Kyle O’Reilly versus Kushida is the early pick for match of the night tonight. Io Shirai and Zoey Stark face The Robert Stone Brand. Franky Monet and Adam Cole both have matches, but we don’t know who against. Ever-Rise are going to get absolutely destroyed by Hit Row. And The Diamond Mine opens tonight, so we get to find out what that’s all about.
Adam Cole def. Carmello Hayes
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark def. The Robert Stone Brand
The Way def. Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan
Franky Monet def. Elektra Lopez
Hit Row def. Ever-Rise
Kyle O’Reilly def. Kushida
The recap of last week was very focused on Samoa Joe and his new role as William Regal’s enforcer.
When Cole made his entrance to open the show, we still had no idea who he was fighting. Before he told us, he had a whinge about having to fight Kyle O’Reilly and about Samoa Joe putting him to sleep last week. He was refusing to choose an opponent to face, just wanted to pontificate about beating Kyle O’Reilly at the Great American Bash. Carmello Hayes came out to make himself an opportunity. He said if anyone was going to change his mind it was him. When Cole asked how he was going to do that, he pulled a John Cena, said ‘Ruthless aggression’ and slapped him. That worked.
Adam Cole vs Carmello Hayes
Cole was, predictably, way too cocky during this match. He was smiling like he was humouring a child. Carmello Hayes did take a battering, including being flung into the barricades a couple of times going into the break. You’d expect that in a newbie vs veteran match, which is the narrative they’re selling. He’s been around since 2014 (per Cagematch), so it’s not an authentic one.
Kushida and Cole for his first two NXT matches says good things about Hayes’ future, even with two losses. It’s a quick integration into the body of the roster, like Zoey Stark. He put on a good display of why he’s getting that treatment before he took the Panama Sunrise and got pinned.
Franky Money looks to be making a play to take Aliyah and Jessi Kamea from Robert Stone. She talked to them about how exciting it was that they had a match and she had a match and said they should be called the Winner’s Circle. Robert Stone appeared and Presley tried to bite him when he high-fived her.
Zoey Stark said last week she was just repaying a favour she owed Io Shirai for giving her a break when she arrived. She was surprised Shirai wanted to tag with her because she’s notorious for not playing well with others.
Shirai walked in on the interview and told Stark, ‘I respect you. But I don’t like you’, then walked away. Stark said mutual respect was all they needed for tonight and followed her.
LA Knight is entirely too pleased with himself for laying out Ted Dibiase last week. As far as he’s concerned, he got all the important stuff. He’s still not happy with Cameron Grimes though. That feud isn’t over.
Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory took to the ring for Gargano to pitch himself as the natural successor for the NXT Championship. He thinks he’s better than Karrion Kross and can outwrestle him on his worst day.
Pete Dunne turned up, with Oney Lorcan as backup, with an alternative opinion. He thinks Gargano is mad if he thinks he’s number one contender over him. Theory wanted to start a fight but Gargano said they’re law-abiding citizens now. He left the ring but Theory lagged behind to point at Pete Dunne and tell him was watching him. Pete Dunne snapped his fingers.
Cameron Grimes splashed some cash around when arrived at the Performance Center, and punched someone who insulted Ted Dibiase.
William Regal told Adam Cole that there’s no animosity between him and Samoa Joe and told him not to provoke him again. Cole sounded off about Joe not being reprimanded for putting his hands on him, and left in a strop.
The random unexplained charging bar is up to 31%
After a break, Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory politely went to William Regal and campaigned for consequences for Pete Dunne. Regal agreed and gave them a tag match against Dunne and Lorcan. That wasn’t quite what Gargano had in mind.
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs The Robert Stone Brand (Aliyah & Jessi Kamea)
This was Shirai’s first match back from her post-TakeOver break. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell came to the stage a couple of minutes in and gradually got closer to the ring.
They got to watch Kamea and Aliyah have a dominant period against Zoey Stark. Their teamwork is coming along. They also got to watch Stark power out of Aliyah’s hold and slam her into the mat before she tagged in Shirai and Aliyah tagged Kamea.
Kamea might be Aliyah’s best shot at getting near a title somewhere down the road a way. Or, more likely, Kamea will be spirited off somewhere when she’s almost but not quite ready. She’s looking better every time. Aliyah and Kamea were never going to win this one though. Jessi Kamea took the pin off an Io Shirai moonsault.
LeRae and Hartwell came up to the ring after the match, but before they could get in, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez turned up on the other side of the ring to stake their claim to the number one contendership. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart were next, LeRae and Hartwell moved round to accommodate them. They think people have forgotten that they’re number one contenders and they beat Kai and Gonzalez to make it so.
It was Blackheart who instigated them rushing the ring and kicking off the brawl. LeRae and Hartwell opted out and left, making sure they told Samoa Joe how good they’d been before he sent a mass of security and officials in there to break it up. Dakota Kai took out at least one security guy before she left.
