NXT have a TakeOver-worthy card for us to celebrate The Great American Bash. Headlining that is Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole II, which can’t fail to be incredible. There are three titles on the line. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell defend the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships against Io Shirai & Zoey Stark, while MSK try to stop Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher taking the men’s tag titles. Cameron Grimes tries to right some wrongs by taking the Million Dollar title off LA Knight, but if he loses, he becomes Knight’s butler. Karrion Kross has a supervised face to face with Johnny Gargano after last week’s attacks and some social media interactions. And Hit Row will host a ‘Championship Cypher’ to celebrate Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott’s new NXT North American Championship.
MSK def. Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
LA Knight def. Cameron Grimes
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark def. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell
Adam Cole def. Kyle O’Reilly
MSK (C) vs Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher – NXT Tag Team Championship match
A very interesting match to start the show. MSK are high energy, high-flying, highly skilled, and have the arrogance of youth on their side. Even so, Ciampa said the champs are the underdogs and, with the combined experience and brutality of his team, you’d have to say he has a point. You can be the most skilled of high-fliers, but it won’t help you when Timothy Thatcher is trying to tear your limbs off with his knee in your back.
Wes Lee got the dubious honour of that treatment, as well as being tenderised like a steak by Ciampa. Carter got Ciampa taking a break on the outside when he got it, but Thatcher pushed Ciampa out of the way to take Carter’s dive himself and Ciampa laid Nash Carter out with a clothesline going into the break.
A quick pull down of the ropes from the outside caused Lee to take a tumble out of the ring, but the advantage it created didn’t last long. Thatcher accidentally punched Ciampa while aiming for Wes Lee then took an immediate superkick from Lee. He was intercepted by Ciampa, the legal man, while going after Thatcher but kicked out of the subsequent pin attempt.
A beautiful double team sequence from MSK should have finished Tommaso Ciampa, but Thatcher pulled Lee out of the ring and caught a flying Carter with a punch and knocked him out. He got back in just in time to shove Ciampa into Thatcher to save Lee from an ankle lock. Lee had already taken a Fairytale Ending but, somehow, he had the wherewithal to grab Thatcher as he went to put the hold back on and roll him up for the win.
A well-deserved win. Champs retain.
The charging thing is up to 91%. Could we see a debut/return by the end of the night?
We were shown video evidence that Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly showed up for work today.
William Regal, with Samoa Joe, ordered Johnny Gargano and Karrion Kross to the ring because it’s clear things aren’t going to turn out well between them after Gargano’s antagonism and their behaviour last week.
As soon as Kross arrived, Gargano hid behind Samoa Joe. From there he felt safe enough to tell Kross he sucks and he’s living rent-free in Kross’ head. He thinks Kross is scared to get in the ring with him because he’ll expose him.
Kross disagreed. He’s focused on three things. Never lose the NXT Championship. One day main event WrestleMania. And one day become the WWE Champion. He asked if Gargano was wearing Candice LeRae’s jeans and said he knows Gargano thinks he’ll do all these fancy moves on him, but in the real world, people like Gargano get beaten up by people like him.
William Regal moved their match forward from TakeOver to next week. Samoa Joe is going to be the special guest referee. Gargano is happy about it… we’ll see how long that lasts.
He got in one final dig as he left, saying it was funny Kross mentioned LeRae’s jeans, as he’s not fit to lace her boots (I detect no lies in that one).
Kushida is ready for Diamond Mine.
LA Knight (C) vs Cameron Grimes – Million Dollar Championship match – If Grimes loses, he becomes Knight’s butler
It was a high stakes match for Cameron Grimes, fighting for the championship, Ted Dibiase’s honour, and to avoid being humiliated repeatedly as LA Knight’s butler. He certainly looked more focused and more motivated as the match wore on. He had Knight on the back foot for a long middle section of the match and it just looked like he wanted it more.
Knight tried to do it the easy way when he struggled to pin Grimes the hard way. He got the title belt, but the ref took it off him and Grimes tried to roll him up. The ref wasn’t quick enough to count it and Knight tried a reversal with a handful of tights.
Grimes took a DDT on the Million Dollar belt, which was on the floor at ringside. He beat the ref’s count by a fraction of a second but he was out of it and it was an easy BFT finish for Knight.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez were asked by McKenzie Mitchell who they thought would win the women’s tag titles. They just thought it should have been them and said a lot of threatening and unpleasant things about Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon whose fault they believe it is.
