Welcome to NXT’s new Tuesday night slot. The ‘Wednesday Night Wars’ are over, not that they ever existed in the first place, and now everyone can get on with just watching good wrestling. There’s a lot of fallout from the two-night NXT TakeOver Stand and Deliver to get through tonight. It all kicks off with new NXT Champion Karrion Kross, and we’ll hear from new NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez as well. Leon Ruff and Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott have a grudge match. We’ll get a look at what happened between Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole when night 2 of TakeOver went off the air. MSK defend their tag title against Drake Maverick and Killian Dain. Santos Escobar has issued an open challenge. There’s an eight-person tag match, The Way versus Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Dexter Lumis, and Bronson Reed. And it’s the debut of Franky Monet. How is this show still two hours?
MSK def. Drake Maverick & Killian Dain
Mercedes Martinez def. Jessi Kamea
Kushida def. Santos Escobar
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Leon Ruff
Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Dexter Lumis, & Bronson Reed def. The Way
No messing around, not even a hello from commentary, straight into Karrion Kross’ entrance. He said he told us time always comes full circle and it was only a matter of time before he was back in the ring with his title. Finn Balor is without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest of all time to set foot in the ring. Wherever he’s gone championships have followed and when he had the belt he went on a tear. Unfortunately, he thought Kross’ emotions were a weakness and didn’t understand anything can become a driving force when you learn how to control it and he controls everything.
He is now in command of NXT until he says to. There’s a saying, when you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go but down, but that’s a lie. NXT has the hungriest guys and girls on the planet, but no one is going to out-train, out-grind, or out-wrestle him. He’s starving and he’s insatiable. Anyone who wants the title, step up. He doesn’t care who they are or where they’ve been, he will fold them all until there is no one left.
Interestingly, the chanting of the live crowd seemed to put Kross off a couple of times early on. He commented on them being rowdy then used them, holding the mic out a couple of times. Something the roster will have to get used to again, I guess.
Seeing the highlight reel of both nights of TakeOver, was quite something. That was a lot of great matches.
MSK (C) vs Drake Maverick & Killian Dain – NXT Tag Team Championship match
No rest for fighting champions. MSK won the titles on night one of TakeOver and Maverick & Dain won the title shot on night two. I wouldn’t hate a Maverick and Dain title run, but not now, not when MSK have only had the titles a week.
Great opening match with two highly entertaining teams. I love the style contrast. Drake Maverick will get involved and do things on MSK’s terms, then in comes Dain and just mows everyone down… usually including Maverick. The match nearly came to an end with Dain pinning Carter with Lee right next to them, after Dain sat on Carter while holding him, but Lee got his senses back just in time. Maverick took a powerbomb from his own partner when Lee pulled Carter out of the way. A cutter from Carter rocked Dain and a dropkick from Lee put him out of the ring. Carter dived to the outside to keep him there after Maverick took the double team, so Dain couldn’t save the match. MSK retain.
It looked like Carter’s final dive might have been a bad landing, but he walked out, so that’s good to see.
Alexander Wolfe appeared in the ring next to Dain after the match. Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner attacked while he was staring at him.
Robert Stone was on his way to try to get Aliya and Jessi Kamea a title shot when Mercedes Martinez appeared demanding money. When Stone didn’t have it, she grabbed Aliyah by the throat. Jessi Kamea arrived and made her let go. Martinez asked if Kamea wanted to step up to her. Kamea said no, she wanted to step on her. They have a match later.
Roderick Strong was shown arriving earlier in the day with Marina Shafir.
The package for Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly led into some unseen footage from after the show. Kyle O’Reilly collapsed as soon as he got backstage and Adam Cole was still yelling at him as they were wheeled side by side into the emergency room. O’Reilly was sat up, Cole was still strapped to a backboard. No further updates were given.
Mercedes Martinez vs Jessi Kamea, with Robert Stone and Aliyah
Kamea got straight into it, which was probably her best bet. She controlled the short match, up to a point. The point was a knee to the face from Martinez followed immediately by the air raid crash finish. Ridiculously short, but I guess it served its purpose.
Martinez chased Stone and Aliyah after the match. She caught Robert Stone and held him by the throat until he gave her all the money he had. When she let him go, she sent a message to Raquel Gonzalez – congratulating her and warning her she’s coming for her – by screaming it at commentary.
