NXT Champion Johnny Gargano and Matt Riddle Attacked Undisputed Era
Undisputed Era are officially back on the same page, at least according to Adam Cole. I thought it was the wrong call to have them tease tension in the first place. We'll see if it leads anywhere or if it was just a red herring. At any rate, this was an entertaining segment with some strong back-and-forth between Cole and Gargano. I figured Riddle was being written off NXT TV with the Undisputed Era attack until after TakeOver: XXV, but he'll instead be facing Roderick Strong one-on-one at the event, which should be stellar. This also set up the night's tag team main event.
Mansoor def. Sean Maluta
Maluta looked liked the third Uso brother here. In all seriousness, the guy is talented but has always been brought in to make others look good. Mansoor had an impressive outing against Dominik Dijakovic a few weeks ago and it appears he'll be getting a bit of a push going forward. He's an exciting high-flier and will be one to watch in the weeks to come. This was short, sweet, and exactly what it needed to be.
Tyler Breeze Confronted NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream
Dream was likely supposed to face Dijakovic originally at TakeOver, but Dijakovic's injury caused those plans to change. Breeze is a last-minute replacement I can get behind. After all, people were saying years ago when Breeze was in NXT that a secondary championship should've been made just for him, and now he'll get that opportunity at TakeOver. Yes, it's random, but they showed here that they have chemistry together and that Breeze is motivated to remind the world how skilled he is. They managed to make me care about their upcoming contest with one segment, so props to them for that.
Candice LeRae def. Reina Gonzalez
LeRae has slowly but surely been building momentum in recent months with wins over Aliyah and Vanessa Borne, so I'm glad she's finally on the right track. Io Shirai is amazing, but at this point, I'd love for LeRae to be the one to ultimately dethrone Shayna Baszler as NXT Women's Champion. Meanwhile, Gonzalez has potential, but LeRae had to carry her through a majority of the match. Also, Shirai's post-match attack on Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke with the kendo stick was beyond badass.
Undisputed Era def. NXT Champion Johnny Gargano and Matt Riddle
With Gargano vs. Cole and Riddle vs. Strong confirmed for TakeOver, it made sense for Gargano and Cole to team up and clash with Undisputed Era's Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish (who will be vying for the NXT Tag Team Championship at TakeOver) on this show. When you put four exceptional athletes together in one match, it's guaranteed to be great, and this did not disappoint. These guys beat the holy hell out of each other and I enjoyed every second of it. The babyfaces winning would have been fine, but it was even better for Undisputed Era to pick up the victory with help from Cole and Strong at ringside.
From an in-ring standpoint, only the main event really stood as being memorable, but this whole show was a home run in my eyes. I've been wondering for weeks what NXT had on tap for their historic 25th TakeOver, and we found out on this episode with Riddle vs. Strong, Dream vs. Breeze, and the NXT Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Ladder match being added to the card. Every bout was built up effectively and everything served a purpose. Plus, Mansoor's showcase was fun, so this was a top-notch show.
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