Provided with its own stage on Sunday night, NXT not only delivered but presented one of the best TakeOver events in the history of the brand. NXT TakeOver: Portland was unique in its card length (six matches), date (Sunday vs. Saturday), location (Pacific Northwest) and atmosphere (rowdy but not insane), and NXT ensured that no one would forget the card it put forth over the course of nearly three hours.
Still, for a card that had the potential to be the best in NXT history -- and one of the best in WWE history -- two booking decisions slightly marred a show that nearly received straight As across the board for each match. The first involved an interference in one of the night's opening bouts, while the second involved the finish of the NXT championship match in the main event.
What exactly happened during the show? Let's take a look at the complete results with a recap and grade for each match on the NXT TakeOver: Portland card.
NXT TakeOver: Portland results, grades
North American Championship -- Keith Lee (c) vs. Dominik Dijakovic: Incredible cruiserweight-style maneuvers opened this match as Dijakovic took the early advantage. A standing release German suplex by Lee saw Dijakovic flip 270 degrees and fall flat on his face, but Dijakovic soon hit an insane corkscrew from the top rope that stunned the crowd. After some back-and-forth, Dijakovic again impressed with a ridiculous avalanche Death Valley Driver that saw Lee kick out at 2.8. Lee responded by pouncing Dijakovic into the corner with the challenger's head bouncing off the middle turnbuckle. The two fought outside the ring for an extended period with the referee not counting. Dijakovic eventually sat Lee in an announcer's chair between the tables and hit a springboard cannonball into the champion. Back in the ring, Lee attempted his finisher but was thwarted. Dijakovic and Lee each flipped out of attempted chokeslams, and Dijakovic landed on his feet after a Spirit Bomb from Lee. A second Spirit Bomb ended with a 2.9 count, but as Dijakovic appeared to be hobbled to the point of no return, he was actually playing coy, using an opening to flip Lee over the top rope.
Dijakovic and Lee wound up on the top rope, but an avalanche Spanish fly by the challenger only got a 2.8 count. Dijakovic's back gave way as he twice attempted Feast Your Eyes, and Lee took advantage with his Big Bang Catastrophe for the 1-2-3. After the match, Lee lifted Dijakovic to his feet and the two big men hugged to a huge ovation. Lee then propped Dijakovic on the second rope for additional cheers as he posed with the title. Simply put: This was the best big-man match I've ever seen. Lee (c) def. Dijakovic via pinfall to retain the title -- Grade: A+
Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox (Street Fight): As Nox was making her entrance, Kai attacked her opponent and the two battled by the stage with Nox being driven through a steel barrier. Kai attempted to blast Nox with a cricket bat, but it instead ricocheted off the steel post. Nox recovered and German suplexed Kai into a trash can for a near fall, but a Shiniest WIzard attempt was avoided as Kai hit a chiropractor. Lady Kane knocked Kai down with a top rope chokeslam and followed with a merry go round for a 2.5 count. Kai used a chair to hit a Van Terminator and duct taped Nox to the bottom turnbuckle, eventually kicking her so hard the tape ripped. Kai next grabbed a laptop off the announcer's booth, but Nox stole it away and slammed Kai's knee with it. Nox then grabbed a large steel chain from underneath the ring, beat Kai's knee with it, wrapped a steel chair around her knee, stomped on it and then followed by drilling Kai with the Shiniest Wizard.
