Kyle O'Reilly beat Adam Cole in a vicious and highly anticipated unsanctioned match at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver on Thursday.
O'Reilly and Cole weren't afraid to embrace the match stipulation.
O'Reilly finally put Cole away after wrapping a chain around his knee and coming off the top rope to drive Cole's head into a steel chair.
Cole and O'Reilly were longtime friends and members of Undisputed Era along with Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong, but things came crashing down at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day in February after the main event between Finn Balor and Pete Dunne.
Undisputed Era saved the Irishman from a post-match attack, and when it seemed like O'Reilly was about to offer Balor entry into the group, Cole shocked the wrestling world by laying out both men with superkicks.
Cole doubled down on his betrayal by attacking O'Reilly on a subsequent episode of NXT and hitting him with a brainbuster onto the steel steps, which put O'Reilly on the shelf for a few weeks.
The former NXT champion further solidified himself as a dastardly heel by feigning regret over what he did to O'Reilly only to use it as an opportunity to hit Strong with a low blow.
O'Reilly finally got some measure of revenge on March 10 during an NXT Championship match between Cole and Balor.
When O'Reilly emerged from the crowd, Cole looked like he had seen a ghost. The distraction allowed Balor to beat Cole and retain the title, while O'Reilly took the opportunity to beat Cole down afterward.
The bad blood continued to boil over over the next few weeks, as O'Reilly tried to run Cole off the road one week and Cole attacked O'Reilly at an MMA gym the next.
With it becoming increasingly clear that they wouldn't stop until a match was booked, NXT general manager William Regal agreed to let them fight at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, but only under unsanctioned rules since O'Reilly had not been medically cleared to compete.
The situation was reminiscent of the fantastic Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa feud of the past, and it had a similar amount of buzz surrounding it entering TakeOver.
Cole and O'Reilly are no strangers to facing each other in a hardcore-style match, as they did it before during their time together in Ring of Honor, and the experience showed.
While O'Reilly scored the first major blow of the rivalry with a win at TakeOver, it has the makings of a feud that will last for a long time to come.
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