– The “Takeover: 31” go-home edition of WWE NXT opens up with a video package.
– We’re live on the USA Network with a tape delay as Tom Phillips welcomes us to the NXT Arena on the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix joins him, calling the action from her home. Tom says Wade Barrett and Vic Joseph are off again this week.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai
We go right to the ring and out first comes Shotzi Blackheart on her mini-tank. Dakota Kai is out next with Raquel Gonzalez. Tom says Kai personally requested this match after their altercation in last week’s Battle Royal.
The bell rings and they talk some trash in the middle of the ring. Kai mushes Blackheart in the face and Gonzalez applauds. Shotzi takes her down and they go at it. Back and forth to start. Blackheart with close pin attempts early on. Shotzi with an inverted Atomic Drop. Shotzi welcomes Kai to the Ball Pit and drops the double leg drop between the legs. Shotzi keeps control and hits an armbreaker with double knees. Shotzi with more offense and another 2 count. Kai tries to counter but Shotzi drops her on her face and focuses on the arm and leg some more as Gonzalez watches.
Kai fights out but Shotzi arm drags her. Shotzi attacks in the corner and decks Kai but Kai blocks and fights out of the corner into another. Kai with a big boot to the throat as the referee warns her. Shotzi fights back but Kai drops her in the corner and stands on her for another referee warning. Kai with a shot to the face and a suplex in the middle of the ring. Shotzi kicks out at 2. Kai works Shotzi over against the ropes some more. Kai charges but Shotzi drops her into the middle rope. Shotzi charges but Kai moves and Raquel gets on the apron to distract Shotzi. This leads to Kai hitting a backbreaker in the middle of the ring for a close 2 count.
We see Kai dominating in the picture-in-picture commercial. Back from the break and Blackheart is making a comeback. She slams Kai face-first into the mat. Shotzi with a reverse Slingblade and big strikes in the middle of the ring. A knee to the face and an enziguri takes Kai back down. Shotzi goes on and hits a Chicken Wing German suplex for a close 2 count. Shotzi runs into knees in the corner. Kai takes her back down and covers for a 2 count.
Kai scoops Shotzi on her shoulders but she slides out. Shotzi sends Kai to the apron and they continue trading shots. Kai drops Shotzi on the apron with a kick to the head. Shotzi kicks the leg out and they continue fighting it out on the apron. Kai with a big Scorpion Kick on the apron. Shotzi blocks a pump kick on the apron and delivers a big kick of her own. They both end up falling to the floor after landing hard coming out of a move by Kai. The referee checks on both competitors while they’re down at ringside.
Gonzalez ends up taking a cheap shot at Shotzi. She backs away from the apron but Rhea Ripley runs down to attack her. Officials get in between them as they trade word. This leads to Kai running and missing the big boot in the corner. Shotzi rolls Kai up in the middle of the ring for the pin to win.
Winner: Shotzi Blackheart
– After the match, Shotzi stands tall as her music hits. We go to replays. Shotzi taunts Kai from the stage as she looks on from the ring.
– Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar join Tom from different areas backstage, for a split-screen interview. Swerve talks about being a better competitor and the only man in WWE to pin Escobar. Scott promises to pin him again for the title at Takeover this Sunday. Escobar laughs at the idea and calls Swerve a parasite that he can’t get rid of. Escobar says Swerve is a loose end and he ties loose ends up. Escobar promises that their match will be fair but Swerve finds that hard to believe because Legado del Fantasma always seems to interfere, or Escobar uses something like a loaded mask. Swerve says this is because he’s better than Escobar. Escobar says Swerve just has excuses, and when it matters he can’t really deliver. Swerve says those aren’t excuses, it’s reality, and the reality is that he’s adapted to everything in this business, and everything in life, so he will be ready for whatever Escobar tries to throw at him this Sunday. They have more words and Swerve says he will show everyone why Escobar is a fraud. Escobar says this is how they’re different – Swerve is making this all about himself, while Escobar, since winning the title, has improved the cruiserweight division and infused it with the spirit of lucha libre. Escobar says all of Swerve’s showcasing won’t be enough at Takeover. He goes on and says he will bury Swerve at Takeover. Swerve wants to see him try.
– Still to come, a special look at #1 contender Kyle O’Reilly. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a “Takeover: 31” promo.
