NXT has moved to SyFy for a couple of weeks in the US (presumably to accommodate the Olympics), so they’ll be going all out to try to make it a big show. Bronson Reed versus Adam Cole will be the main event. Samoa Joe will be addressing the NXT Universe after Karrion Kross left William Regal unconscious last week. Franky Monet and Jessi Kamea have their first outing as a tag team, against Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter. Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan have asked for a scrap with Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher. I suspect that’s exactly what they’ll get. Imperium face Hit Row. Raquel Gonzalez will address the NXT Women’s division. The breakout tournament continues with Josh Briggs vs Carmello Hayes. And there’ll be some golfing shenanigans with LA Knight and Cameron Grimes.
Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan def. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
Carmello Hayes def. Josh Briggs
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter def. Franky Monet & Jessi Kamea
Imperium def. Hit Row
Adam Cole def. Bronson Reed
Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher vs Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan
A little violence and brutality to get the show off on the right footing. Although, the first part of the match was more chess than the scrap Dunne and Lorcan requested. It picked up after the tandem beating of Dunne and Lorcan by Ciampa and Thatcher. Instead of staying in the ring, that one migrated to the outside where Dunne and Lorcan were thrown into the barricade.
After a break, we got the match as advertised. Ciampa went barrelling into Dunne and Lorcan in separate corners, back and forth over and over, then took them both down when they came for him together. He and Thatcher slapped each other awake a bit and the scrap continued.
Ciampa countered a Bitter End into an armbar. Lorcan tried to pull Dunne free and was grabbed by Thatcher.
Ridge Holland popped up from behind a barricade and levelled Timothy Thatcher. I guess he’s back from his injury then.
Ciampa tried to battle on alone, unaware of his teammate’s fate, but he got pinned with the Bitter End.
Ridge Holland joined Dunne and Lorcan after the match and beat the hell out of Thatcher while they held Ciampa still. He headbutted Ciampa to the mat when he’d finished.
Carmello Hayes doesn’t wait for opportunities. He’s taken some already, facing Kushida and Adam Cole. But the Breakout Tournament is The Opportunity. Only one man will come out on top, the brightest star of them all. And it’s going to be him.
Hit Row delivered half their message to Legado del Fantasma in Spanish, so I got very lost very quickly. They were gloating about taking out Joaquin Wilde and they’re not done with Santos Escobar. I think that’s the important bit.
Samoa Joe does not appear to have calmed down in the last week. He set up a table and chair in the ring and put a folder on the table. He said he could bark about Karrion Kross until he’s blue in the face but he knows Kross is too much of a coward to be in the building. Instead, he’s being proactive. He asked William Regal to join him in the ring and said he understands his anger and he knows Regal is going to fire Kross tonight. But he has a better idea and it comes in three easy steps.
He’s resigning from NXT management effective immediately and has had a contract drawn up to reinstate him on the active roster. Once Regal signed that Joe handed him a contract for Samoa Joe versus Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver 36.
William Regal’s look was pure evil. He knew what he was signing Kross up for and he did.
Just like that, Samoa Joe is an NXT Superstar once more and it’s Tick Tock on Karrion Kross’ title reign.
Josh Briggs said there will be two things left broken at the end of this tournament, bodies and dreams, while his hand will be held high as the winner.
Cameron Grimes is not a good golf caddy. He made jokes about washing Knight’s (golf) balls, didn’t know the difference between clubs, distracted Knight, and laughed when he messed the shot up. From that shot, it looks like LA Knight isn’t any better at playing golf than Grimes is at caddying. Grimes was still being agreeable and polite when Knight sent him off to get the ball from the trees.
Carmello Hayes vs Josh Briggs – NXT Breakout Tournament Round 1
This had great match written all over it from the start, and it delivered. Josh Briggs is huge, but Carmello Hayes is quick. Neither lack confidence nor skill.
Duke Hudson joined commentary for the match. He’ll be facing the winner in the next round. He’s also not short of confidence, but it takes more than arrogance to create characters people can invest in so he needs to be allowed to show more of that when talking.
Carmello Hayes has a lot of character, he also progressed to the second round. He planted Briggs face-first twice then followed up with a leg drop to Josh Briggs’ back for the win.
McKenzie Mitchell asked Franky Monet what her association with the Robert Stone Brand is. She said there are a lot of possibilities. She could merge with them and make them more powerful than ever. Or she could rebuild them from the ground up. And maybe she and Jessi could team up and go for the tag titles.
