NXT: TakeOver 31 was an epic event, which needed something special to set it apart from the shows we saw this year. Well, that special something wound up being the Capitol Wrestling Center, a revamped WWE Performance Center tailor-made for the Black and Gold Brand.
The classic Attitude Era-esque look was a perfect fit for NXT, and the WWE Universe wholeheartedly agreed.
Tonight saw four championship bouts. The NXT Championship was on the line as The Prince Finn Balor took on The Undisputed Era's Kyle O'Reilly in an incredible main event. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott battled Santos Escobar, looking to finally take the NXT Cruiserweight Championship from his hands, and Candice LeRae hoped to finally put down her former friend and NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai.
Speaking of Mrs. Gargano, her husband was in the opener tonight. Johnny Gargano had his eyes on the NXT North American Championship, hoping to become the first two-time champion in the title's brief history.
North American Championship match at NXT TakeOver 31: Johnny Gargano vs Damian Priest (c)
Johnny Gargano employed the stick-and-move tactic early on in the match against the Archer of Infamy. The first-ever NXT Grand Slam Champion avoided some major blows by Damian Priest for a time but fell to a leaping wheel kick.
Gargano managed to knock Priest off the ropes after an Old School attempt and sent him from the apron to the floor when yanking his arm through his legs. Priest was bounced around ringside, running into the new steel chained barricade of the Capitol Wrestling Center, and rolled back inside for more punishment at TakeOver 31.
Priest's leg was weakened after a long single leg Boston Crab, but the NXT North American Champion battled back with a big striking combination. The elevated flatliner couldn't put the challenger away. Gargano was then sent spine first onto the apron with a Razor's Edge, but that couldn't finish the job either at TakeOver 31.
Gargano responded with a superkick and standing shiranui for a near-fall. Priest made it to the ropes to break the Garga-No Escape. With steel steps set up on the floor, Gargano tried to send the champion into them. While it didn't work out as he'd planned, Gargano was able to stun Priest for a One Final Beat attempt.
Attempt being the operative word. Priest caught him mid-jump, turning it into The Reckoning for the win at TakeOver 31.
Results: Damian Priest defeated Johnny Gargano via pinfall on NXT TakeOver 31.