Instead of going for the win, Nox exclaimed, "I'm not done yet!" and grabbed a table. With Kai atop the table, Nox wrapped a chair around her former best friend's neck. However, as she climbed to the top rope, Raquel Gonzalez ran in and slammed her in the back of the head. She then lifted Nox and threw her down into the table, which did not break, as the crowd booed. Kai crawled over and pinned Nox for the win. Though Kai was confused afterward, Gonzalez raised her arm in victory. This was a tremendous match bordering on an "A-" grade ruined by the finish -- not because of interference but due to Gonzalez being a near-complete unknown to the crowd. An interference either needs to be a name or have some clear motivation or reasoning. This took a great match and just confused the situation. Kai def. Nox via pinfall -- Grade: B
Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor: Proving to be one another's equals in the early going, Gargano hit the first big spot by slinging himself over the top rope and spearing Balor off the ring apron, but Balor soon answered by reversing a spinning kick with the sling blade. Balor spent time working on Gargano's knee, but a step-up enziguri and lariat helped reverse the momentum. It looked like Balor was about to hit Gargano with a 1916 outside after catching a tope suicida, but Gargano instead threw Balor into the steps and hit a rolling senton from the ring apron. Balor caught a springboard DDT attempt from Gargano only to be thrown like a lawn dart into the middle turnbuckle. He then hit Gargano with a picture-perfect Pele kick only for Gargano to fall on top of Balor for a 2.5 count. With Gargano hung up on the middle rope, Balor missed a Coup de Grace, though Gargano's ensuing springboard DDT only got a 2.7 count. Balor and Gargano hit, avoided and reversed one another's setup maneuvers before Balor connected with his John Woo dropkick; however, Gargano avoided the Coup de Grace a second time and spun his way into the Gargano Escape, which Balor eventually ... escaped. The 1916 was reversed into another Gargano Escape, but the Prince reached the bottom rope to break the hold.
Both men rolled outside the ring with Gargano putting Balor in his sights for a John Woo dropkick into the barricade. As Gargano went to use a broadcast table, Balor lifted him for a vertical slam before climbing the second table for a John Woo dropkick off the table into the barricade. Balor took immediate advantage by connecting with a Coup de Grace and landing the 1916 DDT for a clean, clear win over Johnny Wrestling. After the match, Balor held Gargano by the chin and talked trash before kicking dirt from his shoes on the challenger. Fantastic battle between these two, though it was a bit slow in the early going to get a top-tier mark. Balor def. Gargano via pinfall -- Grade: A-
Women's Championship -- Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Bianca Belair: This began as a battle between two strong, athletic women. Ripley hit an electric chair front slam early, but Belair bounced right back with a spinebuster for a two count. The women then got in a major, hard-hitting slap fight that ended as Belair used her hair to whip Ripley in the stomach. After a handspring moonsault from Belair was blocked, the women reversed one another's finishers before Belair hit a spear and then back body dropped Ripley over the top rope. Ripley nearly landed on her feet, but Belair followed with a tope con hero. Back inside the ring, Ripley's attempt at a sunset bomb was thwarted by Belair, but the champion caught the challenger's arm between her legs and lifted her for a Rip Tide for the victory.
As Ripley was celebrating after the match, Charlotte Flair suddenly jumped the champion from behind, knocking her to the canvas. Flair grabbed a microphone and formally challenged Ripley at WrestleMania 36 before hitting her with Natural Selection. After Flair strutted around the ring for the bit, she looked poised to leave to boos but instead grabbed Belair and tossed her into the steel steps. It was good to see Ripley get the clean win over Belair, but the end of the segment makes one think we may be in store for a triple threat after all. The crowd was not overly hot for Flair's appearance, which was a bit of a surprise, but it still worked as a capper on a solid match. Ripley (c) def. Belair via pinfall to retain the title -- Grade: A-
Tag Team Championship -- Undisputed Era (c) vs. BroserWeights: All four men got their opportunities to be featured early in the match, but it was an errant kick from Kyle O'Reilly to Bobby Fish that started a period of BroserWeight domination. Dunne followed with a step-up enziguri that hit Fish as O'Reilly ducked, and Riddle was tagged in. Riddle absolutely cleaned house with numerous strikes and Brotons to each man. After hitting a pair of double-team maneuvers, Dunne and Fish were down outside as O'Reilly blocked a Floating Bro. Fish then ducked a kick from Dunne as his foot hit the ring post. Still inside, Riddle hit Final Flash, a German suplex with a release and multiple knee strikes. Fish took Riddle's knee out as he attempted a Jackhammer, but a matchbook cover on Riddle only delivered a 2.5 count. A double knee strike by Riddle hobbed both champions, but two pendulum lariats by O'Reilly both missed Dunne, who kept countering with submissions. Both teams attempted simultaneous submissions, but a Riddle knee strike broke up the two maneuvers. Dunne had Fish in an electric chair, but O'Reilly knocked Riddle into him. An avalanche suplex by Fish followed by a diving knee from O'Reilly and a knee lock had Riddle in massive agony. However, Dunne came through by snapping Fish's fingers and stomping O'Reilly's hand to break up the submission.
