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WWE NXT live results: TakeOver Portland go-home show

NXT's final stop on the road to TakeOver: Portland takes place tonight.

Before defending his title against Tommaso Ciampa on Sunday, NXT Champion Adam Cole will face off with Kushida in a non-title match tonight. Kushida was attacked by the Undisputed Era last week while they were looking for Ciampa.

Dakota Kai will also be in action ahead of her street fight against Tegan Nox at TakeOver. Kai will face Candice LeRae on NXT tonight.

The first challenger for Jordan Devlin's NXT Cruiserweight Championship will be determined when Lio Rush takes on Angel Garza in a number one contender's match tonight. WWE hasn't confirmed when the winner will be getting their title shot.

WWE will follow up on Velveteen Dream making his return and saving Ciampa from Undisputed Era last week. Plus, Johnny Gargano vs. Cameron Grimes is also set after an angle where they got into a confrontation at a house show over the weekend.

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A promo package for Takeover this weekend aired at the top of the show, including clips from last week’s episode featuring the Charlotte Flair’s appearance and the return of Velveteen Dream.

Roderick Strong came to the ring and cut an angry promo geared at Velveteen Dream. He demanded an apology from Dream for putting airbrushed pictures of Strong’s wife and child on his tights last week. As Strong was in the middle of calling Dream out, Bronson Reed’s music played. He came out and challenged Strong to a match and the two went at it as soon as Reed hit the ring.

Roderick Strong defeated Bronson Reed

Reed pulled Strong’s Undisputed Era t-shirt over his head and laid in hard forearms. He controlled much of the early part of this match, deliberate with his power offense so that it came off like he was really manhandling Strong.

Later, Reed put Strong down with a delayed brainbuster. Strong rolled to the floor for a breather, but Reed laid Strong out again with a jumping shoulder block from the apron to the floor. The show cut to a commercial break here, and the two brawled on the floor for two or three advertisements. Strong made a comeback, threw Reed back into the ring and slowed things down in the ring with a crossface lock until the show was back from break.

Reed was powering out of the submission when they returned. He turned Strong inside-out with a short lariat. When Reed went to the top for a frog splash, Strong countered and returned with a second-rope superplex that got a “holy sh*t” chant from the Full Sail Audience.

Strong’s comeback was in full swing when the lights dimmed and the purple lava-lamp lighting from Velveteen’s Dream entranced filled the venue. Strong went to the floor to confront Dream, who never showed up. Reed took Strong out with a tope suicida here. Back in the ring, Reed flew off the top but Strong caught him with a huge jumping knee for the win.

After the match, Velveteen Dream appeared on the screen above the entrance ramp. The first shot we saw was of his rear end, which had the phrase CALL ME UP, MARINA airbrushed onto his white tights. Dream essentially explained he wanted revenge for Strong putting him on the shelf, and to get into his head he’d keep digging in with family angle, insinuating he’d be moving in on Strong’s wife, Marina Shaffir, and their son, Troy. The segment wrapped when the camera shooting Dream revealed the front of his tights, which had Strong’s family’s face airbrushed onto them, Dream’s face next to theirs in place of Strong’s. Strong darted to the back in a rage. Strong segment.

Next up was an amusing promo with Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle. They acted like they didn’t know how they were going to get to Portland with their Dusty Cup trophy, so Riddle planned a road trip. They bantered in the car next and did a few jokes about riding on right and left sides of the road, then got pulled over by police. Odd Couple-type stuff. These will probably be a hit if they keep making them.

Back from another break and we got a promo from Angel Garza backstage. Lio Rush joined him and the two talked some trash to build their match later on in the night.

Dakota Kai defeated Candace LeRae

Kai power bombed LeRae at the bell, but LeRae responded immediately with a tope to the floor. This felt like an intense brawl as soon as it started; after only a couple minutes into the match, LeRae's nose was already gushing blood. From here, they cut to another commercial break.

We returned with LeRae planting Kai with an avalanche swinging neckbreaker. After a pump-handle suplex, LeRae locked Kai in the Gargano Escape shoulder lock until Kai broke the hold when she got to the ropes for the break. Kai then rolled LeRae up with a cradle and won the match. LeRae went after Kai afterwards, but Kai fought back and tried using the ring bell on LeRae until Tegan Nox appeared from out of the crowd and went after her former tag partner, Kai. The crowd chanted "LET THEM FIGHT!" until officials shuffled everyone to the back. Good stuff all around but too short, like these segments have been. I expect Kai and Nox to have one of the dark horse matches of the night this coming Sunday, and this segment was good proof of what's to come.

Johnny Gargano defeated Cameron Grimes via submission

Really mat wrestling throughout early, really good stuff, as you’d expect if you’re already familiar with these two. Gargano’s lats look insane these days, straight-up action figure dimensions. Minutes into the match they brought the match to the floor and Gargano landed a somersault senton off the apron. Gargano took much of the match early on, but Grimes rallied back and blasted “Johnny Wrestling” with a lariat before cutting to the next commercial. 

