Bianca Belair goes one on one with Charlotte Flair on tonight’s NXT and it should be incredible. We’ve also got Tommaso Ciampa versus Austin Theory after Ciampa beat seven shades out of Theory last week, and Dominik Dijakovic faces Cameron Grimes after they had an altercation at a live event. Also on tonight’s show, Finn Balor will tell us what, or who, is next on his list.
Cameron Grimes def. Dominik Dijakovic
Xi Li def. Mia Yim
Tommaso Ciampa def. Austin Theory
Killian Dain def. Bronson Reed
Grizzled Young Veterans def. Forgotten Sons
Charlotte Flair def. Bianca Belair
The show started with William Regal welcoming Charlotte Flair, opening the car door at her insistence and getting someone to take her bags.
Dominik Dijakovic vs Cameron Grimes
Apparently, Cameron Grimes has been taking swipes at Dijakovic on twitter, so this was their opportunity to settle things in the ring.
Grimes hits hard, but he gave up so much size and strength to Dijakovic that any momentum he built was stopped by a single blow, or by being plucked out of midair and spun out over the top rope to the floor. He made Dijakovic pay for that one though, with a baseball slide and kick in the face. That got him back into the match but he struggled to keep Dijakovic down.
After Dijakovic had delivered a moonsault to the outside and the ref was busy checking on Grimes, Damian Priest ran down and hit Dijakovic in the back of his surgically repaired knee. Dominik Dijakovic got back in the ring at nine and a half and immediately got pinned off Grimes’ double stomp finisher. Dijakovic was tended to by medics post-match.
» William Regal announced a women’s division tournament, a series of qualifying matches to culminate in a ladder match for the number one contendership at NXT TakeOver Tampa.
Finn Balor said he’s not an internet guy or a sneaky stooge to the office politics guy, but when the bell rings he’s the guy. He builds brands, Japan, Mexico, Intercontinental Championship, Universal Championship, and NXT Championship, he’s done them all. It’s WrestleMania season and everyone in the business is trying to peak for WrestleMania. He’s been at his peak for twenty years, so the big question is who’s next for The Prince. Who’s going to get that Finn rub? Matt Riddle, Johnny Gargano, and Ilja Dragunov all got it.
Imperium’s music started up and Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner arrived. They said there was one thing Balor hadn’t done. The NXT UK Champion, WALTER, would like to send his regards.
Balor was ready as Barthel and Aichner approached and took them both down. He was lining Aichner up for a dropkick into the barricade, but he got blindsided by Barthel and beaten down.
» There was an interesting little vignette. Just some clearly symbolic pictures, clocks and a post-apocalyptic vibe. It was shown again later as well. It’s a teaser for someone and cleverer people than me probably already know who, but I haven’t got a clue. WWE have signed so many people recently. All will be revealed at some point.
» Bianca Belair was asked, when she arrived at the building earlier, about facing The Queen. She’s very confident, as always, and it should be a fantastic match.
Xia Li vs Mia Yim
This one didn’t go quite according to plan. It was interrupted by Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez appearing on the stage. Kai asked Yim if she remembered stealing her spot at WarGames and she took it right back, and noted that Yim still looked ‘bothered’ by that. She said now was the perfect time to address that, at which point Xia Li rolled Yim up and pinned her.
Gonzalez attacked while Yim was still wondering how she got pinned. Li stepped in to help Yim out, but got flattened and kicked out of the ring. Mia Yim tried to fight back, but Gonzalez left her laying while Kai watched from ringside.
» Velveteen Dream said beating Strong last week wasn’t enough payback for breaking his back. Next week he wants Roderick Strong to experience the steel cage, so he suggested William Regal leaves it up (after Kai vs Nox).
Tommaso Ciampa vs Austin Theory
Judging by the look on Austin Theory’s face when he arrived, he’s not over the ass-kicking he got from Ciampa last week. That’s a shame because he now has another one to be upset about.
