing here, especially down the stretch. Grizzled Young Veterans interfered as expected, and with The BroserWeights still the NXT Tag Team Champions, they should be next in line for a shot at the straps.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa Brawled
This feud needed an extra spark because of how we've seen it so many times before and this was it. First of all, Gargano made a great point about how fans forgot (or at least forgave) Ciampa's past heinous actions when he returned from injury. The brawl that ensured was awesome as they took their fight all over the Performance Center and completely wrecked the place. That final spot with Ciampa hitting Gargano with the Air Raid Crash off the podium was a spectacular sight. A Falls Count Anywhere stipulation would make the most sense for their next (and hopefully final) encounter.
The Performance Center looks a lot like Full Sail University, but this show definitely had a different feel to it that I appreciated. NXT going on the road (if only once or twice a month) needs to happen at some point, but I don't mind the smaller venues in the meantime. The show itself was entertaining and featured enough memorable matches and moments (especially that ending brawl) to earn a thumbs-up from me. The build to TakeOver has been picking up at the right time and it's shaping up to be a strong show.
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