WWE NXT results, Feb. 12, 2020: Cole and Ciampa, Ripley and Belair face off before Portland
Tensions boiled over between NXT Champion Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa and Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair just days ahead of TakeOver. Meanwhile, The Velveteen Dream continued his psychological warfare with Roderick Strong while Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai had to be separated by security ahead of their Street Fight this Sunday.
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Roderick Strong def. Bronson Reed
An incensed Roderick Strong kicked off NXT this week, still apoplectic with the actions of the returning Velveteen Dream last Wednesday. The former North American Champion declared that Dream had made things personal by not only attacking The Undisputed ERA, but appearing with Strong's wife, Marina Shafir, and their son airbrushed on his pants, and Strong demanded an apology.
With Strong caught in a hard-hitting affair with the "Aus-zilla," Dream continued to play mind games. Full Sail went dark purple late in the match, momentarily distracting The Messiah of the Backbreaker. Strong later gathered his bearings and caught Reed off the top rope with a jumping knee strike for the victory.
Dream wasn't finished with Strong on this evening though, appearing on the video screen to flaunt those same pants a second time and share pointed words for Strong and his family, once again sending his UE rival into a fit of rage.
Johnny Gargano def. Cameron Grimes
Prepping for his return to the TakeOver stage, Johnny Wrestling prevailed in singles competition against Cameron Grimes days after a heated confrontation backstage at an NXT live event. The Technical Savage proved to be a worthy tune-up ahead of Gargano's showdown with Bálor, giving Johnny Wrestling all he could handle with his own impressive ring acumen.
But it was Gargano narrowly evading Grimes' vaunted Cave-In, instead taking him down with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors into the Gargano Escape, forcing him to tap almost immediately to the devastating hold.
Lio Rush def. Angel Garza for an NXT Cruiserweight Title opportunity
Lio Rush came to collect an opportunity to regain the NXT Cruiserweight Title — and he got what he came for.
The Man of The Hour earned a matchup with reigning champion Jordan Devlin by virtue of knocking off sworn enemy and fellow former titleholder Angel Garza, who was equally motivated to recapture the gold.
But in a confrontation earlier in the evening, Rush vowed to Garza that he was a different man from the one Garza knocked off last year to become champion. He backed up those words in the squared circle, too, demonstrating a renewed focus to win the latest chapter of his rivalry with NXT's resident lothario.
Devlin arrived immediately afterward to confront his challenger-to-be, reminding Rush to never bet against an ace.
Bianca Belair def. Santana Garrett
Bianca Belair is locked in and ready to seize her moment at TakeOver: Portland, if her performance this week was any indication.
Making quick work of Santana Garrett — The E.S.T. took down Garrett with a vicious tackle and ruthless stomps before even removing her earrings — Belair spent more time afterward adddressing the disrespect she's felt during the recent war of words between NXT Women's Champion Rhea Ripley and Royal Rumble winner Charlotte Flair.
Ripley arrived to rebute Belair and insist she wasn't looking past her Portland opponent, but rather right at her — and fisticuffs ensued moments later. The E.S.T. got the better of this exchange, however, and Belair laid out The Nightmare with a thunderous K.O.D. to stand tall over the champion.
The scene left just one question — would we see the same image Sunday at TakeOver?
NXT Champion Adam Cole def. Kushida
Before Cole takes to Portland to put his championship on the line against The Blackheart, he had to deal with Kushida, whom he and The Undisputed ERA literally disposed of in a garbage can last week backstage at Full Sail. Kushida's ring IQ was on full display with NXT's time-traveling Superstar astutely taking aim at the left arm Cole favored, even nearly pulling off the upset at multiple points in the match.
However, Kushida ultimately fell victim to The Last Shot like so many of The Panama City Playboy's previous opponents.
That was merely an appetizer for what was to come with Ciampa arriving afterward. The Blackheart circled Cole like a shark and locked eyes on his prey — the NXT Title that Ciampa was forced to give up due to injury and still fondly refers to as "goldie."
Will Daddy be home with the NXT Championship this time next week, or will the leader of The UE continue his dominant reign atop the black-and-gold brand?