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro appeared and told them off for thinking it was that easy to just jump into the tag title picture. They told Monet and Kamea to get their asses to the back of the line before they left.
Once they’d gone Monet said she used to think they were cute but they’re just annoying. Kamea said they’ve been annoying.
At our next visit to the golf course, Cameron Grimes was narrating as Knight hit his shot into the lake. He sent Grimes in to get it. While he was there, Ted Dibiase drove up in a golf cart and asked him why he was doing that. He’s better than this and Knight will never stop taking. Grimes said he’s a man of his word. Dibiase told him not to lose his pride and that he wasn’t born to be a butler he was born to be a champion. Sometimes a man has to fight for what he believes in and the Cameron Grimes he knows is a fighter. He left him to think about that.
Ridge Holland, leaving the Performance Center with Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan, said it’s none of anyone’s business why he attacked Timothy Thatcher. Thatcher wasn’t the first person he smashed up, and he won’t be the last.
Raquel Gonzalez, with Dakota Kai, said last week she crushed one of the most feared superstars in the women’s division. She has dominated everyone who has stepped up to the plate. Who’s next? All she has to say is, keep them coming.
Dakota Kai said eighteen months ago Gonzalez dominated and she’s been unstoppable ever since. She tells everyone her best friend is the most dominant woman in NXT history. More dominant than Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Shayna Baszler. She’s beaten former champions like Rhea Ripley Io Shira, Ember Moon and everyone else who has stood in her path. The list will continue to grow.
She asked if we knew why the NXT women’s division is one of the greatest? It’s because of one woman. TakeOver is four weeks away and she asked who is woman enough to challenge Raquel. Who knows in their souls they have what it takes to face Raquel.
No one arrived and Kai said there is no one. They have been through so much together and as long as she has Gonzalez’ back she will always be champion.
Gonalez celebrated in the corner facing the crowd. She was the only one who didn’t see it coming, literally or figuratively. Dakota Kai kicked her in the face and laid her out cold. She held the belt over her and said she’s woman enough.
Gonzalez looked devastated. The anger will catch up.
Dakota Kai was later asked to explain her actions, while she was hurrying out of the building. She just smiled and ran off to her car.
Adam Cole thinks everyone has been trying to attach themselves to him. Kyle O’Reilly is still screaming about him. Bronson Reed thinks he’ll be his rebound, which Cole is offended by. He’s at the top of the mountain and he’s going to make sure Reed falls off. Reed lost the title because he’s not good enough and Cole couldn’t give a damn about his 14-year history. Tonight will be another sad chapter, written by Adam Cole.
Zoey Stark wants Io Shirai to train with her now they’re tag team champions, to create a bond. Shirai doesn’t want to be her friend. She doesn’t like her. Stark persuaded her they should hang out to get on the same page as tag partners. She assured Shirai she would have a great time when she finally agreed, but Shirai didn’t look remotely convinced.
Mandy Rose shooed cameras away from her conversation with Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne. Looks like we have a new stable in the works.
Franky Monet & Jessi Kamea, with Robert Stone, vs Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Robert Stone got pushed out of the way when he got too close to Monet during her entrance. He’s being tolerated, for now, just only just.
I asked for Monet to face actual roster members and got my wish the very next week. She made a minor oops when she threw Carter into her corner too hard and knocked Kamea off the apron. Carter tried to capitalise but her advantage lasted a single move.
Robert Stone got on the apron and threw his shoe into the ring, hitting Monet. He told her to use it to finish Carter. She asked him what the hell he was doing then turned back to catch a kick in the face from Carter. With Kamea down and Monet reeling from the kick, Catanzaro pinned her off a double team. Kamea wouldn’t have made it back in time, but Carter was there to keep her out and make sure.
Monet didn’t destroy Stone, but it won’t be long.
Wade Barrett spoke to Roderick Strong and Malcolm Bivens. He asked Strong how he found Bivens after quitting NXT when Undisputed ERA imploded. Bivens found him because he believes he’s the best. Strong said the game is 90% mental and 10% physical and his 10% is better than anyone else’s. Bivens reminded him.
Barrett asked what their plan is. It seems like they want Kushida’s title but Bobby Fish is making a lot of noise. Is the next money match Roderick Strong versus Bobby Fish?
