It seems like every NXT is a big episode at the moment, and tonight is no exception. Raquel Gonzalez defends the NXT Women’s Championship for the first time, against Mercedes Martinez. Kushida gives Santos Escobar a rematch for the cruiserweight title, in a two out of three falls match. Kyle O’Reilly and Oney Lorcan go one on one. Karrion Kross is going to destroy Austin Theory, and possibly Johnny Gargano as well. Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe have a match, but with everything going on with Imperium and each of them having protected the other from attack in recent weeks, that could be interesting. MSK face Breezango in a non-title match.
Karrion Kross def. Austin Theory
MSK def. Breezango
Pete Dunne def. Leon Ruff
Raquel Gonzalez def. Mercedes Martinez
Kyle O’Reilly def. Oney Lorcan
Kushida def. Santos Escobar
Karrion Kross, with Scarlett, vs Austin Theory, with Johnny Gargano
The look on Austin Theory’s face as he watched Kross’ entrance was priceless. It took a little cajoling from Gargano to get him in the ring. Kross had two messages for Theory. One, attacking him from behind is only going to piss him off. And two, don’t touch Scarlett. He thoroughly beat both into him.
The only reason Theory got a chance was Johnny Gargano getting up on the apron and distracting the ref long enough for Theory to rake Kross’ eyes. Kross went to the outside and Theory sent him on a trip into the barricades and DDT’d him on the floor. He was hoping to take a count-out victory, but broke the count when it was clear Kross would get in at nine, and managed to shove him into the ringpost after wriggling off Kross’ shoulders.
Theory did a great job of staying on Kross for a while, but an impromptu coaching session with Gargano gave Kross time to recover and the end was in sight. Theory was rocked after the Saito suplex, but he was out after the blow to the back of the head. Kross kept beating on Theory a bit for Gargano’s benefit and put him in a choke before the ref called it.
Finn Balor appeared behind Kross just as Kross did him and said he doesn’t wait in lines, he wants his rematch. Kross said he wants it just as bad as Balor, so let’s do this. Balor said ‘Done’ and left.
The match was later confirmed and will happen in two weeks.
NXT do like to show inconsequential shots of people arriving at work. Happily, both defending champions got to work ok today. Dakota Kai was with Raquel Gonzalez.
Leon Ruff got into an argument with William Regal because he’s cleared and wanting to compete and Regal won’t let him. He had a bit of a tantrum and knocked some things off Regal’s desk before Regal used his stern voice and told him no.
MSK vs Breezango
I loved this. Two teams who are extremely talented and also like to have fun, being extremely talented and having fun. Both teams have shown they’re capable of being serious when they need to be, so it’s fine to have a bit of comedy when the stakes are low and there are no grudges in play. Even the ref got involved in the messing around.
That was the first half of the match. After a break, it was business time and it was still great. Fandango and Tyler Breeze were both already down on the outside when Carter dived onto them. Back in the ring, Fandango struggled to tag Breeze, and Breeze took the End Transmission finisher.
Breezango shook the hands of the champions after the match but they looked completely dejected.
It was announced during the MSK match that Alexander Wolfe was not medically cleared for action due to stomach flu. Is he sick, or does he just not want to face Dain?
Next week Johnny Gargano defends his North American Championship against Bronson Reed. It was announced during Theory’s match and he went to yell at William Regal about it. He accused Regal of hating him and Regal told him that’s not true, he values him, and listed all the things he’d done for him. And he still has to face Bronson Reed. In response, Gargano took Regal’s pencil out of his hand and snapped it.
Todd Pettengill will host NXT TakeOver In Your House on June 13th
Pete Dunne said he doesn’t blame Karrion Kross for choosing Finn Balor and ducking him, because Kross knows he’s the toughest match. He’s the baddest man in NXT and if anyone in the back wants to try and prove him wrong they can step up.
Leon Ruff attacked him from behind. A ref appeared and commentary said William Regal couldn’t stop Ruff answering an open challenge, so we got a match.
Pete Dunne vs Leon Ruff
Ruff, of course, wasn’t one hundred percent, and Pete Dunne, of course, took advantage of that. So, Leon Ruff had a few early moments of running on pure fury, then Dunne methodically dismantled him. The briefest of comebacks was definitively ended when Dunne punched him out of the air then locked him in a submission and elbowed him in the head until the ref stopped it.
Dunne snapped Ruff’s fingers just for the hell of it, after the match.
Franky Monet will debut, or premiere as she prefers, in two weeks.
Raquel Gonzalez (C) vs Mercedes Martinez – NXT Women’s Championship match
I was conflicted going into this because I really would like to see Mercedes Martinez have a title run, but I don’t want Raquel Gonzalez to have such a short first reign.
Martinez went in hard to try to get the champion on the back foot from the off. They took it to the outside and Gonzalez took a flying Martinez to the face and a trip into the barricades before being rolled back into the ring. Weird time for a break, a minute or so into a title match, but whatever. Gonzalez was in control when we came back.
The expectation was that this would be a brutal power-based match, and it certainly was. For all her superior experience, Martinez struggled to cope with Gonzalez’ power. With experience comes resilience, and Martinez had plenty of that. She needed it. Gonzalez was dominant for the majority of the match. Mercedes Martinez’ best chance was also her last. She delivered a fisherman buster suplex after a massive knee to the face, but Gonzalez kicked out. Moments later Gonzalez followed a big boot with a powerbomb to retain her title.