Dunne inadvertently knocked Riddle off the ring apron but bit and snapped O'Reilly's fingers. Riddle ran in to spear O'Reilly but missed and nailed Dunne. Undisputed Era capitalized with a vertical suplex and kick to the back but only got a 2.8 count. A blind tag by Riddle allowed him to hit Fish with Final Flash, gutwrench powerbomb O'Reilly and then see the team combine for a Bro to Sleep with a heel kick on Fish to take the titles. The swerve of two inadvertent strikes was perfectly executed, as were the near falls. This was all you can ask to get from a tag team match with four wrestlers of this caliber. BroserWeights def. Undisputed Era (c) via pinfall to win the titles -- Grade: A
NXT Championship -- Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa: The match started slow with Cole and Ciampa feeling one another out, but business picked up outside the ring as Ciampa placed Cole on a steel chair next to the timekeeper and ran at him with a loud knee strike to the jaw. (Ciampa followed by kissing the bald head of an excited fan.) Cole retaliated by slingshotting Ciampa back-first into the commentary booth with the challenger's shoulder blades ricocheting off the hard surface. A backstabber off the turnbuckles followed from Cole, but Ciampa stopped by bleeding by countering Panama Sunrise with a jumping knee strike. A torture rack bomb gave Ciampa a 2.5 count, and Cole got one of his own following an ushigoroshi on the challenger's neck. Ciampa avoided an avalanche Panama Sunrise by reversing it into an avalanche Air Raid Crash but could only muster a near fall. The challenger then reversed a powerbomb into one of his own, sending Cole through the facade on the Spanish announce table. He lifted Cole up for another, this time flattening the table, before bringing him back in the ring for Project Ciampa and a 2.8 count.
Cole got desperate and attempted a rare risk with a tope con hilo, but Ciampa intercepted him with a knee. The champion then brought Ciampa into the ring and planted his head through the middle rope before striking him for a 2.8 count. Cole kept the pressure on with a superkick and his Last Shot, but Ciampa rolled to the ropes to avoid a pinning attempt. Next, Cole attempted a Panama Sunrise on the ring apron, but Ciampa caught him and hit the Air Raid Crash on the hardest part of the ring. Cole responded with his Panama Sunrise at ringside, jumping off the commentary table. However, Ciampa caught Cole entering the ring with his hanging DDT and followed with Fairytale Ending ... for a 2.9 that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Cole caught Ciampa in a crossface cranking on his neck, but Ciampa slipped out of it and into one of his own before Cole grabbed the rope.
With both men outside the ring, Roderick Strong ran to the ring apron to distract the referee as O'Reilly and Fish laid out Ciampa with High Low only for Ciampa to kick out at 2.9. Ciampa ducked a last shot and threw Cole out of the ring onto his partners. He then hit Strong with Willow's Bell and threw himself over the top rope. Cole caught a distracted Ciampa with three superkicks and the Last Shot for another kick out at 2.9. O'Reilly grabbed the NXT title to assist Cole, and Ciampa got thrown into the referee. Cole hit a low blow, but Ciampa avoided Panama Sunrise with one of his own before hitting Fairytale Ending with no one in the ring to count. Gargano appeared at ringside, but as Ciampa reached for the title, he stole it from under the bottom rope and smacked his former partner over the head with it as the referee crawled back inside the ring. The Gargano turn was difficult for most fans to see due to its positioning, and the abrupt finish put a sour note on an otherwise outstanding match that did not need the swerve for Cole to come out on top. Cole (c) def. Ciampa via pinfall to retain the title -- Grade: A