Sunday night, NXT celebrated their 31st edition to the TakeOver extravaganzas and kept the streak alive with another impressive show.
This was the first time since the pandemic that NXT TakeOver had that fight-club feel to it, with the show emanating from the ‘Capitol Wrestling Center’. This is a callback to the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, founded by Jess McMahon in 1953. Fast forward seventy years later and wrestling has changed quite evidently. With NXT being a forerunner for epic storylines, fantastic battles and moments fans will be speaking about forever.
If they don’t ever do an ‘NXT TakeOver: Capitol Punishment’ down the line, it would be a missed opportunity. What is not a missed opportunity is the October 28 edition being NXT: Halloween Havoc. This is a tribute to WCW’s PPV of the same name and should offer a home for more havoc on the black and gold brand.
Before we reach that pinnacle though, let’s discuss the ‘Six Biggest Takeaways From NXT TakeOver 31’:
6. Ridge Holland Dismantles Adam Cole
Firstly, let’s jump to the end of the show which was main evented by the colossal NXT Title match between Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly.
This match had the most intrigue going in and was ready to deliver on two important aspects: Proving Finn Balor isn’t just in this position because Karrion Kross had to relinquish. And turning Kyle O’Reilly into one of the brand’s biggest stars.
There was no surprise this match was one of the best on this stacked card. It was technical, fast-paced, hard-hitting and just displayed the all-round abilities of Champion and Challenger.
Balor picked up the win with a Coup de Grace but we can’t take anything away from O’Reilly. He is bound to get another chance for the title in the future. There are reports that Balor may have suffered a jaw injury during this bout. Let’s hope not as NXT has been adding to the injury list a lot in the last few months.
With Kross dropping the title and Tegan Nox being reported as injured just last week, an injury to NXT’s largest star would be devastating, to say the least. We should find out more this coming Wednesday on NXT.
We may also find out the reason for the closing angle of the show. Which saw Ridge Holland carry a broken Adam Cole to the ring and dump him at the feet of O’Reilly. What problem does Ridge Holland have with the Undisputed Era? Is he next in line for a shot at Balor’s NXT Title?
Whatever way they go it looks like we are going to be treated to a Yorkshire pudding with this brute having matches with any of those men.
5. Damian Priest Retains North American Championship
The opening match featured Damian Priest defending his NXT North American Championship against Johnny Gargano.
This was the best use of Gargano as he is one of the cockiest heels in the company and can back it up with his wrestling charisma. Priest needed a mighty star to knock off the podium in his first title defence and Gargano was the best equation.
The match was great and proved Damian Priest can hang in the big leagues. He even hit a razor’s edge on the apron which looked severely impactful.
Priest winning stopped any chance of the power couple – Johnny and Candice – holding titles together.
Now we are begging to find out who Priest will dance with next? Perhaps it could be…
4. Kushida Overcomes The Velveteen Dream
It is unbelievable that Kushida has been representing the black and gold brand for over a year now and this is his first TakeOver. A star like him should be defending championships and having blood feuds right about now. Beating Velveteen Dream was a good start though.
Dream was one of those heels that are hated in real life as well as in a storyline perspective. So this would have got die-hard and novice fans of the brand all in the corner of Kushida. The Japanese Supernova sported a new, more aggressive, look in this match. Wrestling in jeans like he was in Raw Underground or something.
This puts over Kushida as a bad-ass babyface and somebody NXT should build the brand towards in the future. He would make an awesome NXT North American Champion one day!