WWE NXT TakeOver: 31 Review - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE NXT TakeOver: 31 Review - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Dallas Allsopp Thursday, October 8, 2020
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Dallas Allsopp, Bodeen Green and Matt Morgan review WWE NXT TakeOver: 31.

NXT TakeOver: 31 marked the debut of the Capitol Wrestling Center, an environment which gave the show a unique sense of character. Arguably the best NXT TakeOver event during the COVID-19 pandemic, it could be seen as the start of a bright new future for NXT. Is the new aesthetic a positive change? Is Io Shirai now the uncrowned star of WWE? And just what is next for The Undisputed Era?

Question 1: Did Io Shirai vs Candice LeRae surpass the heights of their NXT TakeOver: Toronto match? Is Shirai the right choice to lead NXT's women's division?

ALLSOPP: I genuinely feel the match was on equal footing with their earlier match. The interference from Johnny Gargano made sense in terms of the storyline, although I would have preferred if he didn't interject at all. Io Shirai looked like the star she is, whilst Candice LeRae was elevated by her performance. Shirai is quite simply the best wrestler in WWE, therefore she is 110% the right choice to lead NXT's women's division.

GREEN: Whilst this was a fantastic match, I feel it wasn't as good as their NXT TakeOver: Toronto match. That being said, it was still a great match, with Candice LeRae proving once again how underrated she truly is, whilst Io Shirai proved once again that she is one of the best performers in NXT at the moment. She is certainly proving that she is more than capable of leading the women's division in NXT. One minor complaint I did have about this match was Johnny Gargano interfering, as we have already seen similar scenarios like this before with Bayley and Sasha Banks, so this just felt like a repeat. Whilst Shirai can easily lead the women's division as NXT Women's Champion, I can see Ember Moon dethroning her.

MORGAN: I preferred Candice LeRae and Io Shirai’s NXT TakeOver: Toronto encounter over the match they had this past Sunday. Both matches were excellent, and Shirai and LeRae worked extremely hard during both contests. What made this past Sunday’s match less enjoyable for me was the interference of Johnny Gargano. I would have preferred that Gargano didn’t get involved in the match. The interference wasn’t necessary, especially since Shirai ended up winning. Shirai is absolutely the right choice to lead the NXT women’s division. She has had incredible matches with Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai and now LeRae thus far. I am looking forward to her continuing to put on clinics with other members of the NXT women’s division such as Toni Storm and the returning Ember Moon.

Question 2: Finn Balor defeated Kyle O'Reilly to retain the NXT Championship. Who should challenge for the title next? Where does this leave O'Reilly and The Undisputed Era?

GREEN: This is how you make a singles star from nothing. Whilst many people know how damn good Kyle O'Reilly really is, the transition from a tag team specialist to a singles star was always going to be hard to achieve. WWE made it look easy, as the transition was simple and effective. O'Reilly looked like a worthy opponent to Finn Balor, despite being the clear underdog. The match was brilliant, and is in contention for match of the year. The opening part of the match was a great slow sequence of technical wrestling, setting the tone for the contest. Both men sold their injuries very well, making the match feel extremely brutal. I can easily see O'Reilly becoming a singles star now, however I don't know about the rest of The Undisputed Era. I wouldn't be surprised if O'Reilly was responsible for Ridge Holland attacking Adam Cole, but it will be interesting to see who Balor challenges next.

MORGAN: Now that Finn Balor has defeated Kyle O’Reilly, I would love to have someone else wrestle Balor that the fans wouldn’t necessarily predict. Tommaso Ciampa or Johnny Gargano seem like strong contenders considering they are two of the flag bearers for NXT. However, I would be more interested in seeing someone like Dexter Lumis or Bronson Reed have an opportunity to go after the title. Even if the outcome would seem predictable, the match could elevate either man’s status on the brand. I figured that this match would serve as the starting point for the end of The Undisputed Era. However, based on how NXT TakeOver: 31 ended, I don’t see the faction breaking up just yet. I have a feeling that The Undisputed Era will try and take care of Ridge Holland before going their separate ways. That depends on whether or not Holland’s attack on Adam Cole was orchestrated by another member of The Undisputed Era. If that was true, it would make for interesting television, and I would enjoy watching that storyline play out.

ALLSOPP: I would love to see Finn Balor defend the title against a returning Karrion Kross, however that is up in the air due to the length of Kross' injury layoff. As we have the Draft taking place this week and next, I'd love to see Kevin Owens or Samoa Joe return to the yellow brand to follow in The Prince's footsteps and make an impact on their former show. In terms of The Undisputed Era, it is clear Kyle O'Reilly and Adam Cole are being primed for a face run, therefore I'd use them as a team against the still heel Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong. The matches would be intense, providing Cole with a tangible programme to undertake before moving up to the main roster.

Question 3: Where does this event rank in terms of the best NXT TakeOver events? Did the visual aesthetic of the Capitol Wrestling Center add to the enjoyment of the show?

MORGAN: NXT TakeOver: 31 was not my favorite NXT TakeOver event. This show seemed rushed and kind of out of nowhere, which took away the specialness of the event for me. That being said, the show was a solid event. The Capitol Wrestling Center helps give NXT its own distinct feel, which I know was Triple H’s goal. I liked the chain link fences that were set up. Additionally, all of the matches this past Sunday delivered, and the performers worked extremely hard. I am extremely curious to see what the fallout from this event will entail, especially with the announcement of Halloween Havoc coming back on October 28th.

ALLSOPP: Whilst not the best NXT TakeOver ever, it was certainly the best WWE event held during the COVID-19 pandemic. The show was tight, exhilarating and fun. Without a doubt, the aesthetic of the Capitol Wrestling Center helped make me feel more at home with the environment an NXT TakeOver deserves, and I cannot wait to see what moments will be enhanced with this new visual style.

GREEN: Whilst the card felt rushed and hastily put together, it was still a great show that easily deserved the NXT TakeOver name. The new Capitol Wrestling Center has helped breathe life into NXT, whilst also providing a great and unique look. The presentation feels gritty, and with no pun intended, it has a nice underground feel to it. I will definitely look forward to the presentation we see on weekly NXT shows as more wrestlers step inside. I am also extremely looking forward to the presentation of Halloween Havoc in the Capitol Wrestling Center. Kudos also has to be given to the staff who helped create this environment with very little time.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Dallas Allsopp is a writer with two main interests, Pokemon and wrestling. He has been writing for a few years for his own personal blogs and is now taking his passion for wrestling and putting it into his writing. You can follow him on Facebook.


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