Tonight’s the night. It’s NXT TakeOver 31. You’re here at 1Z1 Pro Wrestling, my name is Jordan Huie aka the One Zeel One. And as per usual, I will be giving you the live recap and results on tonight’s show as they come. Watch this space! And check out my predictions right here!
Our first match is up, North American title on the line! We see the Capitol Wrestling Center, NXT’s version of the ThunderDome. Basically it’s that, but the screens are further away, made to look like one flat screen instead of a bunch of ones at different distances, and there’s a fence.
NXT North American Championship: Damian Priest (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
Gargano tries to outspeed him, darts around and avoids the heavy strikes but eventually Priest lands a Spinning Heel Kick! Uppercut to the face drops him. Kick to the ribs! Power whip, Johnny bounces off the corner, Priest wants a Tilt-A-Whirl slam but Gargano counters, wants the Gargano Escape but Priest counters, looks for the Reckoning, Gargano gets out of it but ends up kicked roughly into the turnbuckle! Takes him down, cover for a 2. Takes him by the wrist, going for his Old School, Johnny trips him to the apron. They brawl, Gargano clips the knee, slides through for a Powerbomb but Priest holds on! Johnny grabs his arm, flips him to the floor!
Suicide dive takes him into the fencing, and then he tosses him into the steel steps! Back into the ring, Johnny stops Priest on the apron, kick to the gut, drapes him for a second rope senton to the back! Cover for a nearfall! Hammerlock on the arm and uses his knee to hold it in place, Single Leg Boston Crab as he controls that arm! But Priest manages to get his arm free and then push off, kick him away! Priest is moving laboriously now but he still wins out on strikes. Series of forearms, leg kicks, avoids a punch and hits a Bell Clap, Elevated Flatliner nailed! Flying back elbow in the corner, and then another! Aaaand a third, surprisingly it worked. Broken Arrow, nearfall.
Priest signals for the Razor’s Edge, Gargano avoids it, trips him up and tries for his rolling kick but Priest blocks it, right hand to the face! Full Nelson Facebuster! And now he hoists him up for the Razor’s Edge, Gargano counters with a Sunset Flip for a CLOSE nearfall! Working over that leg. Exchange of strikes, Gargano with an enziguri, Priest with a big boot, Springboard from Priest, Gargano is ready to counter so instead he goes to his feet and nails him with a Haymaker!
Gargano ducks a Corkscrew Kick, posts him! Sends him to the outside, Suicide Dive but Priest has the goozle! South of Heaven attempted but Gargano slips to the apron! Thrust kick! But Priest with a Corkscrew Kick clips him to the floor! Razor’s Edge right onto the apron!!! Johnny rolls into the ring, Priest pins him for a nearfall! Priest charges, but Johnny stops him with a chop block, keeps going after that leg. Hits the ropes, Priest stops him with a clothesline! Johnny with some upkicks, fights up, tries the Gargano Escape, Priest blocks it but gets a kick to the head. Gargano pulls him up, counters a Reckoning with a Standing Shiranui, Sliding Lariat to the back of the head for a nearfall!
Johnny mocks the taunt, wants a Superkick, Priest blocks and looks for a Wheelbarrow Facebuster but Gargano rolls through, NARROW nearfall! Gargano out on the apron, blocks a chokeslam with a WWE Headkick, looks for a sunset flip but Priest catches him on his back, somehow transitions from this with South of Heaven for a nearfall! Gargano powders. Big boos. Priest charges, leaps over the turnbuckle, Gargano pulls some stagehands in his way and he wipes them out!
Priest looks concerned, referee is focused on this as well… Johnny with a lowblow! Throws him into the ring, Avada Kedavra! Close nearfall!! Johnny counters a Tilt-A-Whirl Slam into a Gargano Escape! Priest goes over towards the ropes but Gargano slips up, pulls him to the center, now the Gargano Escape is a lot closer to an STF! We get a meaningful camera angle of how the steps are positioned, just in front of the apron. Johnny takes Priest to the apron, tries to knock him onto the steps! Priest with a forearm off a charge! Hooks him for a suplex, Gargano blocks. Charging forearm alllmost drops him! Priest sidesteps the next one, roundhouse kick! Springboards in but Gargano with a Superkick out of the air, then another to drop him! Gargano tries One Final beat but Priest blocks it, COUNTER WITH A SPIKE RECKONING! And that is that!
