TakeOver: XXX opened with one of two non-title matches on the card, Finn Bálor vs. Timothy Thatcher.
The NXT legend and the recently signed technical wizard started circling each other during a Triple Threat to qualify for another of tonight’s matches, the North American championship ladder match. Submission specialist Thatcher took the submission loss there, then cost Bálor his second chance qualifier on the go home episode last Wednesday.
A question being asked by the announce team of Vic Joseph, Corey Graves & Beth Phoenix was whether or not Finn would want to grapple with the “Thatch As Thatch Can” master. He didn’t hesitate, and went hold for hold with the former Evolve champ.
It didn’t work early...
... but The Prinxe battled back, largely with kicks that took the wind out of Thatcher.
A Coup de Grace attempt aggravated the ankle injury Finn suffered in their Triple Threat encounter.
The man who holds the record for most TakeOver victories fought through the pain though, and didn’t let it stop him from attempting another Coup de Grace. That one hit, and a 1916 followed.
After a strong opener, Bálor now has 12 TakeOver wins. If Thatcher is going to get revenge, it’ll have to come on another night.
For a complete rundown of everything that happened in Orlando tonight, head to our live blog here.