– We get a new video game-inspired mystery vignette for the former champion that is returning to NXT at Takeover on Sunday.
– Tom leads us to a “Prime Target” preview special on Kyle O’Reilly as he prepares to challenge NXT Champion Finn Balor on Sunday at the “Takeover: 31” event. The video includes comments from The Undisputed Era leader Adam Cole.
– Still to come, Shawn Michaels will host a face-off between Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Tom confirms that Tegan Nox is out of action with a torn ACL. Sarah Schreiber is backstage with Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano now, bringing up how LeRae was responsible for the Nox injury. Gargano says Nox broke their TV, and LeRae broke her. Schreiber asks about tonight’s main event and Sunday’s title shots now. Gargano says destiny will be here on Sunday. LeRae says it starts tonight and they will finish it at Takeover on Sunday. They mock Schreiber and dismiss her.
Cameron Grimes Invitational Stepping Stone To The Moon Challenge: Joey Pistachio, Joey Strong, Ridge Holland
We go back to the ring and out comes Cameron Grimes to loud boos from the developmental trainees in the crowd. Alicia Taylor does the ring introductions. Grimes takes the mic and says he’s not in the best mood right now. He had every chance in the world last week but it was all taken away with a match called a Gauntlet Eliminator. He wonders who came up with that match. It couldn’t be NXT General Manager because he’d come up with something way better. Grimes says he’s out here to cheer up and make a match. He announces the Cameron Grimes Invitational Stepping Stone To The Moon. He says he’s hand-picked each opponent, so he’s in for a test. He calls the first opponent out. The music hits and out comes enhancement talent Joey Pistachio.
Pistachio, from San Diego, enters the ring and turns around but immediately eats a Cave In from Grimes. Grimes overs for the pin to win. Grimes says he wouldn’t be the man he is if he didn’t have other opponents. He calls enhancement talent Joey Strong out to the ring next.
Strong comes out but Ridge Holland attacks him on the stage and takes him out. Grimes says he thinks Ridge is good but he’s not a part of this Invitational. Grimes will shake Ridge’s hand, but he’s not a part of this contest. Ridge shakes but headbutts Grimes to the mat. The bell rings and here we go.
Ridge goes right to work on Grimes and unloads with big shots. Ridge keeps fighting and stomps away while Grimes is down. He keeps stomping as the referee warns him. The referee finally calls for the bell as Ridge keeps stomping while Grimes is down.
Winner: Ridge Holland
– After the bell, Grimes rolls to the floor to recover. Holland stands tall in the ring and looks down at Grimes as the music hits. Ridge marches up the ramp to the back.
– Schreiber is backstage with Austin Theory now. He says last week’s loss to Damian Priest should never have happened. He goes on about Kyle O’Reilly and his NXT Title shot. Theory says he was just 22 years old competing at WrestleMania 36, so why are they calling O’Reilly the future? Theory says O’Reilly should try catching up to him.
– We get a video package on Kushida. He cuts a promo on The Velveteen Dream in Japanese to hype their match at Takeover. Kushida will be in action tonight. Back to commercial.
Kushida vs. Tony Nese
Back from the break and out comes Kushida to the ring. Tony Nese is out next to boos.
The bell rings and Kushida kicks Nese in the head as he shows off. Kushida with more big kicks. Nese blocks a shot and jabs Kushida in the throat. Nese grabs Kushida and runs over the top rope to the floor, sling-shotting Kushida over the top rope. Kushida counters on the floor and whips Nese shoulder-first into the ring post. Kushida brings it back in and delivers more kicks.
Kushida with kicks to the elbow now. They tangle and Kushida goes for the arm. Kushida with a takedown on the arm now. Kushida with another big takedown by the arm. Kushida grabs Nese’s arms and stomps away while he’s down. Kushida goes right into the Hoverboard Lock and Nese quickly submits.
– After the match, Kushida stands tall as his music hits. We go to replays. Kushida stands in the ring as a purple light shines over the arena. The Velveteen Dream appears on the big screen to boos. Dream doesn’t care which Kushida shows up on Sunday because the spotlight will be too bright for him. Dream goes on and says he always puts on his best performances under the brightest spotlights, so he will see Kushida this Sunday.
