NXT Takeover 31 lived up to its expectations as one of the strongest NXT TakeOver events of the year. From Finn Balor barely scarping-by Kyle O’Reilly after a bloody, brutal main event to Io Shirai successfully retaining the NXT Women’s Championship despite all the odds Candice LeRae threw against her.
The show also featured the first WWE event to take place within the new Capitol Wrestling Center, the NXT returns of Ember Moon and Toni Storm as well as announcing a brand new NXT retro special based off of WCW’s Halloween Havoc.
See the full list of results and analysis from NXT TakeOver 31 below:
Finn Balor defeats Kyle O’Reilly, retaining the NXT Championship
O’Reilly set an almost torturously slow pace from the outset of this main event, grounding Balor with joint manipulation techniques and mat-based wrestling. The pace quickened soon enough, however, with the two laying into each other with strong style-esque strikes – both collapsing with the pain multiple times.
O’Reilly showed off his singles prowess in incredible fashion: Delivering the likes of the Brainbuster; a top rope knee strike and kicks so hard that Balor began bleeding profusely from the mouth. Ultimately, despite his star-making performance, it wasn’t enough to dethrone ‘the Prince’ – with Balor using the Coup De Grace to finish off the former ReDragon member.
When both men recovered and got to their feet after the bell, they shook hands in a sign of mutual respect. As the end graphic appeared, the camera panned over to see Ridge Holland holding an unconscious Adam Cole over his shoulder behind the barricade. The show ended with Holland throwing Cole into the ringside area and walking away as Fish and Strong ran to his side, asking O’Reilly and Balor what happened.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 5, 2020
Ember Moon Returns to NXT
Ember Moon was revealed as the mystery returning champion who’s been teased for the past two weeks. Following Toni Storm’s confrontation with Io Shirai, Moon entered the Performance Center and took off her motorcycle helmet to reveal her identity. She then stared down the NXT Women’s Champion as the screen faded to black.
10. 04. 20.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 5, 2020
Io Shirai defeats Candice LeRae, retaining the NXT Women’s Championship
LeRae and Shirai put on a very different match to their Takeover Toronto encounter last August, with Candice taking a book out of Gargano’s page and using a very opportunistic, sneaky style to try and pick up the win. Shirai used her usual high-flying offence to counter this.
At one point, Shirai accidentally knocked out the referee – prompting Johnny Gargano to try and deliver a fast count whilst LeRae was covering Shirai. Against all the odds however, Shirai managed to hit a top rope Spanish Fly and Asai Moonsault on LeRae to pick up the win. Afterwards, former NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm appeared on the titantron and announced her permanent move to NXT US following NXT TakeOver 31.
It's TONI TIME. Toni Storm is BACK in #WWENXT!!!!! 🤘
— WWE (@WWE) October 5, 2020
Santos Escobar defeats Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, retaining the Cruiserweight Championship
The most ‘flippy’ match of the night, Escobar and Scott tried to outdo each other athletically at first but reaching a stalemate, Scott began taking a more power-based approach due to his weight advantage. Escobar managed to slow Scott early on by choking him with the bottom rope, but Scott found an opening and took it to Escobar on the outside.
Escobar just managed to kick out of Swerve’s Rolling Thunder Flatliner and almost picked up the win with help from his fellow Legado Del Fantasma comrades Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde, but Ashante Adonis (formerly Tehuti Miles) came out to even the odds for Scott. The challenger nearly put away the champion with a 450 Splash but ultimately got a 2 count, distracting him long enough to allow Escobar to knock him headfirst into the turnbuckle and pick up the win with Thrill of the Kill.
— 205 Live (@WWE205Live) October 5, 2020
Kushida defeats Velveteen Dream
Both men took inspiration from Back to the Future for their TakeOver attires, with Dream as Doc Brown and Kushida as Marty McFly. ‘The Time Splitter’ started off strong, attacking Dream as he entered the ring and continued exacting his revenge by using the turnbuckle and stairs to wear down Dream’s arm.
A Dream Valley Driver and Purple Rainmaker combination looked to have secured Dream the win, but the damage to his arm made him unable to make a cover. Kushida picked up the win after locking in a Hoverboard Lock from the top rope, keeping the hold locked in even through a second Dream Valley Driver. Kushida continued attacking Dream after the bell, locking in a Cross Armbreaker and Hoverboard Lock to punish Dream even further. Could this be a potential heel turn incoming or was it simply Kushida’s emotions getting the better of him? Either way, not the match I was expecting these two, but in a very good way!
No, we did not speed this GIF up. This is in real time.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 4, 2020
Damian Priest defeats Johnny Gargano, retaining the North American Championship
Hard-hitting from the get-go, with Priest using his height advantage to overpower Gargano and Johnny Wrestling adopting a variety of submissions to weaken Priest’s limbs. Lots of innovative spots including a Razor’s Edge onto the ring apron and a Tilt-A-Whirl transitioned into the South Of Heaven Chokeslam.
At one point, Gargano managed to deliver a low blow whilst the referee was distracted and hit his Corner Superkick for a very close 2, but Priest managed to counter Gargano’s One Final Beat into a rope-assisted Reckoning for the win. NXT Takeover 31’s opener was not as fast-paced as typical TakeOver openers, but was very fun nonetheless.
— WWE (@WWE) October 4, 2020