Just two matches on the preview for tonight’s show. NXT Champion Adam Cole faces Dexter Lumis in a non-title match, and Finn Balor tries to even the score with Cameron Grimes after taking a loss in their last match. Other than that, it’s a mystery, but I’d expect the usual mix of recaps and post-TakeOver interviews with a smattering of matches.
Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae def. Keith Lee & Mia Yim
Indus Sher def. Mikey Delbrey & Mike Reed
Finn Balor def. Cameron Grimes
Dakota Kai def. Kacy Catanzaro
Adam Cole def. Dexter Lumis
Undisputed ERA, minus Kyle O’Reilly, opened the show after the NXT TakeOver: In Your House montage. Adam Cole was predictably smug about still being the champion. As far as he’s concerned it doesn’t matter who his next challenger is because no one will be able to beat him for the title.
He wants to know what Dexter Lumis’ deal is. They all chimed in to say he is obsessed with them. Roderick Strong was particularly freaked out about being shoved in the trunk or a car. Lumis kept appearing in the crowd but only Strong saw him and he vanished when Cole and Fish looked around. Cole said he has his friends’ backs. He’s not just going to beat Lumis later, he’s going to send him back to the drawing board where he belongs.
As they were leaving, Strong looked round and saw Lumis again. He tried calling after Fish and Cole, then just ran away. Backstage, Strong was still freaking out. Keith Lee and Mia Yim stopped by for Lee to tell Cole he was wondering what’s next for him and now he has an idea – with a very pointed look at Cole’s title. Adam Cole waited until he was a safe distance away before he yelled, ‘In your dreams, big man’.
Keith Lee & Mia Yim vs Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae
Another mixed tag match to go with last week’s mixed tag, Yim and LeRae meeting in the women’s tag at TakeOver before Gargano and Lee’s TakeOver match which they also got involved with.
It looked like it could have had an intergender kickoff, which at least would have been something different. Instead, Lee very carefully picked LeRae up and moved her away and there was some synchronised offence. Actually, there was quite a bit of synchronised offence in the match and it was cute. There was some almost teasing intergender interaction. Gargano helped LeRae DDT Keith Lee. Mia Yim beat up Johnny Gargano a bit.
Candice LeRae almost finished it, delivering Yim’s Seoul Food to her and following it up with her springboard moonsault, but Yim kicked out. Lee had to come back in still groggy from the DDT. Yim and LeRae were fighting on the apron when Lee Pounced Gargano. He crashed into LeRae which sent Yim Crashing to the floor. While he checked on her Gargano delivered One Final Beat and Keith Lee fell on LeRae.
Keith Lee picked LeRae up to take her out of the ring and Johnny Gargano rolled him up and pinned him, sending his unconscious wife crashing to the floor in the process.
That was messy, but kind of fun. To their credit, it didn’t feel repetitive once they got into it.
Damian Priest said no excuses, he got beat, but the match was about the next step in his name living on and he achieved that. The name Damian Priest is on its way to living forever.
Cameron Grimes has complete confidence in himself. He beat Balor once and he can beat him again. That last victory occurred after Damian Priest interfered, but Grimes didn’t mention that bit. Damian Priest turned up, let Grimes suck up for a few seconds, then punched him in the face. After a break, it was announced that Grimes claimed he could no longer compete against Balor tonight.
Io Shirai got a great video package to celebrate her victory at TakeOver. She said she will take the title to new heights. This is now her division.
Indus Sher vs Mikey Delbrey & Mike Reed
Standard little squash to let us know Indus Sher are vicious, brutal, and huge. That’s all you need to know from it really.
Cameron Grimes was insisting he had a broken jaw. When the news was delivered to William Regal, who was not in the building, by senior referee Drake Wuertz Regal insisted Wuertz take him to Grimes so he could talk to him. After a break, they found Grimes chatting up two women. Grimes held his jaw and complained as soon as he knew Regal was there but was sent to warm up for his match.
