Last week’s big announcement about the future of the North American Championship was a major blow to the landscape of NXT. Lots of new opportunities out there for the crew at NXT, which is exactly what Keith Lee wanted. On top of that, we ended last week’s edition of NXT with a major story unfolding between Keith Lee and Karrion Kross. Let’s see how this week went down.
Io Shirai & Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae
This match started off with a schmoz, as Dakota Kai assaulted Io Shirai like she did a few weeks back. While it was semi thrown together with temporary allies, it actually was pretty entertaining. As I have said many times, the NXT Women’s Division as so much depth, and this tag match really displayed that.
All four women really clicked, but it was Io Shirai who I really thought was truly at her best. Io, who is playing this in-between face and heel role, still is the best in NXT. The finish showed a little dirty work by the baby faces, as while the referee was distracted ringside after Io hit a suicide dive on Dakota Kai, Tegan hit the Shiniest Wizard on Candice in the ring. This was followed by Io’s beautiful moonsault for the pinfall.
Tom Phillips shows us a recap of Adam Cole on the Pat McAfee Show. If that doesn’t prove that it’s a work, I don’t know what does.
Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
What a treat for weekly episode of NXT! This easily could be a main event on a Takeover. Last week we got a tease of these two in the triple threat, but this week we got the real deal. Going into the match, I questioned it, as it was clearly 2 heels going head to head. Don’t you worry folks, unlike many heel/heel or face/face matches, this one worked out just fine!
It was a clinic of technical-Cruiserweight wrestling for much of the match. Lots of counters, suplexes, holds, with very few strikes for much of the beginning. Towards the end, Gargano countered an attack from Strong with a hurricarana into the glass. He followed this up with a shot to the ring post, and the One Final Beat DDT for the finish. Big win for Johnny Gargano, but it leaves the Undisputed Era with another big loss.
Dakota Kai is backstage demanding her shot at Io Shirai, as she is sick of being in multi-woman matches. She seemed pretty cocky, until Rhea Ripley came up and said that she was going to take down anyone who gets in her way for the NXT Women’s Championship. Like the heel she is, Dakota said “we’ll see what Regal has to say about that” and walked off.
Timothy Thatcher was interviewed backstage next. He didn’t seem threatened by Dexter Lumis or Finn Balor. Of course, Lumis was lurking in the background the entire time.
The Undisputed Era is seen backstage arguing. Kyle O’Reilly stepped in to break up the argument. I like this Kyle O’Reilly, reminds me of the Kyle that was ROH Champ back in the day. Perhaps it’s Kyle’s chance to make a singles run?
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mercedes Martinez
Martinez coming to the ring with Stone and Aliyah was something else. Having Stone as a mouthpiece for her actually is a great thing, as Mercedes is great in the ring, but was lacking on the mic. In this particular match, Stone was using his new muscle to get some vengeance from the attacks from Blackheart (which Stone miraculously recovered from.).
My only issue with this match is that Mercedes Martinez’s look is way to similar to Shayna Baszler. Other than that one minor qualm, the match was great, as Shotzi was a great foil to show off the Robert Stone Brand’s newest addition. In no way did Shotzi look weak, but Martinez looked like a top competitor in an already stacked division.
Quick hype video for Ridge Holland from NXT UK. He’s apparently in next week’s North American Championship Triple Threat Match.
Keith Lee hit the ring, and he was not in the jovial mood he was in two weeks ago. Lee went deep on this promo, calling out Karrion Kross for his “Bull***t” week after week, but that he wouldn’t come to see him face to face. As we were all pumped for Lee and Kross to be face to face after last week, Cameron Grimes interrupted.
Let me remind you, Keith Lee was not in a jovial mood. He gave Grimes a beating, and that is when Scarlet hit the stage. She had Lee’s attention, so Grimes tried to attack him. Lee gave him a monster Spirit Bomb, then re-focused on Scarlet. Kross was on the screen next, telling Keith Lee that he doesn’t know what he has got himself into. Lee accepted the challenge, telling Kross to pick the time and place.
I must say, I am really loving these Karrion Kross promos where he is on the screen. They completely work for the character, and are a really amazing visual. I know everyone is sick of hearing it, but damn, we are missing crowds for these.
Imperium vs. Ever-Rise
We have been seeing a lot of Ever-Rise as of late, which is not a bad thing at all. Unfortunately for them, they are official recipients of the Nestle Curse. Listeners of the Podcast know that whenever Nestlemania talks wonderful things about someone, they find themselves getting burned. I had high hopes for this match, as it was two great teams, but Imperium took them out quickly.
Imperium grabbed a mic after the match, and tried to gloat that they are the top of the Tag-Team division. This resulted in the Undisputed Era making their presence felt, as all four men took out Barthel and Aichner. Adam Cole let us know that they aren’t going anywhere, and they are staying on top.
William Regal cut a quick Zoom promo, letting Keith Lee and Karrion Kross know that he won’t be bullied into making title matches, and that everyone needs to earn their shot.
Isaiah Scott vs. Jake Atlas
Swerve has been on a tear lately in NXT. He has strung together a few great matches, and as commentary let us know on multiple occasions, has a pinfall victory over Santos Escobar. Both of these superstars came out to give us an exhibition to remind us what the Cruiserweight Division should be. It was a fast paced match with a lot of unique offense. Swerve was able to maintain his momentum when he got a pinfall victory.
Dexter Lumis vs. Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher
Whoever booked the triple threat matches to qualify for the North American Championship match did a great job. So far, it has been very interesting meshes of style and size, giving the viewer very different matches. In tonight’s effort, not only was it a great mix of wrestling styles, but even more of character.
As you could imagine, it was a pretty ugly brawl for much of the match. Finn Balor found himself crippled by Thatcher, and his leg was pretty much taken out. Towards the end of the match, Thatcher locked Balor in a knee-bar. When it looked like Balor was about to tap out, Lumis locked Thatcher in a submission, forcing Thatcher to pass out. Looks like Dexter Lumis is on his way to the ladder match at Takeover!
Keith Lee said by relinquishing the title that he wanted to create opportunities. So far, the two people who are featured in the ladder match will be making their Takeover debut. That sounds like opportunity right there! Make sure you check back next week to see who will be joining them. In addition, we will be getting Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai to name a #1 Contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. Follow me on Twitter @TJoftheJK , and we’ll see you next week.