Back from break, Grimes scored a close nearfall with a beautiful bridging German suplex. Gargano later responded with a tornado flatliner, then knocked Grimes to the floor with a hard running lariat. Grimes caught Gargano in a Spanish Fly as both were running the ropes. They traded high spots for the next minute or so until Gargano caught Grimes in a headscissors and transitioned into the Gargano Escape; Grimes tapped almost immediately. This was an outstanding match.

Adam Cole spoke with Cathy Kelley backstage and said he'd do whatever it takes to keep the NXT championship from Tomasso Ciampa this weekend.

Another Dunne & Riddle vignette aired next. Riddle told Dunne to stop worrying about how they'd be getting to Portland this weekend and insisted he not be such a "silly goose." The camera then pulled back and we saw that both were sitting in a giant swan-shaped paddle boats in a port or river near a city. It was the same kind of banter from them we saw early, lots of Riddle saying "bro" a lot and Dunne playing the straight man. I think it's working, but we'll really see how it works this Sunday in front of a live audience.

 

Robert Stone (TNA's Robbie E) was on screen next when they returned from break. He explained how NXT would know about his "brand" soon enough. Chelsea Green appeared, too, and reiterated the same idea. Stone feels like he's being shoehorned into this manager/valet role and it comes off as overkill at the moment.

Lio Rush defeated Angel Garza

Garza whipped his entrance pants off before the bell and we heard tons off "woooos" from females in the crowd. I guess he is a babyface again. He and Rush got right into it after the bell sounded, but Garza began slowing the pace moments later, throwing Rush to the floor and slamming him back-first into the steel staircase as they cut to the next break.

Rush was mid-air when we were back from commercials. He landed a tope, then an Asai corckscrew moonsault onto Garza onto the floor. NXT production time seem to have been timing the breaks to always begin with a spectacular spot, never at a random spot in the match.

Both traded wild high spots, a sequence that really culminated when Rush landed a frog splash from the top rope to the floor. He then tried landing it in the ring but Garza got his knees up. When Garza went for the Wing Clipper, Rush reversed it into an inside cradle and scored the win. Lio Rush is now the number one contender for the NXT Cruiserweight title. Current champion, Jordan Devlin, congratulated Rush on the entrance ramp after the match. He told him he didn't fancy Rush's chances against himself and that you shouldn't ever bet against him.

Keith Lee was announced as a guest for next Tuesday's episode of WWE Backstage.

A video package aired with Mark Henry aired next. It was basically a promo putting over Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic. I speculate they're using Mark Henry to "legitmately" get both guys over; since Henry already has tenure and clout with WWE, fans will be more likely to take his word for it. Though Keith Lee came off as the main focus of this.

Bianca Belair defeated Santana Garrett

Total squash. Belair went after Garrett before the bell, stomped a mudhole in her, did a standing moonsault, a nip-up, then finished Garrett off with her sitout Burning Hammer for the win in under a minute. She got on the mic right after. She thought Ripley was acting like Belair was invisible since all that happened on last week's episode. Ripley's music hit and she came to the ring to join Belair.

Next was another short Riddle & Dunne skit. Riddle found an airplane they could use to get to Portland. When Dunne asked whose it was, Riddle said he knew a guy. As they took off, we saw Triple H on his cell phone, presumably walking to his private plane that the Broserweights just took off in.

Tomasso Ciampa was shown sitting in a lecture hall next. He was watching video of himself last year speaking with HHH last year and wearing a neckbrace, where Ciampa claims he "gave his life away" when he had to give up his NXT championship. Ciamapa got really intense towards the end when he was introducing these "What if Cole wins/What if I win?" hypotheticals. Very good.

Adam Cole vs. Kushida

The crowd sounded pumped for this match. The two got right to it--they didn't start wrestling until about 9:52 PM EST--and after a bit of grappling inside the ring, Cole escaped to the floor to collect himself, but Kushida went right after him. Cole attacked Kushida on last week's episode, so this was booked as a revenge match. Cole caught Kushida with a big boot on the floor before they cut to the last commercial break. NXT aired the match in an inset screen during this, which mostly consisted of Cole controlling Kushida with a headlock. They then took each other out with a double clothesline as the show returned from the break.

Kushida landed a diving DDT into an armlock, but Cole broke the hold by getting his foot on the bottom rope. Cole and Kushida traded an ecclectic mix of strikes, and later Cole gained another nearfall with a superkick. Kushida responded with a Pele kick, then a few short Kawada kicks that Mauro Ranallo referenced on commentary. Cole answered with an aprubt Last Shot moments after and scored the pin. Tomasso Ciampa's music hit next and Ciampa walked out to the ring, slowly, and confronted Cole ahead of their match this weekend at NXT Takeover in Portland. Ciampa got into the ring and the two had a staredown. Ciampa pointed to the belt and said he was going to take his life back, while Cole said he'd only let that happen over his dead body.

Final thoughts:

Nothing flashy here, just a solid go-home show for Takeover this weekend. It was everything it had to be. Johnny Gargano and Cameron Grimes stole tonight's show, though Candace LeRae and Dakota Kai may have if they were given a longer segment. Cole vs. Kushida in the main event was also very good, but it did feel rushed, but that's negligble here because the end goal is Takeover on Sunday, not tonight.