Editor’s note: Info from WWE.com was used in this report.
Velveteen Dream and Johnny Gargano claimed the final two spots in the North American Title Ladder Match at TakeOver: XXX, but Bronson Reed asserted his dominance ahead of Saturday’s showdown. Elsewhere, Adam Cole and Pat McAfee had a heated face-to-face confrontation, Dakota Kai seized the upper hand over Io Shirai three days before challenging her for the NXT Women’s Title, and much more.
Johnny Gargano def. Ridge Holland to qualify for the North American Title Ladder Match at NXT TakeOver: XXX
The Johnny Gargano Way may still lead to a second North American Championship reign. Gargano used his signature craftiness to overcome the much larger Ridge Holland, surviving a nasty head-first collision earlier in the match to defeat the hulking Englishman after hitting the One Final Beat DDT.
Dakota Kai def. Jessi Kamea
Io Shirai may be in her final days as NXT Women’s Champion if tonight’s events were any indication. Dakota Kai pinned Jessi Kamea in singles action after blasting her with the Go To Kick, then wasted no time calling out Shirai. The Genius of the Sky overwhelmed the No. 1 Contender initially until Raquel González emerged from the shadows to floor the champion with a massive boot to the face. The Captain of Team Kick and her enforcer stood tall, leaving Shirai in a heap days before their title match at NXT TakeOver: XXX.
Legado del Fantasma def. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott & Breezango
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Breezango joined forces to finally even the odds in their fight against Legado del Fantasma, but it still wasn’t enough to knock off Santos Escobar and company. “Swerve” finally got his hands on the NXT Cruiserweight Champion, overwhelming him with offense. But when it came time for a cover, the referee informed “Swerve” that he had inadvertently tagged Tyler Breeze. Legado del Fantasma took control, and Escobar planted Breeze with a Phantom Driver for the victory.
Adam Cole and Pat McAfee shared a heated confrontation
Flanked by former Super Bowl Champion A.J. Hawk and former Indianapolis Colts teammate Darius Butler, Pat McAfee met Adam Cole face-to-face in the ring days before their NXT TakeOver: XXX showdown. Unleashing a scorching diatribe, McAfee said he made the former NXT Champion look like an “amateur” when he nailed him with a devastating punt two weeks ago. After single-handedly dismantling the security keeping them separated, Cole didn’t put his hands on McAfee, instead opting to wait for TakeOver. But he confidently promised he would “end” the former All-Pro punter on Saturday.
Rhea Ripley & Shotzi Blackheart def. Mercedes Martinez & Aliyah w/Robert Stone
Rhea Ripley had been wanting to get her hands on Mercedes Martinez for costing her a chance to once again become NXT Women’s Champion, and she got exactly what she wanted. Ripley laid out The Robert Stone Brand’s newest signee with a vicious powerbomb over the barricade to the concrete, while Shotzi Blackheart connected with a top-rope senton on Aliyah inside the ring to pick up the win.
The Velveteen Dream def. Finn Bálor to qualify for the North American Title Ladder Match at NXT TakeOver: XXX
The field is set with Velveteen Dream earning the final spot in Saturday’s North American Title Ladder Match, but His Purple Highness didn’t get there without controversy. Cameron Grimes, another competitor in the Ladder Match, took it upon himself to grab a bird’s eye seat on top of a ladder positioned at ringside. The rest of the field — Johnny Gargano, Bronson Reed and Damian Priest — soon joined him, and all hell quickly broke loose.
The biggest difference-maker in the brawl, however, was Timothy Thatcher. Thatcher ambushed Bálor, leaving him easy pickings for Dream, who planted him with a Dream Valley Driver and Purple Rainmaker elbow drop to steal the win. The chaos continued from there, and Reed stood tall over his fellow competitors when the dust cleared.