Winner: Damian Priest
Damn good stuff there.
Vignette for Kushida/Dream.
Kushida vs. Velveteen Dream
Kushida jumps Dream before the bell! He’s all over him. Knocks him into the ropes, whip, kick to the jaw on a Back Body Drop attempt sends him flying the floor! Dream furiously tosses a chair into the ring, quite dumb as Kushida quickly takes it up and scares him out of the ring. Ref gets rid of the chair, calls for the bell!
Kushida takes him down, clubbering shots from the back. Dream fights up with a waistlock, Kushida with a hammerlock but Dream gets in the ropes for a break. HUGE slap to the face! Kushida goes down to the mat to mock his pose. Dream gives chase as Kush rushes around the ring, stops with a back kick! Into the ring, he lures him to the apron for the Handspring Liger Kick! Pulls him into the ring, Fujiwara Armbreaker! Dream is trying to beg off, Kush with an Inverted Atomic Drop, drop toe hold, Dream stands his ground but Kush pulls him down by the wrist instead, he is torturing his arms! Double Chickenwing using the legs, then falls back for a double armbreaker!
Dream with a desperation forearm drops him. Takes him to the floor, goes up top, Flying Double Axehandle to the floor. Takes him into the ring. Sledge blows to the back. Pulls him up, uppercut to the face drops him. Cover for 1. Dream with a forearm knocks him to the corner, Bronco Buster nailed. Dream enjoying the boos. Pulls him to the corner but Kush fights back. Handspring Elbow attempted but Dream catches him with a Sleeper! Kushida fights to his feet, slams him into the corner. Ref has to break it. Exchange of strikes in the middle of the ring! Kush with a double leg, mounts him with palm strikes! Hip Toss into a BRUTAL Basement Dropkick!
Grabs his wrists and tries his mean stomps but Dream avoids it, only to eat a brutal uppercut on his way back up. Now Kush grabs the wrists from behind and stomps on his back! Rolls him around and starts stomping his face in! Ref starts a count to make him stop. Charges in the corner, Dream takes him to the apron but Kush holds onto his wrist – SLAMS him shoulder first into the post! Crowd chants “One more time” as he grabs his wrist again, and indeed he gets him with it a second time! And as he hangs, that arm ends up draped behind the steps – Kushida with a dropkick to the steps!! Dream is screaming in agony. Kushida into the ring, Dream with a superkick on the way in.
Dream up top, tries for the Purple Rainmaker but Kushida catches him out of the air with a Cross-Armbreaker! Dream slips beneath the bottom rope but Kush keeps the hold on – until Dream pokes him in the eye! He slides into the ring, slaps him across the face, plants him with a Powerbomb but off the cover, Kushida zombies into an armbar! Dream breaks the hold with some punches. They’re both struggling their way up, Dream hoists him up for a sudden Dream Valley Driver!
Goes up top… Purple Rainmaker connects; but he landed on his injured arm! He can’t cover! Crawls over slowly… drapes the arm but Kushida kicks out! Had me for a bit there. Pulls him up slowly, Kushida holding on with both hands. Short-Arm Clothesline nailed HARD! Now Dream goes up top again. But Kushida rushes up there! Grabs his arm, backflip into the Hoverboard Lock!! Dream trying to struggle to the ropes, get his foot to the rope but Kushida with a back roll takes him to the center! Dream locks his hands, hoists him up for another DVD… nails it but Kushida holds on, STILL in the Hoverboard Lock! And Dream has to submit!
That was absolutely wicked. Everything Kushida needed.
Afterwards Kush attacks him again, cinched him in a Cross-Armbreaker and tears at his wrist and fingers until the officials have to pull him off! He is absolutely trying to rip that arm off. Chant of “One More Time” as Kushida has to make his leave.
We see a dark castle. Shotzi Blackheart howls at us and they announce Halloween Havoc! They better have the big ‘ol pumpkin.
…Nevermind this break in the black space, pretend it’s not here…
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar (c) vs. Isaiah Swerve Scott
Lock-up. Escobar with an arm wringer. Scott double legs him, but Escobar with an arm bar from the mat. Headscissor takedown, but Scott lands on his feet! They both trip each other up, they face each other down! Scott hits the ropes, Escobar charges but Scott monkey flips him to the floor, Scott with an Asai Moonsault off the apron! Swerve slides into the ring, resets the count, Triangle Corkscrew Senton!! Beautiful. Takes him into the ring. Escobar powders but that just lines him up for a Fosbury Flop!
