WWE NXT TakeOver comes to Portland

Photos by Lexis Shull

Chairs, tables, and bodies flew across the ring as WWE NXT TakeOver took on Portland at the Moda Center on Feb. 16.

WWE NXT TakeOver is a professional wrestling show, airing first in May 2014, that includes scripted storylines. These storylines are produced for their TV show, NXT, on a weekly basis that play into their live performances.

Sophomore wrestler at CCC, Greg Guzman, grew up watching the show.

“I only knew of [WWE] because it was on TV. My brother and I would watch every event, then my mom started taking us to the live events when I was 10 years old — so in 2009. My mom would work overtime to get us tickets to go watch when they would have an event in Fresno, California,” Guzman said over Snapchat.

Rey Mysterio was his favorite wrestler on the show because, “…he was the shortest and would still win,” said Guzman. “I thought it was exciting watching the wrestlers do crazy stunts like jumping off high structures, swingings chairs and fighting, especially watching Rey Mysterio.”

Six matches took place at the Moda Center that included other fan favorites such as Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair as well as others.

The night took off with the pre-show panel, Charly Caruso, Mansoor and Sam Roberts putting in their two cents about the wrestlers and how the matches were going to go, but whenever Roberts spoke, a collective “boo” ensued. Clearly, this man is not a fan favorite.

The first match of the night began with Keith Lee, fighting to defend his NXT North American Championship against Dominic Dijakovic. In 20 minutes and 20 seconds, Lee came out on top against Dijakovic and kept his well-earned title with a series of brutal kicks and top-of-the-ring plummets onto Dijakovic.

If the bodyweight attacks weren’t enough for you, the street fight between Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai following Lee versus Dijakovic would have had you reeling. The two women had a history of being best friends and going through rehab together for knee injuries, until a match left Nox with a re-shattered kneecap and both of them as bitter enemies. Several weapons including chairs, cans, a laptop and a cricket bat were wielded. Nox was close to the win until Raquel Gonzalez made her first appearance in WWE since 2018 and slammed Nox through a table to get Kai the win.

The third match was between Johnny Gargano and Finn Balor. Balor took a two-month absence only to return in October of 2019 to WWE, bringing nothing but trouble — including aiding a fight against Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Balor proceeded to insult the NXT roster by referring to them as, “all boys who can’t take a beating,” on the Nov. 13 episode of NXT. During the fight, a lot of action took place outside of the ring with devastating kicks from Gargano and commentator desk slams from Balor. In 27 minutes and 22 seconds, Balor took the “W” and really put his money where his mouth is.

The highly anticipated match between the rugged NXT Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley, and flashy Bianca Belair, sporting a bedazzled cape that read, “Black History in the Making,” was a rough and unforgiving fight for the ultimate title. Within 13 minutes and 30 seconds, Ripley retained her title as the Women’s Champion until Charlotte Flair — the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble Winner —  suddenly attacked both Ripley and Belair. Belair quickly accepted Ripley’s challenge for the Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 36 that is to be held in April this year in Tampa, Florida.

The penultimate match was a fight between the teams The Undisputed Era, made up of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, and The BroserWeights, Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne, competing for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Apparently someone thought that one versus one wasn’t enough, so they decided two versus two was a good plan. Maybe they were right, because this match was filled with double the action and many high-risk spots. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team classic winners, Riddle and Dunne, tucked another competition under their belt as they took home the Tag Team Championship in under 17 minutes.

Finally, the main event for the night was the long-anticipated NXT Championship between Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa. Almost like a tornado was blowing through the building, both Cole and Ciampa we’re getting tossed around like rag dolls at one point or another. They took over the broadcast table first, and eventually took over the Spanish announcer’s table as well. Ciampa could practically taste the win before the Undisputed Era interfered, but Ciampa managed to fight them off. Cole was able to get back into the ring to deliver three devastating kicks before shoving Ciampa into the referee. Out of nowhere, Johnny Gargano appears once again and advises Ciampa to use the NXT Championship belt as a weapon, but Gargano proceeds to pull it away and strikes Ciampa in the head, leaving him unconscious and Cole as the ultimate champion.

The final match left fans in shock at Gargano’s unexpected outburst, but it is WWE afterall.

The next time WWE will take over Portland is uncertain, but you can expect their return will likely come in 2021.