Santos Escobar defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott at NXT TakeOver 31 on Sunday to retain the Cruiserweight Championship.
Both men unloaded their full arsenals. Scott kicked out of the Phantom Driver, while Escobar survived after absorbing a House Call and 450 splash.
The turning point came when Scott and Escobar were battling on the edge of the ring apron. Scott fell backward and hit his head on the ring post. That allowed Escobar to connect with a modified ushigoroshi.
The two men have faced off in singles and tag team matches many times in recent months, but Sunday’s bout was their first meeting on pay-per-view.
The first match between them was as part of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament back when Escobar was a masked wrestler known as El Hijo del Fantasma. Scott won that match, which marked Escobar’s first and only singles loss in NXT ahead of Sunday’s title match.
In the weeks after that loss, Escobar ditched the mask, turned heel and aligned himself with Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. With his associates by his side, he went on a dominant run that included a title defense against Scott.
There was a great deal of controversy surrounding that win, though, as Escobar donned a loaded lucha mask that he used to headbutt Swerve. With his rival knocked out, Escobar was able to pin him and retain the title.
Scott got some level of revenge on Escobar the following week, though, when he teamed with Breezango against Escobar, Mendoza and Wilde in a six-man street fight.
Swerve won the match for his team after diving off of a forklift and once again established himself as a worthy No. 1 contender for the cruiserweight title.
Scott has been the anchor of the cruiserweight division for quite some time, putting on entertaining matches on both NXT and 205 Live. Entering Sunday’s match, he fell short several times with the title on the line, though.
The TakeOver match was not only special for NXT fans but also for those who used to watch Lucha Underground since Scott and Escobar previously scuffled in that company under the names Killshot and King Cuerno, respectively.
Scott and Escobar have proved over the years that they have great in-ring chemistry, and the clash at TakeOver was no exception.
Unfortunately for Swerve, the result was the same, and the Cruiserweight Championship still eludes him despite the success he has enjoyed in WWE.
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