Takes him over to the ringpost, and now he’s wrenching his elbow around the ropes! He exposed the steel of the binding. At a count of nine Swerve takes him into the ring for a cover for 2. Slams his arm into the mat. Pulls him to his feet, Northern Lights Suplex but he lands in a Cross Armbreaker! Very nice! Escobar gets his legs under the ropes for the break. Gets Scott to the apron, he tries to wrench the arm again but he kicks him to the floor! Escobar hits the ropes twice, Lawndart Suicide Dive takes him right into the barrier! Yikes! Takes him into the ring. Cover for a 1 count. Hilariously they played the audio for a crowd chanting along with a 2 count, that sure happened.
Escobar takes him up top, Super Rana! Elbow drop, cover for a 2 count! Chokes him in the ropes. Scott fights his way up. Escobar drops him with a slap. Kick to the face. He’s about to spit in his face but Swerve BLOCKS this. Big right hand to the face! Knocks him into the corner and pummels him! Throws him to the center, Discus Lariato! Charging back elbow in the corner, snapmare, goes up top, Spinning European Uppercut to the back! Escobar powders. Scott with some charging kicks from the apron, throws him back into the ring, Roll-Through Flatliner!
Swerve goes up top. Escobar goes up there with him, Swerve slips through his legs, dropkick leaves him draped, Swerve with a Leaping DDT spikes him! Nearfall! Now Santos boys come out. Distracting the ref, Scott gets tripped, Shoulderbreaker for a nearfall! They slip to the apron, Escobar charges but Scott crotches him on the top rope! Leaps for a rana that sends him onto his boys but they catch him and get him to his feet! Ashante the Adonis of all people comes out to make the save, gets a Corkscrew Crossbody in.
Takes them backstage as back in the ring, Scott gets a WWE Headkick from the apron, springs in but Santos with a flying superkick out of the air! Phantom Driver! BUT NO, IT’S A NEARFALL! He gets desperate, stomps him into the mat. Hooks him, and starts the Three Amigos! Hits each one and goes up top! Looks for the Frog Splash but Scott rolls out of the way and he crashes and burns! Singles out an arm, stomps it brutally! House Call Kick!! Scott up top! 450 Splash!! NEARFALL!
“This Is Awesome” chant piped in, quite fairly! Pulls him up, but they both spill to the floor! Fight to the apron, Escobar blocks a Half-N-Half, knocks him away and he falls headfirst onto the exposed steel of the turnbuckle from earlier! Escobar pulls him into the ring, hits him with a move like an Angel’s Wings but he drops him facefirst onto his knee and that’s that!
Winner: Santos Escobar
Absolutely kickass match.
Vignette for Candice/Io.
NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs. Candice LaRae
Shoving match to start. Io ducks a line, multiple backflips, hip toss and then a basement dropkick and LaRae ducks out to the floor. Back into the ring, Io looks for a Victory Roll but Candice escapes it, takes her to the corner, Monkey Flip but Io lands on her feet! Wants a charging kick but LaRae bails to avoid it! Candice on the apron, Io wants a Sunset Flip Powerbomb but Candice blocks it, pulls her to the floor. Io dodges a dive, Asai Moonsault lands! Throws her into the ring, cover for a 1 count.
Chokes her in the corner, leaping Meteora! Pulls her to the center for a count of 2. Candice reverses a whip to send her to the corner, Io sidesteps a charge, Candice blocks a Shuriken, Backstabber lands! Cover for a 2 count! They fight their way up, Candice with a headscissor takedown, Io lands on her feet but Candice is ready to nail her with a lariat! Nearfall! Candice chokes Io in the ropes, seems to grind her eyes into them as well! Snapmare, Neck Snap, Jacknife for 2! Keylock, Io fights her way up but Candice rips her to the mat. Hoists her up, big Pendulum Backbreaker for a 2 count! LaRae pulls her up, drives her repeatedly into the corner.
