The preview for NXT this week is the biggest preview for a while. And it’s the biggest show for a while too. There are four matches on the card, two of which are ladder match qualifiers. Candice LeRae faces Kayden Carter and Xia Li takes on Aliyah for the chance to compete in the ladder match, which will now take place on NXT tv as TakeOver has been cancelled. Also on the card is Tyler Breeze versus Austin Theory and Matt Riddle versus Roderick Strong. Adam Cole will be appearing to address the NXT Universe. And Triple H will be on the show tonight to deal with Ciampa and Gargano’s escalating issues. Looks like a busy couple of hours.
Tyler Breeze def. Austin Theory
Killian Dain def. Tehuti Miles
Cameron Grimes def. Tony Nese
Io Shirai def. Aliyah
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch def. Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink
Candice LeRae def. Kayden Carter
Matt Riddle def. Roderick Strong
Tyler Breeze vs Austin Theory
This match opened the show. It was set up in a verbal altercation last week. Theory thinks Breeze is a has-been, or a never was. Breeze called Theory a “flash in the pan”. Theory kept the arrogance up at the start of the match, disrespecting and underestimating Breeze.
It was a decent match. Theory would have won had his arrogance not got the better of him. He spent too much time trash-talking Breeze about being the future and was pinned off a Beauty Shot.
Killian Dain vs Tehuti Miles
Hell of a way for Tehuti Miles (Elijah King) to be introduced to NXT. No crowd, but plenty of hype about him from commentary. Killian Dain definitely wasn’t the gentlest of introductions either. Miles is half the size of Dain, with a quarter of the aggression. He gave it a good shot, but Dain’s power advantage was just too much and he got pinned.
Cameron Grimes vs Tony Nese
NXT were really going for it on the matches tonight. You’d have thought they’d space them out a bit with everything going on, but it’s a welcome distraction. This one was great. Cameron Grimes got the win with his flying double knees.
Aliyah vs Xia Li
This was a ladder match qualifier. There is history here because last time they had a match Xia Li broke Aliyah’s nose. They showed footage of Aliyah bleeding and crying in pain as a reminder before the match.
The match didn’t happen. Li didn’t appear when her music played and cameras cut to Li backstage crying and holding her knee after being attacked. Aliyah was expecting a forfeit, but she got one hell of a substitute instead.
Aliyah vs Io Shirai
It’s awesome to see Shirai back, she’s been gone much too long. We didn’t see her for long though, she dispatched Aliyah with a moonsault inside a couple of minutes.
Keith Lee came out to explain why he attacked Dominik Dijakovic while he was trying to help him last week. He made a mistake, he thought Dijakovic was the one who attacked him, and he owes Dijakovic and apology. Dijakovic came out and they started to argue about it, Dijakovic was not happy Lee thought he’d attack from behind or that Lee attacked him, but they were interrupted by Damian Priest before it got really heated.
Priest made it clear he wants the North American Championship. He doesn’t want it for the satisfaction after years of hard work. He wants it because it will give him more money, more women, more fame and more legacy. His name will live forever, but he needs that championship.
Keith Lee said a few calm and considered words in response then it turned into a fight. Dijakovic pushed Lee out of the way to get to Priest. Lee returned the favour and took it to the outside where Dijakovic took them both down.
Adam Cole’s appearance was from his ‘vacation’. He’s been thinking about Velveteen Dream. He started getting flustered then realised there’s no point because he has a career full of firsts and Velveteen Dream has none. He hasn’t earned a shot at the title. Cole did offer him a match against Bobby Fish though.
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink
Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink got beaten by Street Profits on RAW on Monday. And they got beaten by Lorcan and Burch here, with a simultaneous tap out. Good match while it lasted though and we got to see a bit of what Vink is about.
Candice LeRae vs Kayden Carter
I thoroughly enjoyed this match. It was a bit short and sweet, but considering it was the sixth match of the night that was hardly surprising. The result was also unsurprising. Candice LeRae got the win via submission with a Gargano Escape. I adore Candice LeRae and I’d love to see her win that number one contender’s spot in the ladder match. I’m looking forward to seeing Kayden Carter move through the ranks as well. She might have lost the majority of her matches, but she’s very watchable and if they allow her a personality, she could do great things.
Matt Riddle vs Roderick Strong
Matt Riddle was on his own. Commentary explained Pete Dunne was not at NXT this week due to ‘prevailing circumstances’. Presumably, that is why Roderick Strong was also solo. Matt Riddle fist-bumped imaginary fans on his way to the ring. Roderick Strong did his bit of the Undisputed ERA’s entrance in its entirety. It all looked a bit strange, but I guess the alternative is just to wander down to the ring which would be equally odd.
Superb match, won by Matt Riddle with a Bro Derek, but the weirdness started post-match. Riddle was attacked by two very large gentlemen with long hair. After they’d beaten him down Malcolm Bivens (Stokely Hathaway) came out and introduced them as the future of the NXT tag team division. He didn’t tell us who they were, but social media informs me they were Rinku Singh and Saurav Gurjar.
Velveteen Dream versus Bobby Fish happens next week as does the expected triple-threat for the North American Championship featuring Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and Damian Priest. There will also be a second chance gauntlet match for the final place in the number one contender’s ladder match. Six women will compete as both Aliyah and Xia Li have been included. The rest of the field is Shotzi Blackheart, Deonna Purrazzo, Dakota Kai, and Kayden Carter.
Triple H came out to talk about Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, but he barely got into his intro before Ciampa came to join him.
Ciampa took the mic and said everything has been said and everything has been done. Johnny Gargano was in the building so he should bring him out and they can finish it. Triple H said before Gargano comes out, he wants them both to know there will be no physicality.
Gargano came out but refused to get in the ring and blamed everything that happened on Ciampa. Triple H told him the only reason either of them were still there is him. If it were up to William Regal they would have been fired. He ordered Gargano into the ring and forbade them to touch each other.
Triple H said their feud had to end and compared them to him and Shawn Michaels. He said it should end on the biggest stage of them all. It sounded like he was about to put them on the WrestleMania card but neither of them seemed to need that, they just want to hurt each other until one of them leaves. It’s about who is the fact and the heart and soul of NXT. Triple H asked if they were ready now, Gargano said he needs two weeks and Triple H said he’ll find them an empty building put a ring in there and give them a ref to say when it’s over. But when it’s done, it’s done for good. They’ve both said NXT isn’t big enough for both of them, Triple H said it is, but if it carries on then it will carry on without either of them.
One of the weird vignettes we’ve been seeing played. The lights went out. And NXT finished. I know who it is now though. It’s Killer Kross… but who’s his target?
That was the busiest episode of NXT I can remember. It felt non-stop from beginning to end.
There is only one spot left in the ladder match, which takes place the week after next. The field so far is Chelsea Green, Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, Io Shirai, and Candice LeRae. Tegan Nox and Candice LeRae are friends. Mia Yim has been an ally to both of them. There is an adversarial history between LeRae and Shirai. It’s going to be a very interesting match.