The preview for tonight’s show is short and sweet, The Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament final and Mia Yim versus Candice LeRae. With NXT TakeOver: In Your House on Sunday, I think it’s safe to expect most of the rest of the show to be setting the stage.
Candice LeRae vs Mia Yim – Double Count-out
Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae def. Keith Lee & Mia Yim
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Tony Nese
Breezango def. Undisputed ERA and Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Santana Garrett def. Aliyah
Cameron Grimes def. Bronson Reed
El Hijo de; Fantasma def. Drake Maverick
Candice LeRae vs Mia Yim
This started as a bad-tempered match and broke down from there. Literally. The match ended with a double count-out and they carried on with the brawl on the ramp. Tegan Nox arrived after LeRae threw Yim into the backboards. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez attacked Yim when Nox was backing LeRae off. Shotzi Blackheart came to even up the numbers and dealt with Dakota Kai. Kai and Blackheart and Nox and Gonzalez fought their way backstage.
When Johnny Gargano appeared and facilitated LeRae attacking Yim from behind, Keith Lee showed up to sort him out and a mixed-tag was declared.
Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae vs Keith Lee & Mia Yim
The Garganos’ first act of the match was to try to leave. Keith Lee prevented it by picking Gargano up and carrying him to the ring. Candice LeRae jumped on his back, so he carried her too.
Yim and LeRae started the match and it was all Mia Yim until she distracted herself taking a shot at Gargano on the apron. LeRae took over, but not for long. Johnny Gargano’s big mistake was to break up Yim’s pin attempt by kicking her legs out from under her. Lee came in, the women rolled out to the floor still fighting, and Keith Lee dismantled Gargano until Gargano stuck a car key in his eye while the ref was checking on Yim and LeRae.
Mia Yim rushed in to check on him and Candice LeRae rolled her up and pinned her.
Keith Lee and Candice LeRae played tug of war with Gargano as Lee tried to prevent him leaving, but he escaped. When Lee’s arm slipped between the ring and the steps, Gargano kicked the steps and crushed it. As he was leaving, Gargano picked up the North American Championship belt and laid it in front of the In Your House logo.
The first preview of the night was a monologue from Tommaso Ciampa to build his match against Karrion Kross. I’ve got to admit I’m looking forward to that one.
Dexter Lumis was asked backstage about Adam Cole versus Velveteen Dream. He got an easel and began to draw his response. When we came back to see the finished result it was a cartoon of Undisputed ERA in a car driven by Lumis.
Drake Maverick talked about how he feels about the final. He said he doesn’t know what’s going to happen and he’s excited. It could be the best day of his life or the worst day of his life and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He’s not feeling any pressure and it’s the first time in a long time. He was going to have the cookies in catering he’d never let himself have though, and some cake. It was quite a manic promo, which isn’t surprising. I still hate this storyline.
In the build-up package for Adam Cole vs Velveteen Dream, Undisputed ERA picked Adam Cole up in a limo and they had a celebration of Cole’s full-year as NXT Champion. Meanwhile, Velveteen Dream is preparing for their match.
Tony Nese vs Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
This was a result of Tony Nese attacking Scott on his way to the ring because of comments Scott made over Nese’s failure in the cruiserweight tournament. Great match. Scott was one of my favourites long before he arrived at NXT and I want to see him climb into a title picture sooner rather than later. This one went in his favour. Jack Gallagher appeared on the ramp to distract him, but he managed to counter Nese’s attempted sunset driver and pinned him. He got out of the ring before Gallagher could do anything.
Undisputed ERA (Fish/Strong) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Breezango – Number One Contenders’ Triple-threat match
Breezango were the surprise third team in this match. Fandango has been injured, so it’s great to see him back. And it’s always great to see Tyler Breeze. There was one member of each team in the ring at any one time, so it was chaos for the most part. Going into a break, Undisputed ERA were watching from the outside as Breezango and Burch & Lorcan squared off in the ring, but order was restored during the ads. Dexter Lumis was in amongst the crowd during the match.