The competitors for the NXT Breakout Tournament have been announced. They are Trey Baxter, Carmello Hayes, Andre Chase, Josh Briggs, Ikemen Jiro, Joe Gacy, Odyssey Jones, and Duke Hudson. The tournament starts next week with Duke Hudson versus Ikemen Jiro.
The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (C) vs Io Shirai & Zoey Stark – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match
LeRae and Hartwell questioned Shirai and Stark’s cohesiveness as a team, but they worked well together, double-teaming Hartwell with a delayed vertical suplex fairly early in the match. Commentary discussed how much progress Hartwell has made under LeRae’s guidance and they’re right. She’s maturing match by match, looking more composed, more confident in control. And she was in control for quite a while against Zoey Stark.
Io Shirai’s arrival in the match made LeRae visibly wary. As Shirai pointed out last week, LeRae has never beaten her. Hartwell ran interference as LeRae tried to tap Shirai out with a Gargano Escape. She got Stark in a submission but was forced to let go and save LeRae when Shirai shifted her weight and put her shoulder’s on the mat.
Before there could be a conclusion, the lights went out, the charging symbol appeared and flipped from 99% to fully charged, and Tegan Nox appeared on the stage.
Candice LeRae was so shocked she was an easy target to be knocked out of the ring by Shirai dropkicking Hartwell into her. Before she could recover, Shirai generously tagged out and let Zoey Stark deliver the finish to claim her first title in NXT.
Tegan Nox beat the hell out of Candice LeRae after the match and chased her off through the barricades.
During the break, Dexter Lumis retrieved Indi Hartwell from the apron where she’d been left when LeRae was chased out.
Toni Storm requested an interview to accuse Raquel Gonzalez of dodging her by going for Shotzi Blackheart instead of giving her the match she deserved. Gonzalez apparently knows if she gets in the ring with her then Storm leaves champion. As for Sarray, Storm doesn’t think she’s on her level, so the answer is no.
I suspect William Regal may not give her that choice.
Hit Row held an NXT North American Championship Cypher Celebration. It was good. Happily, WWE put it on the YouTube channel, so here it is. They didn’t even get interrupted.
William Regal has enjoyed The Great American Bash and he’s looking forward to next week’s title match. Samoa Joe said he doesn’t seek to change the trajectory or the outcome of the match and as long as he’s not provoked everything should be ok. With that said, let the best man win.
Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole II
I love wrestling stories like O’Reilly and Cole’s. They’re the stories that aren’t cooked up in creative, they’ve written themselves across continents over the course of a decade. O’Reilly won the last round, the unsanctioned match which everyone predicted favoured Cole. A pure wrestling match arguably favours O’Reilly… on account of him actually being the better wrestler. By WWE logic, Cole should take this one to set up for some kind of stipulation match down the road.
As you’d expect, it was brutal and very even. The match was nearly as well split as the crowd, who pitched in with duelling chants, which was weirdly nice to hear. Cole picked up more in the way of injuries, with O’Reilly heavily targeting his leg, but they wore each other down.
Cole resorted to trash-talking, which never ends well, telling O’Reilly he’s better than him always has been and always will be. I didn’t hear everything he said because the crowd was too loud, but I heard, ‘Your stupid wife’ a millisecond before O’Reilly snapped and started battering Cole in the corner.
Sadly, raw emotion is the enemy of concentration and Cole slipped out and kicked O’Reilly’s leg out from under him then smashed it into the ringpost a few times. That gave Cole control which presumably lasted through the ad breaks as O’Reilly was fighting his way back into it when we came back.
They were both tired and carrying knee injuries in the final stint. A chop-block and knee to the face got Cole a two-count. O’Reilly got two with a bridging suplex. Cole answered a heel hook with a figure four. O’Reilly flipped him over then kicked his way out and made Cole stretch for the ropes to break his hold.
O’Reilly fell out of the ring after kneeing Cole in the face. Not the first time he’s done that. Cole followed and delivered a Panama Sunrise on the outside but O’Reilly got his foot on the ropes when Cole dragged him back in the ring for the pin. O’Reilly got the brainbuster but missed with the knee from the top. Cole delivered the Last Shot, and O’Reilly kicked out.
Kyle O’Reilly used his injured knee to intercept Cole’s Panama Sunrise and that was the mistake that cost him the match. Cole’s next attempt landed perfectly and the Last Shot follow up secured the win for Adam Cole.
That’s one all then. I wonder what form the decider will take.
A four match NXT card is such a civilised thing. Good long matches meant there was no need to crowbar anything else in and the filler didn’t seem intrusive. More like this.