– Cameron Grimes is backstage holding his eye and complaining. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone unless it’s NXT General Manager William Regal. Dexter Lumis suddenly appears, making his return to TV. Grimes calls him a freak and tells him to get out of his way. Grimes keeps walking away as Lumis stares him down. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Adam Cole is in the ring. He goes on about how The Undisputed Era has dominated NXT for three years and no one has been able to stop them. They said they’d win all the titles and they did. People in the locker room knew that if they crossed The Undisputed Era, they’d pay. He says eventually they lost the titles and people felt like they weren’t the same, that they could say what they wanted and there would be no repercussions.
Cole is here to make it known that nothing has changed. He goes on about how they’re the same Undisputed Era that won the first War Games, the same group that has dominated. Cole then calls out Austin Theory to come to the ring and say what he said earlier, but to Cole’s face. Theory comes walking out but Cole wants him to get in the ring. Cole is going to keep this simple, so even Theory can understand. He has two options – get in the ring and face him like a man, or stand where you are so Cole and the rest of The Undisputed Era can beat him where he stands, and make him regret his words. Option one or two? Theory heads to the ring and it looks like we’ve got a match.
Adam Cole vs. Austin Theory
The bell rings and Austin Theory charges but Adam Cole ducks. Cole unloads with big chops in the corner. Theory tries to fight but Cole drops him and unloads while he’s down in the corner.
Cole with more offense against the ropes, including a pump kick. Cole keeps control and hits a neckbreaker. Cole rocks Theory while he’s down. Theory dodges a pump kick and goes to the floor for a breather, taunting Cole. Cole follows and nails the pump kick again. Theory goes down on the floor and the referee counts. Cole slams Theory face-first into the apron and breaks the count. Cole launches Theory into the steel ring steps now.
Cole rolls Theory back into the ring and follows but Theory grabs him. Cole pulls away, back to the floor and nails a kick to the face from the floor. Cole comes back in and hits a neckbreaker in the middle of the ring. Theory kicks out at 2. Cole with more trash talking and offense to keep Theory down. Cole with another neckbreaker and more trash talking while Theory is down. Cole takes Theory to the corner and traps him, kicking him in the gut. Cole grounds Theory with a headlock now, taunting him. Theory fights up and out of the hold, rocking Cole with a forearm. Cole comes right back and levels Theory with a back elbow.
Theory tries to fight from his knees but Cole sends him back into the corner. Cole sends Theory to the apron and they keep fighting. Theory ends up rolling back in and hitting a big dropkick for a close 2 count. Theory sits up and stays in control as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Theory is still in control of Cole. Theory drops Cole again and stomps his chest. Theory grounds Cole and taunts him now as the crowd rallies. Cole tries to fight up and out but Theory nails a backbreaker. Theory with a standing moonsault in the middle of the ring for a close 2 count. Cole blocks a shot in the corner. Theory runs into a big boot in the corner. Cole with clotheslines out of the corner now. Cole drops Theory with a big kick for a pop.
Theory counters from behind but Cole drops him with a kick to the face. Cole with a Backstabber for a close 2 count. Cole scoops Theory on his shoulders but Theory fights free. Cole with a big pump kick to the face again. Cole with the Ushigoroshi for another close 2 count. Cole keeps control and goes to the second rope for a Panama Sunrise. Theory counters and Cole can’t roll him up. Theory with a shot to the back of the neck. Theory with the Blue Thunderbomb for a close 2 count in the middle of the ring. Theory can’t believe it and shows some frustration now.
They talk trash and trade big forearm strikes from their knees. Cole gets up first as the firearms continue. Cole unloads with shots to the face now. Theory charges with an elbow to the face. Theory runs the ropes but Cole levels him with a big superkick in mid-air. Theory ends up dropping Cole’s neck over the top rope after baiting him to the ropes. Theory comes back in but Cole nails another superkick. Cole with another Ushigoroshi and then the Last Shot for the pin to win.
Winner: Adam Cole
– After the match, Cole stands tall as the music hits. Cole talks to the camera about how Kyle O’Reilly was born ready and wants the NXT Title more than anyone else. Cole says O’Reilly will shock the world at Takeover on Sunday against Finn Balor. Cole stands tall as we go to replays. Cole does The Undisputed Era pose on the stage now as we go back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a video for Connor’s Cure as this is the last day of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
– Schreiber is backstage with Io Shirai and Damian Priest now, asking how confident they are going up against NXT’s power couple. Priest laughs at that name and says they can keep the “power couple” title because he and Shirai are keeping their titles at Takeover. He goes on about the match until Shirai cuts a promo in Japanese. They bump hand horns and Shirai comments on Priest being a rock star. Priest walks off and Shirai says he’s not bad.
