The biggest headline NXT could think of, on a card featuring Rhea Ripley versus Dakota Kai and Imperium defending the tag titles against Undisputed ERA, was Pat McAfee making an appearance. There’s another triple threat for a spot in the TakeOver XXX North American Championship Ladder match, this one features Damian Priest, Oney Lorcan, and the debuting Ridge Holland. Bronson Reed faces Shane Thorne. And Keith Lee takes on Cameron Grimes.
Dakota Kai def. Rhea Ripley
Bronson Reed def. Shane Thorne
Damian Priest def. Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland
Keith Lee def. Cameron Grimes
Tegan Nox def. Indi Hartwell
Imperium def. Undisputed ERA
Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
It was Rhea Ripley’s match in the early going. Her superior strength gave her the advantage and saw her throwing Dakota Kai around the ring. She couldn’t keep Kai down though, despite multiple chances. Going into a break Ripley smashed Kai’s forehead into the apron, but Kai still kicked out. She didn’t look to have anything left though.
Of course, Kai was fine and in control when we came back. It was more back and forth in the second half, but Kai never got the run of offence Ripley had and continued to take a lot of punishment. Her best organic chance came from countering the Riptide setup into a DDT, but it only got her two. Kai managed to send Ripley flying into the corner by shifting her body weight in the Prism Drop and followed up with a kick that sent Ripley onto the apron. She struggled them to the top turnbuckle, looking for a superplex, but Ripley punched her down to the mat.
While the referee was busy checking on Kai, Mercedes Martinez popped up on the apron and kicked Ripley in the face, then disappeared again. Dakota Kai pulled Ripley off the turnbuckle and delivered the GTK for the pin. She will face Io Shirai at TakeOver XXX
Mercedes Martinez attacked Rhea Ripley after the match, leaving her with a bloody nose.
Bronson Reed vs Shane Thorne
Shane Thorne spent most of the match trying to get Bronson Reed off his feet. He managed it eventually, with a suicide dive, but they were on the outside so he couldn’t capitalise. The result didn’t go his way either. Bronson Reed got the pin off a Tsunami splash after a fun match.
Breezango got attacked by Legado del Fantasma on their way into the Performance Center. They kidnapped Fandango.
McKenzie Mitchell asked Robert Stone, Aliyah, and Mercedes Martinez why they interfered in the Rhea Ripley match. Stone said Rhea Ripley may be done with The Robert Stone Brand, but they are not done with her.
Damian Priest vs Oney Lorcan vs Ridge Holland – Ladder Match Qualifier
Debuting someone in a triple-threat qualifier is a little odd, but there were plenty of show off and look good opportunities for him, so I guess it works. Everyone got their show off and look good opportunities. Holland almost got the pin on Damian Priest, but Oney Lorcan broke it up and they went head to head for a while with the big strikes. Holland wasn’t involved in the result. He was choke-slammed by Damian Priest before Lorcan took The Reckoning and got pinned.
Priest finished the match with a massive lump on the side of his eye. I’m not sure what caught him, but something did.
We saw a tweet from Pat McAfee thanking Adam Cole for the opportunity to talk and settle their differences along with pictures of them smiling and shaking hands. McAfee was due to join commentary later in the show when Undisputed ERA had a match… what could possibly go wrong?
Keith Lee vs Cameron Grimes
To say Cameron Grimes was reluctant to get physical with Keith Lee is an understatement. To be fair, that was probably his best strategy because Lee threw him around a lot. This was all business Keith Lee. No smiles.
Grimes did get some offence in on the outside, going into a break, but he was in trouble again when we got back. Somehow Grimes managed to shift his weight out of a Big Bang Catastrophe and got a roll-up out of it. He also had a go at pinning Lee with his feet on the ropes and a more legal pin attempt. Keith Lee caught him attempting the Cave In and chopped the nipples off him. Grimes still tried to fight back, but another set of chops and four clotheslines softened him up for the Spirit Bomb the gave Keith Lee the win.