Charging back elbow. Io slaps her but Candice drops her with a shot. Rams her headfirst into the corner. Stomps her into the mat. Pulls her to her feet, Biel Throw! And then another. Faux Brainbuster for a nearfall! And then a second nearfall! Wrenching the neck, Io gets to her feet, Candice takes her to the corner, Io sidesteps a charge, Candice wants the step up on her back for the senton but Shirai evades it! Double stomp! Io with some shoulderblocks. Flapjack! Candice scrambles to the ropes, Tiger Feint Kick! Shirai with a Missile Dropkick for a nearfall!
Takes her up for a double underhook but Candice escapes, counters a Wheelbarrow Facebuster by just dropping her facefirst, step-up senton! Wants the Lionsault but Io stops her with a kick to the gut out of the air! Butterfly Backbreaker nailed! Io mounts her in the corner but Candice counters quickly with a Powerbomb! But io with the Strong Style just bounces back with a Meteora! Candice fights back, they exchange German Suplexes, LaRae with a Backstabber! Lionsault for a nearfall!
Candice with a slap to the face on her way up but Io surprises her with a Crossface! Candice struggles, rolls her up for a 2 count! Then reverses into the Gargano Escape! Io struggling mightily… finally makes it, Candice holds on for the four count and ends up backhanding the ref in the face. Candice turns around, Io lands the Air Raid Crash! Io goes up top, Over The Moonsault but Candice gets her boots up and Io ends up flying into the distracted ref and he goes flying from the ring! Candice hooks her wrists, Wicked Stepsister!
Cover, no ref… Johnny Gargano runs out with a referee shirt?! He tries a very very fast count but Io kicks out! Johnny goeso ut and grabs the NXT Women’s title, just says it’s hers! The real ref is back in the ring and bickers with him. He slowly takes off the ref’s shirt and leaves but behind the ref’s back, Candice nails Io with the title! She covers just as he turns around!! BUT IO KICKS OUT! Johnny is freaking out! Candice goes up top, Io pursues… SPANISH FLY!! And then right back up, Over the Moonsault!! And that is that!
Winner: Io Shirai
Toni Storm appears on the tron I think?! She congratulates Io on the win but hopes everyone keeps their head on a swivel because she is back, and she will show everyone that it is always Toni Time.
I thought this meant she was the one who was on the motorcycle but apparently not, they’re still on the way here and Io is still in the ring! She comes out to the stage… pulls off the helmet AND IT’S EMBER MOON!!! Holy crap! I missed her so much!!!
Interview with Ashante backstage. He says he’s all hyped up but he has a lot of respect for Swerve and he’s trying to help a brother out. He’s sick of seeing Legado jump guys. He took the opportunity to beat them faster than Amazon Delivery. He came to that ring drippin’, drippin’, drippin’. He mis-spells his own name and says when you hit ’em with the hammer they don’t care about the grammar.
…Once again, this space isn’t real, it’s all in your mind…
This has already been a hell of a show. And now it’s main event time…
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Both looking for leg kicks, neither allowing it. Chain wrestling exchange, battling for position, exchanging dominance, Finn with a headscissor and Kyle quickly kips up to escape, stand off. Finn with a side headlock. Kyle wants to shoot him off but Finn holds on. Kyle fights up and shoots him off but Finn with a shoulder block, and then a side headlock takeover. Kyle fights his way up and hits a Back Suplex but Finn keeps the headlock on! Kyle again tries to shoot him off but Finn hangs on. You can just tell from the pace this is going to be a long one.
Finn wants a Sunset Flip but Kyle counters into a Cross-Armbreaker attempt but Finn gets his feet to the ropes for the break. Kyle with an arm wringer. Takes him down. Grinding the knee into his chest. Finn kips up and tries to reverse but O’Reilly manages the armbar takedown! Drives the knee into that arm, spins around him for elbow strikes to the ribs, driving knee to the side. Holds him down with a tight hammerlock. Finn with a foot to the ropes for a break. Kyle pulls him up, hip tosses him over and keeps the hold in. Finn fights his way to his feet, Kyle with a sunset flip and Finn rolls through, Basement Dropkick lands flush! Kick to the back, cover for 2.
Balor grabs an armbar, plays it like a guitar to mock O’Reilly. He pulls him up to his feet and cinches in a Hammerlock. Finn pulls him up an chops him in the corner. Wicked knife edge! And a third one! Whip to the opposite corner, charging chop! Aaaand another! Wants yet another but O’Reilly bounces off the corner for a Kitchen Sink Knee! Finn with a chop again but O’Reilly pops him up for a kick to the chest! Unleashes a combination of strikes, legsweep takedown! Charging forearm in the corner to Finn, pulls him out of the corner, Butterfly Suplex, holds on for a second one, and then a Double Underhook DDT for a nearfall!