Johnny Gargano thinks the eight-person match is cuckoo bananas, but The Way will show everyone they’re the most dominant four-person intergender group in NXT history (has there been another one?) Austin Theory wants his revenge on Dexter Lumis, Candice Le Rae wants revenge on Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon, and Indi Hartwell wants Lumis for entirely different reasons.
Swerve thinks he was the standout performer in the gauntlet match, and that’s a decent shout. He needs to move on from Leon Ruff and after tonight they’re done. He’s going to end it, and Ruff by the sounds of it.
Santos Escobar, with Legado del Fantasma, said a year ago the cruiserweight title was the title of a forgotten division, but he took it from the sideshow to prime time. The Emperor of Lucha Libre stole the show at TakeOver. He’s the undisputed champion like his father was and like his son will be. They are warriors. They never back down, they always fight, so he’s laying down the open challenge.
Kushida answered it before he finished talking.
Santos Escobar (C) vs Kushida – NXT Cruiserweight Championship match
Escobar sent Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza to the back, then got kicked out of the ring before they could go anywhere. They asked if he was sure, he laughed and told them to go. I like that. Escobar is that good and that’s what I want to see.
I could have been on board with Santos Escobar being champion forever if it was going to give us matches like that every week. As it is, he was the undisputed champion for less than a week. They were rolling around trying to pin each other and Kushida kept Escobar’s shoulders down for the three.
Kushida celebrated by rolling around on the stage.
Tommaso Ciampa, with Timothy Thatcher, said life has a way of testing you. The Dusty Classic tested their strength as a team. WALTER and Imperium tested their will and their loyalty. Did they win every fight? No. But did they pass every test? He thinks so. Now they’re on the other side, stronger as a unit, ready to face a new NXT a new landscape.
Thatcher took over with, ‘New NXT Champion, new NXT Tag Team Champions. What path to choose? It’s standard procedure for us, we finish what we start’. Ciampa finished it off with ‘MSK, we’re coming’. He stormed off and left Thatcher sat there smiling at the camera.
William Regal congratulated Kushida on his win, then Jordan Devlin came over and did the same. He still thinks that Kushida needs to beat him to be the man. However, Devlin’s going home for a while, so it won’t be just yet. He just wanted Kushida to know he’s coming back for it. After he’d gone, Kushida told Regal, ‘Anytime’.
Dakota Kai brought Raquel Gonzalez out for her celebration. Gonzalez got pyro and everything. She’s still all smiles. She said a year and a half ago was the biggest night in NXT history, the first live show on USA Network and she was supposed to have her debut, but she wasn’t ready and she swore that was the last time that was going to happen. She was always going to be ready. So, she worked her ass off. A year and a half later, she stands there as NXT Women’s Champion. The one person who recognised her dedication was Dakota Kai. Without Kai she doesn’t debut at Portland, they don’t become the first NXT women’s tag champs, and she definitely doesn’t get to be NXT Women’s Champion.
Kai said for fourteen months they dominated the best women’s division in the world. Gonzalez gave respect to how great a champion Io Shirai was, but the Raquel Gonzalez era has officially begun.
The lights went out and we met Franky Monet, formerly known as Taya Valkyrie. She brought the dog. She congratulated Gonzalez then introduced herself. With her addition, the best division in the world just got a whole lot better. And since Gonzalez is at the top, she’ll be seeing a whole lot more of her.
Gonzalez threatened to shove the dog somewhere if Monet ever interrupted her again. Monet told her she’d see her every single Tuesday, and left.
RAW Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley (damn that sounds good) came out and got nose to nose with Gonzalez. They clinked titles and hugged.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair (also sounds amazing) came out next and joined her fellow champions in the ring. They celebrated together and their picture appeared on the big screen. A hug finished the segment while the crowd chanted NXT and that might have been my favourite segment of the entire WrestleMania week. I’ve reviewed every one of all their televised matches in WWE and I’m overemotionally happy for them.
Pete Dunne said he outclassed and outwrestled Kushida, proving he’s the best technical wrestler in WWE. If anyone from any brand thinks otherwise, step up and try to prove him wrong. Now it’s time for him to focus on what he came back to NXT for, championship gold.