Kayden Carter vs. Xia Li
We go back to the ring and out comes Kayden Carter with Kacy Catanzaro. Xia Li is out next.
The bell rings and they lock up. Li with a quick roll up for a 1 count. Carter tries for the same as they tangle in the middle of the ring. More back and forth with pin attempts until they give each other a quick hand shake after facing off again. They lock up again and trade more holds. Carter nails a dropkick from the bottom rope but Li kicks out at 2.
Li rolls to the floor for a breather. Carter comes to the ropes but Li pulls her down to the apron. Li levels Carter and pulls her to the floor, forcing her to land hard on the back of her head. Kacy encourages her friend to get up at ringside as Li watches from the ring. Carter comes back in but Li works her over with strikes. More back and forth now. Li unloads with strikes to double Carter over for another 2 count, and another pin attempt, and a third.
Li shows some frustration and briefly has a word with the referee now. They trade more offense in and out of the corner as Kacy cheers Carter on. Carter unloads with shots but Li blocks a pin. Carter with a back kick to the face for a 2 count. Li ends up rolling Carter up for 2. Carter rolls Li over for another pin attempt but she kicks out. Li tries to end it but Carter rolls her into one more pin attempt but this one gets the win.
Winner: Kayden Carter
– After the match, Carter stands tall as we go to replays and Kacy joins her. Carter offers her hand to Li and helps her from the corner. Li ends up pushing Carter to the mat. Kacy grabs her arm and asks what her problem is. Li knocks her hand away and storms out of the ring to boos. Kacy stands with Carter as Li’s music plays, while Li heads to the back.
– Still to come, Shawn Michaels is here. Back to commercial.
– Back from a break and we get a pre-recorded segment with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels sitting at a table in a ring with the NXT Title belt. He hypes the “Takeover: 31” main event and is joined by Kyle O’Reilly, and NXT Champion Finn Balor. Shawn proposes a handshake and they do.
Balor congratulates O’Reilly for winning the Gauntlet Eliminator and comments on having respect for him. He can’t wait for their match at Takeover. O’Reilly agrees and thanks Balor. Shawn appreciates the respect between the two but he’s ready to talk about Sunday. Shawn talks about the match and asks about how Balor prepares for O’Reilly. Balor doesn’t think O’Reilly is a secret at all. Balor talks about knowing how good O’Reilly is, and how he’s proved himself around the world. Balor says he knows exactly how good O’Reilly is. O’Reilly says he likes Balor. He says Balor is the best at stroking his own ego. O’Reilly goes on and says this will be absolute certain defeat for Balor. Balor isn’t sure if O’Reilly will show up with The Undisputed Era, or if he will show up by himself like a man. O’Reilly talks about how The Undisputed Era has watched each other’s backs but this Sunday is about him and his success. Michaels asks about a potential power struggle and O’Reilly says that’s laughable. He goes on but Balor interrupts and threatens to slap his freckles off on Sunday. This is the Balor that O’Reilly wanted.
O’Reilly wants no excuses on Sunday. Balor says there will be no room for excuses on Sunday, and no luck or jokes. Balor has been proving himself for 20 years. O’Reilly has been in the business for 15 years, what’s 5 more? O’Reilly says Sunday is not just the biggest match of his career, it’s the biggest moment of his life. Balor says there’s a difference between a main event of a night and one that lasts a life. They go on and O’Reilly says the idea of him being the underdog is bullshit. He says Balor has never been in the ring with a person like him, and he will change Balor’s mind. He threatens to make Balor’s kneecaps explode and says the tag team specialist will get the job done again this Sunday. Balor says O’Reilly is really, really good in the ring and he believes he has what it takes to be NXT Champion, and he would be champion if the title was around the waist of anyone else but Balor. Shawn thanks them and that ends the segment.
– Tom hypes tonight’s main event. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Tom hypes Corey Taylor’s “Culture Head” single and a live performance airing on Taylor’s website this Friday. This is the theme song for “Takeover: 31” on Sunday. Tom and Beth go over the card for Takeover.
