WWE NXT TakeOver: Portland Review: February 16, 2020 by Felix Pichler
Keith Lee (C.) vs. Dominik Dijakovic for the NXT North American Championship
Surprisingly, we kicked off NXT TakeOver: Portland with the fight between Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic for the NXT North American Championship. Even though it’s hard to pick any fight for the best match of this PPV since all six were great, this one was clearly one of the most astonishing ones.
We already have seen that these two men can deliver incredible performances and that they can work well together, but this was on a whole new level as these two giants performed like they were two cruiserweights. It seemed several times as Dijakovic would really win the title, but Lee kicked every time out and, in the end, the Jackhammer Powerslam gave Lee the win. After the fight, these two men shared a hug while the crowd cheered for them.
Opinion: Not much to say about this match except “wow”. These two giants showed off more high-flying moves than we see on regular tv matches between two cruiserweights on WWE’s other shows Raw and SmackDown. Besides, both had several nearfalls to have a dramatic ending and also the post-match angle was perfect for this fight.
Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai in a Street Fight
As expected, this was an extremely hard match and they used several kinds of weapons like chairs, a trashcan, a metal chain, a duct tape and during the final phase also a table as I describe now. After about 12 minutes, Tegan Nox performed the Shiniest Wizard against her former best friend but didn’t go for the pin as she said that she wouldn’t be done with Kai yet and brought a table into the ring, set it up, placed Kai on it and additionally wrapped a chair around her neck.
As Nox went up to the top rope, suddenly Raquel Gonzalez appeared to powerbomb Nox from the top rope through the table (but the table didn’t break). Kai pinned Nox to get the win. After the match, Gonzalez raised Kai’s arm who looked totally confused.
Opinion: I expected this match to be brutal, but this was really awesome and besides you permanently felt the personal heat between these two women. The finish was also really surprising while I just hope that Nox is doing well as her landing looked nasty.
Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Bálor
Next was the dream match between Johnny Gargano and Finn Bálor who received luckily a lot of time to perform their match which took almost half of an hour. Both men showed a great performance as we saw permanently counters and innovative combinations of moves.
In the end, Bálor started a run from one announce table to send Gargano who was standing on the second announce table with a Shotgun Dropkick into the barricade. Then, he tossed him back into the ring to perform a Coup de Grace followed by nasty Bloody Sunday Brainbuster for the win.
Opinion: Bálor needs the win clearly more than his opponent and due to that, this was the right choice. Even though it took almost 30 minutes, the match didn’t felt that long as it was packed full with action and interesting moves.
Rhea Ripley (C.) vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women’s Champion
Ahead of this match, we saw Cathy Kelley in the backstage area with the Undisputed Era as Roderick Strong complained about Velveteen Dream to then explain that this will be sorted on Wednesday and tonight it’s about the other three men of the UE. Cole got upset with Kelley and send her away.
Then, the match between Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair took place and was really entertaining. Basically, it was hard for these two women as the three matches ahead of them were all outstanding.
This match was also good and took almost 15 minutes, but it somehow felt a bit flat compared to the other ones. Anyways, after about 13 minutes, Ripley performed a Rip Tide for the victory. As then Ripley celebrated and posed with the NXT Women’s Championship, she got attacked from behind by Charlotte Flair who accepted her challenge for WrestleMania. Before she left, she also tossed Belair into the ring steps.
Opinion: This was a solid match and not every match on the card can be outstanding. I’m glad that Charlotte made the attack after the match instead of during it and also I’m a huge fan of this storyline for WWE’s greatest show of the year.
“The Undisputed Era” Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly (C.) vs. “The BroserWeights” Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne for the NXT Tag Team Championship
Quite surprisingly, this match was the last on ahead of the fight for the NXT Championship. This one took over 15 minutes and once more you had several times the feeling that now it would be over, but then it was just a near fall. Since it was the only one on the card which wasn’t a one-on-one fight, this felt sometimes a bit chaotic, but in general, all four men worked well together.
In the end, Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle eliminated O’Reilly to then perform their typical combination as Riddle tossed Fish into Dunne’s Enzugiri. Then they pinned Fish for the three count to crown themselves the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
Opinion: Incredibly intense match and it will be interesting to see who the next challengers will be as the tag team division of NXT is quite thin at the moment. Also, after this loss, I was quite sure that Cole would also drop his title.
Adam Cole (C.) vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship
After five incredible matches, it was finally time for the main event of NXT TakeOver: Portland as Adam Cole defended his title against the challenger Tommaso Ciampa. This match even took over 30 minutes and had so much action in it.
Ciampa kicked out of so many pinfalls that you really felt how much he would want Goldie back. In the end, of course, the other members of the Undisputed Era came out to help Cole, but Ciampa even kicked out of the Last Shot Shining Wizard.
After that, Cole wanted to use the NXT Championship, but Ciampa blocked the attack to then get tossed into the referee by Cole. Ciampa performed a Fairy Tale Ending and pinned Cole for several seconds but as the ref was down, there was no count.
Then, we saw Gargano at ringside who motivated Ciampa who wanted to grab the NXT Championship (to hit Cole with it), but suddenly Gargano took it and hit him in the head with it. Then, Cole pinned Ciampa for the win and the UE celebrated as Cole defended successfully his NXT Championship.
Opinion: Honestly, I’m not sure if we see in 2020 many matches who can keep up with that fight (and it’s February). The performances by both men were incredible while the story was also well delivered. It’s good to see the heel turn by Gargano as he needs a reboot but I’m not 100% if I want a feud between Ciampa and Gargano once more.
NXT TakeOver: Portland was just awesome. Five amazing matches and additionally one great match between Ripley and Belair. However, I’m curious who will be the next to challenge Cole for the NXT Championship as Ciampa and Gargano will now be in a big feud as Gargano cost Ciampa “Goldie” and besides we already had Bálor vs. Cole just a few weeks ago, but I guess they will go with that one.
Also, we can see that the Undisputed Era continues to loose one title after the other and I guess it won’t take long until Cole also will lose the NXT Championship. The big question is just: who will be the next NXT Champion?