William Regal has a huge announcement to make on this week’s NXT. We’ve also got three advertised matches. Shotzi Blackheart seeks revenge on Aliyah and probably on Robert Stone as well. Killian Dain gets his match with Dexter Lumis. And Dominik Dijakovic faces Karrion Kross after Kross attacked him backstage last week.
Dexter Lumis def. Killian Dain
Breezango def. Ever Rise
Shotzi Blackheart def. Aliyah
Bronson Reed def. Roderick Strong and Johnny Gargano
Timothy Thatcher def. Oney Lorcan
Killer Kross def. Dominik Dijakovic
William Regal introduced Keith Lee, who had requested some time to address the NXT Universe via video link. He talked about the way he started out, his trainer Tim Brooks, and the opportunities he had along the way. He may be limitless, but he won’t be a limiting factor on other people’s opportunities so he’s relinquishing the North American Championship, with the caveat that as many people as possible have the opportunity to win it.
Back with William Regal he called it a noble gesture and said he loved Lee’s idea. Starting tonight there will be a series of triple-threat matches with the winners earning a place in a ladder match for the title on August 22nd at TakeOver.
Roderick Strong vs Johnny Gargano vs Bronson Reed was the match graphic that flashed up for match one.
Dexter Lumis vs Killian Dain
Dain is definitely creeped out by Lumis and that worked in Dexter Lumis’ favour a few times in the match, stopping Killian Dain in his tracks instead of allowing him to build momentum. It didn’t appear Dain had much in the way of a strength advantage either, and Lumis had the edge on the athleticism. All in all, it was an interesting match. By rights, they should have taken each other out a dozen times before Lumis locked his arm around Killian Dain’s neck and put him to sleep.
Bronson Reed is looking to show Roderick Strong and Johnny Gargano he’s a player on NXT. Roderick Strong views it as a chance to get back on track after a weird few months. And Johnny Gargano thinks this is his route to the title.
Dakota Kai sent a message to Io Shirai via video. She’s looking for a title shot as soon as Shirai has recovered from Kai kicking her in the face last week.
Io Shirai sent a message back saying she’ll see Kai next Wednesday.
Ever Rise vs Breezango
Breezango came out to a compilation of The Mountie’s theme music and their own. I’m not even going to pretend I’m not biased. Breezango are great and NXT is absolutely the right place for them. Ever Rise are good too. Breezango took them out with the Mountie Dive. Then Supermodel kicks and it was a convincing win for Tyler Breeze and Fandango.
Dominik Dijakovic said Karrion Kross is getting a fresh Dominik Dijakovic today and he’s going to smash him with his elbow, his knee, and his boot. He’d been wracking his brains to work out what’s next for him and now he knows, it’s knocking Karrion Kross unconscious.
Aliyah, with Robert Stone, vs Shotzi Blackheart
Shotzi Blackheart drove her tank straight into the steps Robert Stone was standing on. He’s still wearing the boot after she ran him over a couple of weeks ago, and he hobbled backwards at speed. The match was ok. Stone was a constant distraction at ringside. Sometimes it was a help, like distracting Blackheart on the outside to allow Aliyah to smash her face-first into the floor. Other times it was just annoying.
Aliyah got caught using the ropes to pin Blackheart and got caught with an enziguri while she was arguing the ref. Shotzi Blackheart took a moment to kick Stone in the head when he got up on the apron and he was still screaming on the floor when Blackheart’s senton from the top got her the win.
On her way out, Shotzi Blackheart ran over Stone’s other leg. While she was stood in the tank celebrating she got kicked in the face by Mercedes Martinez. Martinez didn’t do anything to Aliyah, but she didn’t help Stone either. She just walked away.
Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott had a getting to know you centred on his love of performance, making music, and being in the ring. He’s got Santos Escobar in his sights next and he wants the title.
Johnny Gargano vs Bronson Reed vs Roderick Strong
It would be great to see some different names heading into this ladder match. It wouldn’t hurt interest in the product or their respective careers for Strong and Gargano to sit this one out.
Johnny Gargano made the clever move of the night. While Roderick Strong was under a standing Bronson Reed, trying to bring him down, Gargano grabbed Strong’s legs and catapulted his head into Reed’s balls. Unsurprisingly, when he came back, Bronson Reed was pissed off, which was bad news for Gargano and Strong.
Reed had the best of things for a long while from that point and it was a really good match. Reed came closest off a double Samoan drop. Gargano delivered a poison-rana to Reed but got kneed in the face by Strong before he could cover, then broke up Strong’s cover with a superkick. Reed was taken down by an assisted powerbomb off the apron by Gargano, aided by a knee to the face from Strong.
With Reed down on the outside, Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong exchanged near falls until Gargano hit One Final Beat. But before Gargano could cover, Bronson Reed knocked him away with a huge splash onto Strong and got the pin for himself.
Timothy Thatcher vs Oney Lorcan
If your idea of fun is an intricate mix of technicality and brutality, this was the match for you. Either they were trying to twist and torture each other’s body parts into improbable positions, or they were trying to remove them with brute force. Either way, it was a fun time. Timothy Thatcher came out on top again this time, buy forcing Lorcan’s shoulders to the mat while Lorcan was trying to rip his arms out of his sockets.
Mercedes Martinez has joined the Robert Stone Brand. She wants someone to handle the paperwork and stuff so that she can concentrate on hurting people in the ring. She warned him not to overstep his boundaries or she’ll break both his legs, then they sealed the deal with a handshake.
Finn Balor talked about Keith Lee giving out opportunities. He said that at his level he doesn’t need charity, but he will take advantage. Dexter Lumis and Timothy Thatcher are set to be his triple-threat opponents and he’s planning to go right through them to the ladder match and the title. Of course, if he really didn’t want charity, then he could always challenge Lee for the NXT title instead…
Killer Kross, with Scarlett, vs Dominik Dijakovic
This was a ring shaking main event. There’s not much to choose between them for power, although Kross might just take it. And there’s not a huge amount of difference in athleticism, although Dijakovic may come out on top there by a fraction. Karrion Kross is undoubtedly more vicious and angrier, but Dijakovic has heart and tenacity. What I’m trying to say is they kicked the crap out of each other with no clear and obvious lasting advantage.
Towards the end of the match they moved to the outside, with Dijakovic taking Kross down with a somersault over the top rope. In response, Kross threw Dijakovic into the steps. That wasn’t enough for him so he stepped in Dijakovic’s neck, pressing it against the side of the steps. Dijakovic slipped down with his head behind the steps and Kross kicked the steps into it. The ref ordered Karrion Kross away while he checked on Dijakovic, then started the count. Kross broke the count and dragged Dijakovic back into the ring. Dominik Dijakovic was barely conscious but he still tried to fight back as Kross repeatedly punched him in the face.
Keith Lee came to ringside but Dijakovic wouldn’t let him get involved. Lee respected his frenemy’s wishes and watched as Kross made him pass out in the Kross Jacket right in front of him. Kross started Lee out as Dijakovic faded. The second the bell rang Lee was in the ring to protect Dijakovic from further harm.
NXT really do like their tournament style gimmicks. The triple-threats should be fun, and it’s hard to beat a good ladder match. I’m very pleased Bronson Reed is the first competitor. I hope it ends up being all people who are ready to step up for their next opportunity and doesn’t get hijacked by an obvious big-name winner. There’s a lot of talent in the NXT locker room and while they do a good job of showcasing a fair amount, the title pictures seem to rotate around the same few names.
Mercedes Martinez joining the Robert Stone Brand is a good move, I think, but only if they move Stone away from being a comedy figure. We’ll have to see how it plays out.