Austin Theory and Johnny Gargano were shown being dragged out of the locker room. Inside, Bronson Reed was on the floor having been attacked.
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott has a faction made up of Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis, Top Dolla, and B-FAB They’re called Hit Row. They put a comfy chair in the ring for him to deliver his message. He said he made a lot of mistakes in NXT, but the biggest one was he was trying to be what people perceived him to be. All the catchphrases and crowd-pleasing. What is him is, Swerve is savage. Swerve is a dangerous man. So he decided to recruit some like-minded people. Top Dolla, Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis, and B-FAB all had a few moments to introduce themselves. Swerve declared they’re going to be a problem. I’m looking forward to seeing the next phase in Swerve’s evolution.
Cameron Grimes tried to buy a house at auction. He was outbid by Ted Dibiase who for some reason wanted to pay $20 million for a house just to stop Grimes getting it.
Zoey Stark said she was a big fan of Toni Storm before she got to NXT. Storm is exactly what she says she is, a global superstar, but she stopped performing and started talking. Beating her in a match isn’t why Storm doesn’t like her. She doesn’t like her because she’s hungrier than her. She lives in the gym and she’s not afraid to put in the hard work. Next week, Storm has her rematch and she’s going to beat her again. The first time was an upset, but the second time won’t be.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Oney Lorcan, with Pete Dunne
This match came about because Lorcan accosted O’Reilly in the parking lot and told him he couldn’t beat Karrion Kross, Finn Balor, Pete Dunne, or him. O’Reilly asked him if he’d been in the sun too long. Lorcan wanted to fight there and then, but O’Reilly opted to let the world watch him kick Lorcan’s ass.
I’m enjoying seeing O’Reilly relax into this new version of himself. It feels quite authentic, the laid-back confidence, and I hope it is. ‘I’m too good to need to be showy’, is a good angle for him. He let himself get distracted by Pete Dunne on the outside going into the break, and paid for it by getting smashed in the back by Lorcan and knocked to the ramp.
After the break, Lorcan tried to weaken O’Reilly’s right leg and give himself a target. He was clearly guarding it, so it was working to an extent, but it didn’t stop him using it. It didn’t stop O’Reilly taking over the match. Once he did, it was a formality. Lorcan was reeling from the number of knee’s he’d taken by the time O’Reilly delivered a brainbuster. I’m not sure the knee to the back from the top was needed, but it sealed the win.
Pete Dunne, who had kept out of things for the entire match, to his credit, jumped O’Reilly before he even got up from the pin. A two on one beatdown began and a kick to O’Reilly’s head from Dunne left him helpless.
Bobby Fish is back. He rushed the ring and helped clear Dunne and Lorcan from it. He and O’Reilly circled each other then O’Reilly said it was good to see him back and thanked him for coming out, but he’s doing his own thing now. Fish said he totally understands and he’s got his own scores to settle. He’ll see O’Reilly when he sees him, and they left it at that.
ReDRagon were one of the best tag teams of all time, and I’m glad they left it with no bridges burned, but I hope they don’t get pushed back together. A little favour here and there is fine, the NXT roster can be a cutthroat place if you don’t have any friends, but O’Reilly’s earned this single’s push and it’s so long overdue.
The Way had a vignette of themselves as superheroes, mainly focused on Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell and their new NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships. They even had comic-book style drawings of themselves.
Bronson Reed is sick of Johnny Gargano, Austin Theory, and The Way. He asked William Regal for a stipulation for his NXT North American Championship match, and he got it. Next week, Johnny Gargano will defend the title in a Steel Cage Match.
Kushida (C) vs Santos Escobar – NXT Cruiserweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls match
Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza tried to attack Kushida within seconds of the start. MSK appeared from the other side of the barricades and brawled with them until the ref kicked them all out. Kushida dived off the top turnbuckle onto Escobar while he was arguing with the ref at ringside.
The first fall took a long time to come, and that’s fine when a match is this good. It went to Escobar with a Phantom Driver. The second came seconds later via an armbar submission and went to Kushida, with Vic Joseph yelling at the tv truck not to cut to the ads.
So, we went into the final few minutes with it all even and both of them exhausted and battered. It almost ended on a rollup for Kushida and an inside cradle for Escobar. They had another roll around and Kushida almost got in with a jackknife pin.
Escobar sat Kushida on the top turnbuckle thinking of bringing him down with a Phantom Driver. Instead, Kushida brought them down with Escobar in the Hoverboard Lock. It took two attempts for Escobar to get to the ropes and he was in it for too long to recover. Kushida Made the break when asked, then grabbed Escobar again. One suplex into the corner took away anything Santos Escobar had left and a second, in the centre of the ring, finished the match. Kushida retains.
NXT has been so consistently good, and throwing so many title matches around, that I’m starting to wonder how they’re going to keep TakeOvers feeling special. I’m sure they will, but they’re raising the bar week on week. Weirdly, the viewing figures don’t reflect that, but I’m not convinced they carry as much weight as people give them.
I’m really enjoying these clean finishing title matches. I’d be the first to bitch if there were too many DQs and interference finishes, so credit where credit’s due. Gargano and Theory were kept away from Candice LeRae and Indi Harwell’s victory last week. Dakota Kai didn’t interfere in Gonzalez’ title defence. And MSK kept Mendoza and Wilde out of Kushida versus Escobar. The matches were all better for it, so long may it continue.