The lights went out after the match, with a spotlight on the ring. There was an incantation from Scarlett then Karrion Kross appeared on the big screen to say they were clearly doing things the hard way. The video panned out to show Kross choking out someone (couldn’t tell who) then showed the locker room with bodies everywhere.
William Regal announced that the four men who weren’t pinned in their triple-threat ladder match qualifiers will have singles matches to decide who gets Dexter Lumis’ place in the match. Lumis has had to withdraw due to an ankle injury sustained in his qualifier. Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano, and Ridge Holland are in the matches so far and will be joined by whoever doesn’t get pinned in next week’s triple-threat.
Legado del Fantasma dragged Fandango to ringside. Santos Escobar talked about the importance of Lucha Libre culture and how it shouldn’t be disrespected the way people like Fandango does. Each week Fandango and Breeze play dress up. They put on masks and mocked the Lucha Libre culture and the disrespect stops now.
Tyler Breeze ran down to save his partner, but was immediately overwhelmed and beaten down. After beating on Fandango and Breeze a bit, Escobar sent a message to Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott that he was next if he spoke his name again.
Damian Priest thinks TakeOver XXX is his time. Bronson Reed congratulated him on his victory and said he’ll be seeing him at TakeOver. Priest told him to get rid of any TakeOver aspirations he has because it won’t be a fluke. Reed was offended. Priest stuck to his opinion. They’ll have a one on one next week.
Tegan Nox vs Indi Hartwell
Pat McAfee joined commentary for this one. Thankfully, Mauro Ranallo interrupted him when anything big happened in the match. He talked over the rest of it though. Hartwell was a little cocky coming into it, after her (assisted) victory over Shotzi Blackheart. She may be a little more humble after her meeting with Tegan Nox’ Shiniest Wizard.
Next week is the last triple threat ladder match qualifier featuring Kushida, Cameron Grimes, and a mystery superstar. Karrion Kross faces Danny Burch because Burch wants retribution for the locker room attack
Imperium (C) vs Undisputed ERA – NXT Tag Team Championship match
Pat McAfee dominated commentary for the whole match, making increasingly obvious digs at Adam Cole. The match was good, but you’d never have known listening to the prattle on commentary except for occasional outbursts by Ranallo. It was all about McAfee’s and his comments. Beth Phoenix told him off after a while because he was being very insulting, then left the broadcast rather than listen to it. Even Mauro Ranallo spoke up about it.
After shooting him death stares for a few minutes, Cole came over and told McAfee he could hear everything he was saying, and he needed to chill out. In response, McAfee called him an ‘angry elf’ and Cole threw water over him.
O’Reilly and Fish were distracted by the commotion and Bobby Fish got pinned off a European bomb.
By this time there were officials and Triple H and Shawn Michaels trying to keep Cole and McAfee apart. Cole started yelling after the loss and McAfee was escorted away. He came back to say that for the rest of Adam Cole’s life he would be a ‘tiny itty bitty short little bitch’
Pat McAfee kicked Cole in the head as Cole came over the announce desk and left him face down and unconscious on the floor. McAfee shouted about it being a ‘very unprofessional place’ as he was shoved out of the building. Shawn Michaels was calling for a doctor for Cole, who hadn’t moved, when the show went off air.
I am not a reliable judge of the final moments of this week’s show. I don’t like Adam Cole or Pat McAfee. They now have a match at TakeOver and this might be the first ever TakeOver I actively don’t want to watch. I’d rather clean the bathroom. I’ll have to watch it because I’ll be reviewing the show, but my expectations are very low. The rest of the show will undoubtedly be great. I’m especially looking forward to Dakota Kai vs Io Shirai. It’s a shame that Lumis had to withdraw from the ladder match. I was hoping it would mostly be different names getting a chance at the top, but after Damian Priest qualified this week, all bets are off.