William Regal talked Sarray up big time. I’m excited for her arrival. We won’t have to wait too long, she debuts next week.
After the announcement, he talked her up a bit more then went into a meeting with Roderick Strong. Strong handed William Regal an envelope containing his resignation with the words, ‘I’m done’. Regal asked him if he was sure and told him he was welcome back anytime. Commentary said afterwards they were sad to see him go.
Leon Ruff vs Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
This was billed as a grudge match and that’s what we got. They don’t like each other. They beat the hell out of each other in a variety of increasingly inventive ways. So many counters and reversals and bodies flying everywhere. Lots of fun to watch with regular wincing at some of the impacts. Swerve is the star he says he is. He is that good and he should have more chances, but he’s blaming the wrong person and Ruff is where he is on merit. In the end, Swerve got the pin with the JML Driver, but I’m not convinced it will ever really be over with these two.
McKenzie Mitchell asked Zoey Stark how she felt after competing at her first TakeOver. Stark asked how she would feel if four months ago she was living in Las Vegas training eight hours a day and struggling to make ends meet, and now she was in NXT. The hard work finally got her there and she got the biggest match of her career on the biggest TakeOver in NXT history against one of the best female wrestlers there are. Now she has her sights set on the title.
Mercedes Martinez said she’s next in line, not some rookie. Stark said rookie, we’ll see about that.
Imperium and WALTER especially have been dominant for a long time and they are here to stay. Soon all of NXT will understand the mat is sacred.
Swerve said it was over and he made a statement. Leon Ruff attacked him and left him lying, yelling it’s not over until he says it’s over, before officials made him leave.
The Way vs Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Dexter Lumis, & Bronson Reed
From the way Indi Hartwell was staring at Dexter Lumis during The Way’s entrance, I’m not sure how much help she’s going to be. Lumis and Theory started the match and Hartwell tried to get him to tag her. Not that it would have done her any good because it was mixed tag rules. LeRae came in instead, which brought in Ember Moon then Shotzi Blackheart.
Gargano saved LeRae from Moon’s shoulders and took punches from Blackheart, Moon, and Reed for his trouble, then had to face Lumis.
Dexter Lumis and Indi Hartwell came face to face. He seemed intrigued, she looked like a lovesick puppy. Candice LeRae pulled Hartwell of the apron before they could interact and Lumis got stamped on in the corner by Gargano.
Reed Samoan dropped Gargano and Theory at the same time, then chaos broke out briefly and there were bodies everywhere. LeRae flung herself off the top turnbuckle at Reed, and didn’t move him, but Theory’s dropkick knocked him down. Ember Moon laded a suicide dive on Gargano. LeRae delivered a suicide dive DDT on Lumis. And Reed threw Shotzi Blackheart over the top rope to take down everyone.
Lumis got Gargano in The Silence, but Gargano wasn’t legal. Indi Hartwell couldn’t bring herself to attack Lumis to break it up, so lay down beside him. It worked. He let go of Gargano to check on her and lifted her a little to see if she was ok, and Austin Theory kicked him in the head. Hartwell threw Theory out of the ring and went back to laying down as close as possible to Lumis. He picked her up off the apron and left with her. She looked back and winked at the camera before going back to pretending to be unconscious.
Ember Moon gave Theory an Eclipse off Reed’s Shoulder, but Candice LeRae tossed her out of the ring before they ganged up on Reed. He shoved Gargano off the turnbuckle onto Theory, then LeRae tried to suplex Reed off the turnbuckle. He held onto her until Blackheart arrived to get LeRae on her shoulders and dump her on Theory too. Bronson Reed’s tsunami splash was the last thing to land on Austin Theory, and it finished the match.
NXT used the overrun by a few minutes today, and they needed it. That was an unbelievable amount of content in just over two hours of tv. I know it was the big move to Tuesdays, but it was a really strong ‘post-Mania week TakeOver’ show.
It is time for NXT to pull the final addition and call an intergender match and intergender match. That was as close as they could get without the women taking any offence from the men. There is no women’s division on the planet more suited to easing WWE into intergender matches. They have Candice LeRae for goodness sake. I can’t think of many women on the roster I couldn’t see happily getting in the ring to show what they can do against the guys.
Kyle O’Reilly will be live on next week’s NXT. That should be interesting.