Finn Bálor def. Matt Riddle
CHICAGO — Finn Bálor referred to NXT as the Broadway of the sports-entertainment industry in his homecoming last month, and reviews of the former NXT Champion’s first performance back on the TakeOver stage are likely to be glowing.
Bálor returned to in-ring NXT action for the first time in more than three years to defeat Matt Riddle at TakeOver: WarGames.
Since Bálor came back to the black-and-gold brand with a sinister edge not before seen in his WWE career, the WWE Universe wasn’t sure what to expect from his first in-ring competition in three months, but he quickly stymied any possible doubts with a sterling showing.
In fact, Bálor surprised early when he took much of the bout’s early goings to the mat — a setting that seemingly would play well for the MMA-tested Riddle — but Bálor showcased a grappling acumen that was on the level of The Original Bro and then some.
Bálor used a more methodical style than the WWE Universe is used to seeing from him and took the fight to his opponent with his newfound ruthlessness. Riddle, however, pried the advantage away after ostensibly injuring his opponent’s left leg.
The endurance demonstrated by Bálor was all too familiar for fans, however. He kicked out of a Jackhammer, survived a Bro to Sleep and even escaped the Bromission moments before spiking Riddle into the mat with a decisive 1916 DDT.
Following with a pinfall, “The Prince” conquered the first challenge in Act II of his NXT career, looking as dangerous as ever.