The Real Winners and Losers from WWE NXT TakeOver 36 Results
NXT TakeOver 36 featured four championships on the line as well as bragging rights to settle the score between two former friends turned bitter enemies.
Much was at stake outside of just pride and bravado. This was an event that had potential to shift the balance of power on the roster in big strides.
Those who walked out on top are in a great position to lead the charge going forward. The ones who fell have to dust themselves off and navigate what could look like a new world for the black and gold brand.
Let's look back on the results of the event and break down the biggest winners and losers of the night.
Full Match Results
WWE NXT TakeOver 36 Results:
- Ridge Holland defeated Trey Baxter by pinfall on the pre-show.
- Cameron Grimes defeated LA Knight by pinfall to win the Million Dollar Championship.
- Raquel Gonzalez defeated Dakota Kai by pinfall to retain the NXT Women's Championship.
- Ilja Dragunov defeated Walter by submission to win the NXT UK Championship.
- 2-out-of-3 Falls Match: Kyle O'Reilly defeated Adam Cole.
- Samoa Joe defeated Karrion Kross by pinfall to win the NXT Championship.
Loser: Trey Baxter
While the focus on the pre-show was much more on Ridge Holland, his squash of Trey Baxter doesn't register as all that impressive. It's not as though that win will do anything substantial to boost Holland's credibility in the long run.
Unfortunately, though, it does establish Baxter's place on the roster—and it isn't a great one.
Over the past few months, NXT has been in a state of flux with new signings, releases and sometimes, even releases of the new signings. One thing that has been firmly established through a "show, don't tell" booking is that even if someone is a mainstay of 205 Live, that means nothing to the regular NXT roster.
Cruiserweights like Baxter often don't even get entrances and when they do, they're fed to bigger stars like Holland, who chew them up, spit them out and let the fans know who the "real" stars are.
Baxter was in the NXT Breakout Tournament and theoretically could have won a title shot of his choosing. He failed and now, he's been used in a capacity where anyone could have been the enhancement talent for Holland, but he was chosen.
That's not a good sign for Baxter breaking out on his own beyond the tournament and climbing up the hierarchy any time soon.
Winner: Cameron Grimes, Loser: LA Knight
At first, Cameron Grimes and Ted DiBiase were at odds with each other, but that quickly turned into a partnership instead of a rivalry. As soon as LA Knight came into the mix, The Carolina Caveman and The Million Dollar Man started to see eye to eye.
Knight managed to win the Million Dollar Championship and even retain it in their second clash, forcing Grimes to become his butler. This time around, had Grimes come up short, it would have been DiBiase who had to do Knight's bidding.
Thankfully, the third time was the charm. With a little bit of help from DiBiase, Grimes managed to nail a Cave-In to score the victory and capture the Million Dollar Championship.
While it's not the same as winning the WWE Championship, the Million Dollar title is an iconic belt and Grimes will forever be able to say he's one of only six people to ever call it theirs.
Knight's pride was his downfall. He already had the title, could boast that he beat Grimes and even had him as a butler, but had to push his luck one more time. Now, he has nothing but regrets.
Winner: Raquel Gonzalez, Loser: Dakota Kai
When Dakota Kai partnered with Raquel Gonzalez, they managed to achieve things neither was able to do on their own. Both were successful for quite some time and even managed to win the inaugural NXT Women's Tag Team Championship.
They lost the titles later that night, but Gonzalez managed to spring back from it with even more success when she captured the NXT Women's Championship.
Kai didn't follow suit. While she's won some matches here and there since then, she's largely been on the sidelines watching her friend achieve things she's never been able to do.
That became too much for her ego and Kai threw away the friendship for an opportunity to take the title from her. It was for nothing, as Gonzalez reaffirmed her status on top by defeating Kai in definitive enough fashion that there should be no debate she's on a higher level.
Gonzalez gets a winner distinction for successfully retaining her title and beating her friend, while Kai has proven herself the loser and weak link of that tag team, despite how great she is on her own beyond this feud.
Winner: Ilja Dragunov
Walter has dominated the NXT UK brand as champion for 870 days. It's been a monumental run that puts him in the top 10 longest runs of any championship in WWE history, falling short of only legends Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Pedro Morales.
However, no title reign lasts forever and Ilja Dragunov saw to it that on his second opportunity at the NXT UK Championship, he'd get the job done.
Dethroning someone as monstrous as The Ring General in any fashion would have been worthy of a winner spot on this list, but winning the title after that long of a run seals the deal.
Bonus points go to both these Superstars for how brutal the match was, too. Their last encounter was one of the most vicious fights in recent WWE history and they followed suit in making this one just as good, if not better.
As Dragunov said, now that The Ring General has fallen, long live The Czar.
Winner: Kyle O'Reilly
The Undisputed Finale settled the score for good between Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly, who had both gotten a win in their previous two matches. As a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match with both a Street Fight and a steel cage in the mix, one man was set to definitely walk out the winner.
O'Reilly took the early advantage when he caught Cole's Panama Sunrise and turned it into a pinfall. Cole's surprise and anger from that helped give him the edge going into the No Disqualification fall where everything was legal.
Kendo sticks, steel chairs, chains and trash cans combined with a ton of animosity to allow Cole to even the score. It was interesting to see both win the version of the match they had lost before.
Both were battered and beaten as the steel cage was assembled and by that point, had secured themselves as winners by nature, no matter who would win.
In the end, it was O'Reilly standing tall as best he could after forcing Cole to tap out even while handcuffed, making it known he's the better of the two.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Karrion Kross is used to clock analogies, saying time is ticking away for his opponents. The moment he appeared on Monday Night Raw, though, time wasn't on his side anymore as champion. He just can't hold the NXT Championship and be part of the Raw roster without diminishing both roles.
Sooner or later, he was going to lose the belt and once he crossed paths with Samoa Joe, this felt inevitable.
The Samoan Submission Machine was the biggest test for Kross and one that The Tollman just couldn't overcome, especially with the return of the Muscle Buster finisher.
It's a new era for NXT with Joe back on top for the third time in his career and Kross seemingly leaving for the red brand. Joe has all the momentum in the world to take this big win and turn it into something even greater.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.