Tonight is NXT’s final night as the black and gold brand. Next week they become the child’s art show brand. The new look will include lighting and set changes and is just the tip of the iceberg of changes. But they’re seeing the old look out with a bang. Both the men’s and women’s tag titles will be on the line. MSK face Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch for theirs. Io Shirai and Zoey Stark make their first defence, against Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter. Ember Moon goes one on one with Kay Lee Ray. Breakout Tournament winner Carmelo Hayes faces Santos Escobar. Mei Ying of Tian Sha makes her in-ring debut. And Diamond Mine introduce Julius and Brutus Creed.
Kay Lee Ray def. Ember Moon
Santos Escobar def. Carmelo Hayes
Brutus & Julius Creed def. Chuckie Viola & Paxton Averill
Io Shirai &Zoey Stark def. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Mei Ying def. Virginia Ferry
MSK def. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Ember Moon vs Kay Lee Ray
Neither of these women can really afford a loss at this point. Ember Moon’s momentum died when Shotzi Blackheart moved to the main roster with Tegan Nox, and Kay Lee Ray just arrived.
Ray took out Moon’s shoulder by dragging her arm onto the ropes to give herself a target and turn around a match that had been mostly Moon to that point. It gave her some time, but she underestimated Ember Moon. The match was a battle. Heading into the break, Moon’s head bounced off the turnbuckle courtesy of Ray, leaving her crumpled in the corner.
When we came back they were back in full flow. Moon kicked Kay Lee Ray in the head while she was in the tree of woe and the ref had to check on her. Ray answered with a springboard tornado DDT, but it was only worth two. Moon dumped her out of the ring and got all of the suicide dive, but Ray thwarted the Eclipse when she got her back in the ring.
Ray tossed Moon off the top turnbuckle by her hair, but Moon kicked out of the pin. They got a nice, ‘This is awesome’ chant from the crowd as the pin attempts piled up. Kay Lee Ray found the difference maker with a Gory Bomb.
Danny Burch doesn’t want to talk about being injured anymore. He’s back and they’re going to take the tag titles tonight. Oney Lorcan, Ridge Holland, and Pete Dunne chipped in as well, but that was the gist.
Indi Hartwell’s bachelorette party happened. I’m sure they’ll put it on YouTube if you want to see it.
Carmello Hayes vs Santos Escobar, with Legado del Fantasma
Interesting match. Escobar was way too dismissive of Hayes in the first minute or so, but he caught on before it cost him. Great match. They played up Escobar’s experience advantage over Hayes to good effect, with plenty of counters and intercepted moves. Hayes got to show off how
Of course, a clean finish on a great match was too much to ask for. After Escobar took a DDT on the apron, Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza got on the apron to distract the ref while Elektra Lopez slammed Hayes on the floor. As soon as he got back in the ring, Escobar finished him with a Phantom Driver.
Malcolm Bivens introduced us to Brutus and Julius Creed. They’re brothers and they’ve come from an amateur wrestling background.
William Regal announced there will be a Fatal Four-way Number One Contender’s match next week to decide Samoa Joe’s first challenger. Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O’Reilly, LA Knight, and Pete Dunne.
Brutus & Julius Creed, with Diamond Mine, vs Chuckie Viola & Paxton Averill
Brutus is the smaller stockier one. They slap each other to hype up and they wear wrestling singlets. I guess they’re an example of Vince McMahon’s new vision for NXT. Decent enough start. They won.
McKenzie Mitchell spoke to Ember Moon about things not going her way recently. Moon said it’s been a rough three months and she’s tired. She lost her tag titles, her tag partner, and every match she’s had. She doesn’t want to feel like this anymore and she knows what she’s got to do. Stay tuned.
Hit Row aren’t done with Legado del Fantasma, and it sounds like B-Fab will be getting in the ring.
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match
I’m not convinced that putting Zoey Stark and Io Shirai together has done either of them any favours, but it’s always a pleasure to watch Io Shirai. Shirai’s general dismissiveness of Stark nearly cost them early on when Stark wanted to tag back in. Shirai told her she didn’t need her help then walked straight into a dropkick from Kayden Carter. She did eventually let her back in, while the ref was checking on Catanzaro after Shirai destroyed her in the corner.
