WWE NXT TakeOver: 31 results, recap, grades — Surprises, returns fill one of the year’s best shows .Though there was a quick build WATCH LIVE and questions surrounding whether the show would deliver on short notice, NXT TakeOver: 31 put forth such an incredible 2.5 hours that it should be in contention for major show of 2020 in any year-end awards that are given in the world of professional wrestling. Every match on the five-bout card was strong, and while there were no title changes, WWE found a way to offer plenty of intrigue for its NXT brand going forward.
Oct 14, 2020, 1:00am EDT North American
The show began with the debut of the Capitol Wrestling Center, a set build inside the WWE Performance Center from which NXT will broadcast for the foreseeable future amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With chain link fencing surrounding the plexiglass barriers, sectioned pods for fans and massive video boards, the setting somehow felt simultaneously underground and futuristic.
As far as what happened in and around the squared circle, as mentioned, no titles changed hands on Sunday night. Still, all four title matches were tremendous with major storylines surrounding the NXT championship main event and women’s championship co-main event. Two female superstars — one a former member of NXT and one a prior member of NXT UK — are now part of the brand just as it is preparing to potentially be raided during the WWE Draft starting this Friday.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with everything that went down from NXT TakeOver: 31. Keep on reading for a full set of results along with grades from the show.XT TakeOver: 31 results, grades Complete highlights from the show can be found below this recap in the live updates application.North American Championship — Damian Priest (c) vs.
Johnny Gargano: Gargano got in a lot of offense early, including a missile dropkick and flying senton with Priest wrapped up in the ropes. Priest eventually retained the momentum with a LaRae took advantage of Shirai and hit her Wicked Stepsister finisher, but there was no referee to count so Johnny Gargano ran down with a referee shirt. He tried a fast count, but
Shirai still kicked out before three. Gargano then stole the women’s title and brought it in the ring, but the referee came to and was distracted by Gargano’s arguing. This gave LaRae the,opportunity to hit Shirai in the face with the title … but she surprisingly kicked out at 2.5, sending the married couple into a fit. Shirai drilled LaRae with a Spanish fly from the top rope
and then nailed her moonsault for the 1-2-3. A title change here would have made all the sense in the world, and Shirai had two outs to drop it, so it was surprising to see a retention. Still, this thing kicked into high gear over the final third of the match, and Shirai looked incredibly strong overcoming all that adversity for the win. Shirai (c) def. LaRae via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: B+
Women’s roster grows: After the match, NXT UK star Toni Storm appeared on the big screen, announcing that she would be joining the brand and going right after Shirai’s title. Moments later, NXT paid off the Call of Duty-style vignettes it had aired over the last two weeks with Ember Moon making her return to the brand coming off an extended absence from the ring due to injury. Moon looked like a “Mad Max” character, wearing a leather jacket with spikes as her hair was shaved into a mohawk.
NXT Championship — Finn Balor (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly: Lots of technical wrestling and hard strikes early before the first big moment, a pair of double underhook suplexes and a double underhook DDT by O’Reilly. Balor and O’Reilly continued exchanging brutal strikes with O’Reilly taking a running turnbuckle to the chest lot of punishment in his ribs before taking Balor down with a suplex nearly on his neck. Balor dropped O’Reilly with a slingblade, but the challenger took Balor’s knee out on an attempted missile dropkick. O’Reilly began bleeding from the mouth and screamed as Balor locked him in a
Sharpshooter, though he eventually got to the ropes. O’Reilly hit Balor with a ton of MMA strikes and a lariat, but Balor countered with a guillotine. Balor eventually hit his 1916 finisher, but O’Reilly kicked out at 2.8. The champion paused before going for his Coup de Grace, and O’Reilly was able to block it with a kick and then a dragon screw with Balor straddling the top rope and then the middle rope. O’Reilly worked on Balor’s left knee all match, hitting a knee dive from the middle rope and then knocking Balor in a heel hook that nearly resulted in a submission.
Balor ducked away from continued onslaught by O’Reilly and caught the challenger with two stomps to the chest as the champion began to gush blood from the mouth. In a bit of a slow finish, Balor climbed to the top rope and hit his Coup de Grace for the 1-2-3. Balor refused to allow the referee to raise his arm as he limped and continued bleeding from the mouth as he stared O’Reilly down in a mixture of anger, shock and respect. Balor eventually offered a hand, lifting O’Reilly up. This match absolutely ruled. It was hard-hitting, violent and filled with fast-paced action. Balor was cemented as a strong
champion, and O’Reilly proved to be far more than one half of a tag team. If the finish had been a bit smoother, this may have reached perfection. Balor (c) def. O’Reilly via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: ASurprise attack: Out of nowhere, Ridge Holland appeared over the barricade with Adam Cole over his shoulder and dumped Cole into the ringside area. Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish ran down acting like they did not know what was happening, asking if anyone saw what happened as NXT TakeOver went off the air.