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NXT recap & reactions (Sept. 30, 2020): Final Face Off

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NXT returned last night (Sept. 30) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results from this TakeOver: 31 go home show at the live blog here.

Face Off

Shawn Michaels mediated the face to face between Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Bálor, though he was pretty much in the background.

It was a sit down where both men blew some smoke up the other’s arse before discussing why they’d win. Much of it focused on Kyle O’Reilly being an “underdog” (something neither man bought too much into). It also concerned whether Kyle would leave the Undisputed ERA in the back on Sunday, and while he alluded that he would, he may as well have told the ERA to stand back and stand by.

Kyle may be playing more a babyface, but he was the cocky one here, even more than the man who holds the title. That makes sense though. That’s been his personality his entire tenure in NXT. It’s not suddenly going to change.

O’Reilly’s natural charm came through while he fought against the underdog label. He did some accents even. He’s taking this seriously but he has a way about him that’s also light about things.

None of that shook Finn’s uber confidence. He knows who he is and isn’t going to be rattled by KOR.

This didn’t add too much to the match, but it was a good contrast of character between both men. I was already excited for this championship match. This gave us a little personality to help sell it.


Defending Honor

Undisputed ERA looks to still be strong... probably.

In fact, when Austin Theory talked some trash about Kyle O’Reilly in a backstage interview, Adam Cole marched to the ring and called him out to take a beating for his words.

It led to a match and while Theory had his moments and a couple nearfalls, it was Cole’s to lose. He didn’t. Adam put another L in Theory’s record book (he’s been wracking those up at quite the clip lately). Afterwards, he looked at the camera and put over the fact that Kyle O’Reilly is more than ready for the title.

It’s an interesting wrinkle, but that’s because many including myself assume Undisputed is going to feud with each other. But right now they’re all very supportive. That was shown here and in the very good Prime Target video about Kyle O’Reilly earlier.

But the other side of that is maybe it’s too blatant. Maybe they’re too supportive. They hit us over the head with how supportive Adam Cole is. Could that be choreographing betrayal on Sunday?


Mixed Main

The main even was a mixed tag between Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae against Damian Priest and Io Shirai. It represents two title feuds on Sunday’s show.

While there’s isn’t too much of note to say about it, it was a fun match. Priest and Shirai meshed very well together, showing good chemistry and even featuring some double team maneuvers. Plus, their looks go together as they’re both supposed to be somewhat metal champions.

The Garganos were one step ahead though. It was Candice’s low blow to the Archer of Infamy that allowed Johnny to deliver One Final Beat for the win. Mr. & Mrs. Wrestling stood tall at the end.

That’s not surprising because there’s little chance either of them stands tall on Sunday. So we got a little reverse momentum here to make them seem like a threat.


Lost Asset

Dakota Kai’s fates continued to be tied into Raquel González. It looked like she would pick up a win against the fast rising Shotzi Blackheart when Raquel tripped Shotzi up to give Dakota the advantage.

But then Rhea Ripley, who has issues with González, came out to try to even the score. Rhea was eventually held back by the officials, but it gave Blackheart enough time to recover from Raquel’s interference (and a nasty looking apron bump) to avoid Kai’s corner kick and score a roll up victory.

I’m getting excited for Rhea vs. Raquel. Despite González mainly working as a bodyguard or the occasional tag with Dakota Kai, they’ve done a good job building her as a force that can collide with Ripley.


Stepping Stones to the Moon

Cameron Grimes continues to own the role as arrogant, shithead heel.

After failing to win in the Gauntlet Eliminator last week, he made his own match (The Cameron Grimes Invitational Stepping Stones to the Moon Match) where he could beat up some undersized enhancement guys. But that didn’t go too well.

He beat the first entrant “Joey Pistachio”, who was in the 80 pound weight class - to give you an idea of the caliber of talent. But the second entrant was taken out by Brick S***house Ridge Holland, who then aggressively took out Grimes.

Cameron is the type of heel who can take a beating like this and not be hurt at all. He can come out, cut another excuse ridden promo, and be fine. I’m more curious about him actually having a match with Holland. I can’t imagine he could get that tree trunk of a man down with a Cave In, but I’m excited to see him try... and probably fail.


All the Rest:

- Kushida aggressively defeated Tony Nese in our reminder that Tony Nese is still around. After his win, Velveteen Dream popped up on the big screen. Velveteen stated that under the bright lights, he shines the most. It was all pretty basic stuff, though I’m enjoying aggressive Kushy.

- The Cruiserweight title participants had a split screen video promo where Isaiah “Swerve” Scott showed his frustration with Santos Escobar’s dirty tricks and reminded us all he is the only man who has pinned him. Meanwhile, Escobar responded while relaxing in his nice chair like he was in a vodka commercial. Point: Santos.

- Kayden Carter defeated Xia Li, who has been less gracious as of late. Once again, she refused to shake hands after the match, shoving both Carter and her tag team partner Kacy Catanzaro aside. So far, her new attitude hasn’t earned her any wins.


This is one of those shows where there was nothing bad, but didn’t feel like there was really much of note. That’s a bit disappointing for a go home show, though with the fast build and having to audible due to COVID and injuries, it’s understandable. It still made for a somewhat lackluster go home.

Grade: B-

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