Malcolm Bivens said yes, and it’s next week.
WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov, for the NXT UK Championship, will be on the NXT TakeOver 36 card.
Imperium vs Hit Row (Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis/Top Dolla)
Two very different style teams, which can go either way. It worked. Hit Row are going to be hard to stop because Adonis is quick, clever, and resourceful, and Top Dolla is huge and powerful. A tag requires a whole new game plan.
Imperium’s game plan seemed to be to keep Top Dolla out of the ring. B-Fab got on the apron when Adonis was having a hard time, trying to cause a distraction so Swerve could do something to Aichner, but the ref looked at him not her.
The plan worked well for a lot of the match, but Adonis gave them a lot more trouble than they’d maybe anticipated. He wasn’t just resilient, he was fighting hard to turn it around. Eventually, it paid off and the tag was made.
Aichner tagged in seconds after Top Dolla, but Barthel was still in the ring so he got dropped first. Barthel saved Aichner from being pinned and Adonis tagged in for a double team.
While Adonis was legal, Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde wiped Swerve out against the ringpost at ringside. Top Dolla put them both down with the same charge then stalked Escobar. Meanwhile, Adonis was pinned with the European Bomb.
Top Dolla took a post-match beating from Legado del Fantasma. He shook Mendoza and Wilde off the first time but they descended on him again after Escobar dropkicked him. Swerve made the save with a chair.
Candice LeRae suggested it was Johnny Gargano’s fault that Austin Theory has run away from home. Indi Hartwell said it’s all LeRae’s fault. While they were arguing, Hartwell received a drawing from Dexter Lumis showing him as part of the family. She tried to convince them to give him a chance. Gargano finally agreed to face Lumis one on one. If Lumis wins, Gargano has to give him a chance. If Gargano wins, Hartwell has to let the whole subject drop.
On the final visit to the golf course, Grizzled Young Veterans tried to get Knight to get on with it so they could play through. Grimes sort of stuck up for Knight, in a weird way. They ended up making a bet worth $20k to whoever sunk the next ball. LA Knight hit it into the water and told Grimes to do better. Cameron Grimes took a golden ball from his pocket hit Knight in the balls on his backswing, on the head with his follow-through, and got the ball in the hole.
Grizzled Young Veterans ran out on the bet.
Bronson Reed vs Adam Cole
I know NXT have been using the overrun a lot recently, but this main event started an hour and fifty-five minutes into what is normally a two-hour show. Commentary argued about why no one likes Adam Cole during the match. Wade Barrett said it’s jealousy. Beth Phoenix said it was because he’s alienated everyone with his arrogance. They did, however, agree that no one likes him, which amused me.
Cole struggled with Reed’s power early on, and throughout to be honest. The ref also had to persuade Reed to stop sitting on Cole’s chest. Cole thwarted a superplex attempt but couldn’t get the powerbomb out of the corner, so he settled for kicking Reeds legs out from under him.
It takes a lot to get Reed off his feet and Cole was faced with the same issue as most of Reed’s opponents, it doesn’t matter how skilled your offence is when all your momentum can be halted with a single blow. Cole managed a Panama Sunrise, a massive feat in itself, but Bronson Reed kicked out. Cole’s Last Shot attempt was met with a clothesline, but Reed’s tsunami splash met only canvas. On the second attempt, the Last Shot found its mark and earned Adam Cole the victory.
Kyle O’Reilly attacked Cole with a chair on the ramp and finally got some payback. He threw the top part of the steps away and gave Cole a brainbuster on the steel. O’Reilly stood on the steps over Cole’s twitching body to close the show. The crowd appeared to be booing O’Reilly, which I’m not sure is how this is supposed to play out.
A big welcome back to the active roster for Samoa Joe. It feels like he’s home. I like him as management and I hope he eventually returns to it, but he belongs in the ring for as long as he wants to be there.
Next week Johnny Gargano has a Love Her or Lose Her match against Dexter Lumis, for the right to date Indi Hartwell. If I start talking about the levels of wrong and ridiculous involved in this match I’ll be here all night, and I don’t have the energy. I’m sure someone other than Beth Phoenix and whoever came up with it likes it… probably.
Roderick Strong versus Bobby Fish is also next week. Hit Row versus Legado del Fantasma. And Joe Gacy versus Trey Baxter in the Breakout Tournament.