Kushida said he knows his professional wrestling career won’t last forever and tonight’s match against Kyle O’Reilly will be a special moment in his career, No one can take this moment away from them.
MSK will defend the NXT Tag Team Championships at The Great American Bash against Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher.
The Way (Gargano/Theory) vs Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan
Things first went wrong for The Way when Gargano tagged Theory’s bad hand. He soon had bigger problems to worry about because he got his joints manipulated and stamped on, and got smacked around a bit by both Dunne and Lorcan. He eventually got it together and tagged out in control, but for some reason, Gargano tagged him again soon after and he was back to being twisted and beaten by Dunne.
Great match. As commentary kept pointing out, the crowd were right behind The Way, so I guess they’re kind of babyfaces now even though the other half of the faction aren’t. They counted along as Gargano pinned Oney Lorcan off One Final Beat.
Karrion Kross hit Gargano from behind after the match, to chants of ‘You Suck’ from the crowd.
Samoa Joe intercepted Karrion Kross and Scarlett in the corridor. Kross reminded him of Regal’s ‘Unless provoked’ clause and Joe said ‘Of course, Champ’ and let him pass. He turned from a staredown with Scarlett into a staredown with Pete Dunne.
The bar is up to 41% now.
Next week there will be a triple-threat number one contender’s tag match – Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon – with the winners facing They Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell at The Great American Bash.
Franky Monet vs Elektra Lopez
Franky Monet might not be too please if she hears that Wade Barrett said Presley looks like a rat and a dog mated.
The match was everything you’d expect it to be from a new star and someone who isn’t a regular roster member. Lopez got a token bit of offence here and there, but it was a Franky Monet display match. It’s frustrating. Put her in a programme already. We know she can go, let her go. She won, obviously.
McKenzie Mitchell spoke to Bronson Reed about Santos Escobar mouthing off last week. Reed said he doesn’t understand how many things he has to squish Escobar against before he gets the message. He was interrupted by Hit Row. Top Dolla said ‘Everyone’s a colossus until a colossus enters the room’, and he is bigger than Reed.
Ever-Rise tried to spray paint Hit Row’s car, while Top Dolla was in it. They had their faces covered but were wearing their own merch.
Hit Row vs Ever-Rise
I predicted in the intro that Ever-Rise were going to get absolutely destroyed. I was not wrong. They celebrated like they’d won the Royal Rumble when they worked together to put Top Dolla over the top rope, but it was a very short-lived celebration and Martel took the double team finisher.
Mercedes Martinez has been given a missed tag match against Xia Li and Boa. She needs to find a partner, but she said she doesn’t make friend easily. She’d happily go it alone.
Xia Li hit her from behind while she was talking and when Boa stood over Martinez threateningly, Jake Atlas kicked him in the head. He said he’d joined the fight and he’d see them next week.
That match was later confirmed. Martinez and Atlas is an interesting pairing.
Kyle O’Reilly said Kushida is one of the guys he was born to wrestle. When they fight, people watch. He’s going to wrestle like it’s the last match of his career and something tells him Kushida will too.
I feel like we’re being walked towards a Kushida retirement announcement.
The battery is up to 51% now.
MSK have a face to face with Ciampa and Thatcher next week. That will be… something.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Kushida
This was a non-title match at O’Reilly’s request. I love the fact it’s been framed as a nice respectful contest, the best versus the best. It’s a nice change of pace. Kushida is exactly O’Reilly’s kind of opponent, the kind who lets him bring out his most technical skills.
I’m not even going to pretend to be unbiased… honestly, at this stage, it would be pointless. It is my considered opinion that Kyle O’Reilly is probably the best in the world in the ring, and Kushida is incredible too. I would have been happy if they’d given this match the whole second hour instead of around fifteen minutes. It was awesome.
The crowd added duelling chants to show their appreciation. Kushida seemed to be faring better as the match wore on, but not by much. He suplexed O’Reilly on the apron, which might have been an error because they nearly took a double count-out.
There would be no big flashy moves to finish this one, just O’Reilly wrapping Kushida up while they were exchanging hold and keeping him there for three.
It was all hugs and smiles after the match, until O’Reilly spotted Cole trying for a sneak attack and went to meet him. That turned into a vicious pull-apart brawl that disappeared off backstage with Samoa Joe and security in hot pursuit.
While that was happening, a track-suited figure with his hood up, beat up Kushida. It was Roderick Strong, and he wasn’t alone. He was joined by Tyler Rust, Hideki Suzuki, and Malcolm Bivens. They are Diamond Mine.
That episode felt busy in the best way. Existing storylines are moving forward. New people are coming through. Potentially, there’s a lot to look forward to on Tuesday nights.