A triple-threat match for the NXT North American Championship with Roderick Strong defending against Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic was the advertised main event this week. We’ve also got Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley battling for position in the NXT women’s division. And we should find out more about Finn Balor’s cryptic promo last week.
Rhea Ripley def. Bianca Belair
Matt Riddle def. Cameron Grimes
Breezango & Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott def. Forgotten Sons
Angel Garza def. Jack Gallagher
Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox def. Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir
Roderick Strong def. Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic
Rhea Ripley vs Bianca Belair
This was a hell of an opening match. The NXT women’s division is stacked and these are the primary powerhouses as far as challengers go. They’re very evenly matched. Belair might just have the edge in athleticism, but she poses too much when she should be taking advantage and it almost always costs her. Ripley has the experience advantage.
They’re so evenly matched they could have gone on forever just trying to string together any dominant run of momentum, but all hell broke loose towards the end. Io Shirai appeared and delivered a tiger feint kick to Ripley, which Belair followed with a spear, but Ripley still kicked out. Before Shirai could interfere again, Candice LeRae arrived and pulled her off the apron. Distraction over, Ripley delivered the Riptide to Belair and pinned her.
Cathy Kelly grabbed a walking interview with Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate. Dunne said Priest did what he had to do. Bate said, ‘But he hit you low’. Dunne said, ‘No excuses’ and assured Kelley Priest had a receipt coming. She asked him about Killian Dain, he said he doesn’t care about Killian Dain.
Tommaso Ciampa hype package highlighting the road from having to relinquish the NXT Championship due to injury to getting back to fitness.
Matt Riddle vs Cameron Grimes
Both tried to finish it immediately but failed, which turned out to be a good thing because the match was great. Heavy on strikes, with Matt Riddle leaning heavily on his arsenal of kicks.
The crowd chanted ‘Riddle’ to the tempo of the ‘Goldberg’ chant and Riddle gave Grimes a jackhammer. Riddle really wants that match. Cameron Grimes has been building himself quite a run of form, and he had a ton of chances here including a couple of really close calls. But it was Matt Riddle’s match. He controlled the majority of it and Bro Derek finished the match in his favour.
Cameron Grimes refused Riddle’s fist bump after the match. Riddle shrugged and fist-bumped Tyler Bate, who was at ringside, instead. Grimes took exception to that and shoved Bate, so Tyler Bate punched him out.
Breezango & Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott vs Forgotten Sons
Breezango did a Top Gun tribute this time, to continue their dress-up theme. They were supposed to be teaming with Kushida to take on Forgotten Sons, but he’s injured so they chose Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott as their partner. Good choice.
Interesting match because Forgotten Sons just want to break people, but both Breezango and Swerve want to have fun and look good doing it. It was Breeze who found himself trapped in Forgotten Sons’ corner for an extended period, and they did indeed try hard to break him, but he eventually got to Fandango who tipped the odds back in their favour.
Isaiah Scott took a triple-team from Forgotten Sons and would have been pinned if Breezango hadn’t broken it up at the last moment. Fandango almost pinned Jaxson Ryker after tandem superkicks from him and Breeze, but Blake and Cutler got there. In the end, it was Swerve who got the win, pinning Cutler with a kick to the back of the head.
Swerve had a dance with Breezango to celebrate their victory.
Killian Dain said Pete Dunne tried to break his fingers, so he’ll break Dunne.
Angel Garza vs Jack Gallagher
Lio Rush joined commentary to scout his future opposition for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Rush had some very complimentary things to say about them as well. He was particularly impressed with Angel Garza.
Really fun and entertaining match. It was Gallagher who removed Garza’s stripper pants for him, but it was Garza who controlled the pace for a lot of the match. Gallagher got to show off his strength with a delayed vertical suplex and there was a ton of technical skill on display from both.
It was Angel Garza who picked up the win this time, then stood on the turnbuckle and stared at Lio Rush, indicating he wants a title shot.
Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox vs Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir
William Regal announced this match earlier in the show and told us that the winners will face The Kabuki Warriors next week on NXT for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Jessamyn Duke got things underway fast with a big kick to Dakota Kai and they immediately isolated her in their corner, but they couldn’t capitalise. We don’t get to see a lot of Duke and Shafir in the ring, so it’s interesting to see how they’re coming along but they’ve done nothing to warrant a shot at the women’s tag titles. They’re also clearly nowhere near ready.
It was a very short match. Tegan Nox finished it by introducing Jessamyn Duke to the Shiniest Wizard.
After the match The Kabuki Warriors appeared via video link to congratulate Kai and Nox, then they cut a giggly promo in Japanese. Kairi Sane finished it by saying, ‘Next week you have no chance’.
Cameron Grimes versus Tyler Bate and Io Shirai versus Candice LeRae have been added to the card for next week.
Roderick Strong (C) vs Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic – NXT North American Championship Triple-threat match
Roderick Strong needed a miracle to have any chance in this match. He took a hell of a lot of punishment over the course of the match, not least of all having Keith Lee suplexed onto him by Dijakovic and being on the top of a tower of doom.
Lee caught Dijakovic’s dive only for Strong to dropkick them both over, except Dijakovic landed on his feet. And that was how Strong stayed alive in the match. He was quick and opportunistic, and he took whatever recovery time he could get.
Dijakovic and Lee worked together on the outside for just long enough to lay Strong out, then got back in the ring to finish their fight. Dijakovic came over the top rope aiming for Lee, but Strong got in the way, so was immediately flattened. But Dijakovic hesitated too long on the outside and took a dive from Keith Lee.
Then Roderick Strong got his miracle. Lee powerbombed Dijakovic off the turnbuckle but took a knee in the face from Strong before he could cover him and got pinned. After the underhanded tactics that got him into this match, Roderick Strong retained the title clean.
Undisputed ERA came to the ring after the match, congratulated Strong, then beat up Keith Lee a bit. They were stood in the ring holding up all NXT’s men’s gold, when Tommaso Ciampa arrived, dragging the crutch with him. The crowd chanted, ‘Daddy’s Home’, then Johnny Gargano turned up. Gargano and Ciampa got nose to nose with the crowd chanting, ‘DIY’, then faced up to Undisputed ERA together.
Not to be left out, Finn Balor joined the party. He’d promised to explain what the past becoming his future meant. He stood between Ciampa and Gargano, facing Undisputed ERA, then Pele kicked Gargano in the head. Chaos erupted and Balor watched Undisputed ERA do their thing to Ciampa, then got out of the ring and dropkicked Gargano through a barricade (well, the barricade fell over and sent Gargano into some, occupied, chairs). Balor spiked Gargano on the ramp and left.
Well, that was quite a way to end the show. NXT is great at the moment. The roster is absolutely crammed with talent. Storylines are being built, titles are being defended, and the standard of matches is consistently high. They’re suffering from being unfavourably compared to AEW, but the product is really very good. I’m not sure what the deal is with TakeOvers now, but the potential match set-ups for the next one are already looking awesome.