Two huge matches on the card for tonight, and nothing else advertised. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano end their feud once and for all in a match subtitled Blackheart vs Rebel Heart: One Final Beat. Triple H promised them an empty building with a ring and a ref to declare when it’s finished. When the final bell goes, it’s over for good. The other match is the six-woman ladder match to determine the number one contender for Charlotte Flair’s NXT Women’s Championship. I wouldn’t expect there to be much more than these two matches on the show, but we’ll see.
Io Shirai def. Candice LeRae, Mia Yim, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, and Chelsea Green
Indus Sher def. Ever-Rise
Johnny Gargano def. Tommaso Ciampa
The introduction to the show focused exclusively on Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Mauro Ranallo was back on commentary and flying solo.
Io Shirai vs Tegan Nox vs Chelsea Green vs Mia Yim vs Dakota Kai vs Candice LeRae – Number One Contender’s Ladder Match
Chelsea Green was brought to the ring by Robert Stone. Dakota Kai was accompanied to the ring by Raquel Gonzalez.
Gonzalez tried to get involved early by passing a ladder to Kai, but LeRae and Yim dropkicked the ladder into her, then everyone except Io Shirai beat up Dakota Kai. Robert Stone also tried to help out, he set a table up on the outside with Chelsea Green. He also protected Green from Gonzalez at one point when she was laid out at ringside.
Considering she wasn’t in the match, Raquel Gonzalez played much too big a part in it. She tipped Shirai off a ladder and inadvertently helped her take out more of her opponents. She tried to carry Kai up a ladder and she was the one who went through the table, courtesy of Mia Yim and Tegan Nox. Yim put herself through the table at the same time, and Kai made Nox pay by kicking her off the second rope through a ladder on the outside.
Stone forced Green back into the ring when everyone else was down, but her leg was too badly hurt and she couldn’t do it. He climbed the other side and pulled her up, but Candice LeRae and Io Shirai tipped the ladder. He hit the corner, but she got tangled in the ropes and it looked unpleasant.
LeRae and Shirai fought on top of the ladder until Shirai raked LeRae’s eyes and shoved her onto ladder propped between the ropes. Then, alone and unchallenged, Io Shirai unhooked the briefcase.
We were reminded that Finn Balor and WALTER are supposed to be feuding, ahead of a video appearance from Balor. He said he and WALTER share a lot of traits. They’re unable to make their next moves, but this time will pass and WALTER’s title reign is on borrowed time.
There was a recap of Malcolm Bivens’ new team, Indus Sher, decimating Matt Riddle ahead of the team’s in-ring debut.
Indus Sher vs Ever-Rise
Rinku and Saurav are huge. Matt Martel and Chase Parker aren’t small, but even two on one against Rinku, they made no significant impact. It was a dominant debut performance and they could have pinned Parker much faster than they did. They’ll be a very interesting addition to the tag division.
Adam Cole thinks Velveteen Dream got lucky by pinning Bobby Fish and still doesn’t deserve a shot at the title.
Next week NXT will be starting a Cruiserweight Championship tournament to crown an interim champion as Jordan Devlin is not currently able to defend due to travel restrictions.
After a recap of Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair, which was one of the best matches of WrestleMania, we saw Charlotte Flair’s backstage interview with Charly Caruso. They showed in on RAW as well. She said it’s the woman who makes the title, not the title that makes the woman. She also said Rhea Ripley was all right, but she did what everyone else does, she bowed down to The Queen.
A clearly emotional Rhea Ripley just said Flair was a lot better than she expected.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano – Blackheart vs Rebel Heart: One Final Beat
This started just under an hour into the show. Even with the reduced run time of the last couple of weeks, it was going to be long. Johnny Gargano shared a moment with his wife when he arrived at the venue. She handed him something then drove off. Triple H welcomed them and reiterated that the ref was just there to declare the winner and when this is done, it’s done. Then he left them to it.
It got a slightly more cinematic production, but it was still them yelling at each other and beating the crap out of each other. All the toys of a no holds barred match had been handily left strewn around the place, so there were tables and trash cans, and a fire extinguisher just for variety. Ciampa cut the ring coverings away to reveal the bare boards on one quarter. They went out into the parking lot for a while and Gargano bounced Ciampa off a truck and tried to splat him with a packing crate. They fought on top of the truck for a while as well. The camera work was giving me motion sickness by that point.
They got back in the ring because it had to finish there, and tried to kill each other with crutches. Candice LeRae sneaked into the building, entered the ring, and begged them to stop. She told them both off and said Ciampa had made her hate her husband. She told Ciampa to finish it and when he didn’t move she said she’d finish it and kicked Gargano in the balls.
Once she’d gone Gargano cried on the mat and Ciampa comforted him until he got to his knees. Ciampa apologised, reading himself to finish it, then LeRae kicked him in the balls from behind and Gargano revealed he’d been wearing a cup. She left again and Johnny Gargano pinned Ciampa with a Fairytale Ending.
Candice LeRae helped her husband to the car and they drove off while Ciampa was still laid in the ring nursing his testicles.
So that’s it, Gargano versus Ciampa is finished, and it was Candice LeRae who finished it. Where they go from here remains to be seen, but I’m glad they’re done with each other. There is just nothing left for them to do to each other.