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Csonka’s NXT Takeover: Portland 2020 Preview

February 16, 2020 | Posted by Larry Csonka
NXT Takeover Portland Main

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss and preview the NXT Takeover: Portland 2020 event, which features Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano, NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa, and much more. So today I will breakdown and preview the event. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

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Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano: On paper, this is a potentially great match. Balor has been really good and aggressive since coming back to NXT, and still has a lot left in the tank and to offer overall. The heel turn on Gargano was well done, and I like Balor having a chip on his shoulder. As we all know, Gargano is a great professional wrestler, and has made a name for himself as “Mr. Takeover,” with a laundry list of great to amazing Takeover matches in tags and singles outings. He simply delivers on these shows, and is coming off of an excellent tag match at Worlds Collide with Ciampa vs. Mustache Mountain. History leads me to believe that this can be a great match, if Finn is up to the task and Gargano is healed up enough. Sure, he delivered in the tag at Worlds Collide, but this is a singles match, and you have to remember, Gargano has been banged up with injuries, only working 34 matches in 2019 and only 2 in 2020 so far. The good news is that he’s been sable to rest up and recover, and he looked great at Worlds Collide. If I was a betting man and I am, I’d wager that we get Takeover Johnny here and that he delivers a great performance. While I see Gargano delivering as usual here, I am not sold on him toppling Balor just yet and see Balor picking up the win. WINNER: Finn Balor

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STREET FIGHT: Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox: Once upon a time, Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox were the best of friends, as close as sisters that bonded as they recovered from injury and looked like they would stay together forever, and hell they could have been tag team champions. But in the build to War Games, Kai hit a rough patch, was looked at as the weak link among the babyfaces and shunned from the team. At War Games, Mia Yim was mysteriously attacked, and Kai got to join the babyface team. Unfortunately for Tegan Nox, IT WAS A TRAP! It was Kai that took out Yim, and then during War Games Kai attacked Nox, taking out her knee and bailed on the team. Tegan was hurt, Dakota went to the dark side and Team Kick was officially dead. Tegan came back, Dakota cost her a title shot by taking her out of a battle royal, they brawled at Worlds Collide and then faced off on NXT TV, where Tegan won a short match with help and a knee brace shot. It had great intensity but I hoped the feud wasn’t over just yet and thankfully it’s not because I feel that they have greatness in them. I am a huge fan of both women, thy are really good performers, have both overcome a ton injury wise, fought back and are finally getting a coveted Takeover slot. They will be looking to make the most of the opportunity, the stipulation should add nicely to the feud and with them being close real life friends, they will be not only looking to impress, but also to help the other impress and the “good brother” code will be in effect, they will be snug and rough here and make up later on. Friends often bring out the best in each other in these kind of matches, I have high hopes for this, and while I wish they hadn’t done a finish on TV (they really should have wildly brawled to a non-finish to set this up) I don’t see it ending here and will go with Dakota picking up the win. But after the awesome Comeback special on the WWE PC Youtube, I want Nox to win so bad. WINNER: Dakota Kai

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NXT North American Champion Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic: These two have a great history working with each other in and out of NXT, and while the NXT stuff has been really good, the outside of WWE stuff tells us that they have match of the year potential. When Lee won the championship, you had to know the Dijakovic match was coming and they deserve a Takeover spot. It’s a late addition, but also an exceptionally strong one that in my opinion makes this show even better on paper. I like Dijakovic a lot but there’s no reason for Lee to lose here as my man needs a good run with the championship. WINNER: Keith Lee

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NXT Tag Team Champions Undisputed Era vs. The Broserweights: I think this may be the opener, as Undisputed Era are one of the best tag teams in all of wrestling and have made a habit of delivering show stealing opening matches on Takeover. These boys are spectacular, and they, in my opinion, never disappoint. The Broserweights have quickly become a great, strange bedfellows tag team, who are not only great in the ring but their differing personalities have made for some great fun so far. They were the right call winning the Dusty Classic, and gave us the best chance at a great Takeover match. This one certainly has a chance to steal the show. Undisputed Era always deliver, Riddle & Dunne have delivered in big matches on Takeovers and I expect them to do the same here. Undisputed Era have lost one title so far, and the prophecy has been broken, but has it rocked their confidence to the point to where it carries over here and they drop more championships? I could see a short run for the Broserweights as champions through Mania weekend, so I wouldn’t rule out a title change at all. I think this will rule, and again feel it may open the show. I may be very wrong, but I think that we’ll see a title change here, even if it doesn’t last for very long. This should kick ass. CERTIFIED BANGER ALERT ACTIVATED! WINNER: The Broserweights

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NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair: At age 23, Rhea Ripley has wonderfully developed into a star following a change in direction and bringing her brutality to NXT. The NXT UK run was great for her as she was booked like the top star while still improving in Florida at the PC and working the coconut loop. She returned to NXT proper, dethroned Shayna, and following a great Survivor Series week, became a viable star for NXT and still has room to grow and improve since she’s only 23 and only getting better. Bianca Belair is 30, has a great charisma and ring presence to her, and is an incredible athlete and tremendous athletic background. She’s also coming off of a great run in the Rumble, lasting 33-minutes and eliminating 8 women. She has star potential for sure, but is still in search of that really great star making match. I think that they can and will have a very good to great match based on the talent alone, but the key will be to overcome the shortcomings of the Toni Storm match, which was flat and without drama because no one beloved that Storm could win. If they can create that drama, they will certainly succeed. But at the end of the day it’s too early for Rhea to lose and we all know the rumored plans for her and Charlotte, so I expect Rhea to retain, and wouldn’t rule out Bianca heading to Raw or Smackdown as she will have failed again and there’s so much NXT women’s talent that can be elevated in her place. WINNER: Rhea Ripley

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NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa: So here we come to the main event of the evening NXT Champion Adam Cole facing off with Tommaso Ciampa, the man who had to give up his championship due to injury and never lost it in the ring. Cole has done nothing but deliver in big matches on Takeovers, including match of the year candidates, and the same can be said for Ciampa. Both guys will be coming into looking to steal the show, and they are of course fully capable of it. While I am really looking forward to this, I almost feel as if it’s too early as I figured that this was the big Mania weekend match up. But I will not argue with getting it now as the CERTIFIED BANGER ALERT IS ACTIVATED BABY! But now we have to decide a winner. Does Cole retain again and continue rolling as the champion, or does Ciampa continue the ultimate comeback story from neck surgery and get back the championship he never lost? I am really torn on this one, I still think there is mileage in Cole as champion, but at the same time, Ciampa winning is a tremendous story and moment, but it almost feels like too small a show to so it at compared to Mania weekend. I think Cole retains, possibly through shenanigans to keep Ciampa strong and possibly set up a Mania weekend rematch with a big stipulation as a follow up. Or Ciampa loses and he and Gargano (following tough losses) reunite for a short DIY reunion tour to keep them both working but a limited schedule to protect them, so at the end of the day, I think the champion retains, and we’re getting Cole & Dream at Mania weekend. WINNER: Adam Cole… Bay Bay


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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 90. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Steve Cook preview NXT Takeover: Portland, review this week’s AEW vs. NXT battle, & hit a quick news roundup. The show is approximately 91-minutes long.

* Intro
* News Roundup (Matt Hardy, Elimination Chamber, NJPW to MSG, WWE Hall of Fame Rumors More): 2:30
* AEW Dynamite (2.12.20) Review: 21:15
* NXT (2.12.20) Review: 44:05
* The head to head comparison: 1:02:45
* NXT Takeover: Portland Preview: 1:07:55

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– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.