Breezango had a reintroduction package. They talked about how much they like entertaining, and about losing their way on SmackDown by getting too caught up in it. They still like entertaining, but they’ll be all business for their title shot against Imperium once the bell goes next week.
Tommaso Ciampa didn’t want to answer question after his TakeOver defeat to Karrion Kross. He just got in his car and drove away.
Robert Stone tried to recruit Rhea Ripley as his new client. She said the chances of her joining the Robert Stone Brand was one in a million. He took that to mean there was a chance and made the mistake of following her when she left. I think the punch in the gut might have convinced him it was a no. If not, dumping him in a bin, through the lid, might have done the trick.
Cameron Grimes vs Finn Balor
For the first half of the match, Finn Balor made Grimes wish he’d got away with slacking off. To be honest, the second half didn’t go much better for him. Grimes did get a few bursts of momentum, where he looked like he might turn it around, but a Coup de Grace and a 1916 got Balor the win.
After the match, Balor said he’s going after Keith Lee’s North American Championship.
Kacy Catanzaro vs Dakota Kai, with Raquel Gonzalez
Raquel Gonzalez tried to intimidate Catanzaro before the match began, just glaring at her and making her presence felt. Kacy Catanzaro doesn’t scare that easily. She’s so fast. It saved her several times and nearly got her the win a couple more, but it couldn’t save her from the GTK that secured the win for Dakota Kai.
Post-match, Kai declared she was going for the championship then she and Gonzalez beat up Catanzaro until Kayden Carter arrived… then they beat up Kayden Carter instead.
Timothy Thatcher is leading some kind of training in his style of wrestling. His trainees weren’t shown, but they were told to take their liability waivers to be looked over by a lawyer before training begins next week.
El Hijo del Fantasma didn’t get to make his speech. He was joined by Drake Maverick as soon as he started talking. Maverick congratulated him and called him a phenomenal competitor and thanked him for the amazing match last week. He feels like everyone was talking about him when they should have been talking about Fantasma.
However, he had a lot on his mind last week, and for weeks before that. And he thinks that with a clear head he could beat him, so he wants another shot.
Fantasma agreed and held his hand out to shake, but the two masked men arrived. Maverick and Fantasma went back to back as they approached, then Fantasma turned to face Maverick and headbutted him when he looked around.
The masked men revealed themselves to be Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde after they’d beaten up Maverick. El Hijo del Fantasma unmasked and introduced himself as Santos Escobar. He’s the NXT Cruiserweight Champion and no one can touch him. To punctuate his point, Mendoza and Wilde dived onto Maverick from opposite corners.
Roderick Strong freaked out backstage when he found one of Dexter Lumis’ drawings. The other two told him to calm down and went off towards the ring. Strong hung back for a second and spotted Lumis staring through the window.
Adam Cole vs Dexter Lumis
One thing Dexter Lumis managed to achieve with his general demeanour was to make Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong a little less eager to interfere than normal. Maybe that was the plan. Or maybe there is no plan and it was just a happy coincidence. It’s hard to tell with Lumis, and I guess that’s the point.
Cole undoubtedly dominated the match, but Lumis not only kept getting up, he kept asking for more. And every so often he exploded into a flurry of activity and a couple of genuine chances. At one point Lumis slid under the ring, then crept up behind Cole and almost pinned him with a spinebuster. If Adam Cole hadn’t got his knees up for the follow-up senton, he’d have won it with that. Instead, he caught Cole in the arm-triangle submission and Fish and Strong had to intervene. Fish got on the apron to distract the ref. Strong kicked Lumis in the head, then Cole finished the match with a Last Shot.
Cole went back to stand over Lumis and talk some more trash after the match, and ended up back in the submission. Fish and Strong piled in to rescue him. Velveteen Dream arrived to help out and he and Lumis chased them off, leaving Cole alone in the ring. Everything went dark, the Scarlett appeared. She walked slowly to the ring put an hourglass down, set it running and walked away. Adam Cole was left watching it.
Next week there will be two tag title matches. Imperium defend against Breezango, and Tegan Nox & Shotzi Blackheart face whoever wins the triple threat at Backlash on Sunday.