Stark got caught out by an unseen tag and Carter neutralised Shirai for a while, squishing her in the corner behind Stark then dropkicking her out of the ring. She couldn’t capitalise before Shirai got back, just in time for Stark to stagger into their corner. A tiger feint kick to Carter and a kick to Catanzaro’s head from the apron put her immediately in charge, but her missile dropkick was only worth two.
Shirai was not impressed when Stark tagged herself in. She was undoubtedly less impressed when Stark threw Carter into their corner and Carter’s elbow hit her. Stark charged into the corner and accidentally sent her tag partner crashing to the floor, but Shirai was back in time to save the match after Stark took a double team.
Somehow, Stark and Shirai retained with an Io Shirai moonsault.
Gigi Dolan, Jacy Jayne, and Mandy Rose attacked Carter and Catanzaro on the stage. Mandy Rose with wearing a protective mask over her nose.
Kyle O’Reilly has had a rough year, losing championships and friends. TakeOver 36 closed that chapter in his life and it’s freeing not giving a damn. He doesn’t care what it takes, the end game for him is Samoa Joe and the NXT Championship. It’s not about the title belt, it’s about what it represents. It’s about being the best. At TakeOver 36 one obsession ended and next week another one begins.
Dexter Lumis’ bachelor party also happened. Cameron Grimes apparently paid for that and the wedding. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell spied on them while they raced go-karts and did fun activities. I’m pretty sure Lumis and Gargano’s laser tag strategy was cheating, but they bonded. It looked more fun than the bachelorette. Again, I’m sure it’ll be on YouTube.
Robert Stone somehow got Franky Monet a women’s championship match for next week. They’re really packing the first new look show. Stone might have redeemed himself a little in Monet’s eyes for now, but I’m sure he’ll find a way to screw it up.
Mei Ying, with Boa, vs Virginia Ferry
Xia Li is still MIA. Does she still work there? They put a lot of effort into building her up to just let her go, but that means nothing in today’s WWE. The match lasted about a minute, maybe less, and ended with Mei Ying’s hand around Ferry’s throat.
LA Knight thinks him winning the number one contender’s match is a foregone conclusion.
Tommaso Ciampa has two goals. Destroying Pete Dunne and getting Goldie back.
MSK (C) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, with Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland – NXT Tag Team Championship match
Danny Burch got things underway, to a ‘Welcome Back’ chant from the crowd before ‘MSK’ chants replaced it. The champs used their clear speed and agility advantage when they could, because the alternative was taking the kind of strikes that change a match. For some of the match, it worked. For other bits, one of them had to watch while the other took a beating. Unusually, it was Nash Carter who took the long stretch in the opposition corner.
Danny Burch broke a pin attempt and got thrown out and taken out by Wes Lee while Carter took down Lorcan with a moonsault on the other side. Carter took too long going to the top and Lorcan got his knees up. A chop block and an ankle lock had Nash Carter trying to resist tapping. Lee was prevented from saving him by Burch, but he got free by tipping Lorcan onto Burch.
The end came quite abruptly. Lorcan charged Carter in the corner, but Nash Carter was ready for him and tossed him to the mat. After taking Burch out with a superkick he hoisted Lorcan up for Wes Lee to complete the double team finisher and retain their titles.
They even got away without being beaten up by Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, however, did not. Dunne Gave the nod for Holland to attack and they put them down together. Holland even went back for an extra headbutt while Dunne waited for him.
So that’s that then. From the things that are known or rumoured about the changes, NXT as we know it effectively ended tonight. The bright new logo and set are just the window dressing for a paradigm shift in the brand. It will take some time for the new ethos to be fully realised, but I don’t want to document the transformation/destruction of a brand I have been so invested in. The new product might be great but, if even half the rumours come to fruition, it will likely be very different. With that in mind, I’ve decided to step back from reviewing NXT as of tonight.
I’ve been invested in NXT as a brand since before I started reviewing it in 2016. I have loved watching it grow and documenting the new arrivals, the wins and losses, and the main roster call ups that increasingly felt like demotions. 2016-2018 were great years for wrestling and NXT was right up there with the best on offer. There have been some ups and downs since then, but it was my brand of choice, so I rolled with it. Until now.
I won’t stop watching and I won’t rule out coming back to it if it’s going well in a few months. But, for now at least, this really is the final word.