The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from NXT TakeOver 31

By: Frank Hyden

TakeOver 31 was last night and the only real complaint you could have is that there no were title changes. I expected that, though, and I’m sure everyone else did, too. The only title I thought might possibly change hands was the cruiserweight title but it wasn’t to be. Anyway, let’s get to the rundown.

GOOD- Damian Priest beats Johnny Gargano to retain his NXT North American Title

This was a really good back and forth match, no surprise from a Gargano match but Priest was right there with him. They fought outside the ring some but Priest hit The Reckoning for the win. I like the idea of Gargano and Candice LeRae as husband and wife champs but Priest has really proved he’s worthy of holding the North American belt for a while.

GOOD- Kushida beats Velveteen Dream

Kushida showed plenty of aggression here, destroying Dream’s arm before ultimately making him tap out to the Hoverboard Lock. Hopefully it’s not much longer before Kushida enters a title picture. He could be a main eventer but at least have himgo for the NXT North American Title.

GOOD- Santos Escobar beats Isaiah “Swerve” Scott to retain his WWE Cruiserweight Title

This was probably the fastest-paced match of the night, as these guys threw everything they had at each other. There was some interference but Escobar put Swerve away on his own with an “exposed” turnbuckle spot to retain his WWE Cruiserweight Title.

GOOD- Io Shirai beats Candice LeRae to retain her NXT Women’s Title

The finish was a bit overbooked, as they had Johnny Gargano interfere but I guess that just makes Shirai look stronger to overcome the odds. After Shirai pinned LeRae with the moonsault they showed that Toni Storm and Ember Moon are both returning to NXT to challenge Shirai next. That’s pretty cool.

GOOD- Finn Balor beats Kyle O’Reilly to retain his NXT Title

This was a hard-fought physical slugfest. Balor bled from the mouth, both guys had thrown some big shots. Balor won, which is a little disappointing but expected because this is Balor’s first title defense. Plus, I imagine they’ll have another match here soon. After the win, Ridge Holland came out with a beat up Adam Cole and left him there as Undisputed Era rushed to ringside. This was a hell of a match.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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