Finn with an elbow to the back of the head, Kyle shoves him away, hard leg kick. Keeps pounding away. Exchange of forearms, Finn with a liver kick and Kyle drops! Ref is trying to check on Kyle after that, Finn with a brutal soccer kick! Ref again has to back him off. Throws him into the corner, shoulder thrusts. Power whip to the opposite buckle! Takes him to the ropes, hooks him, charging kick to the ribs and Kyle drops! O’Reilly has to tell the ref that’s fit to continue. Finn with a Camel Clutch. Elbow drop to the small of the back, nearfall! Finn with a whip to the corner, Kyle kicks away from the buckle but Finn manages to catch him in an Abdominal Stretch, Kyle hip tosses him to escape!
Balor with a charging chop, hits the ropes but Kyle stops him with a Jumping Knee Strike, HIIIGH Angle Back Suplex drops Finn right on his head for a nearfall! Kyle’s midsection is killing him. Pulls him up but Finn escapes behind him, Final Cut for a close nearfall! Finn with a Slingblade! And now he sets up for the John Wu Dropkick. But Kyle with a low dropkick clips his leg instead! O’Reilly wants a single leg, but Finn counters with an Abdominal Stretch! Blood all over Kyle’s teeth! But he fights back, Kneebreaker into a Kneebar! Finn counters though into a Sharpshooter! He struggles mightily and grabs the rope for the break! Finn is lording over Kyle as he leans against the corner. Finn stomps him, telling him he does this every night.
Charging kick but Kyle catches it! Fights his way up, series of forearms! Leg kick! Ax and Smash! But Finn with a Pele! Kyle with the Rebound Clothesline!! He hasn’t done that in a long-ass time so he was a bit rusty! Kyle with a roundhouse kick to the chest! Wants another but Finn catches him, slap to the face! Hooks him, O’Reilly counters for a Guillotine! Finn fades, Kyle releases him, knee to the chest, hooks him for a Brainbuster!! Nearfall but Kyle holds onto his arm for a Cross-Armbreaker attempt, Finn hooks his fingers but Kyle grabs the leg as well! Fingers giving way… and the grip finally breaks, he has it in – no not quite Finn manages to roll through and stomps on his face to break the hold!
Finn pulls him up, 1916! Nearfall!! So Balor goes up top, very, very slowly. Kyle with a high kick crotches him! Out on the apron, he pulls him across the top rope, Dragonscrew Leg Whip over the top rope! And then one over the middle rope! And now Finn’s draped by that leg! O’Reilly up top, Flying Knee Drop to the chest sends him into the mat! O’Reilly goes up top! Flying Knee Drop right to that leg, and there’s a Kneebar!! Spins around, brutal Heel Hook! Finn desperately tries to kick him away but Kyle grabs onto both legs!! Finn with some Tomahawk Chops to O’Reilly but he can’t break the hold! Kyle ends up putting him in an Indian Deathlock-esque hold as Finn reaches for the ropes… teases a tap for a moment but then grabs the bottom rope for the break. Phew.
“NXT” chant as Kyle kicks Finn’s leg out from under him and he drops heavy. Finn struggles up, Kyle wants another kick but Finn just falls. Kyle hesitates… Finn with a double leg, Double Footstomp to the injured midsection! He wants the John Wu but his leg bothers him, Kyle stops him with a pump knee to the face, Saito Suplex but Finn with another Double Stomp and they’re both down! Finn goes up top yet again. Cou’p de Gras nailed hard and that is that.
Winner: Finn Balor
Classic match there. Finn is spitting up blood after that, damn. Gritty stuff. Hope they check on him ASAP, that doesn’t look like a busted lip to me.
Afterwards, Finn is staggering and Kyle is still out on the mat. Finn stumbles over, reaches out a hand. Helps him to his feet. Big show of respect and a chant of “NXT” as Finn raises up his arm… but Ridge Holland appears in the crowd, holding Adam Cole on his shoulders? He dumps him over to ringside, he’s been brutalized. UE swarm around him. And that’s the show.