With NXT’s New Year’s Evil only a few weeks away, they tasked themselves tonight with crowning a #1 contender for Finn Bálor’s NXT championship. A match between Kyle O’Reilly and Pete Dunne were booked to decide who that would be.
This threatened to have a lot of moving parts with Adam Cole & Roderick Strong in the corner of O’Reilly and NXT Tag Champions Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan in the corner of Dunne. But that would break down before the opening bell when Killian Dain and kind of Drake Maverick (he was neutralized immediately) attacked the tag champs. Then Cole and Strong got involved. Then Breezango made their return to add to the numbers. This brawl headed to the back, allowing Kyle and Pete go at it alone.
Left alone to their devices, this match was a barn burner, a true back and forth affair where they picked each other apart. There were some times that Pete would have a longer run of offense, like the time he countered a back body drop from the top rope by landing on his feet, leaving Kyle in the Tree of Woe, KOR’s head prone to Pete’s boot. But O’Reilly would fight back from spots like that, and these guys went back to trading submissions and strikes.
In the end, O’Reilly suplexed the Bruiserweight onto the floor, tossed him halfway into the ring, and then dropped a top rope knee onto Pete’s neck. That brutality was enough for the 1-2-3.
This sets up a TakeOver: 31 rematch between Finn Bálor and Kyle O’Reilly, a match that left Kool Kyle banged up and Finn with a broken jaw. Finn obviously won this match, despite walking out injured. Kyle gets a chance to rectify that.
Excited fo the big New Year’s Evil title match?
You can find all the results from tonight’s episode at the live blog here.