It was actually Theory’s match most of the way through. He had the best of the offence and the majority of the near falls. He even got some payback by throwing Ciampa into the barricades a couple of times. Sadly for him, that was his downfall. Ciampa kicked him in the face as he got back into the ring, and one Willow’s Bell later Theory was given a Fairytale Ending.
Johnny Gargano tried to sneak attack Ciampa after the match but Ciampa spotted him just in time so they brawled. Austin Theory grabbed Ciampa so Ciampa punched him and turned back in time to take a superkick from Gargano. Gargano pulled Ciampa to his knees and told him to look him in the eyes, then superkicked him in the face. With Ciampa laid out on the apron, Gargano sat beside him to taunt the crowd for a few moments, then grabbed him by the head, pulled him to the floor, and walked around him.
» Roderick Strong told the rest of Undisputed ERA he agrees he should have a cage match with Dream but he needs Velveteen Dream to understand there’s nowhere to run. Fish and O’Reilly talked about how Riddle and Dunne got lucky against them in Portland. And Adam Cole said Strong, O’Reilly, and Strong were all going to win their titles back and the prophecy would continue.
Roderick Strong vs Velveteen Dream in the steel cage was later confirmed for next week.
Bronson Reed vs Killian Dain
Got to love a match that’s just two big lads trying to break each other for the fun of it. Reed broke first this time, after taking a couple of sentons and a Vader Bomb. Fun match.
» BROserweights got a hype package for no apparent reason, but it was a nice
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Forgotten Sons
The American audience have not yet learned to boo the living hell out of Zack Gibson whenever he opens his mouth. They did chant ‘USA’ over him and boo a bit, but they need to watch some NXT UK or Progress to see how it’s done.
Anyway, when Gibson had finished being offensive, a really decent tag team match took place. Jaxson Ryker caused a distraction to James Drake and gave Blake and Cutler the advantage going into a break, but they’d lost it again by the time we came back. Two very evenly matched teams and a very competitive match. Ryker got involved again later, but Drake and Gibson threw him into the steps and Forgotten Sons failed to capitalise on the distraction. The end came via a Ticket to Mayhem on Wesley Blake.
» Tegan Nox was asked how she mentally prepares for a cage match against her former best friend. She said she thought she has everything scouted, but she couldn’t have accounted for Raquel Gonzalez. This time Gonzalez won’t be a factor and all she can do is watch as Nox takes out every bit of aggression she’s got left, on Kai. Dakota Kai started this in a cage and next week Tegan Nox will finish it in one.
» Damian Priest said attacking Dijakovic was nothing personal, he’s just in the way of something he wants. And now Keith Lee knows exactly what Priest wants.
Bianca Belair vs Charlotte Flair
This was, quite rightly, the main event of the evening. The crowd chanted ‘You don’t go here’ at Flair when she arrived, but once the match was underway it was a split crowd.
As far as the match went, I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t as blown away as I wanted to be. Commentary mentioned this was the first single’s main event for Belair, which I find quite hard to believe. It’s also the tenth-anniversary edition of NXT, which makes it a little more special.
Another match to prove Belair’s time is nearing, but it’s not quite here for whatever reason. She delivered a weak-ish spear to Flair, but it wasn’t enough to keep her down. In retaliation, Flair delivered a spear of her own and followed it with Natural Selection for the win.
For some reason best known to herself, Charlotte Flair decided to grab a chair after the match and stomp Belair’s ankle in it. Rhea Ripley came out and just watched that bit, then came to the ring when Flair had Belair in a Figure Eight. Flair rolled out of the ring as Ripley climbed in, and they just had a staredown.
The final few moments of NXT were awkward and odd. Tensions between Belair and Flair weren’t high enough to warrant the attack with the chair, and Rhea Ripley waited for her entire entrance while she watched Flair injure Belair’s ankle and put her in a Figure Eight. It would honestly have made more sense for Ripley to just come to the stage and hold up the belt. Maybe Belair needs some time out, I guess we’ll wait and see.
With the NXT Women’s Championship effectively out of commission until after WrestleMania, William Regal’s announcement is perfect. NXT’s women’s division is head and shoulders above anyone else’s and this will keep it front and centre for the next few weeks.