It’s NXT Super Tuesday and half of this week’s show is dedicated to the Sixty-minute Ironman match for the NXT Championship in which Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor, and Adam Cole compete for the title. If a Street Fight is more your thing, new NXT Tag Team Champions Breezango are teaming once again with Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott against Legado del Fantasma and that’s the stipulation they got to make it different from last time. Bronson Reed and Timothy Thatcher go one on one tonight as well. They both think they’re first in line for a shot at Damian Priest’s NXT North American Championship.
Breezango & Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Legado del Fantasma
Candice LeRae def. Kacy Catanzaro
Timothy Thatcher def. Bronson Reed
Finn Balor and Adam Cole tied the Four-way Sixty-minute Ironman match
The episode was dedicated to the memory of ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong.
Wade Barrett was back on commentary, and may be more of a permanent fixture now Mauro Ranallo and WWE have parted ways. Mauro split opinions throughout his time on commentary, but I will miss him.
Legado del. Fantasma vs Breezango & Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott – Street Fight
NXT love a high energy opener and this definitely qualified. It was all the chaos you’d expect from a six-man street fight, plus a bit extra. All the toys were in play and the fixtures and fittings as well. Fandango even passed Tyler Breeze a fire extinguisher to cool Legado def. Fantasma off going into a break.
At one point, Santo Escobar was the only person in the ring or on his feet. Everyone else was laid out. When Swerve got up he took a suicide dive and ended up the wrong side of the barricade.
Imperium joined Mendoza and Wilde in beating up Tyler Breeze, who was alone at the time, then rolled him back into the ring to Escobar and made it five on one.
Fandango and Swerve launched themselves off the platform of a forklift (where did they get a forklift?) and took everyone down. Breezango dived off the turnbuckles to the outside and took out Wilde, Mendoza, Aichner, and Barthel. Alone in the ring, Swerve pinned Escobar with a JML Driver for the win then posed on the forklift platform.
Candice LeRae vs Kacy Catanzaro, with Kayden Carter
Before LeRae’s entrance we saw more footage of her troubles with Tegan Nox. I’m interested to see where they go with that.
The match was short and sweet, except for LeRae’s ‘stamping face into canvas’ finisher which still looks brutal.
After the match, Candice LeRae said she was a little distracted seeing Carter and Catanzaro’s friendship, and maybe a little jealous because it reminds her how she and Nox used to be. Nox still wants to work it out and she does too, so she issued an invite to Tegan Nox for dinner at her place.
Rhea Ripley has had enough of the Robert Stone Brand, and particularly Mercedes Martinez. She thought Martinez had got the message when she powerbombed her onto concrete, but as she hasn’t Ripley is going to rip her limb from limb. And she doesn’t want a normal match either. She wants a steel cage match.
Mercedes Martinez accepted the challenge. It will happen next Tuesday because, apparently, NXT is on Tuesday again next week.
Bronson Reed vs Timothy Thatcher
It’s a lot harder for Timothy Thatcher to bend someone of Reed’s build into interesting shapes. Apart from anything else, he had to get past Reed’s clear strength advantage. He managed a couple of times though.
Austin Theory attacked Reed from behind when Reed was on the outside. As soon as he got back in the ring, Thatcher applied the armbar which eventually tapped Reed out.
Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole vs Finn Balor vs Tommaso Ciampa – Sixty-minute Ironman match for the NXT Championship
Johnny Gargano took a seat on the steps for the first couple of minutes. Ciampa quickly made him regret standing up and getting involved. It wasn’t that long ago we were told Gargano and Ciampa would never face each other again. I guess that only applies to one on one though.
The thing about a four-way sixty-minute ironman match is that it’s sixty minutes long and there are four superstars in it. That’s a lot of wrestling match. Even with four of the best wrestlers NXT has to offer, it was going to be a tough sell to make it exciting for an entire hour. It wasn’t, but it had plenty of moments.
Twenty minutes in, there still hadn’t been a pinfall. Lots of near misses, but the scoreboard was still blank. Balor got the first pin on Adam Cole with a Coup de Grace with around thirty-five minutes remaining. The second fall went to Johnny Gargano, on Balor after Ciampa did all the hard work. And the third to Adam Cole on Gargano with a Panama Sunrise
With a little under twenty-five minutes remaining, Ciampa was the only one without a fall on the board. He got it, pinning Cole with a Fairytale Ending after a double Willow’s Bell on Cole and Gargano.
So it was all square with a touch over twenty-one minutes to go and everyone looked understandably knackered. Adam Cole kicked Ciampa’s knee out on the turnbuckle and he was in clear agony. He managed to get to the ropes to get out of Balor’s submission – are rope breaks a thing in these matches? – but he spent a lot of the remaining time on the outside. Everyone spent a lot of the final ten minutes or so on the outside. They were decimating each other out there, but falls can only occur in the ring.
Ciampa appeared to be trying to put everyone down so he could roll one into the ring for the decisive pin. It almost worked. He catapulted Gargano into the underside of the ring but Cole and Balor stopped him making the pin and by the time he was done with them Gargano had recovered enough to try to roll him up.
Into the final minute, it was Gargano and Ciampa in the ring and Ciampa in control. Ciampa dropped Gargano off the turnbuckle, but took a Coup de Grace from Balor and got pinned before he could cover Gargano. With less than ten seconds to go, Cole delivered a Last Shot to Balor and pinned him. There were only two seconds left on the clock when the ref started counting, but he made it work.
It finished two each to Adam Cole and Finn Balor and one each to Ciampa and Gargano.
William Regal came to separate the arguing Cole and Balor and told them they will go one on one next week for the title.
The six-man Street Fight was a lot of fun to watch. The Ironman match was a feat of endurance. I like an ironman match, it’s a great format when used well, but that was very, very, long. An entire hour without a decisive conclusion is a piss-take of the highest order.