Match Ratings For NXT Takeover 31 From Sean Ross Sapp

NXT North American Championship
Damian Priest (c) defeated Johnny Gargano to retain the title
7/10

  • The new Capitol Wrestling Center has elements of Thunderdome, but also has individual pods for spectators. Real fans, virtual fans, fake audio. I don't get it.
  • For how NXT is presented, I think Capitol Wrestling Center is an upgrade from Full Sail.
  • Priest has my favorite Flatliner in wrestling.
  • Razor's Edge to the apron from Priest after some great kicks land.
  • This match is as good as you'd expect. Hard strikes, great transitions and reversals, high impact moves.
  • Priest accidentally takes out two members of security with a crazy tope con hilo. This sets up a ballsack kick and superkick.
  • Gargano Escape is applied, but Priest gets out.
  • Gargano goes for his Slingshot DDT, but Priest hits his finish for the win.
  • I thought Gargano would win this.
  • Damian Priest is becoming one of my favorite performers to watch in wrestling.
Asher Hale To Make 205 Live Debut, Two Matches Set For 5/14 WWE 205 Live

Kushida defeated Velveteen Dream
6/10

  • This is a much more physical match, and they're dressed like it's a street fight.
  • Velveteen Dream did the shittiest Bronco Buster I've ever seen, and said "boo me now." What an idiot.
  • Kushida wins this with a Hoverboard Lock susbmission.
  • After the match, he beats the brakes off of Velveteen Dream and armbars Dream.
  • WWE announces Halloween Hacvoc for later this month!

NXT Cruiserweight Title
Santos Escobar (c) defeated Swerve Scott
8.5/10

  • Nikita Krylov Fan messaged me to let me know he's a casual NXT viewer, and new Santos Escobar fan.
  • Swerve is really aggressive with his dive into the barricade.
  • They're chuckin and duckin. The work here is great, and the ambient audio has gotten much better during the match.
  • Mendoza and Wilde distract Swerve and set up a shoudlerbreaker. Not enough shoudlerbreakers in wrestling.
  • Ashante Adonis getting some PPV shine!!!
  • Swerve super frankensteiners Escobar, but his buddies catch him. Adonis runs them off.
  • I wouldn't have had the Phantom Driver kicked out of. Save it for a main event.
  • Swerve stomps on Escobar's arm. Filthy. A 450 can't win it for him.
  • Swerve gets knocked back into the exposed steel on the turnbuckle.
  • Double underhook shoulderbreaker wins it for Escobar.
  • That match was awesome.

NXT Women's Championship
Io Shirai (c) defeated Candice LeRae to retain the title
6/10

  • I don't think commentary has suffered that much if at all without Mauro Ranallo, which was a big concern for me with a Takeover event.
  • Shirai landing on her feet out of several LeRae flip atacks was great.
  • I'm a big fan of Shirai's handstand dropkick.
  • This is primarily Candice working over Shirai.
  • Io gets to the ropes on a Gargano Escape. Candice accidentally hits the ref.
  • Air Raid Crash hits for Io, but Candice gets feet up on the Moonsault. This sends Io into the ref.
  • Surfboard Stomp on Io, but there's no ref.
  • Johnny Gargano comes out in a ref shirt and tries a fast count, but Io kicks out.
  • Candice hits Io with the title. Kickout
  • How many "I can't believe it's not over!" faces we gonna see tonight?
  • A Spanish Fly and a moonsault wins it for Io.
  • Toni Storm pops up on the Titantron. She says she's back in NXT.
  • The motorcycle shows up....and EMBER MOON is back in NXT! Wow.

NXT Title Match
Finn Balor (c) defeated Kyle O'Reilly to retain the title
7.5/10

  • A lot of heavy strikes in this one. You knew it was coming.
  • O'Reilly using the Regalplex is masterful.
  • They tease going in and out of their signature moves, but Balor counters a heel hook with a Sharpshooter.
  • These two are really laying it in. You could really only compare this one to Dream/Kushida on this card, but even that was different.
  • They've brutalized each other with strikes, and Balor connects with the 1916, but Kyle kicks out.
  • Commentary calls the same move a kneebar, heel hook and achilles lock.
  • Balor punches his way loose.
  • O'Reilly looks poised to lose, but cuts off a drokick with a kick of his own.
  • I think Shotzi is in the crowd, cause we see her green hair shaking.
  • Coup de Grace gets the win for Balor.
  • They shake hands to finish the match.
  • Ridge Holland has Adam Cole and dumps him over the barricade to end the show. Undisputed Era check on him.

Rating Guide
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!

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