Cameron Grimes def. Roderick Strong
Grimes mocking Undisputed Era's breakup was funny and played into the story that Strong is still trying to find himself on his own. This was as well-wrestled as you'd expect from these two and was an enjoyable opener. Grimes is getting the big push right now, so it made sense for him to win, especially after Strong had that moment of hesitation upon seeing the Undisputed Era armband on the mat. I could absolutely see him getting involved in Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar def. Tyler Breeze (Non-Title)
Escobar wanted to issue an open challenge similar to Jordan Devlin last week and got Breeze. I've said before that Breeze should be featured in singles competition because the Breezango stuff is so played out. He took Escobar to his limit, but in the end, it was Escobar going over as he should have. Considering Escobar has beaten pretty much everybody in the Cruiserweight division at this point, it'd be smarter to keep Devlin the champ after TakeOver and move Escobar on to bigger and better things.
The Way (Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell) def. Gigi Dolan and Zayda Ramier
I'm all for the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship making the TakeOver card, but it's weird that LeRae and Hartwell are getting the shot after already losing to Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon twice in the last two months. I guess NXT doesn't have any other credible heel women's teams right now, but that's why they shouldn't have created the titles in the first place. Nonetheless, this was a solid showcase for The Way and a necessary momentum boost for them. I really wish Gigi Dolan was getting the Zoey Stark spotlight right now because she's really talented.
Raquel Gonzalez def. Zoey Stark
Other than Io Shirai, Gonzalez and Dakota Kai, Stark has been featured more on NXT TV than anyone else. I'm glad it's been consistent and she's making the most of the opportunity, but they still need to develop her character more and give viewers more of a reason to care about her, especially now that she's lost three or four matches in a row. She had another commendable performance here, but this was mostly designed to make Gonzalez look dominant ahead of TakeOver.
Xia Li def. Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
This was supposed to be a tag team match with Mei Ying teaming up with Li, but she never made it to the ring. Instead, she stayed sitting down and choked Carter with one hand before blowing smoke in her face to knock her out. Talk about impressive. This was fine, but the feud has officially run its course and I hope this was meant to serve as the blow-off with Li winning decisively. Li has benefited and comes away from it more credible than she was previously, but Catanzaro and Carter would be better off exclusively in the women's tag team scene.
LA Knight Won an 11-Man Battle Royal to Become the Last Entrant in the Gauntlet Eliminator at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver
NXT's way of determining the number one contender to Johnny Gargano's NXT North American Championship at TakeOver is much more convoluted than it needs to be. The rules of this Battle Royal were confusing, but I applaud Wade Barrett and Vic Joseph for doing a decent job of explaining them beforehand. Kushida, Jake Atlas, Pete Dunne, Austin Theory and Tyler Rust were the first five men eliminated, which means Knight, Grimes, Isiah "Swerve" Scott, Dexter Lumis and Leon Ruff are headed to the Gauntlet Eliminator on Night 1 of TakeOver. This was a pretty basic Battle Royal on the whole, but I was glad Knight won following his surprising loss to Bronson Reed the week before.
Two things stood out to be about this episode: that Prime Target video promoting the Unsanctioned match between Cole and O'Reilly was absolutely outstanding, and I loved that the women got three straight matches in a row. They weren't barn burners by any means, but it was more television time than the women have been getting on Raw and SmackDown lately, which is sad. The rest of the show was solid albeit unspectacular. That said, it was all about hyping up both nights of TakeOver next week and it worked in that sense. It's a loaded card and the WrestleMania weekend TakeOver events never disappoint. I expect this one to be no different.