Damian Priest and Io Shirai vs. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae
We go back to the ring for tonight’s main event as Johnny Gargano is out with Candice LeRae. The boos continue as they head to the ring for this Takeover Champions vs. Challengers match. The lights briefly go out and the spotlight starts shining on NXT North American Champion Damian Priest. Priest shoots his invisible arrow at the big screen and then motions for his partner. Priest’s music goes right into the music of NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai as she comes out. They pose on the stage together.
Shirai and Priest rush the ring and start brawling with The Garganos. LeRae and Gargano eventually retreat to the floor to regroup. The referee restores order and we get the bell. Priest charges but Gargano ducks and rocks him. Gargano bobs around with more strikes while taunting Priest. Gargano unloads in the corner now. Priest misses a big boot. Gargano looks to mount more offense but a big boot levels him. Priest unloads in the corner with big strikes now.
Priest charges and rocks Gargano, then scoops him for a big sidewalk slam. Gargano rolls to the corner for Candice to encourage him. Shirai is tagged in, so LeRae must come in. They go at it, trading strikes in the middle of the ring. LeRae launches Shirai into the corner. She charges but gets kicked in the head from the apron. Shirai comes off the top but LeRae moves. LeRae rolls Shirai for a 2 count. Shirai catches LeRae with a Flapjack on her face. Shirai keeps going and hits a low dropkick to the ribs, sending LeRae to the corner for a breather.
Shirai charges but Gargano runs in and gets in her way. They face off and here comes Priest. He stands next to Shirai and then rocks Gargano. Gargano ends up on the outside. Shirai with running knees to LeRae in the corner. Gargano and LeRae regroup together on the floor now. Shirai stands on Priest’s shoulders as they walk closer to the ropes. Shirai leaps from Priest’s shoulders and flies to the floor, taking Gargano and LeRae down at ringside. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and LeRae has Shirai grounded in the middle of the ring. Shirai tries to fight up and out but LeRae drops her to more boos. We see how Shirai hit 619 on Gargano during the break, because Gargano jumped in the way as Shirai went to hit 619 on his wife. LeRae taunts and slaps Shirai around a bit now. Shirai rocks her and hits a big German suplex.
Shirai crawls for the tag and in comes Priest. Gargano charges but Priest rocks him several times. Priest levels Gargano with a clothesline. Priest shoots his invisible arrow and charges with the big leaping back elbow in the corner. Priest with a bigger Broken Arrow for a close 2 count. Priest goes for the Razor’s Edge but Gargano slides free. Priest runs into a big boot. Gargano with a big tornado DDT from the corner. Gargano misses a roundhouse kick. Priest fires back with kicks of his own. Priest drops Gargano with an enziguri.
Shirai tags in and leaps off the top, taking Gargano down. LeRae charges in but Shirai drops her twice. LeRae blocks the Tiger Driver. Shirai ducks an enziguri and quickly applies the Crossface submission. Gargano pulls Shirai off his wife and out of the ring but Priest stops him and levels him at ringside. More back and forth between Shirai and LeRae in the middle of the ring. LeRae with a big kick to the face and a driver. LeRae misses the moonsault off the ropes. Shirai with a double underhook backbreaker. Shirai goes to the top rope for the moonsault but Gargano comes in and rolls his wife to safety on the floor. Priest comes from behind and hits the Bell Clap, then a big jumping kick to the face to drop him.
Shirai hits the moonsault on Gargano. Priest tags in and goes for The Reckoning but LeRae runs in and hits a low blow kick on Priest while Shirai has the referee distracted. This leads to Shirai attacking LeRae and dropping her on the outside. Gargano takes advantage of the chaos and hits One Final Beat on Priest for the pin to win.
Winners: Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae
– After the match, LeRae and Gargano stand tall as the music hits and the boos get louder. Shirai comes in the ring to confront Gargano but LeRae drops her with a Backstabber. We go to replays. Gargano goes to ringside and grabs the NXT Women’s Title belt and the NXT North American Title belt. He brings them in and drops to one knee in front of LeRae. He hands her Shirai’s title and then they pose together with the gold as Tom wonders if we will see the first husband & wife champions at Takeover on Sunday. The go-home NXT episode goes off the air with LeRae and Gargano raising the title belts in the air.