The tag division has felt like a bit of an afterthought in the last few months, so this level of competition is good to see. Fandango made his impact on his return first by launching Oney Lorcan over the ropes onto a crowd of his competitors, then by being assisted to follow him by Danny Burch, and finally by getting the pin on Bobby Fish with a Last Dance follow up to Breeze’s Beauty Shot.
Imperium came out to face the new number one contenders. Malcolm Bivens and Indus Sher followed them out and it ended in a standoff.
Chelsea Green’s post-match interview from last week was completely hijacked by Robert Stone talking about how great he is. When she did get to speak, she said she’s the hottest she’s ever been, and fired him. He ran off after her to find out if she was serious.
Aliyah vs Santana Garrett
Robert Stone came out a minute or so into the match to cheer on Aliyah. He looked a little dishevelled, I’m guessing Chelsea Green was serious about firing him. It was a short match which ended with a Santana Garrett pin. Stone looked more upset than Aliyah as he backed away without talking to her. Pleased to see Garrett get a win for a change, and glad they’re doing something potentially interesting with Aliyah.
I’m not sure why Io Shirai was underwater for her opening part of the Prime Focus on the NXT Women’s Championship match competitors, but it kinda worked. Another great video package. I can’t wait for the match.
Cameron Grimes vs Bronson Reed
Cameron Grimes got tossed around the ring, run through, and landed on repeatedly for all but a few seconds of this short match. Bronson Reed missed with a splash from the top turnbuckle. Grimes delivered his Cave In finisher and got the win.
Karrion Kross appeared after the ring after the match and smashed Reed into the canvas Then sent a message to Tommaso Ciampa, ‘Tick tock’.
NXT TakeOver: In Your House has an extra match. It’s a six-woman tag match – Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, & Mia Yim versus Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, & Candice LeRae.
Drake Maverick vs El Hijo del Fantasma – Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Final
Drake Maverick looked considerably less manic at the start of the match. Commentary kept reminding us this might be his last match in WWE. It was a very good match, but all I could think about was how much the storyline sucks. Whether they ran a fake firing angle when people legitimately got fired, or they turned a legitimate firing into a storyline, it still sucks.
Fantasma delivered a sit-out powerbomb on the outside, which gave him a sustained advantage and led to a lot of screaming from Maverick. He almost tapped Maverick out with a Boston crab, but Maverick got to the ropes. Another sit out powerbomb got Fantasma a two count and Drake Maverick struggled to his feet as the crowd chanted for him.
That was the start of Drake Maverick’s recovery and resurgence. Unfortunately, it was a bit short-lived and they both fell from the ropes to the floor after a battle of headbutts that no one won. While they were on the floor the masked men in suits who have been abducting people arrived and advanced on El Hijo del Fantasma. It was Maverick who saw them off landing a suicide dive then beating on them until they left. When he got back in the ring, Fantasma superkicked him and finished the match with a Phantom Driver to win the title.
Fantasma left Drake Maverick sat in the ring. The crowd chanted ‘Thank you, Drake’. He said thank you for your support into the camera and left the ring. Triple H met him on the ramp and handed him an NXT contract. They signed it and hugged, and the show closed with Drake Maverick holding his brand new contract above his head.
I’m happy with the resolution of the Drake Maverick storyline, but it was still awful. On a brighter note, NXT TakeOver: In Your House, looks awesome. Don’t forget, it’s Sunday, not Saturday.
NXT TakeOver: In Your House – match card
Adam Cole (C) vs Velveteen Dream – NXT Championship match
Charlotte Flair (C) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai – NXT Women’s Championship match
Keith Lee (C) vs Johnny Gargano – NXT North American Championship match
Damian Priest vs Finn Balor
Karrion Kross vs Tommaso Ciampa
Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, & Shotzi Blackheart vs Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, & Raquel Gonzalez