We have an NXT Women’s Championship match to look forward to tonight, Tegan Nox takes her opportunity against Io Shirai. Damian Priest gets his hands on Cameron Grimes while, hopefully, at full strength. And Keith Lee addresses the NXT Universe. That’s all we’ve got on the preview.
Damian Priest def. Cameron Grimes
Indi Hartwell def. Shotzi Blackheart
Keith Lee def. Dominik Dijakovic
Timothy Thatcher def. Denzel Dejournette
Io Shirai def. Tegan Nox
The show opened with a recap of Keith Lee’s Winner Take All win against Adam Cole, complete with comments from Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Cameron Grimes, Timothy Thatcher… and then most of the roster declaring their intention to take one or both titles from him.
Keith Lee himself opened the show proper. He got the ring announcer to announce his full title twice. He talked about the last few months being a difficult time full of losses and pain. But there’s something special that occurs in the ring and he can feel it when he stands there with the championships. He’s celebrated but he’s back to the reality. The locker room is full of people, friends and enemies, who want an opportunity at the titles. He had opportunities and he didn’t do it alone. He talked about his trainer, Tim Brooks, being like a father to him and the WWE Universe welcoming him with open arms and making sure everyone knew he was a big deal with their song.
And there’s one more person who played a pivotal role. Someone who may be thinking about what he’s doing with the rest of his WWE career. But he might be able to help them out. He was talking about his ‘number one frenemy’ Dominik Dijakovic, and asked him to come to the ring.
Dijakovic told Lee he was proud of him. Lee said this celebration is about both of them. Their rivalry propelled him into the opportunities and pushed him to his limits. He’s spoken to William Regal and suggested that his first title challenger for both titles should be Dominik Dijakovic. Regal agreed and set the match for tonight. Dijakovic started to make some kind of speech but Lee told him to just say yes, so he did.
Damian Priest vs Cameron Grimes
Priest was off the mark before Grimes got his bearing and the first part of the match was just a beatdown. It evened up once Grimes created himself an opportunity via a forearm to the face. A razor’s edge in the apron from Priest looked like it should have ended Grimes. It didn’t, he even had a couple of pin attempts after that, but a Reckoning off the second rope gave Priest the retribution he was looking for.
Timothy Thatcher’s wrestling training is still Thatcher talking his students through a demonstration of him damaging people. This week’s lesson was a Fujiwara armbar as used on Oney Lorcan.
Shotzi Blackheart vs Indi Hartwell
In the opening to this match, commentary revealed that Robert Stone suffered ruptured leg ligaments as a result of Shotzi Blackheart running him over with her tank.
The match was actually very interesting, WWE see something in Hartwell and she invariably looks good. Unfortunately, Robert Stone appeared and got on the apron to distract the ref while Aliyah snuck up and pulled Shotzi Blackheart off the top turnbuckle sending her crashing to the mat. Indi Hartwell kicked Blackheart in the face and pinned her to pick up her first win on NXT. Shame about the circumstances.
Legado del Fantasma toasted their first victory and the end of Drake Maverick, in a video package. They’re still not happy with Breezango, but they’re looking to build an empire. And sometimes you have to tear things down in order to build them back up.
Keith Lee (C) vs Dominik Dijakovic – NXT and NXT North American Championship match
Surprisingly, Lee versus Dijakovic didn’t steal the main event slot from Nox and Shirai. It’s been said before – including by Keith Lee earlier – whenever these two fight, it’s magic. They have that rare in-ring chemistry that means they only do good matches.
There was almost as much playing mind games as there was wrestling and it was great. It seemed unlikely, after the fanfare surrounding Lee’s win, that he would lose the titles so quickly, but they are so well matched anything was possible.
The beginning of the end was Lee slapping the nipples clean off Dijakovic as he came off the turnbuckle. From there it was a slam and a Big Bang Catastrophe away from a successful title defence.
After the match, Lee helped Dijakovic up and they hugged. While they were embracing the lights went off and a spotlight appeared on Scarlett. She walked down the ramp and tipped the remains of the shattered hourglass into the ring, then left.
Backstage Dijakovic was saying that Keith Lee is on a completely different level and Karrion Kross is good but… when Karrion Kross appeared. Words were exchanged, then blows. Kross said ‘Tick Tock’ when he left Dijakovic laid out on the floor.
Timothy Thatcher vs Denzel Dejournette
This was a little more than a live version of Thatcher’s recorded ‘classes’, but not much. They had a nice little grapple then Thatcher tapped Dejournette out. After the bell, he put the hold back on and Oney Lorcan ran down to Dejournette’s defence. Thatcher left the ring and growled at him a bit from the ramp.
We saw a tweet from Rhea Ripley confirming she will be watching the women’s title match very closely.
Robert Stone was trying to apologise for throwing coffee over Killian Dain last week. It wasn’t going well but Aliyah ran up with a Dexter Lumis drawing showing Stone trapped under the tank and Dain standing by. Dain grabbed Stone and told him if he wanted to make it up to his he had to get him a match against Lumis. The match was announced for next week immediately after the segment.
Also next week is Dominik Dijakovic versus Karrion Kross
Io Shirai (C) vs Tegan Nox – NXT Women’s Championship match
Tegan Nox said in a backstage interview earlier in the show that this was her night. It would be a shame to see Shirai’s reign end so soon, she’s barely gotten started, but it felt like a possibility albeit a slight one.
It was quite a cautious start to the match, lots of holds exchanged and no big chances taken in the opening few minutes. It picked up though and turned into another very good NXT main event.
Shirai looked fairly dominant for large portions of the match. Nox earned herself some respite by rolling out of the way of Shirai’s double knees into the steps. Shirai bashed her knees pretty hard, but Nox was unable to capitalise. Tegan Nox did build some momentum from there. She delivered a chokeslam but Shirai kicked out and Nox stared in disbelief.
Tegan Nox survived the dropkick after the tiger feint kick and went on to try for a pin off a Molly Go Round. Shirai kicked out and caught her with a smack in the face when Nox was going for the Shiniest Wizard. A moonsault sealed the deal. Io Shirai is still NXT Women’s Champion.
As Shirai was celebrating on the stage she got kicked in the face by Dakota Kai.
Another action-packed episode of NXT. What they’re doing better than the main roster, as usual, is making every segment mean something. Storylines are moving fast, there’s a title match practically every week, and there are feuds and grudges aplenty developing out of the title picture. The brand feels healthy and the immediate future looks promising.