The triple-threat TakeOver XXX Ladder Match Qualifiers carry on tonight with Kushida and Cameron Grimes facing an unnamed opponent for a place. Whoever loses without getting pinned will join the matches for the final place next week. Damian Priest and Bronson Reed have already qualified for the ladder match, they go one on one tonight. Tyler Breeze has a non-title match against NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar after Legado del Fantasma beat him and Fandango up last week. Also looking for revenge for a beating, Danny Burch takes on Karrion Kross after Kross attacked the locker room last week. And we’re going back home with the Garganos, but there’ll be a dog in it so it’ll be fine.
Karrion Kross def. Danny Burch
Drake Maverick vs Killian Dain – No Contest
Santos Escobar def. Tyler Breeze
Mia Yim def. Indi Hartwell
Bronson Reed def. Damian Priest
Mercedes Martinez & Aliyah def. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Cameron Grimes def. Kushida and Velveteen Dream
Karrion Kross vs Danny Burch
Karrion Kross and Scarlett’s elaborate entrance opened the show. Danny Burch was all business and demanded the bell be rung the second he got to the ring. He didn’t get the revenge he was after. He did ok for a while, but it never really looked like his match. Kross stood up during Burch’s best attempt to submit him, threw Burch around a bit then put him to sleep in the Kross Jacket.
After the match, Keith Lee stalked to the ring with a contract in his hand. Kross was out of the ring before Lee got in it. Lee said he knew Kross didn’t really want to face him but he begged and pleaded with William Regal and promised not to lay a hand on him until TakeOver if he got the match. And he succeeded, all the contract needed was Kross’ signature. He slid the contract over to the edge of the ring. Scarlett retrieved it and kissed it before she put it back after Karrion Kross signed it. When Keith Lee opened the folder, a fireball hit him in the face. Kross and Scarlett stood on the stage and watch medics attend to Lee and help him to the back.
We were shown side by side pictures of the entrances for the next match and Lee struggling backstage with a wet towel over his eyes and medics trying to help him.
Drake Maverick vs Killian Dain
This is the essence of a David and Goliath pairing, even with the new look Killian Dain. The number of interruptions felt mildly disrespectful. After the half screen for the entrances, they went for a break. Back from the ads, Undisputed ERA were shown arriving, then barely a minute or so later, Undisputed ERA ran down to the ring and beat them both up. Adam Cole had a message to send to Pat McAfee. He told him in doesn’t have a chance against him and invited him to come to the ring and let him tell him in person how badly he’s going to hurt him at TakeOver. Pat McAfee did not take him up on the offer.
Tyler Breeze vs Santos Escobar
There was no Fandango with Tyler Breeze, after the vicious attack by Legado del Fantasma, and no smiles on the way to the ring from Breeze. Santos Escobar told Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, ‘I got this, guys’ on the stage and sent them back to the dressing room.
Sadly, they weren’t gone for good, only until it looked like their lead was in trouble. It had been a good match to that point, but Wilde and Mendoza got up on the apron on opposite sides of the ring. Breeze knocked them back down, the turned and got pinned with a Fantom Driver.
Fandango, with one arm in a sling, hobbled to the ring to help. It did distract them from beating up Breeze, because they were too busy stomping on Fandango and hitting him with his own stick. Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott ran down and chased them off.
Dakota Kai said she knows how to beat Io Shirai and thinks she’s in Shirai’s head and has outsmarted her. She also said she’d done everything on her own to get where she is, which is patently untrue, and that she doesn’t need friends or associates to beat Shirai for the title. Time will tell on that one.
Ridge Holland will face Johnny Gargano in his second chance match next week.
Indi Hartwell vs Mia Yim
Mia Yim gave a brief update on Keith Lee before she went to the ring. She said he’s going to be ok and there’s no serious damage, but she was definitely rattled going into the match. Indi Hartwell had the best of Yim for some of the match, although Mia Yim was not at the top of her game. She pulled it together in the end though tapped Hartwell out.
Finn Balor doesn’t care who he’s fighting next week (the not pinned loser of tonight’s triple-threat), he’s going to beat them anyway.
Damian Priest vs Bronson Reed
This one was fun. Two exceedingly well-matched guys absolutely determined to prove they were the biggest, strongest, and best. It could have gone either way at any point. The end came after Priest rolled out of the way of Reed’s Tsunami Splash. He set Reed up for The reckoning but Reed turned around and pinned him with a jackknife cover. Priest looked utterly shocked.
Io Shirai said she got the message when Dakota Kai kicked her in the face. Kai acts like she’s a big star but no one knew who she was until she attacked Tegan Nox. She’s a user. When Shirai looks at her she stills sees the girl who was terrified of Shayna Baszler. At TakeOver, Kai will be terrified of her. Dakota Kai is no match for her. She’s not in her head, she’s just pissed her off.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Cater vs Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez, with Robert Stone
Annoyingly, this one started with Robert Stone pitching his services to Kacy Catanzaro and telling her to, ‘Lose the loser’. She stamped on his foot and took Martinez down before the bell with a hurricanrana. That got things underway, with Aliyah quickly getting stuck in their corner. Mercedes Martinez tagged herself in and it would have been over one double team later if Catanzaro hadn’t got there in time. Instead, it went through an ad break and a good few minutes after. Aliyah had to stop Martinez being pinned by Catanzaro. Kayden Carter took care of her but got kicked in the face by Martinez so wasn’t there to save Carter from being pinned with an air raid crash.
Rhea Ripley arrived after the match, while Martinez was trying to fend off Aliyah’s celebrations. Martinez shoved Aliyah away while she and Ripley were scrapping as well, then let her help stomp on Ripley in the corner. Shotzi Blackheart ran down to help Ripley and suplexed Aliyah then kicked Martinez in the head. Robert Stone led his clients away.
In the ‘At Home with the Garganos’ Candice LeRae was reading a fairytale to their dog (cute dog) while Johnny Gargano was up a ladder changing a lightbulb. Honestly, it’s probably easier if you just watch it.
Timothy Thatcher broke another trainee in the latest ‘Thatch as Thatch can’ episode.
Next week Adam Cole and Pat McAfee will have a face to face. Legado del Fantasma face Breezango & Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott. And we have the second chance matches for the final place in the ladder match.
An update on Keith Lee’s condition was simply a direction to wwe.com and a quote from Lee that Karrion Kross is a dead man at TakeOver.
Kushida vs Cameron Grimes vs Velveteen Dream
So, Velveteen Dream was the mystery opponent. After the recent Speaking Out allegations, I thought he would have been off tv for longer. It soured me on the match, to be honest.
Cameron Grimes took a nasty looking landing early on, right on his shoulder, but it didn’t appear to slow him down at all. A decent main event won by Grimes with a Cave In on Kushida.
After Grimes left, Velveteen got back in the ring and started beating on Kushida. He chased the ref away then went back for a second go and posed on the turnbuckle when he’d kicked Kushida out of the ring. When he got down, Finn Balor was waiting, and they stared at each other to close the show.
Another solid rather than spectacular episode of NXT. It’s all about the build to TakeOver XXX, so there’s not much getting a concrete resolution. It should be worth it. With the exception of Adam Cole versus Pat McAfee, which no force on earth could make me interested in, it’s set to be a good show.