Candice LeRae Won an NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Battle Royal
There were a ton of nobodies involved in this thing, but that was solely because Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez took turns throwing them out. Ripley was my pick to win, so I was surprised when she and Gonzalez eliminated each other. I guess we'll have to wait a little longer to get Ripley in a rematch with Io Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship. This was a fairly standard Battle Royal otherwise with LeRae lastly eliminating Shotzi Blackheart in the end to earn the victory. LeRae and Shirai had a hell of a series of matches last year, and even with the roles reversed, I'm sure they can make magic again at TakeOver.
Tommaso Ciampa def. Jake Atlas
I was really glad Atlas got another chance to face Ciampa after being completely squashed last time they clashed. This lasted a little longer and he was able to score more offense, but Ciampa still went over in decisive fashion as he should have. It was teased last week that he might be headed for a feud with Kyle O'Reilly and I'd be all for that, as I think it's an excellent use of both guys. In fact, he could cost him the title at TakeOver.
Danny Burch and Roderick Strong def. Raul Mendoza and Fabian Aichner
It was explained by William Regal beforehand backstage that the wrestlers who won would face each other in another tag team match. The winners of that matchup will be named the new number contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship. It was a weird idea, yes, but it was credited to Fandango, and if nothing else, it was something different. The bout itself wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it served its purpose and now we have Undisputed Era vs. Burch and Oney Lorcan to look forward to at some point.
NXT North American Champion Damian Priest def. Austin Theory (Non-Title)
Once it was announced earlier in the day on social media that Priest would be defending his NXT North American Championship against Johnny Gargano at TakeOver (which makes no sense to me from a storyline standpoint because Gargano has done nothing to deserve the opportunity), it made the outcome of this contest fairly obvious. Much like Theory's other matches on NXT so far, however, it was well-wrestled and he put in a quality performance. Priest has shined as a babyface, and while Gargano could desperately benefit from picking a high-profile victory, I want Priest to hold onto the title for the foreseeable future.
Ridge Holland def. Antonio De Luca
Even with NXT UK starting back up again, it looks like Holland is going to be staying put in NXT/the United States for a little while longer. Hey, I'm happy he's being used at all. He's definitely a work in progress, but he's certainly been impressive and he has potential. This was exactly what it needed to be with Holland making short work of De Luca (who I've never seen before in my life).
Kyle O'Reilly def. Cameron Grimes, Timothy Thatcher, Bronson Reed and Kushida in an NXT Championship No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet Eliminator Match
The Gauntlet Eliminator was a cool and unique concept that I'd like to see brought back eventually. Anything is better than another Battle Royal or multi-man match. This was executed really well with everyone getting their time to shine. Kushida getting eliminated was no surprise as he's currently in the midst of a rivalry with Velveteen Dream (who he'll likely face off with at TakeOver), but I loved that anyone else could have realistically come out on top. I figured Grimes would win, but O'Reilly's a better choice, even though he hasn't been pushed as a singles star at all up to this point in NXT. He and Finn Balor are bound to kill it and I hope O'Reilly can prove to the world why he's main-event material.
I always enjoy the TakeOver specials, but this upcoming installment more than any other feels like filler. I have hope it will deliver regardless, but the matches confirmed for the card so far have minimal build and aren't overly important. NXT really should have waited to do another TakeOver special until Survivor Series weekend at the earliest. With all that being said, this was a solid show. Three matches were made official for TakeOver and the main event was entertaining, even though nothing else on the episode was special in the slightest.